Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/276

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That rhymes were as common in the amusements of schoolboys as in that of girls we may learn from the following account of some rhyme games given by Mr. Gosse from the same source I have before stated. He there states that rude doggerel rhymes were repeated on occasions among the boys and learned from one another. Thus a boy would come suddenly behind another, and seizing him by the shoulder proceed to dig his knee into the posterior of the other, at every line of the following:

“I owed your mother
 A pound of butter;
 I paid her once—
 I paid her twice—
 I paid her three times over,”

the last line accompanying a kick of double vehemence.

The word FINIS at the end of books was turned into the following poetic flight:

“F for Finis,
 I for Inis,
 N for Nuckley Bone,
 I for Johnny Waterman,
 S for Samuel Stone.”

And the variant I have heard is :

“F for Fig,
 I for Igg,
 N for Nickle bones (Nickley Boney),
 I for John the Waterman,
 S for Sally Stones (Stoney).[1]

The next the boys no doubt learnt from their little sisters, since the imagery, as Mr. Gosse says, is of a decidedly feminine cast:

“My needle and thread,
 Spells Nebuchadned;
 My bodkin and scissors
 Spells Nebuchadnezzar;
 One pair of stockings and two pair of shoes
 Spells Nebuchadnezzar the king of the Jews.”

  1. Conf. Shropshire Folklore, p. 575.