Electronic ERD - Mummers' Play from Romsey, Hants

Compiled by E.C.Cawte, A.Helm & N.Peacock. Online ed.: P.T.Millington

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From John Latham, Collection for a History of Romsey, Hampshire (see Latham, n.d.). Reproduced by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. (The manuscript is undated; The Dictionary of National Biography states that Latham went to live in Romsey in 1796, and that he died in 1837. Presumably this text dates from late during this period.)

In Romsey among other Places this Mummery is kept up, for about Christmas, & for [blank in original] days after, 6 or 8 Lads, or more, dress themselves in a Manner in wch the Shirt is ever uppermost decorated with Ribbons of various Colours tied about their arms waist & legs. The Christmas Mummers performed by y grown Boys of Romsey in fancy dresses - act y following Scene

Welcome Welcome old father Christmas
    In comes old Father Christmas
Welcome or welcome not
I hope old Father Christmas will never be forgot
    Rome Rome I do disdain
For after comes St George & all his noble Train
and in this Room there shall be shown
The finest Battle that ever was known
Between St Geo. & ye Turkish Knight

    Enter St. George - who says

In come I Saint George Saint George
That valiant Man of courage bold
all with my Sword and Spear I won 10 Crowns of Gold
I fought the fierce Dragon and brought him to slaughter
and by this means I won the King of Bohemia's Daughter

    Enter Turkish Knight

In come I the Turkish Knight
    old England for the fight
I will fight St George that valiant Man of courage bold
and if his Blood is hot I'll quickly make it cold.

    They fight & St George vanquishes T. Knight.

St George then Says

I am a little Man that talks very bold
much like a Lad that I have been told
Therefore draw out thy Sword & fight, pull out thy Purse & pay -
Satisfaction I will have before I go away

Turkish Knight

Spare Me St Geo: & do not cut Me down

St George

Oh, I'll cut thee down and thou shalt rise no more
Then forfeit thy life to make a Store.
Gentn & Ladies walk out & see what Miracles I've done.
I've cut & slain my Father down all by y Evening Sun.
Oh Doctor Doctor is there an Italian Doctor lately come from Spain.
    To heal ye Sick & raise ye dead again.
Oh yes, there is an Italian Doctor lately come from Spain
To heal ye Sick & raise ye dead again.

    Doctor appears

Oh Doctor what canst Thou cure


I can cure ye Itch P. Palsy & Gout
and raging Pains that run both in & out
Broken Legs & arms, if any Man shall break his Neck
I will set it again, and have nothing for my Pains

    To y Doctor

Oh Doctor what is thy Pay


Ten Guineas is my Fee, but 10 pds I will take of thee

    Take it -


Ive got a little Bottle in y Band of my Breeches called
Elecampane - applies it saying Rise, Beau Champion,
& fight again (The T. Knight rises up) & says

The Dragon is my Enemy, to quietly end ye Strife
I'll crop his wings, He shall fly no more,
St George shall end his Life.

    Enter Cut & Star

In come I cut & Star - just come from ye bloody War
I & seven more will beat eleven Score.
Marching Men of War, many Battles I have Seen
Many Battles I have been in for St Geo. our King.

    Enter Poor & Mean - He Says

In come I poor and Mean, hardly worthy to be seen
Christmas comes but once a Year
When it comes it brings good Cheer
Roast Beef, Plum Pudding & mince Pye
no body loves them better than I
a Mug of yr Christmas Ale will make us dance & sing
& money in our Pockets is a very fine Thing.

    Enter Bold Slasher

In come I Bold Slasher, Bold Slasher is my Name
with my Sword & Buckler by my side I hope to win this Game
what Man, what Man comes under my bloody Hand
I cut him and slay Him as small as dust
and send him to ye Cook's Shop to make Pye Crust

    Enter Twing Twang

In comes Twing Twang, Lieutenant of ye Press Gang
I press all these bold Mummers & send them aboard
a Man of War - To fight the French & Dutch
& Spaniards also

    Enter Jolly Jack

In come I Jolly Jack with my Wife & Children at my Back
when she comes she only Says
Gent. & Ladies give me what You please

Exeunt omnes, saying

I wish You a merry Christmas, & a happy new Year
a pocket full of Money & a Cellar full of Beer.

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Notes on the above:

This is one of the oldest complete texts we have, apart from the 'Revesby' manuscript discussed on p.26. Because of its age it is interesting in that it presents no unusual features, compared with more modern texts. The characters are similar to those in many other plays, and the series after the cure is common. St George has the boast from the chapbook version (see p.28) though the King of Egypt has become the King of Bohemia. Very similar lines are all that is recorded of the Exeter text (1738).

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© 2007, E.C.Cawte, N.Peacock & P.Millington ( Rev. 22-Nov-2007