« AnteriorContinuar »
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by
HURD AND HOUGHTON,
All rights reserved.
RIVERSIDE, CAMBRIDGE :
H. 0. HOUGHTON AND COMPANY.
Of the many who must recollect the nursery jingles of their youth, how few in number are those who have ever suspected their immense age, or that they were ever more than unmeaning nonsense ; far less that their creation belongs to a period before that at which the authentic records of our his. tory commence. Yet there is no exaggeration in such a statement. We find the same trifles which erewhile lulled or amused the English infant are current in slightly varied forms throughout the North of Europe; we know that they have been sung in the northern countries for centuries, and that there has been no modern outlet for their dissemination across the German Ocean. The most natural inference is to adopt the theory of a Teutonic origin, and thus give to every genuine child. rhyme found in England and Sweden an immense antiquity. There is nothing improbable in the supposition, for the preservation of the relics of primitive literature often bears an inverse ratio to their importance.
Having shown that the nursery has an archæology, the study of which may eventually lead to important results, the jingles and songs of our childhood are defended from the imputation of cxcessive frivolity.
JOHN FLEET ELIOT,
THE GREAT-GREAT-GRANDSON OF ELIZABETH GOOSE,
KNOWN WHEREVER THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN AS
This Collection of her mHelodies
AS AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF HIS KINDNESS IN SUPPLYING THE MATERIALS FRODI
WHICH THE ACCOUNT OF HIS AND HER FAMILY HAS BEEN DERIVED.