nursery rhyme lyrics & origins
 
 
 

Nursery Rhymes Lyrics and Origins

For want of a Nail Rhyme

"For want of a nail" Nursery Rhyme & History

 

"A clever set of lyrics in "For want of a nail" encouraging children to apply logical progression to the consequences of their actions. "For want of a nail" is often used to gently chastise a child whilst explaining the possible events that may follow a thoughtless act.

The History of Obligatory Archery Practise!
The references to horses, riders, kingdoms and battles in "For want of a nail" indicate the English origins of the rhyme. One of the English Kings did not leave anything to chance! In 1363, to ensure the continued safety of the realm, King Edward III commanded the obligatory practice of archery on Sundays and holidays! The earliest known written version of the rhyme is in John Gower's "Confesio Amantis" dated approximately 1390.

"For want of a nail" American usage
Benjamin Franklin included a version of the rhyme in his Poor Richard's Almanack when America and England were on opposite sides.

During World War II, this verse was framed and hung on the wall of the Anglo-American Supply Headquarters in London, England.

 
 
 
Medieval Archery practice - for want of a nail rhyme
 
 
 

Picture illustrates a Medieval
Archery practice

     
 
 

For want of a nail - rhyme

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

For want of a nail - rhyme

 

Note: A Rhymes lyrics and the perceived origins of some Nursery Rhymes vary according to location

 

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Written By Linda Alchin