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THE STOURVALE MUMMERS

Bournemouth, Dorset: Traditional Folk Plays at Christmas & Easter

  The Morris Ring

The Pace Egging Play (adapted from Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmoreland)

The Characters

  • Old Toss Pot
  • Mally Brown Bags Masket
  • Devil with Horns
  • Devilty Doubt with a Hump and a Broom
  • Turkish Knight
  • The Introducer
  • The Merry Actors
  • St. George
  • King of Egypt

The Play

(last amended on 7th April 2015)

Enter the Merry Actors (singing)

(this is the chorus)

    Here's two or three jolly boys all in one mind
    We've come a-pace-egging and we hope you'll prove kind
    We hope you'll prove kind with your eggs and strong beer
    We'll come no more nigh you until the next year

Enter Old Toss Pot

Merry Actors (singing)

    The first that comes in is Old Toss Pot you see
    He's a valiant old fellow in every degree
    He's a hump on his back and he wears a pig tail
    And all he delights in is drinking mulled ale

Old Toss Pot

    In comes I a nivver come yet
    Wi me girt 'ead and me li'll wit
    And if me wit be nivver sae sma'
    Me and me pompey'll conquer you all
    
    ------  chorus -------

Merry Actors (singing)

    The next that comes in is old Mally Brown Bags
    She's so careful of money she goes in old rags
    She's gold and she's silver and copper in store
    And she's come a-pace-egging and hopes to get more

Enter Mally Brown Bags Masket

Mally Brown Bags Masket

    In comes I old Mally Masket
    Under me arm I carries me basket
    In me basket I carries me eggs
    In me pocket I drops me brass
    And I thinks mese'l a jolly old lass
    ------  chorus -------

Enter Devil with Horns

Devil with Horns

    In comes I Beelzebub
    And on my shoulders I carry a club
    And in my hand a frying pan
    And I think myself a jolly old man

Enter Devilty Doubt with a Hump and a Broom

Devilty Doubt with a Hump and a Broom

    In comes I, old Devilty Doubt
    If you don't give me something I'll sweep you all out
    'Tis money I want and money I crave
    Or I'll sweep all the lot of you into the grave

Enter Turkish Knight

Merry Actors (singing)

    The next that comes in is a bold Turkish Knight
    From a far distant country he's come for to fight
    He'll meet with St. George and will fight with him here
    To show him a hero knows nothing to fear

The Introducer

    Room, room, brave gallants, give us room to sport,
    For to this room we're wishful to resort. 
    Resort, and to repeat our merry rhyme, 
    Good sirs, remember it's pace-egging time. 
    The time to go out pace-egging doth once again appear,
    So we come to act our play before you good folks here.
    Now that you hear the trumpet sound and hear us beat the drum,
    Make room, make room, brave gentlemen, and let our actors come.
The Merry Actors
    We are the merry actors that travel through the street
    We are the merry actors that all fight for our meet
    We are the merry actors that show this pleasant play
    So stir up the fire and strike a light, then
    Step in St. George and clear the way

Enter St. George

St. George

    I am St. George of England that noble champion bold
    Who with my hands and sword did win three crowns of gold
    'Twas I that fought the fiery dragon and brought him to the slaughter
    And by those means I also won the King of Egypt's daughter
    I've travelled all the world around and around
    But a man to equal me never have I found
    Show me the man that dare before me stand

Turkish Knight

    I am the bold Prince of Paradise from Africa's land I came
    Purpose to fight thee St. George upon this very plain
    Of far Morocco I am King of fiery renown
    And with my sword I soon shall fetch thy lofty courage down

St. George

    Stand back thou Moroccan dog or by my sword thou'lt die
    I'll cut thy body in four parts and make thy buttons fly

Turkish Knight

    Thou braggart and thou boasting man that is not in thy power
    For I'll cut thee into slashes in less than half an hour

St. George

    Oh slashing man, Oh slashing man don't tell so many lies
    For I'll cut thee into slashes as small as any flies
    And send thee back across the sea to make into mince pies
    Mince pies hot and mince pies cold
    I'll send thee to the devil before thou'rt three days old
    Stand back thou Moroccan dog and let no more be said
    For if I draw my glittering sword I'll surely break thy head

Turkish Knight

    How can'st thou break my head
    When my head is made of brass and my body made of steel 
    My legs and arms are knuckle bone I'll challenge thee to feel

