Friday, November 8, 2013

The Baby's Opera

Rockabye Baby, in the treetop
Don't you know a treetop
is no safe place to rock?
And who put you up there,
and your cradle too?
Baby, I think someone down here
has got it in for you!
~Shel Silverstein


Poems and Illustrations from The Baby's Opera by Walter Crane today. Opera for babies is apparently full of drama, romance, and a bit of nonsense, much like opera for adults. This picture book has many nursery rhymes you would recognize, such as Three Blind Mice, Little Jack Horner, Jack and Jill, Hush-a-by Baby, and Old King Cole. I decided to share some lesser known rhymes today.

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There Was A Lady Loved A Swine

There was a lady loved a swine,
“Honey!” said she;
“Pig-hog, wilt thou be mine?”
“Hunc!” said he.

“I’ll build thee a silver sty,
Honey!” said she;
“And in it thou shalt lie!”
“Hunc!” said he.

“Pinned with a silver pin,
Honey!” said she;
“That thou mayest go out and in,”
“Hunc!” said he.

“Will thou have me now,
Honey?” said she;
“Speak, or my heart will break,”
“Hunc!” said he.

***********


Mrs. Bond

“Oh, what have you got for dinner, Mrs. Bond?”
“There’s beef in the larder, and ducks in the pond;”
“Dilly, dilly, dilly, dilly, come to be killed,
For you must be stuffed, and my customers filled!”

“John Ostler, go fetch me a duckling or two,
John Ostler go fetch me a duckling or two;
Cry dilly, dilly, dilly, dilly, come and be killed,
For you must be stuffed, and my customers filled!”

“I have been to the ducks that are swimming in the pond,
And they won’t come to be killed, Mrs. Bond;
I cried dilly, dilly, dilly, dilly, come and be killed,
For you must be stuffed, and the customers filled!”

Mrs. Bond she went down to the pond in a rage,
With plenty of onions, and plenty of sage;
She cried, “Come, little wag-tails, come, and be killed.
For you shall be stuffed, and my customers filled!”

***********


My Pretty Maid

“Where are you going to, my pretty maid?
Where are you going to, my pretty maid?”
“I’m going a-milking, Sir,” she said,
“Sir,” she said, “Sir,” she said,
“I’m going a-milking, Sir,” she said.

“Shall I go with you, my pretty maid?”
“Yes, if you please, kind Sir,” she said,
“Sir,” she said, “Sir,” she said,
“Yes, if you please, kind Sir,” she said.

“What is your fortune, my pretty maid?”
“My face is my fortune, Sir,” she said,
“Sir,” she said, “Sir,” she said,
“My face is my fortune, Sir,” she said.

“Then I can’t marry you, my pretty maid.”
“Nobody asked you, Sir,” she said,
“Sir,” she said, “Sir,” she said,
“Nobody asked you, Sir,” she said.

***********

Two more of the gorgeous illustrations:



Random Noodling has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

7 comments:

Diane Mayr said...

These illustrations are incredible--so richly colorful--and without the benefit of modern digital printing!

(The "Please prove you're not a robot" word below my comment is roughleg. I think there's a lady pirate poem there!)

jama said...

What a treat! Thanks so much for sharing these rhymes and Crane illos. I think my favorite is the pig one. Hunc! Mrs. Bond scares me a little, and reminds me of a Welsh friend's uncle, who used to go out to the sheep meadow calling "mint sauce! mint sauce!"

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Rather sinister these, as are the illustrations - almost Hogarthian, right?

LInda Baie said...

Love that 'sweet Mrs. Bond' off to get the ducks! The illustrations are divine, but I wonder if the rhymes have a 2nd meaning, as they say some do? Thanks Tabatha!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Oh, you always have the most wonderful stuff! These Crane illustrations are divine. The poetry - a bit unnerving for sure, but I love these historical pieces.
And I quite like the pretty young maid's retort, "Nobody asked you, Sir," she said. ;0)

Cathy Ballou Mealey said...

Smashing illustrations!

Lovely nursery rhymes. The teachers always comment that few kids know them anymore.

Mary Lee said...

Goodness! Can't imagine rocking a child on my knee while rhyming away with "dilly, dilly, dilly, dilly, come and be killed!" And yet, we never questioned that cradle in the tree!