Typed by Brett Fishburne Proofed by Reina Hosier and Kestrell.
The Only True Mother Goose Melodies
An exact reproduction of the text and illustrations of the original edition.
With introduction by Rev. Edward Everett Hale, D.D.
The editor of the new edition of Mother Goose's Melodies knows much more about the curious history of the Boston edition than I do. And the reader will not need, even in these lines of mine, any light on the curious question about Madam Vergoose, or her son-in-law Mr. Fleet, or the Contes de Ma Mere l'Oye, which are so carefully discussed in the preface. All this is admirably discussed also in Mr. William Whitmore's paper published in Albany in 1889, and reprinted in Boston in 1892. In that paper he reproduced in facsimile Isaiah Thomas's edition of Mother Goose published first in 1785.
What I want to tell, is of Mother Goose in the nineteenth Century—the Mother Goose on which the old Boston line was brought up—a line now nearly forgotten. But there were days, Gentle Reader, when an excellent body of people in this little Town of Boston grew up all together loving and loved, brought up their children here, loving and loved, and amused those children from babyhood in their own way. The centre of the baby life of this race was Mother Goose's Melodies in the dear little quarto edition, of which a precise copy is in the reader's hands.
It is this Mother Goose of which the New Englander, if his age be more than three score years and ten, speaks when he speaks of Mother Goose at all. The historical ear marks in it are rather curious. Perhaps the printing of this very edition may raise up some antiquary who can tell us how it came into existence. I wish I knew. I hope some reader of these lines may know. What I know is this, that when the nineteenth century began, in the years from 1800 to 1820, the impression of what we still called the "Mother Country" upon Boston was very strong. The old nurse who took care of me in my babyhood spoke of "weal" and "winegar," where my father and mother spoke of veal and vinegar, just as if she had been a London Cockney. Children played the games of English origin,
"Lady Queen Anne, she sits on her throne,"
though it were fifty years after the Declaration of Independence. I may say in passing, that within the last dozen years I stopped to hear some North End children sing the song Queen Anne, without the slightest idea, I suppose, of who Queen Anne was, or what was their business with her. Alas, and alas, I did not write down the words of that song on the moment!
The truth is that Boston was still a place of foreign commerce. Our ties with London, such as John Adams and other Revolutionaries spoke of so freely, still existed, and a Baby's Song Book like Mother Goose, might still recall, and I suppose repeat, the song of Cockney homes.
So in the nursery, whether one of the North End sailors' home, or of Beacon Street, or Park Street, or Pearl Street, the baby was sung to sleep with London ditties.
London Bridge is broken down, Dance over, my Lady Lee, London Bridge is broken down, With a fair Ladye. Will not some of the active literary clubs of St. Ethelburger's Church in Bishopsgate, in East London, tell us what this means:
You owe me five shillings, Say the bells of St. Helen's. When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey. When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch. Pokers and tongs, Say the bells of St. John's. Kettles and pans, Say the bells of St. Ann's. Half-pence and farthings, Say the bells of St. Martin's.
All this was sung to New England children, thank God without note or comment, and with no other explanation. But the American traveler who goes into Baring Brothers', Bishopsgate, with his credit, feels a thrill which the clerk who attends to him does not understand, if one speaks to him of St. Helen's or St. Ann's.
All this accounts for Mother Goose as Fleet reprinted her baby songs as early as the year 1700. But as the reader will see, somebody had the editing of the baby's text book who was not afraid of his own time. I think that the very latest verses which will be found here are those of Scott's Donald Dhu. Walter Scott wrote this for Campbell's Anthology in 1816. The presence of these verses fixes the latest date of any lines in the collection, except, as Mr. Whitmore has observed, the line "Boston Town" is changed into "Boston City," so that must have been written after 1822.
But it is interesting to see that no American line of comment seems to have slipped in. There was no lack of nationalism in the air, but I cannot find any reference to a cent[*], a dime, a governor, or a President. Now in the printed handkerchiefs, such as children used to buy on Election Day in the street, I remember the Ballad of John Gilpin ended,
Now, let us sing, "Long live the President And Gilpin, Long live he." But the wise editor of our Boston Mother Goose had no such fears for the republicanism of his baby hearers. Those were happy years in which the imagination of babies and their older brothers and sisters were permitted to run free.
[*][Note from Brett: See the rhyme which starts "Little Jack Nory..." for such a reference.]
I have asked and asked and have received no answer, as to the artist who made many of the admirable designs which are distinctive in this book. Abel Bowen's[*] name is signed to one, and his initials appear on several. N.D. means Nathaniel Dearborn[+]. One is signed "Chicket,"[&] but this does not account for the greater number of them. I was the son of a printer and type-founder, so we had a "type book" as a classic in our nursery. So I knew even as a little child, that there were pictures in Mother Goose which were put there merely because the block from which they were printed existed in the printer's office. But there were other designs made by some artist of genius; and who was he? He represented the man in the moon, hanging with one arm to the crescent of the moon. That man, whoever he was, is to be ranked among the original artists of the world. He gave to childhood his first and best images of the blackbirds who were baked in the pie.
[*][Note from Brett: Abel Bowen (1790-1850) was Boston's first wood engraver and is perhaps most well known for his work on the "Farmer's Almanac."]
[+][Note from Brett: Nathanial Dearborn (1786-1852) was with the Holland Printing Company and is perhaps most well known (in 2002) for the difficulty he had in setting plates for a 13 cent stamp used in Hawaii (second issue). He also was a printer and author of "The American Textbook for Making Letters." He would have been well remembered in Boston at the time of this book.]
[&][Note from Brett: "Chicket" is terribly obscure and the only reference I could possibly find was to a Mr. Chicket who was apparently murdered in a bar (the Brushmakers Arms) in Upham, New Hampshire and supposedly haunts the bar. Whether this has anything to do with the Chicket in the text is highly questionable, but would make for a great story.]
