All of a Row, Bend the Bow - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


The expression "to shoot a pigeon and kill a crow" expresses a lucky accident OR to blunder deliberately.


Alternate Version:

All a Row

All a row, a bendy bow,
Shoot at a pigeon and kill a crow;
Shoot at another and kill his brother;
Shoot again and kill a wren,
And that'll do for gentlemen.

Game Instructions

This is a marching game for very little children, who follow each other in a row while reciting the rhyme.


"Halliwell [19th c. collector of nursery rhymes] gives the first two lines only, and there is apparently no other record of this game. It is probably ancient, and formerly of some significance. It refers to days of bows and arrows, and the allusion to the killing of the wren may have reference to the Manx and Irish custom of hunting that bird." -"The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland (Vol I of II) with Tunes, Singing-Rhymes and Methods of Playing" (1894), collected and annotated by Alice Bertha Gomme.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

This rhyme and illustration can be found in The Book of Nursery Rhymes, Tales, and Fables., A Gift for All Seasons., (Philadelphia, 1858), edited by Lawrence Lovechild. This rhyme can also be found in The Nursery Rhyme Book, edited by Andrew Lang and illustrated by L. Leslie Brooke (1897).