Plays For Wassailing
Wassail is closely related to the mumming traditions. Mummers also travel from door to door. They perform plays and drama do tricks and sing.  This  play dates from the 15th century and is a good piece of drama to add to your Wassail experience.
The Second Shepherd's Play
he Second Shepherd's play is part of the Wakefield Cycle. (Wakefield is in Northern England)  It was performed with the other plays in the cycle early in the morning  during the feast of Corpus Christ. The stages for the plays were pageant wagons. Click Here
Mumming Play from Somerset Mumming plays appear at many holidays, however, 12th night or Epiphany, the holiday most associated with Wassail is a most popular holiday for mummers. click here For another St.George Christmas Mumming play click here.
Plays are great ways to put a bit of excitement into the holiday air. We like to do them outside to build appetite and a good thirst-get that fire started!
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Middle English

Primus Pastor   syrs, do my reede. ffor this trespas,  we will nawther ban ne flyte,  ffyght nor chyte,  Bot haue done as tyte,  And cast hym in canvas. lord! what I am sore / in poynt for to bryst.: In fayth I may no more / therfor wyll I ryst.

Secundus Pastor   As a shepe of sevyn skore / he weyd in my fyst.  ffor to slepe ay whore / me thynk that I lyst.

Tercius Pastor  Now I pray you,  lyg downe on this grene.

Primus Pastor  On these thefys yit I mene.

Tercius Pastor   wherto shuld ye tene So, as I say you?

Angel  Ryse, hyrd men heynd! / for now is he borne
That shall take fro the feynd / that adam had lorne:  That warloo to sheynd / this nyght is he borne.  God is made youre freynd / now at this morne. he behestys,  At bedlem go se,  Ther lygys that fre  In a cryb full poorely,  Betwyx two bestys.

Primus Pastor  This was a qwant stevyn / that euer yit I hard.  It is a meruell to neuyn / thus to be skard.

Secundus Pastor  Of godys son of heuyn / he spak vpward.  All the wod on a leuyn / me thoght that he gard  Appere.

Tercius Pastor : he spake of a barne  In bedlem, I you warne.

Primus Pastor   That betokyns yond starne.  let vs seke hym there,

Secundus Pastor  Say, what was his song? / hard ye not how he crakyd it?
Thre brefes to a long. /

Tercius Pastor yee, mary, he hakt it.  was no crochett wrong / nor no thyng that lakt it.

Primus Pastor  ffor to syng vs emong / right as he knakt it,  I can.

Secundus Pastor  let se how ye croyne.  Can ye bark at the mone?

Tercius Pastor  hold youre tonges, haue done!

Primus Pastor  hark after, than.

Secundus Pastor  To bedlem he bad / that we shuld gang:  I am full fard / that we tary to lang.

Tercius Pastor  Be mery and not sad / of myrth is oure sang, : Euer lastyng glad / to mede may we fang,   Withoutt noyse.

Primus Pastor  hy we theder for thy;  If we be wete and wery, To that chyld and that lady  we haue it not to lose.

Secundus Pastor  we fynde by the prophecy-/ let be youre dyn-: Of dauid and Isay / and mo then I myn,  Thay prophecyed by clergy / that in a vyrgyn  shuld, he lyght and ly / to slokyn oure syn  And slake it,  Oure kynde from wo;  ffor Isay sayd so, Cite` virgo  Concipiet a chylde that is nakyd.

Tercius Pastor  ffull glad may we be / and abyde that day  That lufly to se / that all myghtys may.  lord, well were me / for ones and for ay, Myght I knele on my kne / som word for to say  To that chylde. Bot the angell sayd,  In a cryb wos he layde; he was poorly arayd  Both mener and mylde.

Primus Pastor   patryarkes that has bene / and prophetys beforne,  Thay desyryd to haue sene / this chylde that is borne.  Thay ar gone full clene / that haue thay lorne.
We shall se hym, I weyn / or it be morne, To tokyn. When I se hym and fele,: Then wote I full weyll  It is true as steyll  That prophetys haue spokyn. To so poore as we ar / that he wold appere, ffyrst fynd, and declare / by his messyngere.

Secundus Pastor   Go we now, let vs fare / the place is vs nere.

