p.101 /


      The most obvious method of arranging the rhymes employed in the amusements of children is to commence with the simple lines used by the nurse in the infantine toe, finger, and face-games, then proceeding to bo-peep, and concluding with the more complicated games, many of the latter possessing a dramatic character.

Harry Whistle, Tommy Thistle,
Harry Whible, Tommy Thible,
And little Oker-bell.
A game with the five toes, each toe being touched in succession as these names are cried. "This song affords a proof of the connexion between the English and Scandinavian rhymes. The last line, as it now stands, appears to mean nothing. The word oker, however, is the A.-S. æcer, Icel. akr, Dan. ager, and Swed. åker, pronounced oker, a field, and the flower is the field-bell." — Mr. Stephens's MS. The following lines are also used in a play with the toes:
Shoe the colt, shoe!
     Shoe the wild mare!
Put a sack on her back,
     See if she'll bear.
If she'll bear,
     We'll give her some grains;
If she won't bear,
     We'll dash out her brains.
There are many various versions of this song in English, and it also exists in Danish (Thiele, iii.133).
Skoe min hest!
Hvem kan bedst?
Det kan vor Præst!
p.102 /
Nei mæn kan han ej!
For det kan vor smed,
Som boer ved Leed.

Shoe my horse!
Who can best?
Why, our priest!
Not he, indeed!
But our smith can,
He lives at Leed.

      Perhaps, however, this will be considered more like the common rhyme, "Robert Barnes, Fellow fine," printed in the 'Nursery Rhymes of England,' p.166. An analogous verse is found in the nursery anthology of Berlin (Kuhn, Kinderlieder, 229), and in that of Sweden (Lilja, p.14),—
Sko, sko min lille häst,
I morgon frosten blir' vår gäst,
Då bli' hästskorna dyra,
Två styfver för fyra.

Shoe, shoe my little horse,
To-morrow it will be frosty;
Then will horse-shoes be dear,
Two will cost a stiver.

      English nurses use the following lines, when a child's shoe is tight, and they pat the foot to induce him to allow it to be tried on:
Cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe,
Give it a stitch and that will do.
Here's a nail, and there's a prod,
And now my shoe is well shod.
Or, occasionally, these lines,—
This pig went to market,
     Squeak, mouse, mouse, mousey;
Shoe, shoe, shoe the wild colt,
     And here's my own doll dowsy.

p.103 /

      The following lines are said by the nurse when moving the child's foot up and down,—

The dog of the kill,*
He went to the mill
     To lick mill-dust:
The miller he came
With a stick on his back,—
     Home, dog, home!
The foot behind,
     The foot before:
When he came to a style,
     Thus he jumped o'er.

A north-country term for kiln.


   I do not recollect to have seen anywhere noticed the somewhat singular fact, that our ancestors had distinct names for each of the five fingers — the thumb being generally called a finger in old works. Yet such was the case; and it may not displease the reader to have these cognominations duly set forth in order, viz. thumb, toucher, longman, leche-man, little-man. This information is derived from a very curious MS. quoted in my Dictionary of Archaisms, p.357; and the reasons for the names are thus set forth:—The first finger was called toucher because "therewith men touch i-wis;" the second finger longman, "for longest finger it is," (this, I beg to say, is intended for rhyme). The third finger was called leche-man, because a leche or doctor tasted everything by means of it. This is very curious; though we find elsewhere another reason for this appellation, on account of the pulsation in it, which was at one time supposed to communicate directly with the heart. The other finger was, of course, called littleman because it was the least of all. It is rather curious that some of these names should have survived the p.104 / wrecks of time, and be still preserved in a nursery-rhyme; yet such is the fact; for one thus commences, the fingers being kept in corresponding movements:
Dance, thumbkin, dance,
Dance, thumbkin, dance;
Dance, ye merry men all around:
But thumbkin he can dance alone;
But thumbkin he can dance alone.

Dance, foreman, dance,
Dance, foreman, dance;
Dance, ye merry men all around:
But thumbkin he can dance alone;
But thumbkin he can dance alone.

And so on, substituting in succession middleone, longman, or middleman, ringman, and littleman, and each verse terminating with "thumbkin he can dance alone." In some instances the original name for the third finger, lecheman, is preserved in the rhyme, but ringman is most generally adopted.
      It is worthy of remark too, that there is, even at the present day, amongst many of the old women of the Peak of Derbyshire, a strong belief in the superiority of lecheman over foreman in all matters of taste. They say that the forefinger is venomous, and that the superiority of the third is to be ascribed to its being possessed of a nerve; and as they appear to pay a most superstitious reverence to a nerve, whether in the finger, the tooth, or the ear, they do not fail to impress upon their daughters the importance of tasting anything of consequence with the third finger.
      The names given to the fingers vary considerably in the different counties. In Essex they call them
Tom Thumbkin,
Bess Bumpkin,
Bill Wilkin,
Long Linkin,
And little Dick!

p.105 /

And in some parts of Yorkshire,

Tom Thumbkins,
Bill Wilkins
Long Daniel,
Bessy Bobtail,
And little Dick.
      Similar appellations for the fingers are common in Denmark. Thus, Thiele, iii. 136,—
Lille Peer Spilleman.
      "Little Peer Spilleman" is "little Peter the fiddler," not a bad name for the little finger. A slight variation of this is current in Sweden,—
Tomme tott,
Slicke pott;
Långe man,
Hjertlig hand;
Lille, lille, lille, gullvive!
      The following song for the four fingers is obtained from Lancashire:
This broke the barn,
This stole the corn,
This got none:
This went pinky-winky
All the way home!


