- “Do look at those pigs as they lie in the straw,”
- Little Richard said to his papa;
- “They keep eating longer than ever I saw,
- Oh, what nasty fat gluttons they are!”
- “I see they are feasting,” his father replied,
- “They eat a great deal I allow;
- But let us remember, before we deride,
- ‘Tis the nature, my dear, of a sow.
- “But when a great boy such as you, my dear Dick,
- Does nothing but eat all the day,
- And keeps sucking good things till he makes himself sick,
- What a glutton ! indeed, we may say.
- “When plumcake and sugar forever he picks,
- And sweetmeats, and comfits, and figs;
- Pray let him get rid of his own nasty tricks,
- And then he may laugh at the pigs.”
The Taylor sisters and Adelaide O’Keeffe, and their authorship of various works, have often been confused, in part because their early works were published together.
“The Pigs” has appeared in numerous earlier and later editions of Ann and Jane Taylor’s works. Some collections also included the poetry of of Adelaide O’Keeffe (aka: Miss O’Keeffe) and others. While all authors of these collections were credited on the cover, there was often no accreditation for the individual poems. The book noted below clearly lists Jane as the author.
Some earlier and later versions of “The Pigs” also keep the same sentiment and moral message but have alternate phrasing of individual lines and/or change the child’s name. I have also seen this poem with either a subtitle or alternate title of “A Reminder to Humans.”
About the Poet:
Jane Taylor (1783- 1824), was an English poet and novelist. She wrote the words for the song “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” first published under the title “The Star” in Rhymes for the Nursery (1806) a collection of poems by Jane and her older sister Ann.
Ann Taylor (1782-1866), also Mrs. Gilbert, was an English poet and literary critic. In her youth she was a writer of verse for children, for which she achieved long-lasting popularity. In the years immediately preceding her marriage, she became an astringent literary critic.
Adelaide O’Keeffe (1776-1865), also Miss O’Keeffe, was an English poet, novelist and editor. She composed highly successful verse for children and edited the works of her father, the English playwright John O’Keeffe (1747-1833). O’Keeffe also distinguished herself with her own novels, and as a writer of biblical paraphrase, and author of instructive works in history and geography. [DES-03/12]
- The version of the Taylor sisters work used here, and many others, is widely available in libraries.