When I Was a Little Boy I Lived by Myself - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

Harry's Ladder to Learning (1850) has the first line as, "When I was a bachelor, I lived by myself".

Here's a slightly different version from The Real Mother Goose (1916):

When I Was a Bachelor

When I was a bachelor
I lived by myself;
And all the bread and cheese I got
I laid up on the shelf.

The rats and the mice
They made such a strife,
I was forced to go to London
To buy me a wife.

The streets were so bad,
And the lanes were so narrow,
I was forced to bring my wife home
In a wheelbarrow.

The wheelbarrow broke,
And my wife had a fall;
Down came wheelbarrow,
Little wife and all.

Below is the version from The Little Mother Goose (1912), illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith. It includes a "Moral" at the end...

When I was a bachelor, I lived by myself,
And all the bread and cheese I got I put upon a shelf;
The rats and the mice did lead me such a life,
That I went to market, to get myself a wife.

The streets were so broad, and the lanes were so narrow,
I could not get my wife home without a wheel-barrow:
The wheel-barrow broke, my wife got a fall,
Down tumbled wheel-barrow, little wife, and all.
MORAL:
Provide against the world, and hope for the best.

*****

Jerry wrote in 2011:

I vaguely recollect in Oklahoma, USA, (75 years ago?) my mother singing me a song like:

When I was a little boy & lived by myself
All the bread & cheese I got I put upon a shelf

From my wing wong waddle to my jack straw straddle
To my john fiddle faddle to my long way home

The rats & the mice etc.

It was substantially the same as a song I found (in your website) except that the refrain couplet was inserted between each expository couplet.

Jerry

When I Was a Little Boy I Lived by Myself - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Comment After Song Image
When I Was a Little Boy I Lived by Myself - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World 1

Thanks and Acknowledgements

This rhyme can be found in The Only True Mother Goose Melodies (c. 1833) and Mother Goose, The Original Volland Edition (1915), edited and arranged by Eulalie Osgood Grover and illustrated by Frederick Richardson. The illustrations can be found in The Real Mother Goose (1916), illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright. The last illustration is from The Only True Mother Goose Melodies (published and copyrighted in Boston in 1833 by Munroe & Francis).

Thanks to Jerry Vaughan for sending the version he knows from Oklahoma!

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