Tercius Pastor  : I am redy and yare / go we in fere  To that bright. Lord, if thi wylles be,  we ar lewde all thre, Thou grauntt vs somkyns gle To comforth thi wight.

Primus Pastor   hayll, comly and clene! / hayll, yong child!: hayll, maker, as I meyne, / of a madyn so mylde!  Thou has waryd, I weyne / the warlo so wylde;  The fals gyler of teyn / now goys he begylde. lo, he merys; lo, he laghys, my swetyng, A welfare metyng,  I haue holden my hetyng;  haue a bob of cherys.

Secundus Pastor  hayll, sufferan sauyoure! / ffor thou has vs soght  hayll, frely foyde and floure / that all thyng has wroght!  hayll, full of fauoure / that made all of noght!
hayll! I kneyll and I cowre. / A byrd haue I broght To my barne. hayll, lytyll tyne' mop! of oure crede thou art crop  I wold drynk on thy cop,  Lytyll day starne.

Tercius Pastor : hayll, derlyng dere / full of godhede  I pray the be nere / when that I haue nede.  hayll! swete is thy chere! / my hart wold, blede : To se the sytt here / in so poore wede,  With no pennys.  hayll! put furth thy dall!  I bryng the bot a ball  haue and play the with all,  And go to the tenys.

Mary   The fader of heuen / god omnypotent.  That sett all on seuen, / his son has he sent.  My name couth he neuen / and lyght or he went.  I conceyuyd hym full euen / thrugh myght as he ment,  And now is he borne. he kepe you fro wo!  I shall pray hym so;  Tell furth as ye go,  And myn on this morne.

Primus Pastor   ffarewell, lady / so fare to beholde,
with thy childe on thi kne! /

Secundus Pastor bot he lygys full cold.  lord, well is me / now we go, thou behold,.

Tercius Pastor  ffor sothe all redy / it semys to be told  full oft.

Primus Pastor   what grace we haue fun.

Secundus Pastor  Com furth, now ar we won.

Tercius Pastor  To syng ar we bun  let take on loft.

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The Second Shepherd’s Play Scene 7
The fields near Bethlehem in Judea
We see the three shepheds weary and tired with walking.

First Shepherd  Lord, how I am sore and like to burst in the breast
                           In faith, I can stand no more, therefore will I rest.

Second Shepherd  As a sheep of seven score Mak weighed in my fist; to sleep anywhere methink I would list.

Third Shepherd  Then I pray you,  Lie down on this green.

First Shepherd  (hesitating)  On these thefts to think I yet mean.

Third Shepherd  Then I pray you Lie down on this green.

First Shepherd  (hesitating).  On these thefts to think I yet mean.

Third Shepherd  Whereto should ye be worried lean? Do as I tell you.

(They lie down to sleep but they have barely done so when an Angel appears above. He first sings the hymn “Gloria in Excelsis” then addresses the Shepherds)

Angel    Rise herdsmen gentle, for now is He born That shall take from the Fiend what Adam had lorn. That fiend to overthrow this night is He born;  God is made your Friend.   Now at this morn,  He commands,  To Bedlem you go see:  There lies that divine He In a crib that full poorly Betwixt two beasts stands. 

(The Angel dissappears)

First Shepherd  This was a quaint voice that ever yet I heard. It is a marvel to relate thus to be stirred.

Second Shepherd  Of God’s son of heaven he spoke from above ,  All the wood was in lightning as he spoke of love. I thought it fair. 

Third Shepherd  Of a child heard I tell In Bedlem;  I heard it well.

First Shepherd   (pointing ot a star that has begun to blaze) Yonder star, above the dell: Let us follow him there.

Second Shepherd    Say, what was his song?  Heard ye how he sang it?  Three breeves to a long.

Third Shepherd  Yes marry, he thwacked it. Was no crotchet wrong nor nothing lacked it.

First Shepherd    For to sing it again right as he trilled it. I can if I may.

Second Shepherd    Let me see how ye croon, Or do ye but bark at the moon? 

Third Shepherd    Hold your toungues! Have done!

First Shepherd     Hark after me I say!
(They try to sing the hymn as best they can)

Second Shepherd   To Bedlem he bade that we should go I am troubled that we tarry too slow.

Third Shepherd    Be merry nad not sad of mirth is our song lo! Everlasting glad in the rewards that will flow, No plaint may we make.

