Location: Braganstown, Louth, Ireland (IO0294)
Year: Perf. About 1890
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: [Not given]


Bryan Jones
Collectanea : Christmas Mumming in Ireland
Folk-Lore, Sep.1916, Vol.XXVII, No.III, pp.301,304-307




[Introducer] [Note 3]

Room, room, gallant boys,
Give us room to rhyme.
We'll show you some activity
Coming on to Christmas time.
Active young and active age,
Such activity was never acted on a stage.
And if you don't believe me
And give in to what I say,
Enter in Prince George
And he'll show you play.

Prince George.

Here come I, Prince George,
From England have I sprung,
Some of those noble deeds of valour to begin,
And the same I will avow,
And if we don't get cash this night
We'll raise a blooming row.
English rights and Ireland a nation.
Here I draw my shining weapon.
Show me the man that dare me stand,
I'll cut him down with sword in hand.

Turkish Champion.

Yes, here I am, the man who dare you stand,
My courage is so great.
I fought lords, dukes and earls,
And made their hearts to quake.

Prince George.

What are you but a poor silly lad.

Turkish Champion.

I am the Turkish Champion.
From Turkey land I came
To fight and cut and slash,
As Prince George it is your name.
To cut and fight and slash,
And make man's poison of your bones,
And after that beat any man in Christendom.

{Cross swords and fight.}

Prince George.

Doctor! Doctor! Any doctor to be found
To cure this man of his deep and mortal wound?


Yes, here comes a doctor
Most pure and good,
And with my broadsword
I will staunch this man's blood

Prince George.

What can you cure, Doctor?


I can cure the plague within and the plague without,
The hurdy gurdy and the gout.
Get me an old lady fourscore and ten,
With the knucklebone of her big toe out,
And I'll set in right again.

Prince George.

Where do you carry you medicine, Doctor?


I've a little bottle in the waistband of my pants
Called hocus pocus pic and pin.
Arise, dead man, and fight again.

Turkish Champion.

Aloft, aloft, where have I been?
And oh! What strange and foreign lands I've seen!
I once was dead, but now I am alive:
Blessed be the doctor who did me survive.
And if you don't believe me and list to what I say,
Enter in Prince Patrick and he'll show you play.

Prince Patrick.

Here come I, Prince Patrick,
With my armour shining bright,
A famous old champion
And a worthy old knight.

Prince George.

What are you, Prince Patrick, but Prince George's stable boy.
Who fed his horse with oats and hay,
And after that you let him run away?

Prince Patrick.

That story's a lie, sir.

Prince George.

Draw forth your sword and try, sir.

Prince Patrick.

Pull out your purse and pay, sir.

Prince George.

I'll put my sword through you, and make you run away, sir.
And if you don't believe me and give in to what I say,
Enter in Oliver Cromwell and he'll show you play.

Oliver Cromwell.

Here come I, Oliver Cromwell,
As you all may suppose,
I have conquered many nations
With my large copper nose.
I've made the Spanish to tremble,
And Frenchmen for to quake,
And beat the jolly Dutchman
Coming home from the wake.
And if you don't believe and give in to what I say,
Enter in Beelzebub and he'll show you play.


Here come I, Beelzebub,
And on my shoulder I carry my club,
And in my hand a old dripping pan,
And I prove myself a jolly old man.
And if you don't believe and give in to what I say,
Enter in Bighead and he'll show you play.


Here come I that didn't come yet,
With my big head and my little wit;
My head is big and my wit is small,
I'll do my endeavour to please you all.
And if you don't believe me and give in to what I say,
Enter in Dilly Doubt and he'll show you play.

Dilly Doubt.

Here come I, Dilly Doubt,
With the tail of my shirt protruding out.
Money I want and money I crave,
But if you refuse, prepare for the grave.
And if you don't believe me and give in to what I say,
Enter in Johnnie Funny and he'll show you play.

Johnnie Funny.

Here come I, Johnnie Funny,
And in my hands I take the money;
The cellar is locked and we can't get in,
And we feel rather thirsty, so sing, boys, sing.


Jones' introduction:

"While I was at home in the neighbourhood of Dundalk for a few days' leave in December last the house was visited one evening by a part of small boys mumming. We saw them play, and copied down the rhymes which follow. I consulted our gardener, an elderly Meath man, who had often supplied me with scraps of folklore, and found that he had no experience of Christmas mummers, but he interested himself in the subject and took down a version of the play from one Matthews, a labourer works under him. Matthews, who is about forty years of age and a Louth man, says that when he was a 'chap' (i.e. about fifteen) the ballad singers used to hawk broadsheets of mumming rhymes at Christmas time. He was rather vague about the whole thing, perhaps because he was shy with me. I have not been able to make as full enquiries as I should like, but it seems worth noting that small as the County of Louth is Christmas mumming seems to be unknown in Ardee and Carlingford (Matthews come from Bragganstown near Castle Bellingham). The boy, who have disappeared from my ken, said something about a schoolmaster, so that possibly their version may have a literary origin. So may Matthews's for that matter. Perhaps (a) is mainly Patrick Kennedy's County Wicklow play, [Note 1] and (b) a blend of Kennedy and some English version.
Matthews seem to have no idea about dress, but most of the boys wore pointed masks and more or less distinctive costumes. Rim Rhu has a long cut-away coat of blue flowered chintz and trousers of similar red material; the Doctor, a coat and a black bowler; and Diddle Doubt, a shovel hat. Beelzebub explained that he had started with a Tail but must have dropped it on the road."

Jones' Footnotes:

Note 1: "Dublin University Magazine, 1863, page 584."
Note 3: "Matthews could not put a name to the first speaker."

File History:

2000-12-23 - Entered by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


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