Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 17: Nos 1-2) >> Simms's Unpublished Rhymes >> Page 42

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Secondary Scholarship | 2009
Transcription 42 THE SIMMS REVIEW

They all jumped out of a rotten potato,
'Twas enough to make a man stare. (Baring-Gould 106)
Simms revises it and creates the following rhyme:
Rub a dub dub, Rub a dub dub,
Here's a big toady in a small tub,
Hopping about to find land and water.
His wife at home kept him such a strife,
That he has bid her good bye for life.
Left her alone with his dog and her daughter.
There are many other rhymes in the collection that we can classify as
adaptation rhymes, like the one above. Additional research should reveal
which rhymes in the Mother Goose canon Simms is using in the process
of adaptation and provide insights into what changes he has made and
why he has made them.
Children's rhymes can be grouped into classification categories,
although scholars disagree on the precise number. Simms composes
rhymes that fit most of the categories outlined by the Oxford Dictionary
of Nursery Rhymes and other scholarly sources. These include riddles,
lullaby songs, nursery prayers, counting rhymes, tongue twisters, non-
sense rhymes, wisdom rhymes, character rhymes, and alphabet rhymes
(Opie vii-viii). Riddles appear frequently throughout the collection, and
they often focus on items that would have been familiar to Southern read-
ers:
There's something I love, and can't do without,
A friend brings it to me, both strong and stout;
But I take my friend and I fling him down,
Though well I know he must sink and drown.
So daily 1 drown my friend, that I may,
Get the thing that I do love everyday.
Now, riddle-me-zee, riddle-me-zee,
Who shall tell this riddle to me?
("Water Bucket.")
It is interesting to note that Simms uses the word bucket, not pail in the
answer to this riddle, which is in keeping with a regional lexical distinc-
tion between South and North that was already firmly established by
the mid-nineteenth century. While pail was used throughout the North,
bucket was used (and still is) throughout the South, even extending into