Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Children's Risque Rhymes - Nasty Nursery Rhymes

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post is Part II of a series on risqué playground rhymes and bawdy nursery rhymes. Part II contains selected examples from a Mudcat Folk music discussion thread on "Nasty Nursery Rhymes" that began in 2001 (The selected examples range from 2001 to 2010).

WARNING - No profanity and/or sexually explicit language are included in the selected examples presented in this post. For that reason, I consider the examples in this post to be only "mildly risqué". However, a number of examples that are included in that forum's discussion thread contain profanity and/or are very sexually explicit.

Click for Part I of this post.

Part I contains selected examples of "old school" rhymes & cheer from a 2003 discussion thread.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, sociological, and entertainment purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

This sample of rhymes is posted to this pancocojams blog which focuses on music, dance, and other cultural indices of African American and other Black cultures as a means of comparing these rhymes with the rhymes that are featured on Part I of this post and as a means of demonstrating that African American children weren't/aren't the only children to chant risqué rhymes.

Definitions for "risqué" are "referring to sex in a rude and slightly shocking way" and "verging on impropriety or indecency"

Definitions for "bawdy" are "obscene, lewd. 2. : boisterously or humorously indecent."

A number of risqué/bawdy rhymes contain profanity (cuss words) and/or sexually explicit content. However, I’m not including any of those types of examples in this post. For that reason, I consider the examples in this post to be only "mildly risqué".

From Unprintable Ozark Folksongs and Folklore: Roll me in your arms, Volume 1
by Vance Randolph (University of Arkansas Press, 1992, p. 1)
“The collector’s ostensible control over the folk material they collect and publish - or refuse to collect and do not publish- naturally operates in both the negative and positive sense…When no one would admit, for example, to the existence of children's erotic folklore (or erotic life), none was to be seen. ... and most important for English and American children's bawdy jokes and rhymes. Now that a few bold collectors, mostly women, have been courageously willing to admit children’s folk-erotica into their formerly lily-pure collections, riddles, catches and pranks, and other such lore has been relatively easy to create, by means of artfully untended tape recorders.
I believe that because blogging is relatively anonymous, the internet allows people to publicly share folk material -such as bawdy (dirty) rhymes - that they would be unlikely to publicly recite during face to face interviews. As such, blogging removes the need for hidden microphones or cameras to capture this illusive folkloric material. However, two downsides of collecting from the internet are the difficulty of confirming the authenticity of the material and the difficulty of collecting and confirming demographical information from the contributors.

Excerpt for Example #4 below, no information about the gender of the bloggers is given. Excerpt for Example #7 below, these examples include no geographical information. As a former member of that forum, I'm aware that the majority of Mudcat members are from the United States and the United Kingdom. I recognize the member who posted the example given here as #1 as a male from the UK, and the member who posted the example given as #2 here as a male from the United States. Also, given his or her use of the word "knickers" its likely that the ember who oisted the example given here as #5 is from the UK.

Informal surveys of Mudcat members when I was active there (from August 2002 through November 2009) indicated that there were considerable more male members, and most members were age 50 and older.

No racial information was given for participants of either of these discussion threads. However, because of a number of factors, I'm certain that the participants in the discussion are African Americans.

As a former active member of the Mudcat Folk & Blues Discussion Forum, I'm reasonably certain that all of the members who posted on that thread were White, and think that it's a high probability that most if not all of the guest posters on that particular thread were also White.

These examples are presented in chronological order based on their posting date, with the oldest dated example given first. The forum member's screen name (or the word "guest" for non-members) and the date of the posting [without the time) are also given in this post. These examples are numbered for referencing purposes. Except for Example #2, I've included no editorial comments about these examples.

1. From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Dec 01

My brother Billy had ten foot Willy
and he showd it to the girl next door
She thought it was a snake and she hit it with a rake
and now it's only five foot four.

2. From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Dec 01

"The only one of his [stand up comedian Andrew Dice Clay] that I know for a fact WAS making the schoolyard rounds at least 40 years ago is a bit different than listed there. I remember it quite well:
Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To fetch her poor dog a bone.
But when she bent over,
Rover came over,
And he had a bone of his own.
This verse is a standard chant for members of a historically Black Greek lettered fraternity (I think the fraternity is Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, because of their informal name "(Nasty) Que Dogs. I've seen this chant performed on YouTube by either that fraternity or another one. Click for my comment about this "fraternity" chant.

