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A Short Analysis of the ‘Little Boy Blue’ Nursery Rhyme

What are the origins of Little Boy Blue?

‘Little Boy Blue’ is a popular children’s rhyme, but as is the case with so many nursery rhymes (as we’ve been discovering in the course of researching these posts), the meaning of ‘Little Boy Blue’ is far from apparent. What does this curious little nursery rhyme mean, or is it an example of that genre of perennial appeal, nonsense verse?

Little Boy Blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow,
The cow’s in the corn.
But where is the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
He’s under a haystack,
Fast asleep. Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of ‘Ride a Cock-Horse to Banbury Cross’

What are the origins of this nursery rhyme?

‘Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross’ is a famous nursery rhyme, and has been popular with children for several centuries. The nineteenth-century Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone, used to sing ‘Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross’ to his children every day. But which ‘Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross’ are we talking about? For there’s more than one. The origins and history of this nursery rhyme require a bit of unearthing and analysis.

First, here’s the most familiar version of the rhyme:

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.

But this isn’t the only version of ‘Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross’. There’s also this one: Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of the ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ Nursery Rhyme

‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ is one of the best-loved nursery rhymes in all of English literature, but its origins are somewhat different from most beloved children’s rhymes. What does this little rhyme mean? And where did it come from? First, here’s a minder of the words:

Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.

It followed her to school one day,
Which was against the rule;
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school. Read the rest of this entry