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Charlotte Bleh’s Collection of Favourite  Nursery  Rhymes, Poems and Prose Book
Joys of Boys


My  Joys  of  Boys
Memory  Pages

Times and Rhymes for The Joys of Boys

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Resolved to have a battle,
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his new rattle.

Just then flew by a monstrous crow,
As big as a tar barrel,
Which frightened both our heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel. 

***

Solomon Grundy
Was born on a Monday;
Christened on Tuesday;
Married on Wednesday;
Took ill on Thursday;
Got worse on Friday;
Died on Saturday;
Was buried on Sunday –
And that was the end
Of Solomon Grundy. 

***

What are little boys made of, made of,
Made of?
What are little boys made of?
“Sticks and snails, and puppy dogs tails,
That’s what little boys are made of!”

***

Diddle, diddle, dumpling,
My son, John,
Went to bed with his stockings on,
One shoe off, and one shoe on,
Diddle, diddle, dumpling,
My son, John.

(I used to love to recite this to our son, Johnny, Jr.)

***

Tell me a story aboot Johnny Norrie,
Tell me a story,
Afore I gang tae bed … 

Now, tell me anither,
Aboot his big brither,
And then I’ll gang tae bed …

(This was a little song from Dundee I’d sing at bedtime to Johnny and his sisters.)

***

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner
Eating his Chrismas pie;
He put in his thmb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, “What a good boy am I!”

***

Handy spandy, Jack-a-Dandy
Loves plum cake and sugar candy;
He bought some at the grocer’s shop,
And out he came, hop, hop, hop!

***

Johnny Armstrong killed a calf,
Peter Henderson got half,
Willy Wilkinson got the head,
Ring the bell – the calf is dead.

***

Jack be nimble!
Jack be quick!
Jack jump over
The candlestick!

Jump it lively,
Jump it quick,
But don’t knock over
The candlestick!

***

Little Boy Blue,  Come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow,  The cow’s in the corn.
But where is the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
He’s under a haystack,  Fast asleep.
Will you wake him?
No, not I,
For if I do, he’ll be sure to cry.

***

When Jack’s a very good boy,
He shall have cakes and custard;
But when he does nothing but cry,
He shall have nothing but mustard. 

***

Little Tommy Tucker,
Sings for his supper;
What shall we give him?
Brown bread and butter.

How shall he cut it
Without e’er a knife?
How will he be married
Without e’er a wife? 

***

Simple Simon met a pieman
Going to the fair;
Said Simple Simon to the pieman,
“Let me taste your wares.” 

Said the pieman unto Simon,
“First, let me see your penny.”
Said Simple Simon to the pieman,
“Indeed I have not any.” 

Simple Simon went to find
If plums grew on a thistle;
He pricked his fingers very much,
Which made poor Simon whistle. 

Simple Simon went to catch a tiny little bird,
And thought he could not fail,
Because he’d got a little salt
To put on the birdie’s tail. 

Simple Simon went out fishing
For to catch a whale;
But all the water he ever got,
Was in his mother’s pail. 

***

There’s a clever little fellow,
He’s a model for his years.
An’ his virtues an’ his praises,
Are aye ringin’ in oor ears:
He’s the laddie that ye read o’
But he’s never tae be met,
For the very simple reason that
He’s no’ born yet. 

At the schule he never copies
Frae his neebor’s books or slate,
An’ he never plays the truant,
An’ he’s never, never late:
Then he answers ilka question
That the maister likes to set.
He’s an awfu clever callan, but,
He’s no born yet. 

When he’s sent oot on an errand
He never glooms or greets,
Nor plays at happin’ cavie
Wi’ the laddies that he meets.
But he rins his mither’s errands
Withoot a sigh or fret.
He’s a treasure o’ a laddie, but,
He’s no’ born yet. 

He’s aye sae neat and cleanly,
Like a gentleman he speaks.
At the bools he never dirties
A’ his knuckles or his breeks.
He’s the idol o’ his faither,
And his mither’s darling pet:
He’s a pattern tae a’ laddies,  but,
He’s no’ born yet.

(Old Granny from Scotland loved to have me recite this to her.)

***

John while swimming in the ocean
Rubbed sharks’ backs with suntan lotion,
Now those sharks have skin of bronze
In their bellies – namely, John’s.
 

