Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Mother Goose: omniscient frequent-flyer or airborne busybody?
Somewhere in the dim, distant past I learned the following little poem:
Monday’s child is fair of face;
Tuesday’s child is full of grace.
Wednesday’s child is loving and giving;
Thursday’s child works hard for a living.
Friday’s child is full of woe;
Saturday’s child has far to go.
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.
My first observation is that this poem is obviously very old because the word “gay” used to mean something besides what springs into many people’s minds nowadays. In fact, our old friend Wikipedia says the poem first appeared in print in Harper's Weekly on September 17, 1887.
My second observation is that Sunday is not really the Sabbath day. Ask any Jewish or Seventh-day Adventist person who is serious about his or her religion and he or she will tell you that the Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday. Christians began calling Sunday “the Lord’s day” very early. In fact, the apostle John wrote in the book of Revelation, chapter 1, verse 10: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.” No mention of the Sabbath.
My third observation is that good old Wikipedia has an interesting article on the origins and versions of this poem, and rather than telling you myself, you can go read it here.
Before I begin sounding like a cross between old-time gossip columnist Louella Parsons (“My next exclusive!”) and one of the Puritan divines droning on (“Twenty-fourthly,”), let me ask you two questions: Do you know on what day of the week you were born? (I was born on a Tuesday.) More importantly, did Mother Goose have you pegged? (In my case, I certainly hope so; I need all the grace I can get.)
And then, of course, there is one little problem. Since the real Mother Goose -- if there was a real Mother Goose -- is said to have lived in the seventeenth century, she couldn’t have had anything to do with this poem.
In unrelated news, Jethro is getting groomed today.