p.159 ]

Listening to the bird sing


THE cuckoo's a fine bird,
     He sings as he flies ;
He brings us good tidings,
     He tells us no lies.

He sucks little birds' eggs,
     To make his voice clear ;
And when he sings "cuckoo!"
     The summer is near.

p.160 /

THE cat sat asleep by the side of the fire,
     The mistress snored loud as a pig :
Jack took up his fiddle, by Jenny's desire,
     And struck up a bit of a jig.

I HAD a little hobby-horse, and it was well shod,
It carried me to the mill-door, trod, trod, trod ;
When I got there I gave a great shout,
Down came the hobby-horse, and I cried out.
Fie upon the miller, he was a great beast,
He would not come to my house, I made a little feast,
I had but little, but I would give him some,
For playing of his bag-pipes and beating his drum.

I HAD a little dog, and his name was Blue Bell,
I gave him some work, and he did it very well ;
I sent him up-stairs to pick up a pin,
He stepped in the coal-scuttle up to the chin ;
I sent him to the garden to pick some sage,
He tumbled down and fell in a rage ;
I sent him to the cellar, to draw a pot of beer,
He came up again and said there was none there.

p.161 /

     [The snail scoops out hollows, little rotund chambers, in limestone, for its residence. This habit of the animal is so important in its effects, as to have attracted the attention of geologists, and Dr. Buckland alluded to it at the meeting of the British Association in 1841. See Chambers' 'Popular Rhymes,' p.43. The following rhyme is a boy's invocation to the snail to come out of such holes.]
SNAIL, snail, come out of your hole,
Or else I will beat you as black as a coal.

    SNEEL, snaul,
Robbers are coming to pull down your wall ;
    Sneel, snaul,
    Put out your horn,
Robbers are coming to steal your corn,
Coming at four o'clock in the morn.

SOME little mice sat in a barn to spin ;
Pussy came by, and she popped her head in ;
"Shall I come in, and cut your threads off ?"
"Oh! no, kind sir, you will snap our heads off ?"

BURNIE bee, burnie bee,
Tell me when your wedding be ?
If it be to-morrow day,
Take your wings and fly away.

p.162 /

      THE sow came in with the saddle,
     The little pig rock'd the cradle,
     The dish jump'd over the table,
     To see the pot with the ladle.
     The broom behind the butt
     Call'd the dish-clout a nasty slut :
Odds-bobs, says the gridiron, can't you agree ?
I'm the head constable,—come along with me.

"WHAT do they call you ?"
"Patchy Dolly."
"Where were you born ?"
"In the cow's horn."
"Where were you bred ?"
"In the cow's head."
"Where will you die ?"
"In the cow's eye."

AS I went over the water,
The water went over with me.
I saw two little blackbirds sitting on a tree :
The one called me a rascal,
The other called me a thief ;
I took up my little black stick, and knocked
          out all their teeth.

p.163 /

FOUR and twenty tailors went to kill a snail,
The best man among them durst not touch her tail ;
She put out her horns like a little Kyloe cow,
Run, tailors, run, or she'll kill you all e'en now.

[A Dorsetshire version.]
'TWAS the twenty-ninth of May, 'twas a holiday,
Four and twenty tailors set out to hunt a snail ;
The snail put forth his horns, and roared like a bull,
Away ran the tailors, and catch the snail who wull.

GRAY goose and gander,
     Waft your wings together ;
And carry the good king's daughter
     Over the one strand river.

PUSSY cat, pussy cat, where have you been ?
I've been up to London to look at the queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there ?
I frighten'd a little mouse under the chair.

p.164 /

I HAD a little dog, and they called him buff ;
I sent him to the shop for a hap'orth of snuff ;
But he lost the bag, and spill'd the snuff,
So take that cuff, and that's enough.

ALL of a row,
Bend the bow,
Shot at a pigeon,
And killed a crow.

THE cock doth crow
To let you know,
If you be wise,
'Tis time to rise.

THERE was an owl lived in an oak,
Wisky, wasky, weedle ;
And every word he ever spoke
Was fiddle, faddle, feedle.

A gunner chanced to come that way,
Whisky, whasky, wheedle ;
Says he, "I'll shoot you, silly bird."
Fiddle, faddle, feedle.

p.165 /

A PIE sate on a pear tree,
A pie sate on a pear tree,
A pie sate on a pear tree,
Heigh O, heigh O, heigh O !
Once so merrily hopp'd she,
Twice so merrily hopp'd she,
Thrice so merrily hopp'd she,
Heigh O, heigh O, heigh O !

CATCH him, crow! carry him, kite !
Take him away till the apples are ripe ;
When they are ripe and ready to fall,
Home comes {
} apples and all.

[An ancient cuckoo song still sung in Suffolk.]
CUCKOO, Cuckoo,
What do you do ?
In April
I open my bill ;
In June
I change my tune ;
       In May
I sing night and day ;
In July
Away I fly ;
In August
Away I must

p.166 /

"ROBERT BARNES, fellow fine,
Can you shoe this horse of mine ?"
"Yes, good sir, that I can,
As well as any other man :
There's a nail, and there's a prod,
And now, good sir, your horse is shod."

[Ancient Suffolk song for a bad singer.]
THERE was an old crow
     Sat upon a clod :
There's an end of my song,
     That's odd !

