FUN FACTS ABOUT NURSERY RHYMES

TWINKLE, TWINKLE LITTLE STAR

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The joint authors of Twinkle twinkle little star were two sisters called Ann Taylor (1782-1866) and Jane Taylor (1783-1824). The first publication date was 1806. How many of us know all the words?

Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are?
Up above the world so high , like a diamond in the sky
When the blazing sun is gone, when he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light, twinkle, twinkle all the night.

Then the traveller in the dark, thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go, if you did not twinkle so.
In the dark blue sky you keep, and often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye, ’till the sun is in the sky.
As your bright and tiny spark lights the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are — twinkle, twinkle little star.

 


WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN?

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The origin of the “Who killed cock robin” poem: ‘Who killed cock robin?’ Not really a nursery rhyme, this is best described as an English folk song or poem. The words of “Who killed cock robin” are said to refer to the death of the legendary figure of Robin Hood and not that of a bird.

The legend of Robin Hood encompasses the theme that he stole from the rich to give to the poor. The words of “Who killed cock robin” describe how help was offered from all quarters following the death of cock robin thus reflecting the high esteem in which Robin was held by the common folk.

“Who killed Cock Robin?” “I,” said the Sparrow,
“With my bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robin.”
“Who saw him die?” “I,” said the Fly,
“With my little eye, I saw him die.”
“Who caught his blood?” “I,” said the Fish,
“With my little dish, I caught his blood.”
“Who’ll make the shroud?” “I,” said the Beetle,
“With my thread and needle, I’ll make the shroud.”
“Who’ll dig his grave?” “I,” said the Owl,
“With my pick and shovel, I’ll dig his grave.”
“Who’ll be the parson?” “I,” said the Rook,
“With my little book, I’ll be the parson.”
“Who’ll be the clerk?” “I,” said the Lark,
“If it’s not in the dark, I’ll be the clerk.”
“Who’ll carry the link?” “I,” said the Linnet,
“I’ll fetch it in a minute, I’ll carry the link.”
“Who’ll be chief mourner?” “I,” said the Dove,
“I mourn for my love, I’ll be chief mourner.”
“Who’ll carry the coffin?” “I,” said the Kite,
“If it’s not through the night, I’ll carry the coffin.”
“Who’ll bear the pall? “We,” said the Wren,
“Both the cock and the hen, we’ll bear the pall.”
“Who’ll sing a psalm?” “I,” said the Thrush,
“As she sat on a bush, I’ll sing a psalm.”
“Who’ll toll the bell?” “I,” said the bull,
“Because I can pull, I’ll toll the bell.”
All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
When they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.

 


 

RAIN. RAIN, GO AWAY

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The origin of the lyrics to “Rain rain go away” dates back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603). During this period in English history there was constant rivalry between Spain and England eventually leading to the launch of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Once again, most of us know only part of the older poem. When rhe Spanish Armada was sent to invade England.  The attempt failed, not only because of the swifter nature of the smaller English ships but also by the stormy weather which scattered the Armada fleet. Hence the origin of the “Rain rain go away” Nursery rhyme!

Rain rain go away,
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play;
Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again!


BANBURY CROSS (RIDE A COCK HORSE)

 

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Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes.

 

Stallions were called ‘cock’ horses in old England. The reason is obvious to horse people. They say this rhyme is about Elizabeth I who went to Banbury to see the newly erected stone cross. The rings on her fingers anb bells on her toes refer to the Plantagenet dynasty custom of attaching bells to their pointed shoes. Banbury Cross was located at the top of a steep hill. The Queen’s carriage broke a wheel. so Elizabeth chose to get on the white cock horse to make the trip. The people celebrated her arrival with ribbons and hired minstrels to accompany her on her visit, so she had music wherever she went.

 

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