Electronic ERD - Gainford Children's Play
Compiled by E.C.Cawte, A.Helm & N.Peacock. Online ed.: P.T.Millington
Acted by a few small boys till recently (1894), dressed up with bits of
ribbon and coloured paper and one with a black face.
Open the door
I open the door I enter in
I hope the battle will soon begin
Stir up the fire and make a light
For in this house there'll be a fight
If you don't believe the words I say
Step in King George and clear the way
In comes I King George, King George is my name
With sword and pistol by side
I hope to win the game
The game sir?
The game sir,
The game will not end in thy power
I'll smash thee into mincemeat
In less than half an hour
Open the door.
How canst thou when my head is made of iron
My body made of steel
My hands and feet of knuckle bone
I'll challenge thee to yield
I sir, I sir,
Take your sword and try sir,
Here two champions come to fight
That never fought before
I have come to save one of their lives
And what can I do more?
Fight on, fight on, my gallant boys
I'll bet ten to one,
Bow Slasher here lies dead.
Oh dear, oh dear, what have I done
I've killed my father's only son
Around the kitchen, around the hall
A five pound doctor I must call
There is no five pound doctor
A ten pound doctor
There is no ten pound doctor
All the world for a doctor
In comes I old Dr. Brown
The best old doctor in the town.
How come you to be the best old doctor?
By my travels
Where have you travelled
England, Fingland, Ficky and Spain
Three times there and back again.
What did you see in your travels
Three dead men fighting
Three blind men seeing fair play
Three deaf and dumb men shouting Hip, hip, hooray
What can you cure?
I can cure
What in the world can you cure?
The hick, the pick, the polt, and the golt
If there is nineteen devils down that man's throat
I can pull twenty out.
Cure that man.
I have a little bottle in my waistcoat pocket
Put it to his lips, Jack, rise fight again
My brother's come alive again
We'll never fight no more
We'll be as kind as brothers
As ever we were before
With pockets full of money
And cellars full of beer
I wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Here's five guising lads all in a row
We just come a guising
If you will provide your extra strong beer
We'll come no more here till this time next year
Sing lady fal the lay
Fal the day
Fal the day
The next one steps up Lord Nelson you'll see
With a bunch of blue ribbons tied under each knee
A star on his breast like silver doth shine
I hope you'll remember it's Christmas time.
Sing lady, fal the day.
Put you hand in your pocket and pull out your purse
If you give us a trifle you'll find it no worse
Put your hand in your pocket, you'll find it all right
If you give nought, we'll take nought, farewell and good night
In comes I old Beelzebub
Over my shoulder I carry my club
In my hand a dripping pan
I think myself a jolly old man
A jolly old man I ought to be
I have two sons as big as three
One tall, the other small
I think myself above you all
In comes I little Johnny Funny
I'm the man that collects the money
I have a little box under my arm
Five or six shillings will do it no harm
So ladies and gentlemen, put your hands in your pockets and pull
out your purse
And give us a trifle, you'll find it no worse
Put your hands in your pockets you'll find it all right
If you give nought, we'll take nought, farewell and goodnight.
Notes on the above:
The Gainford texts are given here for three reasons. Firstly, the
Sword-Dance Play is typical of the Sword Dance Plays (see p.24), secondly as
shown on p.14, an Hero-Combat play can exist in the same place as either the Wooing
or Sword Dance types, and thirdly, the fragment of text from another source bears
out the argument that texts are of less importance than action (see
p.13) It will be noted that the Hero-Combat Play persisted for almost 35 years
longer than the Sword Dance Play, and this could mean that it was easier to produce,
and being shorter, more rewarding financially.
The Sword Dance Play has lines reminiscent of the Wooing Play given earlier:
additionally, it has the passage common to many Sword Dance Plays, where
the dancers refuse to accept the blame for the death of their victim.
These lines are reminiscent of the Bouphonia, the Greek Ox Murder
where eventually, the instrument of killing, the axe, was tried and
condemned for striking the blow (Alford, 1962, 43). The text, if anything, is
shorter than most of the existing Sword Dance Plays, but retains the characteristic
features, and it is typical of the collectors of the period, that the dance
itself was dismissed as 'no particular dance'.