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THE STOURVALE MUMMERS

Bournemouth, Dorset: Traditional Folk Plays at Christmas & Easter

  The Morris Ring

The Winter Play - from Sixpenny Handley, Dorset

The Characters

  • Bold Rumour
  • Father Christmas
  • Valiant Soldier / Slasher
  • Turkish Knight
  • St. George
  • Doctor
  • Little Johnny Jack

The Play

A bunch of tatterdemalions enter -- dressed in tatter suits and bowler hats -- faces blacked -- singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" -- their leader ringing a bell.

Bold Rumour

    Make room make room my gallant boys
    And give us space to rhyme
    We've come to show St. George's play
    Upon this Christmas time
    If you don't believe what I do say
    Then step in Father Christmas and clear the way

Father Christmas

    In comes I old Father Christmas welcome or welcome not
    I hope old Father Christmas will never be forgot
    Altho' I've only a short time here to stay
    I'll show you all mirth and merriment before I go away
    For in this room there shall be shown
    The dreadfullest battle that ever was known

Valiant Soldier

    In comes I the Valiant Soldier
    Slasher is my name
    Is there any a man who dare to stand
    Before me with my naked sword in hand

Turkish Knight

    Here come I, a Turkish Knight
    Just come from a foreign land to fight
    That Valiant Soldier I do not fear
    No matter what sharp sword he do bear
    If his head is made of brass and his body made of steel
    From my shoulder to my knuckle bones
    That's the place to feel
    I'll clip his wings he shall not fly
    I'll cut him down or else I die

Valiant Soldier

    If thou art a Turkish Knight
    Draw thy sword and let us fight

They fight, the Valiant Soldier is killed & lies dead on the floor.

Turkish Knight

    I am come here to fight St. George
    That noble man of courage bold
    And if his blood runs hot
    I'll quickly make it cold

St. George

    Here comes I St. George a valiant man
    With naked sword and shield in hand
    Who fought the Dragon and brought him to slaughter
    And for this won the King of Egypt's daughter
    Hold on hold on my gentleman thou talkest very bold
    Thou talkest like that little man of whom I have been told
    But scarce I'll have three rounds with thee
    And leave thee on thy bended knee
    And bleeding I will leave thee

They fight -- Turkish Knight is killed

Father Christmas

    Oh now St. George what hast thou been and done
    Thou hast cut down this knight just like the setting sun

St. George

    He gave me the first challenge
    Why should I deny
    Draw out thy sword and fight said I
    Or pull out thy purse and pay
    For satisfaction I will have before I go away

Father Christmas

    Is there a Doctor to be found
    To cure these two poor men that lie wounded and bleeding on the ground

Doctor

    Oh yes oh yes there is a Doctor to be found
    To cure these two poor men that lie wounded and bleeding on the ground

Father Christmas

    Well Doctor what's thy fee

Doctor

    Fifty guineas is my fee
    But five guineas I will take
    From a poor old man like thee

Father Christmas

    What cans't thou cure Doctor

Doctor

    I can cure the itch the stitch the palsy and the gout
    And if the devil's in I'll soon drive him out

Father Christmas

    You're very clever Doctor where hast thou bin
    To learn all these yer things

Doctor

    I've been all around England, Scotland, Ireland, Portugal and Spain
    And all the regions round about, aye, and back again

Father Christmas

    Thankee Doctor try thy skill

Doctor

    I will.
    I carry this little bottle of alicampane
    Three drops on these dead men
    Will quickly bring them back to life again

The Doctor pours a little into the mouths of the wounded

Doctor

    Arise you two bold champions and act thy parts
    Show these ladies and gents thy bold and valiant hearts

The two dead arise -- they all join in singing "The holly and the Ivy"

Father Christmas

    Christmas comes but once a year
    But when it comes it brings good cheer
    Roast beef plum pudding aye and mince pies
    Who likes that any better than little Johnny Jack and I ?

Little Johnny Jack

    No one Father Christmas

Father Christmas

    I don't think they do my son
    So walk in little Johnny Jack and act thy part
    Show these ladies and gents thy bold and gallant heart

Little Johnny Jack

    In comes I Little Johnny Jack with my wife and family at my back

(he shows some dolls tied to his back)

    Some are here and some are at home
    I'm afeard they'll all be starved before I can come
    With a pocket full of money and a belly full of beer
    I hope you all have a merry Christmas
    And I wish you all a happy New Year

    Ladies and gentlemen our play is ended
    Our money box is recommended

OMNES

    Copper silver or gold if you can
    On whatsoever you give there is no ban

All then sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and there's a final ring of the bell

Hats are then carried round to levy tribute on the crowd


Page last updated: 12th November 2014

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