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the nervous infant, the rollicking merriment of the healthy boy, the thrifty lesson for the little maiden, and the primitive drama of the most familiar household implements. What a clear and striking picture of the evanescent nature of fame and popularity do the following lines convey! an effect heightened by the light ease of its expression:
High ding-a-ding, and ho ding-a-ding,
Three wise men of Gotham
is revealed in the second line
Went to sea in a bowl;
and how slily and quietly the inevi-
And if the bowl had been stronger
How plainly the youthful spirit of
A little old man and I fell out;
The first principles for a minister for foreign affairs seem to be hinted here. We do not wonder that this infant promise of Palmerstonian chivalry made the Peace Society wince. There is another distich which they would also naturally seek to keep from the mouths of children, lest its tenets, reduced to practice, should overthrow that legislative principle which makes the sole ground of toleration for their parliamentary existence, while it brings the general body of parliament into universal contempt. Babes who are in training for honourable members would be quite unfitted for the exercise of that performance, as at present understood, if they were permitted to learn by heart that
A man of words, and not of deeds, Is like a garden full of weeds. There is a remarkable and prophetic intimation of the condition of Ireland question in the following distich:
The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick-
All jumped out of a rotten potato.
tion, and did not call forth the exercise of intelligence, prudence or ar rangement: as long as it was eatable her population relied entirely on it, and nothing short of its failure could stimulate the Irish to action. The frequent failure of the potato crop has removed that sloth-inspiring reliance, at first with fearful havoc and suffering, latterly with emigra tion and legislative interference, and ultimately, we may reasonably hope, with the Butcher, the baker, and candlestick-maker.'
The Lady and the Swine' is a
The sow came in with the saddle,
The nursery rhymes are full of observation, reflection, and wisdom, put in the simplest and most charm
There is a fine illus tration of Mr. Carlyle's proposition, that the eye sees only what it brings the capability of seeing,' and that therefore to Newton, and to Newton's dog Diamond, the sky is a very different thing,' in the Cat's Journey:'—
Pussy cat, Pussy cat, where have you been?
Pussy, with her feline eyes, had
The old airs of some of these
snatches and tales are very beautiful, especially those of Curly Locks,'
"Green Brooms,' 'There was a little boy and a little girl,' My love he built a gallant ship,' 'Sing a song of sixpence,' and Where are you going, my pretty maid?' which Mrs. Jordan introduced in the Belle's Stratagem.
A very pretty edition of some Ditties of the Olden Time, illustrated by a lady, was published at Brighton, and by Bogue, London, in 1850. The selection is for the most part excellent, but we must very strongly protest against the introduction of that very frightful song, Three blind mice,' into a book in tended for children: it is a glee, and has no right or pretension whatever to be included with nursery songs. The illustrations are excellent, the drawing and the designs pretty and graceful, and the arrangement very artistic, producing just the effect of distance, grandeur, or homeliness required by the dexterous administration of a few strokes of the pencil. There is never too much and never too little. It is always evident too that the spirit of the ditties has been apprehended by the illustrator-a faculty by no means common. The sketch of the song to the Lady-bird' is one evidence of comprehension: it consists of a little girl with upraised finger, from which the insect is flying, just as we have described it to be the object of children to entice it to do. vengeance of the blackbird pecking off the maid's nose, for having incarcerated his comrades in a piecrust, shows a nice sense of the poetical justice of the punishment. The other three scenes of the same song manifest an equally just conception. There is one mistake in the text which, though probably given for the sake of rhyme, destroys the intention of the original by making the meaning too plain, which is fatal to a riddle. This occurs in the last line of Humpty Dumpty,' which should stand thus
puzzle in the drawing belonging to the Little Nut Tree,' which is a kind of thing to be avoided. The nut-tree is represented as bearing two fruits, a silver nutmeg and a golden pear; in the sketch there is a broken creeping plant depending from the main tree, on which both fruits are growing; this looks as if it were intended to account for the double fruit on the supposition of one being a parasite, which neither is, nor would it be in keeping with the spirit of the legend to explain the extraordinary produce on natural grounds. It is an exceedingly pretty book. It is much better to give chil dren one book of a certain value than half-a-dozen cheap common ones, which offer no inducement to carefulness. We seldom see an original 'Mother Goose' now, the more's the pity. But we hope and believe that no misrepresentations will have power to prevent the rhymes which soothed, amused, and instructed the infancy of our ancestors from descending to our children's children, in unpruned wit, innocence, and gaiety. The minds of children are eminently under the influence of association; in like manner man's memory of his infancy partakes of the same spell. The snatches sung in the nursery are never forgotten, nor are they ever recalled without bringing back with them myriads of slumbering feelings and forgotten images. The sweet wild voice of the mother rings on the ear, the fainter tones of the grandmother croon with a distance-quelling sweetness, and bring back the vivid pictures of the traditionary great-grandfather, with his frank, hearty, grand old gentlemanliness, and his quaint, pleasant ways. So is one generation linked to another by the ever-living spirit of song. The research after the authors of these would be hopeless, but there is every internal evidence and some precise data to show that they are not the composition of uneducated old nurses and beldames,' as is asserted. There is too much reflection, wit, and melody towarrant this supposition. Many of them are quoted and alluded to by the old dramatists, some probably originated with them. Here we go up, up, up,' was written by Dean Swift, and Pussy-cat-mew jumped over a coal'
was, we believe, Shelley's; he was never tired of repeating it.
