Goosey Goosey Gander

June 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

Goosey goosey gander, whither shall I wander,
Upstairs and downstairs, in my lady’s chamber,
There I met an old man who wouldn’t say his prayers,
So I took him by the left leg and threw him down the stairs.

G is for Goosey illustrated by Walter Crane

G is for ‘Goosey Gander’ – a wondeful illustration from Walter Crane’s ‘The Absurd ABC‘ – he really is being chucked down the stairs! [E is for the ‘Englishman’ of the FEE FI FO FUM I smell the blood of an englishman rhyme and I will have to post the song about the Frog he would a wooing go – it is a great tune.]

I think this fits in the category of pretty bizarre as rhymes go, though reading  up on it in the The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes I find it could be an amalgamation of a couple of rhymes. One refers to pulling the legs of a daddy long legs and throwing it down the stairs which make more sense. It is a nice example of how repetition over time can introduce nonsenses into little vignettes of everyday life.

It first appears in print in a wonderful book ‘Gammer Gurton’s Garland or The Nursery Parnassus‘ which has a wonderful sub-title ‘A Choice Collection of Pretty Songs and Verses for the Amusement of all Little Good Children who can neither Read nor Run’!



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