Bo Peeper,
Nose dreeper,
Chin chopper,
White lopper,
Red rag,
And little gap.
p.106 /

These lines are said to a very young child, touching successively for each line the eye, nose, chin, tooth, tongue, and mouth. Sometimes the following version is used:

Brow brinky,
Eye winky,
Chin choppy,
Nose noppy,
Cheek cherry,
Mouth merry.
      The most pleasing amusement of this kind is the game of "face-tapping," the nurse tapping each feature as she sings these lines,—
Here sits the lord mayor (forehead),
     Here sit his two men (eyes);
Here sits the cock (right cheek),
     Here sits the hen (left cheek).
Here sit the little chickens (tip of nose),
     Here they run in (mouth);
Chinchopper, chinchopper,
     Chinchopper, chin! (chucking the chin.)
      Similar songs are common in the North of Europe. A Danish one is given by Thiele, iii. 130:
Dikke, dikke, dik.

Dikke, dikke, dik!

The nurse, while repeating the last line, tickles the child under the chin. A German version, now common at p.107 / Berlin, is printed by M. Kuhn, in his article on Kinderlieder, p.237:
Ziep ziep Maränechen.
      The following lines are repeated by the nurse when sliding her hand down the child's face:
My mother and your mother
     Went over the way;
Said my mother to your mother,
     It's chop-a-nose day!


This is the way the ladies ride;
         Tri, tre, tre, tree,
         Tri, tre, tre, tree!
This is the way the ladies ride,
         Tri, tre, tre, tri-tre-tre-tree!

This is the way the gentlemen ride;
This is the way the gentlemen ride,
         Gallop-a gallop-a-trot!

This is the way the farmers ride,
This is the way the farmers ride,
         Hobbledy hobbledy-hoy!

This is a famous song for a young child, the nurse dancing it on her knee, and gradually increasing the ascent of the foot. Similar songs, but differing considerably from the above, are given in the Swedish nursery ballads of Arwidsson, iii. 489-91; the Danish of Thiele, iii. 130-2, iv. 176-7; and the German Wunderhorn, p.108 / iii. 60-1. The following pretty Swedish version is given from Mr. Stephens's MS. collections:
Hvem är det som rider?
Det är en fröken som rider:
Det går i sakta traf,
I sakta traf!

Hvem är det som rider?
Det är en Herre som rider:
Det går jo i galopp,
I galopp!

Hvem är det som rider?
Det är en Bonde som rider:
Det går så lunka på,
Lunka på !

And pray, who now is riding?
A lady it is that's riding:
And she goes with a gentle trot,
A gentle trot!

And pray, who now is riding?
A gentleman it is that's riding:
And he goes with a gallop-away,
A gallop-away!

And pray, who now is riding?
A farmer it is that's riding:
And he goes with a jog along,
A jog along!
      There are a great number of English variations of the above song, differing very materially from one another. A second version may be worth giving:
        Here goes my lord,
A trot! a trot! a trot! a trot!

        Here goes my lady,
A canter! a canter! a canter! a canter!

        Here goes my young master,
Jockey-hitch! jockey-hitch! jockey-hitch! jockey-hitch!

p.109 /
        Here goes my young miss,
An amble! an amble! an amble! an amble!

The footman lags behind to tipple ale and wine,
And goes gallop, a gallop, a gallop, to make up his time.

Here are other knee-songs:
Little Shon a Morgan,
     Shentleman [lit.] of Wales,
Came riding on a nanny-goat,
     Selling of pigs' tails.

Chicky, cuckoo, my little duck,
     See-saw, sickna downy;
Gallop a trot, trot, trot,
     And hey for Dublin towny!


      The children's game of bo-peep is as old as the hills, hiding from each other, and saying,—
Bo-Peep, Little Bo-Peep:
Now's the time for hide and seek.
But in ancient times the amusement appears to have been even of a simpler character, and adopted by nurses before children are capable of seeking recreation for themselves. Sherwood describes bo-peep as a child's game, in which the nurse conceals the head of the infant for an instant, and then removes the covering quickly. The Italians say far bau bau, or baco, baco, which Douce thinks is sufficient to show a connexion between the nurse's boggle or buggy-bo, and the present expression. Shakespeare has condescended to notice the game, unless, indeed, we suppose the term to have passed into a proverb. The reader will recollect what Butler says of Sir Edward Kelly, the celebrated conjuror,—
Kelly did all his feats upon
The devil's looking-glass, a stone:
Where, playing with him at bo-peep,
He solv'd all problems ne'er so deep.

p.110 /

      The term bo-peep appears to have been connected at a very early period with sheep. Thus in an old ballad of the time of Queen Elizabeth, in a MS. in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge,—

Halfe Englande ys nowght now but shepe,
In everye corner they playe boe-pepe;
Lorde, them confownde by twentye and ten,
And fyll their places with Cristen men.
And every one is acquainted with the nursery rhyme which details the adventures of 'Little Bo-peep,'—
Little Bo-peep has lost her sheep,
     And can't tell where to find them:
Leave them alone, and they'll come home,
     And bring their tails behind them.

