Jack Sprat

: Popular Rhymes And Nursery Tales

Fragments of this tale are common in the nursery, but I have only met

with one copy of the following poem, which appears to be of some

antiquity, although it is here printed from a modern chap-book:

Jack Sprat could eat no fat,

His wife could eat no lean,

And so between them both,

They licked the platter clean.

Jack eat all the lean,

eat all the fat,

The bone they picked clean,

Then gave it to the cat.

When Jack Sprat was young,

He dressed very smart,

He courted Joan Cole,

And he gained her heart.

In his fine leather doublet,

And old greasy hat,

Oh, what a smart fellow

Was little Jack Sprat!

Joan Cole had a hole

In her petticoat,

Jack Sprat, to get a patch,

Gave her a groat;

The groat bought a patch,

Which stopped the hole,

"I thank you, Jack Sprat,"

Says little Joan Cole.

Jack Sprat was the bridegroom,

Joan Cole was the bride,

Jack said, from the church,

His Joan home should ride.

But no coach could take her,

The lane was so narrow,

Said Jack, then I'll take her

Home in a wheelbarrow.

Jack Sprat was wheeling

His wife by the ditch,

The barrow turned over,

And in she did pitch;

Says Jack, she'll be drown'd,

But Joan did reply,

I don't think I shall,

For the ditch is quite dry.

Jack brought home his Joan,

And she sat in a chair,

When in came his cat,

That had got but one ear.

Says Joan, I'm come home, Puss,

Pray, how do you do?

The cat wagg'd her tail,

And said nothing but "mew."

Jack Sprat took his gun,

And went to the brook,

He shot at the drake,

But he killed the duck.

He brought it to Joan,

Who a fire did make

To roast the fat duck,

While Jack went for the drake.

The drake was swimming

With his curly tail,

Jack Sprat came to shoot him,

But happened to fail;

He let off his gun,

But missing his mark,

The drake flew away,

Crying, "Quack, quack, quack."

Jack Sprat to live pretty,

Now bought him a pig,

It was not very little,

It was not very big;

It was not very lean,

It was not very fat,

It will serve for a grunter

For little Jack Sprat.

Then Joan went to market

To buy her some fowls,

She bought a jackdaw

And a couple of owls.

The owls they were white,

The jackdaw was black,

They'll make a rare breed,

Says little Joan Sprat.

Jack Sprat bought a cow,

His Joan for to please,

For Joan she could make

Both butter and cheese;

Or pancakes or puddings,

Without any fat:

A notable housewife

Was little Joan Sprat.

Joan Sprat went to brewing

A barrel of ale,

She put in some hops

That it might not turn stale;

But as for the malt,

She forgot to put that,

This is brave sober liquor,

Said little Jack Sprat.

Jack Sprat went to market,

And bought him a mare,

She was lame of three legs,

And as blind as she could stare;

Her ribs they were bare,

For the mare had no fat,

She looks like a racer,

Says little Jack Sprat.

Jack and Joan went abroad,

Puss took care of the house,

She caught a large rat

And a very small mouse:

She caught a small mouse,

And a very large rat;

You're an excellent hunter,

Says little Jack Sprat.

Now I have told you the story

Of little Jack Sprat,

And little Joan Cole,

And the poor one-ear'd cat.

Now Jack loved Joan,

And good things he taught her,

Then she gave him a son,

Then after a daughter.

Now Jack has got rich

And has plenty of pelf;

If you know any more,

You may tell it yourself.