Tuesday, 27 October 2009
ABC Wednesday O for Origins
" Humpty, Dumpty.."
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
The imagery of Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty was a colloquial term used in fifteenth century England describing someone who was obese. This has given rise to various, but inaccurate, theories surrounding the identity of Humpty Dumpty. The image of Humpty Dumpty was made famous by the illustrations included in the 'Alice through the looking glass' novel by Lewis Carroll. However, Humpty Dumpty was not a person pilloried in the famous rhyme!
The History and Origins of the Rhyme
Humpty Dumpty was in fact believed to be a large cannon! It was used during the English Civil War ( 1642 - 1649) in the Siege of Colchester (13 Jun 1648 - 27 Aug 1648).
"Little Miss Muffet"
Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey,
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away
The rhyme first appeared in print in 1805, in a book titled Songs for the Nursery. Like many such rhymes, its origins are unclear. Some claim it was written by Dr. Thomas Muffet (d.1604), a sixteenth-century English entomologist, for his stepdaughters; others claim it refers to Mary, Queen of Scots (1543-87), who was said to have been frightened by religious reformer John Knox (1510-72). The former explanation is speculative and the latter is doubted by most literary scholars, who note that stories linking folk tales or songs to political events are often urban legends.
Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
I've been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.
The ORIGINS of the "Pussycat pussycat" rhyme dates back to the history of 16th century Tudor England. One of the waiting ladies of Queen Elizabeth Ist had an old cat which roamed throughout Windsor castle. On one particular occasion the cat ran beneath the throne where its tail brushed against the Queen's foot, startling her. Luckily 'Good Queen Bess' had a sense of humour and decreed that the cat could wander about the throne room, on condition it kept it free of mice!
"The cat and the fiddle..."
Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon,
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
This old nonsense rhyme is probably just that - nonsense, however some people have suggested that the cat is Elizabeth Ist and the dog is Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester who she once referred to as her ‘lap dog.’
London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair Lady.
The 'London Bridge is falling down' Nursery Rhyme is based on the one of the most famous landmarks in London. It's history can be traced to the Roman occupation of England in the first century. The first London Bridge was made of wood and clay and was fortified or re-built with the various materials mentioned in the children's nursery rhyme. Many disasters struck the bridges - Viking invaders destroyed the bridge in the 1000's which led to a fortified design, complete with a drawbridge. Building materials changed due to the many fires that broke out on the bridge.
ABC is created by Denise Nesbitt and a team of experienced bloggers, whom we thank for their work.For more interesting ABC posts click on the logo in the sidebar or Here. This week we are looking for words beginning with O.