Location: Dromore, Donegal, Ireland (IG8969)
Year: Perf. before 1886
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: [Not given]


Christmas Rhymers and Mummers
Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 3rd Series, 1946, Vol.9, pp.4,18-21





Room, room, brave gallant boys, give me room to rhyme,
I'll show you some activity about the Christmas time.
Christmas comes but once a year
And when it comes it comes with cheer.
Active youth and active age,
The likes of this was never acted on a stage.
And if you don't believe me what I say,
Enter in Prince George , and he'll clear the way.


Here comes I, Prince George, from England I have sprung,
I've conquered many nations since this great war begun,
I fought Samson and Samson fought me,
Samson was a good man, but couldn't conquer me. [Note 34]
Now where's the man to dare me stand?


Here an I, a man who will dare you stand.
I'll cut you down with my sword in hand.


Who are you but Fitzpatrick's boy,
Who ran away from Fontenoy, [Note 35]
Who fed your horse on oats and hay,
And afterwards, you ran away?


I swear Prince George, you lie, sir.


Take your purse and pay, sir.


Take out your sword and try, sir.
I'll ram me dagger in your heart
And make you die away, sir.

{Prince George is rammed and falls.}


A doctor, a doctor, ten pounds for a doctor,
Is there no doctor to be found
To cure this sad and bloody wound?


Yes, yes, here comes I, a doctor pure and good,
With my broad sword I'll staunch his blood.
If this prince's life is to be saved,
Twenty guineas I must be paid.


You'll get the money, doctor.
What can you cure, doctor?


I can cure the plague within and plague without,
The palsy, and the gout,
And if there were nine devils in
I could knock ten devils out.


Describe me your medicine, doctor.


The light and the livers of the creepy stool
And the brains and housel of the hatchet,
The oil of the stag, and the grey mare's leg,
And salt and soot, and the devil walloping through't.
Put that into a pig's bladder
And stir it well round with a grey cat's feather.
If it does him no good, it will do him no ill.
Give Jack nine feeds of that nine fortnight's before lay,
And if that doesn't cure him, I'll ask no pay.
{Examines prince and says:}
Oh, stop, stop, I've a little bottle here,
In the waistband of me trousers,
Called hokey pokey, eleigen pain. [Note 36]
Take a sniff, Jack, and rise and fight again.
{Puts bottle to Prince's nose. Prince recovers.}
And if you give no heed to what I say,
Enter, Oliver Cromwell, and he'll clear the way.


Here comes I, Oliver Cromwell, as you may all suppose,
I conquered many nations with my big copper nose.
I've made my the French surrender, and the Spanish for to quake,
And I've fought the jolly Dutch, till I made their hearts to quake.
And if you don't believe what I say,
Enter in, Honour Bright, and he'll clear the way.


Here comes I, Honour Bright,
I'm glad I'm here to cheer the night.
I bring ye luck, I bring ye wealth,
I bring ye joy, I bring ye health,
And if you do not pay be down,
in little coppers, white and brown
An if you do not, make no mistake,
that all your ducks may turn to drakes,
That all your hens may cease to lay,
if you don't the money pay.
And if you heed not what I say,
Enter in, Beelzebub, and he'll clear the way.


Here comes I, Beelzebub,
over my shoulder I carry my club,
And in my hand a dripping pan.
I think myself a jolly old man.
Last Christmas Night I began to spit,
I burned my finger, I feel it yet.
Betwixt my finger and my thumb,
There rose a blister as big as a plum.
Cham kees, justees, can you not agree,
And catch the beetle by the twee twa lugs.
And if you do not believe what I say,
Enter in, Devil Doubt, and he'll clear the way.


Here comes I, wee Devil Doubt,
The biggest wee devil ever came out
Money I want and money I crave,
If I don't get money I'll sweep you all to your grave.
And if you do not believe what I say,
Enter in, Buck Sweep, and he'll clear the way.


Here comes I, Buck Sweep,
all the money I get I keep.
Six shillings is the cost,
hurry up before the frost.
If you don't give heed to what I say,
Enter in, Jack Straw, and he'll clear the way.


Here comes I, Jack Straw,
such a man you never saw.
Kiss the devil through a riddle,
through a rock, through a reel,
Through the old mill's wheel,
Through a bag of pepper,
through a mill hopper,
Through a sheep's shank shin bone.
If you don't give heed to what I say,
Enter in, Johnny Funny, and he'll clear the way.


Here come I, Johnny Funny,
I'm the man requests the money,
And if you do not heed what I say,
enter in, Big Head, and he'll show you the way.


Here comes I, that never came yet,
Big head and little wit,
Though my head is big and my body is small,
I'll do my best to please you all,
And if you do not heed what I say,
Enter in, master man, and he'll clear the way.

MASTER MAN {with closed box with a slit:}

Here comes the master of the play,
Give us the money and let us away.
All silver and no brass,
Bad halfpence won't pass.


Green's inventory entry, and notes from the article:

p.5 "(a) I.F.C.Quest. Communicated by Seaghan O Nunain, Donaghmore, Co. Donegal. Taken down from Mrs. Kelly, Dromore. She learned this version from her grandfather, who is dead over sixty years."
p.6 "In Donaghmore (a) there were said to be always thirteen mummers long ago, in imitation of Christ and the Apostles. They also 'mummered for some poor body.' This is the only echo of Kennedy's assertion that the Wexford mummers of his youth would not stoop to ask for money... [Note 10] "

Green's Footnotes:

Note 10: "Patrick Kennedy, The Banks of the Boro, p.230."
Note 34: "Cromwell has this vaunt in (e). I have been unable to trace its origin, but it probably refers to the Turk. It is worth noting, that in the Isle of Man and in a Whitehaven chapbook version, he is known as Sambo. See Folk-Play, pp.14 and 60."
Note 35: "I do not know what is the meaning of this reminiscence of Patrick, translated into eighteenth-century terms, and put into the mouth of George."
Note 36: "Elecampane, a well-known seventeenth-century remedy. See Folk-Play, p.55}"

File History:

2000-12-24 - Entered by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


Dramaturgical Chart

Dramaturgical chart for 88ig86ge
Click on the image to view the chart full size.

The chart reveals the dramaturgical structure of the play by showing which speeches in the script are spoken by which character. Vertical lines indicate stage directions.

TEI-encoded File

A TEI-encoded XML version of this text can be downloaded here.

Text Relatives Map

See how many of the lines in this text also appear in other plays:
  • As a histogram sorted by the number of shared lines
  • On a map with markers sized according to the number of shared lines

Other Information

There may be more about this text at: