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Old Mother Hubbard

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard,
To fetch her poor dog a bone.
But when she got there, her cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.
She went to the baker's to buy him some bread;
When she got back, the dog was dead.
She went to the undertaker's to buy him a coffin;
When she got back, the dog was a-laughing.
She took him a clean dish to get him some tripe;
When she came back, he was smoking a pipe.
She went to the hatter's to buy him a hat;
When she came back, he was feeding the cat.
She went to the barber's to buy him a wig;
When she came back, he was dancing a jig.
She went to the fruiterer's to buy him some fruit;
When she came back, he was playing the flute.
She went to the tailor's to buy him a coat;
When she came back, he was riding a goat.
She went to the cobbler's to buy him some shoes;
When she came back, he was reading the news.
She went to the seamstress to buy him some linen;
When she came back, the dog was a-spinning.
She went to the hosier's to buy him some hose;
When she came back, he was dressed in his clothes.
The dame made a curtsy, the dog made a bow;
The dame said, "Your servant," the dog said, "Bow-wow."


This nursery school poem was in print in 1805 as The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and Her Dog. It was written by Sarah Catherine Martin (1768-1826), but based on previous material of unidentified source (the person's name is attested as of 1591). The initial 2 stanzas are probable older than the others, since they use a dissimilar meter. The manuscript was straight away well-liked, perhaps in fraction since it was useful for following comments (a practice which continues to this day). 

Old Mother Hubbard was the residence keeper at Kitley House, the ancestor house of the Bastard's of Yealmpton, a little township in South Hams, Devon, Nr Plymouth. "Old Mother Hubbard" is a nursery school rhyme. Tentative claims have been made that this had to do through Thomas Cardinal Wolsey refusing Henry VIII's separation from Queen Catherine of Aragon, or even that it was referring to a big trebuchet, but those have been uncertain.

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