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Selected Poetry of Mother Goose (fl. 18th century)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

Who put her in?
Little Johnny Green.
What a naughty boy was that,
To drown poor Pussy cat.
        (Ding Dong Bell, 3-6)
  1. Bah, Bah, Black Sheep
  2. Boys and Girls Come out to Play
  3. Caesar's Song
  4. Dickery Dickery Dock
  5. Ding Dong Bell
  6. High Diddle, Diddle
  7. Hush-a-by Baby
  8. Jack and Gill
  9. Jack Sprat
  10. Little Jack Horner
  11. There was an Old Woman
  12. This Pig Went to Market
  13. Three wise men of Gotham


Notes on Life and Works

"Mother Goose" begins as a 1729 English translation of the name of Charles Perrault's tale-teller in Contes de Ma Mere Loye (1697). The popularity of these tales as translated evidently led John Newbery to name his collection of songs Mother Goose's Melody about 1765. The nursery rhymes then spread to North America, as Iona and Peter Opie's Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1951: 37-42) shows. (There is no reason to believe that Mother Goose is based on a Mistress Elizabeth Goose, born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1665.) See also Gloria T. Delamar's Mother Goose, from Nursery to Literature (Jefferson: McFarland, 1987; PR 507 .D45 Robarts Library).

Biographical information

Given name:
Family name: Mother Goose
Floruit: 18th century