voices from the past


Cole's Funny Picture Book No. 1

written and compiled by Edward William Cole (1832-1918)
First published in 1879 by Cole Publications, Melbourne, Australia

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The following are excerpts from Cole's book. I've selected the ones I remember from my childhood.
The book was compiled over 130 years ago. I found it interesting how they changed over the years.
How many of these do you remember?

Tom, The Piper's Son

Tom, Tom, the piper's son,
  Stole a pig and away did run!
The pig he eat, and Tom they beat,
  And Tom went roaring down the street.

Tom, he was a piper's son:
  He learned to play when he was young:
But all the tunes that he could play
  Was, "Over the hills and far away;
Over the hills and a great way off,
  And the wind will blow my topknot off."

Now Tom with his pipe made such a noise,
  That he pleased both the girls and the boys,
And they stopped to hear him play
  "Over the hills and far away."

Tom with his pipe did play with such skill,
  That those who heard him could never keep still:
Whenever they heard they began for to dance,
  Even the pigs on their hind legs would after him prance.

As Dolly was milking her cow one day,
  Tom took out his pipe and began for to play;
So Doll and the cow danced "the Cheshire round,"
  Till the pail they broke and the milk ran on the ground.

He met old Dame Trot with a basket of eggs,
  He used his pipe and she used her legs;
She danced about till all the eggs she broke,
  She began for to fret, but he laughed at the joke.

He saw a cross fellow beating an ass,
  Heavily laden with pots, pans, dishes and glass;
He took out his pipe and played them a tune,
  And the jackass did kick off his load very soon.

Tom met the parson on his way,
  Took out his pipe, began to play
A merry tune that led his grace
  Into a very muddy place.

The mayor then said he would not fail
  To send poor Tommy off to gaol.
Tom took his pipe, began to play,
  And all the court soon danced away.

'Twas quite a treat to see the rout,
  How clerks and judges hopped about;
While Tommy still kept playing the tune,
  "I'll be free this afternoon."

The Policeman Grab, who held him fast,
  Began to dance about at last;
Whilst Tom, delighted at the fun,
  Slipped out of court and off did run.

Simple Simon

Simple Simon met a pieman
  Going to the fair;
Says Simple Simon to the pieman:
  "Let me taste your ware."

Says the pieman to Simple Simon,
  "Show me first the penny."
Says Simple Simon to the pieman:
  "Indeed I have not any."

Simple Simon went a-fishing
  For to catch a whale
All the water he had got
  Was in his mother's pail.

Simple Simon went to look
  If plums grew on a thistle;
He pricked his fingers very much,
  Which made poor Simon whistle.

He went to catch a dicky bird,
  And thought he could not fail
Because he'd got a little salt
  To put upon it's tail.

Then Simple Simon went-a-hunting,
  For to catch a hare.
He rode on a goat about the street,
  But could not find one there.

Simon made a great snowball,
  And brought it in to roast;
He laid it down before the fire,
  And soon the ball was lost.

Simple Simon went a-skating
  When the ice was thin,
And Simon was astonished quite
  To find he tumbled in.

And Simon he would honey eat
  Out of the mustard pot;
He bit his tongue until he cried:
  "That was all the good he got."


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About the Author

See our page on Edward William Cole. It includes a linked list of all his writing available on our website.

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