Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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424
THE TIPTEERS
CHAP.
and Lazarus, and of a series illustrating the life of St. George. The little church, which perhaps has every right to call itself the oldest picture gallery in England, should not be missed by any visitor to Pulborough.
At West Wittering in the Manhood Peninsula, a little village on which the sea has hostile designs, is still performed at Christmas a time-honoured play the actors of which are half a dozen boys or men known as the Tipteers. Their words are not written, but are transmitted orally from one generation of players to another. Mr. J. I. C. Boger, however, has taken them down for the S. A. C. The subject once again, as in some of the Hardham mural paintings, is the life of St. George, here called King George ; and the play has the same relation to drama that the Hardham frescoes have to a picture. I quote a little :
Third ManNoble Captain: v
In comes I, the Noble Captain,
Just lately come from France ;
With my broad sword and jolly Turk [dirk]
I will make King George dance. Fourth ManKing George [i.e., Saint George]:
In comes I, King George,
That man of courage bold,
With my broad sword and sphere [spear]
I have won ten tons of gold.
I fought the fiery Dragon
And brought it to great slaughter,
And by that means I wish to win
The King of Egypt's daughter.
Neither unto thee will I bow nor bend.
Stand off! stand off !
I will not take you to be my friend. Noble Captain:
Why, sir, why, have I done you any kind of wrong ? King George:
Yes, you saucy man, so get you gone. Noble Captain:
You saucy man, you draw my name,
You ought to be slabb'd, you saucy man.
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