Location: Shipton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire, England (SP2717)
Year: Col. 1913 to 1916
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: [Not given]


The Mummers' Play
Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1923, pp.209-213




How dirty your house is Mrs.
let me sweep it up so decent and so clean
all on this merry Christmas time,
for I have a tanner a-coming in,
and room he must have.


I am a tanner of noting hand
long time I've wrote my name Bold-rauthra-band,
I with my long hook, spike, staff,
so well I clear my way,
by two or by three I made them to flee,
for I give them no leave for to stay.
As I was going across Mesher wood
were the red deer which run there and here
there I spied Bold Robin Hood.
As soon as Bold Robin Hood he did me spy
some sport he thought for to make
and thus out of hand he bid me to stand
and thus unto he did speak.

[Robin Hood]

Who art thou then bold fellow
that reigns so boldly here,
by theself in the breath the looks like a thief
come to steal our queen's deer.


Thee bist not the keeper of this forest
nor yet under any command,
thee must have more protectors in store
before the before the canst bid me to stand.

[Robin Hood]

No more protectors in store,
no more have I any need,
for I have a staff, and another old craft,
sure to do the deed.


Speak clearly bold fellow
give better terms unto me,
neither will I for thy neglect.
I'll make the more manly
by thee staff and the bow I care not a straw
nor all the bow arrows to boot.
If thou get a knock all on the brow stock
thou must just as well run as to shoot.
Lets measure staffs bold fellow.
My staffs 8 foot and a half knock down a calf
I'll worn he'll knock down thee.

{A Whistle.}

[Unidentified Speaker]

Who's that coming over yonder hill.
Little John Bold Robin Hood to fight the for thy fill.

[Little John]

What's the matter master
pray unto me tell
I see thee stand with thee staff in thee hand
I fear its all not well.

[Robin Hood]

This tanner he stands he makes me to stand
he's the tanner-hood that stands by my side.
He's a bonny blade in his masters trade
so well he a tanned me hide.

[Little John]

The must be condemned bold fellow
if thou so feat to do
if the lookst so stout thee and I'll have a bout
and thee shalt tan my hide too.

{Fight Little Johns killed.}

[Unidentified Speaker]

£5 for a good doctor,
£10 for a good doctor if he was but here
Doctor quick saddle thee horse and brush away.


Hold my horse Jack.


I got him fast by the tail.


He come I old doctor Good
must I command thee bold Robin Hood.

[Unidentified Speaker]

Were cost thee come from.


From ome.

[Unidentified Speaker]

What canst thee do.


Cure a jackdaw with the tooth-ache.

[Unidentified Speaker]

How cost do that.


but his 'yud off and throw his body in the ditch.

[Unidentified Speaker]

any body could do that.


I got a box of pills to cure all ills
I cured old Jig-me-joles wife
with the roomatis in neran of her elbows
swelled up as big as the stom-a-to bacco pipes
she died poor old souled that was'nt my fault.
I can cure the itch, the stitch, the palsy, and the ghout,
pains within, pains without,
and all the rantantorious boxes.
I can cure this man if he's not quite dead
if he'll rise up and take one of my pills.
So little John rise up thy head.
I travelled through England, through Scotland, and France,
know me little John lets have a English dance
Green sleeve and yellow lace
four monkeys dance apace.


Know here come I old Beelzebub
on me I cars me club
in me hand dripping pan
don't he think I'm a jolly old man.
Last Christmas Day I turned the spit
I burned me finger I feels it hit
the pot lid buat the ladel aye,
aye, says the grid iron cant you to agree
I'm the justice bring hum to me.
In comes the fryin pan with his long tail
and swer's if the cant agree I'll send hum all to jail.


Tiddy Notes:

"NOTE 1.
The earlier part of this text is a corrupt version of the ballad of Robin Hood and the Tanner, Arthur a Bland. The following quotations are from English and Scottish Ballads, edited from the collection of F.J.Child, by H.C.Sargent and G.L.Kittredge, and the marginal numbers indicate the order of the stanzas as printed in that volume."
The verses are then quoted by Tiddy in the following order: 24, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 9, 14, 15, 29, 30, 31 & 32.
"NOTE 2.
In some verses headed The Infallible Mountebank. Or, Quack Doctor, which occur in a small undated volume entitled The Harangues, or Speeches of several celebrated Quack-Doctors, in Town and Country; By Various Hands [[London: Printed for] J.Robinson, at the Golden-Lion in Ludgate Circus; and Sold at the Pamphlet-Shops in London and Westminster. Price 6d.] a quack makes the usual boast that he can cure
all Ills.
Past, present, and to come;
The Cramp, the Stitch,
The Squirt, the Itch,
The Gout, the Stone, the Pox,
The Mulligrubs,
The Bonny Scrubs,
And all Pandora's Box.

Indexer's Note:

Scanned text downloaded from

File History:

1999-01-15 - Scanned by Martin Collins
1999-06-19 - Encoded by Peter Millington
1999-09-15 - Year of collection adjusted by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


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: