Location: Rudheath, Cheshire, England (SJ7470)
Year: Col. 1949
Time of Occurrence: All Souls
Collective Name: Souling


Alex Helm [Ed.]
Five Mumming Plays for Schools
London, English Folk Dance and Song Society, and The Folk-Lore Society, 1965, pp.5-12



[Tune from the Guilden Sutton Play.]

Tune from the Guilden Sutton Play
[MIDI music sound file] [ABC music notation]


We are one, two, three good hearty lads, and we're all in one mind,
This night we come a-souling, good nature to find.
This night we come a-souling as it does appear,
And I hope you'll remember 'tis soulcaking time,
'Tis soul caking time.
So the first that is a lady so gay,
From her native country she strayed away,
With her hat and her feathers she looks very fine
And all that she delights in is drinking port wine.
Is drinking port wine.
So the next that steps up is Lord Nelson you see.
With a bunch of blue ribbons right down to his knees.
He's a star on his forehead like silver doth shine,
And all that he delights in is drinking strong ale.
Is drinking strong ale.
Go down to your cellar and see what you can find,
If your barrel be not empty I'll hope you'll provide;
I hope you'll provide with your money and strong beer,
So we'll come no more a-souling until next year.

{Knock at door. Await entrance}

{Enter King George}

[King George]

Here I am, King George, the Champion Bold;
I've won 10,000 pounds in gold,
And by such means I've won the King of Egypt's daughter.
If you can't believe these words I say
Step in Black Prince and clear the way.

{Enter Black Prince}

Black Prince

In comes I, Black Prince of Paradise,
Born of fiery nown [Note 1]
so I will fetch King George's courage down.
If that be him that dost stand there
That slew my master's son and heir,
Soon will I make his blood
Run like nose blood. [Note 2]

King George

Mind what thou sayest.

Black Prince

What I say I mean.

King George

Stand back thou black morocco dog,
And by my sword thou'll die,
I'll pierce thy body full of holes,
And make thy buttons fly.

Black Prince

How canst thou pierce my body full of holes,
When my head is cased in iron,
My breast in steel,
My toes and fingers of knuckle bone.
I challenge thee to yield.

{Fight starts with wooden swords. Carried on a few rounds when down goes Black Prince, wounded}

{Enter Mary}

Old Lady

King George, King George, what hast thou done?
Thou hast killed and slain my only son,
My only heir, see how he lies down bleeding there.

King George

Why, Mary, he challenged me out to fight,
And why should I deny?


Ten pounds for the best quack doctor in this town.
Five if he is a good one.

{Enter John Brown, doctor}


Here I am, John Brown,
The best quack doctor in this town,
From the continent I come
To cure thy son King George hath slain.

Mary, {whimpering}

What sort of diseases can you cure?


The All sorts.


What's the allsorts?


The Ipps, the Pips, the Pops, the Gout,
A man having nineteen devils in his body,
It is bound to knock twenty out.


Cure him then.


Here, Jack, take three drops out of this bottle,
And rise and fight the battle.


O you silly man, the dead man never stirs.


O Mary, I quite forgot.
I have taken the right cork off the wrong bottle.
I have another bottle in my inside, outside, jacket coat, waistcoat pocket,
which my great, great grandfather sent from Spain,
called the inny-minny oky poky
and will bring any dead man to life again.


Cure him then.

{Black Prince rises}

Black Prince

O my back, my back!


What ails thy back my son?

Black Prince

My back is broken, my heart's confounded,
knocked seventeen senses into four score,
The like was never seen in Old England before.
And if you can't believe me what I say,
Step in, Beelzebub, and clear the way.

{Enter Beelzebub}


In comes I, Beelzebub,
On my shoulder I carry my club,
In my hand a dripping pan,
I reckon myself a jolly old man.
Rink Tink Tink, a sup more drink,
I drink the barrel dry.
If you can't believe these words I say,
Step in, Dairydoubt, and clear the way.

{Enter Dairydoubt}


In comes Dairydoubt,
With his shirt flap hanging out.
Five yards in and five yards out.
And if you can't believe these words I say,
Step in, Wild Horse, and clear the way.

{Enter Wild Horse and Driver}


In comes Dick and all his men,
He's come to see you once again.
He was once alive but now he's dead,
But now he's nothing but a poor old horse's head.
Stand up, Dick.
This horse has travelled high, he's travelled low,
He's travelled both through frost and snow,
He's travelled where houses are thatched with pancakes;
Walls built with penny loaves;
Streets paved with dumplings growing up apple trees.
Stand up, Dick.
This horse has an eye like an hawk
A neck like a swan,
He's tongue like a ladies' pocket book,
Now read it if you can.
Every time he opens his mouth, his head's half off.
Stand up. Dick.
Over going down yon hill last night,
Poor old Dick fell down and broke both shafts off.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, open your hearts
and see what you can give towards Dick a new cart;
not for him to draw, but for me to ride in.
Stand up, Dick.
This horse has only one leg and he is obliged to beg,
But what he begs it is but small,
But is obliged to serve us all.
Stand up, Dick.

{Dairydoubt sits on Dick's back singing following Song:}


"Murphy and his donkey," I hear the colliers cry,
The lads go shouting "Bar Bow" as I go riding by,
I never use a whip because he trots along so fast,
Although his age is 99, he came up to the last.
I went one morning early to make my donkey's bed,
But when I got to the stable, I found him lying dead.
But when the people heard the news that Murphy's ass was dead,
They swore to make a monument and put it on his head.

Driver {to Dick}

Make your obedience to your best friends.
{Horse turns on Driver}
Now to your worst if you dare.


{Coon songs can be fitted in if necessary with banjos or melodeon to accompany it.}


Helm's Introduction:

Mr.Lever could not remember the music for the introductory Song, but the tune, from the Guilden Sutton Play is suggested as an alternative.
Collected by Alex Helm from Mr.E.Lever, 29.11.49
King George - Soldier's Dress, with medals "for fun."
Black Prince - Soldiers Dress.
Mary - Shawl, dress.
Doctor - Tall hat, frock coat, white waistcoat, riding breeches, top boots, cushion stuffed under waistcoat.
Beelzebub - Jacket turned inside out, ragged trousers.
Dairydoubt - Coat turned inside out, shirt hanging out.
Driver - Top hat, red coat, riding breeches, top boots.
Dick - Horse's head, ribbons, martingales with brass ornaments, harness, chequer fastened to pole underneath to lead horse in.
All had black faces except King George, Doctor, Driver.

Helm's Footnotes:

Note 1 - renown
Note 2 - Noah's flood

File History:

2005-08-23 - Transcribed by Duncan Broomhead
2005-09-26 - Encoded by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


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