The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes

By Peter Opie; Iona Opie | Go to book overview

Nursery Rhymes

1

A was an apple-pie;
B bit it,
C cut it,
D dealt it,
E eat it,
F fought for it,
G got it,
H had it,
I inspected it,
J jumped for it,
K kept it,
L longed for it,
M mourned for it,
N nodded at it,
O opened it,
P peeped in it,
Q quartered it,
R ran for it,
S stole it,
T took it,
U upset it,
V viewed it,
W wanted it,
X, Y, Z, and ampersand
All wished for a piece In hand.

It would appear that this rhyme was well known in the reign of Charles II. In 1671 John Eachard, an outspoken divine, quoted it in Some Observations upon the Answer to an Enquiry into the Grounds & Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy, 'And why not, Repent rarely, evenly, prettily, elegantly, neatly, tightly? And also why not A Apple-pasty, B bak'd it, C cut it, D divided it, E eat it, F fought for it, G got it, &c. I had not time, Sir, to look any further into their way of Preaching.' In 1742 it figured in the Coopers' enlightened spelling book The Child's New Play-thing, and it was common in the latter half of the century in the chapbook series,

-53-

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The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface to the Second Edition v
  • Nursery Rhyme Books Since 1951 vi
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Contents xvii
  • List of Illustrations xix
  • Abbreviations xxvi
  • Introduction 1
  • The Singing Tradition of Nursery Rhymes 44
  • Nursery Rhymes 53
  • An Index of Notable Figures Associated with the Invention, Diffusion, or Illustration of Nursery Rhymes 535
  • Index of First Lines 543
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