Little Bo-peep fell fast asleep,
     And dreamt she heard them bleating:
But when she awoke, she found it a joke,
     For they were still all fleeting.

      Minsheu gives us a funny derivation of the word, which he says is no other than the noise which chickens make when they come out of the shell! I regret I have nothing better, certainly nothing so ingenious, to offer to my philological readers. Letting that pass, I take the opportunity of giving an anecdote respecting Ben Jonson and Randolph, which affords another illustration of the analogy above mentioned. It is taken from a manuscript of the seventeenth century, in the possession of Mr. Stephens of Stockholm, who considers the volume to have been transcribed before the year 1650.
      "Randolph havinge not soe much as ferry money, sought out Ben Johnson, and comminge to a place in London where he and three more were drinkinge, peeps in att the chamber doore. Ben Johnson espyinge him, said, 'Come in, Jack Bo-peepe.' Randolph, beinge very thirsty, it beeing then summer, and willinge to p.111 / quench his thirst, willingly obeyed his command. The company dranke untill it came to five shillings: every man drawinge his money, Randolph made this motion, viz. that he that made the first coppy of verses upon the reckoninge should goe scot-free. Ben and all the rest, beinge poetts, readily consented. Randolph, surpassinge them in acutenesse, utter'd forthwith these followinge,—
     I, Jack Bo-peep,
     And you foure sheep,
Lett every one yeeld his fleece:
     Here's five shillinge,
     If you are willinge,
That will be fifteene pence a-peece.
     Et sic impune evasit inops."
We conclude in the words of Shakespeare, —
They then for sudden joy did weep,
     And I for sorrow sung,
That such a king should play bo-peep,
     And go the fools among.


I went to the sea,
And saw twentee
     Geese all in a row:
My glove I would give
Full of gold, if my wife
     Was as white as those.
These lines are to be repeated rapidly and correctly, inserting the word cother after every word, under pain of a forfeit.
It's time, I believe,
For us to get leave:
The little dog says
It isn't, it is; it 'tisnt, it is, &c.
Said by a schoolboy, who places his book between his knees. His two forefingers are then placed together, p.112 / and the breadth of each is measured alternately along the length of the book. The time to get leave (to be dismissed) is supposed to have arrived or not according as one finger or the other fills up the last space.
A duck and a drake,
And a white penny cake.
It's time to go home,
It isn't, it is, &c.
So going on with the fingers one over the other along the edge of a book or desk, till the last finger determines the question.
Put your finger in foxy's hole,
     Foxy is not at home:
Foxy is at the back door,
     Picking of a bone.
Holding the fist in such a way that if a child puts its finger in, you can secure it, still leaving the hole at top open.
Jack's alive and in very good health,
If he dies in your hand you must look to yourself.
Played with a stick, one end burnt red-hot: it is passed round a circle from one to the other, the one who passes it saying this, and the one whose hand it goes out in paying a forfeit.

      A common game, children vacillating on either end of a plank supported on its centre. While enjoying this recreation, they have a song of appropriate cadence, the burden of which is,—
Titty cum tawtay,
     The ducks in the water:
Titty cum tawtay,
     The geese follow after.
p.113 /

Hitty-titty in-doors,
     Hitty-titty out;
You touch Hitty-titty,
     And Hitty-titty will bite you.
These lines are said by children when one of them has hid herself. They then run away, and the one who is bitten (caught) becomes Hitty-titty, and hides in her turn. A variation of the above lines occurs in MS. Harl. 1962, as a riddle, the solution of which is a nettle.

      So the game of hide-and-seek is called in some parts of Oxfordshire. Children hide from each other, and when it is time to commence the search, the cry is,
Hot boil'd beans and very good butter,
If you please to come to supper!

      In the game where the following lines are used, one person goes round inside a ring of children, clapping a cap between his hands. When he drops it at the foot of any one, that one leaves his position and gives chase, and is obliged to thread the very same course among the children till the first is caught. The first then stands with his back towards the centre of the ring, the one called out takes his place, and thus they continue till nearly all are "turned."
My hand burns hot, hot, hot,
And whoever I love best, I'll drop this at his foot!

      A game at cards, played now only by children. It is alluded to by Taylor the Water-poet, in his Motto, p.114 / 12mo. Lond. 1622, and it is also mentioned in Poor Robin's Almanac for 1734. The following distich is used in this game:
Higgory, diggory, digg'd,
My sow has pigg'd.

      A simple but very amusing game at cards, at which any number can play. The cards are dealt round, and one person commences the game by placing down a card, and the persons next in succession who hold the same card in the various suits place them down upon it, the holder of the last winning the trick. The four persons who hold the cards say, when they put them down,—
1.  There's a good card for thee.
2.  There's a still better than he!
3.  There's the best of all three.
4.  And there is Niddy-noddee!
The person who is first out, receives a fish for each card unplayed.

