Adult Toys Stores - Jack and Jill Adult
By DEBORAH COLLCUTT
Updated: 09:45 BST, 16 August 2008
Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again
The real Humpty Dumpty was not a person but a powerful cannon used by the Royalist forces during the English Civil War of 1642 to 1651.
Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle led the King's men and overpowered the Parliament stronghold of Colchester early in 1648. They grimly held on while the Parliamentarians, led by Thomas Fairfax, encircled and besieged the town.
The supporters of Charles I almost won the day - all thanks to his doughtiest defender, Humpty Dumpty. In pole position, as it were, on top of the church tower of St Mary-at-the-Walls (Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall) their gunners managed to blast away the attacking Roundhead troops for 11 weeks.
Eventually, though, the top of the church tower was blown away, sending Humpty Dumpty crashing to the ground, where it buried itself in deep marshland (Humpty Dumpty had a great fall).
The king's cavalry (the horses) and the infantry (the men) hurried to retrieve the cannon, but they couldn't put Humpty together again - and without their weapon of mass destruction they were soon overrun by Fairfax and his soldiers.
Pop Goes the Weasel
Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle.
That's the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel.
There has been much debate over the years about the meaning of Pop Goes The Weasel. A hugely popular music-hall song, its memorable and seemingly nonsensical lyrics spread like wildfire throughout Victorian London.
But is there more to the rhyme than meets the eye? In the 1680s, the poor and immigrants lived outside the walls of the City of London in Spitalfields, Hoxton and Shoreditch and slaved away in London's textile industry, which was based there.
Packed with sweatshops, it was also the site of many music halls and theatres.
One theory suggests that Pop Goes The Weasel was an attempt to turn the grim reality of local people's lives into a hit song.
In the textile industry, a spinner's weasel was a mechanical thread-measuring device in the shape of a spoked wheel, that accurately measured out yarn by making a popping sound to indicate the correct length had been reached.
The mind-numbing and repetitive nature of the work is captured in the final line of each verse, indicating that whatever you were doing, or wherever your mind had wandered to, reality was never far away with the weasel to pop you alert again.
Polly Put the Kettle On
Polly put the kettle on,
Polly put the kettle on,
Polly put the kettle on;
We'll all have tea.
Sukey take it off again,
Sukey take it off again,
Sukey take it off again;
They've all gone away.
One theory about the origins of this rhyme centres on the life of an unnamed writer in London in the mid-18th century with his young family of two boys and three girls.
Supposedly, there were many arguments between the children about who could play in which room of the house. The girls, keen to be rid of the noisy boys, would often pretend to start a tea party.
The youngest, Polly, would reach for the toy kettle as the other girls sang 'Polly put the kettle on'.
At this point, the boys would scarper Their father was so enamoured of the girls' cheek that he wrote it all down, set it to music and the rhyme was later published.
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.
Taken at face value, the rhyme doesn't make sense. Why do Jack and Jill go up the hill to fetch water? Water generally runs downhill, so perhaps it's a cover story for something else.
A small village in Somerset has laid claim to the origin of the rhyme. The story told in Kilmersdon is that during 1697 the village was home to a young unmarried couple who did a lot of their courting up on a hill, away from the prying eyes of the local gossips.
Consequently Jill became pregnant, but just before the baby was born Jack was killed by a rock that fell off the hill and landed on his head. Only days later, Jill also died in childbirth. It's cheery stuff.
The rhyme is today depicted on a series of tablet stones along the path to the hill.
Old King Cole
Old King Cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe,
And he called for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Some believe that the rhyme must have been written after the introduction of tobacco to Europe in 1564. But it might go back much further, to the early part of the first millennium, where the pipe was much more likely to have been the double aulos, an ancient reed instrument, and the bowl a type of drum.
In addition, the word coel is the Gaelic word for 'music', so could Old King Cole be the 'Old King of Music' - the venerable leader of a band, playing the pipe and drum with his fiddlers three? Or could he have been a real person?
We find three candidates dating back to the Roman occupation and three rulers of Colchester - known as the Kings of Cole.
Ride a Cock Horse
Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes.
Some argue that only one historic figure could inspire such a rhyme. Step forward Lady Godiva, England's favourite naked horsewoman.
During the 11th century, Leofric, the Earl of Mercia, tried to impose heavy taxes on his countrymen, provoking outrage and near riots. Leofric's wife, Godgifu (changed over time to Godiva), sympathised with the common people and urged her husband to lower the new taxes he had levied.
Now, Leofric was obviously a man with a sense of humour because he told his wife he would lower taxes only after she had ridden naked through the streets of Coventry.
