Scott-Gatty, Alfred

England, (1847-1918)

The Three Little Pigs

  1. A jolly old sow once liv’d in a sty,
  2. And three little piggies has she,
  3. And she waddled about saying “Umph! umph! umph!”
  4. While the little ones said “Wee! wee!”
  5. And she waddled about, saying “Umph! umph! umph!”
  6. While the little ones said “Wee! wee!”
  7.  
  8. “My dear little brothers,” said one of the brats,
  9. “My dear little piggies,” said he;
  10. “Let us all for the future say Umph! umph! umph!
  11. ’Tis so childish to say Wee! wee!”
  12. “Let us all for the future say Umph! umph! umph!
  13. ’Tis so childish to say Wee! wee!”
  14.  
  15. The three little pigs grew skinny and lean,
  16. And lean they might very well be;
  17. For somehow they couldn’t say “Umph! umph! umph!”
  18. And they wouldn’t say “Wee! wee! wee!”
  19. For somehow they couldn’t say “Umph! umph! umph!”
  20. And they wouldn’t say “Wee! wee! wee!”
  21.  
  22. So after a time these little pigs died,
  23. They all died of felo de se;
  24. From trying too hard to say “Umph! umph! umph!”
  25. When they only could say “Wee! wee!”
  26. From trying too hard to say “Umph! umph! umph!”
  27. When they only could say “Wee! wee!”
  28.  
  29. A moral there is to this little song,
  30. A moral that’s easy to see;
  31. Don’t try when you’re young to say “Umph! umph! umph!¨
  32. For you only can say “Wee! wee!”
  33. Don’t try when you’re young to say “Umph! umph! umph!¨
  34. For you only can say “Wee! wee!”

Editor’s Note:

“Felo de se,” the cause of death of the three little pigs above is a Latin word for “felon of himself”, and is an archaic legal term meaning suicide. In early English common law, an adult who committed suicide was literally a felon, and the crime was punishable post-mortem by forfeiture of property to the king and a non-churchyard burial with no mourners or clergy present.

The Three Little Pigs, written and Composed by Alfred Scott-Gatty. London: Robert Cocks & Co. (ca. 1840s).

A Sequence to the Three Little Pigs

  1. On the death of the three little Pigs,
  2. Who all died of “felodese,”
  3. Their mother, the sow, thought well over bow
  4. She might easiest learn to say “wee!”
  5. She might easiest learn to say “wee!”
  6.  
  7. Her children were dead, as I’ve said,
  8. And had slipt from her old memory;
  9. So she wink’d her old eye, as she thought in her sty;
  10. I know of a plan to say, “wee!”
  11. I know of a plan to say, “wee!”
  12.  
  13. My children tried fasting too hard,
  14. But they got as near “umph¨ as could br,
  15. So the moral of that is that I must get fat
  16. If I mean to learn how to say “wee!”
  17. If I mean to learn how to say “wee!”
  18.  
  19. This old Lady sow was so vain,
  20. She wish’d to look young like a girl,
  21. So this silly old pig grew a regular prig
  22. And put her old tail into curl,
  23. And put her old tail into curl.
  24.  
  25. Said Piggy: I have to grow fat
  26. Yet I must not be ugly you see
  27. ’Tis a rule of good taste to be thin in the waist
  28. So I’ll pinch, and still learn to say “wee!”
  29. So I’ll pinch, and still learn to say “wee!”
  30.  
  31. Then she ate and grew fat, but she pinch’d
  32. ’Till her eyes started out of her head
  33. Yet you know she was vain, so she stifled the pain,
  34. But her nose grew enormously red,
  35. But her nose grew enormously red.
  36.  
  37. Each day her old voice fainter grew
  38. She almost had learnt to say “wee”
  39. But she pinch’d to look “fast,” and this kill’d her at last
  40. In a spasm of apoplexy,
  41. In a spasm of apoplexy.
  42.  
  43. We all have a weak point you know
  44. And so had the sow as you see
  45. There’s a moral not long for all in this song
  46. Don’t try when you’re old to say “wee!”
  47. Don’t try when you’re old to say “wee!”

Editor’s Note:

Sequence & apoplexy

The term “sequence” in the title above characterizes it as the next part in a related or continuous series. Here, this is a song is about the life and death of the mother pig after her three little pigs have all died trying to say “Umph! umph! umph!”

From the late 14th to the late 19th century, “apoplexy,” the cause of the mother pig’s death above, was generally used to describe any sudden death that began with a rapid loss of consciousness, especially one in which the victim died within a matter of seconds after losing consciousness. Sudden cardiac deaths, ruptured cerebral aneurysms, certain ruptured aortic aneurysms, and even heart attacks may have been described as apoplexy in the past.

A Sequence to the Three Little Pigs, written and Composed by Alfred Scott-Gatty. London: Robert Cocks & Co. (ca. 1840s).

About the Poet:

Alfred Scott-Gatty (1847-1918) was a British composer and a long serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. His mother was Margaret Gatty (née Scott) (1809-1873), an English writer of children’s literature and his father was Alfred Gatty (1813-1903), a Church of England vicar and author.

Scott-Gatty was educated at Marlborough and Christ’s College, Cambridge. He assumed the name of Scott-Gatty in 1892, Scott being his mother’s maiden name. Scott-Gatty began his heraldic career with his appointment as Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms In Ordinary in 1880, six years later he was promoted to the office of York Herald of Arms in Ordinary and appointed Garter Principal King of Arms in 1904. It was under Scott-Gatty’s control that the College of Arms reinstituted the process of granting badges to armigers.

Scott-Gatty’s work as a composer was that of an amateur, but it was popular and highly regarded in its day. His compositions were largely for voices and intended primarily at amateur performers. They included two modest operettas and three musical plays specifically for children, all with music by Scott-Gatty and lyrics written by his sister, the noted children’s writer Mrs. Ewing.

His songs ran into hundreds, most with texts by himself. His concern was to provide enjoyable quality music for children. His first major collection, Little Songs for Little Voices was published in three volumes and included 76 short and simple songs. Scott-Gatty’s most popular songs were the Plantation Songs (1893–1895) which included 24 songs issued in four volumes. At that time such songs were very popular novelties in the United Kingdom and they remained popular long after Scott-Gatty’s death. [DES-07/12]

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