Monday, 25 September 2017

Nursery Rhymes

Today, on my walk, I was reminded of the Nursery Rhyme:
One misty, moisty morning,
When cloudy was the weather.
There I met an old man,
Clothed all in leather.

Clothed all in leather,
With hat under his chin.
How do ye do-
How do ye do-
And how do ye do again. 

And walking along and thinking about it I also thought about a little girl, about a year old I would guess, who I saw yesterday and who had a lace band round her forehead with a big bow in the front.   Presumably this was to tell us that here was
a little girl.

Do children grow up too quickly these days I wonder?   Are there still Nursery Rhymes sung to children?   Do they still learn to sing Humpty Dumpty and Baa baa black sheep?   As an ex teacher I know just how important these rhymes are as part of the growing up process - and the process of learning that words rhyme, that there is a rhythm to them.

And what reminded me of that particular Nursery Rhyme was that Tess and I walked on a misty, moisty morning when cloudy was the weather.   It wouldn't have surprised me if an old man clothed in leather had popped out from among the elder bushes in the hedgerow but of course he didn't.   But I knew the rhyme, so I could use my imagination.


Mac n' Janet said...

When I was a teacher (2nd grade and the 3rd--7 and 8 year olds) I discovered that most didn't know the nursery rhymes of songs so I taught them.

Sue said...

Dislike seeing babies with bows tied round their heads, surely it must irritate them.

it's me said...

I made sure my grandson heard them, but I can't say he liked them.
My grand daughter is half Chinese and is being raised with a different culture.

I really dislike elastic bows around babies' heads. The hospital feels the need now to plop hats with bows on newborn girls too.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

It's very misty, after rain overnight, but surprisingly warm, I've walked for 75 minutes and ended up pretty hot!

justjill said...

I ran a playgroup in the 80s and we did all the nursery rhymes I knew, some new ones crept in and we all had a laugh when political correctness tried to take over - Baa baa black sheep. As if there arent black sheep in the fields - how else could you describe them?! I love the one you related.

Ruth said...

I've wondered the same thing - I know there are no penmanship classes anymore. Something valuable is being lost, replaced by what? It's all beyond me. I remember very well the things I learned before school, and the lessons taught by my first grade teacher in 1945. She had been my father's first grade teacher, too. She never married, I suppose because teachers were to be single ladies when she first began to teach. We learned Aesop's Fables, all the Stephen Foster songs, etc. Life goes on, changing all the time. I never knew the nursery rhymes were political for the adults. They're still a joy, though, aren't they! (Too bad our politicians don't write rhymes instead of their nasty jabs at one another.)

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I sang that one to the children I worked with:

One misty moisty morning when cloudy was the weather
I met with an old man a-clothed all in leather
He was clothed all in leather with a cap beneath his chin
Singing how do you do and how do you do and how do you do again

This rustic was a thresher as on his way he hied
And with a leather bottle fast buckled by his side
He wore no shirt upon his back but wool unto his skin
Singing how do you do and how do you do and how do you do again

I went a little further and there I met a maid
A-going a-milking, a-milking Sir she said
Then I began to compliment and she began to sing
Saying how do you do and how do you do and how do you do again

This maid her name was Dolly clothed in a gown of grey
I being somewhat jolly persuaded her to stay
And straight I fell a-courting her in hopes her love to win
Singing how do you do and how do you do and how do you do again

I having time and leisure, I spent a vacant hour
A-telling of my treasure while sitting in the bower
With many kind embraces I stroke her double chin
Singing how do you do and how do you do and how do you do again

I said that I would married be and she would be my bride
And long we should not tarry and twenty things beside
I'll plough and sow and reap and mow and you shall sit and spin
Singing how do you do and how do you do and how do you do again

Her parents then consented, all parties were agreed
Her portion thirty shillings, we married were with speed
Then Will the piper he did play whilst others dance and sing
Saying how do you do and how do you do and how do you do again

Then lusty Ralph and Robin with many damsels gay
Did ride on Roan and Dobbin to celebrate the day
And when they met together their caps they off did fling
Singing how do you do and how do you do and how do you do
And how do you do again.

Steeleye Span sing it particularly well - better than me anyway!

Heather said...

I think that nursery rhymes have probably gone out of fashion in recent years, which is a great pity. Learning the rhymes at home as toddlers must surely help with learning when children start school. Perhaps we grannies and great-grannies should make it our business to see that the traditional rhymes are not lost.
I used to sing 'misty moisty morning' to my children and would like to thank John for posting all the verses - I didn't know them.

I don't like those headbands for babies either. I'm sure mine would have pulled them off.

hart said...

I'm a librarian and I use some in every storytime. I find that children still know at least the basics.

Gwil W said...

Never heard that one.

I remember a scrap of an 'old man' nursery rhyme:

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.

Another cruel one!

When 'they' announced the name of Prince George I immediately thought of the nursery rhyme

Georgie Porgie Pudding and Pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry

When the boys came out to play
Georgie Peorgie ran away.

. . . I hope the lad has better luck!

Bea said...

We did grow up learning nursery rhymes that were, of course, brought over from England. Baa Baa Black Sheep and Ring Around the Rosy (Ring a Ring o' Roses) are the only ones that come to mind presently, but I am sure there were more.

Rachel Phillips said...