The characteristics of our nursery rhymes are wit, comic humour, honesty, and tenderness, especially to animals. Those of Germany are more fantastical and less innocent. Those of France are more dramatic, choreographie, and gallant. The old ones are nearly all accompanied by action or dancing: even when the subject is prosy and totally unconnected with dancing, the verse invariably ends with an excuse for a ronde. We recollect one which, though it relates solely to selling fowis, is nevertheless made an excase for dancing:—
J'ai des poules à vendre,
Mam'selle, détournez vous.
The subjects are generally courtship and gallantry, with more or less dramatic action, but always with s_ronde or some kind of dancing ; *Le chevalier du Guet' and 'Giroflé Girods are good samples. Courtship is the theme of both, and both are danced in the fashion of the old Trenise in a quadrille, except that the Chevalier du Guet has a supplementary sction resembling the first part of the English Oranges and Lemons. Of this class the most original and pretty is La Marguerite,' which is so characteristic of France, and contains such strong features of chivalry, that we give it entre, premising that the child representing La Marguerite kneels on the ground, and is surrounded by those who set the stones of her essue, and who hoid her dress up shore her head to form the inner tower in which she is ensconced: to the group the chud who impersonates the loyal knight advances, dancing round the group while he puss his questions, and carrying off one each time till the last lets the frock fall, and the lady of the castle is then reresied: she runs away pursued by the knight, who if he catches her kisses her, and the game ends.
Elle est dans son chateau:
Oh! gai, &c.
Le Franc Cavalier. Ne peut-on pas la voir? Oh! gai, &c.
Les murs en sont trop haut, Oh! gai, &c.
Le Franc Cavalier. J'en abattrai une pierre, Oh! gai, &c.
Taking away one of the children who form the castle, with her, which she repeats till all are
Une pierre ne suffit pas,
Oh! gai, &c.
Le Franc Cavalier.
J'en abattrai deux pierres,
Oh! gai, &c.
Deux pierres ne suffisent pas,
Le Franc Cavalier.
J'en abattrai trois pierres,
These assurances are repeated on both sides till all are disposed of but one, who holds up the heroine's frock.
Le Franc Cavalier.
Qu'est-ce qu'il y a la dedans?
Un petit paquet de linge à blanchir.
The attendant lets the dress fall here, and La Marguerite runs away, pursued by the Franc Cavalier, and the game ends.
Those which are merely songs mostly consist of fanciful paradoxes, in which unbecoming subjects for laughter often furnish the merriment. There is one universally sung, in which the singer's father is represented as the chief actor; for the sake of stringing all sorts of contradictions together. The most sacred feelings furnish matter for comment, as the following specimen will show:
A la mort de ma mère
Vous connaissiez cette dame
Il eut resté toujours garçon.
The air belonging to this un amiable song is provokingly pretty.
There are others turning old age into ridicule in a way which it is better to ignore; and some of the later productions of the French nursery muse are quite abominable. There are none worse than the Vieux Chateau des Ardennes, a tale of unexampled wickedness and horror, of seduction, murder, devils, and ghosts, which was written by Cazotte, at the request of Madame Poissonnier, expressly to be sung to her infant charge, the Duc de Bourgogne, grandson of Louis XV. And lest by any chance the child's mind should escape the impression of fear from the terrors of the tale, the termination of each verse suggests the sensation :
Hélas! ma bonne, hélas! que j'ai grand peur!
It is still a favourite song for children in town and country, and an unfailing resource of the timid paysanne, who can procure by its aid, for herself and companions, le plaisir d'avoir peur.'
We have to thank the nurse of the Dauphin, son to Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, for the preservation of a very different sort of song, the tragicomical history of the death and burial of Marlborough, or Malbrough,' as the French have it. This song was composed during his lifetime, and supposes him to have been killed at the battle of Malplaquet, thirteen years before his death took place. Marie Antoinette, struck with the touching simplicity of the air, the singular refrain, naïve words, and curious subject, learned it from the rustic nurse, and it immediately became the rage, and was printed, painted, and sung everywhere.
