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What if We Re-Wrote Nursery Rhymes Part Trois
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.
Nursery Rhyme Rewrites
- What If We Re-Wrote Nursery Rhymes?
Things are very different now than they were when nursery rhymes were originally written. What would some of those old nursery rhymes sound like if they were written today?
- What if We Re-Wrote Nursery Rhymes Part Deux
Probably the most fun I've had writing was my earlier piece on re-writing nursery rhymes. No writing about nursery rhymes would be complete without giving a bit about the history of the rhyme.