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A Frog He Would A-wooing Go
(English Kids Song)

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A Frog He Would A-wooing Go
Children's Song

A Frog He Would A-wooing Go - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World, Intro Image


A frog he would a-wooing go,
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
A frog he would a-wooing go,
Whether his mother would let him or no.
With a rowley, powley*, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

So off he set with his opera hat,
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
So off he set with his opera hat,
And on the road he met with a rat,
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

Pray, Mr. Rat will you go with me?
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
Pray, Mr. Rat will you go with me,
Kind Mrs. Mousey for to see…
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

They came to the door of Mousey's hall,
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
They gave a loud knock, and they gave a loud call.
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

Pray, Mrs. Mouse are you within?
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
Oh yes, kind sirs, I'm sitting to spin.
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

Pray, Mrs. Mouse will you give us some beer?
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
For Froggy and I are fond of good cheer.
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

Pray, Mr. Frog will you give us a song?
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
Let it be something that's not very long.
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

Indeed, Mrs. Mouse, replied Mr. Frog,
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
A cold has made me as hoarse as a dog.
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

Since you have a cold, Mr. Frog, Mousey said,
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
I'll sing you a song that I've just made.
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

But while they were all a-merry-making
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
A cat and her kittens came tumbling in.
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

The cat she seized the rat by the crown,
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
The kittens they pulled the little mouse down.
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

This put Mr. Frog in a terrible fright,
Heigh ho! says Rowley.
He took up his hat and he wished them goodnight.
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

But as Froggy was crossing over a brook,
Heigh ho! says Rowley.
A lily white duck came and gobbled him up.
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

So there was the end of one, two, three,
Heigh ho! says Rowley.
The rat, the mouse, and the little froggy.
With a rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.
 
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Notes

*Rowley powley means:

1) A plump fowl
2) Peas
3) A pudding dish (called Rowley Powley)

Nigel Horsford wrote: "I know of a roly-poly as a 'pudding made of a sheet of suet pastry covered with jam etc, formed into a roll and steamed or baked' (SOED); sometimes referred to a jam roly-poly.

So that chorus line seems to refer to a meal of ham (gammon), spinach, and roly-poly dessert... rowley, powley, gammon, and spinach."


Come visit the Mama Lisa's World Blog post about the meaning of Rowley Powley for more information - which is the same as the discussion of A Frog He Would A-wooing Go and its connection to Georgie Porgie that's going on at Mama Lisa's World Blog!

*****

Here's a slightly different version from The Little Mother Goose (1912), illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith:

A frog he would a-wooing go,
Heigho, says Rowley;
Whether his mother would let him or no:
With a rowley, powley, gammon and spinach.
Heigho, says Anthony Rowley.

So off he set with his opera hat,
Heigho, says Rowley;
And on the road he met a rat,
With a rowley, powley, etc.

"Pray, Mr. Rat, will you go with me,"
Heigho, says Rowley;
"Kind Mrs. Mousey for to see?"
With a rowley, powley, etc.

When they came to the door at Mousey's hall,
Heigho, says Rowley;
They gave a loud tap, and they gave a loud call,
With a rowley, powley, etc.

"Pray, Mrs. Mouse, are you within?"
Heigho, says Rowley;
"Yes, kind sirs, and sitting to spin."
With a rowley, powley, etc.

"Pray, Mrs. Mouse, now give us some beer,"
Heigho, says Rowley;
"That Froggy and I am fond of good cheer."
With a rowley, powley, etc.

"Pray, Mr. Frog, will you give us a song?"
Heigho, says Rowley;
"But let it be something that's not very long."
With a rowley, powley, etc.

"Indeed, Mrs. Mouse," replied the Frog,
Heigho, says Rowley;
"A cold has made me as horse as a hog."
With a rowley, powley, etc.

"Since you have caught cold, Mr. Frog," Mousey said,
Heigho, says Rowley;
"I'll sing you a song that I have just made."
With a rowley, powley, etc.

But while they were all a-merrymaking,
Heigho, says Rowley;
A Cat and her kittens came tumbling in.
With a rowley, powley, etc.

The Cat she seized the Rat by the crown,
Heigho, says Rowley;
The kittens they pulled the little Mouse down.
With a rowley, powley, etc.

This put Mr. Frog in a terrible fright,
Heigho, says Rowley;
He took up his hat and he wished them good-night.
With a rowley, powley, etc.

As Froggy was crossing it over a brook,
Heigho, says Rowley;
A lilywhite Duck came and gobbled him up.
With a rowley, powley, etc.

So here is an end of one, two three-
Heigho, says Rowley,
The Rat, the Mouse, and little Froggy.
With a rowley, powley, etc.

Photos & Illustrations

A Frog He Would A-wooing Go - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World, Comment Image

Comments

Below is a version from The Baby's Opera by Walter Crane (circa 1877). Crane calls it "Ye Frog's Wooing". This version doesn't have such a happy ending...

Ye Frog's Wooing

1.
It was the frog lived in the well,
Heigh-ho! says Rowley;
And the merry mouse under the mill,
With a Rowley, Powley, Gammon, and Spinach,
Heigh-ho! says Anthony Rowley.

2.
The frog he would a-wooing ride, Heigh-ho, &c.
Sword and buckler at his side, With a, &c.

3.
When upon his high horse set, Heigh-ho, &c.
His boots they shone as black as jet, With a, &c.

4.
When he came to the merry mill-pin, Heigh-ho, &c.
"Lady Mouse, are you within?" With a, &c.

5.
Then came out the dusty mouse, Heigh-ho, &c.
"I am the lady of this house," With a, &c.

6.
"Hast thou any mind of me?" Heigh-ho, &c.
"I have e'en great mind of thee," With a, &c.

7.
"Who shall this marriage make?" Heigh-ho, &c.
"Our lord, which is the rat," With a, &c.

8.
"What shall we have to our supper?" Heigh-ho, &c.
"Three beans in a pound of butter," With a, &c.

9.
But when the supper they were at, Heigh-ho, &c.
The frog, the mouse, and e'en the rat, With a, &c.

10.
Then came in Tib, our cat, Heigh-ho, &c.
And caught the mouse e'en by the back, With a, &c.

11.
Then did they separate, Heigh-ho, &c.
The frog leaped on the floor so flat, With a, &c.

12.
Then came in Dick, our drake, Heigh-ho, &c.
And drew the frog e'en to the lake, With a, &c.

13.
The rat he ran up the wall, Heigh-ho, &c.
And so the company parted all, With a, &c.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

The picture at the top of the page is from One of R. Caldecott's Picture Books which is available for free at Project Gutenberg. The 2nd illustration is from The Little Mother Goose (1912), illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith.

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