Rhymes trivia quiz
nursery rhyme lyrics & origins
rhymes trivia quiz

Nursery Rhymes Lyrics and Origins

Ding Dong Bell Rhyme

"Ding Dong Bell" Nursery Rhyme & History


"Ding Dong Bell" a poem with a moral theme
The origins of this nursery rhyme date back to the 16th century and the era of Shakespeare who used the phrase "Ding Dong Bell" in several plays. The original lyrics of "Ding Dong Bell" actually ended with the cat being left to drown! These words were modified and the cat was saved by 'Little Tommy Stout' to encourage children to understand that it was unacceptable and cruel to harm any animal 'who ne'er did any harm'. The latter version taught morality at an early age. "Ding Dong Bell" also introduces a child to onomatopoeia (a word that sounds like its meaning) In this nursery rhyme the lyrics and words "ding dong" when pronounced convey the actual sounds!

The Shakespeare Connection!
The phrase " Ding Dong Bell" was used by William Shakespeare - but given the original drafts of Shakespeare plays were in Quarto text and the majority were not published until 1623 in the First Folio (7 years after his death) could the phrase actually be the writer's original instructions for sound effects?

The Tempest, Act I, Scene II:
"Sea nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! Now I hear them - Ding, dong, bell."

The Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene II:
"Let us all ring fancy's bell;
I'll begin it - Ding, dong, bell."

For a comprehensive Shakespeare website we recommend a visit to

William Shakespeare - The Tempest

The picture depicts a scene from William Shakespeare Play 'The Tempest'.


Ding dong bell poem

Ding dong bell
Pussy's in the well
Who put her in?
Little Johnny Flynn
Who pulled her out?
Little Tommy Stout
What a naughty boy was that
Try to drown poor Pussycat,
Who ne'er did any harm
But killed all the mice
In the Farmer's barn!

Ding dong bell 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