Iping Mummers Play
Iping Mummers Play

This is the text for Frank Dawtrey's version of the Mummers Play performed in the village of Iping and collected around 1913. The text is from R.J. Sharp's manuscript in the EDFSS Library as also contains the following note on the play :

"There are seven, representing St. George (this name corrupted to King George IV by this set of men), Father Christmas, the Noble Captain, the Gallant Soldier, the Gallant Soldier, Little Johnny Jack, the Turkish Knight and Dr. Good. They are dressed in overalls and tunics, some of gay chintz or cretonne, some of white calico, covered all over with patches and adornments of cloth, silk, velvet, etc, cut into fantastic shapes and sewn on, and hanging in strips and ribbons from various places:- they have hats as fantastic, of brilliant colours, decorated with flowers, streamers, etc; all are dressed in this fashion, except the Gallant Soldier, who wears a red coat and round forage cap, with imitation medals and badges.
All carry wooden swords, painted in stripes of red and blue running diagonally round the swords, except Father christmas, who carries a long staff, painted in the same way and decorated with hanging ribbons and a huge bunch of holly and mistletoe at the top.



Little Johnny Jack12
Father Christmas17
Noble Captain24
King George21
Turkish Knight21
Gallant Soldier14
Doctor Good67

The leader, (on this occasion the doctor) carries a cow's horn, on which he announces the approach of the Tipteerers. They file into the room and form into a ring, and sing the following song:-
All: T'was sweet and delightful on a bright summer's morn,
When the fields and the meadows, they were cover'd with corn,
And the blackbirds and thrushes sang on every green tree,
And the lark, he sang melodious at this dawn of the day.

As a sailor and his true love were a-walking one day,
Said the sailor to his true love "I am bound far away,
I am bound for the Indies where the loud cannons roar,
I must go and leave my Nancy, she's the girl I adore".

Then a ring from her finger she instantly drew,
Saying "Take this, dear sweetheart, that your heart may prove true",
And whilst he was embracing her, the tears from her eyes fell,
Saying "May I come along with you?"
    "O, no, my love, farewell".