      Entertaining puzzles or exercises upon the slate are generally great favorites with children. A great variety of them are current in the nursery, or rather were so some years ago. The story of the four rich men, the four poor men, and the pond, was one of these; the difficulty merely requiring a zig-zag inclosure to enable it to be satisfactorily solved.
      Once upon a time there was a pond lying upon common land, which was extremely commodious for fishing, bathing, and various other purposes. Not far from it lived four poor men, to whom it was of great service; and farther off, their [lit.] lived four rich men. The latter p.115 / envied the poor men the use of the pond, and, as inclosure bills had not then come into fashion, they wished to invent an inclosure-wall which should shut out the poor men from the pond, although they lived so near it, and still give free access to the rich men, who resided at a greater distance. How was this done?

      This is another slate game, in which, by means of a tale and appropriate indications on the slate, a rude figure of a cat is delineated. It requires, however, some little ingenuity to accomplish it.
      Tommy would once go to see his cousin Charles. [Here one draws T for Tommy, and C for Charles, forming the forehead, nose, and mouth of the cat.] But before he went, he would make walls to his house. [Here he draws lines from the arms of the T to its foot, forming the cheeks of the cat.] But then it smoked, and he would put chimneys to it. [Here, he inserts two narrow triangles on each arm of the T, forming the ears of the cat.] But then it was so dark, he would put windows into it. [Here he draws a small circle under each arm of the T, forming the eyes.] Then to make it pretty, he would spread grass at the door. [Here he scratches lines at the foot of the T, representing the cat's whiskers.] Then away he went on his journey, but after a little while, down he fell. [Here he draws down a line a little way from the foot of the T.] But he soon climbed up again. [Here he draws a zig-zag horizontally from the foot of the last line, and draws one up, forming with the last movement the first foot of the cat.] Then he walks along again, but soon falls down once more. [Here he draws a short horizontal line, and one downwards.] He soon, however, got up again, as before, &c. [The second leg is then formed, and by similar movements the four legs of the p.116 / cat appear.] After thus falling down four times, Tommy determined to proceed more firmly, and climbing up, he walks along [the back of the cat] another way round till he comes to C. His journey is now accomplished, and an animal, called by courtesy a cat, appears on the slate, "the admiration of all beholders."

      This game is now played as follows: — a child hides something in one hand, and then places both fists endways on each other, crying, —
Handy-dandy riddledy ro,
Which will you have, high or low?
Or, sometimes, the following distich, —
Handy-dandy, Jack-a-dandy,
Which good hand will you have?
      The party addressed either touches one hand, or guesses in which one the article (whatever it may be) is placed. If he guesses rightly, he wins its contents; if wrongly, he looses an equivalent.
      Some versions read handy-pandy in the first of these, with another variation, that would not now be tolerated. This is one of the oldest English games in existence, and appears to be alluded to in Piers Ploughman, ed. Wright, p. 69:
Thanne wowede Wrong
Wisdom ful yerne,
To maken pees with his pens,
Handy-dandy played.
      Florio, in his World of Worlds, ed.1611, p.57, translates bazziciáre, "to shake between two hands, to play handie-dandie." Miege, in his Great French Dictionary, 1688, says, "Handy-dandy, a kind of play with the p.117 / hands, sorte de jeu de main;" and Douce, ii.167, quotes an early MS., which thus curiously mentions the game: "They hould safe your children's patrymony, and play with your majestie, as men play with little children at handye-dandye, which hand will you have, when they are disposed to keep anythinge from them." Some of the commentators on Shakespeare have mistaken the character of the game, from having adoped [lit.] Coles's erroneous interpretation of micare digitis. Sometimes the game is played by a sort of sleight of hand, changing the article rapidly from one hand into the other, so that the looker-on is often deceived, and induced to name the hand into which it is apparently thrown. This is what Shakespeare alludes to by changing places.
      Pope, in his Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus, says that the game of handy-dandy is mentioned by Plato; but if, as I suppose, he refers to a well-known passage in the Lysis, the allusion appears somewhat too indistinct to warrant such an assertion, —
astra galizontas te dh kai kekosmhmenous apantas. oi men oun polloi en th aulh epaizon exw. oi de tines tou apoduthriou en gwnia hrtiazon astragalois pampollois, ek formiskwn tinwn proairoumenoi. A passage, however, in Julius Pollux, ix. 101, referring to this, is rather more distinct, and may allude to one form of the game. — Kai mhn kai artiazein, astragalous ek formiskwn kaqairomenous en tw apoduthriw tous paidas, o Platwn efh. to de artiazein en astragalwn plhqei kekrummenwn upo tain ceroin, manteian eice twn artiwn h kai perittwn. tauto de touto kai kuamois, h karuois te kai amugdalais, oi de kai arguriw prattein hxioun, a passage which Meursius, de Ludis Græcorum, ed. 1625, p. 5, thus partially translates, "nempe ludentes sumptis in manu talis, fabis, nucibus, amygdalis, interdum etiam nummis, interrogantes alterum divinare jubebant." Here we have the exact game of handy-handy, which is, after all, the simple form of the odd and even of children.

p.118 /

      Browne has a curious allusion to this game in Britannia's Pastorals, i.5, —

Who so hath sene yong lads, to sport themselves,
Run in a low ebbe to the sandy shelves,
Where seriously they worke in digging wels,
Or building childish sorts of cockle-shels;
Or liquid water each to other bandy,
Or with the pibbles play at handy-dandy.