This question I have asked again and again, and no man and no woman has answered it. But the chances seem to be that we owe them also to Abel Bowen, the first wood engraver recorded among the engravers in the period after the Revolution. We have specimens of his work more in pictures of landscape or of buildings than in drawings of men and women. But there can be but little doubt that most of the blocks from which the Mother Goose of our childhood were printed were engraved by him, and there seems to be good reason to believe that the designs were by him as well. The pity is that no old portfolio can be found with other designs from his pencil. But, alas, the chances are that they have gone where so many other manuscripts have gone, which would delight the antiquaries.
Thanks to the publisher and editor of this book, the designs, of whatever hand, are now preserved for another generation.
I have said that I am not learned in the interesting genealogical discussion of the subject, but I like to call attention to the fact that the English Norwich was the birthplace and home of Fleet, and that it is possible that in the annals of that city light may be gained as to the history of the man in the Moon.
I have always thoughtt that the close connection of our maritime people with London had something to do with the names of our streets. The most striking instance is in the name of Cornhill, where this very Thomas Fleet had his book store, and where book stores have been an institution from that day to this. Our Cornhill in its relations to our water front occupies the same conditions which the London Cornhill had and has to the river front in London. The young reader should remember that Washington Street so far as it had one name was called the Main Street. Coming North from our Dover Street, the traveler passed through Orange Street, then through Newbury Street, next through Marlborough Street, which extended from Winter Street to School Street, and then through Cornhill northward to Dock Square. This is precisely as in passing east through what was the Main Street of London of those days, the traveler would have passed through the Cornhill of that thoroughfare. The London Cornhill retains its name. Ours was changed in 1824 to the all-conquering name of Washington, which is now applied to the whole of the "Main Street" and "the Neck" of the Fathers, as indeed, it is applied by local authorities many miles further.
But in familiar conversation, the old name Cornhill was retained for a generation, and indeed, would be understood to-day, if you were speaking to Boston people more than fifty years old. The name Cornhill is now applied to the Market Street of an earlier period.
Young readers should remember that Orange Street, Newbury street, and Marlborough Street were names given in honour of the Prince of Orange of the Puritan victory at Newbury, and of the Duke of Marlborough. All of them show what were the Whig and Puritan feelings of the people who gave them. All three of the names in our time have been transferred from the old localities.
We are all greatly obliged to Mrs. Harriet Blackstone C. Butler for the pains she has taken to rescue for popular use this interesting memorial of the education of the fathers and mothers of New England.
[signed]Edward E. Hale
The Only True
Without addition or abridgement.
Embracing, also, a reliable
LIFE OF THE GOOSE FAMILY,
Never before published.
HEAR WHAT MA'AM GOOSE SAYS!
My dear little Blossoms, there are now in this world, and always will be, a great many grannies besides myself, both in petticoats and pantaloons, some a deal younger to be sure; but all monstrous wise, and of my own family name. These old women, who never had chick nor child of their own, but who always know how to bring up other people's children, will tell you with very long faces, that my enchanting, quieting, soothing volume, my all-sufficient anodyne for cross, peevish, won't-be-comforted little bairns, ought to be laid aside for more learned books, such as THEY could select and publish. Fudge! I tell you that all their batterings can't deface my beauties, nor their wise pratings equal my wiser prattlings; and all imitators of my refreshing songs might as well write a new Billy Shakespeare as another Mother Goose—we two great poets were born together, and we shall go out of the world together.
No, no my Melodies will never die, While nurses sing, or babies cry.
History of the Goose Family.
[FROM THE BOSTON TRANSCRIPT.]
Cotton Mather And Mother Goose.
MR. EDITOR:—Your correspondent, N.B.S., has so decisively given a QUIETUS to the question as to the birthplace of Cotton Mather, that there is no danger of its ever being revived again. But there is another question of equal importance to many, to the literary world in particular, which should in like manner be put to rest. WHO WAS MOTHER GOOSE? and WHEN were her melodies first given to the world? These are questions which have been often asked, but have never been satisfactorily answered. The recent publication of a book called "Mother Goose for Old Folks" has again revived these questions, which serves to show that the subject has not yet lost its interest.
Many persons imagine that Mother Goose is a myth,—that no such person ever existed. This is a mistake. MOTHER GOOSE was not only a veritable personage, but was born and resided many years in Boston, where many of her descendants may now be found. The last that bore this ancient paternal cognomen died about the year 1807, and was buried in the Old Granary Burying Ground, where probably lie the remains of the whole blood, if we may judge from the numerous grave-stones which mark their resting place. The family originated in England, but at what time they came to this country is unknown,—but probably about the year 1656. This was the "Wealthy family of Goose" which is immortalized by Mr. Bowditch in his book of Suffolk Names, who at the same time has immortalized himself. They were landholders in Boston, so early as 1660. Nearly half the space between West and Winter streets, on Washington street, and extending westerly towards Tremont street, 275 feet belonged to this family, as did also a large tract of land on Essex, Rowe, and Bedford streets, upon which now stand two churches and a large number of dwelling houses. SO MUCH FOR MOTHER GOOSE. Now for her melodies.
It is well known to antiquarians that more than TWO hundred years ago there was a small book in circulation in London bearing the name of "Rhymes for the nursery; or Lulla-Byes for Children," which contained MANY OF THE IDENTICAL PIECES which have been handed down to us and now from part of the "Mother Goose's Melodies" of the present day. It contained also other pieces much more silly, if possible, and some that the AMERICAN types of the present day would refuse to give off an impression. The "cuts" or illustrations thereof were of the coarsest description.
The first book of the kind known to be printed in this country bears the title of "Songs for the Nursery; or, Mother Goose's Melodies for Children." Something probably intended to represent a goose with a very long neck and mouth wide open, covered a large part of the title page, at the bottom of which, Printed by T. Fleet[*], at his printing house, Pudding Lane, 1719. Price, two coppers. Several pages were missing, so that the whole number could not be ascertained.
