Posts filed under ‘WILT THOU BE MINE’
THE ROLE OF CATS IN NURSERY RHYMES
by Sarah Hartwell
Pussy cat, pussy cat, wilt thou be mine?
Thou shalt not wash dishes, nor feed yet the swine,
But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam
And feed upon strawberries, sugar and cream.
The suitor in this verse is calling his beloved by a term of endearment. He is evidently a man of means, perhaps a higher class than she, because he is offering her a married life where servants will be cleaning and tending the animals. She will instead be a fine lady, sat on a cushion doing her embroidery (either a “fine seam” or a “silk seam”) and eating fine foods. There are numerous versions where he calls his beloved “curly locks” or “bonny lass, pretty lass” rather than “pussy cat”.