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The Mummer's Play - Traditional

The mummer's play was enacted in the kitchens of many outport homes in the days of early settlement and well into the nineteenth century. The play was brought over from the Old Country by our early ancestors. It's an old play whose characters, setting, and theme have mythical origins. It was a good form of entertainment and highlighted the general theme of the old year dying and a new year beginning.

Soldiers acting at Christmas

Scene I

Roomer (Introduction Officer)
Room, room, gallant room, room required here tonight
For some of my bold champions are coming forth to fight;
Old act, new act acts you never saw before,
For I am the very champion that brings old Father
Christmas and boldly declare thy way.

Father Christmas
Here comes I, old Father Christmas, welcome or welcome not,
I hope old Father Christmas will never be forgot;
Here comes I old Johnny Jack, my wife and family on my back,
My wife so big and my children so small,
Takes more than a crumb of bread to feed them all,
And if you don't believe these works I say, step in
King George and boldly declare thy way.

King George
Here comes I, King George, from old England I did spring,
Some of my victorious works I am going to bring;
I fought the fiery dragon, I brought him to the slaughter,
And by those very means I'll win fair Zebra, King
of Egypt's daughter.
And if you don't believe these words I say, step in King
of Egypt and boldly declare thy way.

King of Egypt
Here comes I, the King of Egypt, in uniform do appear;
King George, King George, thy comrade is here;
He is a man of courage bold, I am his armour-bearer
To cut down his enemies if there are any of them here.
And if you don't believe these words I say, step in
Valiant Soldier and boldly declare thy way.

Valiant Soldier
Here comes I, the Valiant Soldier, Slasher is my name,
Sword and pistol by side, I hope to end the game,
One of my brothers I saw wounded, the other I saw slain,
And by those very means I'll fight King George all on
the plain [takes a step.].

Scene II

King George
Whist, whist, bold man, what thou art telling
Apple dumplings thou art selling,
Stand where thou art and call in Brother Turk to act thy part.

Valiant Soldier
Turk, Turk, come with speed, help in my time of need,
Thy time of need I do implore, I was never in such need before.

Turkish Knight
Here comes I, the Turkish Knight, come from the Turkish land to fight;
I'll fight King George with courage bold, if his blood is hot I'll make
it cold.

King George again
Who thou that speak so bold?

Turkish Knight
Haul out thy purse and pay for satisfaction I will have before I go away.

King George
No satisfaction thou shan't get, while I have strength to stand,
For I don't care for no Turk stands on this English land.

[They cross swords and both say]
You and I the battle try, if you conquer I will die.

Turkish Knight
I am cut down but not quite dead,
It is only the pain lies in my head,
If I once on my two legs stood,
I'd fight King George to my knees in blood.

King George
On the ground thou dost lie, and the truth I'll tell to thee,
That if thou dost but rise again thy butcher I will be.

Turkish Knight
Come, Valiant Soldier, be quick and smart,
And with my sword I will pierce King George's heart.

[Turkish Knight on his feet again, and continues]
I do not care for thee, King George, although thou art a champion
bold,
I never saw that Englishman yet could make my blood run cold.

King George
You Turkish dog, King George is here, happy for another hour to come,
I'll cut thee and I'll hew thee, I am bound to let thee know,
I am bold King George from England before I let thee go.

[The two together with crossed swords]
You and I the battle try, if you conquer I will die.
[King George falls to the floor.]

Turkish Knight
Now the battle I have won, thank God I am free,
And if that man do rise again his butcher I will be.

King George
[King George rises from the floor and strikes the Turk.]
I suppose you thought that I was dead, but yet alive remain,
And go tell the doctor the Turkishman is slain.

Father Christmas and the Doctor
Doctor, doctor, come with speed,
Help me in my time of need,
My time of need I do implore,
I was never in such need before.

[Father Christmas then tries to revive the Turk himself, but with no success.
He says
]
Is there a doctor to be found
Can heal thy son of his deadly wound?

Father Christmas
What is thy fee?

Doctor
Fifty guineas is my fee, but if the money is paid down,
I will do it for ten pond [pound].

Father Christmas
What can you cure?

Doctor
I can cure the hits, fits, palsy and the gout,
If there is any evil spirit in this man I can sure drive it out.

Father Christmas
What kind of medicine have you got?

Doctor
I have a little bit of hare's grease and mare's grease,
The wig of a weasel and the wool of a frog,
And twenty-four ounces of September fog.

Father Christmas
Where do you rub all this stuff?

Doctor
I rub a little to his temple, and a little to the crack-bone of his heart,
Arise, arise, bold champion, and boldly act thy part;
Arise, arise my lofty man, I long to see you stand,
Open you eyes and look about, I will take you by the hand.
[The man comes to his feet.]

Pickedy Wick
Here comes I, Pickedy Wick, put my hand in my pocket and pay what
I thinks fit;
Ladies and gentlemen, sit down to their ease,
Put their hands in their pockets and pay what they please,
And if you don't believe those words I say, step in
Beelzebub and boldly clear thy way.

Beelzebub
Here comes I, Beelzebub, under my arm I carries my club;
In my hand I keeps my pan, I thinks myself a jolly fine man.
Money I wants, money I crave, and money I'll have to
carry me to my grave.
And if you don't believe those words I say, step in
bold Hercules and boldly clear thy way.

Jack Tar
Here comes I, Jack Tar, just returned from sea, sir,
With the shines on my breast, and what do you think of me, sir?
I am a brisk young sailor and always on the sea,
And now I am home, my hereos, I am full of life and glee;
The battle will soon be over and now we will sing one song,
And we will cheer our heardy comrades as we gladly march along.

[All the company then form into a ring, with Father Christmas in the centre,
and they sing the following ditty
]

The pig and the bug and the bumble-bee,
There is one more river to cross;
The pig and the bug and the bumble-bee,
There is one more river to cross.
One more river and that's the river of Jordan,
One more river, there is one more river to cross.

(The End)

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