A Was an Archer (Tom Thumb's Alphabet)
DESCRIPTION: "A was an archer who shot at a frog, B was a butcher and had a great dog, C was a Captain, all covered with lace, D was a drunkard, and had a red face," and so on to the end of the alphabet
EARLIEST DATE: 1844 (Halliwell); Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes reports that it occurs first in A Little Book for Little Children, published in the reign of Queen Anne (died 1714)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 2, "A was an archer, who shot at a frog" (2 texts)
Dolby-OrangesAndLemons, pp. 19-20, "A Was an Archer" (1 text)
Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #612, p. 242, "(A Was an Archer)"
NOTES [91 words]: The notes in the Baring-Goulds suggest that the reference to "King William" under "K" is a reference to William the Conqueror. This, however, ignores the fact that the poem was first published in the reign of Queen Anne. The reference is, I strongly suspect, to William III, Anne's brother-in-law, who had died in 1702. After all, William the Conqueror had died in 1087 and his son William II Rufus in 1100; the poem can hardly be that old, and why refer all the way back to William the Conqueror when there were so many other kings to refer to? - RBW
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