The Broadway Play – a combat play

BACKGROUND

A text from the picturesue Cotswold village of Broadway in Worcestershire. First published in 1909 in fragmentary form. Full text pubs. in the Evesham Journal 24 December 1965. Last performed circa 1874, and by Stony Mummers in 1984 and Christmas 2004!

CHARACTERS

Father Christmas St George Turkish Knight Soldier English Lady Doctor Frenchman Sweet Moll Little Dick Nip Little Man Thomas Beelzebub

THE PLAY

(ALL enter to “There was an old woman tossed up in a blanket”)
FATHER CHRISTMAS
In comes I, old Father Christmas, Christmas or Christmas not,
I hopes old Father Christmas will never be forgot.
Christmas comes but once a year
And when it comes it brings us here.
Roast Beef, Plum Pudding and Mince Pie
There’s nobody at Christmas likes better than I.
A room, a room, brave gallants! Room!
And give us room to reign –
We are come to show our activity
On a merry Christmas time.
If you don’t believe what I do say
Enter in St George, and clear the way!

SAINT GEORGE
In comes I, St George, St George –
The man of courage bold.
With sword and spear all by my side,
Hoping to gain a crown of gold.
‘Twas I that slew the fiery dragon
And brought him to the slaughter,
So by those fiery means I hope to gain the King of Egypt’s daughter.
Seven years was I shut up in a close cave
And after that cast in a prison where I made
My sad and grievous mourn.
I saved fair Zipporah from the snake.
Which no other mortal man could undertake.
I fought him most courageously
Until I gained the victory.
Show me the man that dares me!

TURKISH KNIGHT
I am the man that dare, the Turkish Knight,
Come from native Turkish land to fight.
I’ll fight St George, the man of courage bold,
If his blood is hot, I’ll quickly make it cold.

SAINT GEORGE
Art thou the man the reckonings give?

TURKISH KNIGHT
I am the man the reckonings give
And I’ll maintain my honour while I live.
Draw out thy sword and fight,
Pull out thy purse and pay,
For satisfaction I will have
Before thou goest away.

(They fight)

FATHER CHRISTMAS
A room, a room, ye gallants!
Room!
And let the gallant soldier in!

SOLDIER
In comes I, the valiant soldier,
Cut and Slasher is my name.
Straight from the German wars I came.
‘Twas me and seven more
That slew eleven score,
All brave marching men of war
Many a battle I’ve been in
I’ll fight St George, the noble King.

(They fight)

FATHER CHRISTMAS
A room, a room, ye gallants!
Room!
And let the English Lady in.

ENGLISH LADY
Here am I, the English Lady.

SAINT GEORGE
Madam, to thee I humbly bend.

ENGLISH LADY
I think you not to be my friend.

SAINT GEORGE
For why madam?
Did I ever do you harm?

ENGLISH LADY
Yes, you saucy coxcomb!
Get you gone!

SAINT GEORGE
Saucy coxcomb?
Madam, that word deserves a stab.

ENGLISH LADY
A stab from thee the least I fear.
Appoint a place: I’ll meet thee there,
I’ll cross the water at the hour o’ five
I’ll meet you there if I’m alive.

SAINT GEORGE
I’ll cross the water at the hour o’ tem
And meet you with a hundred men.

ENGLISH LADY
Halt, halt! St George!
Why not have me for a wife?
See what a beautiful lady I am!

SAINT GEORGE
That word from thee deserves a stab.
I’ll draw out my knife
And end thy worthless life.

(Kills English Lady who falls in Father Christmas’ arms)

FATHER CHRISTMAS
Doctor, doctor, where bist thee?
Five pound for a noble doctor!
Ten pound for a noble doctor!
Fifteen pound for a noble doctor!

DOCTOR
In comes I a doctor, a doctor sure and good,
With my sword I’ll staunch the blood;
And I’ll be bound by a fifty pound bond
If she doesn’t arise and come to me
If she doesn’t arise and come to me.

(She gets up. To the Turkish Knight)

Drop of brow, drop of heart,
Rise up Jack and do thy part.

(He gets up. To the Soldier)

Drop of brow, drop of heart, Rise up Jack and do thy part.

(He gets up)

FRENCHMAN
In comes I, the Frenchman bold,
And I’ve sworn by the blood of man
That I’ll never be controlled……….
I’m here tonight to plant my tree
To plant my tree – Liberty.

SAINT GEORGE
Thou Frenchman dog, I’ll cut thee down
And give thy flesh unto the groun’
Foully thou hast challenged me
Stand forth thou figure of a tree:
We’ll see who gains the victory!

(Frenchman falls)

FATHER CHRISTMAS (having felt the Frenchman’s knee)
Doctor, doctor, where bist thee?
This man’s wounded in the knee!
Doctor, doctor, play thy part!
This man’s wounded in the heart.
Five pound for some noble doctor!
Ten pound for some noble doctor!
Fifteen pound for some noble doctor!

DOCTOR
In comes I, a doctor, a doctor pure and good,
And with my glittering sword I’ll staunch his blood.
If the man don’t rise and come unto me
I’ll be bound in a fifty pound bond
Never to call myself a doctor again.

(Touches the Frenchman who gets up and they both walk out, Sweet Moll comes in)

SAINT GEORGE
Sweet Moll, Sweet Moll, where art thou going
So early and so soon?
I’ve something to say
I yet thou canst stay.

SWEET MOLL
What hast thou got to say to me?
Pray tell it to me now:
For I am spending all my time,
And that I cannot tell how.

SAINT GEORGE
Thy folks and mine could well agree
That married we should be,
So pray pull down thy lofty looks
And fix thy love on me.

SWEET MOLL
Think I would wed with thee, thou clown,
And lose my maiden head,
When I could get a handsome man
To lie with me in bed?

SAINT GEORGE
Ain’t I as handsome as you, Sweet Moll.
With my dandy leather breeches,
And a band all round my middle so small?
Pray give me a few more twitches!

SWEET MOLL
I must have a little tweeking page
That speaks of peevish tongue,
And a pair of silver buckles
Which ladies oft have on.

SAINT GEORGE
Sweet Moll, Sweet Moll, thou hast no need
To talk o’such like things,
As was never bred up in a palace
Among the lords and dukes and kings.
The little thou hast learnt thereof,
Thou hast almost forgot,
And if thou wilt not marry me
Then thou shalt go and rot.

(He stabs her. Doctor is then called in with speeches as before from F. Christmas)

LITTLE DICK NIP
In comes I poor little Dick Nip,
With my big head and little wit;
My head’s so large, my body’s so small
Yet I’m the biggest rogue of all.
My forehead’s made of brass,
My heart is made of steel,
My trousers touch my anklebones,
Pray father come and feel.

(Father Christmas feels)

Little Man Thomas:
In comes I, Little Man Thomas.
I hope all you good people
Will give me that you promise,
And if you will endeavour
To save man Thomas’ life,
Then out with your bread and cheese
And here’s a pretty knife.

(Throws a large knife on the floor)

BEELZEBUB
In comes I, Beelzebub
On my shoulder I carries my club,
In my hand my dripping pan,
Don’t you think I’m a jolly old man?
A drop of your big vat
Would make us merry and sing.
To have your shillings in our pockets
Would be a very fine thing!


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