Lyrics – in Search of Tunes

Becky Lovgren wrote to me looking for the tunes to several songs and rhymes from her childhood. She sent me so many songs and rhymes with such great lyrics that I thought you might like to read them here. I inserted some info about some of the songs in the middle of Becky’s letter to give an indication of where and when the song or rhyme comes from when I was able to find it out. My comments are in parentheses. Here’s Becky’s letter with the songs…

So excited to find your website! My Grandmother used to sing many songs to “us kids” in Minnesota as we were growing up during the 1950’s. In her wisdom before her death, she wrote down the lyrics but I’m not able to recall the tunes that went with them and would appreciate any assistance so I can share them with our grandchildren.

Here are the verses as my Grandma Hatling remembered them:

Twenty Froggies
(by George Cooper)

Twenty froggies went to school
Down beside a rushing pool
Twenty little coats of green
Twenty vests so white and clean
We must go to school said they
First we study then we play
That is how we keep the rule
When we froggies go to school.

Master Bull Frog brave and stern
Called the classes in their turn
Taught them how to nobly strive
Also how to leap and dive
Not one dunce among the lot
Not one lesson they forgot
Now they sit on other logs
Teaching other little frogs.

(The Little Bird is an old English nursery rhyme, dating back to at least 1823. -Mama Lisa)

The Little Bird

Once I saw a little bird coming hop, hop, hop,
And I said “Little bird will you stop, stop, stop?”
I was going to the window to say “How do you do?”
But he shook his little tail and away he flew.

(Birdie with the Yellow Bill is a slight variation of a Robert Louis Stevenson poem. I wonder if Becky’s grandmother put it to a tune she made up herself or if there was a tune from a more “official” source that existed. -Mama Lisa)

Birdie with the Yellow Bill

Birdie with the yellow bill,
Hopped upon my window sill,
Cocked his pretty head and said,
“Ain’t you ‘shamed you sleepy-head”?

The Cricket

My grandpas’ getting old and gray,
But he has such a merry way,
He always says the cricket says cheer up, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up!
He always says the cricket says cheer up, cheer up!

My grandpa says that half the things
We do fret over would take wings
If we could hear the song he sings – cheer up, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up!
He always says the cricket says cheer up, cheer up!

(Jacky Frost may originally come from a poem by Laura E. Richards – though I haven’t been able to confirm this. -Mama Lisa)

Jacky Frost

Jacky Frost, Jacky Frost,
Came in the night
Left the meadows that he crossed
All gleaming white.
Painted with his silver brush
Every window pane,
Kissed the leaves and made them blush,
Blush, blush, and blush again.

Jacky Frost, Jacky Frost,
Crept ’round the house,
Sly as a silver fox
Still as a mouse.
Out our little Jennie came
Blushing like a rose,
Up jumped Jacky Frost
And pinched her little nose.

The Sandman

Here comes the Sandman
Stepping so lightly
Skipping along on the tips of his toes
As he scatters the sand
With his own little hand
In the eyes of the sleepy children.

Close your sleepy eyes
The Lady Moon is sailing
Across the deep blue skies
The little stars are peeping
To see if you are sleeping
Go to sleep my children
Go to sleep, Good Night.

Good Morning Merry Sunshine

Good Morning Merry Sunshine
What makes you wake so soon?
You scared away the little stars
And shone away the moon.
I saw you go to sleep last night
Before I ceased my play
I saw you go ‘way over there
And where have you been staying?

I never go to sleep dear child
I just go ’round to see
The little children of the
East awake and watch for me.
I waken all the birds and bees
And flowers on my way,
And last of all the little
Child who stayed out late to play.

Grandpapa and Me

Last night when I was snug in bed,
What joy it was for me,
I dreamed that I was grandpapa
And grandpapa was me,
And grandpapa was me,
And grandpapa was me,
I dreamed that I was grandpapa
And grandpapa was me.

As I went walking down the street
And he ran by my side,
Because I walked too fast for him
The little fellow cried,
The little fellow cried,
The little fellow cried,
Because I walked too fast for him
The little fellow cried.

My Little Yellow Duck

I have a little yellow duck,
He says, “quack, quack”.
I love to see the yellow down
He wears upon his back,
But when he walks he waddles so
He really makes me laugh you know.
He waddles up and down outdoors,
And says, “quack, quack”.

My funny little yellow duck
Goes swimming every day,
And why he likes the water so
I really cannot say.
He does not go in when the rain
Goes splashing on the window pane,
He waddles up and down outdoors,
And says, “quack, quack”.

