Classic Poem, The Quarrel of the Dolls

Classic Poem. the Quarrel of the Dolls

A classic poem, The Quarrel of the Dolls, is among my favorites. Not only do the words resonate in my head, I can visualize my great aunt reciting it like a theatrical actress! I began thinking about the poem over the Christmas holidays and searched for it online to no avail. I found a worn copy in my files with some of the lines missing. Several of the verses are from my childhood memory. If any of you have a complete copy of the poem or know the author, please let me know.

Aunt Mamie

My great-aunt, Mamie Beam Hoyle, was born in 1896. She loved to recite poems and share stories with her grandchildren and her great nieces and nephews. One of those poems was “The Quarrel of the Dolls.” She said that when company visited their home in the early 1900s the children were called on to entertain. My grandfather, Yates Beam, his sisters, Molly and Mamie had a repertoire of recitations. Papaw loved sharing stories. He had scrapbooks filled with poems and things that he had read and wanted to share.

The classic poem, the Quarrel of the Dolls below:

                                               The Quarrel of the Dolls

Classic Poem, The Quarrel of the Dolls
The French Doll

Two fine French dolls with their frills and laces,
Their ribbons and curls and dimpling faces,
Went strutting about with their airs and graces,
And said to an old rag doll,

You raggedy, taggedy, dowd,

Don’t you just wish you belonged to this crowd.

No nice looking hands no well slippered feet,


To Clumsy and to Dumpty to ever look neat.

A Figure all humpety, mumpety, lumps,

As if you had a bad case of the mumps.
Mere scraps for your clothes with no trimmings at all,
It must be just awful to be a rag doll.

Classic Poem, The Quarrel of the Dolls
The Rag Doll

My Aunt Changed Her Voice When She was the Rag Doll

The rag doll smiled with a smile contented,

She would have winked but the beads prevented.
And she said to the fine French dolls,

I wouldn’t change places with you folks at all.

Your faces will crack if you happen to fall,
Your bodies will spill sawdust if snap goes a stitch.
It will take glue to repair and fix.

You are dressed up so much you don’t dare to sit down
For fear you will rumple the frills on your gown,

You are to fine to hug
You are to fine to kiss,
Pray what is the pleasure of living like this?

As well be a picture and hang on the wall,
It must be just awful to be a French doll.

Author Unknown

According to the Writer’s Digest, you can find a list of the top children’s poems on this website:

Wanda Wyont, MA

Wanda has spent her career in the early childhood education field. She owned a child care center and moved into higher education as Department Chair of the Early Childhood Education Department. You can read her articles and blogs on her website at Recently, she published her second children’s book titled, Barkley’s Great Escape. The story is focused on water-safety. The book can be ordered at large online book stores or through her website.

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