First Things

 

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English Proverbs

 

Copywork selections for practising:

The Alphabet

Number Rhymes

Days of the Week

Months of the Year

The Alphabet

A begins At

    A begins At,
    B begins Bat,
    C begins Cat,
And now I will stroke it;
    D begins Dear,
    E begins Ear,
    F begins Fear,
I am sure that I woke it.
    G begins Gill,
    H begins Hill,
    I begins Ill,
That I donít want to be;
    J begins Jilt,
    K begins Kilt,
    L begins Lilt,
The song you must sing to me.
    M begins Moat,
    N begins Note,
    O begins Oat,
Just there it is growing;
    P begins Pick,
    Q begins Quick,
    R begins Rick,
The result of the sowing.
    S begins Stern,
    T begins Turn,
    U begins Urn,
It is quite full of tea;
    V begins Vial,
    W begins While,
    X stands for Exile,
Who has crossed the wide sea.
    Y begins You,
    Z begins Zoo,
    And now this will do
For an end, weíll agree.

~ Anon ~

 

A Wild Flower Alphabet

A for the Aconite, first of the year,
    With its pretty green ruff and its message of cheer.

B for the Buttercup, able to hold
    Dewdrop and rain in its chalice of gold.

C for the Cowslip, sweet joy of the spring;
    When cowslips are blooming the nightingales sing.

D for the Daisy, white star of the grass,
    Lifting its bright eye to us as we pass.

E for the Eglantine, lovely wild rose,
    Sheds fragrance of sweetbriar wherever it grows.

F for the Foxglove, the sentinel tall,
    Guarding the forest from summer to fall.

G for the Gorse of rich golden delight;
    Linnaeus went down on his knees at the sight.

H for the Harebell, so fragile, yet strong
    The dear little Blue Bells of Scotland in song.

I for the Iris which grows by the stream,
    The flower of the Rainbow, how golden its gleam!

J for St Johnís Wort, of medical fame,
    Balm of the Warriorís Wound was its name.

K for the Kingcup that loves marshy fields,
    And glorious the harvest of gold that it yields!

L for the Ling, the dear flower of the heath,
    How tender its colour, how fragrant its breath!

M for the Meadowsweet, pleasant and rare
    Is the perfume with which it enchanteth the air!

N for the Nightshade, or Bittersweet, flower,
    With its berries and blossoms of poisonous power.

O for the Oxlip, a flower that youíll find
    When cowslips and orchids in posies you bind.

P for the Primrose, recalling to sight
    Paths in the woodlands a-shimmer with light.

Q for the Quaking grass, name that it takes
    From the way it unceasingly shivers and shakes.

R for the Rest-harrow, staying the plough,
    Food for the gentle-eyed, ruminant cow.

S for the Speedwell, of tenderest blue;
    From the skies it has taken its exquisite hue.

T for the Travellerís Joy that youíll find
    Where sweet, sheltering hedgerows wander and wind.

U for the Upright Sea-lavender flower;
    The sand-swallows claim it for sheltering bower.

V for the Violet, flower of the soul,
    Heartís-ease of Paradise, making us whole.

W for Windflower, so fair to the sight,
    That throws oíer the woodlands her mantle of light.

X forms a cross in the Passion-flower wild
    In Southern America, balmy and mild.

Y for the Yarrow, all wayfarers know,
    As it grows by the wayside wherever you go.

Z is the ribbon this posy to bind,
    With the thoughts and the fragrance it brings to your mind.

~ Anon ~

 

A was an Apple Pie

A was an apple pie;
B bit it;
C cut it;
D dealt it;
E eat it;
F fought for it;
G got it;
H had it;
I inspected it;
J jumped for it;
K kept it;
L longed for it;
M mourned for it;
N nodded at it;
O opened it;
P peeped in it;
Q quartered it;
R ran for it;
S stole it;
T took it;
U upset it;
V viewed it;
W wanted it;
X, Y, Z, and ampersand
All wished for a piece in hand.

~ A traditional rhyme, dating back to at least the 17th century ~

 

The Real History of the Apple-Pie

A apple-pie, B bit it,
C cut it, D dealt it,
E ate it, F fought for it,
G got it, H had it,
I iced it, J joked about it,
K kept it, L longed for it,
M mourned for it, N nodded at it,
O opened it, P peeped in it,
Q quartered it, R ran for it,
S stole it, T took it,
U upset it, V viewed it,
W wanted it, X expected it,
Y yearned for it, Z had a zest for it;
And when they came to ampersand
They all desired a piece in hand.