      A string of boys and girls, each holding by his predecessor's skirts, approaches two others, who, with joined and elevated hands, form a double arch. After the dialogue is concluded, the line passes through the arch, and the last is caught, if possible, by the sudden lowering of the arms.
        "How many miles to Barley-bridge?"
             "Three score and ten."
        "Can I get there by candle-light?"
             "Yes, if your legs be long."
"A courtesy to you, and a courtesy to you,
If you please will you let the king's horses through?"
        Through and through shall they go,
             For the king's sake;
        But the one that is hindmost
             Will meet with a great mistake.

      A game played by boys and girls. A girl is placed in the middle of a ring, and says the following lines, the names being altered to suit the party. She points to each one named, and at the last line, the party selected immediately runs away, and if the girl catches him, he pays a forfeit, or the game is commenced again, the p.119 / boy being placed in the middle, and the lines, mutatis mutandis, serve for a reversed amusement:
There is a girl of our town,
She often wears a flowered gown:
Tommy loves her night and day,
And Richard when he may,
And Johnny when he can:
I think Sam will be the man!

      A slightly dramatic character may be observed in this game, which was obtained from Essex. Children form a ring, one girl kneeling in the centre, and sorrowfully hiding her face with her hands. One in the ring then says,—
Here we all stand round the ring,
And now we shut poor Mary in;
Rise up, rise up, poor Mary Brown,
And see your poor mother go through the town.
To this she answers,—
I will not stand up upon my feet,
To see my poor mother go through the street.
The children then cry,—
Rise up, rise up, poor Mary Brown,
And see your poor father go through the town.
I will not stand up upon my feet,
To see my poor father go through the street.
Rise up, rise up, poor Mary Brown,
To see your poor brother go through the town.
I will not stand up upon my feet,
To see my poor brother go through the street.
p.120 /
Rise up, rise up, poor Mary Brown,
To see your poor sister go through the town.
I will not stand up upon my feet,
To see my poor sister go through the street.
Rise up, rise up, poor Mary Brown,
To see the poor beggars go through the town.
I will not stand up upon my feet,
To see the poor beggars go through the street.
      One would have thought that this tiresome repetition had been continued quite long enough, but two other verses are sometimes added, introducing gentlemen and ladies with the same questions, to both of which it is unnecessary to say that the callous and hardhearted Mary Brown replies with perfect indifference and want of curiousity. All versions, however, conclude with the girls saying,—
Rise up, rise up, poor Mary Brown,
And see your poor sweatheart [lit.] go through the town.
The chord is at last touched, and Mary, frantically replying,—
I will get up upon my feet,
To see my sweetheart go through the street,
rushes with impetuousity to break the ring, and generally succeeds in escaping the bonds that detain her from her imaginary love.
      The Swedish ballad of the "Maiden that was sold into Slavery," has a similar dramatic character. (See an article by Mr. Stephens, on the Popular Ballads and Songs of Sweden, in the Foreign Quarterly Review for 1840.) Another Swedish ballad, or ring-dance song, entitled, "Fair Gundela," is, however, more analogous p.121 / to the above. A girl sits on a stool or chair within a ring of dancers; and, with something in her hands, imitates the action of rowing. She should have a veil on her head, and at the news of her sweetheart's death, let it fall over her face, and sink down, overwhelmed with sorrow. The ring of girls dance round her, singing and pausing, and she sings in reply. The dialogue is conducted in the following manner:
The Ring.
Why row ye so, why row ye so?
Fair Gundela!
Sure I may row, ay sure may I row,
     While groweth the grass,
All summer through.
The Ring.
But now I've speir'd that your father's dead,
Fair Gundela!
What matters my father? My mother lives still.
Ah, thank heaven for that!
The Ring.
But now I've speir'd that your mother's dead,
Fair Gundela!
What matters my mother? My brother lives still.
Ah, thank heaven for that!
The Ring.
But now I've speir'd that your brother's dead,
Fair Gundela!
What matters my brother? My sister lives still.
Ah, thank heaven for that!
The Ring.
But now I've speir'd that your sister's dead,
Fair Gundela!
p.122 /
What matters my sister? My sweetheart lives still.
Ah, thank heaven for that!
The Ring.
But now I've speir'd that your sweetheart's dead,
Fair Gundela!
[Here she sinks down overwhelmed with grief.]
Say! can it be true,
     Which ye tell now to me,
That my sweetheart's no more?
     Ah, God pity me!
The Ring.
But now I've speir'd that your father lives still,
Fair Gundela!
What matters my father? My sweetheart's no more!
Ah, God pity me!
The Ring.
But now I've speir'd that you [lit.] mother lives still,
Fair Gundela!
What matters my mother? My sweetheart's no more!
Ah, God pity me!
The Ring.
But now I've speir'd that your brother lives still,
Fair Gundela!
What matters my brother? My sweetheart's no more!
Ah, God pity me!
The Ring.
But now I've speir'd that your sister lives still,
Fair Gundela!
What matters my sister? My sweetheart's no more!
Ah, God pity me!
p.123 /
The Ring.
But now I've speir'd that your sweetheart lives still,
Fair Gundela!
Say ! can it be true
     Which ye tell now to me,
That my sweetheart lives still?
     Thank God, thank God for that!
      The veil is thrown on one side, her face beams with joy, the circle is broken, and the juvenile drama concludes with merriment and noise. It is difficult to say whether this is the real prototype of the English game, or whether they are both indebted to a still more primitive original. There is a poetical sweetness and absolute dramatic fervour in the Swedish ballad we vainly try to discover in the English version. In the latter, all is vulgar, common-place, and phlegmatic. Cannot we trace in the last that poetic simplicity which has made the works of Andersen so popular and irresistibly charming? It may be that the style pleases by contrast, and that we appreciate its genuine chasteness the more, because we have nothing similar to it in our own vernacular literature.

