Rhymes trivia quiz
 
 
nursery rhyme lyrics & origins
 
 
rhymes trivia quiz
 
 
Rhymes trivia quiz
 
nursery rhyme lyrics & origins
 
rhymes trivia quiz
 

Nursery Rhymes Lyrics and Origins

London bridge is broken down

Nursery Rhyme Lyrics, History and Origins

 

Who was Lady Lee?
The origins of this nursery rhyme are truly fascinating and have roots in the extraordinary events surrounding King Henry VIII of England (14911547) and his second, tragic, wife Anne Boleyn. The 'Lady Lee' referred to in the Nursery Rhyme was, in fact, Lady Margaret Wyatt, the sister of Thomas Wyatt the poet. She married Sir Anthony Lee of Quarrendon and thus became Lady Lee. The Wyatts were neighbours of the Boleyn family and Anne and Margaret were childhood friends.

Anne Boleyn
As Anne rose in power Margaret accompanied her and become a trusted lady-in-waiting. When Anne was accused of bigamy Thomas Wyatt was accused with her, but he was later released. Margaret, Lady Lee, stayed with Anne Boleyn until her execution and attended the ill-fated queen on the scaffold. The nursery rhyme 'London bridge is broken down' can be described as an allegory - a description of one thing under the image of another. The words of the nursery rhyme are believed to describe the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn (the gay ladye) and the lyrics use the name of Lady Lee to clearly identify the central character, Anne Boleyn.

The Hidden Secrets in Nursery Rhymes
Many nursery rhymes have secret, hidden, meanings and allude to people and events in history. Anne Boleyn was hated by the common people of England, due to her haughty manner and the common folk's strong allegiance to Henry VIII's first wife, Katherine of Aragon. Open criticism of Anne was approved and encouraged during the reigns of Henry VIII and his eldest daughter Mary (Bloody Mary - Henry and Katherine's daughter). But when Queen Elizabeth I ascended to the throne all such approval and criticism stopped - the new Queen was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The words and lyrics of 'London bridge is broken down' are thus explained. Click the following link for more information about the execution of Anne Boleyn
http://www.love-poems.me.uk/biography_boleyn_anne.htm
The gruesome practice of execution by beheading is revealed in Jack and Jill

The most famous Nursery Rhyme on this subject is 'London bridge is falling down' - details of the history and origins are available - fascinating! And for surprising revelations about Executioners, Torturers and Lord Mayors check out London Bells the Nursery Rhyme which contains the original lyrics to Oranges and Lemons!

 
 
King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
 
 
 

A Picture of King Henry VIII
and Anne Boleyn

   
 
 

London bridge is broken down Nursery Rhyme

London bridge is broken down,
Dance over my Lady Lee,
London bridge is broken down,
With a gay ladye.

How shall we build it up again?
Dance over my Lady Lee,
How shall we build it up again?
With a gay ladye.

We'll build it up with gravel and stone,
Dance over my Lady Lee,
We'll build it up with gravel and stone,
With a gay ladye.

Gravel and stone will be washed away,
Dance over my Lady Lee,
Gravel and stone will be washed away,
With a gay ladye.

We'll build it up with iron and steel,
Dance over my Lady Lee,
We'll build it up with iron and steel,
With a gay ladye.

Iron and steel will bend and break,
Dance over my Lady Lee,
Iron and steel will bend and break,
With a gay ladye.

We'll build it up with silver and gold,
Dance over my Lady Lee,
We'll build it up with silver and gold,
With a gay ladye.

Silver and gold will be stolen away,
Dance over my Lady Lee,
Silver and gold will be stolen away,
With a gay ladye.

We'll set a man to watch it then,
Dance over my Lady Lee,
We'll set a man to watch it then,
With a gay ladye.

Suppose the man should fall asleep,
Dance over my Lady Lee,
Suppose the man should fall asleep,
With a gay ladye.

We'll put a pipe into his mouth,
Dance over my Lady Lee,
We'll put a pipe into his mouth,
With a gay ladye.

London bridge is broken down Nursery 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