One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
|"One, Two, Buckle My Shoe"|
- One, two,
- Buckle my shoe;
- Three, four,
- Shut the door;
- Five, six,
- Pick up sticks;
- Seven, eight,
- Lay them straight:
- Nine, ten,
- A big, fat hen;
- Eleven, twelve,
- Dig and delve;
- Thirteen, fourteen,
- Maids a-courting;
- Fifteen, sixteen,
- Maids in the kitchen;
- Seventeen, eighteen,
- Maids a-waiting
- Nineteen, twenty,
- My plate's empty.
Some sources give differing lyrics.
Origins and meaning
The rhyme is one of many counting-out rhymes. It was first recorded in Songs for the Nursery, published in London in 1805. This version differed beyond the number twelve, with the lyrics:
- Thirteen, fourteen, draw the curtain,
- Fifteen sixteen, the maid's in the kitchen,
- Seventeen, eighteen, she's in waiting,
- Nineteen, twenty, my stomach's empty.
A version published five years later in Gammer Gurton's Garland (1810) had the following different lines:
- Three, four, Lay down lower ...
- Eleven twelve, Who will delve...
- Fifteen, sixteen, Maidsa-kissing...
- Nineteen, twenty, My Belly's empty.
There is some speculation that the rhyme refers to aspects of lacemaking:
- buckle my shoe, shut the door: the lacemaker preparing for work
- pick up sticks, lay them straight: wooden pins used on a lacemaking ‘machine’ are laid across the fabric
- a big fat hen: a pillow that supports the lacework
According to Henry Bolton, collector of counting rhymes in the 1880s, the rhyme was used in Wrentham, Massachusetts as early as 1780.
References in popular culture
|This Section needs additional citations for verification. (July 2014)|
A 1940 Agatha Christie novel used the rhyme in its title and story structure. A form of this nursery rhyme appears in several of the A Nightmare on Elm Street (from 1984) movies being chanted by children. It is also sung in the 1942 Looney Tunes propaganda cartoon "The Ducktators" to mock Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito.