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Philosophia
November 26th, 2006, 06:41 PM
Nursery Rhymes have a long history and sometimes a basis in history.
Here (http://www.rhymes.org.uk/) is a link that examines this history that has helped give birth to many different nursery rhymes.
For example:
The original nursery rhyme:
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.
Up got Jack, and home did trot
As fast as he could caper
He went to bed and bound his head
With vinegar and brown paper.


Jack and Jill story - The French (history) connection!
The roots of the story, or poem, of Jack and Jill are in France. Jack and Jill referred to are said to be King Louis XVI - Jack -who was beheaded (lost his crown) followed by his Queen Marie Antoinette - Jill - (who came tumbling after). The words and lyrics to the Jack and Jill poem were made more acceptable as a story for children by providing a happy ending! The actual beheadings occurred in during the Reign of Terror in 1793. The first publication date for the lyrics of Jack and Jill rhyme is 1795 - which ties-in with the history and origins. The Jack and Jill poem is also known as Jack and Gill - the mis-spelling of Gill is not uncommon in nursery rhymes as they are usually passed from generation to generation by word of mouth.
Death by Beheading!
On the gruesome subject of beheading it was the custom that following execution the severed head was held up by the hair by the executioner. This was not, as many people think, to show the crowd the head but in fact to show the head the crowd and it's own body! Consciousness remains for at least eight seconds after beheading until lack of oxygen causes unconsciousness and eventually death. The guillotine is associated with the French but the English were the first to use this device as described in our section containing Mary Mary Quite Contrary Rhyme.
From http://www.rhymes.org.uk/jack_and_jill.htm

Some more links:
http://www.allinfoaboutnurseryrhymes.com/
http://www.indianchild.com/history_origins_nursery_ryhmes.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nursery_rhyme
http://www.snopes.com/lost/sixpence.htm
http://www.english.uwaterloo.ca/courses/engl208c/esharris.htm
http://experts.about.com/q/Urban-Legends-3056/nursery-rhyme-origin.htm
http://www.surfnetkids.com/nursery_rhymes.htm
http://www.grannysnurseryrhymes.co.uk/
http://www.google.com/Top/Society/Folklore/Literature/Rhymes/Nursery/
http://www.connectexpress.com/~ips/lady/rhyme.html
http://www.innvista.com/society/government/britain/rhymes.htm

Agaliha
November 26th, 2006, 09:42 PM
Ohhhh. Interesting! I never knew that about Jack and Jill. Great idea for a thread, Minvera :hugz: there seems to be a lot of hidden meaning in nursary rhymes!

Philosophia
November 26th, 2006, 09:48 PM
Ohhhh. Interesting! I never knew that about Jack and Jill. Great idea for a thread, Minvera :hugz: there seems to be a lot of hidden meaning in nursary rhymes!

Thank you! :hugz:
I was musing about this last night and thought it would be interesting to find out more about it. Its just so incredible how these nursery rhymes came about.
:hugz:

Agaliha
November 26th, 2006, 10:25 PM
About ring around the rosies: Urban Legends Reference Pages: Language (Ring Around the Rosie) (http://www.snopes.com/language/literary/rosie.htm) -- this says it's not about the Black Plague. Hmm.

It's interesting, too, how we're told these things as a child and they seem so harmless, but then when you read about their meaning and history they're just weird. I wonder why some of these are even told to kids. :lol:

dragoncrone
November 28th, 2006, 04:45 PM
Hark, Hark!
The dogs do bark!
The beggars are coming to town.
Some in rags, and some in tags,
And one in a velvet gown.

Allegedly this describes one of the deposed kings of England, upon re-entering the country after his followers regained control. The 'beggars' referred to the disguises of the people with whom he traveled, and of course the 'one in a velvet gown' is the king himself.
(Charles II? my history is a little fuzzy here...)

omar
November 28th, 2006, 06:13 PM
What about Rip Van Winkle? Was he an alcaholic that went away to drink,bowl & party for 20yrs. only to wake up one day to find hisself old & alone,so went home & wife was died but his good hearted daughter forgave him for abandoning them & took him in & gave him a home in his old age???

Philosophia
November 28th, 2006, 08:45 PM
What about Rip Van Winkle? Was he an alcaholic that went away to drink,bowl & party for 20yrs. only to wake up one day to find hisself old & alone,so went home & wife was died but his good hearted daughter forgave him for abandoning them & took him in & gave him a home in his old age???

Try here (http://www.smarrpublishers.com/Irvingessay.html). It has some information on it.

_Banbha_
November 28th, 2006, 10:26 PM
Thanks for posting these links Minerva! :hugz:

These origins are wonderfully gruesome. It seems adult stuff, like the bloody politics of day were not so much hidden from the kiddies.

Mary Mary quite contary (http://www.rhymes.org.uk/mary_mary_quite_contrary.htm)
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.


Instruments of Torture!
The silver bells and cockle shells referred to in the Nursery Rhyme were colloquialisms for instruments of torture. The 'silver bells' were thumbscrews which crushed the thumb between two hard surfaces by the tightening of a screw. The 'cockleshells' were believed to be instruments of torture which were attached to the genitals!

Holy crap!

Here's the rock-a-bye baby one:


Origins of words to "Rock a bye baby" in English history
dating back to the 1700's

The story of the Nursery Rhyme relates to a family who lived in a tree house which was formed within a massive Yew tree. The Yew Tree concerned was believed to be nearly 2000 years old. The family were charcoal burners who lived in Shining Cliff Woods, Ambergate, Derbyshire in the 1700's. The ancient occupation of Charcoal Burning would be conducted by people who actually lived in the woods. Just like like this family. Their names were Kate and Luke Kennyon and they lived in what was locally called the 'Betty Kenny Tree' - a colloquialism for Kate Kenyon. The Kenyons had 8 children and a tree bough was hollowed out to act as a cradle for their children! Shining Cliff Woods was owned at the time by the Hurt family. The Kenyons were favoured by the Hurts who commissioned the artist James Ward of the Royal Academy to paint their portraits. The Yew tree still exists but was severely fire damaged by vandals in the 1930s. More information may be located on the Amber Valley Borough Council website.


I searched for a picture of the Yew and couldn't find one. I did find this true story of a witch named Susannah (http://www.peaklandheritage.org.uk/index.asp?peakkey=11300321). _inabox_ :)

dragoncrone
November 30th, 2006, 04:39 PM
I've also heard that "Mary, quite contrary," referred to Mary Queen of Scots. Her contrariness was her refusal to give up hope of becoming Queen, which made her cousin Elizabeth rather nervous...
'silver bells' were the adornments she added to her clothing, and 'cockle shells' supposedly noted her fondness for seafood. 'Pretty maids all in a row' referred to her ladies-in-waiting.

Nitefalle
December 6th, 2006, 04:44 PM
Here is a picture of the Yew tree. They are supposedly able to live for thousands of years, because new shoots will bow and grow back down into the ground, enabling the tree to continually regrow itself.

71815

_Banbha_
December 6th, 2006, 04:57 PM
That's so cool Nitefalle! Thanks for posting it. :D

That' a huge tomb stone in front of it.