First Shepherd    Hie we thither gladly, though we be wet and weary to that Child and that Lady Let us our way take.

Second Shepherd  We find by the prophecy let be your din! Of David and Isaih, and more therein, As prophesied by clergy, that on a virgin Should He light and lie to redeem our sin  And slake it. Our kind from woe. To save Isaiah said so- “Ecce virgo Concipiet  a child that is naked”

Third Shepherd  Full glad may we be, and await that day That lovely day that He shall with His might sway.  Lord, well for me for once and for aye! Might I but kneel on my knee some word for to say To that child But the angel said In a crib is He laid, He is poorly arrayed, So meek and mild.

First Shepherd    Patriarchs that have been and prophets beforne, They desired to have seen this Child that is born But they are gone full clean, from life forlorn- It is we shall see him, ere it be morn. By token When I see Him and feel, Then shall I know full well It is true as steel  What prophets have spoken To so poor  as we are that he should appear, We the first to find and be his messenger! 

Second Shepherd   Go we now, let us are: the place must be near.

Third Shepherd   I am ready and eager: go we together To that Light! Lord! If Thy will it be, Though we are lowly all three, Grant us of Thy glee, To comfort Thy wight
(They move on, following the star, to Bethlehem)

Scene 8
The stable or manger in Bethlehem The shepherds enter and kneel before the Virgin and Child.

First Shepherd     Hail, comely and clean, hail, young child. Hail Maker as I mean, born of maiden so mild! Thou hast banned I deem the devil so wild. The evil beguiler now goes beguiled.
(pointing to the Child)
Lo, Merry He is! Lo, he laughts, my sweeting, A welcome greeting! 
(offering the Child some cherries)

Second Shepherd     Hail, sovereign Savior, for Thou hast us sought! Hail Nursling, leaf and flower, that all things hath wrought! Hail, full of favor, that made all of nought! 
(offering a bird)
Hail, I kneel and I cower-A bird have I brought. Without mar. Hail, little tiny mop, Of our creed thou art the crop; I would drink from thy cup, Little day-star.

Third Shepherd   Hail darling dear, full of godhead! I pray The be near when that I have need. Hail! Sweet is Thy cheer! And my heart must bleed To see Thee sit here clothed so poor indeed, With no pennies. Hail! Thy hand put forth to us all—
I bring thee but a ball; take and play with it withall, And go to the tennis

The Virgin Mary  The father of heaven, God omnipotent, That set all aright, his son has He sent. My name He chose forth, and on me his light spent; And I conceived Him forthwith through His might as God meant; And now is the Child born, May He keep you from woe! I shall pray him so. Till the glad news as ye go, And remember this morn.

The First Shepherd    Farewell, Lady, so fair to behold. With thy child on thy knee.

Second Shepherd   But he lies full cold Lord it is well with me! Now we go as ye behold.

Third Shepherd   In truth already it seems to be told Full oft—

First Shepherd What grace we have found.

Second Shepherd Come forth! Now we are won!

Third Shepherd  To sing of it we’re bound: Let us sing aloft!
(they leave the stable singing)

-Source:pp.123-127. Medieval and Tudor Drama, ed. John Gassner, Bantam 1963.

North Somerset Mummers Play


Father Christmas.:In come I old Father Christmas, Welcome or welcome not,  I hope old Father Christmas Will never be forgot.  On my back I carry a pack,  In my hand a pan.  Try to help me if you can.

King George the Third:. In comes I King George the Third With my arms I break down the prison walls and set the prisoners free.

Black Prince of Paradise. In come I the Black Prince of Paradise, born in a fiery hole. ; King George the Third.Stand off thou black and American dog. And not let a word be said, For if I draw my sword to Thee I'll surely crack thy head. Black Prince of Darkness. How canst Thou crack my head? My head is made of cannon balls. My body's made of steel, My arms and legs of the first-class brass I challenge thee to feel.

King George the Third. Pull out thy sword to fight, pull out thy purse to pay, For recompense will I have before Thou go away.

Black Prince of Darkness: No recompense will I give, no money will I pay, But thee and I shall fight it out before we go away. They fight and the Black Prince of Darkness falls wounded.

King George the Third. Doctor, Doctor, where art thee ? The Turk is wounded in the knee. Hello, here comes old Jack the quack Doctor.

