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Sunday, 6 April 2014

ENGLISH NURSERY RHYMES (5th Cultural Week)


The term nursery rhyme is used for traditional poems and songs for young children in Britain and many other countries, but usage only dates from the late 18th/early 19th century. We collect them because we can also consider them part of the traditional games played by children when singing them.  Here are some of the most famous ones.

Sing a song of sixpence



Sing a song of sixpence*,
A pocket full of rye*;
Four and twenty* blackbirds
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing;
Wasn't that a dainty* dish
To set before the king?
The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlour,
Eating bread and honey.
The maid* was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
There came a little blackbird,
And snapped off* her nose.
  • sixpence - a coin
  • rye - a cereal plant
  • Four and twenty - 24
  • dainty - delicately pretty
  • maid - a servant
  • snapped off - break off or bite off

There was an old woman


There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children
she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth*
without any bread;
She whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.
  • broth - a thin soup of fish or meat stock

Little Miss Muffet


Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet*,
Eating her curds* and whey*;
Along came a big spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
  • tuffet - a low seat
  • curds - the cheesy, acidy substance left on milk
  • whey - water liquid left when milk goes off

Three blind mice


Three blind mice.
Three blind mice.
See how they run.
See how they run.
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a sight in your life,
As three blind mice?
  • blind - cannot see, has no sight

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.

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep


Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.
  • wool - hair from a sheep, goat, etc.
  • master - a person who has control over people or things
  • dame - a young woman
  • lane - a narrow road

One, Two, Three, Four, Five


One, two, three, four, five,
Once I caught a fish alive,
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Then I let it go again.
Why did you let it go?
Because it bit my finger so.
Which finger did it bite?
This little finger on the right.

Jack and Jill



Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water;
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
Up Jack got, and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper,
To old Dame Dob, who patched his nob.
With vinegar and brown paper.
  • pail - a bucket
  • crown - the top of one's head
  • tumbling - to suddenly fall down end over end
  • trot - to run slowly
  • caper - a level that you can no longer pass
  • nob - your head

Hey Diddle Diddle


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.
  • fiddle - an instrument similar to a violin

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star


Twinkle*, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
  • twinkle - to shine or sparkle

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat


Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I've been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary


Mary, Mary quite contrary*,
How does your garden grow?
With silver* bells and cockleshells*,
And pretty maids all in a row*.
  • contrary - opposite in nature
  • silver - white precious metal
  • cockleshells - small edible shellfish
  • row - a tidy line

Ring-a-Ring O'Roses


Ring-a-ring o'roses,
A pocket full of posies*,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all fall down.
  • posies - a small bunch of flowers

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