“A Bundle of Truths”


"Barney Bodkin broke his nose" is followed by truths, more or less: "without feet we can't have toes," "crazy folks are always mad," "a taylor's goose will never fly, ... And now, good folks, my song is done, Nobody knows what 'twas about"


The first verse of the Bodleian broadsides is quoted in Opie-Oxford2 34, "Barney Bodkin broke his nose."

The chorus and two truths of the Bodleian broadsides are quoted in Opie-Oxford2 235, "Hyder iddle diddle dell": "Right fol de riddle del, A yard of pudding's not an ell, Not forgetting didderum hi, A taylor's goose can never fly."

A "tailor's goose" is a flat iron with a twisted wrought iron grip that, I guess, reminds someone of a goose's neck. - BS

Cross references

  • cf. "When I've Money I am Merry" (tune, per broadside Bodleian Harding B 25(1879))


  • Bodleian, Harding B 10(11), "A Bundle of Truths" ("Barney Bodkin broke his nose"), Laurie and Whittle (London), 1811; also Harding B 16(39d), Douce Ballads 4(58), "A Bundle of Truths"; Harding B 25(1879), Harding B 11(3728), "A Tailor's Goose Can Never Fly"; Harding B 25(36), "All Truth and No Lies" or "A Tailor's Goose Will Never Fly"


  1. Opie-Oxford2 34, "Barney Bodkin broke his nose" (1 fragment)
  2. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #272, p. 163, "(Barney Bodkin broke his nose)"
  3. BI, OO2034


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1811 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 10(11))