[*][Note from Brett: T. Fleet is probably Thomas Fleet (1685-1758) and is referenced by John Fleet Elliot (a descendent). Thomas Fleet was married to Elizabeth Goose (AKA Vertigoose), and is the presumed author. Unfortunately, modern research and research at the time failed to substantiate the existence of this book. This information is culled in part from the introduction to L. Frank Baum's edition of "Mother Goose" in 1897. The introduction written by Mr. Baum considered this line of reasoning and this article is referenced by him.]
This T. Fleet, according to Isaiah Thomas[*], was a man of considerable talent and of great wit and humor. He was born in England, and was brought up in a printing office in the city of Bristol, where he afterwards worked as a journeyman. Although he was considered a man of sense, he was never thought to be overburdened with religious sentiments; he certainly was not in his latter days. Yet he was MORE than suspected of being actively engaged in the riotous proceedings connected with the trial of Dr. Sacheverell, in Queen Ann's time. In London, Bristol, and many other places, the mobs and riots were of a very serious nature. In London several meeting houses were sacked and pulled down, and the materials and contents made into bonfires, and much valuable property destroyed. Several of the rioters were arrested, tried and convicted. The trials of some of them are now before me. How deeply Fleet was implicated in these disturbances was never known, but being of the same mind with Jack Falstaff, that "the better part of valor is discretion," thought it prudent to put the Ocean between himself and danger. He made his way to this country and arrived in Boston, 1712. Being a man of some enterprise he soon established a printing office in Pudding Lane (now Devonshire Street), where he printed small books, pamphlets, ballads, and such matter as offered. Being industrious and prudent, he gradually accumulated property. It was not long before he became acquainted with the "wealthy family of Goose," a branch of which he had before known in Bristol, and was shortly married to the eldest daughter.
[*][Note from Brett: Publisher of an American volume of Mother Goose in 1787, "Mother Goose's Melody: or Sonnets for the cradle." This is a reprint of the collection put together by John Newbury (known for the Newbury medal).]
By the record of marriages in the City Registrar's office, it appears that in "1715, June 8, was married by Rev. COTTON MATHER, THOMAS FLEET TO ELIZABETH GOOSE." The happy couple took up their residence in the same house with the printing office in Pudding lane. In due time their family was increased by the birth of a son and heir. Mother Goose, like all good grandmothers, was in ecstasies at the event; her joy was unbounded; she spent her whole time in the nursery, and in wandering about the house, pouring forth, in not the most melodious strains, the songs and ditties which she had learned in her younger days, greatly to the annoyance of the whole neighborhood—to Fleet in particular, who was a man fond of quiet. It was in vain he exhausted his shafts of wit and ridicule, and every expedient he could devise: it was of no use—the old lady was not thus to be put down; so, like others similarly situated, he was obliged to submit. His shrewdness, however, did not forsake him; from this seeming evil he contrived to educe some good; he conceived the idea of collecting the songs and ditties as they came from his mother, and such as he could gather from other sources, and publishing them for the benefit of the world—not forgetting himself. This he did—and thus "Mother Goose's Melodies" were brought forth. The adoption of this title was in derision of his good mother-in-law, and was perfectly characteristic of the man, as he was never known to spare his nearest friends in his raillery, or when he could excite laughter at their expense.
COTTON MATHER AND MOTHER GOOSE thus stand in juxtaposition; and as the former was instrumental in cementing the union, which resulted in placing the latter so conspicuously before the world, it is but just that it should be so,—although the one was a learned man, a most voluminous writer, and published a great many books, some wise and some foolish, it may well be doubted whether any one, or all of them, together, have passed through so many editions,—been read by so many hundreds of thousands, not to say millions,—put so many persons to sleep, or in general done so much good to the world as the simple melodies of the other.
Little boy blue, come blow your horn, The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn, What! is this the way you mind your sheep, Under the haycock fast asleep?
There was a mad man, And he had a mad wife, And they lived all in a mad lane! They had three children all at a birth, And they too were mad every one. The father was mad, The mother was mad, The children all mad beside; And upon a mad horse they all of them got, And madly away did ride.
Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool? Yes, marry have I, three bags full, One for my master, and one for my dame, And one for the little boy that lives in the lane.
To market, to market, to buy a penny bun, Home again, home again, market is done.
The man in the wilderness, Asked me, How many strawberries Grew in the sea? I answered him as I thought good, As many red herrings As grew in the wood.
Little Robin Redbreast Sat upon a tree, Up went the Pussy-Cat, And down went he; Down came Pussy-Cat, Away Robin ran, Says little Robin Redbreast— Catch me if you can. Little Robin Redbreast jumped upon a spade, Pussy-Cat jumped after him, and then he was afraid. Little Robin chirped and sung, and what did pussy say? Pussy-Cat said Mew, mew mew,—and Robin flew away.
Sing a song of sixpence, a bag full of rye, Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie: When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing; And wasn't this a dainty dish to set before the king? The king was in the parlour, counting out his money; The queen was in the kitchen, eating bread and honey; The maid was in the garden, hanging out the clothes, There came a little blackbird and nipt off her nose.
Lady-bird, Lady-bird Fly away home, Your house is on fire, Your children will burn.
One, Two—buckle my shoe; Three, Four—open the door; Five, Six—pick up sticks; Seven, Eight—lay them straight; Nine, Ten—a good fat hen. Eleven, Twelve—I hope you're well; Thirteen, Fourteen—draw the curtain; Fifteen, Sixteen—the maid's in the kitchen; Seventeen, Eighteen—she's in waiting. Nineteen, Twenty—my stomach's empty.
Snail, Snail, Come out of your hole, Or else I'll beat you black as a coal. Snail, Snail, Put out your head, Or else I'll beat you till you're dead.
The man in the moon came down too soon To inquire the way to Norridge; The man in the South, he burnt his mouth With eating cold plum porridge.
