The Yule Days – Day 2 – ‘Three partridges’

Tuesday 13 December 2022

The king sent his lady on the second Yule day,
Three partridges, a papingo-aye;

Wha learns my carol and carries it away? 

George Edwards (1694-1773) was an English ornithologist. He published A Natural History of Uncommon Birds in four parts. While the library has a copy of the work in English, it is without plates. The Library’s copies of the French edition of Edwards’ work – Histoire Naturelle d’Oiseaux Peu Communsdoes however contain beautiful illustrations.

This illustration is of the white Partridge (La Perdrix-Blanche). The ‘partridge in a pear tree’ is probably the most well-known gift from the Christmas Carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. It is thought by Gilchrist that the ‘pear tree’ is a corruption from the French ‘une perdrix’.

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