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  • Writer's picturePeter Berthoud

Ups and Downs: A Card Game by A. N. Myers & Co. London 1885

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

Ups and Downs: A Card Game - Published by A.N. Myers of Berners Street, London in 1885

Ups and Downs by A.N. Myers Box Front
Ups and Downs by A.N. Myers Box Front

The attractive Myers' card game of Ups & Downs illustrates 12 humorous and cautionary verses, each verse has four cards, with one card per stanza. The aim of the game being to collect complete sets.

Each verse set is distinguished by a symbol in the bottom left corner and numbered to show the correct order of the stanzas. A similar format was used in the Myers game of Struwwelpeter. The author of the verses in Ups and Downs is unknown.

The symbols in Ups & Downs are: A Tricorn (or Cocked) Hat, A Fish, A Cherry, A Sugar Loaf, A Pigtail, A Horseshoe, A Top Hat, A Guitar, An Umbrella, A Penny Farthing, An Artist's Palette and A Shotgun.

O dear! the heat to-day, is frightful;

A shaded spot! this is delightful!

Enjoying now, his calm repose,

He falls into a pleasant dose.

A wicked youth (to his disgrace),

Tickles him softly in the face.

Up jumps the traveller, wide awake,

And, sure enough, will vengeance take

Here, see two youngsters meditating,

What subject can they be debating?

They reach the spot, the secret's out;

They mean to catch some splendid trout.

While too intent upon their sport,

Their pleasure is, alas, cut short!

Soaked through, they homeward wend their way,

Crying - Oh! what will our mother say!

Come Tottie dear as Ma's away,

Let's see what we can find, to-day!

The jar's up there, so very handy,

In which she keeps the cherry-brandy!

Now catch hold fast - I've got you, tight,

No fear, I'll let you down, all right!

But down they fall, and come to grief,

A warning to each little thief.

A sugar-candy castle high,

To make will oft one's patience try.

Now mind you're careful how you take it!

I'd break your head if you should break it1

The Snowy ground he treads with care,

His foes for an attack prepare.

The fatal ball the victim hits;

Down goes the candy, all to bits.

It's all the fashion, Miss, you'll find,

To wear a nice long plait, behind.

She takes a seat, with much delight;

He fits it on, and twists it tight.

A great sensation she will make,

But, see, who follows in her wake!

Unhappy fate! the playful cat

Claws off the new, enchanting plait.

Young Bobby thinks himself a man,

And ride a horse, he surely can!

At first he does right well succeed.

Until a dog affrights his steed.

The noble steed begins to shy,

And raises Bob a yard too high.

Over his head poor Bobby goes,

The spiteful dog now bites his clothes.

I'm quite the Masher now, said he

This hat just suits me to a T!

Next morning, with a jaunty air,

He walks and makes the people stare.

A sudden puff of wind comes, pat,

And carries off his brand-new hat.

The swallows perch upon the brim,

Ne'er more will it return to him.

John Tompkins, he did learn one day,

A charming serenade to play.

To give his lady-love delight,

He bravely sallied forth, that night.

At length, beneath her window stands,

And on the water-butt he lands.

The liquid strains enchant her ear;

But Tompkins has too much, I fear!

A new umbrella, long she wanted,

And now her dearest wish is granted.

Ah! now it's raining; up it goes,

And I shall shield my nice new clothes!

Oh dear! so hard the wind does blow!

That how to hold it, I don't know!

Another gust - what means that shout?

The new umbrella's inside-out.

My bicycle just see me ride!

Cries Master Tommy, full of pride.

Away he goes, all smoothly, till

He finds he rides too fast down-hill.

Comes in collision with a cart,

Receives a blow which makes him start.

And down he falls with fearful crash,

His bicycle has gone to smash.

Our artist had a notion quaint,

Miss Pussy's portrait he would paint.

His work is finished; what delight!

The portrait is successful, quite!

So true to nature, that a cur

Inclines to have a fight with her.

He Spring! and through the canvas goes;

Our artist's feelings, part suppose!

On holidays, to shooting go,

Is quite a jolly thing, you know!

Loud barks the dog, the morn is bright,

They start soon off in wild delight.

Now in the wood they both appear;

Crack! goes the rifle, at the hare

Hurrah! he cries - Huloa! What's that?

I've shot Aunt Sarah's favourite cat!

The London firm of A.N. Myers & Co. were prominent in the 19th Century as: "Importers of Toys, Publishers of Kindergarten Appliances, Education and Scientific Toys, Models and Games, Exercises in Colouring, Drawing Copies, Drawing Models and Appliances, Cardboard Toys for Grouping, Cardboard Models for Cutting Out and Setting Up, Dissected and Mosaic Puzzles and Picture Cubes, Miniature Theatres, Magic Lanterns and Slides."

The firm took their name from its founder Abraham Nathan Myers (1804-1882).

Their offices were at 15 Berners Street, in what is now known as Fitzrovia, almost opposite the Sanderson Hotel today. The Myers building, originally a house designed by William Chambers, was replaced by an office block in 1963.

Notes: Ups & Downs Card Game - Myers, London,1885

  • Registered for Copyright at Stationers Hall in July 1885 as Ups and Downs: A Merry Game for Young and Old - The Bookseller August 6th 1885 p. 770

  • Advertised for sale in The Publisher's Circular on 1st September 1885 p. 852

  • A.N. Myers company description - The Bookseller. 3 February 1883. p. 195


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