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Mummers’ Play and Songs [Fermanagh]

Mummers’ play and songs [Fermanagh] / Paddy Tunney, singing in English, speech in English

Mummers’ play and songs [Fermanagh] / Paddy Tunney, singing in English, speech in English

Actors

‘ROOM’ presents the others; THE CAPTAIN leads them; OLIVER CROMWELL wants a fight; THE GREEN KNIGHT kills him; THE DOCTOR brings him back to life; DIVIL DOUT asks for money; JACK STRAW talks nonsense; ‘THE WREN’ asks for food; LADY BROWN dances with the Captain.

ROOM knocks on a house door and shouts: Mummers! Mummers! Inside the house he begins his rhyme:

Room, room, my gallant Room
Give me room to rhyme: I’ll show you some activity
About this Christmas time
The acts in which we now engage
Were never acted on a stage
And if you don’t believe these words I say
Enter in the Captain and he’ll clear the way.

CAPTAIN

Here comes I, the Captain
Captain of this noble crew:
Many great deeds I will relate to you
And if you don’t believe these words I say
Enter in Oliver Cromwell and he’ll clear the way.

OLIVER CROMWELL

Here comes I, Oliver Cromwell
With my long copper nose
I’ve conquered many nations
As you may suppose:
I’ve conquered in France
And I’ve conquered in Spain
And I’m back to old Ireland
To conquer again
And if you don’t believe these words I say
Enter in Green Knight and he’ll clear the way.

GREEN KNIGHT

Here comes I, Green Knight
Willing for to fight
I say, Oliver Cromwell, you lie, sir
Take out your sword and try, sir.

They fight.

I drive your sword right through your heart
And cause you for to die, sir.

Oliver Cromwell falls down.

CAPTAIN

Oh doctor, doctor
Five pound for a doctor.

DOCTOR

Yes, yes, I’m coming
Here comes I, Doctor Brown
The very best doctor in the town.

CAPTAIN

What can you cure, doctor?

DOCTOR

I can cure the plague within
The plague without
The ague, the palsy and the gout.

CAPTAIN

How do you cure, doctor?

DOCTOR

I’ve a wee bottle in my inside waistcoat pocket called
Hokerus pokerus
Elegant pain
Get up, dead man and fight again.

He gives Oliver Cromwell a drink from his bottle.
Oliver Cromwell comes to life and stands up.

All sing: 


We’ll join our hands together
And never fight no more
We’ll be as gallant comrades
As we have been before
We’ll bless the master of this house
And the mistress too
And all the little children
That round the table grew.
With our pockets full of money
And our hearts all full of cheer
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a bright New Year!

CAPTAIN

And if you don’t believe these words we say
Enter in Divil Dout and he’ll clear the way.

DIVIL DOUT

Here comes I,
Divil Dout,
If I don’t get money
I’ll chase you all out.
Money I want
And money I crave
If I don’t get money
I’ll chase you all to the grave.
Five shillings, no less,
All silver, no brass.
And if you don’t believe these words we say
Enter in Jack Straw and he’ll clear the way.

JACK STRAW

Here comes I,
Jack Straw Such a man you never saw,
Through a rock And through a reel
Through an old spinning wheel
Through a bag of pepper
And an old mill hopper.
And if you don’t believe these words we say
Enter in the Wren and he’ll clear the way.

WREN

Here comes I, the Wren, the Wren,
The king of all birds,
At Christmas time I was found in the furze.
Although I am small
My family is great
Rise up, landlady
And give us a trate.
And if your trate is of the best
I hope your soul
In heaven will rest,
And if your trate is very small
It won’t agree
With us at all.

All sing


The twelve beats the eleven and the eleven beats the ten
We are a jolly company of stout, strong men
Here’s to you, Tom Brown, here’s to you with all my heart
We’ll have another glass or two this night before we part
Here’s to you, Tom Brown.

The ten beats the nine and the nine beats the eight
We are a jolly company, we all walk straight
Here’s to you, Tom Brown, here’s to you with all my heart
We’ll have another glass or two this night before we part
Here’s to you, Tom Brown.

The nine beats the eight and the eight beats the seven
We are a jolly company and we’re going to heaven...

The seven beats the six and the six beats the five
We are a jolly company, we are, man alive!...

The five beats the four and the four beats the three
We are a jolly company and we’re all free...

The three beats the two and the two beats the one
We are a jolly company and now we’re done;

Here’s to you, Tom Brown, here’s to you with all my heart
We’ll have another glass or two this night before we part
Here’s to you, Tom Brown.

CAPTAIN

And if you don’t believe these words we say
Enter in the Lady and she’ll clear the way.

LADY BROWN    A man disguised, speaks in a high squeaky voice:

Here comes I, Lady Brown.

The Lady and the Captain dance a reel, accompanied by a fiddle and a melodeon. Divil Dout takes what money the people of the house give him. The mummers bid farewell.

Notes from Hugh Shields

The play includes the songs “We’ll join our hands together” (Roud 1066) and “The twelve beats the eleven” [= Tom Brown / The card-players’ song] (Roud 884). Paddy Tunney contributed a differing text to Alan Gailey’s Irish folk drama (1969:58–59). See also Gailey’s Christmas rhymers and mummers in Ireland (1968:35–39). A Donegal version (“Christmas mummers’ rhymes”) is also available as part of the Dusty Bluebells Collection.