Old nursery rhymes

“Doctor Foster

went to Gloucester

in a shower of rain.

He stepped in a puddle

right up to his middle

and never went there again.”

I learned this one today, after reading a Fox News note on the manhole covers in Gloucester having gone missing. I’ve never heard it before and had to look it up.

I can’t find the book I used to read in Europe over twenty years ago, I think an Oxford Press book, that explained where nursery rhymes came from. I would love to own it.

I kept looking and found a 2nd edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes. Since the original was published in 1951, I am assuming this is the book I read in Geneva at the English library there. The book is $55 which is a lot for a book. Especially given the only extended review being very negative. But I read the book over 20 years ago and I still remember things from it.

Did you know that Hickory, Dickory dock was once, hundreds maybe thousands of years ago, an old counting rhyme? Hickora, dickora, dock were three numbers in a counting thing.

Of course most people have heard that Ring around the Rosie is from the years of the Plague and refers to the fact that people often carried flower petals in their pockets to mask the smell of the dead and dying in the city. “We all fall down” refers to everyone being dead.