Learning the Alphabet

Once upon a time, children learned the alphabet with the aide of rhymes. This one is found in the New England Primer published in 1683. The woodcut was made by Thomas Bewick in England in the late 1700s and teaches not only the letters, but also animal names.

A In Adam's Fall, We sinned all.
B Thy Life to Mend, This Book Attend.
C The Cat doth play, After slay.
D A Dog will bite, A Thief at night.
E An Eagle's flight Is out of sight.
F The idle Fool Is whipt at school.
G As runs the Glass, Man's life doth pass.
H My book and Heart Shall never part.
J Job feels the Rod Yet blesses GOD.
K Our KING the good, No man of blood.
L The Lion bold The Lamb doth hold.
M The Moon gives light In time of night.
N Nightingales sing In time of Spring.
O The Royal Oak It was the Tree That sav'd His Royal Majestie.
P Peter denies His Lord and cries.
Q Queen Esther comes In Royal State To save the Jews From dismal Fate.
R Rachel doth mourn For her first born.
S Samuel anoints Whom God appoints.
T Time cuts down all Both great and small.
U Uriah's beauteous Wife Made David seek his Life.
W Whales in the Sea God's Voice Obey.
X Xerxes the great did die, And so must you & I.
Y Youth forward slips Death soonest nips.
Z Zacheus he Did climb the Tree His Lord to see.

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