nursery rhyme lyrics & origins

Nursery Rhymes Lyrics and Origins

Old Mother Hubbard

Nursery Rhyme & History


Origins of Old Mother Hubbard lyrics in British history

The Old Mother Hubbard referred to in this rhyme's words allude to the famous Cardinal Wolsey. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was the most important statesman and churchman of the Tudor history period in 16th century England. Cardinal Wolsey proved to be a faithful servant but displeased the King, Henry VIII, by failing to facilitate the King's divorce from Queen Katherine of Aragon who had been his queen of many years. The reason for seeking the divorce and hence the creation of the Old Mother Hubbard poem was to enable him to marry Anne Boleyn with whom he was passionately in love. In the Old Mother Hubbard song King Henry was the "doggie" and the "bone" refers to the divorce (and not money as many believe) The cupboard relates to the Catholic Church although the subsequent divorce arranged by Thomas Cramner resulted in the break with Rome and the formation of the English Protestant church and the demise of Old Mother Hubbard - Cardinal Wolsey. Another rhyme reputedly relates to Cardinal Wolsey is Little Boy Blue.


katherine of Aragon

cardinal wolsey


Picture of Katherine of Aragon

  Picture of Cardinal Wolsey  

Old Mother Hubbard Poem

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor doggie a bone,
When she got there
The cupboard was bare
So the poor little doggie had none.

Old Mother Hubbard poem


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


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Written By Linda Alchin