The charm in this rhyme, for me, lies in the nonsense lines... "a pipkin and a popkin, a slipkin and a slopkin". I just love the sound of that! -Mama Lisa

Notes

Definitions:

Pipkin: The definition of "pipkin" in the Oxford English Dictionary is "A small earthenware pot or pan, used chiefly in cookery. (Formerly in wider sense, including metal pots...)".
Popkin, Slipkin and Slopkin: None of these words are listed in the Oxford English Dictionary as actual English words. Though "-kin" is listed as a diminutive form (denoting smallness, youth or affection).
Nailboard has an "uncertain" nautical meaning.
Sailboard is a surfboard or light sailboat.
A farthing is a quarter of a particular denomination of money.

Comments

According to James Orchard Halliwell this is a Riddle. Scroll down for his answer to the riddle…
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Answer: A Tobacco Pipe.

This doesn't quite make sense to me. Could pipe somehow come from the word pipkin? A pipe looks a lot like a pipkin. Perhaps Halliwell is wrong in his interpretation of this rhyme. If anyone knows more about this, please email me. Thanks! -Lisa

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Here's another reference to this rhyme from The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter (1903)…

"They clicked their thimbles to mark the time, but none of the songs pleased Simpkin; he sniffed and mewed at the door of the shop.

'And then I bought
A pipkin and a popkin,
A slipkin and a slopkin,
All for one farthing-

and upon the kitchen dresser!' added the rude little mice."

Thanks and Acknowledgements

This rhyme can be found in The Nursery Rhymes of England, edited by J.O. Halliwell (1853).

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