[Ads-l] Higgly-piggly

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 13 23:53:11 UTC 2014


W. Somerset Maugham once recounted an anecdote about Dorothy Parker.
During a party he asked her to compose a poem, and a waiter gave her a
pencil and paper.

http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/04/10/hen-gun-lariat/

[Begin excerpt]
 Dorothy Parker took it and wrote:

    Higgledy Piggledy, my white hen;
    She lays eggs for gentlemen.

    "Yes, I've always liked those lines," I said.
    She gave a thin, cool smile and without an instant's hesitation, added:

    You cannot persuade her with gun or lariat
    To come across for the proletariat.
[End excerpt]

The Maugham/Parker version of the starting couplet employed a white
hen. But a quick search in GB reveals a "black hen" poem in 1876 and a
different "white hen" poem in 1908.

A 2003 book contains a couplet with the form "higgly -- piggly":

[begin excerpt]
Higgly -- piggly -- my black hen
She lays eggs for the railroad men
[End excerpt]

Garson

On Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 6:29 PM, Jocelyn Limpert
<jocelyn.limpert at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jocelyn Limpert <jocelyn.limpert at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Higgly-piggly
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> My hen was black, not white! lol
>
> Jocelyn
>
> On Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 6:23 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: Higgly-piggly
>>
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> On Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 5:22 PM, Jocelyn Limpert <
>> jocelyn.limpert at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > I've always thought it was "higgeldy-piggeldy" as well.
>> >
>>
>> Me, three. "Higgly-Piggly" is news to me.
>>
>> Higgledy-piggledy
>> My white hen
>> She lays eggs
>> For gentlemen
>>
>>
>> --
>> -Wilson
>> -----
>> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
>> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>> -Mark Twain
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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