ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Poems & Poetry

What if We Re-Wrote Nursery Rhymes Part Trois

Updated on May 29, 2014
Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty

This hub is the third in a series, not sure yet if there will be more to come but anything is possible. There are so many nursery rhymes and I've tried to re-do a few but know there are many more. For example, as Nell Rose pointed out, what about Humpty Dumpty? The history of Humpty Dumpty is really all over the place; one source says it was a drink of brandy boiled with ale in the seventeenth century, there is also the theory that in 1648 Humpty Dumpty was the name of a cannon on the wall used by the Royalist defenders. When the cannon fell off the wall all of the kings men tried to put it together again but it was too heavy. Rewritten today it might read:

Humpty Dumpty was a great fool
Who most politicians considered a jewel
Yet all of the people knew from the start
That Humpty Dumpty hadn't a heart
And that in the vote he'd play no part.

What about Old Mother Hubbard? This explanation is truly a strange one. It seems Old Mother Hubbard refers to a Cardinal Thomas Wolsey who refused to give Henry the VIII a divorce from Ann Boleyn. Old Mother Hubbard is the Cardinal, the bone is the divorce and the cupboard is the Catholic Church. Perhaps if it were rewritten today it might go like this:

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard
But found that the cupboard was blocked
She tried to get in but the cupboard was locked
And the state of it put her in shock.

It seems Pop Goes the Weasel is another rhyme with a mixed but similar past. Pawning of clothes seems to be the basis though told in different ways. One way says the poor would pawn their suits and claim them back on Sunday. ( Pop being slang for Pawn.) The other way involves the 'weasel' which was a yarn winder which makes a popping noise. We don't do any weaving though we do still have pawn shops. This rhyme today:

All around the Washington Post
The monkey chased the weasel
The monkey stopped to read what was wrote
Pop! Goes the weasel.

Our journey through nursery rhyme-land takes many twists and turns. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star's song resembles the ABC song among others. They are based on an old French song. Evidently it was first published in 1806 with no real basis of fact other than some imagery for children. Over the centuries things naturally change:

Twinkle, twinkle little star
How we wonder what you are
Are you planet or are you star
Science says you're not par
Twinkle twinkle little star
Pluto you have been disbarred.

It seems Jack Be Nimble was related to a wedding party where folks jumped over the candlestick, if the candle didn't go out you would have a year of good luck. A similar rhyme today may be:

Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Or you'll get hit with a hockey stick.

Georgie Porgie might be an appropriate rhyme for today. Georgie referred to George the IV of England, evidently he thought he was a ladies man. Things might be very different now:

George Porgie pudding pie,
Kissed the boys and made them cry
When the kids came out to play
George Porgie joined the fray.

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater is truly interesting if what I've read is to be believed. Seems a pumpkin shell is/was a chastity belt. Mrs. Peter must've been unfaithful and Peter had to put her in a pumpkin shell to keep her 'very well.' Things change and today's version might go something like this:

Peter Peter Pumpkin eater
Had a was who was a cheater
She hooked up with a wealthy gent
And then she left him without a cent.

The list goes on but I think Part Three will end here. Hope you've enjoyed this journey through nursery land.

Copyright Tillsontitan

Nursery Rhyme Rewrites

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Never thought of tongue twisters Mark...I am one of those people who gets my 'twords wisted' all the time anyway! Thanks for the vote.

    • profile image

      markbennis 5 years ago

      I enjoyed this one Tilsontitan and a great idea for a Hub too, love the spin on the old nursery rhymes, they sure do make them more fun to recite, how about adding some tongue twister rhymes too?

      Vote Up!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Paddyboy, this was the last one. I doubt I will have more nursery rhymes but you never know!

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image

      PADDYBOY60 6 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      These were outrageous! I laughed out loud. More more more!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Glad you enjoyed alocsin.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Hilarious rewrites. Voting this Up and Awesome.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      I never thought of illustrations Rebecca. So glad you're enjoying them.

    • RebeccaWhitman profile image

      RebeccaWhitman 6 years ago

      Gotta love all these redos having fun with English classics. As a writer, I really love this series and wonder how they would look illustrated. Thanks!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Audrey glad you enjoyed. Alicia, hope you enjoy the other hubs as well. Bob, loved your addition!

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Lot of fun, T. You might try answering dogmatic poets (like Shakepeare and Whitman) in verse. I had fun doing that. Here's another for your collection:-

      "Jack and Jill fell down the hill

      Jill on top - what a thrill!

      They never got the pail of water,

      But now she has a teenage daughter!


    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very interesting hub, tillsontitan! I loved reading about the history of the nursery rhymes, and the rewrites are amusing. I'm looking forward to reading the other hubs in this series.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 6 years ago from California

      I loved hearing about where these all came from--and I loved the rewrites!