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Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales A Sequel to the Nursery Rhymes of England   By: (1820-1889)

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LATELY PUBLISHED,

Royal 18mo, with 38 Designs by W. B. SCOTT, Director of the School of Design, Newcastle on Tyne, bound in illuminated cloth, 4s. 6d.

THE NURSERY RHYMES OF ENGLAND, COLLECTED CHIEFLY FROM ORAL TRADITION. BY JAMES ORCHARD HALLIWELL, ESQ. FOURTH EDITION.

POPULAR RHYMES

AND

NURSERY TALES:

A SEQUEL TO THE

Nursery Rhymes of England.

BY JAMES ORCHARD HALLIWELL, ESQ.

LONDON:

JOHN RUSSELL SMITH,

4, OLD COMPTON STREET, SOHO SQUARE.

MDCCCXLIX.

C. AND J. ADLARD, PRINTERS, BARTHOLOMEW CLOSE.

Tales of my Nursery! shall that still loved spot, That window corner, ever be forgot, Where through the woodbine when with upward ray Gleam'd the last shadow of departing day, Still did I sit, and with unwearied eye, Read while I wept, and scarcely paused to sigh! In that gay drawer, with fairy fictions stored, When some new tale was added to my hoard, While o'er each page my eager glance was flung, 'Twas but to learn what female fate was sung; If no sad maid the castle shut from light, I heeded not the giant and the knight.

Sweet Cinderella, even before the ball, How did I love thee ashes, rags, and all! What bliss I deem'd it to have stood beside, On every virgin when thy shoe was tried! How long'd to see thy shape the slipper suit! But, dearer than the slipper, loved the foot.

ANON.

PREFACE.

It were greatly to be desired that the instructors of our children could be persuaded how much is lost by rejecting the venerable relics of nursery traditional literature, and substituting in their place the present cold, unimaginative, I had almost said, unnatural, prosaic good boy stories. "In the latter case," observes Sir Walter Scott, "their minds are, as it were, put into the stocks, like their feet at the dancing school, and the moral always consists in good conduct being crowned with success. Truth is, I would not give one tear shed over Little Red Riding Hood for all the benefit to be derived from a hundred histories of Jemmy Goodchild. I think the selfish tendencies will be soon enough acquired in this arithmetical age; and that, to make the higher class of character, our own wild fictions like our own simple music will have more effect in awakening the fancy and elevating the disposition, than the colder and more elaborate compositions of modern authors and composers."

Deeply impressed with this truth, and firmly convinced of the "imagination nourishing" power of the wild and fanciful lore of the old nursery, I have spared no labour in collecting the fragments which have been traditionally preserved in our provinces. The object is not so much to present to the reader a few literary trifles, though even their curiosity and value in several important discussions must not be despised, as to rescue in order to restore; a solemn recompense due from literature for having driven them away; and to recall the memory to early associations, in the hope that they who love such recollections will not suffer the objects of them to disappear with the present generation.

In arranging the materials gathered for this little volume, I have followed, in some respects, the plan adopted by Mr. Robert Chambers, in his elegant work, the Popular Rhymes of Scotland; but our vernacular anthology will be found to contain so much which does not occur in any shape in that of the sister country, that the two collections have not as much similarity as might have been expected. Together, they will eventually contain nearly all that is worth preserving of what may be called the natural literature of Great Britain. Mr. Chambers, indeed, may be said to have already exhausted the subject for his own land in the last edition of his interesting publication, but no systematic attempt has yet been made in the same direction for this country; and although the curiosity and extent of the relics I have been enabled to collect have far exceeded my expectations, I am fully aware how much more can yet be accomplished... Continue reading book >>




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