As play school kids, all of us remember some of the nursery rhymes taught to us ages ago, by heart. It is in one of the reasons why even today we continue passing on the same to our new generation. What made the entire learning experience of the little poems fun was the way one was made to absorb those. To every nursery rhyme there were some fixed dance steps or movements that the kids were to follow. ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ and Humpty Dumpty’ are just to name a few of them that we memorized with much fervor. There are surely several other rhymes which you might have forgotten. Read the following article and discover how many rhymes from the list you remember word by word even today.
- Round we go the mulberry bush
This rhyme was first recorded by James Orchard Halliwell. This poem represents the game of the English children back in mid-19th century. While we may have treasured and love to think of the rhyme as a children’s song, it has a hidden annotation as well. As per popular belief, the song is a reference to Britain’s struggle to produce silk. Mulberry trees in the light of this reference is a habitat for the cultivation of silkworms. The song becomes a take on the futile attempts of the British industry to produce silk as mulberry trees were barely able to thrive in the extreme winter. Hence goes the lines reflecting the failure, “Round we go the mulberry bush, on a cold and frosty morning.’
- One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
This is one of the famous counting songs ever written. Thanks to this and many more counting songs like these, that eased the learning experience of prep school kids. Published in 1805, the rhyme had a revised edition that came out after five years.
- Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat
A small but a memorable nursery rhyme indeed, its last line is sung differently often. While some of you might remember it as ‘I frightened a little mouse, under her chair’, for others it may have been ‘I chased a little mouse right under the chair. Nonetheless it remains a great nursery rhyme bound to be found in every nursery book.
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Like Humpty Dumpty, The Tweedle brothers also happen to be a famous character from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found there. The two brothers are pretty hilarious characters for they never contradict each other and yet go on to have a battle by agreeing for it. It is however to be noted that these funny twosome have actually originated from an epigraph written by John Byrom.
- Rain Rain Go Away
This nursery rhyme can be dated back to early 17th century. It can be looked upon as more of a rhyming couplet given that it comprises merely of two lines, ‘Rain rain go away, come again another day.’ It was only in mid 19th century that James Orchard Halliwell published a new version adding a new line to it, which was ‘Little Arthur wants to play.’ It was later modified to ‘Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come again, April Day; Little Johny wants to play.’ This nursery rhyme was used as the theme tune in an Australian children television’s program named Round the Twist which showed the adventures of a three children and their father living in a lighthouse.
- Ring-a-Ring o’ Roses
This is yet another English playground game song. It is claimed to be printed around 1881. This nursery rhymes has often been seen in relation to the Great Plague of England in 1665 or the Black Death in England. The red rashes described here as roses were the most common symptom of the plaque. The posies in the poems were in real the posies of herbs which were carried around by people to keep the disease at bay. Sneezing or coughing was seen as the final stage of the plaque infected individual. Gradually everyone was infected by the plaque and ‘all fell down’. There are ofcouse other interpretations as well.
- Twinkle Twinkle
This is an indefinitely loved rhyme of the kids of the yester years as well as of the ones today. This is a lullaby as well as a nursery rhyme. The entire rhymes has six stanza, though the first one is the only that is widely known. Similar to the first stanza is a parody of it that has been used in Alice in the wonderland by the Mad Hatter.
- Baa, Baa, Black sheep
This English nursery rhyme dates back to 1731. The rhyme somewhere critiques the wool tax of 1275 which continued till the 15th century. It resented the heavy taxation on wool. This nursery poem has also been in controversy because of the racial connotations of the word ‘black’ in the first sentence itself.
- Jack and Jill
This 18th century nursery rhyme has a varied number of explanations to its lyrics. Keeping the image of two children walking up a hill to fetch water, several annotations have been made regarding the two children. Jack as put forth by various theories is believed to be a caricature of the French King Louis XVI who was dethroned and guillotined in 1793. His wife, Queen Marie Antoinette was the one who followed his fate and thus becomes the one who came ‘tumbling after.’ You may come across several other explanations. But this would be a significant one.
3 Marry had a little lamb
This nursery rhyme which has always been a favourite among children was inspired by a real incident. Unlike most of the other rhymes discussed so far, this one had no political or economic issue behind the reason of its making. For all we know, it was actually inspired by a real girl named Mary who did in fact bring a little lamb to her school one day. The rhyme is thus a recitation of a young man by the name of John Roulstone who happened to be witness to everything that happened on that bizarre day. He was so intrigued with the entire incident of seeing a little lamb brought to school that he wrote the three initial stanzas of the poem.
- . Itsy bitsy spider
Also known as ‘Insy Winsy Spider’, this rhyme discussed the adventures and struggle of a spider as it tries repeatedly to ascend a waterspout of a gutter system. What made this particular song a memorable one was the fact that it involved a complete set of gestures that had to be enacted with the utterance of every word of the rhyme. It was indeed very engaging rhyme for the tiny tots and continues being so today too.
- Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty is a not only a character of the famous nursery rhyme. It also is a character in L.S. Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and L. Frank Baum’s Mother Goose in Prose. The pitiable anthropomorphic egg in the rhyme is at a loss to get up because of his figure once he falls off the wall. The rhyme came out in early 19th century. It is a very short rhyme.
By now you must have recapitulated your nursery rhymes. This would have also opened you to a completely new perspective of viewing the same. Being a grown up you ought to know your rhymes in depth and so you do now.