Posts filed under ‘BILLY BOY SEEKS A WIFE’

BILLY BOY SEEKS A WIFE

THE ROLE OF CATS IN NURSERY RHYMES
by Sarah Hartwell

Oh, where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Oh, where have you been, Charming Billy?
I have been to seek a wife,
She’s the joy of my life –
She’s a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Can she bake a cherry pie, Charming Billy?
She can bake a cherry pie
Quick as the cat can wink its eye.
She’s a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

How old is she now, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
How old is she now, Charming Billy?
Four time six and eight times seven,
Forty-nine and then eleven,
She’s a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

Another rhyme from a Scottish source, with some arithmetic thrown in – how old is the wife that Billy Boy seeks? The reference to a cat, is that the young woman who has caught Billy Boy’s eye can bake a cherry pie as fast as a cat can wink. Although the winking cat alludes to speed, cats don’t actually wink, they blink (both eyes).

May 26, 2008 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment


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