Location: Heptonstall, Yorkshire, England (SD9827)
Year: Col. 1909
Time of Occurrence: Easter
Collective Name: Paceakers


The Mummers' Play
Oxford, University Press, 1923, pp.234-236




Ring a ring,
I enter the or to see this merry act begin.
I'll act it right and act it safe
and act it on a public state:
and if you can't believe this words I say,
Step in St George and clear my way.

St George

I'm the St George of nobles bright
Who shed most blood for England's right,
England's right and England's wrong,
I'll make thee . . . thy gallant way.

Bold Striker

I'm a soldier stout and bold, Bold Striker is my name,
My sword and drawn buckle by my side, I hope to win this game.

St George [Note 1]

I hope to do the same great boy,
for to fight with me I see thou art not able,
for able is able and life is in my power
and if I draw my glittering sword
I'm almost sure to make the devour.

Bold Striker

How canst thou make me devour
with on my head a plate of brass and in my hand a piece of steel?
My legs and arms are knuckle and bone: I challenge thee to fight.

{They Fight.}

Bold Striker


St George

There is no pardon.
Fight and die. [Note 2]
Now Bold Striker's dead and gone and what becomes of me?
His body is dead, his blood is shed, and there his body lies.
He challenged me to fight and why should I deny't.
I struck his doublet into ten parts and sent 'em over the sea,
I sent 'em over the sea to Jamaica to make mince pies,
Mince pies hot and mince pies cold,
mince pies in addition nine days old.
Oh Doctor, Doctor,
if there yet be a travelling doctor in this town
I'll have one if it takes me over a thousand pound.


In come I that never came yet
With my great head and little wit:
Although my wit is but small
Perhaps I've got enough to save you all.

St George

Are you the doctor?


Yes, sir, I'm the doctor.

St George

How camest thou to be the doctor?


By my travels, sir.

St George

How far is your travels, sir?


From Italy, Sicily, Germany, France and Spain,
Three times to the world and back again.

St George

No further?


Yes, sir, a great deal further.

St George

How much further?


From the fireside upstairs and back again.

St. George

What can you cure?


All sorts.

St George

What 's all sorts?


Itchy pitchy polsh of a golsh.
If a man cast nineteen penny down his throat,
I'm sure I can cast twenty of them out.
By saying 'Here, Jack, take a little of this bottle,
Let it run down thy throttle;
If thou feel not quite slain,
Arise and fight it all over again.'

Bold Striker

Oh, my back.

St George

What 's the matter with thy back?

Bold Striker

My back is broken, my heart's been confounded,
Been struck into seven centres four score
And never like to see old England's ground once more.

St George

What 's thy fee, Jack?


Ten pounds is my fee,
but I'll only take five off you:
I know you're only a rogue and a rascal and you'll never pay me.

St George

Oh thou silly ass.
I'll bind thy ope. thy living ope
by tieing thy cap behind you manger
For putting me to such a poor stranger.
If you won't believe these words I say,
Step in the Prince of Paradise and clear my way.

Prince of Paradise

I am the Prince of Paradise of high renown:
Soon I shall see St George's courage taken down.

{Here they have forgotten the part about Morocco.}

Old Tossip

Oh the next that steps in is old Tossip you see:
He's a gallant old man you will now agree.
He wears a pig-tail: can't you see how it cocks ?
And he spends all his time in drinking old ale.

{Here there should be something about an organ-grinder.}


In steps I, a suffragette
Over my shoulder I carry my clogs in my hand
And our Mary Ann shall . . . keep to . . . for any old man

Old Tossip

I've a stick in my hand and a pipe in my snout
And my old cally wife is better than bout
I've some eggs in my basket although I appear
Expecting some time to come in for my share.
Although I am ragged and not so well dressed
I can carry a pace egg as well as the best.

{Final Chorale.}


We string of fine lads as ever you see
We can all sing as bonny as Robin agree
You see how we're dressed and you see how we go,
As fine as a Lily from the top to the toe.
Go down in your cellar and see what you'll find:
If your barrels be empty, I hope you'll be kind,
For we'll come no more here until the next year,
And if you give us nothing, we'll take nothing,
so farewell and good day.


Tiddy Notes:

"This was taken down in 1909. It is acted in the morning and afternoon of Easter Monday. Tossip carries pace eggs in his hat."


1. "In the MS. this speech is given to the Doctor"
2. "Should Fight and die be taken as stage direction? The performers did not 'fight and die' at this point: but perhaps they ought to have done so."

Peter Millington's Notes:

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