The Illmington Play – a combat play

As performed by the Stony Stratford Mummers in September 2004 at the Morris Federation Weekend in Kendal.

OPEN YOUR DOOR
Room, room, give me room to rhyme.
Open your dooor and let us in
We beg your favour for to win
Whether we rise stand or fall
We’ll do our duty to please you all.

We are come to show you our activity this Summer time
Active youth and active age
The like was never acted on any stage, and if you don’t
Believe what I say enter in Molly and clear the way.

MOLLY
Ladies and Gentlemen all,
My son has lately come home
In a silvered buttoned waistcoat,
Three-legged hat,
Spats yellow; Calls the cat a bitch.

As I went up Short thin straight narrow
Crooked looking lie I saw a pig-stye
Tied to an elder bush,
A house built of pancakes
Thatched with apple-dumplings.
I knocked at the maiden
And out came the door and asked if I could eat a crust of ale
And drink a glass of bread and cheese;
I said no thank you and meant if you please.

(Song: One verse of ‘Happy Man’)

ROBIN HOOD
A room! A room! Brave gallants all,
Pray give me room to ride,
I’ve come to show activity
This merry Summer tide,
Activity of youth, activity of age
I’ll fight the fiercest battle ever fought upon the stage.

Then where’s the man that dares to bid me stand?
I’ll cut him down with my courageous hand.
I’ll cut him, I’ll hew him
As small as flies
And send him to Satan
To make quincepies.
Quincepies hot, quincepies cold
I’ll send him to Satan before he’s three days old.

OPEN YOUR DOOR
Come in Captain Thunderbolt!

(Captain Thunderbolt enters)

ROBIN HOOD
Who be you? What be you come for?

CAPTAIN THUNDERBOLT
I’m the man that dares to bid thee stand.
Thou saidst thou’d cut me down
With my courageous hand;
Thou saidst thou’d cut me as small as flies
And send me to Satan
To make quincepies
Quincepies hot, quincepies cold
Thou’dst send me to Satan before I was three days old.
Mind thy head and guard the blow,
Mind thy nose and thy feet also.

(They fight and Robin Hood falls)

MOLLY
Doctor, Doctor, do thy part
Robin Hood is wounded through the heart,
Through the heart and through the knee;
Ten guineas to a doctor I’ll freely gie.
Come in Doctor.

THE DOCTOR
Hold my horse, Jack

JACK VINEY
Yes, Sir, I’ve got him fast by the tail.

THE DOCTOR
Rack him up with a faggot and
Give him a bucket of ashes to drink.

(rattling a pillbox)

See Sirs, here comes the Noble doctor
Both stout and good
And with my hand and my skill
I will stop his blood.

MOLLY
Oh, what can you do?

THE DOCTOR
I can cure a magpie of the tooth-ache

MOLLY
How should you do that?

THE DOCTOR
Lay his body on a stool and cut his head off.

MOLLY
What else can you do?

THE DOCTOR
I can cure the Itch, the Stitch, the palsy and the gout
Pains within and pains without
Humph! Humph! Humph!
The Mullygrups and all other vainglorious diseases.
I can cure this man if he is not quite dead.
Bold fellow, raise up thy head.

(Robin Hood remains on the ground. Molly pretends to cry and wants a tooth drawn)

THE DOCTOR
Jack Viney fetch my instruments.

JACK VINEY
My name is not Jack Viney it’s Mr Viney, a man of great fame.

THE DOCTOR
Fetch my instruments!

JACK VINEY
I shan’t.

THE DOCTOR
What’s that?

JACK VINEY
I shan’t.

(The Doctor runs after him)

JACK (returning. Jack brings in any ridiculous object)
This it, sir?

THE DOCTOR
No.

JACK VINEY (bringing another ridiculous object)
Is this it?

THE DOCTOR
No, you fool.

(He kicks Jack out and returns with a pair of tongs.
All four try to pull out Molly’s tooth and all fall, Molly shows her breeches under her petticoat.

THE DOCTOR
Ladies and Gentlemen all,
See how this poor man has suffered,
In my box I carry a pill,
In my bottle I carry a smell,
In my hand there’s no disdain.
Rise up, Robin Hood, and fight again.

THE FIDDLER
In comes I which ain’t been yet
With my great head and little wit;
With my head so big and my wit so small,
I’ve brought my fiddle to please you all.
Green sleeves and yellow waists
Hop and jump about like peas (‘pays’)
And I was a-fiddling
A bottle of pea-soup
I had a shot come thro’ my elbow
And spoilt all my scraping.

TOM PINNEY (or BEELZEBUB)
So here I am, a rub a dub, dub,
On my shoulder I carries my club
In my hand an empty can
Don’t you think I’m a jolly old man.
Now my boys we’ll dance apace
Hump back and hairy wig
Now me boys, we’ll dance a jig.

(They all dance)


Top