Monday, May 14, 2012

Old Mother Hubbard Nursery Rhyme Time


'Peace' in the Tamil language
spoken in Singapore
Sri Lanka

Tamil language literature from 300 BC has been found in
Sri Lanka


The International Peace Choir founded in Long Beach, CA 1987

Today's blog is all about an old woman, who may or may not have had children,
did have one incredible dog
was a little careless about keeping her cupboard filled.
vintage illustration

A neighbor of Mother Hubbard's (presumably) had quite a talent for rhyming.
Being a nosy neighbor,
she spent a lot of time in her front room peeking through the curtains
the better to see what was going on in the neighborhood.

Especially that suspicious old lady across the street
that people insisted on calling 'Mother'
 although no children have been reported seen.

Just that irritating dog.
Mother Hubbard spends way too much time doting on that mangy thing.
Why, just wait until you hear about all the
outrageous antics going on over there.....

you can find this book on Amazon:

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor dog a bone;
But when she got there
The cupboard was bare.
And so the poor dog had none.

vintage illustration

The lyrics to this nursery rhyme were first published in 1805,
and have remained mostly unchanged.
The first publication was
The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and Her Dog
by J. Harris of London
June 1, 1805

vintage illustration

She went to the baker
To buy him some bread,
But when she got back
The poor dog was dead.

(I think this was probably hopeful wishing on the neighbor's part.)

I'm using verses from The Little Mother Goose published in 1912
with illustrations by
Jessie Willcox Smith.

She went to the joiner (the undertaker's)
To buy him a coffin,
But when she came back
The poor dog was laughing.

great for scherensnitte!

While many have suggested that the Old Mother Hubbard rhyme
is popular because it is a political satire,
nowhere can it be found if this is true,
or what the satire is about.

She took a clean dish
To get him some tripe*;
When she came back
He was smoking his pipe.

vintage illustration

* tripe
I don't know how many of you know what tripe is, but let me tell you
it is some nasty kind of animal body part (brains?).
My brother-in-law loves menudo, a kind of a breakfast soup
popular in Mexico, and perhaps other places too.
Now, he is a super fantastic cook
so when he says this is the best menudo you will ever eat
I believe him.
What he didn't tell me is that no matter how wonderful his menudo is
it is still a soup made from nasty animal body parts.
I think it is the only thing he has ever cooked
that I hated.
Truly, scrape-the-tongue hated.
Oh well. Maybe you'll like it....
and maybe Old Mother Hubbard's dog liked it....

unknown source

She went to the ale house
To get him some beer;
When she came back
The dog sat in a chair.

unknown source

She went to the tavern
For white wine and red;
When she came back
He was riding a goat.

vintage illustration book cover

She went to the hatter's
To buy him a hat,
But when she came back
He was feeding the (her) cat.

I have found two slightly different versions, published in different years.
So, when I can, I add the 'different' word(s) for your perusal.
I've been waiting for just the right time to use that word!

She went to the barber
To buy him a wig,
But when she came back
He was dancing a jig.

I guess you can't wear a wig if you are dancing a jig?

unknown source

vintage illustration, unknown source

She went to the cobbler's
To buy him some shoes;
When she came back
He was reading the news.

Traditional Nursery Songs of England with Pictures by Eminent Modern Artists
c. 1843
edited by F. Summerly

I just love that title, don't you?

from The Little Mother Goose, c.1912
illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith
found at Mama Lisa's House of English Rhymes

partial of painting Old Mother Hubbard by one of my all-time favorites:
Scott Gustafson

The next two verses are found in some versions
but not in all:

She went to the fruiter (fruiterer's)
To buy him some fruit,
But when she came back
He was playing the flute.

She went to the tailor
To buy him a coat,
But when she came back
He was riding a goat.

vintage illustration, unknown source

I love her fingerless lace mitts!

She went to the sempstress (sic)
To buy him some linen;
When she came back
The dog was spinning.

vintage illustration

So, did you ever wonder what that little (sic) meant?
It means that is the original spelling, it has not been changed
to the correct spelling.
The 'sempstress' is found in the 1912 version.

c. 1917

She went to the hosier
To buy him some hose,
But when she came back
He was dressed in his clothes.

A Batchelder tile, c. 1909

She went to the fish-shop
To buy him some fish,
And when she came back
He was washing the dish.

The original 1805 edition

courtesy Dover books

The dame made a courtsy,
The dog made a bow,
The dame said, "Your servant,"
The dog said, "Bow-wow."

Mother Hubbard costume


This wonderful dog
Was Dame Hubbard's delight,
He could read, he could dance,
He could sing, he could write;

She gave him rich dainties
Whenever he fed,
And erected this monument
When he was dead.

vintage 1935 movie poster

...and thus ends
the saga of an old woman (who may or may not have been a mother)
and her incredible
(and very irritating according to close sources)

a John Lawson illustration, 1888

enjoy the day!
and don't forget to stop by the grocery store....


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