3. From: weepiper
Date: 06 Dec 01

Jack and Jill went up the hill
to fetch a pail of water,
Jill forgot to take her pill
and now she's got a daughter.

4. GUEST,Bluegrass Granny
Date: 08 Dec 01 -

Mary had a little lamb She tied him to a heater And every time he turned around He burned his little peter!

5. From: pavane
Date: 08 Dec 01

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
her knickers all tattered and torn
It wasn't the spider
That sat down beside her
But little boy blue
with his horn

6. From: GUEST,FuBar
Date: 20 Sep 07
Mary had a little blouse
'twas tatterd all to bits
And everywhere that Mary went
It showed her little tits!

Mary had a little skirt
'Twas split right up the front
And everywhere that Mary went
... She had to sit down all the time. (Yeah right.)

7. From: GUEST,*^^*aussie*^^*
Date: 16 Dec 07

Ok duno where all u ppl r from but here's 2 i'v grown up with in AUS!!!!!

MARY had a little lamb
she thought it rather silly
she threw it up in the air
and cought it by it's
WILLY was a bulldog sitting in the grass
down came a bee and stung him up the
ASK no questions tell no lies i saw
two police men doing up their
FLIES are dirty fleas are worse
this is the end of my dirty little verse!!

8. From: GUEST,Jessie Lou
Date: 16 Nov 08

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To smoke some marijuana
Jack got high
unzipped his fly
and said 'do you wanna?'
Jill said yes
and dropped her dress
then they had some fun
stupid Jill forgot the pill
NOW they have a son
Subject: RE: Nasty Nursery Rhymes

9. From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 02:19 PM

Mary had a little lamb
She thought it rather silly
She threw it up into the air and caught it by its
Willy was a bulldog sitting in the grass
Along came a bee and stung him on his
Ask no questions tell no lies
I saw a policeman pulling up his
Flies are a nusance, bee's are worse
This is the end of my little verse

10. From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 19 Nov 08

Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
And planned to do some kissing.
Jack made a pass
And grabbed her ass
Now two of his teeth are missing.

11. From: GUEST,Guest: Rap Song
Date: 13 Nov 10

Mary had a little Lamb
She tied him to the heater
Everytime he turned around
He burned his little peter
Peter pumpkin eater
Had a wife and couldn't keep her
Put her in a pumpkin shell and blew her all to
Hello operator, connect me number nine
If you disconnect me, I'll kick you in the
Ding, Dong Avon's here
Just behind the fridgerator
Tommy broke some glass
Slipped and fell while cleaning and cut his little
Ask me no questions, I'll tell you know lies...

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a portion of a comment that I posted in the comment section of Part I of this post:

    While I recognize that the confidentiality of children should be maintained, I believe that folkorists should collect & cite all demographical information that they can, including contributors' age, gender, nationality, geographical location, and race/ethnicity.

    I believe that race/ethnicity is important to collect and to cite with folkloric material such as children's rhymes, cheers, and singing games for cultural and sociological reasons. For instance, knowing the racial identity of a contributor of a rhyme may help explain topical references and slang words & phrases in that rhyme. Also, studying the type of rhymes & cheers that particular populations of children prefer, what values are reflected in those examples, and how those examples are performed can provide information and insights about the particular population. Furthermore, I believe that changes in rhymes such as the inclusion of racialized references and confrontational language in rhymes such as "Down Down Baby" * which previously did not have that content reflect the changes and stresses that have occurred and continue to occur in integrated school settings.

    Since 1985, but particularly since 2001 my direct collection & internet collection of contemporary English language playground rhymes suggest that very few of those rhymes refer to race/ethnicity. Nevertheless, I believe that race/ethnicity significantly influences the types of playground rhymes that members of specific populations tend to prefer and significantly influence how those rhymes tend to be performed. [with "rhymes" being a generic term for all types of rhyming verses, cheers/chants, and singing games]. Having said that, there are many instances of rhymes originating with one population and one language being chanted by children throughout the world, regardless of those children's race, ethnicity, and nationality. And it is also true that not everyone who identifies with a particular cultural population- for instance "African American" - knows and likes the same type of rhymes. However, there is an aesthetic to playground rhymes that is nurtured, encouraged, and promoted within particular populations (while other types of rhymes are disdained) the same as there is an aesthetic for specific types of vocal & instrumental music in that is encouraged in that same population."...