When I was a little boy, I lived by myself, And all the bread and cheese I got I put upon a shelf; The rats and the mice, they made such a strife, I was forced to go to London to buy me a wife. The streets were so broad, and the lanes were so narrow, I was forced to bring my wife home in a wheelbarrow; The wheelbarrow broke, and my wife had a fall, And down came the wheelbarrow, wife and all.
Charley Wag, Ate the pudding and left the bag.
Sing, Sing!—What shall I sing? The Cat's run away with the Pudding-Bag String.
When I was a little boy, I washed my mammy's dishes, Now I am a great boy I roll in golden riches.
Bye, Baby bunting, Father's gone a hunting, Mother's gone a milking, Sister's gone a silking, And Brother's gone to buy a skin To wrap the Baby bunting in.
'Twas once upon a time, when Jenny Wren was young, So daintily she danced and so prettily she sung, Robin Redbreast lost his heart, for he was a gallant bird; So he doffed his hat to Jenny Wren, requesting to be heard.
O, dearest Jenny Wren, if you will but be mine, You shall feed on cherry-pie and drink new currant wine, I'll dress you like a goldfinch or any peacock gay; So, dearest Jen, if you'll be mine, let us appoint the day.
Jenny blushed behind her fan and thus declared her mind: Since, dearest Bob, I love you well, I take your offer kind; Cherry-pie is very nice and so is currant wine, But I must wear my plain brown gown and never go too fine.
Cushy Cow bonny, let down your milk, And I will give you a gown of silk, A gown of silk and a silver tee, If you'll let down your milk to me.
There were two blind men went to see Two cripples run a race, The bull did fight the humblebee And scratched him in the face.
Fa, Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he live or be he dead, I'll grind his bones to make me bread.
Richard and Robin were two pretty men; They laid abed till the clock struck ten; Robin starts up and looks at the sky, Oh ho! brother Richard, the sun's very high, Do you go before with the bottle and bag, And I'll follow after on little Jack Nag.
Round about, round about, Gooseberry Pie, My father loves good ale, And so do I.
We'll go to the wood, says Richard to Robin, We'll go to the wood, says Robin to Bobin, We'll go to the wood, says John all alone, We'll go to the wood, says every one.
What to do there? says Richard to Robin, What to do there? says Robin to Bobin, What to do there? says John all alone, What to do there? says every one.
We'll shoot at a wren, says Richard to Robin, We'll shoot at a wren, says Robin to Bobin, We'll shoot at a wren, says John all alone, We'll shoot at a wren, says every one.
Then pounce, then pounce, says Richard to Robin, Then pounce, then pounce, says Robin to Bobin, Then pounce, then pounce, says John all alone, Then pounce, then pounce, says every one.
She's dead, she's dead, says Richard to Robin, She's dead, she's dead, says Robin to Bobin, She's dead, she's dead, says John all alone, She's dead, she's dead, says every one.
How get her home? says Richard to Robin, How get her home? says Robin to Bobin, How get her home? says John all alone, How get her home? says every one.
In a cart and six horses, says Richard to Robin, In a cart and six horses, says Robin to Bobin, In a cart and six horses, says John all alone, In a cart and six horses, says every one.
How shall we dress her? says Richard to Robin, How shall we dress her? says Robin to Bobin, How shall we dress her? says John all alone, How shall we dress her? says every one.
We'll hire seven cooks, says Richard to Robin, We'll hire seven cooks, says Robin to Bobin, We'll hire seven cooks, says John all alone, We'll hire seven cooks, says every one.
There was an old woman lived under the hill, And if she's not gone she lives there still. Baked apples she sold, and cranberry pies, And she's the old woman that never told lies.
Shoe the colt, Shoe the colt, Shoe the wild mare; Here a nail, There a nail, Colt must go bare.
There were two birds upon a stone, Fal de ral—al de ral—laddy. One flew away, and then there was one, Fal de ral—al de ral—laddy. The other flew after, and then there was none, Fal de ral—al de ral—laddy. So the poor stone was left all alone, Fal de ral—al de ral—laddy. One of these little birds back again flew, Fal de ral—al de ral—laddy. The other came after, and then there were two, Fal de ral—al de ral—laddy. Says one to the other, Pray how do you do, Fal de ral—al de ral—laddy. Very well, thank you, and pray how are you, Fal de ral—al de ral—laddy.
I'll tell you a story About Mary Morey, And now my story's begun. I'll tell you another About her brother, And now my story's done.
Nose, Nose, jolly red Nose, And what gave you that jolly red Nose? Nutmegs and cinnamon, spices and cloves, And they gave me this jolly red Nose.
Sweep, sweep, Chimney sweep, From the bottom to the top, Sweep all up, Chimney sweep, From the bottom to the top.
Climb by rope, Or climb by ladder, Without either, I'll climb farther.
One misty, moisty morning, When cloudy was the weather, I chanced to meet an old man clothed all in leather. He began to compliment, and I began to grin, How do you do, and how do you do? And how do you do again?
In April's sweet month, When the leaves 'gin to spring, Little lambs skip like fairies And birds build and sing.
There was an old woman tost up in a blanket, Seventy times as high as the moon, What she did there, I cannot tell you, but in her hand she carried a broom. Old woman, old woman, old woman, said I, O whither, O whither, O whither so high? To sweep the cobwebs from the sky, And I shall be back again by and by.
Shoe the horse, and shoe the mare, But let the little colt go bare.
The North wind doth blow, And we shall have snow, And what will poor robin do then? Poor thing! He'll sit in the barn And keep himself warm, And hide his head under his wing, Poor thing!
Cold and raw the North winds blow Bleak in the morning early, All the hills are covered with snow, And winter's now come fairly.
Hey, my kitten, my kitten, And hey my kitten my deary, Such a sweet pet as this Was neither far nor neary.
Here we go up, up, up, And here we go down, down, downy, Here we go backward and forward, And here we go round, round, roundy.
Where was a jewel and pretty, Where was a sugar and spicey? Hush a bye babe in the cradle, And we'll go abroad in a tricey.
