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The Good Doctor

[Jon Boden]

Jon Boden and Eliza Carthy sang Jon’s song The Good Doctor in 2023 on their Hudson album Glad Christmas Comes. Jon Boden noted:

I cobbled this song together from bits and bobs of various mummers’ plays in 2012. In structure it is closest to a play collected in Truro in the 1780s, albeit with fewer characters (Beelzebub being difficult to make scan). Mummers’ Plays (“Mummer” meaning “disguised person”) have been around in some form since at least 1296 when they are mentioned as performing for the wedding of Edward I’s daughter. We are grateful to the Handsworth Mummers for their starring role in the front cover of this album. Eliza awarded the good Doctor his Gold Badge from the EFDSS onstage at Cecil Sharp House a few years ago— if you squint you can see it in the photos!


Jon Boden and Eliza Carthy sing The Good Doctor

In comes I old Father Christmas
Who here does not know my name?
Sword and buckler under my waistcoat
So I hope to win the game

We’ve been rambling all of the night
And rambling some part of the day
We are champions born of every nation
Come make room, now clear the way

Chorus (after each verse):
Ring Christmas bells for now’s the season to be jolly
Ring Christmas bells for Christmas time is here

In comes I the King of Egypt
In your presence I appear
Brave young George the prince of Britain
Is my only son and heir

Step in brave George my noble son
And act your part along with me
Show your face all in this place now Georgie
Here before the company

In comes I the loathsome dragon
Snapdragon is my name
Lords and champions quail before me
Nations tremble at my fame

In comes I Prince George of Britain
I will face that dragon bold
I will fight him, I will smite him bravely
And I’ll win three crowns of gold

In comes I the old quack doctor
I can cure the blind and lame
I’ll drive out lumbago, gout and palsy
And make a dead man rise again

Now our sport is almost ended
And Christmas comes but once a year
We hope there’s none here we’ve offended
We hope we’ve brought you all good cheer

Here’s hoping that we’ve pleased the company
And we hope you’ll treat us right
Pass the cup and fill it up with money
Then we’ll bid you all good night