Front cover of a first edition of Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes from 1922.

Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes is a children's picture book by the British author and illustrator Beatrix Potter. It was first published in December 1922. It is an illustrated anthology of poetry. Unlike the poems in Potter's 1917 poetry anthology Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes, the majority of those in Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes are traditional Mother Goose rhymes. Only one of the poems in the anthology was written by Potter herself.

Contents of the book

The book contains eight short poems. All but two of them are traditional Mother Goose rhymes. They are as follows:

  • "Cecily Parsley" (an original poem by Beatrix Potter)
  • "Goosey Goosey Gander"
  • "This Little Piggy Went to Market"
  • "Pussycat Sits by the Fire"[1]
  • "Three Blind Mice"
  • "Little Tommy Tinker's Dog" (better known as "Little Tommy Tucker's Dog")
  • "We Have a Little Garden" (an original poem by Potter's friend Louie Choyce)
  • "Ninny Nanny Netticoat"

Cecily Parsley brews ale from cowslips. Original illustration by Beatrix Potter.

Beatrix Potter's poem "Cecily Parsley" is about a rabbit who brews ale from cowslips. At the insistence of Potter's publisher, Fruling Warne, the word "cowslips" replaced the word "apples" in the poem. Warne was apparently unaware that it is also possible to brew an alcoholic drink from cowslips.

The poem "We Have a Little Garden" by Louie Choyce is about a well-tended garden. Readers are told that, "You will not find a faded leaf/Or blighted blossom there." The poem is accompanied by illustrations by Potter which depict guinea pigs gardening.

Louie Choyce also provided Potter with another poem about a rose. It was not included in the final published version of Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes.

Fruling Warne wanted the line about the farmer's wife cutting off the tails of the mice with a carving knife to be removed from "Three Blind Mice". Potter initially agreed. She later changed her mind, claiming that the poem was not complete without the line.


  1. The text of the old rhyme "Pussycat Sits by the Fire" also appears at the beginning of Beatrix Potter's 1905 book The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan.

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