There are two songs in the Middleton Play: The Opening Song (which is sung before the action of the play itself commences) and The Closing Song (which is sung after the play is ended!)
We beg your leave, kind gentlemen, and ladies of renown.
If you’ll please to give us room, we will sing to you a song.
If you’ll please to give us room, we will sing to you a song,
And I’ll call in mi Comrades, and call them one by one;
CHORUS: For we’re Jolly Boys,
We do no harm,
Wherever we may go,
And we’ve come a Pace Egging,
As you very well do know.
Oh! the first that does come in, he is a sailor brave.
He says he’s ploughed the ocean, and he’s split the briny wave.
He says he has got gold, and he says he has got store,
And he says he’ll marry a pretty girl, and go to sea no more.
And the next that does come in, it is Miss Kitty Fair.
She takes a great delight, in the curling of her hair.
She has a basket beside her; she has no store put in.
And ’tis her delight, both day and night, the supping of strong gin.
Oh the next that does come in, he is a blooming youth.
He says he courts the pretty girls, and always tells ’em t’ truth.
Red, rosy cheeks are his delight, both beautiful and fair.
And if you want a sweetheart, then come to Middleton Fair.
And the last that does come in, he is a Roving Blade.
you’ll find him where the ladies are, for he is such a jade.
He says he’ll never deceive them, he’s always kind and true.
And ’tis his delight, both day and night, the supping of strong brew.
Well now you’ve seen us all, think of us as you find.
If you’ll please to give us a trifle, it would be very kind.
If you’ll please to give us a pint of beer, it would be very fair.
And we’ll drink your health, and store your wealth, until the very next year.
During the songs, as the cast ‘springily circle sunwise’ individuals step into the centre: Female Clown for ‘Miss Kitty Fair’ and any of Slasher, George and Turkish Champion for the ‘Sailor Brave’, ‘Blooming Youth’,’Roving Blade’,’Lord Nelson’ and ‘Lord Collingwood’ Beelzebub has the honour of being ‘Tosspot’!
CHORUS: Here’s one, two, three Jolly Lads, all in one mind.
We have come a Pace Egging, and we hope you’ll prove kind.
And we hope you’ll prove kind, with your eggs and strong beer,
And we’ll come no more nigh you until the next year.
Fol-a-day, Fol-a-day, Fol-a-day-roo-die-day.
Well the first to come in is Lord Nelson, you’ll see.
He’s a bunch of blue ribbons, tied round by his knee.
He’s a star on his chest, that like silver doth shine,
And he hopes you’ll remember it’s Pace Egging time.
And the next to come in it is Lord Collingwood,
And he’s fought with Lord Nelson, till he shed his blood.
He’s come o’er the sea, old England to view,
And he’s come a Pace Egging, with the whole of his crew.
Well the last to come in is Old Tosspot you’ll see,
He’s a valiant old bugger in every degree,
He’s a valiant old lad, and he wears a pigtail,
And all his delight is in supping fine ale.
Come ladies and gentlemen, sit by your fires.
Put your hands in your pockets and give us our desires.
Put your hands in your pockets and treat us all right,
If you give us nowt, we’ll take nowt, fare thee well and goodnight.
At the end of this song the cast members all face towards the centre of the circle and raise swords, brushes, clubs etc together in the middle in a final triumphal gesture, with the suggestion that the audience might now wish to indeed, ‘put their hands in their pockets’
Up a ladder and down a wall, tuppence or threepence will please us all!