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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/163

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English Folk-Drama.

The Easter, or Pace-Egg play — so called from its being performed in connection with the well-known custom of Pace-Egging — now calls for our notice, and must take us for the time from Christmas and the mumming-play. Collating two versions of the play (which have found their way into print, and copies of which I exhibit), we find it contains the following characters : Fool ; St. George ; Slasher ; Doctor ; Prince of Paradine ; King of Egypt ; Hector ; Beelzebub ; Devil-Doubt. The action consists of a fight between St. George and Slasher ; Slasher being wounded, is cured by a doctor. Then St. George boasts as follows :

"I am St. George, that noble champion bold,
And with my trusty sword I won ten thousand pounds in gold.
'Twas I that fought the fiery dragon, and brought him to the slaughter,
And by those means I won the King of Egypt's daughter."

Whereupon the Prince of Paradine enters, and, after exchanging defiance, in course of which St. George calls the prince "thou black Morocco dog", they fight, and the prince is slain. Then we get a palpable interpolation ; for the King of Egypt comes in and laments the prince as his son, calling upon Hector to come and avenge him. So that St. George, having won the King of Egypt's daughter, slays his son. Moreover, the king calls St. George "cursed Christian". In this we can perceive the clumsy joinery of the Crusade element and the pageant of St. George and the Dragon. The next point in the action is the fight between St. George and Hector, who goes off wounded. The Fool then challenges St. George, who says :

"I'll cross the water at the hour of five,
And meet you there, Sir, if I be alive,"

and goes off, having occupied the stage from the beginning. The play concludes with the entry of Beelzebub, whose business it evidently was to raise a laugh, and little