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Nursery Rhymes and Alphabets. 0693: Anon., Original Ditties for the Nursery

Author: Anon.
Title: Original ditties for the nursery; so wonderfully contrived that they may be either sung or said, by nurse or baby. Third edition
Cat. Number: 0693
Date: 1807
1st Edition: 1805?
Pub. Place: London
Publisher: J. Harris (successor to E. Newbery), at the Original Juvenile Library, the corner of St. Paul's Church-Yard
Pages: 1 vol., 75pp.
Size: 12.5 x 7.5 cm
Illustrations: Engraved frontispiece
Note: Outside front cover bears the date 1806

Images of all pages of this book

Page 003 of item 0693

Introductory essay

The nursery rhymes included here are in general less well-known than those to be found in that other early repository of children's rhymes, Mother Goose's Melody (0686). The one great exception to this rule is 'Tweedledum and Tweedledee', the tale of two brothers fighting over a rattle which Lewis Carroll was to use so famously (p.29). Original Ditties is their first known appearance. There are many other interesting rhymes. 'The bells in London', for example, seems to parallel the more famous 'Oranges and Lemons' rhyme (p.25). The much longer 'Squire Frog's Visit' (p.69), according to Iona Opie who introduced a new edition of this work in 1954, 'was old when the first Queen Elizabeth was a child' (Opie 1954: 5).

The title-page of Original Ditties announces it to be the third edition. No copies of either of the first two editions are known. Marjorie Moon has deduced from advertisements that the first was probably published in 1805, from when the Hockliffe copy's frontispiece, showing a witch on her broomstick, is dated. It would seem most likely that the second appeared in 1806 (Moon 1987: 87).

Opie, Iona, 'Introduction' to Ditties for the Nursery, ed. Iona Opie and illustrated by Monica Walker, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954

Moon, Marjorie, John Harris's books for youth, 1801-1843, revised edition, Winchester, 1987