One for the money, two for the show (1892)

Sun May 9 16:41:52 UTC 2004

        With nursery rhymes it's always a good idea to start with the Opies, and especially with Iona and Peter Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (new ed. 1997).  They take the version given by Barry, which is also the one I'm familiar with, back to 1888.  They also give two other versions; the earlier is from 1853 (citing James Orchard Halliwell, The Nursery Rhymes of England) and is the version they consider standard:

        <<One to make ready,
                And two to prepare;
        Good luck to the rider,
                And away goes the mare.>>

        They also cite, from 1883:

        <<One to make ready,
                Two to prepare,
        Three to go _slambang_,

        These are all race-starting rhymes for children.

John Baker

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