I have never heard the Leather Man one but my work with the Council took me into a Children's Centre for 8 months and modern day nursery rhymes could be heard coming from the children everyday and I used to type out the song sheets, so I can confirm that nursery rhymes are alive and well although they may not be the ones I knew 60 years ago.

jinxxxygirl said...

Remember i asked this very question on my blog not too long ago... The general census was that everyone 'thought' that nursery rhymes were still sung to youngsters but no one was sure.... Perhaps by their grandmothers... I just have a hard time picturing young women of today taking the time to teach them to their youngsters... Hugs! deb

angryparsnip said...

I think that many parents really don't care or want to spend time with their children. Wonder why they had children ?
Also read about how many children enter Kindergarten with little understanding of words, language and reading but know all the Kardashions sp? (don't want to look up the spelling) and Football players.

I do not know that rhyme but I also sang and read the Nursery rhymes to my little ones.

cheers, parsnip

Dartford Warbler said...

Nursery rhymes are definitely still taught and sung in our local nurseries and playgroups, thank goodness.

Wonderful to see all the words of "One misty, moisty morning...." again!

The Weaver of Grass said...

John thank you for all the words to misty moisty. I had no idea that Steel Ete Span sang it.

Sue in Suffolk said...

I shall do nursery rhymes with my grandchildren whenever I get the chance! and there are some lovely new rhymes too - especially finger rhymes with actions.

You certainly don;t want little old men clothed all in leather jumping out!

Penny said...

I have never heard that rhyme weaver, although we new a lot of other ones.

Cro Magnon said...

Baa Baa WHAT Sheep? You'd be sacked!

I can't tell you much I hate those head bands with big pink roses on them. A rosette might be better, 'Worst in Show'.

Hildred said...

And that reminded me of meeting 'the crooked man who had a crooked mouse, and they all lived together in a little crooked house' - I need to look it up. I make it a practice to always include a book in the grand and great grands presents, and I think they are all read to...I hope, anyway.

Virginia said...

Yes, Weaver, they do - at least 'advantaged, middle class children in good homes and daycares' do. Our grandson's loved nursery rhymes and traditional songs since he was a few months old and sings along very tunefully.

And the latest research is saying that internalising rhyme is a fundamental building block for reading and writing, and children who don't HEAR rhyme are seriously disadvantaged in early schooling.

What children "these days" don't get, is the repetitious reading of the Old Favourites from yesterday, because the choice of reading material is so great today, and there are youtube, TV etc competing for available time.... but they miss out on frequent repetition of the Winnie the Pooh stories, the AA Milne poems, the Jungle book stories, (Hans Christian Anderson - he always scared the Bejeebers out of me!).

I have a close friend and occasionally we find ourselves both repeating the same piece of childhood memorised stories. Recently it was "The great, grey, greasy Limpopo river, all set about with Fever trees". But, then, we come from similarly "advantaged circumstances" and I'll bet it is largely a matter of parental education / time / energy at the end of the day.... the way it always has been.

Alphie Soup said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post and all its attendant comments.


Rozzie said...

Gwil, your snippet is from:

Goosey, Goosey Gander, where shall I wander
Upstairs or downstairs and 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.

Apparently this goes back to the days after or during Oliver Cromwell's time, so the prayers had to be the "right" sort. And I believe "my lady's chamber" refers to a priest hole.
So many nursery rhymes have fascinating origins!

Rachel Phillips said...

The Children's Centre I worked in was in a very deprived area of the city and some of the poorest families. They all knew their nursery rhymes.

Derek Faulkner said...

Those awful head bands with a rose on babies look really awful. Down here in the south they tend to be favourite among "chav" mothers from Essex.

Gwil W said...

Thank you Rozzie for the explanation and the full text.

I'm on bedtime stories: "Tre Picolo Porcellini" (3 Little Pigs) and "Il Pifferaio di Hamelin" (The Pied Piper of Hamelin). No children here. Just my crazy way of learning some Italian.

Rachel Phillips said...

Children's books are a good starting point for learning a new language. Many years ago I was trying to learn Italian and had a language tape of a children's story that I used to play in the car, Gattino, the story of a kitten and his friends. Never forgotten it, but my Italian didn't progress any further.

Linda Metcalf said...

They do still teach the nursery rhymes in my grandsons nursery school. He sings to me over the phone....then claps for himself! I sing them to the great grands when I rock them.

Derek Faulkner said...

Fabulous day here on Sheppey today. After a slightly misty start it has been wall to wall sunshine, very warm and with a lovely autumnal feel about it.

Becca McCallum said...

Here's a rhyme I learnt when I was wee. "Ally bally, ally bally bee, sittin on yer mammy's knee, greetin fer a wee bawbee, tae buy some Coulter's candy. Here's aul Coulter coming roun, a pile o hats upon his croon; he's been gaun aboot the toon, singing and selling candy." That was in the 1990s in west coast Scotland.

Sarah Head said...

When I was eight, my Godmother gave me a copy of The Oxford Book of Nursery Rhymes. I played it for hours with a child on my knee, especially the third one who is now a professional musician. I teach piano and make a point of spending time singing nursery rhymes with all the younger ones. They may have learned a few nursery rhymes at nursery but the number is very limited and they soon forget them. My DIL sings nursery rhymes to my grandchildren and teases me that "Nanna has a song for every occasion" because I sing them so many. I, too, learned "One misty moisty morning" from Steeleye Span back in the 1970s when at university and still sing it to myself sometimes when the weather warrents it.