The Original Coleby Plough Jag Script


Collected and compiled by M.C. OGG, Coleby. (Amended version.) 1974.

(In broad North Lincs. dialect.) (All blowing horns etc. to shew they are there.)

RAGFOOL:    I can't come in at 'winder, so ah'll etter come in at t' door: Ah'm not here on me awn fer there's many lads moor, and some can dance, an' some can sing so wi' your consent we will come in.


ALL:    Oh, dear mother what a fool I've been, six young fellers come a courting me, one was blind and the other couldn't see. Oh dear mother what a fool I've been.

RAGFOOL:    Good day ye ladies and gentlemen all, it's us poor plough lads as ev med suh bold as to call so don't be offended at these words ah say. Okum, pokum thro' France and thro' Spain, in comes t'awd Recruitin' Sergeant just t'same. Faith lad, can ter dance?


REC. SERG:    In comes I, the Recruiting Sergeant, to enlist all those that follow horse, cart, and plough:
Tinkers Tailors, Peddlers and Nailers are all at my advance,and the more I hear the music play, the more that I can dance.
So all you that's bound for listing, come, don't be afraid, for you shall have good liquor and a kiss from this fair maid.

(He points to the lady to whistles and cheers)

RAGFOOL:    Good people give attention and listen to me song, I'll tell you of a nice young man before the day be long. He's almost broken hearted, the truth I do declare, his love has been so tiresome he's drawn all in a snare.
(SINGS) And so here now I've lost me mate, me drooping wings hang down me fate, so listen ye all to what I've said, concerning of this fair young maid.

REC. SERG:    Cheer up Ragfool and don't despair, I see our Lady over there.

(Enter Lady)

LADY:    In comes the Lady, bright and gay, good fortune and sweet charm, So scornfully I've been thrown away right out of me true love's arms. He swears if I don't wed wi' 'im as you may understand  he'll list all for a soldier unto some far off land.    


HOBBY HOSS:    In comes I who's never been before. If you give me some of your best ale I'll never come no more. I'm hungry as well as dry and would like a bit of your best pork pie.

(Joe Straw sees Rec. Serg. and shouts to Hobby Hoss)

JOE STRAW:    Gee. Whoa back thir boy. In comes I old Joe Straw, and here's me whip in me hand. It's straight I plough from headland to end, never to make a balk or bend, and to me horse I will attend, as gaily on we go.

REC. SERG:    Are you young feller able and willing to serve our King and take this shilling?

JOE STRAW:    Well thanks kind soldier for your offer, for time away will quickly pass. I'll dash me wig if I'll grieve any longer for that proud and saucy lass.

LADY:    (Singing to 'The White Cockade')
Well since my love has left me and joined the volunteers, I do not mean to grieve for him nor shed for him a tear. But I do mean to tell him and rightly let him know, that I've another, (ALL) I've another, (LADY) I've another, (ALL) I've another, (LADY) That I've another sweetheart and with him I'll go.

HATMAN:    (Sings)
Now Madam I desire to know if I do be the man, the pleasing of your fancy I'll do the best I can, for I have gold and silver, and I have house and land. With rings and jewels...........etc. to stand at your command.

LADY:    (Sings)
What care I for your jewels or yet your house and land, What care I for your gold in store or silks from far off lands. Kind sir you must be joking for you are not the one, the one I'm seeking..........etc. is a jolly handsome man.

RAGFOOL:    (Sings)
A handsome man he won't detain you for his beauty ne'er fades away,     unlike the rose that blooms in summer and in winter will decay, so this fair maid has spoken and fairly took her chance, so we'll have music.........etc.
Please let's have some music and we shall dance.


Well dost thou love me pretty maid?

LADY:    Yes lad all for me sorrow.    

RAGFOOL:    Then when shall be our wedding day?

LADY:    Why it shall be to-morrow.

BOTH:    So we'll both shake hands in wedlock bands and we'll be wed to-morrow.

RAGFOOL:    I'm inviting you all to me and me sweetheart's wedding and what we likes best we're going to have, and what you likes best you'll have to bring with you. For some likes flesh, and some likes fish, and some likes frummerty, but what I likes best is barley chaff dumplin's buttered wi' wool and cut into slices fit to choke an old bull.    