The Little Shoemaker

There’s a little wee man
In a little wee house
Lives over the way you see
And he sits by the fire
And sews all day
Making shoes for you and me.

CHORUS:
A rap-a-tap-a-tap
A rap-a-tap-a-tap
Hear his hammers tit tat tee
A rap-a-tap-a-tap
A rap-a-tap-a-tap
Making shoes for you and me.

He puts his needle in and out
His thread flies to and fro
With a tiny awl he bores a hole
With his hammers whistling blows.

(The Little Mouse comes from a poem by Phoebe Cary called They Didn’t Think. -Mama Lisa)

The Little Mouse

Once a trap was baited
With a little piece of cheese.
It tickled so a little mouse,
It almost made him sneeze.
The old mouse said, “There’s danger,
Be careful where you go.”
“Nonsense” said the other,
“Don’t you think I know?”
So he walked in boldly,
No one was in sight.
First he took a nibble,
Then he took a bite.
The trap together snapped
As quick as a wink,
Leaving little mouse inside,
Because he wouldn’t think.

We’d just like to find a tune to go with the music. Either midi tunes or sheet music would be great. Our folks have always enjoyed “us kids” singing their memories to them – this would be fabulous; a real special present. Thank you.

Becky (Zeise) Lovgren
Kim & Becky Lovgren

If anyone can help with these tunes, or if you can give us more information about these songs and poems, please comment below or email me.

Thanks in advance!

-Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Sunday, January 6th, 2008 at 7:44 pm and is filed under Australia, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, English, Languages, Midis, Music, Questions, Sheet Music, United Kingdom, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

37 Responses to “Lyrics – in Search of Tunes”

  1. Sherry Says:

    I am trying to remember a rhyme from my childhood about “All the little birdies and all the little beesies always go in twosies, never go in threesies.” Can you help me with this?
    Thanks

  2. Sharlene Says:

    Hi…I was hunting for the lyrics to Twenty Froggies…my grandmother also used to play the tune and sing it. I can still play the tune…but couldn’t remember the lyrics past 20 vests so white and clean.I was so excited to have found them. I don’t have the music to it..but again I can still play the simple tune. Thank you so much for giving me these verses so I can hand them down to my grandchildren. Sharlene

  3. Titus Says:

    My grandfather used to sing to me that song above:
    “Grandpapa and Me”

    That was about 1935. There are more verses that you show. Something about garters (men wore a kind of garter back then).

    You can add this verse (stanza?) to it:

    “And after tea I washed his face and when his prayers were said
    I blew the candle out and left poor grandpapa in bed”

    I seem to recall the song was in a book of songs..or maybe it was sheet music.

  4. AliceAdams Says:

    I am always excited about this website, it brings me much
    happiness, I shared the article explaining, lupus, I have
    a daughter that is struggling with this disease..
    I also was glad wnen you helped me find a song last
    Mother’s Day. My Mother’s Eyes, that I needed for
    my Mother’s day sermon at my church… Now I am looking
    for the wdords to the song In The Garden… I sure hope that
    you can help me.. Thanks

  5. Nadya BG Says:

    Hi, mommies
    my little daughter is 3 1/2 months old and I’m excited by hunting different songs for her. I just learned the spanish one for Mother’s day. Dear Lisa, thank you for giving us all these songs, rhymes and so on…it’s really very useful. Both me and my little Yana will entertain very much with them….

  6. Barbara Randolph Says:

    This is the way my mother sang it to the grandkids (who are now ages 40-54). I was able to reconstruct it with your help. Thanks

    Grandpapa & Me

    Last night when I was snug in bed,
    I dreamed that I was Grandpapa & Grandpapa was me.
    And Grandpapa was me,
    And Grandpapa was me.
    I dreamed that I was Grandpapa & Grandpapa was me.

    I dreamed I wore a powdered wig & pants & gaters buck,
    Took without a single sneeze a double pinch of snuff.
    A double pinch of snuff,
    A double pinch of snuff
    Took without a single sneeze a double pinch of snuff.

    As I went walking down the street
    And he ran by my side,
    Because I walked too fast for him
    The little fellow cried,
    The little fellow cried,
    The little fellow cried,
    Because I walked too fast for him
    The little fellow cried.
    Then after tea I washed his face,
    And when his prayers were said,
    I blew the little candle out,
    And left poor Grandpapa in bed.
    Poor Grandpapa in bed,
    Poor Grandpapa in bed.
    I blew the little candle out
    And left poor Grandpapa in bed

  7. Elsa Cañar Says:

    please I need some songs only to beaginers help me

  8. Linda Myers Says:

    I can remember the tunes to Jacky Frost and Good Morning Merry Sunshine.

