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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Lanky Lawrence lost his Lass and Lobster


Everyone knows the tongue twister:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled Peppers:
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled Peppers?
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled Peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled Peppers Peter Piper picked?


But did you know that Peter Piper had friends? The famous rhyme was first published in 1813 in  Peter Piper's Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation and the book contains a similar tongue twister for every letter of the alphabet. Here are some of my favorites:

Captain Crackskull crack'd a Catchpoll's Cockscomb:
Did Captain Crackskull crack a Catchpoll's Cockscomb?
If Captain Crackskull crack'd a Catchpoll's Cockscomb,
Where's the Catchpoll's Cockscomb Captain Crackskull crack'd?
 

Davy Dolldrum dream'd he drove a Dragon:
Did Davy Dolldrum dream he drove a dragon?
If Davy Dolldrum dream'd he drove a dragon
Where's the dragon Davy Dolldrum dream'd he drove?

Lanky Lawrence lost his Lass and Lobster:
Did Lanky Lawrence lose his Lass and Lobster?
If Lanky Lawrence lost his Lass and Lobster,
Where are the Lass and Lobster Lanky Lawrence lost? 


Quixote Quicksight quiz'd a queerish Quidbox:
Did Quixote Quicksight quiz a queerish Quidbox?
If Quixote Quicksight quiz'd a queerish Quidbox,
Where's the queerish Quidbox Quixote Quicksight quiz'd?


Peter Piper's practical principles of plain and perfect pronunciation
Philadelphia: Willard Johnson ..., 1836
RBD ROS 813  Rare Book Department, Free Library of Philadelphia


Peter Piper's practical principles of plain and perfect pronunciation
Philadelphia: Willard Johnson ..., 1836
RBD ROS 813  Rare Book Department, Free Library of Philadelphia

I personally think "Captain Crackskull" is the hardest twister in the book, or at least I can't seem to get my tongue round it at speed. By the way a "catchpoll" is a sheriff's deputy who arrested debtors and in the "Q" rhymer "quidbox" was slang for a snuff box.

An 1836 American edition of Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation will be featured in our upcoming exhibition Bescribbled, Nibbled, and Dog-Eared: Early American Children's Books  (opening next Wednesday July 9)  which focuses on Dr. Rosenbach's collection of early children's books, which he donated to the Free Library in 1947.  We have made a recording of all the rhymes for the exhibit and as the person who does our audio recording, I don't want to tell you how long it will took us to get a clean take of all the rhymes! You'll have to come to exhibit to see how we did and try some of the rhymes for yourself.





Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog.

 

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