Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mary Quite Contrary Nursery Rhyming Fun


Zulu 'hello' for multiple people

translates to 'we see you'
and you should respond with



Mistress Mary,
Quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells,
And cockle shells.
And cowslips all of a-row.

from An Alphabet of Old Friends by Walter Crane,mid 1800's

How does my lady's garden grow?
How does my lady's garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

 from The Baby's Opera by Walter Crane (circa 1877)

from Walter Crane's book

The only explanation I found for this rhyme is that
apparently it alludes to Queen Mary and
her preference for pretty female staff.
- reference by Jessie Prince,

found on Mama Lisa's House

Mrs. Mary, Quite Contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And so my garden grows.

That version contains 2 lines that are different.
The first one, which ALSO can be said
"Mistress, Mary, Quite Contrary
and the last line, which Kate Greenaway's version (1881) says
"And cowslips all of a row."

This one, from Kate Greenaway, says the rhyme in a slightly different version!
Sounds to me like it was a popular little ditty,
and when people started writing it down,
they wrote what they had heard as children.

That's a whole 'nother topic!
I have a couple of friends that will keep us in stitches when they start
'singing' the hymns from church. The difference from what is written in the hymnal, and what they had 'heard' as children.
Two very different 'versions'!

Jessie Wilcox, illustrator

I have always loved the illustrations that have the little lady heads
as parts of the flowers. I don't know why, but it still makes me smile.
I love the 'singing' flowers in Alice in Wonderland, Disney animated version too.


Shall we do a little planting/watering in our garden now?

thanks for sharing, Dover Publications!

This is from 58 earthenware tiles made by Doulton, 1900

Oh no!
Now Ernie wants to help Bert water the garden...

those silly Muppet guys!!!

Here is Kate Greenaway to save the day...again...

vintage Kate Greenaway illustration

I think little Mary would have liked a garden that looked like this-
lots and lots of flowers - How many colors can you use to make this beautiful?


One super thing about researching different nursery rhymes
is that I get to see so many wonderful illustrations
and paintings, and even clip art!

illustration by Moffat

That's it for today!
I do want to at least mention a
to the 50 countries where different people have enjoyed
puttering around my blog.
I think that is perhaps the best thing about the Internet:
We can all connect with someone from a different country
who dresses different
talks different
their culture and traditions are different
and we can get along!
I really do LOVE learning about different countries
and the people that live there.
I have ever since I can remember.

1922 illustration

Search for singing ladies today!
Grocery store line?
At the gas station?
On a street corner?
A neighbor mowing the grass?
Fun Fun Fun
that is what I wish for you today!

and a really really really easy
way for you to leave comments!
Love to hear from you....

Mama Lisa's House is a wonderful web site with many many nursery rhymes,
including recordings of many!
Here is her little rhyme:
A rabbit loves his carrots,
A kitten loves her mouse,
I hope you like the silly rhymes
In Mama Lisa's House!

1 comment:

  1. Mary is Mary Tudor (Queen Mary) she tried to reimpose Catholicism on the English after the death of Edward VI. The silver bells refer to the life ruled by bells in a monastery or convent and the pretty maids are the nuns.