Location: East Retford, Nottinghamshire, England (SK7080)
Year: Perf. From about 1845 to 1850
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Morris


Edward Sutton
"Morrising" in North Notts.
Notts. Guardian, 13th Dec.1913



{The old Morris play at East Retford}

{Dramatis Personae.}

{A Herald, St. George, Hero, Doctor, with Attendants. All fantastically attired.}

{Enter Herald with attendants.}


Room, room, all in this room:
Ladies and gentlemen, it's Christmas time:
Christmas come but once a year,
And when it comes it brings good cheer -
Sometimes, but not always.
{Tumult heard outside.}
Here's Richard Dick William stands at the door,
Ripping and tearing, cursing and swearing,
Because they won't let him come in.
{A knock heard}
Who is that dare knock so bold?
I'll have to put his feet in some stronger stocks,
Or in some stronger hold:
Step in St. George and clear the way.

{Enter St. George}

St. George

I am St. George, that bold and valiant knight,
Who spilled his blood for England's right;
For England's right, for England's reign,
And all her glories I'll maintain.
{Enter Hero, unobserved.}
Behold! out of yon gloomy wood
A fiery serpent appeared, to strike me dead:
I drew out my old trusty sword
And chopped off that dragon's head.
For my head is made of iron,
My body's made of steel,
My hands and arms are solid brass,
No sword can make me feel.

{Hero comes forward.}


If thy head be made of iron,
And thy body made of steel,
Thy hands and arms be solid brass -
My sword can make thee feel.

St. George

Who are thou, thou braggart knave?


I am an old soldier, stout and bold,
And Hero is my name;
A sword is buckled by my side
I hope to win this game

St. George

Thou knowest, Turk, before we fight,
Thou art not able.


Able or able not, thou dirty dog,
I'll slash thee on thy navel;
I'll cut they body into threescore parts,
And make thy buttons fly!

St. George

Here's at thee. Now, come on!

{They fight; Hero is cut down.}


Oh, help! help!! help!!!
Where is a Doctor?


Send for a doctor.
Doctor haste!


Oh, help! help!! help!!!
Doctor! Doctor!! Doctor!!!

{Doctor enters.}


Who calls aloud for me to help?


It was I.

St. George {to Doctor.}

What can'st thou do?




Where hast thou travelled?


Through England, Scotland, France and Spain
And now I've come back to England again.

St. George

What can'st thou cure?


All sorts.

St. George

What sorts?


The itch, the stitch, the grunt, the gout,
The pain within and the pain without;
I can put my arm down a donkey's throat
And turn the animal inside out!

St. George

What else can'st thou cure?


I heal the sick, I cure the lame,
I raise the dead to life again -


Oh, help! help!! help!!!


Who calls for help?

St. George

A dog, who sought my life to skelp.

Doctor {to Hero}

Let a little of my bottle
go down thy throttle,
Take my holus bolus quickly down thy throat;
{Pours medicine into his mouth.}
And rise, and sing a merry note.

{Hero rises, and stands up quite cured.}


Ladies and gents, our play is done,
So please make room for lively fun;
St. George, and all our host, advance,
And shew our friends our Morris Dance.

{The whole here concludes with a characteristic song and dance.}


Sutton's Introduction:

"There is an indescribable pleasure in looking back upon many of the scenes, incidents, and recollections of our early days in this pilgrimage of life, some of which are usually of a more or less romantic character. Amongst many of those which pertain unto myself there is one which is redolent of this forthcoming and ever joyous season of Christmas, and which, possibly, has now in the lapse of years dies out, but whereof a recital, as I perfectly well remember it, may prove an item of Noel-tide interest.
In my youthful days - say from about 1845 to 1850 - at East Retford, where I was born, and where I vegetated until 1858, during each season of Yule there was enacted by youthful bands of entertainers a short sketch known as a 'Morris.' The participants therein perambulated from one to another of certain favoured and promising 'pitches,' calculated to provide a small harvest of pence, and in each place enacted a little play. I saw and heard it performed many times during the seasons above-mentioned; and, the same having ever since been vividly retained in my memory, I am enabled to here give the whole of it nearly word for word."

File History:

1999-07-18 - Entered by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


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