Hi kiddies! I hope everyone had a happy 4th of July! Here’s another little rhyme for you – about that old Mother Goose!!! I saved her almost to the very end. Enjoy!!! Love and Feathers, Auntie Goose
Traditional Nursery Rhyme
“Ladybug, ladybug” is chanted by children when a ladybug insect lands on their person. If the ladybug doesn’t fly away of its own accord the child would gently blow it away chanting “Ladybug Ladybug fly away home”. This insect is found every summer in the gardens of Britain – the most common colour is red with black spots, less common are the yellow variety. In Britain ladybugs are referred to as ‘ladybirds’.
Ladybird History Connection – Gunpowder Plot Conspirators?
Farmers knew of the Ladybird’s value in reducing the level of pests in their crops and it was traditional for them to cry out the rhyme before they burnt their fields following harvests (this reduced the level of insects and pests) in deference to the helpful ladybird:
“Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone”
The English word ladybird is a derivative of the Catholic term ” Our Lady”. The tradition of calling this rhyme was believed to have been used as a seemingly innocent warning cry to Catholic (recusants) who refused to attend Protestant services as required by the Act of Uniformity (1559 & 1662). This law forbade priests to say Mass and forbade communicants to attend it. Consequently Mass was held secretly in the open fields. Laymen were subject to jail and heavy fines and priests to execution. Many priests were executed by the terrible death of being burnt alive at the stake or, even worse, being hung, drawn and quartered. The most famous English recusants were Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot Conspirators.
The American Version of the Lyrics
It is possible that the word Ladybird was exchanged for Ladybug, in the American version of the nursery rhyme, due the word association with Firebug meaning an arsonist or pyromaniac. The first publication date was 1865 and the word ladybird was used as opposed to ladybug. There has been some speculation that this Nursery Rhyme originates from the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666.
The picture is of the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ conspirators. Starting with
Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Wright, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby and Thomas Wintour.
Origins to words of Jack Sprat can be found in British History!
The Jack Sprat alluded to in this English poem is reputed to be King Charles I (1625-1649) and Henrietta Maria, his Queen (1609-1669). Apparently, when King Charles (Jack Sprat) declared war on Spain, parliament refused to finance him (leaving him lean!) So his wife imposed an illegal war tax (to get some fat!) after the angered King (Jack Sprat) dissolved Parliament.
The Robin Hood Legend!
Another interpretation of the Jack Sprat Nursery rhyme relates to the story of Richard I (Richard the Lionheart 1157 – 1199) and his younger brother King John (1166 – 1216). Both of whom feature strongly in the traditional legend of Robin Hood.
Prince John, Richard the Lionheart and the Ransom!
In 1189 John (Jack Sprat) married Joan, the ambitious and greedy daughter and heiress of the Earl of Gloucester (“Joan ate all the fat”). When King Richard went on Crusade, from 1190 to 1194, John attempted to take the crown of England – a ruthless and treacherous usurper). On his return from the Crusades King Richard was taken hostage by Duke Leopold demanding a ransom of 150,000 marks. John reluctantly had to raise the ransom, leaving the country destitute for years and reducing John’s inheritance (“They picked it clean”). The ransom was paid and Richard was released. John was crowned King of England following the death of Richard in 1199. He had his marriage to Joan annulled, she was never acknowledged as queen. She then married again to Geoffrey de Mandeville and her third husband was Hubert de Burgh.
The picture is of King Charles I
whose constant disputes with the Parliamentarians lead to the English
Civil War and his execution.