Some of the best and worst fairy tales are of French origin; but the modern ones are tinctured in the queerest way imaginable with the two great moral principles of France. A babe as soon as it can toddle is told to 'soyez raisonnable;' and very soon after to respecter les convenances;' and these two precepts are inculcated in every possible manner. There is a tale in which the princess falls in love with some very inferior person, and won't marry the prince for whom she is destined. She elopes with this personage, and they arrive at a desert, where, after a few
sweet speeches, they are both seized with hunger. They search about for something to eat, without success. The princess bears the privation bravely, but the lover begins to get grumpy, from being grumpy he proceeds to rudeness, from rudeness to reproaches, and ultimately announces his intention of satisfying his appetite by killing and eating the princess, who is only saved from this denouement by the arrival of a fairy, who restores her to her family: she then marries the prince, and so ends this remarkable warning against mesalliance.
Leaving the rhymes, songs, and fairy tales of venerable tradition for the graver region of educational and instructive books, we find the supply enormous as regards number, but wofully small as regards quality. Rhyme is a good medium for conveying knowledge to little children; it is both more pleasing and more easily retained than prose. Chronological, historical, geographical, and other precise information of a similar kind, is indelibly impressed on the memory when acquired by means of rhyme. It would be curious to ascertain how many grave personages refer for the number of days in a month to the lines learnt in childhood:
Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November, February has twenty-eight alone, And all the rest have thirty-one. In creations of a higher kind there is a great dearth for the childish mind. With the exception of some of Wordsworth, and one or two of Southey, there are none sufficiently simple in the works of the great poets; and the rhymes written especially for children are anything but poetry, contain anything but truth and beauty. In hymn books the absence of the first may be compensated by the presence of the latter; but there are none which properly lead the child's feelings, and point its relations to God. Hymns for Infant Minds, by Ann and Jane Taylor, include several very nice hymns, but the later editions contain new introductions, such as the death of The Aged Christian,' and 'The Aged Sinner,' "The Day of Judgment, and some others equally objectionable in cha
racter and treatment, which quite destroy the beauty and fitness of the original appearance. Mrs. Barbauld's Prose Hymns are too reflective and difficult for very little children. There is a collection of Hymns for Little Children, published by Joseph Masters, Aldersgate-street, which has very deservedly run through several editions: it comes nearer towards what is needed in this respect than any other we are
with. There is a simple sweetness in the tone, and a proportionate discrimination in fitting the great truths to the feelings and comprehension of infancy. The child is led to realize the conception and need of a Heavenly Father through the ties and affections of home in a manner at once simple and forcible. Death is gently and tenderly introduced to the infant, not as the conclusion, but as part of our life, in its larger sense. This little collection is nevertheless not entirely free from the common error of contrasting the quiet humility of flowers with the pride and vanity of man, as though any merit or matter of remotest choice to the plants to be, or wish, or do other than they are, existed for them. Whenever these things are mentioned in Scripture, how different is the principle of comparison-Consider the lilies of the field, they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.' Here we are told that no human effort can produce the beautiful effect of the Creator's most humble work; but no parallel is drawn between the causes of their mode of existence and ours. Their life is arbi
trary, blameless, and praiseless while to us freedom and choice are given. All untrue pictures and analogies are mischievous; if they teach anything, it is only to be unlearnt when observation and experience offer their contradictory evidence, and too often the truth which has been falsely introduced is swept away with the untrue medium, classed in one common condemnation of unmeaning words. In the little book of hymns under consideration there are other passages which exhibit on the same
subject an evidence that the simple truth can be grasped by the authoress, and we trust that truer understanding may prevail if another edition of these otherwise unex ceptionable and loving little utter ances should be demanded. Stories about animals and insects, in which most children delight, are generally spoiled by the same mistaken doc trinization. The greatness of the Creator is dragged down and remirrored by the littleness of the author. The truth of one statement thus becomes the falsehood of the next, and the poor child is misled by the itinerant preachers, who make the lion or the butterfly into a tub from whence to fulminate erroneous doctrine. If the child is called upon to thank God that he is born in a country where there are no bears, he is taught to rejoice selfishly in a position to which he has been preferred in preference to another portion of mankind whom he is told to regard as brothers. If he is called upon to acknowledge it as a proof of God's goodness that He made the elephant amiable, the reflective child is puzzled as to what it ought to feel with regard to the creation of the lion and the tiger. Such teachers as these miss the true lesson which may be inculcated by everything animate and inanimate after a more harmonious and diverse
Existence may be borne, and the deep root
In the class called moral tales there is an equally extensive dearth of books answering to a nice discrimination of that quality. In most the children are preternaturally good or preternaturally bad, a makebelieve representation of life which children soon detect, and these unnatural little patterns and warnings fail to stimulate their emulation or to excite their forbearance, because they do not call forth their sym pathy so much as Jack the Giant Killer or Robinson Crusoe. These are felt to be true persons, and the remarkable circumstances in which they are placed are not so foreign to the feelings and imagination of