Did his papa torment it? And vex his own baby will he? Give me a hand and I'll beat him, With your red coral and whistle.
Here we go up, up, up, And here we go down, down, downy, And here we go backward and forward, And here we go round, round, roundy.
The two grey Kits, And the grey Kits' mother, All went over The bridge together. The bridge broke down, They all fell in, May the rats go with you, Says Tom Bolin.
Hark! hark! the dogs do bark, The beggars have come to town; Some in rags, and some in tags, And some in velvet gowns.
Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John Went to bed with his breeches on, One stocking off, and one stocking on, Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John.
As I was going to Derby upon a market day, I met the finest ram, sir, that ever fed on hay, On hay, on hay, on hay, I met the finest ram, sir, that ever fed on hay.
This ram was fat behind, sir; this ram was fat before; This ram was ten yards round, sir; indeed he was not more. No more, no more, no more; This ram was ten yards round, sir; indeed he was no more.
The horns grew on his head, sir, they were so wondrous high, As I've been plainly told, sir, they reached up to the sky. The sky, the sky, the sky, As I've been plainly told, sir, they reached up to the sky.
The tail grew on his back, sir, was six yards and an ell, And it was sent to Derby to toll the market bell, The bell, the bell, the bell, And it was sent to Derby to toll the market bell.
Hogs in the garden, catch 'em, Towser; Cows in the corn-field, run boys, run, Cats in the cream-pot, run girls, run girls; Fire on the mountains, run boys, run.
The Cuckoo is a bonny bird, She sings as she flies, She brings us good tidings, And tells us no lies.
She sucks little bird's eggs To make her voice clear, And never cries Cuckoo! Till Spring of the year.
Lavender blue, and Rosemary green, When I am king, you shall be queen, Call up my maids at four of the clock, Some to the wheel, and some to the rock, Some to make hay, and some to shell corn, And you and I shall keep the bed warm.
The lion and the Unicorn Were fighting for the crown— The lion beat the unicorn All about the town. Some gave them white bread, And some gave them brown, Some gave them plum-cake, And sent them out of town.
Little Johnny Pringle had a little Pig. It was very little, so was not very big. As it was playing beneath the shed, In half a minute poor Piggy was dead. So Johnny Pringle he sat down and cried, And Betty Pringle she laid down and died. There is the history of one, two and three, Johnny Pringle, Betty Pringle, and Piggy Wiggie.
You owe me five shillings, Say the bells of St. Helen's.
When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be? Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know, Says the great Bell of Bow.
Two sticks in an apple, Ring the bells of Whitechapel.
Halfpence and farthings, Say the bells of St. Martin's.
Kettles and pans, Say the bells of St. Giles.
Old shoes and slippers, Say the bells of St. Peter's.
Pokers and tongs, Say the bells of St. John's.
Once in my life I married a wife, And where do you think I found her?
On Gretna Green, in velvet sheen, And I took up a stick to pound her.
She jumped over a barberry-bush, And I jumped over a timber,
I showed her a gay gold ring, And she showed me her finger.
Ride a cock horse to Charing-Cross, To see a young woman Jump on a white horse, With rings on her fingers And bells on her toes, And she shall have music Wherever she goes.
Johnny shall have a new bonnet, And Johnny shall go to the fair, And Johnny shall have a new ribbon To tie up his bonny brown hair.
And why may not I love Johnny, And why may not Johnny love me? And why may not I love Johnny, As well as another body?
And here's a leg for a stocking, And here's a foot for a shoe, And he has a kiss for daddy, And two for his mammy also.
And why may not I love Johnny? And why, &c. &c.
Who comes here? A Grenadier. What do you want? A pot of beer. Where's your money? I forgot. Get you gone, you drunken sot.
Smiling girls, rosy boys, Come and buy my little toys, Monkeys made of gingerbread And sugar horses tinted red.
There was an old woman, she liv'd in a shoe, She had so many children she didn't know what to do. She gave them some broth without any bread, She whipt them all soundly and put them to bed.
Heigh ding a ding, what shall I sing? How many holes in a skimmer? Four and twenty. I'm half starving! Mother, pray give me some dinner.
Hey rub-a-dub, ho rub-a-dub, three maids in a tub, And who do you think was there? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker, And all of them gone to the fair.
TO BE SUNG IN A HIGH WIND.
Arthur O'Bower has broken his band, And he comes roaring up the land, King of Scots with all his power Never can turn Sir Arthur O'Bower.
Hush-a-bye, baby, upon the tree top, When the wind blows the cradle will rock; When the bough breaks the cradle will fall, Down tumble cradle and baby and all.
Daffy-down-dilly is new come to town, With a petticoat green, and a bright yellow gown, And her white blossoms are peeping around.
There was an old woman, and what do you think? She liv'd upon nothing—but victuals and drink: Victuals and drink were the chief of her diet, And yet this old lady scarce ever was quiet.
The rose is red, the violet is blue, The gillyflower sweet—and so are you. These are the words you have me say For a pair of new gloves on Easter-day.
Great A, little a, bouncing B, The Cat's in the cupboard, and she can't see.
The little black dog ran round the house, And set the bull a roaring, And drove the monkey in the boat, Who set the oar a rowing, And scared the cock upon the rock, Who cracked his throat with crowing.
Oh, what a sweet little white Mouse! Oh, what a dear little bright Mouse! With his eyes of pink, Going winky-wink, Oh, what a sweet little white Mouse.
My little Pink, I suppose you think, I cannot do without you, I'll let you know Before I go, How little I care about you.
Tell tale tit, your tongue shall be slit, And all the dogs in our town shall have a bit.
Saturday night shall be my whole care To powder my locks and curl my hair; On Sunday morning my love will come in And marry me then with a pretty gold ring.
Dear Sensibility, O la! I heard a little lamb cry, baa! Says I, "So you have lost mamma?" "Ah!"
