Nursery Rhymes: Paradoxes

This story is part of the Nursery Rhymes unit. Story source: The Nursery Rhyme Book edited by Andrew Lang and illustrated by L. Leslie Brooke (1897).


Nursery Rhymes: Paradoxes


THREE children sliding on the ice
Upon a summer's day,
As it fell out, they all fell in;
The rest they ran away.

Now had these children been at home,
Or sliding on dry ground,
Ten thousand pounds to one penny
They had not all been drown'd.

You parents all that children have,
And you that have got none,
If you would have them safe abroad,
Pray keep them safe at home.

~ ~ ~




IF all the world was apple-pie,
And all the sea was ink,
And all the trees were bread and cheese,
What should we have for drink?

~ ~ ~

THERE was a man of Thessaly,
And he was wond'rous wise;
He jump'd into a quickset hedge,
And scratch'd out both his eyes.
But when he saw his eyes were out,
With all his might and main
He jump'd into another hedge,
And scratch'd 'em in again.

~ ~ ~

I WOULD if I cou'd,
If I cou'dn't, how cou'd I?
I cou'dn't, without I cou'd, cou'd I?
Cou'd you, without you cou'd, cou'd ye?
Cou'd ye, cou'd ye?
Cou'd you, without you cou'd, cou'd ye?

~ ~ ~


PETER WHITE will ne'er go right.
Would you know the reason why?
He follows his nose where'er he goes,
And that stands all awry.

~ ~ ~

THERE was a little Guinea-pig,
Who, being little, was not big;
He always walked upon his feet,
And never fasted when he eat.

When from a place he ran away,
He never at that place did stay;
And while he ran, as I am told,
He ne'er stood still for young or old.

He often squeak'd and sometimes vi'lent,
And when he squeak'd he ne'er was silent;
Though ne'er instructed by a cat,
He knew a mouse was not a rat.

One day, as I am certified,
He took a whim and fairly died;
And, as I'm told by men of sense,
He never has been living since.

~ ~ ~




THE man in the wilderness asked me
How many strawberries grew in the sea.
I answered him as I thought good,
As many as red herrings grew in the wood.

~ ~ ~

(Wikipedia: The Riddle Song)

MY true love lives far from me,
Perrie, Merrie, Dixie, Dominie.
Many a rich present he sends to me,
Petrum, Partrum, Paradise, Temporie,
Perrie, Merrie, Dixie, Dominie.

He sent me a goose without a bone;
He sent me a cherry without a stone.
Petrum, &c.

He sent me a Bible no man could read;
He sent me a blanket without a thread.
Petrum, &c.

How could there be a goose without a bone?
How could there be a cherry without a stone?
Petrum, &c.

How could there be a Bible no man could read?
How could there be a blanket without a thread?
Petrum, &c.

When the goose is in the egg-shell, there is no bone;
When the cherry is in the blossom, there is no stone.
Petrum, &c.

When the Bible is in the press no man it can read;
When the wool is on the sheep's back, there is no thread.
Petrum, &c.

~ ~ ~

I SAW a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea;
And, oh! it was all laden
With pretty things for thee!

There were comfits in the cabin,
And apples in the hold
The sails were made of silk,
And the masts were made of gold.

The four-and-twenty sailors
That stood between the decks,
Were four-and-twenty white mice
With chains about their necks.

The captain was a duck,
With a packet on his back;
And when the ship began to move,
The captain said, "Quack! quack!"

~ ~ ~




Here am I, little jumping Joan
HERE am I, little jumping Joan.
When nobody's with me,
I'm always alone.

~ ~ ~

O THAT I was where I would be,
Then would I be where I am not!
But where I am there I must be,
And where I would be I cannot.

~ ~ ~

TOBACCO reek! tobacco reek!
When you're well, 'twill make you sick.
Tobacco reek! tobacco reek!
'Twill make you well when you are sick.

~ ~ ~

THERE was an old woman, and what do you think?
She lived upon nothing but victuals and drink:
Victuals and drink were the chief of her diet;
This tiresome old woman could never be quiet.

~ ~ ~

I SAW a peacock with a fiery tail;
I saw a blazing comet drop down hail;
I saw a cloud wrapped with ivy round;
I saw an oak creep upon the ground;
I saw a pismire swallow up a whale;
I saw the sea brimful of ale;
I saw a Venice glass full fifteen feet deep;
I saw a well full of men's tears that weep;
I saw red eyes all of a flaming fire;
I saw a house bigger than the moon and higher;
I saw the sun at twelve o'clock at night;
I saw the man that saw this wondrous sight.

[Break up the lines differently:
I saw a peacock;
with a fiery tail, I saw a blazing comet;
drop down hail, I saw a cloud;
wrapped with ivy round, I saw an oak;
creep upon the ground, I saw a pismire;
swallow up a whale, I saw the sea;
brimful of ale, I saw a Venice glass;
full fifteen feet deep, I saw a well;
full of men's tears that weep, I saw red eyes;
all of a flaming fire, I saw a house;
bigger than the moon and higher, I saw the sun;
at twelve o'clock at night,
I saw the man that saw this wondrous sight.]

~ ~ ~

THERE was a man and he was mad,
And he jump'd into a pea-swad;
The pea-swad was over-full,
So he jump'd into a roaring bull;
The roaring bull was over-fat,
So he jump'd into a gentleman's hat;
The gentleman's hat was over-fine,
So he jump'd into a bottle of wine;
The bottle of wine was over-dear,
So he jump'd into a bottle of beer;
The bottle of beer was over-thick,
So he jump'd into a club-stick;
The club-stick was over-narrow,
So he jump'd into a wheel-barrow;
The wheel-barrow began to crack,
So he jump'd on to a hay-stack;
The hay-stack began to blaze,
So he did nothing but cough and sneeze!
 The pod or shell of a pea.




(1000 words)






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