Philip Vincent. 'I'll let thee know my name isn't Jack the quack Doctor. He strikes . . . on the side of the head. My name is Philip Vincent the noble Doctor. I have a little bottle in my side pocket which I call the okum pokum drop. A little drop on the head, a little drop on the heart. Rise up again and take thy part.

Source: Tiddy R. J. E. The Mummers' Play. Oxford, 1923.

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The Play of Saint George

In the midst of much singing, dancing and feasting, enter some mummers or performers,

led by Father Christmas, who is swinging a mighty club)

Father Christmas:  Here come I, old Father Christmas,

Welcome, or welcome not.

I hope old Father Christmas

Will never be forgot.

I have not come here to laugh or to jeer,

But for a pocketful of money and a skinful of beer

To show some sport or pastime,

Gentlemen and Ladies, in the Christmas-time.

If you will not believe what I now say,

Come in the Turkish Knight! Clear the way

Enter the Turkish Knight

Turkish Knight

Open the doors and let me in

I hope your favors now to win;

Whether I rise, or whether I fall,

I'll do my best to please you all.

Prince George is here, and swears he will come in;

And if he does, I know hell pierce my skin.

If he does not believe what I now say,

Come in the King of Egypt'--Clear the Way!

Enter the King of Egypt

King of Egypt

Here I, the King of Egypt, boldly do appear.

Prince George, Prince George, walk in, my son and heir!

Walk in , my son, Prince George, and boldly play thy part

That all the people her may see thy wondrous art.

Enter Prince George

Prince George

Here come I, Saint George, from Britain have I sprung

I'll fight the Dragon bold, for my wonders have begun.

I'll clip his wings, he shall not fly;

I'll cut him down, or else I'll die The Dragon

Who's he that seeks the Dragons blood

And calls so angry and so loud?

That English dog, will he before me stand?

I'll cut him down with my courageous hand

With my long teeth and my scurvy jaw

Of such as he I break up half a score

Prince George and the Dragon fight; the Dragon is killed.

Father Christmas Is there a Doctor to be found

All ready, near at hand,

To cure the deep and deadly wound

And make the Champion stand!

Enter a Doctor, holding a bottle of medicine under his arm


All ready, near at hand,

To cure a deep and deadly wound

And make the champion stand'

Father Christmas What can you cure


All sorts of diseases,

Whatever you pleases,

The phthistic, the palsy, and the gout

Whatever the disorder, I soon draw



Father Christmas What is your fee?


Fifteen pounds is all my fee,

The money you lay down.

But since `tis such a rogue as he,

I'll cure him for ten pound.

I have a little bottle of Elucampane:

To the actor who impersonates the Dragon.

Here Jack, take a little of this flip-flop,

Pour it down thy tip-top,

Then rise and fight again.

The Doctor gives him the medicine The Dragon comes to life again, and fights

with St George, and is killed again

Prince George

Here I am, St. George, a worthy champion bold,

And with my sword and spear I've won three crowns of gold

I've found the fiery dragon and brought him to the slaughter~

And with that I've won fair Sabra, the King of Egypts daughter

The Turkish Knight advances.

Turkish Knight

Here come I, the Turkish Knight,

Come from the Turkish land to fight,

I'll fight St George, who is my foe,

And make him yield before I go.

He brags to such a high degree

He thinks that none can do the like of he.

Prince George

Where is that Turk that will before me stand?

I'll cut him down with my courageous hand.

Turkish Knight

Oh! Pardon me, Prince George, pardon of thee I crave

Oh' Pardon me this night and I will be thy slave.

They fight; the Turkish Knight is defeated and falls on one knee

Prince George

I'll never pardon a Turkish Knight,

So rise up again and try thy might.

They fight again, and the Turkish Knight is killed.

Father Christmas calls once more for the Doctor, who appears quickly and cures

the Knight.

Then the Doctor is given a basin of girdy grout,' following which he is given a

kick and driven out by the actors. Then Fair Sabra, the King of Egypts daughter,

appears and goes toward Prince George to become his wife.

Father Christmas So, ladies and gentlemen, your sport now has ended.

Therefore, behold this box, which is highly commended'

The box would speak, if


had but a tongue,

Come throw in your money and think it no wrong.

Father Christmas starts collecting money in his box

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