Good Rhymes




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Good Rhymes

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By Dan Beard

Among the many notes made for this chapter there are some for the explanation of which it was evidently intended that the memory should supply the data. But in the case of the following verse memory has failed to do its duty. The lines, however, make good counting out rhymes with the real swing in them. 

Fip Dick, bumphrey gig, 
Mother Hop-foot milled a pig; 
Ithy, mithy, owery, gout, 
Lytle tinkar, thou art out!

One-azall, two a-zall, titter zal zan, 
Bobtailed Britisher, little girl Nan; 
Harum, scarum, ball of hot rorum, 
Knuckle bone, crackle bone, bloody bone, 

Mr. William Wells Newal gives a verse very similar to the last which he gets from Salem, Mass. It is interesting because it plainly shows that the phrase " One-azall, two a-zall" was originally "One is all, two is all," etc.

One's all, zuzall, titterall, tawn, 
Bobtailed vinegar, little Paul ran, 
Harum, scarum, merchant marum, 
[N-word], turn-pike, toll-house out.

There are few of my readers but have either used or heard the following:

Monkey, monkey, bottle of beer, 
How many monkeys are they here? 
One, two, three, 
Out goes he!

But I doubt if many of them are familiar with this:

Ane, a-zall tane a-zall titterzall zee, 
Striddledum, straddledum, chicken knee, 
Ham, slam, musty jam, 
Stingum, strangum, bumble bee.

A Quaint One from Georgia is given in Games and Songs of American Children

One-amy, nery, hickory, seven, 
Hallibone, crackabone, ten and eleven. 
Peep, --O, it must be done, 
Twiggle-twaggle, twenty-one!

A gentleman from Cambridge, Mass., gives the following one as a favorite rhyme used when he was a lad some 125 years ago. There is nothing ancient either in the words or in the theme, but it has the elements of popularity which cannot fail to please some of my readers:

Bee, bee, bumble bee, 
Stung Jacob on the knee, 
Stung Sally on the snout, 
Oh! golly, you are out!

This Cambridge verse reminds me of one sometimes used in Kentucky:

Ole Dan Tucker clum a tree, 
He clum so high he couldn't see. 
A lizard caught him by the snout 
And he hollered for a [ ] to pull him out! 
O-U-T spells out.

Dan Tucker was also very popular as a dance, and the verse was sung by the dancers.

Another nursery jingle sometimes used for counting out it:

Hickery dickery dock 
The mouse ran up the clock 
The clock struck one 
And down he come, 
Hickery dickery dock!

But this has the genuine swing of the counting rhyme:

Haley, Maley, Tipperley Tig, 
Teeny, Tiney, Tombo Nig, 
Goat throat, bank note, 
Tiney, Toney, Tiz!

And this is a familiar old timer:

Five, six, seven, eight, 
Mary at the cottage gate, 
Eating plums off a plate. 
Five, six, seven, eight, 
Susan at the garden gate 
Eating grapes off a plate, 
1-2-3-4 5-6-7-8!

Now she leaves the gate, changes her name, and goes to the door; 

One, two, three, four. 
Kitty It the cottage door, 
Eating plums off a plate, 
Five, six, seven, eight!

Susan and Kitty are both left out in the following and Mickey takes their place:

One, two, three, 
Mickey caught a flea, 
The flea died and Mickey cried, 
Out goes he!

Mickey had no plate, and evidently it was neither plums nor grapes that bothered him. But a lady from "down East" gives the following in which Kitty takes Mickey's place:

One, two three, 
Kitty caught a flea, 
The flea died and Kitty cried, 
Out goes she.

This is evidently a version that has been adapted to fit girl players. In New Haven the boarding-school girls have still another variation. They claim that it was mother who caught the pest:

One, two, three, 
Mother caught a flea 
The flea died and mother cried, 
One, two, three!

But no self-respecting boy will use a girl's verse to count out by. So they may use " Mickey " or " Father" in the place of " Susan," "Kitty," and "Mother," or, better still, take another rhyme, for there are plenty of them. The verse most familiar to the author, because with the boys of his acquaintance it was the most popular, is:

Intry, mintry, pepery corn, 
Apple seed and apple thorn! 
Wire, brier, limber lock 
Three geese in a flock, 
One flew east, and one flew west, 
And one flew over the cuckoo's nest.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.