Dance a Baby Diddy! - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

*Diddy is breast-milk
**To give a baby some pap is to breastfed him or her. (It can also refer to mushy baby food.)

*****

Here's a version of this rhyme I found in A History of Nursery Rhymes (1899) by Percy B. Green:

Dance a babby diddy,
What'll th' mammy do wi' thee?
Come sit on her lap, theart rosy and fat,
Dance a babby diddy.

Here's another version I found in Harry's Ladder to Learning (1850) and Traditional Nursery Songs of England with Pictures by Eminent Modern Artists edited by Felix Summerly (1843):

Danty Baby Diddy

Danty* baby diddy,
What can mammy do wid'e?
Sit in her lap,
And she'll give you some pap,
Danty baby diddy!

*Danty seems to be an alternate spelling of dainty - though I can't find it in any of my reference books to confirm it. The Oxford English Dictionary has an alternate spelling of "dante" for "dainty" - which is close.

*****

Here's a longer version I found in Rhymes Old and New, Collected by M.E.S. Wright (1900):

Dance a baby, diddy;
What can a mammy do wid 'e?
Sit in a lap, give it some pap,
And dance a baby, diddy.

Smile, my baby, bonny;
What will time bring on 'e?
Sorrow and care, frowns and grey hair,
So smile my baby, bonny.

Laugh, my baby, beauty;
What will time do to 'e?
Furrow your cheek, wrinkle your neck,
So laugh, my baby, beauty.

Dance, my baby, deary;
Mother will never be weary,
Frolic and play now while you may,
So dance, my baby, deary.

Dance a Baby Diddy! - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Comment After Song Image
Listen

Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Dance a Baby Diddy!

Thanks and Acknowledgements

The first illustration, the sheet music and tune all come from The Baby's Opera by Walter Crane (1877), with a little graphical editing by Mama Lisa. The second illustration comes from Harry's Ladder to Learning (1850).

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