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A Childrens Song & Nursery Rhyme Sing-A-Long

Updated on June 12, 2015

Sing-a-Long for almost an hour

Everyone has grown up with a set of well known nursery rhymes & songs such as 'Twinkle, Twinkle little star', 'Row, Row, Row your Boat' or 'Hey Diddle Diddle', and the visual imagery invoked by these is both vivid and entertaining.

The majority or nursery rhymes originated from historical events or were just occurrences of everyday life in the times, and were mainly based on rumour & gossip. Whilst the contents of the stories have no bearings on our lives anymore the rhymes that were produced have been passed down through the generations.

Some of the childrens songs were combinations of music and lyrics from different sources, even eras, such as 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' which is a popular British lullaby and has lyrics from an English poem 'The Star' by Jane Taylor published in 1806 which is sung to the tune of the French melody 'Ah!, vous derais-je, Maman' first published in 1761 and later arranged by Mozart.

Although only the first stanza is widely known, there are in fact six stanzas as shown below. It has a Roud Folk Song index number of 7666, which is a compiled database of over 200,000 references to over 25,000 songs that have been collected from Oral tradition in the English language from all over the world.

Jane Taylor (1783 - 1824)

Jane Taylor author "The Star" (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)
Jane Taylor author "The Star" (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) | Source

Jane Taylor was an English poet and novelist. She wrote the words for the song "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".

The poem is now known worldwide, but its authorship is generally forgotten. It was first published under the title "The Star" in 'Rhymes for the Nursery' which was a collection of poems by Taylor and her older sister Ann (later Mrs. Gilbert 1782 - 1866).

The sisters, and their authorship of various works, have often been confused, in part because their early works were published together.

'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star'

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.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
How I wonder what you are.
How I wonder what you are.

Music & Lyrics to Row , Row, Row your boat...

Source

The most common modern text is...

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

An illustration from lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking Glass'
An illustration from lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking Glass' | Source

Humpty Dumpty....origins

There are various schools of thought on the actual meaning behind this rhyme. The Oxford English dictionary refers to Humpty Dumpty as a drink of Brandy boiled with Ale in the seventeenth century. It was also used in the eighteenth century as a slang term to describe a short clumsy person.

It is suggested that it may refer to King Richard III of England, as depicted in Tudor histories, and refer to his defeat at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. or that it was a "tortoise" siege engine used unsuccessfully to approach the walls of the Parliamentary City of Gloucester in 1645 during the English Civil War.

However the most popular and widespread thought is that expressed by the City of Colchester as detailed on their website, in that Humpty Dumpty was in fact a cannon used by the Royalist defenders of the city in 1648 and that it was positioned on top of the wall surrounding the city. A shot from a Parliamentary cannon damaged the wall beneath Humpty Dumpty which caused the wall to collapse bringing down the Royalist Cannon. Due to the heavy weight of this artillery piece no effort from the many soldiers or teams of horses could lift the cannon back onto the wall, "All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put Humpty together again".

Although one thing is sure, the rhyme does not refer to Humpty Dumpty as being an egg,

Variations of the rhyme..

Common British versions include:

"Ring-a-ring o' roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!

We all fall down"

Common American versions include:

"Ring-a-round the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!

We all fall down"

The last two lines are sometimes varied to:

Hush! Hush! Hush! Hush!

We've all tumbled down

Ring a Ring o' Roses.....

This a popular nursey rhyme or singing game that first appeared in print in 1881 although it is reported that a version was already being sung since the 1790's.

The rhyme has often been associated with the Great Plague which happened in England in 1665 or with outbreaks of the Black Death.

The invariable sneezing and falling down in modern English versions have given would-be origin finders the opportunity to say that the rhyme dates back to the Great Plague. They surmise that a rosy rash was a symptom of the plague, and posies of herbs were carried as protection and to ward off the smell of the disease. Sneezing or coughing was a final fatal symptom, and "all fall down" was exactly what happened.

The line Ashes, Ashes in colonial versions of the rhyme is claimed to refer to the cremation of the bodies, the burning of victims' houses, or blackening of their skin, and the theory has been adapted to be applied to other versions of the rhyme.


Whilst some of the origins of these popular Nursery Rhymes can seem rather gloomy and desperate, they were derived from everyday life and events during history, and have been appreciated and passed down through the years, so although I have shown a sample of their various possible origins, we should not forget to pass the songs on to the children of today and enjoy the riddles, rhymes & songs for hundreds more years to come.

Click play on the video, sit back, reminisce, sing-a-long and enjoy.

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