But he hadn't reckoned upon Godiva's spirit and, much to his surprise, she agreed to the challenge. The delighted people of Coventry, as a show of respect and to spare her blushes, all agreed to stay indoors, close their shutters and face the other way as the lady passed by.
She rode through the streets on her beloved white horse, completely naked apart from her wedding ring (rings on her fingers), and with bells attached to her toes to remind the people of Coventry not to look out of their windows.
All the citizens kept their word, except for Tom the tailor, who couldn't help himself and peeped out through the shutters - hence the expression 'Peeping Tom'. According to legend, Tom was then struck blind.
Went to Gloucester
In a shower of rain.
He stepped in a puddle
Right up to his middle
And never went there again
One theory runs that the origins of this verse stretch back more than 700 years to Edward I (1239-1307), who was known by the nickname of Dr Foster. (The doctor part perhaps because he was a learned man; the origins of Foster are unknown.)
On a visit to Gloucester during a storm, the King rode his horse through what appeared to be a shallow puddle, but it turned out to be a deep ditch.
Both King and horse became trapped in the mud and had to be hauled out - to Edward's fury and embarrassment.
The King, also known as 'Edward the Lawgiver' and responsible for much of the Tower of London , vowed never to return to Gloucester - and he remained true to his word.
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Baa Baa Black Sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
One for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.
The final line of this rhyme until 1765 went like this: 'And none for the little boy who cries down the lane.' It is thought it was changed to make it more pleasant for young ears.
But the original version is at the heart of the meaning of the rhyme, which, unsurprisingly enough, is all about sheep.
Sheep have always been important to the rural economy, and by 1260, some flocks consisted of as many as 8,000 animals, tended by a dozen full-time shepherds.
When Edward I returned from his crusading in 1272, he imposed new taxes on wool to fund his military campaigns. It was this wool tax that is said to be the basis of the rhyme.
One-third of the price of each sack must go to the Kking (the master); one-third to the Church or the monasteries (the dame); and none to the actual shepherd (the little boy who cries down the lane).
Rather than being a gentle song about sharing things out fairly, it's a bitter reflection on how brutal life was for the working classes.
Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry;
When the boys came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.
There is a sinister undertone to this nursery rhyme, but what - and who - is it all about? One possible candidate for Georgie Porgie is the Prince Regent George IV.
Immensely fat (Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie), his corset-wearing was the source of constant ridicule and satirical cartoons. By 1797, his weight had reached 171/2 stone and by 1824 his corsets were being made for a waist of 50 inches.
George had a reputation for lechery, and his chequered love life involved several mistresses, illegitimate children and even bigamy.
He had a wife, Caroline of Brunswick, whom he detested so much he banned her from his coronation, and a mistress, Maria Anne Fitzherbert (a Roman Catholic and a commoner whom he would never be allowed to marry) - and he managed to make both women miserable (Kissed the girls and made them cry).
In addition, although George loved watching prize-fighting ( bareknuckle boxing, which was illegal), his own physical and emotional cowardice was legendary.
This is illustrated by a story of the most infamous prize-fight of the day, when one contestant died of his injuries. George was present, but when the fighter died, the Prince - terrified of being implicated - ran away (when the boys come out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away).
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;
Oh, 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
When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose.
There are a number of stories about this rhyme, but my favourite centres on a pirate called Blackbeard (c.1680-1718), king of the pirates, who operated around the Caribbean.
Before long, several nations had put a price on his head. As a result, he kept a low profile when recruiting new crews. Thus Sing A Song Of Sixpence was a coded message relating to the decent wage on offer.
He also offered seamen a pocket full of rye whisky - a leather pouch holding about a litre of grog - which would have been a big incentive. Blackbeard lured target vessels close by pretending his own was in distress.
Little did the sailors realise that 24 of his finest pirates would be lying in wait (four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie) when they came to help. When they drew alongside, Blackbeard's men would spring into action, usually with fearsome screams and shouts (when the pie was opened the birds began to sing).
'The king was in his counting house, counting out his money' obviously refers to the pirate king himself.
A slang word for desirable ships, laden with treasure, was 'maid', while the waters around the Caribbean were referred to as 'the garden' - hence 'the maid was in the garden'.
'When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose' probably refers to Blackbeard's men - his 'birds' - who were always ready to launch a surprise attack on a ship to 'peck off her nose' (to grab all the treasure) before the crew realised what was happening.
Adapted by Deborah Collcutt from Pop Goes The Weasel: The Secret Meanings Of Nursery Rhymes by Albert Jack, published by Penguin on August 28 at £12.99
Albert Jack 2008.
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