      Eccleshall version, played as a game by the school-girls. See the Nursery Rhymes of England, p.114.
Suitors. Here come two dukes all out of Spain,
A courting to your daughter Jane.
Mother. My daughter Jane, she is so young,
She can't abide your flattering tongue.
Suitor. Let her be young or let her be old,
It is the price, she must be sold
Either for silver or for gold.
So, fare you well, my lady gay,
For I must turn another way.
p.124 /
Mother. Turn back, turn back, you Spanish knight,
And rub your spurs till they be bright.
Suitor. My spurs they are of a costliest wrought,
And in this town they were not bought;
Nor in this town they won't be sold,
Neither for silver nor for gold.
So, fare you well, my lady gay,
For I must turn another way.

Through the kitchen, and through the hall,
And take the fairest of them all;
The fairest is, as I can see,
Pretty Jane, come here to me.

Now I've got my pretty fair maid,
Now I've got my pretty fair maid
To dance along with me—
To dance along with me!

      There is a different version in Cambridgeshire, but the girl recollects it so imperfectly, and only two stanzas, that I cannot depend upon their being correct.
Here come three lords dressed all in green,
For the sake of your daughter Jane.
My daughter Jane she is so young,
She learns to talk with a flattering tongue.

Let her be young, or let her be old,
For her beauty she must be sold.
My mead's not made, my cake's not baked,
And you cannot have my daughter Jane.

      The children are seated and the following questions put by one of the party, holding a twisted handkerchief or something of the sort in the hand. The handkerchief was called hewley-puley, and the questions are asked by the child who holds it. If one answered wrongly, a box on the ear with the handkerchief was the consequence; but if they all replied correctly, then the one who broke silence first had that punishment.

p.125 /

     Take this ! What's this ?—Hewley-puley.
     Where's my share?—About the kite's neck.
     Where's the kite?—Flown to the wood.
     Where's the wood?—The fire has burned it.
     Where's the fire?—The water has quenched it.
     Where's the water?—The ox has drunk it.
     Where's the ox?—The butcher has killed it.
     Where's the butcher?—The rope has hanged him.
     Where's the rope?—The rat has gnawed it.
     Where's the rat?—The cat has killed it.
     Where's the cat?—Behind the church door, cracking pebble-stones and marrow-bones for yours and my supper, and the one who speaks first shall have a box on the ear.

      Children sit in a ring or in a line, with their hands placed together palm to palm, and held straight, the little fingers downmost between the knees. One of them is then chosen to represent a servant, who takes a ring, or some other small article as a substitute, between her two palms, which are pressed flat together like those of the rest, and goes round the circle or line, placing her hands into the hands of every player, so that she is enabled to let the ring fall where-ever she pleases without detection. After this, she returns to the first child she touched, and with her hands behind her exclaims,—
My lady's lost her diamond ring:
I pitch upon you to find it!
The child who is thus addressed must guess who has the ring, and the servant performs the same ceremony with each of the party. They who guess right, escape; but the rest forfeit. Should any one in the ring exclaim, "I have it," she also forfeits; nor must the servant make known who has the ring, until all have guessed, under the same penalty. The forfeits are afterwards cried as usual.

p.126 /

      Children form a half-circle, first choosing one of their number to represent the poor soldier. The chief regulation is that none of the players may use the words, yes, no, black, white, or gray. The poor soldier traverses the semicircle, thus addressing each player,—
Here's a poor soldier come to town!
Have you aught to give him?
The answer must of course be evasive, else there is a fine. He continues, "Have you a pair of trousers [or old coat, shoes, cap, &c.] to give me?" The answer must again be evasive, or else another forfeit. The old soldier then asks: "Well, what colour is it?" The reply must avoid the forbidden colours, or another forfeit is the penalty. Great ingenuity may be exhibited in the manner in which the questions and answers are constructed, and, in the hands of some children, this is a most amusing recreation. The forfeits are of course cried at the end of the game.

