Mummers Play



dance

MEL (MELBOURNE) WARD’S MUMMER’S PLAY

MITCHELL LIBRARY. MANUSCRIPT BOXES MLMSS6927/24 & 25

 

While going through the Mel Ward papers I found a hand-typed (by Ward including scribbled notations) the script of a complete MORRIS MUMMER’S PLAY. It is highly likely Ward would have written this adaption and produced it using either local school boys or friends. Either case it is interesting to see this age-old British ritual play in an Australian context. I would estimate it dates from circa 1940-50.

FATHER XMAS

Here come I, Old Father Christmas,
Christmas or not,
I hope Old Father Christmas
Will never be forgot,
A room…..make room here, gallant boys,
And give us room to rhyme,
We’ve come to shew activity
Upon a Christmas time.
Acting youth or acting age,
The like was never acted on this stage.
If you don’t believe what I now say,
Enter St, George, and clear the way.

ST. GEORGE

Here come I, St. George, the valiant man,
With naked sword and spear in hand,
Who fought the dragon, and brought him to the slaughter,
And for this won the King of Egypt’s daughter.
What man or mortal will dare to stand
Before me with my sword in hand;
I’ll slay him, and cut him as small as flies,
And send him to Jamaica to make mince-pies,

TURK

Here come I, a Turkish knight,
In Turkish land I learned to fight,
I’ll fight St, George with courage bold,
And if his blood’s hot, will make it cold.

ST GEORGE

If thou art a Turkish knight,
Draw out thy sword, and let us fight.
(A battle is the result;) the Turk falls, and ST. GEORGE,
struck with remorse exclaims:
“Ladies and Gentlemen,
You’ve seen what I’ve done.
I’ve cut this Turk down
Like the evening sun.”

Is there any doctor that can be found,
To cure tins knight of his deadly wound?

DOCTOR

Here come I, a doctor,
A ten-pound doctor;
I’ve a little bottle in my pocket,
Called hokum, shokum, allicampane;
I’ll touch his eyes, nose, mouth, and chin,
And say; “Rise, dead man,” and he’ll fight again.
(After touching the prostrate Turk, the latter leaps up, ready again for the battle.
St. George, however, thinks this to be a favourable opportunity for sounding his own praises, and rejoins:

“Here am I, St. George, with shining armour bright, I am a famous champion, also a worthy knight,
Seven long years in a close cave was kept,
And out of that into a prison leaped,
From out of that into a rock of stones,
There I laid down ray grievous bones.
Many a giant did I subdue,
And ran a fiery dragon through.
T fought the man of Tillotree,
And still will gain the victory.
First, then, I fought in France,
Second, I fought in Spain,
Thirdly, I came to Tenby,
To fight the Turk again.

(A fight ensues, and St, George, being again victor, repeats his request for a doctor…..
Ladies and gentlemen,
You’ve seen what I’ve done,
I’ve cut this Turk down
Like the evening sun:
Is there any doctor that can be found,
To cure tins knight of his deadly wound.?

(The Doctor performs the miraculous cure.)

OLIVER CROMWELL

Here come I, Oliver Cromwell,
As ye may suppose,
Many nations I have conquered,
With my copper nose.
I made the French to tremble,
And the Spanish for to quake,
I fought the jolly Dutchmen,
And made their hearts to quake,
I fought the jolly Dutchmen,
And made their hearts to ache.

BEELZELBUB

Here come I, Beelzebub,
Under my arm I carry a club,
Under ay chin I carry a pan,
Don’ I look a nice young man?

TURK

Ladies and gentlemen,
Our story is ended,
Our money-box is recommended
Five or six shillings will not do us harm,
Silver or copper, or gold if you can.