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- The Only True Mother Goose Melodies - 2/10 -
young reader should remember that Washington Street so far as it had one name was called the Main Street. Coming North from our Dover Street, the traveler passed through Orange Street, then through Newbury Street, next through Marlborough Street, which extended from Winter Street to School Street, and then through Cornhill northward to Dock Square. This is precisely as in passing east through what was the Main Street of London of those days, the traveler would have passed through the Cornhill of that thoroughfare. The London Cornhill retains its name. Ours was changed in 1824 to the all-conquering name of Washington, which is now applied to the whole of the "Main Street" and "the Neck" of the Fathers, as indeed, it is applied by local authorities many miles further.
But in familiar conversation, the old name Cornhill was retained for a generation, and indeed, would be understood to-day, if you were speaking to Boston people more than fifty years old. The name Cornhill is now applied to the Market Street of an earlier period.
Young readers should remember that Orange Street, Newbury street, and Marlborough Street were names given in honour of the Prince of Orange of the Puritan victory at Newbury, and of the Duke of Marlborough. All of them show what were the Whig and Puritan feelings of the people who gave them. All three of the names in our time have been transferred from the old localities.
We are all greatly obliged to Mrs. Harriet Blackstone C. Butler for the pains she has taken to rescue for popular use this interesting memorial of the education of the fathers and mothers of New England.
[signed]Edward E. Hale
The Only True
Without addition or abridgement.
Embracing, also, a reliable
LIFE OF THE GOOSE FAMILY,
Never before published.
HEAR WHAT MA'AM GOOSE SAYS!
My dear little Blossoms, there are now in this world, and always will be, a great many grannies besides myself, both in petticoats and pantaloons, some a deal younger to be sure; but all monstrous wise, and of my own family name. These old women, who never had chick nor child of their own, but who always know how to bring up other people's children, will tell you with very long faces, that my enchanting, quieting, soothing volume, my all-sufficient anodyne for cross, peevish, won't-be-comforted little bairns, ought to be laid aside for more learned books, such as THEY could select and publish. Fudge! I tell you that all their batterings can't deface my beauties, nor their wise pratings equal my wiser prattlings; and all imitators of my refreshing songs might as well write a new Billy Shakespeare as another Mother Goose--we two great poets were born together, and we shall go out of the world together.
No, no my Melodies will never die, While nurses sing, or babies cry.
History of the Goose Family.
[FROM THE BOSTON TRANSCRIPT.]
Cotton Mather And Mother Goose.
MR. EDITOR:--Your correspondent, N.B.S., has so decisively given a QUIETUS to the question as to the birthplace of Cotton Mather, that there is no danger of its ever being revived again. But there is another question of equal importance to many, to the literary world in particular, which should in like manner be put to rest. WHO WAS MOTHER GOOSE? and WHEN were her melodies first given to the world? These are questions which have been often asked, but have never been satisfactorily answered. The recent publication of a book called "Mother Goose for Old Folks" has again revived these questions, which serves to show that the subject has not yet lost its interest.
Many persons imagine that Mother Goose is a myth,--that no such person ever existed. This is a mistake. MOTHER GOOSE was not only a veritable personage, but was born and resided many years in Boston, where many of her descendants may now be found. The last that bore this ancient paternal cognomen died about the year 1807, and was buried in the Old Granary Burying Ground, where probably lie the remains of the whole blood, if we may judge from the numerous grave-stones which mark their resting place. The family originated in England, but at what time they came to this country is unknown,--but probably about the year 1656. This was the "Wealthy family of Goose" which is immortalized by Mr. Bowditch in his book of Suffolk Names, who at the same time has immortalized himself. They were landholders in Boston, so early as 1660. Nearly half the space between West and Winter streets, on Washington street, and extending westerly towards Tremont street, 275 feet belonged to this family, as did also a large tract of land on Essex, Rowe, and Bedford streets, upon which now stand two churches and a large number of dwelling houses. SO MUCH FOR MOTHER GOOSE. Now for her melodies.
It is well known to antiquarians that more than TWO hundred years ago there was a small book in circulation in London bearing the name of "Rhymes for the nursery; or Lulla-Byes for Children," which contained MANY OF THE IDENTICAL PIECES which have been handed down to us and now from part of the "Mother Goose's Melodies" of the present day. It contained also other pieces much more silly, if possible, and some that the AMERICAN types of the present day would refuse to give off an impression. The "cuts" or illustrations thereof were of the coarsest description.
The first book of the kind known to be printed in this country bears the title of "Songs for the Nursery; or, Mother Goose's Melodies for Children." Something probably intended to represent a goose with a very long neck and mouth wide open, covered a large part of the title page, at the bottom of which, Printed by T. Fleet[*], at his printing house, Pudding Lane, 1719. Price, two coppers. Several pages were missing, so that the whole number could not be ascertained.
[*][Note from Brett: T. Fleet is probably Thomas Fleet (1685-1758) and is referenced by John Fleet Elliot (a descendent). Thomas Fleet was married to Elizabeth Goose (AKA Vertigoose), and is the presumed author. Unfortunately, modern research and research at the time failed to substantiate the existence of this book. This information is culled in part from the introduction to L. Frank Baum's edition of "Mother Goose" in 1897. The introduction written by Mr. Baum considered this line of reasoning and this article is referenced by him.]
This T. Fleet, according to Isaiah Thomas[*], was a man of considerable talent and of great wit and humor. He was born in England, and was brought up in a printing office in the city of Bristol, where he afterwards worked as a journeyman. Although he was considered a man of sense, he was never thought to be overburdened with religious sentiments; he certainly was not in his latter days. Yet he was MORE than suspected of being actively engaged in the riotous proceedings connected with the trial of Dr. Sacheverell, in Queen Ann's time. In London, Bristol, and many other places, the mobs and riots were of a very serious nature. In London several meeting houses were sacked and pulled down, and the materials and contents made into bonfires, and much valuable property destroyed. Several of the rioters were arrested, tried and convicted. The trials of some of them are now before me. How deeply Fleet was implicated in these disturbances was never known, but being of the same mind with Jack Falstaff, that "the better part of valor is discretion," thought it prudent to put the Ocean between himself and danger. He made his way to this country and arrived in Boston, 1712. Being a man of some enterprise he soon established a printing office in Pudding Lane (now Devonshire Street), where he printed small books, pamphlets, ballads, and such matter as offered. Being industrious and prudent, he gradually accumulated property. It was not long before he became acquainted with the "wealthy family of Goose," a branch of which he had before known in Bristol, and was shortly married to the eldest daughter.
[*][Note from Brett: Publisher of an American volume of Mother Goose in 1787, "Mother Goose's Melody: or Sonnets for the cradle." This is a reprint of the collection put together by John Newbury (known for the Newbury medal).]
By the record of marriages in the City Registrar's office, it appears that in "1715, June 8, was married by Rev. COTTON MATHER, THOMAS FLEET TO ELIZABETH GOOSE." The happy couple took up their residence in the same house with the printing office in Pudding lane. In due time their family was increased by the birth of a son and heir. Mother Goose, like all good grandmothers, was in ecstasies at the event; her joy was unbounded; she spent her whole time in the nursery, and in wandering about the house, pouring forth, in not the most melodious strains, the songs and ditties which she had learned in her younger days, greatly to the annoyance of the whole neighborhood--to Fleet in particular, who was a man fond of quiet. It was in vain he exhausted his shafts of wit and ridicule, and every expedient he could devise: it was of no use--the old lady was not thus to be put down; so, like others similarly situated, he was obliged to submit. His shrewdness, however, did not forsake
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