jogging the list memory

Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale) Philip.Belben at
Wed Apr 13 04:07:07 EDT 2005

Last week, I promised some replies to Robyn's question:

> What I want to know is, can you think of any other rhymes (possibly
> nursery rhymes) with that "in the orchard there was a hall; in the
> hall
> there was a bed" repetitive structure? I read something that suggested
> "The House that Jack Built," and I was hoping for some more (possibly
> better) examples.

I found two examples in Opie, "The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book".  The
first is symmetrical rather than cyclic, which is interesting.  I
imagine it might be used in teaching a small child - recite the first
half and see if child can come back with the structure in reverse order.

This is the Key of the Kingdom:
In that kingdom is a city,
In that city is a town,
In that town there is a street,
In that street there winds a lane,
In that lane there is a yard,
In that yard there is a house,
In that house there waits a room,
In that room there is a bed,
On that bed there is a basket,
A basket of flowers.

Flowers in the basket,
Basket on the bed,
Bed in the chamber,
Chamber in the house,
House in the weedy yard,
Yard in the winding lane,
Lane in the broad street,
Street in the high town,
Town in the city,
City in the kingdom,
This is the key of the kingdom.

The second one is, in my opinion, rather mean:

What's in there?
Gold and money.
Where's my share?
The mousie's run away with it.
Where's the mousie?
In her housie.
Where's her housie?
In the wood.
Where's the wood?
The fire burnt it.
Where's the fire?
The water quenched it.
Where's the water?
The brown bull drank it.
Where's the brown bull?
Behind Burnie's Hill.
Where's Burnie's hill?
All dressed in snow.
Where's the snow?
The sun melted it.
Where's the sun?
High, high in the air.

Finally, this song from C J Cherryh's "Cuckoo's Egg" doesn't have the
structure Robyn was looking for, but it is a nice example of cyclicity.
Cyclcism?  Cyclicness?  A nice example of a cycle, anyway.

I one day wandered down a road
that I had never known;
I one day came upon a path
that I was never shown.
It wended up and down the hills
And wandered through the dell,
And there I met a clever man
Whose like no song can tell.
I never met a man his like:
I never hope to say
How he was like and unlike me,
This man I met that day.
He had my look, he had my eyes,
He had my ways, for true.
Why, fool, he said, and sang the song
That I've just sung to you.

Philip.  (Determined not to write another song with copyright problems.
Determined.  Telling himself that Winchester metre is boring anyway.
And not believing it...)

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