Old Nursery Rhymes. The Classics. TO read the old Nursery Rhymes
brings back queer lost memories of a man's own childhood. One seems
to see the loose floppy picture-books of long ago, with their
boldly coloured pictures. The books were tattered and worn, and my
first library consisted of a wooden box full of these volumes. And
I can remember being imprisoned for some crime in the closet where
the box was, and how my gaolers found me, happy and impenitent,
sitting on the box, with its contents all round me, reading. 8]
There was "Who Killed Cock Robin?" which I knew by heart before I
could read, and I learned to read (entirely "without tears") by
picking out the letters in the familiar words. I remember the Lark
dressed as a clerk, but what a clerk might be I did not ask. Other
children, who are little now, will read this book, and remember it
well when they have forgotten a great deal of history and
geography. We do not know what poets wrote the old Nursery Rhymes,
but certainly some of them were written down, or even printed,
three hundred years ago. Grandmothers have sung them to their
grandchildren, and they again to theirs, for many centuries. In
Scotland an old fellow will take a child on his knee for a ride,
and sing- "This is the way the ladies ride, Jimp and sma', -" a
smooth ride, then a rough trot, - "This is the way the cadgers
ride. Creels and a' " Such songs are sometimes not printed, but
they are never forgotten.
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