DICKERY, dickery, dare,
The pig flew up in the air ;
The man in brown soon brought him down,
Dickery, dickery, dare.

HICKETY, pickety, my black hen,
She lays eggs for gentlemen ;
Gentlemen come every day
To see what my black hen doth lay.

p.167 /

LITTLE Robin Red-breast
     Sat upon a rail :
Niddle naddle went his head,
     Wiggle waggle went his tail.

LITTLE Robin Red-breast,
     Sat upon a birdle ;
With a pair of speckle legs,
     And a green girdle.

JOHNNY ARMSTRONG kill'd a calf,
Peter Henderson got the half ;
Willy Wilkinson got the head,
Ring the bell, the calf is dead!

HIE hie, says Anthony,
Puss in the pantry
Gnawing, gnawing
A mutton mutton-bone ;
See now she tumbles it,
See how she mumbles it,
See how she tosses
The mutton mutton-bone.

p.168 /

A long-tail'd pig, or a short-tail'd pig,
Or a pig without e'er a tail,
A sow-pig, or a boar-pig,
Or a pig with a curly tail.

ONCE I saw a little bird
Come hop, hop, hop ;
So I cried, little bird,
Will you stop, stop, stop ?
And was going to the window
To say, how do you do ?
But he shook his little tail,
And far away he flew.

[The following stanza is of very considerable antiquity, and is common in Yorkshire. See Hunter's 'Hallamshire Glossary,' p.56.]
LADY-COW, lady-cow, fly thy way home,
Thy house is on fire, thy children all gone,
All but one that ligs under a stone,
Fly thee home, lady-cow, ere it be gone.

RIDDLE me, riddle me, ree,
A hawk sate upon a tree ;
And he says to himself, says he,
Lord ! what a fine bird I be !

p.169 /

      PUSSY cat Mole,
     Jump'd over a coal,
     And in her best petticoat burnt a great hole.
Poor pussy's weeping, she'll have no more milk,
Until her best petticoat's mended with silk.

AS I went to Bonner,
        I met a pig
        Without a wig,
Upon my word and honour.

THERE was a piper, he'd a cow,
And he'd no hay to give her ;
He took his pipes and played a tune,
Consider, old cow, consider!

The cow considered very well,
For she gave the piper a penny,
That he might play the tune again,
Of corn rigs are bonnie !

THERE was a little one-eyed gunner,
Who kill'd all the birds that died last summer.

p.170 /

AS titty mouse sat in the witty to spin,
Pussy came to her and bid her good ev'n,
"Oh, what are you doing, my little oman,"
"A spinning a doublet for my gude man ?"
"Then shall I come to thee and wind up thy thread,"
"Oh no, Mrs. Puss, you'll bite off my head."

          SHOE the colt,
          Shoe the colt,
Shoe the wild mare ;
          Here a nail,
          There a nail,
Yet she goes bare.

BETTY PRINGLE had a little pig,
Not very little and not very big,
When he was alive he lived in clover,
But now he's dead, and that's all over.
So Billy Pringle he laid down and cried,
And Betty Pringle she laid down and died ;
So there was an end of one, two, and three :
Billy Pringle he,
Betty Pringle she,
And the piggy wiggy.

p.171 /

PITTY Patty Polt,
Shoe the wild colt ;
         Here a nail,
         And there a nail,
Pitty, Patty, Polt.

HOW d' 'e [lit.] dogs, how? whose dog art thou ?
Little Tom Tinker's dog ! what's that to thou?
Hiss ! bow, a wow, wow !

     [The following song is given in Whiter's 'Specimen or a Commentary on Shakespeare,' 8vo, London, 1794, p.19, as common in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. Dr. Farmer gives another version as an illustration of a ditty of Jacques in 'As You Like It,' act ii, sc.5. See Malone's Skakespeare [lit.], ed. 1821, vol. vi, p.398; Caldecott's 'Specimen,' 1819, note on 'As You Like It,' p.11; and Douce's 'Illustrations,' vol. i, p.279.]
DAME, what makes your ducks to die ?
What the pize ails 'em? what the pize ails 'em ?
They kick up their heels, and there they lie,
What the pize ails 'em now ?
Heigh, ho ! heigh, ho !
Dame, what makes your ducks to die ?
What a pize ails 'em ? what a pize ails 'em ?
Heigh, ho ! heigh, ho !
Dame, what ails your ducks to die ?
Eating o'polly-wigs, eating o'polly-wigs,
Heigh, ho ! heigh, ho !

p.172 /

He was not very little
Nor yet very big ;
He was not very lean,
He was not very fat ;
He'll do well for a grunt,
Says little Jack Sprat.

[The proverb of Barnaby Bright is given by Ray and Brand as referring to St. Barnabas.]
BARNABY BRIGHT he was a sharp cur,
He always would bark if a mouse did but stir ;
But now he's grown old, and can no longer bark,
He's condemn'd by the parson to be hang'd by the clerk.

PUSSY cat eat the dumplings, the dumplings,
Pussy cat eat the dumplings.
        Mamma stood by
        And cried, Oh, fie !
Why did you eat the dumplings?

SNAIL, snail, put out your horns,
I'll give you bread and barleycorns.