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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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AN EPICURE, DINING AT CREWE,
FOUND QUITE A LARGE MOUSE IN HIS STEW.
SAID THE WAITER, "DON'T SHOUT,
OR WAVE IT ABOUT,
OR THE REST WILL BE WANTING ONE TOO."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Keyword(s): METER: IAMBIC ; PLACE NAMES, EATING ; RHYME: AABBA ; RHYME: MASCULINE ; SURPRISE ENDING LIMERICK HUMOR

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Narrative Verse

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MY DEAR, DO YOU KNOW,
HOW A LONG TIME AGO,
TWO POOR LITTLE CHILDREN,
WHOSE NAMES I DON'T KNOW,
WERE STOLEN AWAY
ON A FINE SUMMER'S DAY,
AND LEFT IN THE WOODS,
AS I'VE HEARD PEOPLE SAY.
AND WHEN IT WAS NIGHT,
SO SAD WAS THEIR PLIGHT,
THE SUN IT WENT DOWN,
AND THE MOON GAVE NO LIGHT;
THEY SOBBED AND THEY SIGHED,
AND THEY BITTERLY CRIED,
AND THE POOR LITTLE THINGS,
THEY LAY DOWN AND DIED.
AND WHEN THEY WERE DEAD,
THE ROBINS, SO RED,
BOUGHT STRAWBERRY LEAVES, (BROUGHT?)
AND OVER THEM SPREAD.
AND ALL THE DAY LONG
THEY SANG THEM THIS SONG:
"POOR BABES IN THE WOODS,
POOR BABES IN THE WOODS,
AND DON'T YOU REMEMBER,
THE BABES IN THE WOODS."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): DEATH ; FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; METER: ANAPESTIC ; MONOLOGUE REPETITIION ; RHYME: MASCULINE, AABA CCDC

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Narrative Verse

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OOEY GOOEY WAS A WORM,
OOEY GOOEY LIKED TO SQUIRM,
OOEY GOOEY CROSSED THE RAILROAD TRACK.
O-O-EY, G-O-O-EY!

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): HUMOR, FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; METER: IAMBIC ; MONOLOGUE UNDERSTATEMENT ; RAILROAD DEATH ; RHYME: IMPERFECT, MASCULINE, AABC

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Narrative Verse

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THE BOY STOOD ON THE BURNING DECK,
EATIN' GOOBERS BY THE PECK.
THEN THEY FOUND THE STEAM WAS HOT,
HE PUT THE GOOBERS IN THE POT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): GOOBERS=PEANUTS ; HUMOR, FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; METER: IAMBIC ; QUATRAIN MONOLOGUE ; RHYME: MASCULINE, AABB ; SLANG PARODY EATING

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Narrative Verse

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THE CLOCK OF LIFE IS WOUND BUT ONCE,
AND NO MAN HAS THE POWER
TO TELL JUST WHERE THE HANDS WILL STOP,
AT LATE OR EARLY HOUR.
TO LOSE ONE'S WEALTH, IS SAD INDEED,
TO LOSE ONE'S HEALTH IS MORE;
TO LOSE ONE'S SOUL IS SUCH A LOSS,
AS NO MAN CAN RESTORE.
THE PRESENT ONLY IS OUR OWN,
LIVE, LOVE, TOIL WITH A WILL--
PLACE NO FAITH IN "TOMORROW" FOR
THE CLOCK MAY THEN BE STILL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ADVICE, PREPARATION FOR DEATH ; FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; METER: IAMBIC ; RHYME: MASCULINE, ABCA ; SYMBOL METONYMY RELIGION TIME

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Narrative Verse

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IF I DIE, BURY ME,
HANG MY BONES ON A CHERRY TREE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Keyword(s): COUPLET ; INSTRUCTIONS ; PREPARATION FOR DEATH ; VERSE WITHOUT MUSIC

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IF ALL THE SEAS WERE ONE SEA,
WHAT A GREAT SEA THAT WOULD BE!
AND IF ALL THE TREES WERE ONE TREE,
WHAT A GREAT TREE THAT WOULD BE!
AND IF ALL THE AXES WERE ONE AX,
WHAT A GREAT AX THAT WOULD BE!
AND IF ALL THE MEN WERE ONE MAN,
WHAT A GREAT MAN HE WOULD BE!
AND IF THE GREAT MAN TOOK THE GREAT AX,
AND CUT DOWN THE GREAT TREE,
AND LET IT FALL INTO THE GREAT SEA,
WHAT A SPLISH SPLASH THAT WOULD BE!

Submitter comment: I WAS TOLD THIS POEM BY A FIRST GRADER ON THE PLAYGROUND.

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

Keyword(s): CHAIN GREATNESS ; SURPRISE ENDING

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

Date learned: 00-00-1960

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IT'S NOT THE COUGH
THAT CARRIES YOU OFF.
IT'S THE COFFIN
THEY CARRY YOU OFF IN.

