"The Goloshans." This is a
Hogmanay play, and not confined to children alone, which for that, as
well as other reasons, will not inaptly close this chapter. In some
parts it was called "The Galatians," to be sure, I say was, because one
never sees it now-a-days, though fifty years ago, under the one
designation or the other, it was played annually by the Hogmanay
guizards, who, dressed for the occasion, set it forth with deliciously
unsophisticated swagger and bluster in every house they visited that had
a kitchen floor broad and wide enough for the operation. It formed the
material of a chap-book which was regularly on sale at the
"Johnnie-a'-thin;" shops in the middle of last century, though now, I
suppose, a copy could scarcely be had for love or money. Sir Walter
Scott, who delighted to keep up old customs, and could condescend to
simple things without losing genuine dignity, invariably had a set of
guizards to perform the play before his family both at Ashestiel and at
Abbotsford. The dramatis persona! of "The Goloshans," after the
character in the title-role—who was inevitable on all
occasions--differed somewhat in the various districts. Chambers gives a
fairly adequate version in his Popular Rhymes of Scotland; but the
fullest and best I have seen is contained in Proverbs and Proverbial
Impressions, edited by "Andrew Cheviot," and recently published by Mr.
Alexander Gardner, of Paisley, and which I take the Iiberty of guoting
mainly, though part also is taken from Chambers's version. The
characters are Sir Alexander; Farmer's Son; Goloshan; Wallace; Dr.
Brown; and Beelzebub.
Enter Sir Alexander, and
Haud away rocks, and baud
Haud away stocks and spinning-wheels
Redd room for Gorland, and gie us room to sing,
And I will show you the prettiest thing
That ever was seen in Christmas time.
Muckle-head and Little-wit stand ahint the door
But sic a set as are are ne'er were seen before.
Enter next Farmer's Son:-
Here come I, the farmer's
Although I be but young, sir,
I've rot a spirit brave,
And I'll freely risk my life,
My country for to save.
Here come I, Goloshan—Goloshall
is my name,
With sword and pistol by my side, I hope to win the game.
The game. sir, the game,
sir! it is not in your power,
I'll cut you into inches in less than half-an-hour.
My head is made of iron, my heart is made of steel,
My sword is a Ferrara that can do its duty weel.
My body is like rock,
sir. my head is like a stone,
And I will be Goloshan when you are dead and gone.
Here come I, Sir William
Who shed his blood for Scotland's right
Without a right. Without a reason,
Here I draw my bloody weapon.
(Fights with Goloshan—the latter, falls.)
Now that young man is
dead, sir, and on the ground is laid,
And you shall suffer for it, I'm very much afraid.
It was not me that did
the deed, nor me that did the crime,
'Twas this young man behind me who drew his sword so fine.
Oh, you artful villain,
to lay the blame on me
For my two eyes were shut. sir, when this young man did dee.
How could your eyes be
shut, sir, when you were looking on?
How could your eyes be shut, sir, when both the swords were drawn?
Farmer's Son (to
How can you thus deny the
deed? As I stood looking on,
You drew your sword from out its sheath, and slashed his body down.
If I have slain Goloshan,
Goloshan I will cure,
And I will make him rise and sing in less than half-an-hour;
Round the kitchen, round the town.
Haste and firing me Drr. Brown.
Dr. Brown enters:--
Here come I, old Dr.
Brown, the foremost doctor in the town.
What awakes you so good,
Why, my travels.
And where have you
Hickerty-piekertv-hedgehog, three times round the West Indies, and back
to old Scotland.
Is that all?
No sir. I have travelled
from fireside to chairside, from chairside to stoolside, from stoolside
to tableside, from tableside to bedside, from bedside to press-side, and
got many a lump of bread and butter from my mother, and that's the way
my belly's so big.
Well, what can you cure?
I can cure the rurvy--scurvy,
and the rumble-gumption of a man who has been seven years dead or more,
and can make an old woman of sixty look like a girl of sixteen.
How much would you take
to cure this dead man? Would five pounds do?
Doctor (turning away):-
Five pounds! No, five
pounds would not get a good kit of brose.
Would ten pounds do?
Yes, perhaps ten pounds
would do—that, and a pint of wine. I have a bottle of inky-pinkie in my
pocket. (Approaches Goloshan.) By the hocus-pocus and the magical touch
of my little finger; heigh ho! start up, Jack, and sing.
Goloshan (rises and
Oh, once I was dead, sir,
but now I am alive,
And blessed be the doctor that made me revive;
We'll all join hands, and never fight no more,
We'll all be good fellows, as we have been before.
We'll all shake hands and
agree, and never fight no more,
We'll all he like brothers, as we were once before;
God bless the master of this house, the mistress fair likewise,
And all the pretty children that round the table rise.
Go down into your cellar and see what you can find,
Your barrels being not empty, we hope you will prove kind;
We hope you will prove kind, with whisky and with beer,
We wish you a Merry Christmas, likewise a good New Year.
Enter Beelzebub (for the
Here come I, Old
Beelzebub, over my shoulder I carry a club,
And in my hand a frying-pan. Am not I a jolly old man?
Its money I want, and money I crave,
If ye don't give me money I'll sweep ye to your grave.
Old Beelzebub's appeal
not being resisted (for who might dare to resist such?), the picturesque
players retire, and proceed from thence merrily to occupy another stage.
Mr. Sandys. it may be
noted, in his elegant volume of Christmas Carols (1833), transcribes a
play called "St. George," which still is, or used to be, acted at the
New Year in Cornwall, exactly after the manner of our Scottish play of "Goloshan,"
which it resembles as much as various versions of "Galoshan" in Scotland
resemble each other. The leading characters, besides St. George himself
and the Dragon, which is twice killed, are a Turkish knight and the King
of Egypt. It is curious thus, as Dr. Chambers remarks, to find one play,
with unimportant variations, preserved traditionally by the common
people in parts of the island so distant from each other, and in many
respects so different.
It is curious further,
and of much interest to note, that in these singing-games, if nowhere
else, the country and the city child, the children of the mansion and
the children of the alley, meet all, beautifully, on common ground. And,
how the out-door ones lie dormant for spaces, and spring simultaneously-
into action in widely separated parts—town and country alike— is a
problem which may not be easily solved. It seems to us that, like the
songs of birds, they belong to certain seasons, and are suggested, each
in its turn, or class by class, by the feeling; in the air. But mark. I
say only seems, for who may dogmatize on such matters?