She had so many children, she didn't know what to do ; She gave them some broth, without any bread, And whipped them all soundly and put them to bed. Doctor Foster, went to Glo'ster In a shower of rain ; He stepped in a puddle. Up to the middle. And never went there again.
This is another version of one that has been given earlier : — Ding, dong, bell. Pussy's in the well.
Who put her in? Little Tommy Thin. What a naughty boy was that, Thus to drown poor Pussy Cat. Little Boy Blue, come, blow your horn. The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn ; Where is the boy that looks after the sheep? He's under the haycock, fast asleep! I went to Taffy's house, Taffy was in bed, I took up a broomstick and flung it at his head. The lion and the unicorn Fighting for the crown ; Up jumps a wee dog And knocks them both down. Some got white bread. And some got brown : But the lion beat the unicorn All round the town. There was a wee wifie row'd up in a blanket.
Nineteen times as high as the moon ; And what she did there I canna declare, For in her oxter she bure the sun. Wee wifie, wee wifie, wee wifie, quo' I, O what are ye doin' up there so high? Em blawin' the cauld clouds out o' the sky. Weel dune, weel dune, wee wifie, quo' I.
What do ye do? I feed sheep and gaits! Where feed they? Doun in yon bog! What eat they? Gerse and fog! Milk and wliey! Wha Slips that? Tarn Taits and I! Towards the yellow-hammer, or yellow-yite — bird of beautiful plumage though it be — because it is the sub- ject of an unaccountable superstitious notion, which credits it with drinking a drop of the devil's blood every May morning, the children of Scotland cherish no inconsiderable contempt, which finds expression in the rhyme : — Half a puddock, half a taed. Half a yellow yorling ; Drinks a drap o' the deil's blood Every May morning.
To the lark's song the young mind gives language, in a kindly way, thus : — Larikie, larikie, lee! Wha'll gang up to heaven wi' me? No the lout that lies in his bed. No the doolfu' that dreeps his head. Interpreting similarly the lapwing's cry, they retaliate with : — Peese-weep! Harry my nest, and gar me greet!
Of the cuckoo they have this common rhyme : — The cuckoo is a bonnie bird, He sings as he flies ; He brings us good tidings ; He tells us no lies. He drinks the cold water To keep his voice clear ; And he'll come again In the Spring of the year. The lady-bird, or " Leddy Lanners," is a favourite insect with children, and is employed by them to dis- cover their future partners in life.
Flee ower pool, an' rinnin' well.
Flee ower hill, an' flee ower mead. Flee ower livin', flee ower dead.
Flee ower corn, an' flee ower lea. Flee ower river, flee ower sea. Flee ye p]. The following rhyme, old and curious, and still not unknown to the young in Scotland and England alike, has many varieties : — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Bless the bed that I lie on ; Four posties to my bed. Six angels are outspread : Two to bottom, two to head. One to watch me while I pray. One to bear my soul away.
After the first two lines it goes sometimes : — Four corners to my bed. Four angels round my head ; One to read and one to write, Two to guard my bed at night. In an old MS. Some o' them had nane ava ; Some o' them had umbrellas For to keep the rain awa'. And left his body stannin'.
Tell me where this man did dwell. His wives are very numerous. Yet he maintaineth none ; And at the day of reckoning He bids them all begone.
He wears his boots when he should sleep. His spurs are ever new ; There's no a shoemaker on a' the earth Can fit him wi' a shoe, [A cock. Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tot. And he that made it did it bring ; But he 'twas made for did not know Whether 'twas a thing or no.
Come, tell this bonnie riddleum to me. I'm aye telling ye. But ye're no calling, Hoo they ca' the King's son In the boat sailing. Ye winna guess that. If Dick's father is John's son. What relation is Dick to John? It's a' clad owtc wi' leather bend : It'll fecht a bull, it'll fecht a bear. It'll fecht a thousand men o' wear. Lang man legless, Gaed to the door staffless : Goodwife, put up your deuks and hens ; For dogs and cats I carena.
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Some o' them was yellow tappit. Sic a drove o' Highland swine Ne'er cam' owre the tap o' Trine. Can a mare eat oats? Through a rock, through a reel.
And if I miss, I pitch on this. It requires address and swiftness of foot to do so without being taken prisoner by the foe. Nan is from Japan. Flee ower hill, an' flee ower mead. And the dish ran away with the spoon. Be ye or no.
Through an auld spinning-wheel. Through a sheep-shank bane. Sic a man was never seen, Wha had he been? And we were a' ta'en. That the pastime has been common among the children of civilized and semi-civilized races alike is certainly of curious interest, and yet investiga- tion has proved this to be the case. Not only so, but the form of use is nearly always identical. A leader, as a rule self-appointed, having engaged the attention of the boys and girls about to join in a proposed game, arranges them either in a row or in a circle around him.
He then repeats the rhyme, fast or slow, as he is capable or disposed, pointing with the hand or fore- finger to each child in succession, not forgetting himself. Having completed the verse, the child on whom the last word falls is said to be " out," and steps aside. Some- times the formula employed in certain parts of Scotland, as I recollect, was for each boy to insert his finger into the leader's cap, around which all the company stood.
With the pronouncement of the word " Jock," the M. All out but you, and by the first reading fixed the relationship of parties. Now, a very important and interesting feature of these rhymes and their application, as I have said, is found in the fact that they prevail in a more or less identical form all over the world. Undoubtedly they found a precedent, if they did not actually themselves exercise a part, in the very ancient custom of casting lots, which prevailed among the heathen as well as among the chosen people of God in very early times.
From sacred history we learn that lots were used to decide measures to be taken in battle; to select champions in individual contests ; to determine the partition of conquered or colonised lands ; in the divi- sion of spoil ; in the appointment of Magistrates and other functionaries ; in the assignment of priestly offices ; and in criminal investigations, when doubt existed as to the real culprit. The names of the cities were written on arrows.