Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat,
Please to put a penny in an old man's hat;
If you haven't got a penny a ha'penny* will do,
If you haven't got a ha'penny, God bless you.
*Halfpenny - literally equal to half a penny.
Derek Roberts wrote to tell me how he and his friends would sing this song when they went Souling. Souling was a tradition for singers to go house to house for money or food between October 31st and November 2nd (All Souls Day). Here's what Derek wrote:
"I would have been about 8 years old when I started singing these songs, we used to save the few penny's we collected to buy sparklers and fireworks on "Bonfire Night" better known as "Guy Fawkes" on November 5th."
Thanks and Acknowledgements
Thanks to Derek Roberts for sharing this song with us.
This rhyme and illustration can be found in The Real Mother Goose (1916), illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright.