The Chepstow mummers' play
(Passed on by Ron Shuttleworth. The first version was given to him by Les Chittleburgh of Isca Morris in November 1985 and is based on a play published by Ivor Walters of Chepstow. A script appeared in the Chepstow Mercury on December 26, 1863 and the play was last performed at the Bridge Inn, Chepstow in 1913 before Isca Morris revived it in 1979. The second text was sent to Russell Wortley by Adrian Griffiths, a Cambridge Morris man, on January 13, 1958.)
LES CHITTLEBURGH'S TEXT
FATHER CHRISTMAS enters: In comes I, old Father Christmas,
Christmas or Christmas not;
I hope old Father Christmas will never be forgot.
A mug of your strong beer to make us dance and sing,
And the money in our pockets is a very fine thing.
Christmas comes but once a year,
But when it comes it brings good cheer.
Roast beef, mince pie,
Who do love it better than I?
Room, room, room I say,
For I'm the man as lets St George this way;
And in this room there shall be shown
The dreadfullest battle that ever was known.
ST GEORGE rushes in, waving his sword:
In comes I, St George, St George, the man of valour bold,
With my spear and sword all by my side,
I won three crowns of gold.
I fought the fiery dragon and brought him to the slaughter
And by that means I won the King of Egypt's daughter.
If any many dares with me fight
I will dispense with him this very night.
TURKISH KNIGHT enters: In comes I, the Turkish Knight,
Come from Turkey land where I learned to fight.
First I fought in Portugal, then I fought in Spain,
Now I'm here in Newport to fight bold St George again.
I'll fight with St George, that man of valour bold,
And if his blood is hot, I'll quickly make it cold.
ST GEORGE: Oh thou villainous Turkish knight,
Step up, draw forth thy sword and fight.
My sword being sharp and tapering,
I'll very quickly stick it in.
BEELZEBUB enters: In comes I, old Beelzebub,
Over my shoulder I carries a club
And in my hand a frying pan,
I thinks myself a jolly old man.
To start this fight without delay
I've come in to clear the way.
Room, room, room I crave;
And if you won't give 'em room I'll sweep you all to your grave.
JOLLY OLD WOMAN enters: Stir up the fire and make a light
For these two boys to have a fight.
(They fight and the Turkish Knight falls dead.)
JOLLY OLD WOMAN: St George, St George, what have you done;
You've been and killed my only son.
Is there no doctor to be found
To cure this deep and deadly wound?
DOCTOR enters: Yes, there's a doctor to be found
To cure this man lying bleeding on the ground.
I am a doctor, come from France and Rome and Spain,
To cure the sick and raise the dead again.
FATHER CHRISTMAS: What can you cure, doctor?
DOCTOR: I can cure the itch, the pitch, the palsy and the gout,
Pains that run within and pains without.
If a man gets nineteen devils in his skull, I'll fetch twenty out.
I'll stop the blood and heal the wound,
Raise the dead man from his doom!
Also causing two blind men to see fair play
And two dumb men to shout hooray.
Oh yes, there is a doctor to be found,
I take no less than fifty pound.
(Father Christmas pays the doctor, who goes over to the Turkish Knight and says):
DOCTOR: I carry a little bottle in my inside pocket
Called Theakston's Pale, fetched from the Gockett.
I'll pour three drops on this man's nose,
He'll rise again to fight his foes.
(The Turkish Knight revives.)
ST GEORGE: Oh thou foolish Turkish Knight,
Returneth home to your land to fight.
Send here thy father and thy brethren three
And I'll serve them just as I've served thee.
(Turkish Knight slinks off. Enter the Valiant Soldier.)
VALIANT SOLDIER: In comes I, the Valiant Soldier,
Swish-em, Swash-em is my name.
With my spear and sword all by my side
I hope to win the game.
I'll fight the heathen Turks, those men of valour bold
And if their blood is hot, I'll quickly make it cold.
I'll cut 'em, slash 'em, hack 'em small as flies,
And send 'em to the cookshop to make mince pies.
His makes his bow and departs after the Turkish Knight.
ROBIN HOOD enters: In comes I, bold Robin Hood,
Freshly come over from Earlswood.
Now brave St George, he'll rule the roast,
Let us triumphant to the toast,
And homeward let our steps be found
Whene'er the Mummers' time's unwound.
When Christmas cheer prevails, I trow,
And maids kiss 'neath the mistletoe
Let cheerful song and dance prevail
And bumpers of old winter ale.
(He makes his bow and departs with St George, Enter a man in rags and tatters.)
RAGGED JACK: In comes I, old Ragged Jack,
With wife and family on my back.
My family's large and I'm not too small,
But every little helps us all.
Some in the workhouse, some at home,
When I do go, the rest may come.
My name is little John,
If anyone wants me, let him come on.
Let him be black or let him be white,
I'll show him I'm the one to fight.
See here in my pouch, drop something in here,
And I'll wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
CHORUS FROM ALL: Come, ladies and gentlemen sat by the fire,
Put your hands in your pockets and give us our desire,
Put your hands in your pockets and treat us all right,
If you give nought, we'll take nought, farewell and goodnight.
CHARLIE CRUMP'S TEXT
Adrian Griffiths wrote to Russell Wortley: "We were told that Mr Crump would be in, and indeed we found him in his little cottage behind the Seven Stars... it took some time for us to understand his dialect, but managed to get some useful information, though no recordings... I suggested a visit to the Stars might help. Indeed it would, he said... he told us he could remember much more when he had his pint of scrumpie."
(NO CHARACTERS ARE NAMED)
In steps I, a Turkish knight,
Stir up that fire and make a light,
Or else in this house, there'll be a fight.
In steps I all, bold Robin Hood,
For forty years I lived in the wood (or in the law)
And forty more I robbed the rich and fed the poor.
In steps I, Jackie 'arner,
..........................(his memory failed)
Two in the union, two at home,
Two in the corner picking a bone.
In steps I, Doctor Brown,
Best little doctor in the town
I got a bottle in my coat
Aye - cure all diseases
Headache, toothache, heel rot and diabetes.
(This was Charlie Crump's particular verse at the age of seven)
In steps I, Niddy Noddy,
All head, no body
No tips, no toes
Please make a c'lection before I goes.
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Last updated 08 March 2010
. Copyright © 1999 Celfyddydau Mari Arts.