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Oxfordshire Christmas Mummers play - 1794

E.Jones (1794)

Context

Location: 
[Unlocated]
SP----
Time of Occurrence: 
Christmas
Collective name: 
Mummers; Minstrels

Source

Author: 
E. Jones
Title: 
Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards [New ed.]
Publication: 
London, [Edward Jones], 1794, p.108, footnote 9

Cast

The Knight
St. George
The Doctor

Text

{THE MUMMERS:}

{A Knight enters with sword drawn, and says:}

A Knight

Room, room, make room brave gallants all,
For me and my brave company!
Where's the man, that dares bid me stand;
I'll cut him down with my bold hand.

St. George

Here's the man, that dares bid you stand,
He defies your courageous hand!

The Knight

Then mind your eye, to guard the blow,
And shield your face, and heart also.

{St. George gets wounded in the combat, and falls.}

Doctor, Doctor, come here and see,
St. George is wounded in the knee;
Doctor, Doctor, play well your part
St. George is wounded in the heart!

{The Doctor enters}

The Doctor

I am a doctor, and a Doctor good,
And with my hand I'll stop the blood.

The Knight

What can you cure, Doctor?

{Answer]

The Doctor

I can cure coughs, colds, fevers gout,
Both pains within, and achs without:
I will bleed him in the thumb!

St. George

O! (will you so?) then I'll get up, and run!

{Some more Mummers, or Minstrels, come in, and they sing the following stanza, accompanied by the Hurdy-Gourdy.

[All]

"My father killed a fine fat hog,
"And that you may plainly see ;
"My mother gave me the guts of the hog,
"To make a Hurdy-Gourdy."

{They then repeat the song in full chorus, and dance -}

Notes

"It is customary in North Wales, about Christmas, for the young farmers, both men and maids to go about their neighbours houses, disguised in each others clothes, and sometimes in masks. They are called Gwrachod, probably from their affirming old characters, or wizards. They act various antic diversions, and dance, and sing; for which they get good cheer; or ale, apples and nuts. Likewise, to convey a more perfect idea of the Mummers in England, I shall insert here a traditional sort of thing, which is still acted in Oxfordshire, about Christmas, by the Mummers."

"In former times, it appears that the first nobility went about at Christmas, in the character of Mummers. See Brand's Popular Antiquities, chap. XVI. p.196, &c. In the third year of Henry the VIIIthe an act was made against Mummers; vide the statutes."