The little lamb, as I said so, Frisking about the fields did go, And, frisking, trod upon my toe. "Oh!"
Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, Pease porridge in the pot nine days old. Can you spell that with four letters? Yes, I can—T H A T.
There was a man in our town And he was wond'rous wise, He jump'd into a bramble-bush, And scratch'd out both his eyes; And when he saw his eyes were out, With all his might and main He jump'd into another bush, And scratch'd them in again.
As I was going to sell my eggs, I met a thief with bandy legs, Bandy legs and crooked toes, I tript up his heels, and he fell on his nose.
Old mistress McShuttle Lived in a coal-scuttle, Along with her dog and her cat; What they ate I can't tell, But 'tis known very well, That none of the party were fat.
Hen. Cock, cock, cock, cock, I've laid an egg, Am I to gang ba-are-foot? Cock. Hen, hen, hen, hen, I've been up and down, To every shop in town, And cannot find a shoe To fit your foot, If I'd crow my heart out.
[To be said very quickly, except the last two words in each verse, which are to be "screamed" out.]
Pussy sits behind the log, How can she be fair? Then comes in the little dog, Pussy, are you there? So, so, dear mistress Pussy, Pray tell me how you do? I thank you, little dog, I'm very well just now.
How many days has my baby to play? Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.
Pat a cake, pat a cake, Baker's man! So I do, master, as fast as I can. Pat it, and prick it, And mark it with T, And then it will serve For Tommy and me.
There was a man and he had naught, And robbers came to rob him; He crept up to the chimney top, And then they thought they had him. But he got down on t'other side, And then they could not find him: He ran fourteen miles in fifteen days, And never look'd behind him.
Ding—dong—bell, the cat's in the well, Who put her in? little Johnny Green. Who pulled her out? great Johnny Stout. What a naughty boy was that, To drown poor pussy cat; Who never did him any harm, And killed the mice in his father's barn.
Lazy Tom with jacket blue, Stole his father's gouty shoe. The worst of harm that dad can wish him, Is his gouty shoe may fit him.
Bonny lass! bonny lass! Will you be mine? You shall neither wash dishes Nor serve the wine, But sit on a cushion and sew up a seam, And you shall have strawberries, sugar, and cream.
I won't be my father's Jack, I won't be my father's Jill, I will be the fiddler's wife, And have music when I will. T'other little tune, t'other little tune, Prythee, love, play me t'other little tune.
London bridge is broken down, Dance over my Lady Lee, London bridge is broken down, With a gay ladye.
How shall we build it up again? Dance over my Lady Lee, How shall we build it up again? With a gay ladye.
We'll build it up with gravel and stone, Dance over my Lady Lee, We'll build it up with gravel and stone, With a gay ladye.
Gravel and stone will be washed away, Dance over my Lady Lee, Gravel and stone will be washed away, With a gay ladye.
We'll build it up with iron and steel, Dance over my Lady Lee, We'll build it up with iron and steel, With a gay ladye.
Iron and steel will bend and break, Dance over my Lady Lee, Iron and steel will bend and break, With a gay ladye.
We'll build it up with silver and gold, Dance over my Lady Lee, We'll build it up with silver and gold, With a gay ladye.
Silver and gold will be stolen away, Dance over my Lady Lee, Silver and gold will be stolen away, With a gay ladye.
We'll set a man to watch it then, Dance over my Lady Lee, We'll set a man to watch it then, With a gay ladye.
Suppose the man should fall asleep, Dance over my Lady Lee, Suppose the man should fall asleep, With a gay ladye.
We'll put a pipe into his mouth, Dance over my Lady Lee, We'll put a pipe into his mouth, With a gay ladye.
Tom, Tom, the piper's son, Stole a pig, and away he run; The pig was eat, And Tom was beat, And Tom ran crying down the street.
Little king Boggen he built a fine hall, Pie-crust and pastry-crust, that was the wall; The windows were made of black-puddings and white, And slated with pancakes—you ne'er saw the like.
To bed, to bed, says Sleepy-Head; Let's stay a while, says Slow; Put on a pot, says Greedy-Sot, We'll sup before we go.
Dingty diddledy, my mammy's maid, She stole oranges, I am afraid: Some in her pocket, some in her sleeve, She stole oranges, I do believe.
Ride away, ride away, Johnny shall ride, And he shall have pussy-cat Tied to one side; And he shall have little dog Tied to the other, And Johnny shall ride To see his grandmother.
Hush-a-bye, baby, lie still with thy daddy, Thy mammy is gone to the mill, To get some meal to bake a cake; So pray, my dear baby, lie still.
Little lad, little lad, Where were you born? Far off in Lancashire, under a thorn, Where they sup butter-milk With a ram's horn; And a pumpkin scoop'd, With a yellow rim, Is the bonny bowl they breakfast in.
Pretty John Watts, We are troubled with rats, Will you drive them out of the house? We have mice too in plenty, That feast in the pantry, But let them stay and nibble away, What harm in a little brown mouse?
Shake a leg, wag a leg, when will you gang? At midsummer, mother, when the days are lang.
See saw, sacradown, sacradown, Which is the way to Boston town? One foot up, the other foot down, That is the way to Boston town.
Tom Brown's two little Indian boys, One ran away, The other would n't stay, Tom Brown's two little Indian boys.
Hop away, skip away, my baby wants to play. My baby wants to play every day.
Bow, wow, wow, whose dog art thou? Little Tom Tinker's dog, bow, wow, wow.
Bobby Shaftoe's gone to sea, Silver buckles on his knee; He'll come back and marry me, Pretty Bobby Shaftoe.
Bobby Shaftoe's fat and fair, Combing down his yellow hair, He's my love forevermore, Pretty Bobby Shaftoe.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been? I've been to London to see the Queen. Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there? I frightened a little mouse under the chair.
