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A Short Analysis of the ‘Little Bo-Peep’ Nursery Rhyme

‘Little Bo-Peep’ is a classic nursery rhyme, probably one of the most famous in the English language. But what are the origins of ‘Little Bo-Peep, and what does it mean? Before we attempt an analysis of this children’s rhyme, here’s a reminder of the words:

Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And can’t tell where to find them;
Leave them alone, and they’ll come home,
Bringing their tails behind them.

Little Bo-Peep fell fast asleep,
And dreamt she heard them bleating;
But when she awoke, she found it a joke,
For they were still all fleeting. Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of the ‘Little Jack Horner’ Nursery Rhyme

‘Little Jack Horner’ has attracted a good deal more speculation than many other famous nursery rhymes, and others have had a fair bit. But for some reason, this little children’s rhyme about a boy eating a Christmas pie and pulling out a plum has been the subject of more debate than 90% of nursery rhymes in the English language. Why has the rhyme of ‘Little Jack Horner’ attracted such wild analysis, interpretation, and speculation? First, here’s a reminder of the words:

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, ‘What a good boy am I!’

We mentioned in our analysis of another nursery rhyme, ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’, that some scholars or enthusiasts of nursery rhymes seem to want to make all of them about the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the English Reformation. But Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of the ‘London Bridge Is Falling Down’ Nursery Rhyme

‘London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down’: this line appears towards the end of one of the greatest poems of the twentieth century, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. Of course, the nursery rhyme or children’s song from which Eliot borrowed this line is much older. But what’s the story behind ‘London Bridge Is Falling Down’? First, here’s a recap of the nursery rhyme itself:

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair Lady.

Build it up with wood and clay,
Wood and clay, wood and clay,
Build it up with wood and clay,
My fair Lady.

Wood and clay will wash away,
Wash away, wash away,
Wood and clay will wash away,
My fair Lady. Read the rest of this entry