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Christmas Mummers’ Rhymes [Donegal]

Christmas mummers’ rhymes [Donegal] / "Mr X", speech in English

Christmas mummers’ rhymes [Donegal] / "Mr X", speech in English

Christmas rhymes and the mummers’ book
And very pleasant we will look
Room, room, gallant boys, give us room to rhyme
And we’ll show you some activity about the Christmas time
Christmas comes but once a year
And when it comes it brings good cheer
The active young, the active age
But the likes of this was never acted on the stage
And if yous don’t believe what I’ll say
I’ll enter in the Captain and he’ll soon clear the way.

CAPTAIN

Here comes I, the Captain, the Captain of this play
With my broad sword to clear the way
With my broad sword in my right hand
I’ve all these men at my command
And if you don’t believe what I say
I’ll enter in King Prince George, and he’ll soon clear the way.

KING PRINCE GEORGE

Here comes I, King Prince George, from England I have sprung
I have fought many brave deeds my valour to begin
Seven long years in a cave I was kept
From there I gave a tremendous leap
From there I fell amongst a lump of stones
I lay there for many days with the most piteous groans
Many a giant I did subdue, I fought that fiery dragon through
I fought the seaman: what can any other man undertake?
I fought them all courageously
But still I gained the victory
And if yous don’t believe what I say
I’ll enter in Turkish Champion and he’ll soon clear the way.

TURKISH CHAMPION

Here comes I, Turkish Champion, from Turkish land I came
And I came to fight you, King Prince George by name
I’ll cut you and I’ll slash you and I’ll send you to the divil
I’ll make lamb’s poison (read mince pies) of you
And after that you’ll run away.

[KING PRINCE GEORGE]

I say you’re a liar, sir!

[TURKISH CHAMPION]

Pull out your purse and pay
I’ll run my rapier down your guts and then you’ll die away.
Then he fell on the ground

[CAPTAIN]

Is there any doctor to be found
That can cure this man of his deep and mortal wounds?
Doctor! Doctor! I’ll give ten pounds for a doctor!

Enters the Doctor

[DOCTOR]

Here comes I, the Doctor sure and good
With my broad sword to staunch the blood.

[CAPTAIN]

What can you cure, Doctor?

DOCTOR

Oh I can cure the lame and the blind
I can dig the dead to life again
And moreover, a woman of seven score and ten
With her toes in her nose an her nen [?]
I could take out the knuckle bone of her big toe and place it in again
And make her a young girl of ten.

[CAPTAIN]

What’s your medicine, Doctor?

DOCTOR

Some of the roo, the foo, the fidgy foo
The rown down dandelion
The grey mare’s legs, the brains of a hatchet, and the bones of an oul creepy-stool
Soft and soople [?] till the divil runs through it, and three drops of vinegar placed on your lip
Rise now, Turkish Champion, and take to your feet again
And if yous don’t believe what I say
I’ll enter in Oliver Cromwell and he’ll soon clear the way.

OLIVER CROMWELL

Here comes I, Oliver Cromwell, as you may suppose
I have conquered many nations with my long copper nose
I made the French to tremble and the Spanish for to quake
For I beat the jolly Dutchmen and made them quite awake
And if you don’t believe what I say
I’ll enter in Jack Straw and he’ll soon clear the way.

JACK STRAW

Och well, here comes meself, Jack Straw
Such a man yous never saw
Through a rock or through a reel
Or through an oul spinning wheel
Through a sheet of needles or through a sheet of pins
And if yous don’t believe what I’ll say
Well, there’s an oul uncle I have out there, Beelzebub
And I’ll enter him in now and he’ll soon clear the way.

BEELZEBUB

Oh, here comes I, Beelzebub
And over me shoulder I carry me club
And in me hand a frying pan
And I think meself a jolly good man
And if yous don’t believe what I say
I’ll enter in the tax-gatherer, that’s the buck’ll clear yous all away.

JOHNNY FUNNY

Well now, here comes I, Johnny Funny
I’m the man that collects the money
All silver, no brass
Bad hapennies won’t pass
An oul woman must rise up off –
Well now, I’ll leave that the way it is now until the morning
But I want the box filled anyhow.

Spoken: Mr X!

Db Item A28Ii Musictr
Db Item A28Ii Musictr

© 

Notes from Hugh Shields

Mr X (who gave himself this pseudonym, wishing to be anonymous) was recorded in 1968. The concluding song appears both in mumming plays and independent of them. For other versions L Daiken’s Children’s games throughout the year (1949:201); JTR Ritchie’s The singing street (1964:114); Opie and Opie’s The lore and language of schoolchildren (1967:233); Parry-Jones, Welsh children’s games and pastimes (1964:225); Ulster Folklife 10 (1964:84). Shields Index no 281.