“Come, Butter, Come”


"Come, butter, come! De King and de Queen Is er-standin' at de gate, Er-waitin' for some butter An' a cake. Oh, come, butter, come!" A different version: "Come, butter come (x2), Peter stands at the gate, Waiting for a butter cake, Come, butter, come"


The reference to Peter at the gate is sometimes interpreted as referring to Peter trying to get into heaven. But the logical assumption is surely that it is a reference to Acts chapter 12. Peter had been imprisoned by Herod Agrippa I, and was freed by an angel. He went to the home of Mary mother of John Mark, and knocked at the gate (12:13). The maid Rhoda was so shocked that she was very slow to answer. - RBW

Opie-Oxford2: "Although this centuries-old charm was still in superstitious use at the time, it was set to music in 1798 as a 'Bagatelle for Juvenile Amusement.'" - BS


  1. Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 215, (no title) (1 short text); p. 287, (no title) (1 short text, from Brand's Antiquities)
  2. Opie-Oxford2 85, "Come, butter, come" (1 text)
  3. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #491, p. 213, "(Come, butter, come)"
  4. Roud #18167
  5. BI, ScNF215B


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1656 (Ady's A Candle in the Dark, according to Opie-Oxford2)
Found in: US