      A ring-dance imitation-play, the metrical portion of which is not without a little melody. The bramble-bush is often imaginative, but sometimes represented by a child in the centre of the ring. All join hands, and dance round in a circle, singing,—
Here we go round the bramble-bush,
—The bramble-bush, the bramble-bush:
Here we go round the bramble-bush
     On a cold frosty morning!
After the chanting of this verse is ended, all the children commence an imitation of washing clothes, making appropriate movements with their hands, and saying,—

p.217 / [This should be p.127.]

This is the way we wash our clothes,
—Wash our clothes, wash our clothes:
This is the way we wash our clothes
     On a cold frosty morning!
They then dance round, repeating the first stanza, after which the operation of drying the clothes is commenced with a similar verse, "This is the way we dry our clothes," &c. The game may be continued almost ad infinitum by increasing the number of duties to be performed. They are, however, generally satisfied with mangling, smoothing or ironing, the clothes, and then putting them away. Sometimes they conclude with a general cleaning, which may well be necessary after the large quantity of work that has been done:
This is the way we clean our rooms,
—Clean our rooms, clean our rooms:
This is the way we clean our rooms
     On a cold frosty morning!
And like good merry washing-women, they are not exhausted with their labours, but conclude with the song, "Here we go round the bramble-bush," having had sufficient exercise to warm themselves on any "cold frosty morning," which was doubtlessly the result, we may observe en passant, as a matter of domestic economy, aimed at by the author. It is not so easy to give a similar explanation to the game of the mulberry-bush, conducted in the same manner:
Here we go round the mulberry-bush,
—The mulberry-bush, the mulberry-bush:
Here we go round the mulberry-bush
     On a sunshiny morning.
      In this game, the motion-cries are usually "This is the way we wash our clothes," "This is the way we dry our clothes," "This is the way we make our shoes," "This is the way we mend our shoes," "This is the way the gentlemen walk," "This is the way the ladies walk," &c. As in other cases, the dance may be con- p.128 / tinued by the addition of cries and motions, which may be rendered pretty and characteristic in the hands of judicious actors. This game, however, requires too much exercise to render it so appropriate to the season as the other.

      A boy's amusement in Yorkshire, in vogue about half a century ago, but now, I believe, nearly obsolete. It is played in this manner. The lads crowd round, and place their fists endways the one on the other, till they form a high pile of hands. Then a boy who has one hand free, knocks the piled fists off one by one, saying to every boy, as he strikes his fist away, "What's there, Dump?" He continues this process till he comes to the last fist, when he exclaims:
     What's there?
Cheese and bread, and a mouldy halfpenny!
     Where's my share?
I put it on the shelf, and the cat got it.
     Where's the cat?
She's run nine miles through the wood.
     Where's the wood?
T' fire burnt it.
     Where's the fire?
T' water sleckt (extinguished) it.
     Where's the water?
T' oxen drunk it.
     Where's the oxen?
T' butcher kill'd 'em.
     Where's the butcher?
Upon the church-top cracking nuts, and you may go and eat the shells; and them as speak first shall have nine nips, nine scratches, and nine boxes over the lug!
      Every one then endeavours to refrain from speaking, in spite of mutual nudges and grimaces, and he who first allows a word to escape is punished by the others in the various methods adopted by schoolboys. In p.129 / some places the game is played differently. The children pile their fists in the manner described above; then one, or sometimes all of them sing,—
I've built my house, I've built my wall;
I don't care where my chimneys fall!
The merriment consists in the bustle and confusion occasioned by the rapid withdrawal of the hands.

Now we dance looby, looby, looby,
Now we dance looby, looby, light.
Shake your right hand a little
And turn you round about.

Now we dance looby, looby, looby,
Shake your right hand a little
Shake your left hand a little
And turn you round about.

Now we dance looby, looby, looby,
Shake your right hand a little
Shake your left hand a little
Shake your right foot a little
And turn you round about.

Now we dance looby, looby, looby,
Shake your right hand a little
Shake your left hand a little
Shake your right foot a little
Shake your left foot a little
And turn you round about.

Now we dance looby, looby, looby,
Shake your right hand a little
Shake your left hand a little
Shake your right foot a little
Shake your left foot a little
Shake your head a little
And turn you round about.

Children dance round first, then stop and shake the hand, &c., then turn slowly round, and then dance in a ring again.

p.130 /

      Children stand round in a circle, leaving a space between each. One walks round the outside, and carries a glove in her hand, saying,
I've a glove in my hand,
                               Hittity Hot!
Another in my other hand,
                               Hotter than that!
So I sow beans, and so they come up,
Some in a mug, and some in a cup.
I sent a letter to my love,
I lost it, I lost it!
I found it, I found it!
It burns, it scalds!
Repeating the last words very rapidly, till she drops the glove behind one of them, and whoever has the glove must overtake her, following her exactly in and out till she catches her. If the pursuer makes a mistake in the pursuit, she loses, and the game is over; otherwise she continues the game with the glove.

Nettles grow in an angry bush,
     An angry bush, an angry bush;
Nettles grow in an angry bush,
     With my High, Ho, Ham!
This is the way the lady goes,
     The lady goes, the lady goes;
This is the way the lady goes,
     With my High, Ho, Ham!
The children dance round, singing the first three lines, turning round and clapping hands for the fourth line. They curtsey while saying "this is the way the lady goes," and again turn round and clap hands for the p.131 / last line. The same process is followed in every verse, only varying what they act,—thus, in the third verse, they bow for the gentleman,—
Nettles grow in an angry bush, &c.
This is the way the gentleman goes, &c.