(Enter Dame Jane and baby)

DAME JANE:    Here comes I my name's Dame Jane, I've a neck as long as a crane, a wig behind, a wig before, clear out lads I'll sweep the floor...Once I was a charming maid, but now I'm a down old widow.........I courted once a soldier, a fine young man was he; he took me, well, to a foreign land. I've never seen him since.

(Jane looks round for soldier, who hides behind other players......when in bursts........)

(Boo ....Hiss.......Ya..........)

BEELZEBUB:    In comes I Beelzebub and under me arm I carries a club, in the other a frying pan, don't you think I'm a jolly old man? (No. Oh yes I am .Oh no you aren't) Is there a woman can stand before me?

DAME JANE:    Yes me. For me head is of iron, me body is brass, me hands and feet are knucklebone and no man shall me pass.

BEELZEBUB:    I'll hash yer.....I'll slash yer....... as small as the flies and send yer to             Jamaica to make good mince pies........

DAME JANE:    I'll cut yer jaw in ten thousand pieces and make your buttons fly.

(Dame Jane and Beelzebub fight, and Beelzebub knocks her down)

RAGFOOL:    Beelzebub, look what you've done, knocked down Dame Jane and killed her son..........£5 for a doctor to come.

BEELZEBUB:    £10 to stop away.

RAGFOOL:    £15 to come in a case like this, and he maun come........

(Enter Doctor)

DOCTOR:    Here lad, hold me hoss, for he's nowt but a donkey. Hold him bi tail and mind he doan't kick yer and I'll show you the rusty side of a brass farthing when I come out here again.......In comes I the Doctor.

RAGFOOL:    What, you a doctor?

DOCTOR:    Yes I'm a doctor.

RAGFOOL:    And pray how did you become a doctor?

DOCTOR:    I've travelled for it.

RAGFOOL:    And pray where did you travel?

DOCTOR:    Thro' England and Ireland, thro' France and thro Spain, over the hills and the ragin' main. I've had many a piece........of my grannie's pork pies and that's what makes me clever and wise. So I'll give you me hat and me old walking stick and feel this gal's pulse to see why she's sick.

(Feels Jane's ankle...she shakes)

RAGFOOL:    Is that where her pulse is?

DOCTOR:    Why? Where would you feel?

RAGFOOL:    Why, the back of her neck of course.

DOCTOR:    I should have thought an old fool like you would know this gal's not dead but in a trance.

RAGFOOL:    And what's a trance, pray?

DOCTOR:    Why she's been living on boiled green wozzle tops, three weeks without water, she's swallowed an hoss and rully and wheels wean't go round. So ........we cut her throat, accidentally on purpose with a wooden iron rolling pin......... Ah, but never mind, here inside me breeches .... jacket .......waistcoat lining, pocket, I've a box of pills that will cure all ills. Give her one at dinner.......... two for tea....... and one at supper time.....  If the pills don't cure her, the box sure enough will.
(Takes out a bottle)
I've a bottle of WHIFF-WAFF to run down her tiff-taff and it'll heal up     the wound and clean up the blood, and do the old soul a power of good...........Then she can dance and then she can sing so raise her up and let's begin........

(Dame Jane and Baby gets up)

ALL SING:    Good Master and mistress sat round by the fire, remember us poor ploughboys as treads thro ' muck and mire. For the mire it is deep and the water cold and clear so we'll thank you for some pork pie and a jug of your best beer.

(Enter Besom Betty)

BESOM BETTY:    Here comes I old Besom Betty to wash your floors and scrub your petty. I'm Besom Betty without a doubt. If you don't give me money I'll sweep you all out. It's money I want,'s money I crave if you don't give me money I'll sweep you all to your grave.    

(She leads collectors round inc. Fool )

ALL SING:    And now our play is ended, you see our fool has gone, so we'll make it our own business to follow him along. We thank you for kindness and what you gave us here, and we wish you all a good night and a prospr'ous New Year.