Most people have undoubtedly heard the nursery rhyme What Are Little Boys Are Made Of, but most have no idea who is responsible for its creation. This funny little poem about snips, snails, puppy dog tails, sugar, spice, and everything nice has long been attributed to Robert Southey.
Robert Southey was an English poet and author who was born in 1774. Although he was a prolific writer, Southey is not well known today. Perhaps one of the things he is most famous for, besides the nursery rhyme, is advising Charlotte Bronte to give up writing.
Charlotte Bronte had sent Southey some of her poems and writings to review. Southey’s response was to tell her, “Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and ought not to be.” He wrote this to her 10 years before she published Jane Eyre. Thankfully Charlotte Bronte paid no attention to him and kept on writing.
While Southey probably never expected his claim to fame to be The What are Little Boys Are Made Of, one cannot deny its popularity. The rhyme is so ingrained in our pop culture that it is even said to be the inspiration of The Powerpuff Girls. The professor created the three little girls by literally mixing sugar, spice, everything nice, and a chemical known as x.
Robert Southey died in 1843 so we will never know what he thinks of Cat Anatomy by artist Hillary White. One would like to think that, despite his clear lapse of judgment when it came to Charlotte Bronte and women writers, he would obviously still appreciate the spiciness of this comical Cat Anatomy artwork.
What are cat’s made of? Sugar, spice, and of course dead mice. Look closely and you will see pieces of candy, a bottle of hot sauce, and a mouse skeleton. What a purr-fect design!
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