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The Tragical Death Of An Apple Pie

September 22, 2018
by the gentle author

Last week, I bought a whole box of apples from Kent for just five pounds in Sclater St and so I take this opportunity to present The Tragical Death of an Apple Pie, an alphabet rhyme first published in 1671, in a version produced by Jemmy Catnach in the eighteen-twenties.

Poet, compositor and publisher, Catnach moved to London from Newcastle in 1812 and set up Seven Dials Press in Monmouth Court, producing more than four thousand chapbooks and broadsides in the next quarter century. Anointed as the high priest of street literature and eager to feed a seemingly-endless appetite for cheap printed novelties in the capital, Catnach put forth a multifarious list of titles, from lurid crime and political satire to juvenile rhymes and comic ballads, priced famously at a halfpenny or a ‘farden.’

A An Apple Pie

B Bit it

C Cut it

D Dealt it

E Did eat it

F Fought for it

G Got it

H Had it

J Join’d for it

K Kept it

L Long’d for it

M Mourned for it

N Nodded at it

O Open’d it

P Peeped into it

Q Quartered it

R Ran for it

S Stole it

T Took it

V View’d it

W Wanted it

XYZ and & all wished for a piece in hand

Dame Dumpling who made the Apple Pie

You may also like to take a look at

Old Mother Hubbard & Her Dog

Jemmy Catnach’s Cries of London

10 Responses leave one →
  1. Lewis Jones permalink
    September 22, 2018

    The version I learned as a child included ‘I inspected it’; memorable to this day because I was young enough to have had to ask my mother the meaning of inspect.

  2. September 22, 2018

    I had seen these illustrations years ago and never knew where they came from – thank you so much for sharing this!

  3. September 22, 2018


  4. Helen Breen permalink
    September 22, 2018

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what a delightful rhyme for the first (or is it the second?) day of autumn – apple pie being one of the great delights of the season. From my observation pie making has become a lost art in these parts, with the exception of our Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November.

    My dear mother made a great apple pie, and I am happy to say that my daughter continues that tradition. The skill has eluded me – it’s all in the crust, they say, that must be handled very gingerly.

    And the poet’s name, Jemmy Catnach, sounds as if it comes right out of Dickens – a “catchy” name for the writer of children’s books.

  5. Paul Rennie permalink
    September 22, 2018

    These little pictures look lovely scaled-up; so lively and full of feeling.
    I especially like the great, rough, blobs of colour painted over.

  6. Gary Arber permalink
    September 22, 2018

    uluanted with pleasure ?

  7. Donald Thomasco permalink
    September 22, 2018

    This made my day. Thank you, Gentle Author.

  8. Jill wilson permalink
    September 22, 2018

    Great stuff -although the XYZ was a bit of a cop out!

  9. September 22, 2018

    You might like this, on Catnach:

  10. Ria permalink
    September 25, 2018

    Now I’d like some apple pie. 🙂

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