Taffy was a Welchman, Taffy was a thief, Taffy came to my house and stole a piece of beef; I went to Taffy's house, Taffy wasn't at home, Taffy came to my house and stole a marrow-bone; I went to Taffy's house, Taffy was in bed, I took the marrow-bone, and beat about his head.
Boys and girls, come out to play, The moon does shine as bright as day, Leave your supper, and leave your sleep, And meet your playfellows in the street; Come with a whoop, and come with a call, And come with a good will, or not at all. Up the ladder and down the wall, A halfpenny roll will serve us all. You find milk and I'll find flour, And we'll have pudding in half an hour.
Ride a cock horse to Banbury-cross To see what Tommy can buy; A penny white loaf, a penny white cake, And a two penny apple pie.
Ride a cock hose to Shrewsbury-cross, To buy little Johnny a galloping horse It trots behind and it ambles before, And Johnny shall ride till he can ride no more.
Jemmy Jed went into a shed, And made a ted of straw his bed; An owl came out and flew about, And Jimmy Jed up stakes and fled. Wasn't Jimmy Jed a staring fool, Born in the woods to be scar'd by an owl?
How many miles to Babylon? Threescore miles and ten. Can I get there by candle-light? Yes, and back again.
Oh I am so happy, A little girl said, As she sprang like a lark From her low trundle bed. It is morning, bright morning, Good morning, Papa! Oh give me one kiss, For good morning, Mamma!
Trip upon trenchers, And dance upon dishes, My mother sent me for yeast, some yeast, She bid me tread lightly, And come again quickly, For fear the young men would play me some jest.
Yet didn't you see, yet didn't you see, What naughty tricks they put upon me? They broke my pitcher, and spilt my water, And huff'd my mother, and chid her daughter, And kissed my sister instead of me.
What's the news of the day, Good neighbor, I pray? They say the balloon Has gone up to the moon.
There was an old man in a velvet coat, He kiss'd a maid and gave her groat; The groat was crack'd and would not go. Ah, old man, do you serve me so?
Three wise men of Gotham Went to sea in a bowl, And if the bowl had been stronger My song had been longer.
Wash me and comb me And lay me down softly, And set me a bank to dry, That I may look pretty, When some one comes by.
Up in the green orchard there is a green tree, The finest of pippins that ever you see; The apples are ripe, and ready to fall, And Reuben and Robin shall gather them all.
Harry cum Parry, when will you marry? When apples and pears are ripe. I'll come to our wedding without any bidding, And stay with the bride all night.
Jog on, jog on, the footpath way, And merrily jump the style, boys, A merry heart goes all the day, Your sad one tires in a mile, boys.
I will sing you a song Of the days that are long, Of the woodcock and the sparrow, Of the little dog that burnt his tail, And he shall be whipt to-morrow.
I had a little Doll, The prettiest ever seen, She washed me the dishes, And kept the house clean. She went to the mill To fetch me some flour, And always got it home In less than an hour; She baked me my bread, She brewed me my ale, She sat by the fire And told many a fine tale.
When I was a little he, My mother took me on her knee, Smiles and kisses gave with joy, And call'd me oft her darling boy.
Is master Smith within?—Yes, that he is. Can he set a shoe? Ay, marry, two. Here a nail, and there a nail, Tick—tack—too.
Charley loves good cake and ale, Charley loves good candy, Charley loves to kiss the girls, When they are clean and handy.
John O'Gudgeon he was a wild man, He whipt his children now and then, When he whipt them, he made them dance, Out of Ireland into France.
Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater, Had a wife and couldn't keep her; He put her in a pumpkin shell, And then he kept her very well.
Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater, Had another and didn't lover her; Peter learnt to read and spell, And then he loved her very well.
Jack and Jill went up the hill, To draw a pail of water; Jack fell down and broke his crown And Jill came tumbling after.
There was an old man, And he had a calf, And that's half; He took him out of the stall, And put him on the wall, And that's all.
There was a little man, And he had a little gun, And his bullets were made of lead, He shot John Sprig Through the middle of his wig, And knocked it right off his head.
Goosey, goosey, gander, where dost thou wander? Up stairs and down stairs, and in my lady's chamber; There I met an old man that would not say his prayers, I took him by his hind legs and threw him down stairs.
The girl in the lane, That couldn't speak plain, Cried, Gobble, gobble, gobble; The man on the hill, That couldn't stand still, Went, hobble, hobble, hobble.
Robert Barns, fellow fine, Can you shoe this horse of mine, So that I may cut a shine? Yes, good sir, and that I can, As well as any other man; There a nail, and here a prod, And now, good sir, you horse is shod.
Hey ding a ding, ding, I heard a bird sing, The parliament soldiers are gone to the king.
Pibroch of Donnel Dhu, Pibroch of Donnel, Wake thy voice anew, Summon Clan-Connel. Come away, come away, Hark to the summons! Come in your war array, Gentles and commons!
Come as the winds come, When forests are rended, Come as the waves come, When navies are stranded. Faster come, faster come, faster and faster, Chief, vassal, page and groom, Tenent and master.
Fast they come, fast they come, See how they gather! Wide waves the eagle plume blended with heather. Cast your plaids, draw your blades, Forward each man set! Pibroch of Donnel Dhu, now for the onset!
Jack Sprat could eat no fat; His wife could eat no lean; So 'twixt them both they cleared the cloth, And lick'd the platter clean.
There was a little boy went into a barn, And lay down on some hay; A calf came out and smelt about, And the little boy ran away.
The sow came in with the saddle, The little pig rock'd the cradle, The dish jump'd up on the table To see the pot swallow the ladle. The spit that stood behind the door Threw the pudding-stick on the floor. Odsplut! said the gridiron, Can't you agree? I'm the head constable, Bring them to me.
Little Tommy Tucker, Sing for your supper: What shall I sing? White bread and butter. How shall I cut it Without any knife? How shall I marry Without any wife?
I would, if I could; if I couldn't, how could I? I couldn't without I could, could I? Could you without you could, could ye? could ye? could ye? You couldn't without you could, could ye?
