« PreviousContinue »
THE NURSERY RHYMES
COLLECTED CHIEFLY FROM ORAL TRADITION.
JAMES O. HALLIWELL, ESQ.
THE SIXTH EDITION.
JOHN RUSSELL SMITH,
36, SOHO SQUARE.
THE great encouragement which has
been given by the public to the previous editions of this little work, satisfactorily proves that, notwithstanding the extension of serious education to all but the very earliest periods of life, there still exists an undying love for the popular remnants of the ancient Scandinavian nursery literature. The infants and children of the nineteenth century have not, then, deserted the rhymes chanted so many ages since by the mothers of the North. This is a "great nursery fact”a proof that there is contained in some of
these traditional nonsense-rhymes a meaning and a romance, possibly intelligible only to very young minds, that exercise an influence on the fancy of children. It is obvious there must exist something of this kind; for no modern compositions are found to supply altogether the place of the ancient doggrel.
The nursery rhyme is the novel and light reading of the infant scholar. It occupies, with respect to the A B C, the position of a romance which relieves the mind from the cares of a riper age. The absurdity and frivolity of a rhyme may naturally be its chief attractions to the very young; and there will be something lost from the imagination of that child, whose parents insist so much on matters of fact, that the “cow” must be made, in compliance with the rules of their educational code, to jump “under" instead of “over the moon;" while of course the little dog must be considered as “barking," not “ laughing" at the circumstance.