Nursery Rhymes - Possible Origins
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The entries in this subject are possible origins to well-known nursery rhymes that have been researched and documented. In some cases the actual origin of a nursery rhyme cannot be traced and so multiple possible origins are considered.
Sources for this subject include Wikipedia and Nursery Rhymes - Lyrics and Origins
First published in 1730. The math riddle has a similar version in existence in a papyrus purchased by Scottish Antiquarian Alexander Rhind in Luxor, Egypt, in 1858. The problem is list as No. 79. That papyrus has been dated to around 1650 BC.
By King Edward II. First published in 1744
First published in 1744. King Edward I of England
William Shakespeare used the phrase "Ding Dong Bell" in several plays. The original lyrics of "Ding Dong Bell" actually ended with the cat being left to drown! These words were modified and the cat was saved by 'Little Tommy Stout' to encourage children to understand that it was unacceptable and cruel to harm animals.
In 1460 during the Wars of the Roses between the house of York & the house of Lancaster, the Duke of York & his army marched to his castle at Sandal where Richard took up a defensive position against the Lancastrian army. The Castle was built on top of the site of an old motte and bailey fortress ("he marched them up to the top of the hill"). In a moment of madness he left his castle & went down to attack the Lancastrians (" he marched them down again"). His army was overwhelmed & the Duke of York was killed.
At Allerton Castle. Built by Prince Frederick, Duke of York on a 200 foot high hill. According to local legend, the activity of workers constantly ascending and descending while building is said to have inspired the nursery rhyme.
By Prince Frederick, Duke of York & Albany. The 2nd son of King George III and Commander-in-Chief of the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1793, a painstakingly-prepared attack on the northern conquests of the French Republic was led by the Duke himself. He won a small cavalry victory at Beaumont (April 1794) only to be heavily defeated at Tourcoing in May and recalled to England.
First published in 1765. The term ' Hey diddle diddle' can be found in the works of Shakespeare and was a colloquialism used in much the same vein as "hey nonny no" which can be found in traditional English folk ballads.
First published 1810. During the English Civil War (1642- 649) Colchester was laid siege to by the Parliamentarians (Roundheads). A shot from a Parliamentary cannon damaged the wall beneath the Royalist cannon (Humpty Dumpty) which caused it to fall. The Royalists (Cavaliers), 'all the King's men' attempted to raise the cannon on to another part of the wall. It was so heavy ' All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again!'. Colchester fell to the Parliamentarians after an 11 week siege.
As theorized in the book Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps
In 1189 English Prince John (Jack Sprat) married Joan, the ambitious, greedy daughter & heiress of the Earl of Gloucester ("Joan ate all the fat"). When King Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) went on Crusade, John attempted to take the crown of England. On his return from the Crusades King Richard was taken hostage by Duke Leopold demanding a ransom of 150,000 marks. John had to raise the ransom, leaving the country destitute for years ("They picked it clean").
When King Charles I (Jack Sprat) declared war on Spain, parliament refused to finance him (leaving him lean!) So his wife (Queen Henrietta Maria) imposed an illegal war tax (to get some fat!) after the angered King (Jack Sprat) dissolved Parliament.
Wolsey was very unpopular. He was called the "Boy Bachelor" after obtaining his degree at age 15. The expression "Blowing one's own horn" means to brag, something Wolsey did a lot. In 1529 Henry declared all of Wolsey's lands and possessions forfeit. The words "where's the boy who looks after the sheep?" could refer to Wolsey's concern with lining his own coffers as opposed to that of the country. The cardinal's robes were scarlet but Wolsey's Blazon of Arms included the blue faces of 4 leopards.
Steward to the English Bishop of Glastonbury. Bishop of Glastonbury was born 1461, died 1539. First published in 1725
Written by Sarah Hale of Boston, MA. 1830
Otherwise known as Cole the Magnificent, born AD 220
Otherwise known as Coel the Old. Born AD 350, died AD 420
Son of Coel the Old, born AD 382
From Newgate Prison to the Tyburn Gallows prior to 1783
First published in 1797. The game was played by the author's family
Workers would pawn an object when they ran short of money for food near the end of the week. A weasel could be a flat iron or 'weasel and stoat' is Cockney rhyming slang for "coat"
The "weasel" may refer to a spinner's weasel, a yarn measuring device consisting of a spoked wheel with an internal ratcheting mechanism that makes a "pop" sound after the desired length of yarn is measured. "Pop goes the weasel", describes the repetitive sound of a machine governing the tedious work of textile workers toiling for subsistence wages. The first 3 lines of each verse describe various ways of spending one's meager wages, with "pop goes the weasel" indicating a return to unpleasant labour.
Wife of English Lord Jonathon Banbury
By English King George II
English statesman born 1676, died 1745
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