Old Mother Hubbard

An English nursery rhyme, Old Mother Hubbard was first printed extensively in 1805 although the exact origins and date of creation are hotly disputed. The first printed version was titled The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and her Dog and credited to Sarah Catherine Martin and accompanied by copper plate engravings. 

Although Old Mother Hubbard was a fictional character, a 19th-century thief, Margaret Brown, adopted the name as her own. But despite Old Mother Hubbard achieving criminal notoriety, this didn’t have any effect on the continued popularity of the rhyme with children and nurseries around the world. 

The song is actually quite long with multiple verses, however, only a handful are sung in the modern versions as it can be a lot to remember, especially for small children. The main figure goes to a certain place for her dog, but when she returns the dog is doing something amusing which is intended to make children laugh. 

Old Mother Hubbard Lyrics

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone:
When she came there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.

She went to the baker’s
To buy him some bread;
When she came back
The dog was dead!

She went to the undertaker’s
To buy him a coffin;
When she came back
The dog was laughing.

She took a clean dish
to get him some tripe;
When she came back
He was smoking his pipe.

She went to the alehouse
To get him some beer;
When she came back
The dog sat in a chair.

She went to the tavern
For white wine and red;
When she came back
The dog stood on his head.

She went to the fruiterer’s
To buy him some fruit;
When she came back
He was playing the flute.

She went to the tailor’s
To buy him a coat;
When she came back
He was riding a goat.

She went to the hatter’s
To buy him a hat;
When she came back
He was feeding her cat.

She went to the barber’s
To buy him a wig
When she came back
He was dancing a jig.

She went to the cobbler’s
To buy him some shoes;
When she came back
He was reading the news.

She went to the sempstress
To buy him some linen;
When she came back
The dog was spinning.

She went to the hosier’s
To buy him some hose;
When she came back
He was dressed in his clothes.

The Dame made a curtsy,
The dog made a bow;
The Dame said, Your servant;
The dog said, Bow-wow.

This wonderful dog
Was Dame Hubbard’s delight,
He could read, he could dance,
He could sing, he could write;
She gave him rich dainties
Whenever he fed,
And erected this monument
When he was dead.

Old Mother Hubbard Music Sheet