Oh that I were where I would be! Then should I be where I am not; But where I am, there I must be, And where I would be I can not.
Hiccory, diccory, dock, The mouse run up the clock; The clock struck one, and down he run, Hiccory, diccory, dock.
Jacky, come give me your fiddle, If ever you mean to thrive. Nay, I'll not give my fiddle To any man alive.
If I should give you my fiddle, They'll think that I'm gone mad, For many a joyful day My fiddle and I have had.
There was a Piper had a Cow, And he had naught to give her, He pull'd out his pipes and play'd her a tune, And bade the cow consider.
The cow considered very well, And gave the piper a penny, And bade him play the other tune, "Corn rigs are bonny."
Away, pretty robin, fly home to your nest, To make you my captive I still should like best, And feed you with worms and with bread: Your eyes are so sparkling, your feathers so soft, Your little wings flutter so pretty aloft, And your breast is all cover'd with red.
Handy-spandy, Jacky dandy, Loves plum-cake and sugar candy. He bought some at a grocer's shop, And pleased away went hop, hop, hop.
When good King Arthur ruled his land He was a goodly king; He stole three pecks of barley meal To make a bag-pudding. A bag-pudding the king did make, And stuff'd it well with plums; And in it put great lumps of fat, As big as my two thumbs. The king and queen did eat thereof, And noblemen beside; And what they could not eat that night, The queen next morning fried.
Rock-a-bye, baby, your cradle is green, Father's a nobleman, mother's a queen, And Betty's a lady, and wears a gold ring, And Johnny's a drummer, and drums for the king.
See saw, Jack-a-daw, Johnny shall have a new master; Johnny shall have but a penny a day, Because he can work no faster.
About the bush, Willie, about the bee-hive, About the bush, Willie, I'll meet thee alive.
We're three brethren out of Spain, Come to court your daughter Jane.
My daughter Jane she is too young, She has no skill in a flattering tongue.
Be she young or be she old, It's for her gold she must be sold, So fare you well, my lady gay, We shall return another day.
Mistress Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells, And maidens all in a row.
When I was a little boy, my mother kept me in, Now I am a great boy, and fit to serve the king; I can handle a musket, I can smoke a pipe, I can kiss a pretty girl at ten o'clock at night.
Mary had a pretty bird, Feathers bright and yellow, Slender legs, upon my word He was a pretty fellow.
The sweetest notes he always sung, Which much delighted Mary, And often where the cage was hung, She stood to hear Canary.
This is the way the ladies ride, Prim, prim, prim; This is the way the gentlemen ride, Trim, trim, trim. Presently come the country-folks, Hobbledy gee, hobbledy gee.
One, Six, Two, Seven, Three, Eight, Four, Nine, Five, Ten, I caught a hare alive. I let it go again.
Cock a doodle doo, My dame has lost her shoe; My master's lost his fiddlestick, And knows not what to do.
Tom, Tom of Islington, Married a wife on Sunday, Bro't her home on Monday, Hired a house on Tuesday, Fed her well on Wednesday, Sick was she on Thursday, Dead was she on Friday, Sad was Tom on Saturday, To bury his wife on Sunday.
I had a little husband no bigger than my thumb, I put him in a pint pot, and there I bid him drum; I bought a little handkerchief to wipe his little nose, And a pair of little garters to tie his little hose.
As I was going to St. Ives, I met seven wives, Every wife had seven sacks, Every sack had seven cats, Every cat had seven kits, Kits, cats, sacks and wives, How many were going to St. Ives?
Miss Jane had a bag, and a mouse was in it, She opened the bag, he was out in a minute; The Cat saw him jump, and run under the table, And the dog said, catch him, puss, soon as you're able.
Cross Patch, draw the latch, Sit by the fire and spin; Take a cup, and drink it up, Then call your neighbors in.
See-saw, Margery Daw, Sold her bed and lay upon straw. Was not she a dirty slut, To sell her bed and lay in the dirt?
What care I how black he be? Twenty pounds will marry me If twenty won't, forty shall, I'm my mother's bouncing girl.
Here's A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, W, V,[ X, Y, and Z, And oh, dear me, When shall I learn My A, B, C.*/
[*][Note from Brett: "V" and "W" appear to be intentionally inverted to favor the rhyme.]
Milk-man, milk-man, where have you been? In Buttermilk channel up to my chin, I spilt my milk, and I spoilt my clothes, And got a long icicle hung to my nose.
I like little pussy, her coat is so warm, And if I don't hurt her she'll do me no harm; So I'll not pull her tail, nor drive her away, But pussy and I very gently will play.
There was an old woman Sold puddings and pies, She went to the mill, And the dust flew in her eyes. While through the streets, To all she meets, She ever cries, Hot Pies—Hot Pies.
A cow and a calf, An ox and a half, Forty good shillings and three. Is not enough tocher For a shoemaker's daughter, A bonny sweet lass With a coal-black ee[*]
[*][Note from Brett: "ee" is correct. I have no idea what it means.]
The little Robin grieves When the snow is on the ground, For the trees have no leaves, And no berries can be found.
The air is cold, the worms are hid, For Robin here what can be done? Let's strow around some crumbs of bread, And then he'll live till snow is gone.
Little Jack Nory Told me a story How he tried Cock-horse to ride, Sword and scabbard by his side, Saddle, leaden spurs and switches, His pocket tight With cents all bright, Marbles, tops, puzzles, props, Now he's put in jacket and breeches.
There were two blackbirds sitting on a hill, One name Jack, and the other name Jill; Fly away, Jack—fly away, Jill, Come again, Jack—come again, Jill.
Willie boy, Willie boy, Where are you going? O let us go with you, This sunshiny day.
I'm going to the meadow, To see them a mowing, I'm going to help the girls Turn the new hay.
Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town, Upstairs and downstairs in his night gown; Tapping at the windows, crying at the lock, "Are the babes in their beds, for it's now ten o'clock?"