Happy belated Mother Goose Day. The official day is May 1st.
I attended a party where we learned a little bit about Mother Goose--basically, that she never existed. Rather, the rhymes are a collection of verses told and retold over the generations. A few of them even originated in America.
I knew the history of Ring around the Rosie (a rhyme from the Bubonic plague) and decided to look up the history of some of the other rhymes.
Here are a few of the more interesting tidbits I learned.
Humpty Dumpty referred to, of all things, a cannon. The cannon was placed on the roof of a church in Colchester during the English Civil War (17th century). The supporting wall was breached and the cannon fell down. All the royalists (the kings' men) tried to get the cannon--but couldn't "put Humpty together again."
Jack and Jill refers to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the monarchs of France during the Revolution. Jack fell down and broke his crown--was beheaded-followed by Marie Antoinette of "let them eat cake" fame.
Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary refers to "bloody" Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and the older sister of Queen Elizabeth I. Graveyards--filled with Protestant martyrs-filled her "gardens." "Silver bells and cockle shells" referred to instruments of torture.
Rain, Rain, Go away was the plea of the Spanish Armada, who found attacking Britain difficult due to the weather.
Revolution, war, death, weather--what a dainty dish to set before the King!