Hook, James. (1746 - 1827)
Second Volume of Christmas Box...For Juvenile Amusement...Set to music by Mr. Hook.
London: A. Bland & Weller. . First edition.
Engraved, folio. 1f., 14 pp. Modern marbled boards with leather title plate to spine. RISM H6606 (2 copies recorded). Contents as follows (with references to their appearance in Iona and Peter Opie, "The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes"):
"Bounce buckram velvets dear" (Opie 104)
"Dub a dub dub" (Opie 376, under 'Rub...')
"High ding a ding" (Opie 341)
"I'll sing a song of sixpence" (Opie 395)
"Little Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree" (Opie 372)
"Little Boy Blue" (Opie 98-9)
"Little Tom Tucker" (Opie 416-7)
"Robin a bobbin a bilberry hen" (Opie 372)
"The gooseberry grows on an angry tree" (Opie 373)
"There were two blac birds" (Opie 147)
"There was an old woman liv'd under a hill" (Opie 285, 432, 433)
"When I was a little boy I wash'd my mother's dishes" (Opie 97)
It will be noted that the texts in the present volume often vary from those in Opie. Hook, who wrote over 2000 songs - mainly for specific singers to perform in the London Pleasure Gardens - was a major figure in the revival and dissemination of nursery rhymes for young children. "A prolific composer in many fields, with an astonishing facility for writing catchy melodies of all kinds" (Grove), his "Christmas Box," which appeared in three independent volumes in 1797-8, provided the largest printed anthology to date of nursery rhymes with full accompaniment. The present songs are set for 2 or 3 voices with piano accompaniment, apart from one which is for three unaccompanied voices. The "Christmas Box" predates Sarah Catherine Martin's "Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard," not published until 1805 which built on the present collection's popularity.