    I would like to remember a lot of the old songs my mom used to sing too. I am 63 and have 2 grand children and one on the way. I would like to teach them all the children’s songs I learned. But either the words or tunes have escaped me on several.

  9. Nana Says:

    I am looking for the rest of the words to a Sunday school song my (now middle aged) kids sang. I can remember this much
    Little birdie with a yellow bill
    Hopped up on my window sill
    Cocked his shiny eye and said
    ‘Better get up, you sleepy head’.

    Then there was something about “and away he flew
    saying, ‘ you’ll be late for Sunday school’

    I want to teach this to my 5 yr old grandaughter and, unfortunately, all I can find on the web are vulgar, profane versions. Found this site on google and hope someone can help me.

  10. danielle Toews Says:

    I wish I could find a recording of the jack frost song mentioned here. I would love to sing that to my children as a wake up song. Anyone have any ideas? Thank you in advance

  11. nikki g Says:

    Thank you so much for this site. After struggling for years for the right words to The Little Shoemaker, it’s so nice to find them. I know the tune, just not the complete verses. Cannot believe I actually found them on the web. My great aunt sang this to me in the 50s….cool beans to see the song in print.

  12. Lisa Says:

    Glad to help Nikki! would you like to song it for us or hum the tune? It would be great if you could! Mama Lisa

  13. Monique Says:

    Jacky Frost is indeed a poem by Laura E. Richards. You can see it printed on page 185 of her book In My Nursery that you can download.

  14. Lisa Says:

    The version in the book is almost exactly what’s in the post above. Here it is from the book…

    Jacky Frost

    Jacky Frost, Jacky Frost,
    Came in the night ;
    Left the meadows that he crossed
    All gleaming white.
    Painted with his silver brush
    Every window-pane ;
    Kissed the leaves and made them blush,
    Blush and blush again.

    Jacky Frost, Jacky Frost,
    Crept around the house,
    Sly as a silver fox,
    Still as a mouse.
    Out little Jenny came,
    Blushing like a rose ;
    Up jumped Jacky Frost,
    And pinched her little nose.

    Check out the book! It’s pretty neat. The score is also online (p. 32).

    Here’s the score for Grandpapa and Me.

    Thanks to Monique for help with these!

  15. Lisa Says:

    Nana… The words you have are from a Robert Louis Stevenson poem:

    A birdie with a yellow bill
    Hopped upon my window sill,
    Cocked his shining eye and said:
    “Ain’t you ‘shamed, you sleepy-head!”

    Maybe the Sunday School made up the rest?

  16. Jaimie Horn Says:

    Hi…it was great to see twenty froggies and wee little man on here. My mom sung us songs passed down from her mom and her grandma….I’m the only one that knows these songs to pass down to my family… such great memories of singing these songs with my mom! Thanks for posting! ; )

  17. Jean Harkin Says:

    Hi– So great to see “The Little Shoemaker” song online and that others also remember it. Can you tell me if the song is copyrighted or if the song is in the public domain? I’d like to use some of the lyrics in a novel I am writing. Thanks so much!

  18. Jean Harkin Says:

    Hi– So nice to see that others also remember “The Little Shoemaker” song. Does anyone know if the song is copyrighted or in the public domain? I would like to use some of the lyrics in a novel I’m writing. Thanks so much!

  19. Gary Says:

    A little birdie with a yellow bill
    Hopped up on my window sill
    He cocked his shiney eye and said
    You’re a little sleepy head
    I rubbed my eyes and then I said
    Who’s a little sleepy head
    He flapped his wings and away he flew
    Saying don’t be late for sunday school

  20. JoEllie Says:

    My Mother woke me up each morning singing “Did the great big morning sun catch you with your night cap on. Did it say wake up my dear , you are sleeping late I fear.” Then she would say “A birdie with a yellow bill hopped upon my window sill cocked his shiney eye and said Ain’t you shamed you sleepy head”

  21. Louise Buchanan Says:

    When I was a child my father sang Grandpa and Me
    to me. I remember part of the tune (about one line),
    for which I could write out the music.

  22. bill hoffman Says:

    my grandmother taught school in hickory bottom north of tyrone pa in the 1890’s and sang the song to her students as well as her children and my father sang it to me and my kids but I could not remember all the lyrics thanks

  23. Lisa Says:

    Susan wrote:

    “Dear Mama Lisa and Becky,

    It is the middle of the night and I thought to look on line for the lyrics for Twenty Froggies because my mom (83 years old and now in the hospital) was reminiscing the other day how her grandmother (who did live in Minnesota when she was raising her children) would sing this song to her. This is the tune my mom used as she sang it to me: the one that is used with the song, “If that mocking bird don’t sing, mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring….”

