To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Outsider Poems, a Mini-Anthology in Progress (11): A Christmas Play, Performed by the Derbyshire Mummers, 1849


I open the door as I came in,
A pinion favour for to win;
Whether I rise, stand, or fall,
I'll do my duty to please you all.
Room, room, brave gallants;
Room, room, I intend to shew,
See how these pretty actors go,
Acting well, or acting pale.
And if you can't believe me what I say,
Step in, St. Gay, and clear a way.

[Enter ST. GAY.]

St. Gay
Here am I, St. Gay;
St. Gay it is my name;
From England's ground I sprung and came;
I'll search the nations round and round,
If I can but find King George
I'll give thousand pound.

King George is here,
He's ready at hand.
I'll fetch him in at thy command;
And if you can't believe me what I say,
Step in, King George, and clear a way.


King George.
The dew drops from yonder mountains high!
I've been in search of my enemy,
And, now I've found him, my sword shall end his life!

St. Gay.
I'm afraid l am a stranger,
Exposed all in danger,
Two balls from yonder mountain have laid me quite low.
Enter in that noble soldier bold,
Before King George does strike me cold.

{Enter SOLDIER.}

Forbear, King George, a few minutes!
Look down with pity on him;
Thou shalt not wrong him!

King George.
Who art thou?

A noble soldier bold,
And Slasher is my name!
With a sword and buckler by my side
I hope to win this game;
And if this game should do me good,
I'll draw my sword and draw thy blood.

King George.
O thou hasher, thou slasher,
How canst thou talk so hot?
When there's one in this room
Thou little think'st thou hast got,
Who will hash thee and slash thee,
As I told thee once before.

O thou hasher, thou slasher,
How canst thou talk so hot?
My hands are made of iron,
My body's made of steel,
My head is made of beaten-brass;
No man can make me feel.

King George.
Here stands King George,
One of the noble deeds of valour;
In a close escape have I been kept,
And out of that into a prison leapt;
Many a giant I did subdue,
When I run the fiery dragon through.
'Twas me who slew the dragon,
And brought him to the slaughter,
And won the King of Egypt's daughter.

Get on, King George, it shall be so,
The warmest battle that ever was know!

{King George and Soldier fight; Soldier tumbles down and dies.}

{Enter DOCTOR.}

Here am I, doctor so good,
And with my hand I clear his blood;
I carry him some pill
To cure all diseases,
Take my word just as it pleases.

St. Gay.
How far bast thou travelled, noble doctor?

The pie place, the bread and cheese cupboard.

St. Gay.

Any further?

O, yes; through Italy, Pittaly,
And all the towns that you can name,
Now returned to old England again,
To heal this man that here lies lame.
O I have got a little bottle in my waistcoat pocket,
Called hokum smokum clicampane,
Fetch any dead man to life again!
Here, Jack, take a bit of my nip-nap,
Ram it down, hey tip-tap:
Rise up, Jack, and fight again.

O how horrible, cut horrible,
The like was never seen,
A man frighten'd out of seven senses into seventeen,
And out of seventeen into seven score!
The like was never seen, and never done before;
And if you can't believe me what I say,
Step in, Black Prince, and clear away.

{Enter Black Prince.}

Bl. Prince
Here am I, Black Prince,
-Black Prince of Paradise, black Morocco king;
Through all those woods and graves I range through,
I make the earth to ring!
It was me who slew those seven Turks.
Although King George I do not fear,
But from his body to his heart
I'll run my dreadful spear!
I'll jam his giblets full of holes,
And in those holes put pebble stones!

King George.
Thou jam my giblets full of holes,
And in those holes put pebble stones!
Although thou art a champion's squire,I
t does not lie in thy power!

Bl. Prince.
Let me be a champion's squire, or what I will,
I'll do my best thou for to kill!

Get on, Black Prince, it shall be so,
The sorest battle that ever was know;
The clock struck one,
And the hour is gone,
And this sorest battle must go on!

Put up those swords, and be at rest,
Peace and quietness is the best!
And if you can't believe me what I say,
Enter in, owld Beelzebub, and clear a way.

{Enter BEELZEBUB; bell rings all through this part.}

In comes one that never came yet,
A big head and little wit;
Althoagh my wit it is so small,
I've got enough to serve you all.
Ah! ah! funny,
All these fine things and no money.
My name is called owld Beelzebub,
And over my left shoulder I carry a club,
And in my right hand a small dripping-pan,
So I think myself a jolly old man!
A duck-skin hairy budget
Tied fast upon my back;
A snuff-box in my pocket,
As large as you may suppose,
As large as any owld turnip,
All for to view my own nose;
With a rink a tink,
And a sup more drink,
And I'll make your old kettle cry sound!


[Extract from Halliwell's nineteenth-century Preface: "The present piece is a copy of a Christmas play performed by the mummers of Derbyshire, obtained from oral tradition in that county. Numerous versions of this rural drama are used in the north of England, and it were to be wished that they were all collected and published. The present one, although curious, is replete with strange corruptions, King George occupying the place of the Saint, and Guy being introduced as 8t. Gay, an addition to the calendar not noticed elsewhere. Beelzebub is here a genuine descendant of the ancient Vice, and there can be but little doubt that the whole performance, though it has doubtlessly undergone great alteration, is a traditional version of an early mystery."]

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