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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Play Information

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TitleMummers' play
Alternative Title
WordsWilliams, Alfred
Collected FromHaydon, Shadrach
OccupationShepherd
Age
Date
LocationHatford
CountyBerkshire
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 3 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 196
Source SecondaryUnpublished
Recording
 
The Play
Characters

Foreman, Slasher, Saint George, Doctor, Jack Vinney and Mary


Enter Foreman

Foreman

Room, room for me and my brave gallants fine,
I am come to show you an activity
This merry Christmas time.
An activity of youth, an activity of age,
For the like was never seen here before
Nor acted upon a common stage.


Enter Slasher

Slasher

I am the Valiant Soldier bold and Slasher is my name,
With my sword and pistol by my side, thinking to win the game.
A battle, a battle with thee I'll try
To see which on the ground shall lie;
Mind thy head and guard thy blow!
Mind thy eyes and face also!

Enter St George

St George

I am Saint George, this noble knight,
I lost my blood in England's fight,
And in this fight that is the reason,
Makes me carry this bloody weapon.

Slasher and St George fight. Slasher falls.

Foreman

Leave in, Doctor.

Enter the Doctor

Doctor

See! Sir. Comes this noble doctor.
I've travelled far and near,
I've travelled through England, France and Spain,
Was coming back to old England, to my own country again;
There I met with an old magpie with the toothache, and I cured he.

I will come for ten pound.
I am a doctor, a doctor good,
And with my hand I can stop the blood.
I have cured in England, I have cured in Spain.
And I am come to old England to cure again.

Foreman

How did'st do that?

Doctor

Cut off his head and threw his body in the ditch.
He'll never have the toothache again.

Foreman

Barbarous work, sir!

Doctor

I can cure all sorts of diseases
Just what my physic pleases.
Bring to me an old woman seven years dead,
Eight years buried and nine years laid in her grave,
And if she got one umpen scrumpen jack tooth in her head
I'll go and fetch her to life again and make her eat apple dumplings
For seven years to come.

Foreman

Come in, Jack Vinney!

Enter Jack Vinney

Jack Vinney

My name's not Jack Vinney.
The least thing you could have done
Would have been to call me Mr John Vinney,
Man of great fame;
Could do more than three other men.

Foreman

What could'st thee do then?

Jack Vinney

Cure this man if he's not quite dead
So, Saint George, rise up thy head.

St George rises

Foreman

Come in Mary

Enter Mary, a man dressed in a woman's gown

Mary

Here comes I, as ain't been hit,
With my big head and little wit;
My head is big and wit so small,
I've brought my fiddle to please you all.

Green sleeves, yellow lace,
Pretty boys, dance apace,
For the fiddler is in great distress,
For the want of a little money.
 
Print Play Verse
 
Notes
Alfred Williams - 'As acted at Hatford, Berkshire, near Faringdon, 1840. Shadrach Haydon's version, 1916'

Transcribed and edited by - Chris Wildridge, 2007.

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