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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: March ::
Qs: Hey Nonny Nonny; "A Frog . . ."
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0248.  Saturday, 19 March 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Edward Dotson <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Mar 94 16:10 EST
        Subj:   Hey Nonny Nonny
 
(2)     From:   Simon Morgan-Russell <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Mar 1994 13:00:42 EST
        Subj:   "A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go"
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Dotson <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Mar 94 16:10 EST
Subject:        Hey Nonny Nonny
 
This layman would like to know what the phrase 'Hey nonny nonny' is
supposed to mean. I read Much Ado after seeing the film and the glossary
for the text did not define it. Thanks for the help.
 
Edward Dotson

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Morgan-Russell <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Mar 1994 13:00:42 EST
Subject:        "A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go"
 
Some time ago I was told that the English nickname for the French--"frog"--had
its origin in a French suitor to Elizabeth, and that the English nursery
ryhme "A frog he would a-wooing go" told the story of the failed courtship
more explicitly.  Paging through Jonson's conversations with Drummond, I
encountered Jonson's reference to the physician of "Monsieur," glossed as Henri
III's brother, Francis, duc d'Alencon, and I wondered if he is the suitor in
question.  Apparently, I was informed, the suitor resembled a frog--though in
what ways, I don't know!  Can anyone out there clear this up?  And can anyone
gloss the nursery rhyme?  I don't know whether it's restricted to English
children, so I'll provide a stanza (though I've never seen it in a textual
form), which goes something like this:
    A frog he would a-wooing go
    Hey-ho, says Roly,
    Whether his mother would let him or no
    With a Roly, Poly, Gammon and Spinach
    Hey-ho, says Anthony Roly.
This may be the chorus?  Who was Anthony Roly?
Rather a bizarre inquiry, but it has piqued my curiosity.
 
Simon Morgan-Russell

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