Submitter comment: HEARD AND SAID WHEN YOUNG, 1915-1920.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; PITTSBURGH

Keyword(s): DEATH ; HUMOR TANGLETALK PUN ; IAMBIC-DACTYLIC, FEMININE RHYME, WORD PLAY, REPETITION ; OBSERVATION, TONGUETWISTER ; QUATRAIN SURPRISE ENDING CONTRAST ; RHYME: AABB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

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LIFE IS LIKE A MOUNTAIN RAILROAD,
WITH AN ENGINEER THAT'S BRAVE.
WE MUST MAKE THE RUN SUCCESSFUL,
FROM THE CRADLE TO THE GRAVE.

Submitter comment: RECITED

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; METER: TROCHAIC-IAMBIC ; RHYME: FEMININE, IMPERFECT, ABCA ; SIMILE ADVICE PREPARATION FOR DEATH

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

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SEE MY FINGER, SEE MY THUMB,
SEE MY FIST, YOU BETTER RUN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BULLY ; DIALECT ; ELLIPSIS, SURPRISE ENDING ; METER: ANAPESTIC ; MONOLOGUE UNDERSTATEMENT FIGHTING ; RHYME: MASCULINE ; THREAT

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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SCARE

SEE MY FINGER, SEE MY THUMB,
SEE MY FIST, YOU BETTER RUN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE WOODS

Keyword(s): BULLY ; ELLIPSIS, SURPRISE ENDING ; METER: ANAPESTIC ; MONOLOGUE UNDERSTATEMENT DIALECT FIGHTING ; RHYME: MASCULINE ; THREAT

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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SITTIN' BY THE ROADSIDE ON A SUMMER DAY,
CHATTING WITH MY MESS MATES, PASSING TIME AWAY,
LAYING IN THE SHADOW UNDERNEATH THE TREE,
GOODNESS, HOW DELICIOUS EATING GOOBER PEAS!

CHORUS: PEAS, PEAS, PEAS, PEAS,
GOODNESS HOW DELICIOUS EATING GOOBERPEAS!

Submitter comment: INFORMANT RECITED IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): FOOD ; FOOD, EATING ; GOOBERS=PEANUTS ; IT MAY ALSO BE SUNG. ; METER: IAMBIC, ANAPESTIC ; RHYME: AABB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

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CHEER

UMBA SASSA, UMBA SASSA,
HIT 'EM IN DA HEAD WITH A BIG KILBASA.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT USED IN POLISH HIGH SCHOOL.

Data entry tech comment: KIELBASA=POLISH SAUSAGE

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; CHICAGO

Keyword(s): DIALECT, SLANG THREAT FOOD ; METER: TROCHAIC ; RHYME: FEMININE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

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WHEN YOU ARE OLD AND ABOUT TO DIE,
CALL ME UP SO I CAN CRY.
(TELEPHONE NUMBER).

Where learned: SCHOOL ; MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ANTICLIMAX IRONY COUPLET ; AUTOGRAPH VERSE? ; METER: ANAPESTIC ; PREPARATION FOR DEATH OLD AGE FRIENDSHIP ; RHYME: MASCULINE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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HERE LIES THE BODY OF SOLOMON PEASE.
UNDER THE DAISIES, UNDER THE TREES.
BUT PEASE ISN'T HERE, ONLY THE POD.
PEASE SHELLED OUT AND WENT HOME TO GOD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): DEATH PUN ; EPITAPH RHYME: COUPLETS ; VEGETABLES: PEAS METAPHOR SLANG

Subject headings: 730 Lyrical Verse

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MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB,
SHE TIED HIM TO THE HEATER.
AND EVERY TIME HE TURNED AROUND,
HE BURNED HIS LITTLE SEATER.

Submitter comment: THIS VERSE WAS VERY POPULAR WHEN INFORMANT WAS IN GRADE
SCHOOL IN DETROIT (MICHIGAN) IN THE 30S.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): PARODY ; SEATER=BUTTOCKS

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse

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VERSE WITHOUT MUSIC

MATHEW, MARK, LUKE AND JOHN,
BLESS THE BED THAT I LIE ON!
ALL FOUR CORNERS ROUND ABOUT,
WHEN I GET IN, WHEN I GET OUT.
FOUR CORNERS TO MY BED,
FOUR ANGELS ROUND MY HEAD;
ONE TO WATCH AND ONE TO PRAY,
AND TWO TO BEAR MY SOUL AWAY.

Submitter comment: HEARD IN SCHOOL.

Where learned: OHIO ; TOLEDO

Keyword(s): DEATH PIOUS SLEEPING BIBLICAL ; PIOUS ; PRAYER ; RHYME: AABB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse

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YOUR'S 'TILL THE MOUNTAIN PEAKS,
AND SEAS THE SALAD DRESSING.

Submitter comment: THIS IS ONE OF A GROUP OF AUTOGRAPH BOOK VERSES COLLECTED IN 1941.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

James Callow Keyword(s): ALLITERATION ; EUPHEMISM: HEAT FOR HELL ; PUNS ; RHYME: AA

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse

Date learned: 10-25-1972

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WHEN YOUR HAIR HAS TURNED TO SILVER,
AND LIFE'S PATH NO MORE YOU TROD.
MAY YOUR NAME IN GOLD BE WRITTEN,
IN THE AUTOGRAPH BOOK OF GOD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

James Callow Keyword(s): DEATH SALVATION NAME MAGIC RHYME: ABCB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse

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