St. George

    So, so Bold Moor neither boast nor stand
    But quickly draw and take thy sword in hand
    Let either one or both of us be slain
    Before we end and sheathe our swords again

They start fighting

Turkish Knight

(Says whilst falling)

    I am a bold and valiant knight and Slasher is my name
    Full many battles have I fought and always won the same
    But from St George I have received this bloody wound today
    Hark Hark The silver trumpets sound I must no longer stay

Enter King of Egypt

King of Egypt

    I am the King of Egypt as plainly doth appear
    I've come to seek the young Black Prince who is my son and heir
    Who is the man who did him slay, his precious blood did spill
    Who is it that upon this ground my dearest son did kill

St. George

    I did him slay 'twas I that did him kill
    And on this ground his precious blood did spill
    He challenged me to fight and why should I him deny
    Before I would a coward be I'd fight until I die

King of Egypt

    Oh George Oh George what hast thou done
    Thou's gone and slain my only son
    Mine only son mine only heir
    How can'st thou see him bleeding there

Mally Brown Bags Masket

    A Doctor, A Doctor, Ho Ho, What ho for a doctor

Old Toss Pot

    Here I am, a Doctor, but I will not come to thee under ten pounds

King of Egypt

    I'll give ten, fifteen, twenty pounds for a Doctor

Old Toss Pot

    I am an actor too

King of Egypt

    I don't want an actor I want a doctor
    Art thou a doctor

Old Toss Pot

    I am a Jack of all trades 

Mally Brown Bags Masket

    How can'st thou be a Jack of all trades

Old Toss Pot

    By my travels

Mally Brown Bags Masket

    How far hast thou travelled

Old Toss Pot

    I have travelled all up and down the country
                        in this sort of manner and that
    I have travelled from my grandmother's bedside 
                  to the fireside and from the fireside
    To the cupboardside where I have got many a lump of 
                        mouldy cheese and pie crust
    Which made me such a rollicking bullocking sort of 
                        a boy as I am

Mally Brown Bags Masket

    Is that all

Old Toss Pot

    No! I have travelled round Italy Spittally France and Spain
    All round England and back again

Mally Brown Bags Masket

    Can'st thou cure this poor man

Old Toss Pot

    Aye I can cure him as thou shalt quickly see

Mally Brown Bags Masket

    What can'st thou cure

Old Toss Pot

    I can cure the itch the stitch the palsy and the gout
    The plague within and the plague without
    And if there be nineteen devils in that man's skull
    I'll surely cast twenty of them out

Mally Brown Bags Masket

    Is that all

Old Toss Pot

    No If you bring me an old woman of eight score eight
    Let her chin and her nose be both of a height
    I'll make her as pretty as that damsel over there

Points at some girl

Mally Brown Bags Masket

    Is that all

Old Toss Pot

    No! As I was going through St. Paul's Churchyard
    Even the very dead came running after me saying
    Doctor Doctor Give me one of your never failing pills
    It's a pity that such a man as I should have died  

Mally Brown Bags Masket

    Is that all

Old Toss Pot

    No! I've got in my pocket spectacles for blind bumble bees
    Crutches for lame ducks pack saddles for grasshoppers
    And many other useful things

Mally Brown Bags Masket

    Is that all

Old Toss Pot

    No! I've got a bottle in my inside outside leftside waist-coat pocket
    Which my grandmother sent me from Spain three days after she died
    That will surely bring any dead man back to life again
    Why ! I cured Sir Harry of a disease twenty yards long

Kneels down and hands the wounded man a bottle

    Here Jack take a drop of this my nip nap
    Let it run down thy tip tap
    Now if thou art not entirely slain
    Rise up and fight again

The Turkish Knight drains the bottle, stands up and shouts

Turkish Knight

    Oh my back

Old Toss Pot

    What now is amiss with thy back

Turkish Knight

    My back is bound my sword is sound
    I'll have St George another round

The Introducer

    Stop! Stop these words without delay
    And fight it out another day

The Merry Actors form in a ring and sing

 
    Now ladies and gentlemen that sit around the fire
    Put your hands in your pockets that's all we desire
    Put your hands in your pockets and pull out your purse
    And give us a trifle you'll not feel much worse
    ------  chorus -------

Toss Pot then collects the money in his hat and Mally Masket goes round with her basket for eggs. The performers were usually given refreshments and 'Summat to sup'.


Page last updated: 7th April 2015

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