Nettles grow in an angry bush, &c.
This is the way the tailor goes, &c.

And so the amusement is protracted ad libitum, with shoemaking, washing the clothes, ironing, churning, milking, making up butter, &c.

      One child is selected for Gipsy, one for Mother, and one for Daughter Sue. The Mother says,—
I charge my daughters every one
To keep good house while I am gone.
You and you (points) but specially you,
[Or sometimes, but specially Sue.]
Or else I'll beat you black and blue.
During the Mother's absence, the Gipsy comes in, entices a child away, and hides her. This process is repeated till all the children are hidden, when the Mother has to find them.

      One child is Fox. He has a knotted handkerchief, and a home to which he may go whenever he is tired, but while out of home he must always hop on one leg. The other children are geese, and have no home. When the Fox is coming out he says,—
The Fox gives warning
It's a cold frosty morning.
After he has said these words he is at liberty to hop p.132 / out, and use his knotted handkerchief. Whoever he can touch is Fox instead, but the geese run on two legs, and if the Fox puts his other leg down, he is hunted back to his home.

      One child, called the Old Dame, sits on the floor, and the rest, joining hands, form a circle round her, and dancing, sing the following lines:
Children. To Beccles! to Beccles!
To buy a bunch of nettles!
Pray, Old Dame, what's o'clock?
Dame. One, going for two.
Children.. To Beccles! to Beccles!
To buy a bunch of nettles!
Pray, Old Dame, what's o'clock?
Dame. Two, going for three.
And so on till she reaches, "Eleven going for twelve." After this the following questions are asked, with the replies.—C. Where have you been? D. To the wood. C. What for? D. To pick up sticks. C. What for? D. To light my fire. C. What for? D. To boil my kettle. C. What for? D. To cook some of your chickens. The children then all run away as fast as they can, and the Old Dame tries to catch one of them. Whoever is caught is the next to personate the Dame.

      One child stands in the middle of a ring formed by the other children joining hands round her. They sing—
Here comes a poor woman from Babylon,
With three small children all alone:
One can brew, and one can bake,
The other can make a pretty round cake.
p.133 /
One can sit in the arbour and spin,
Another can make a fine bed for the king.
Choose the one and leave the rest,
And take the one you love the best.
The child in the middle having chosen one in the ring of the opposite sex, the rest say,—
Now you're married, we wish you joy;
Father and mother you must obey:
Love one another like sister and brother,
And now, good people, kiss each other!
They then kiss, and the process is repeated till all the children are in the ring. Another game, played in the same way, begins with this verse:
Sally, Sally Waters, why are you so sad?
You shall have a husband either good or bad:
Then rise, Sally Waters, and sprinkle your pan,
For you're just the young woman to get a nice man.
The partner being chosen, the two kneel down, and the rest sing,—
Now you're married we wish you joy,
Father and mother and little boy!
Love one another like sister and brother,
And now, good people, kiss each other.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, who sits on her throne,
As fair as a lily, as white as a swan;
The king sends you three letters,
And begs you'll read one.
This is said by all the children but one, who represents the Queen, they having previously hid a ball upon one of their number. The Queen answers,
I cannot read one unless I read all,
So pray, ———, deliver the ball.

p.134 /

Naming any child she pleases. If she guesses rightly the child who has the ball takes her place as Queen. If wrongly, the child who has the ball says,

The ball is mine, and none of thine,
So you, proud Queen, may sit on your throne,
While we, your messengers, go and come.
Or, sometimes, these lines,—
The ball is mine, and none of thine,
You are the fair lady to sit on:
And we're the black gipsies to go and come.


      The operation of counting-out is a very important mystery in many puerile games. The boys or girls stand in a row, and the operator begins with the counting-out rhyme, appropriating a word to each, till he comes to the person who receives the last word, and who is accordingly "out." This operation is continued till there is only one left, who is the individual chosen for the hero of the game, whatever it may be. The following verses are selected from a host of rhymes employed for this purpose:
One-ery, two-ery,
     Tick-ery, tee-vy;
Hollow-bone, crack-a-bone,
     Pen and eevy.
Ink, pink,
     Pen and ink;
A study, a stive,
     A stove, and a sink!
p.135 /
One-ery, two-ery,
     Tickery, teven;
Alabo, crackabo,
     Ten and eleven:
Spin, spon,
     Must be gone;
Alabo, crackabo,
O-U-T spells out.

      [Something similar to this is found in Swedish, Arwidsson, iii. 492:
Apala, mesala,
Mesinka, meso,
Sebedei, sebedo!
Extra, lara,
Kajsa, Sara!
Heck, veck,
Gack du din långe man veck,
Ut ! ]
Igdum, digdum, didum, dest,
Cot-lo, we-lo, wi-lo, west;
Cot pan, must be done,
Twiddledum, twaddledum, twenty-one!
Hytum, skytum,
Perridi styxum,
Perriwerri wyxum,
A bomun D.