***

I’ve been feelin’ awfu’ worried,
Since I heard my mither say: -
“The sweep’s been awfu’ busy
An’ hasnae been oor wey!”
She tried her best tae get him,
But the mannie couldna’ come,
An’ fine I ken that Santa Claus
Will no come door oor lum! 

I’ve heard him on a windy nicht,
Gang whistlin’ ower the hoose.
An’ I’ve been guid as guid could be,
An’ quiet as only moose.
But I’ve got an awfu’ feelin’
That Santa winna come to me on Christmas morning;
Cause we’ve got a dirty lum! 

I’ve written letters every nicht,
An’ telt him whaur I bide,
An’ that I want a Spitfire,
Wi’ a hale air crew inside.
But, if he comes, I’m awfu’ feart,
He’ll maybe no get oot.
The sweep’s no been,
And maybe he’ll be chokit wi’ the soot. 

So, maybe if ye see him,
Or hear him ony nicht,
Tell him, I’m behavin’,
An’ daein’ my lessons richt.
An’ say it’s no my mither’s blame,
She’d aye the sweep afore.
So would he bring my aeroplane,
An’ just - just leave it at the door?

(Another of Old Granny from Scotland’s favourite recitations from me.)

***

Tell Ben to come ben.
If Ben doesna’ come ben,
Tell Ben I’ll be ben
To bring Ben ben.

(A little ball bouncing game we played in Scotland) 

***

Oh, Oor Johhny’s lost his jarie,
Oor Johnny’s lost his jarie,
Oor Johnny’s lost his jarie,
Doon beh the Dundee Law.

He lost it doon the cundie,
He lost it doon the cundie,
He lost it doon the cundie,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

He got his Grannie’s streetcher,
He got his Grannie’s streetcher,
He got his Grannie’s streetcher,
Doon beh the Dundee Lah.

He rammed it doon the cundie,
He rammed it doon the cundie,
He rammed it doon the cundie,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

The streetcher couldna’ reach it,
The streetcher couldna’ reach it,
The streetcher couldna’ reach it,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

So he went and got a broomstick,
So he went and got a broomstick,
So he went and got a broomstick,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

He teh’d it to the streetcher,
He teh’d it to the streetcher,
He teh’d it to the streetcher,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

An he rammed it doon the cundie,
An’ he rammed it doon the cundie,
An’ he rammed it doon the cundie,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

But still he couldna’ reach it,
But still he couldna’ reach it,
But still he couldna’ reach it,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

So he went and got the boabie,
So he went and got the boabie,
So he went and got the boabie,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

He teh’d him tae the streetcher,
He teh’d him tae the streetcher,
He teh’d him tae the streetcher,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

An’ he rammed him doon the cundie,
An’ he rammed him doon the cundie,
An’ he rammed him doon the cundie,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

But still he couldna’ reach it,
But still he couldna’ reach it,
But still he couldna’ reach it,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

So he went and got gunpooder,
So he went and got gunpooder,
So he went and got gunpooder,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

He teh’d it tae the streetcher,
He teh’d it tae the streetcher,
He teh’d it tae the streetcher,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

An’ he rammed it doon the cundie,
An’ he rammed it doon the cundie,
An’ he rammed it doon the cundie,
And blew up the Dundee Law.

Oh, Oor Johnny’s found his jarie,
Oor Johnny’s found his jarie,
Oor Johnny’s found his jarie,
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

It was in a poke in his pocket,  
It was in a poke in his pocket,
It was in a poke in his pocket,  
At the back o’ the Dundee Lah.

***

Johnny collects
Conkers on strings,
Sycamore seeds
With aeroplane wings,
Green acorn cups,
Seaweed and shells,
Treasures from crackers
Like whistles and bells. 

Johnny collects
Buttons and rings,
Bits of a watch,
Cog wheels and springs,
Half eaten sweets,
Nuts, nails and screws.
That why his pickets
Bulge out of his trews.

Alison Winn

(This is for Johnny and all of you to remind you of my conker stories, Camperdown Park in Dundee and the beautiful grand and tall sycamore and oak trees we saw there.)

***

Well, son, I’ll tell you;
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reaching landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Langston Hughes

(I hope my children will endure their troubles as well as this woman.)

***

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid;  one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds;  a son who will know Thee and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge.  Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously.  Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, I have not lived in vain.”

Douglas MacArthur  -  (John’s wish for his son)


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