    I am looking forward to seeing Mom today and furnishing her with the lyrics you shared. Thank you!!!!

    Susan”

  24. Heidi Says:

    Here is the text for the Mousy song as it was sung to me growing up. I don’t know if it the original or if someone added verses to the original. My rudiments class helped me write up the music for it. I don’t have a website to which I can post it, but if you email me privately, I can send you a copy of what we composed.

    Once a trap was baited with a teeny piece of cheese.
    It tickled so a little mouse it almost made him sneeze.
    “Be careful,” said his mother. “There’s danger where you go.”
    “Nonsense,” said the little mouse. “I don’t think you know.”
    Mousy walked in boldly for nobody was in sight.
    First he took a nibble, then a great big bite!
    Then the trap closed fast together, quicker than a wink.
    It caught poor Mousy fast, because he didn’t think!

    Once a little robin lived outside the kitchen door.
    He wanted so to go inside to hop upon the floor.
    “Oh no,” said Robin’s mother. “You’d better stay with me.
    Little birds are safest sitting in a tree.
    “I don’t care,” said Robin as he gave his tail a fling.
    “I don’t think that old folks know quite everything!”
    So into the kitchen fast he flew, but quicker than a wink,
    The great big cat had caught him, because he didn’t think.

    Listen all you friends of mine who hear this little song.
    Don’t you see what trouble comes from simply doing wrong.
    So why not take a warning form Mousy and Robin’s fate,
    And just begin your thinking before it is too late.
    Read the Holy Bible; it will teach you right from wrong.
    Give your heart to Jesus. Sing a happy song!
    Then when Satan comes to tempt you, just look to God in prayer.
    He’ll be there to help you, for God is everywhere.

  25. Mandy Says:

    Replying to Nana who requested words to the song A Birdie with a Yellow Bill in 2009.
    A birdie with a yellow bill, Hopped up on my window sill. He cocked his shiny head and said, “You’re a little sleepy head!” I rubbed my sleepy eyes and said, “Who’s a little sleepy head?” He flapped his tiny wings and away he flew saying, “Don’t be late for Sunday School!”

  26. Mandy Says:

    i am looking for the lyrics to Everybody ought to go to Sunday School. The versions I have found online have not had the verse I am looking for. It is about the devil not liking it and sitting on a tack.

  27. Dee Says:

    Hi I was also looking for this song I sung when I was a little girl at Church I found this at the website listed above…listing the author as Phoebe Cary and when it was published in a Baptist hymnal. This is pretty close to how we sung it…except at the end we sung how satan tricks us….not sure if you have this info anywhere else…but I had a hard time finding anything on the web…especially when I was looking for the verse about the little robin…Thanks!

  28. Ben Nemec Says:

    Love “The Little Shoemaker”! It is one of my favorite songs to sing to my children as my Dad sang to me as a child. I don’t know how I’ve remembered the lyrics after all this time, but somehow I have!

  29. Ree Says:

    is this what your looking for?

    this little birdie with a yellow bill
    hopped upon my window sill
    he cocked his head and said
    your a little sleepy head
    then he flapped his wings and away he flew
    saying i’ll see you in Sunday school

  30. Sarabeth Says:

    Hi!! The little mouse song actually has three verses and a great tune!! Let me know and I can record a copy for you and find the sheet music if you like!!

  31. Lisa Says:

    Hi Sarabeth… that would be great if you could record the mouse song and/or find the sheet music! Thanks in advance. -Mama Lisa

  32. Paula Hancock Says:

    my father used to sing us the mouse and the robin songs yours are a little different from his version

  33. Taylor Denyer Says:

    My great-grandma use to sing to me The Little Shoemaker. I know the tune well.

  34. Dixie Lewis Says:

    The version I remember. Do not remember all of it but this stuck in my memory.

    A little birdie with a yellow bill hopped upon my window sill
    He said get up get up you sleepy head.

  35. IMBrasic Says:

    My Little Yellow Duck is the song my Dad would sing in 1949 as he rocked us kids to sleep. I sang it to my children, and they sing it to their children and grandchildren. We grew up in Wisconsin. I do not have sheet music for the song, but if you are still looking for music to the song let me know. I see that the original post requesting the tune is several years old.

  36. Lisa Says:

    We would love the music or even if you’d like to sing it for us! Thanks so much! -Mama Lisa

  37. Lisa Says:

    You can find the score to Jack Frost here.

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