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Bassingham Childrens play Xmas 1823

C.R.Baskervill (1924), pp.246-250


Time of Occurrence: 
Collective name: 
[Not given]


Mummers' Wooing Plays in England
Feb.1924, Vol.21, No.3, pp.246-250


Fool / Part the 1st / Foole
Eldestson / Eldest Son / Part the 2nd
Farming Man / Farmer / Part the 3rd / Lawyer
Old Dame Jane / Dame Jain / Dame / Part the 4th
Old Man / Ancient Man / Part the 5th
Saint George / Part the 6th


{Bassingham Childrens play Xmas 1823 Xmas}

{The Play}

Part the 1st

Here comes I that has never been yet.
with my great head and little wit.
my head is great my wit is smawl
I will act the fools part to please you All.
I have a few little boys standing at the door
in Ribings neatly dreast
and for to please you all
they shal do thier best
Step in merrymen All.

{Lady comes in. we sing.}


Good master and good misteriss
as you sit by the fire
Remember us poor plowlads
that runs through muck and mire
The mire it is deep
we travel far and near
And we thank you for a Christmas Box
and a mug of your strong beer.

Part the 2nd

I am my father eldestson
the air of all his land
I hope a short time
it will all fall in my hand
I was brought up at lincecort
all the days of my life.
thre stands a fair lady
I wish she was my wife.
with fingers long and rings upon.
made of the beaten gold
good master and mistres
I would have you to behold.


It tis my clothing you admire
not my beauty you desire
so gentle sir I must away.
I have other suteers on me stay.

Part the 3rd the Farming man..

Here comes the farming man
upon my princeable for to stand.
I am come to woo this Lady fair
to gain her love is all my care.

{Lady speaks.}


to gain my love it will not do.
you speake too clownish for to woo.
wit a man and I will have none.


A man for wit I am the best,
and I hope your love I shall rejest


a Lawyer I supose you be
you play your cause so wittlely.
but by and by I will tell you plain.
you play your corse its all in vain.

Part the 4th Or old dame jane

Here comes old dame jane
being dabbleing about the medows.
jumping about to show such sport
Look about you old maids and widows
long time I have sought you.
but now I have found you
sory come take your bastard.

{to the eldestson}


bastard you bitch its non of mine
it is not a bit like me.
I am a valient man just come from Sea
you never seed me before now did you.



eldest son

I slew ten men with a mace mustord seed
and ten thousand men with an old crusht toad.
What do you think to that jiny.
if you dont be of with you I will serve you the same.

Part the 5th Or the old man

Here comes the poor old ancient man.
I speak for myself the best I can.
my old grey hairs they hang so low..
I must speak for myself the best I now.

{Eldest son speaks.}

Eldest son

Looks old man and never fear
wipe thy eyes and thou will see clear
Methinks me sees yon stars shine bright.
To you I fixt my harts delight.

{Ladys part}


A way a way from me begone.
do you think I should have such an old man as you.
no I would have one of High degree.

{old mans part}

Old Man

kick me lady out of doors
for I will be hanged upon our kitchen door.
If ever I come near you any more.

Part the 6th Or Saint George.

Here comes saint George the Champion bold.
And with my bloody spear
I won ten thousand pounds in gold
I fought the dragon and brought hin to is slaughter
and by that means I won Kings Williams Daughter..
I will turn myself around. and see who I can see.
If I can see that man that dare fase me.
I will hash him and smash him as small as flies.
and send him into Jamaica to make minch pies.

{Fools part.}


prithee fellow hold thy noise
tell me no more of these lies
my blood it rise when first I Heard that thing
I will stand before thy fase if thou be some King.

{St. Georges part}

Saint George

No King am I thou can plainly see.
but with my sword I will answer the.

{St. George. and the Fool fights. fool drops of his belly}

{Ladys part}


Five pounds for the Doctor my husband to cure.

{Doctors part.}


I'm the Doctor mam I'm the Doctor


Pray what do you cure


the itch pox loosic palsy and the gout
all agues and pains within and without


Where did you learn your skill Doctor.


I travled for it.


Where have you travled for it.


I travell'd from my bed side to my old Grandmothers
bread and cheese cupboard
and there's had a many a rare piece of bread and cheese.

{Ladys part}


Try your skil Doctor.


I will feel of this mans pults

{Doctor puts his bottle to his nose.}

take a little of my snifsnafs
and snuf up your snifsnafs
this man he his not dead but in a trance.
So rise up my lads and take a dance.

{foole rises. foole and lady and Doctor dances.}

{Fools part.}


I am come to invite you all to my wifes weding
what you like best you must bring on with you.
how should I no what every body likes
some likes fish others likes flesh
but as for myself I like some good pottaty gruel
so what you like the best you must bring on with you.

{Lady and fool Sings.}

Lady and Fool

We will have a jovel weding. the fiddle shall merrily play..
ri forlaurel laddy ri forlaurel lay.
W'll have long taild porrage a puding of barley meal.
ri forlaurel laddy ri forlaurel lay.
W'll have a good salt hering and relish a quart of ale.
ri forlaurel laddy ri forlaurel lay..
W'll have a lim of a lark and W'll have a louse to roast
W'll have a farthing loaf and cut a good thumping toast
ri forlaurel laddy ri forlaurel lay.
W'll have a jovel weding the fiddle shall merrily play.

{St. George and the Eldest son and the farmer man. Sings this song.}

Saint George, Eldest Son & Farmer Man

Good master and good mistres
now our fool is gone
We will make it in our busness
to follow him along
We thank you for sobillity
as you have shown us here
So I wish you all your healths
and a hapy new year



Fool drest in cap and trowsers. Lady drest in womans close Eldest son drest in ribons. Farming man drest in cloth cut coat boots spirs Old dame jain, old fashned bonet and old bed-gown. Old man drest in old fashnedhat and long coat. grey hairs Saint George drest in ribbons. Doctor drest black coat and trawsers white hanchief.,"

Baskervill's notes:

"'Bassingham Children's Play' is written as prose except for a quatrain at the end. The descriptive title is supplied in the left hand corner by the same hand that wrote the title of the preceding play. [Bassingham Men's play 1823.] There seem to be two hands in the text. 'Part the 1st', 'Part the 3rd', the passage from the middle of line 81 through line 99, and that from line 107 to the end, in a somewhat crude hand, seem to have been written by one person, who apparently made a few corrections in the rest of the text. The other parts are written in a clearer hand. In the same had apparently are a number of corrections, such as the capitalization of I's in 'Part the 3rd' and insertions through the play."

Peter Millington's Notes:

I have split the lines in the quatrain referred to by Baskervill to make eight lines, for compatibility with practice in other plays.