Sunday, March 11, 2012

The story behind Humpty Dumpty Rhyme



Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

Such a simple rhyme, which I'm sure almost all of us had a chance to learn in our childhood days. But how many of us are really aware of the true history behind such a famous rhyme? Contrary to the popular belief, Humpty Dumpty was not an egg at all. Then, what is it really?


According to an insert taken from the East Anglia Tourist Board in England, Humpty Dumpty was a powerful cannon during the English Civil War that was mounted on top of the St Mary's at the Wall Church in Colchester in order to defend the city against siege in the summer of 1648.

Though Colchester was a Parliamentarian stronghold, it had been captured by the Royalists, who held it for 11 weeks. The church tower was hit by the enemy and the top of the tower was blown off, sending "Humpty" the cannon tumbling to the ground. Naturally the King's men (the "men" would have been infantry, and "horses" the cavalry troops) tried to mend "him" but in vain.

Hence came the rhyme :


Humpty dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty dumpty had a great fall;
Threescore men and threescore more,
Could not place Humpty as he was before.



which later changed to:


Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.


Even today, visitors to Colchester can see the reconstructed Church tower as they reach the top of Balkerne Hill on the left hand side of the road.
15th century church of St Mary with reconstructed tower


1 comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More