At last they every one agreed
Upon the apple-pie to feed;
But as there seemed to be so many
Those who were last might not have any
Unless some method could be thought out
To stop their squabbles being fought out.
They all agreed to stand in order
Around the apple-pieís fine border,
Take turn as they in school-book stand,
From great A down to ampersand,
In equal parts the pie dividing,
A fair plan they were all deciding,

Says A, give me a good large slice,
Says B, a little bit, but nice,
Says C, cut me a piece of crust,
Take it, says D, itís dry as dust,
Says E, Iíll eat it fast, I will,
Says F, I vow Iíll have my fill,
Says G, give it me good and great,
Says H, a little bit I hate,
Says I, itís ice I must request,
Says J, the juice I love the best,
Says K, letís keep it up above,
Says L, the borderís what I love,
Says M, it makes your teeth to chatter,
N said, itís nice, thereís nought the matter,
O othersí plates with grief surveyed,
P for a large piece begged and prayed,
Q quarrelled for the topmost slice,
R rubbed his hands and said ďitís nice,Ē
S silent sat, and simply looked,
T thought, and said, itís nicely cooked,
U understood the fruit was cherry,
V vanished when they all got merry,
W wished thereíd been a quince in,
X here explained heíd need convincing,
Y said, Iíll eat, and yield to none,
Z, like a zany, said heíd done,
While ampersand purloined the dish,
And for another pie did wish.

 

See this page for another alphabet rhyme.

Number Rhymes

One, Two Buckle My Shoe

One, two buckle my shoe;
Three, four, knock at the door;
Five, six, pick up sticks;
Seven, eight, lay them straight;
Nine, ten, a good 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.

 

Cherry Stones

One I love;
Two, I love;
Three, I love, I say;
Four, I love with all my heart;
Five, I cast away;
Six, he loves, seven, she loves;
Eight, both love;
Nine, he comes;
Ten, he tarries;
Eleven, he courts; and
Twelve, he marries.

 

One and One are Two

1 and 1 are 2ó
That's for me and you.
2 and 2 are 4ó
That's a couple more.
3 and 3 are 6
Barley-sugar sticks.
4 and 4 are 8
Tumblers at the gate.
5 and 5 are 10
Bluff seafaring men.
6 and 6 are 12
Garden lads who delve.
7 and 7 are 14
Young men bent on sporting.
8 and 8 are 16
Pills the doctor's mixing.
9 and 9 are 18
Passengers kept waiting.
10 and 10 are 20
Roses Ė pleasant plenty!
11 and 11 are 22
Sums for brother George to do.
12 and 12 are 24
Pretty pictures, and no more.

~ Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) ~

 

How Many Seconds in a Minute?

How many seconds in a minute?
Sixty, and no more in it.
How many minutes in an hour?
Sixty for sun and shower.
How many hours in a day?
Twenty-four for work and play.
How many days in a week?
Seven both to hear and speak.
How many weeks in a month?
Four, as the swift moon runn'th.
How many months in a year?
Twelve the almanack makes clear.
How many years in an age?
One hundred says the sage.
How many ages in time?
No one knows the rhyme.

~ Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) ~

 

Sixty seconds in a minute;
How much good can I do in it?
Sixty minutes in an hour;
All the good thatís in my power.
Twenty hours and four, a day;
Time to work and sleep and play.

Days of the Week

They That Wash On Monday

They that wash on Monday,
    Have all the week to dry;
They that wash on Tuesday,
    Are not so much awry;
They that wash on Wednesday,
    Are not so much to blame
They that wash on Thursday,
    Wash for very shame;
They that wash on Friday,
    Wash in sorry need
They that wash on Saturday,
    Are lazy folk indeed.

 

Monday's Child Is Fair Of Face

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day,
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

 

Solomon Grundy

Solomon Grundy,
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday.
That was the end
Of Solomon Grundy.

Months of the Year

Thirty Days Hath September

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty one,
Excepting February alone
Which has twenty eight days clear
And twenty-nine in each leap year.

 

The Months

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes loud and shrill,
Stirs the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs,
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children's hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit,
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Fresh October brings the pheasant,
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

~ Sara Coleridge (1802-1852) ~

 

Months

January cold desolate;
February all dripping wet;
March wind ranges;
April changes;
Birds sing in tune
To flowers of May,
And sunny June
Brings longest day;
In scorched July
The storm-clouds fly
Lightning torn;
August bears corn,
September fruit;
In rough October
Earth must disrobe her;
Stars fall and shoot
In keen November;
And night is long
And cold is strong
In bleak December.

~ Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) ~

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