The Compton Tipteerers Play

This version of the Mummers play was collected in the early 20th century by Arthur Beckett, one time editor of the Sussex County Magazine. The play was performed in Compton, West Sussex by a group of seven men, six of whom were suitably attired and performed the play and one to announce the play and play music on an accordion as they travelled. The play had been handed down by word of mouth with no written record so Mr. Beckett had some trouble committing the play to paper.



Father Christmas30
Valiant Soldier27
Turkish Knight24
Little Johnny Jack29

The Compton Tipteerers photographed by Arthur Beckett c1911

Valiant Soldier:
In come I, a roamer, a gallant roamer,
Give me room to rhyme,
I've come to show you British sport,
Upon this Christmas time.
Stir up your fire and give us a light,
And see we merry actors fight.
For in this room there shall be shown,
The heaviest battle ever known,
Betwixt St. George and the Turkish Knight.
If you don't mind to believe these few words I've got to say,
Let the old Gentleman of all slip in and clear the way.
Father Christmas:
In come I, old Father Christmas, perhaps welcome, perhaps not,
I hope old Father Christmas will never be forgot.
Sometimes hot, sometimes cold,
(Query: line missing)
Although I've got but a short time to stay
I've come to show you British sport to pass the time away.
I have just lately come firing down
From the borders of the City of London town.
I've just turned one-hundred-and-seven years of age,
I can hop, skip and jump like a blackbird in his cage.
Room, room unto me, I say;
After this let St. George slip in and clear the way.
St. George:
In come I, St George, that man of honour and courage stout and bold;
With my sword and spear all by my side I have won twelve crown of gold;
It was I who fought the Fiery Dragon and brought him to great slaughter,
And by those means I hope to win the King of Egypt's oldest daughter.
Valiant Soldier: In come I, a soldier stout and bold;
As I was walking along the road
I heard great wonders and talks of you, St George;
If I was to meet thee I would prick thee through and through,
And make thy precious blood to flow.
Come in, thou Turkish Knight,
While we are here to-night
We are not to bear the blame.
Turkish Knight: In come I, the Turkish Knight,
Just come from Turkey-land to fight.
I'll fight thee, St George - that man of honour, [of] courage stout and bold,
Let his blood be ever so hot I will quickly make it cold.
St. George (aside): Dare say you would, too!
Stand back, stand back, you noble Turk, or by my sword you'll die,
I'll cut your giblets through and through, and make your buttons fly.
Turkish Knight: Pardon me, St George, pardon me I crave.
[And] ever more will I be thy Turkish slave.
St. George: You saucy little rascal!
Ask me to spare your life after being so confounded bold!
Been up in my best room and stole my best clothes!
Not only that, but took a watch from my pocket.
I'll up with my sword and run thee through and through.
(Does so. Turk falls.)
(To Father Christmas) Behold, old man, [and] see what I have done,
I've cut your noble champion down just like the evening sun.
Father Christmas: Seems as if you have done it now.
St. George: Well, Father, what was I to do?
He gave me the challenge three or four times and why should I deny?
Father Christmas: Go home you saucy rascal. Behold, yea, is there a doctor to be found
The Doctor (coming forward): Yes, old Gentleman, there is a doctor to be found
Who can quickly rise your poor son who lies bleeding on the ground.
Father Christmas: Do you call yourself a doctor?
The Doctor: Yes, Old gentleman, I am a doctor.
Father Christmas: You comes in more like three-ha'porth o' bad luck than you do a doctor.
The Doctor: Don't matter what I come in like,or what I look like,
as long as I can rise your poor son who lies bleeding on the ground.
Father Christmas: I don't know as you can do it yet. What is your pay?
The Doctor: Ten pound is my pay;
Full fifty I'll have out of you before you go away,
You not being a poor man.
Father Christmas: I can't pay so much money as that;
I'd sooner let him lay there and die.
The Doctor: Stop, old gentleman, I'll satisfy you with quarter-part o' that.
Father Christmas: That's according to what you can cure.
The Doctor: I can cure all sorts of diseases:
The itch, the stick, the palsy, the gout,
Raging pains within and without,
This young man's arm's broke, his leg's broke,
Calf swollen up as big as a tan-leather bottle.
Father Christmas: As big as a wooden-legged bottle, more like it.
The Doctor: Rec'lect, old gentleman,
I an't been about all my time a-life without knowing nothing.
Father Christmas: Where did you get all your learning from?
The Doctor: I travelled for it: I travelled France, 'Merica, Spain and Dover,
I travelled the wide world all over.
I served my 'prenticeship in St John's Hospital seven year all one summer.
Father Christmas: Seven year all one winter, more like it.
The Doctor: I could rise this young man before your face.
So could you if you know'd how and which way.
So I did and so I can.
I rose my poor old grandmother after she had been dead a hundred and ninety-nine years.
She cut her throat with a ball o' rice; I slipt in and sewed it up with a rice-chain.
Father Christmas: Talk about what you run-about doctors can do!
The Doctor: Look here old gentleman. I had a man brought to me the other day; Indeed, he was not brought to me, he was wheeled to me in a left-handed wheel-barrow.
He could not see anything without opening his eyes,
and could not speak without moving his tongue.
Father Christmas (aside): More would you,
Or else you would not talk so fast as you do.
The Doctor: Look about, old gentleman, another curious trick I'll show you before I go away.
Look deedy, or else you won't see it kick, and troublesome cure yourself for me.
Father Christmas: Stop, doctor, stop! Come and try one of your pills on my poor son,
sooner than having him lying about here all this Christmas.
The Doctor: I've got a little bottle in my waistcoat trouser breeches pocket,
what they call okum, slokum, elegant plaint. I don't.
Father Christmas: What do you call it?
The Doctor: That makes no difference, so long as you drop
'One drop on the young man's heart and another on his brain'-
He will rise and fight bold Champion again.
(Doctor proceeds to cure Turk.)
Turkish Knight: How long have I been lying on this floor?
Ten minutes or more,
I've been urged and scourged and dragged from door to door.
To-morrow morning at the hour of five,
I'll meet thee, St George, if I am alive.
St. George: To-morrow morning, at the hour of ten,
I'll meet thee spring guard, with fifty thousand men.
I'll hage thee, gage thee, and let thee know
That I am St George over old England.
Go home, go home, you Turkish Knight,
Go home to your country and fight;
And tell those 'Mericans what I've done:
I've killed ten thousand to thy one.
Now I am off [to] my discharge.
God bless the Turk, likewise St George.
Johnny Jack: In come I, little Johnny Jack,
Wife and family at my back.
Though I am so little and small
I am the biggest rogue among you all.
If any man offend me I bring him to a stand
(Query: line omitted.)
Cutter and Slasher is my name,
From those blessed wars I came,
It was only me and seven more
Fought the battle of a score,
And boarded a man-of-war.
Cut them up as fine as any flying dust,
Sent them to a cook-shop to make mince-pie crust.
St. George: What little rattling, prattling tongue is that I hear?
Johnny Jack: That's mine, sir.
St. George: If I hear any more of that you and me will have a cut before we part;
On my heart, before we part.
Turkish Knight: In come I, cuts and scars,
Just returning from those wars;
Many a battle I've been in,
Many a battle I have seen.
I've seen St George and all his royal men;
Cannon ball passed by my head with spite-
I lost my height;
Twice through the head I've been shot,
Which makes my brain boil like my old pot.
What more can be bolder?
Enter in the Valiant Soldier.
Valiant Soldier: In come I, a valiant Soldier, Bold and Slasher is my name;
With my sword and spear all by my side, I hope to win this game.
Now I am a soldier stout and bold
I make many a man's blood run cold.
Now I am returning from those wars.
(To Turk) I am a man like you, full of cuts and scars.
Pull out your sword and fight, pull out your purse and pay,
Satisfaction I will have before I go away.
Turkish Knight: No satisfaction will I give thee, no more will I pay,
But this battle we will fight both manfully before we go away.
(They fight.)
Johnny Jack: In come I, Twin-Twan,
The left hand of this press-gang;
I pressed all these bold mummers sin'
The time the ship-of-war came in.
Although my name is Saucy Jack,
Wife and family at my back;
Out of eight I've got but five,
And they are almost starved alive.
Some in the workhouse all alone,
And these at my back must be helped before I get home;
So if any man would like to fight let him come on;
I urge him, scourge him, fight him with spite;
And after that I fight the best man under the sky.
Father Christmas: You saucy little rascal! Challenge your poor old father and all the sons he's got?
Johnny Jack: Yes; I urge him, scourge him, fight him with spite,
And after that I fight the best man under the sky.
Beelzebub: In come I, old Belsey Bob,
On my shoulders I carry my nob,
In my hand a dripping pan,
Don't you think I'm a funny old man?
Christmas comes but once a year,
And likes to give you jolly good cheer;
Plum-pudding, roast beef - who likes that better than anybody else?
To-night I'd like a glass of grog; a glass of beer'll suit these chaps to-night.
Price, sir! price, sir! give you a bit of a rub,
A halfpenny towards the rent, and a penny towards the grub.
Price, sir! price, sir! and my old bell shall ring,
Put what you like in my old hat and then these chaps will sing.

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