Pace Egging

“Pace-egging” (Pasch: Easter and Oestre: egg).

In England, during the time leading up to Easter, children used to tour their neighbours’ houses chanting rhymes in order to obtain eggs or other food.

One Cheshire chant ran:

Here comes three jovie lads all in a row
We’ve come a pace eggin’, we hope you’ll prove kind
Prove kind, prove kind, with your eggs and small beer
We hope you’ll remember it’s pace eggin’ time

In earlier generations, this would have been sung by young men, no doubt more interested in the “small beer” than the eggs, as part of a pace-egging play, a form of street theater which was acted out in ragged and fantastic costume for whatever audience was available. The pace-egging song introduces several peculiar characters (including Lord Nelson and Old Toss-pot) and actions which were fun for the performers to elaborate on.