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Giant Bonaparte - a soothing lullaby

Not only should sleepless babies beware of cradles tumbling out of trees, but Napoleon himself might come to get them too!

Baby, baby, naughty baby,
Hush, you squalling thing, I say.
Peace this moment, peace, or maybe
Bonaparte will pass this way.

Baby, baby, he's a giant,
Tall and black as Rouen steeple
And he breakfasts, dines, rely on't,
Every day on naughty people.

Baby, baby, if he hears you,
As he gallops past the house,
Limb from limb at once he'll tear you,
Just as pussy tears a mouse.

And he'll beat you, beat you, beat you,
And he'll beat you all to pap,
And he'll eat you, eat you, eat you,
Every morsel, snap, snap, snap.

(Collected by Iona and Peter Opie in The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book, originally published 1955)


( 3 comments — Comment )
Dec. 30th, 2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
Not so elaborate, but when she was little my grandmother (born about 1880) was warned that if she was bad Boney would get her. As her mother was born about 1840, it would have been a fairly valid threat for her own grandmother.
Dec. 30th, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
Funny how he remained a valid threat!
Dec. 30th, 2012 09:17 pm (UTC)
You'd better believe it!

I had this from my mother, who said that the only reason her mother didn't use it on her was that she didn't believe in frightening children into good behaviour.

In fairness, since my grandmother's grandmother lived in South Wales, at that time it really was a valid threat, See the story of the Welshwomen.
( 3 comments — Comment )