Pussy Cat Pussy Cat

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"Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat"
Nursery rhyme
Published 1805

"Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat" is a popular English language nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 15094.[1]

Lyrics and melody[edit]

Common modern versions include:

Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I've been to London to look at the Queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.[2]

The last line sometimes sung as:

I chased a little mouse right under the chair.

The melody commonly associated with the rhyme was first noted by the composer and nursery rhyme collector James William Elliott in his National Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Songs (1870).[3]For the original version, there is no 'do' in 'what did you there'.

The poem was translated in Russian by a Soviet writer, translator and children's poet of Jewish origin, Samuil Yakovlevich Marshak. His translation, however, does not preserve the original prosody and poetic metre, from which we can conclude that the writer was familiar only with the text version of the song.

Origins[edit]

The earliest record of the rhyme is publication in Songs for the Nursery, printed in London in 1805.[2] The Queen most often depicted in illustrations is Elizabeth I, but Caroline of Brunswick has also been suggested.[2]

References in popular culture[edit]

  • In Sesame Street's Mother Goose Rhymes, Grundgetta takes the place of the cat, going to the dump and wanting to know who wants to know where she's been.
  • Ernie takes the place of the pussy-cat with Bert playing the mouse in the The Sesame Street 1981 Mother Goose Calendar.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Roud Folksong Index S249491Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been". Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. English Folk Dance and Song Society. Retrieved May 20, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), p. 357.
  3. ^ J. J. Fuld, The Book of World-Famous Music: Classical, Popular, and Folk (Courier Dover Publications, 5th edn., 2000), ISBN 0486414752, p. 502.