O now, my dearest Nancy, I no longer can stay,
For their topsails are hoisted, and their anchor's aweigh,
And the good ship lies a-waiting for a full flowing tide,
And if ever I return again I'll make you my bride".
(This song ended, the Play begins)
Little Johnny Jack: In comes I, Little Johnny Jack.
With my family up my back, (3 dolls sewn to his back)
Though my family be but small,
I can scarce find bread and cheese for them all;
Christmas comes but once a year,
And when it comes, it brings good cheer,
Roast beef, plum pudding, mince pie,
Who likes them any better than I?
Christmas fare makes us dance and sing,
Money in the purse is a capital thing,
Ladies and gentlemen, give what you please,
Old Father Christmas will welcomely receive.
Father Christmas: In comes I, Old Father Christmas, welcome or welcome not,
Sometimes cold and sometimes hot,
I hope Old Father Christmas will never be forgot.
Although we've come, we've but a short time to stay,
But We'll show you sport and pastime before we go away.
Room, room, Ladies and gentlemen, though I pray,
I am the man that leads the Noble Captain and all his men this way.
Noble Captain: In comes I, the Noble Captain, just lately come from France,
With my broadsword and jolly Turk, I'll make King George to Dance,
And if I had him here, I wonder what would appear?
I'd cut him up as small as mint dust,
And send him to old Father Christmas to make a pie crust.
King George: In comes I, King George the Fourth,
From England I did spring,
With some of my wondrous works,
Now I'm going to begin.
First in a dungeon I was shut up and left on a rocky stone,
That's where I made my sad, dismal moan.
I fought the fiery Dragon through,
And brought him to great slaughter,
And by some of those wondrous works,
I won Queen Alice's fairest daughter.
Turkish Knight: In comes I the Turkish Knight (corrupted into Turkey Snipe),
Just come from the Turkish land to fight,
I'll fight King George with courage bold,
If his blood's hot, I'll make it cold.
King George: Down under thee I'll never bow nor bend,
I never took thee to be my friend.
Turkish Knight: For why, for why, Sir, did I ever do you any harm?
King George: You saucy man, you ought to be stabbed!
Turkish Knight: Stab for stab, that is my fear,
Appoint me the place, and I'll meet you there.
King George: My place is pointing on the ground,
Where I mean to lay your fair body down.
Turkish Knight: Then on bended knee I pray,
All for to be a Turkish slave.
King George: Arise, arise, you Turkish Knight,
Go unto your Turkish land to fight,
Go unto your Turkish land and tell,
What people there is in old England dwell.
Turkish Knight: Across the water I'll defy,
I'll meet you there if I'm alive.
Pull out your sword and fight!
Pull out your purse and pay!
For one satisfaction I will have,
Before I go away.
King George: No money will I pull out nor pay,
But you and I must fight this battle most manfully.
Gallant Soldier: In comes I, the Gallant Soldier, 'Bold and Slasher' is my name,
Sword in hand to guard my nucklebone, I am for to win this game.
My head is made of iron, my body lined with steel,
And brass unto my knucklebones, I'll fight you in this field.
stand off, stand off, you Noble Turk, or by my sword you shall die,
I'll cut your driblets through and through, I'll make your buttons fly.
I've travelled o'er England, France and Spain,
And many French dogs, in my time, I've slain.
For what our King shall have his right,
The Turkish Knight I'll fight.
(They fight, the Turkish Knight falls)
Gallant Soldier: Behold, behold, what I have done,
I cut him down like the evening sun.
And ten more of such men I'll fight,
For what our King shall have his right.
Noble Captain: Indeed, indeed, my Turk is slain,
Between two arms his body lain.
For what some doctor must come and see,
Where my man lies bleeding at his feet.
O! Is there a noble doctor to be found,
To raise this dead man from the ground?
Father Christmas: O yes, there is a noble doctor to be found,
To raise this dead man from the ground,
So, step in, doctor.
Doctor Good: In comes I, Dr. Good,
With my hand I can stop the blood,
I can stop the blood and heal the wound,
And raise this dead man from the ground.
Father Christmas: What can you cure , Doctor?
Doctor Good: I can cure the hipsy, pipsy, peasy, palsy or the gout,
Strain within and strain without,
If the man's neck's broke, I'll set 'un again,
Or else I won't have one farthing for my fee.
Father Christmas: What is your fee, Doctor?
Doctor Good: Ten pound.
Father Christmas: Can't pay no such money as that!
Doctor Good: (Turning away) Saddle my horse Jack, I'll be gone.
Father Christmas: Stop, Stop doctor, I've a jackass you can ride,
What is your lowest fee, Doctor?
Doctor Good: 9.19.11.¾ and that's a farthing under price,
Because you're a poor man!
Father Christmas: Better try your skill, Doctor.
Doctor Good: Now you see, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I've got a little bottle in my pocket,
Called the 'Golden Slozenger Drop' and a box of pills,
called the German pills.
(Kneels by the Turkish Knight and suits action to words).
I puts a drop on his temple and a pill in his mouth,
I strike a light on his whole body,
And he'll move one leg already.
Father Christmas: So he did, Doctor!
Doctor Good: You see, Ladies and Gentlemen, I ain't like one of these quack doctors,
Goes about from house to house telling people a passel o' lies!
But I can raise the dead before your eyes,
And so you all shall see, Rise up, young man,
And see how boldly you and I can walk and sing.
(Turkish Knight rises up, and he and the Doctor sing)
Both: Good morning to you, gentlemen,
The Sleep that I have had,
And now I am awaking,
I can no longer stay,
I beg a favour of you all,
The doctor's bill to pay.
(The Turkish Knight retires and the Noble Captain and the Doctor come forward to the middle of the stage and sing, crossing and hitting their swords at the words marked in red)
Noble Captain: I am the blade
Doctor Good: That Drives no trade
Both: Most people do adore me
I will you beat
And I wont you cheat
And I'll drive you all before me
Noble Captain: My new silk bows
Doctor Good: My square topped shoes
Both: For I can love to sit and swear of wagger
And every champion I do meet
I'll push him with my dagger
Noble Captain: And now I have
Doctor Good: Spent all my gold
Both: Among you wretched fellows
And if we are condemned to die
We'll die upon the gallows!
(Then follows a dialogue between the doctor and all the rest who chant the answers in chorus:-)
(To Noble Captain):
Hip, Mr Carpenter, Hallow sir,
I've got a little question to ask you.
How far is it across the river?
All: When you're in the middle you're half way over,
Fol the riddle ido.
When you're in the middle you're half way over,
Fol the ri the ray.
Doctor: I know, when you're in the middle you're half way over,
but that wasn't the question I asked ye.
The Noble Captain turns away and as he does, so the doctor prods him.
Doctor: Hip, Mr Carpenter,
I've got another little question to ask you.
How deep is the river?
All: If you throw in a stone it will go to the bottom,
Fol the riddle ido.
If you throw in a stone it will go to the bottom,
Fol the ri the ray.
Doctor: I know, when you when you throw in a stone it will go to the bottom,
but that wasn't the question I asked ye.
Hip, Mr Carpenter,
I've got another little question to ask you.
How do you get across the river?
All: The ducks and the geese they all swim over Fol the riddle ido The ducks and the geese they all swim over Fol the ri the ray
Doctor: I know, the ducks and the geese they all swim over,
but that wasn't the question I asked ye.
Hip, Mr Carpenter,
I've got another little question to ask you.
Whose house is that over yonder?
All: It is not yours but it is the owners,
Fol the riddle ido.
It is not yours but it is the owners,
Fol the ri the ray.
Doctor: I know, it is not mine but its the owner's,
but that wasn't the question I asked ye.
Hip, Mr Carpenter,
I've got another little question to ask you.
How strong is the beer they sell?
All: If you drink too much it will make you tipsy,
Fol the riddle ido.
If you drink too much it will make you tipsy,
Fol the ri the ray.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves!
And this ends the play; all form in a ring again, and sing "The Moon Shone Bright".
All: The moon shone bright and the stars gave a light,
A little before it was day,
When the Lord our God, he called on us all,
And he bade us to wake and to pray.

Awake, awake, good people all,
Awake and you shall hear,
How Christ our Lord, He died on the Cross,
And for us whom He loved so dear.

So dear, so dear, as Christ loved us,
And for our sake He was slain;
We must leave off our wicked wickedness,
And turn to the Lord again.

Our song is done, and we must begone;
We can tarry no longer here.
So God bless you all, both little, great and small,
And God send you a happy New Year.

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