THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Nov 15) Jack and Jill

JACK and JILL

A favourite nursery rhyme but what is it all about? The origins are obscure and remain disputed. Some think it refers to Cardinal Wolsey (Jack) and Bishop Tarbes (Jill), others that it’s about Charles 1’s attempts to tax liquor, Jack being a half pint and Jill (gill) being a quarter. But I prefer the claim of the village of Kilmersdon in Somerset when in 1697 a local spinster became pregnant. The child’s father is said to have died from a rock fall and the woman died in child birth soon after. The rhyme dates back to at least the 18th century but the use of ‘Jack and Jill’ as a general term for a boy and girl dates back much further. Shakespeare uses the phrase ‘Jack and Jill’ twice in his plays (A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour’s Lost).

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got and home did trot
As fast as he could caper;
And went to bed and bound his head
With vinegar and brown paper.

Here are some of the best known parodies (all by Anon.):

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To have some hanky panky.
Silly Jill forgot her pill
And now there’s little Frankie.

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a roll of cheese.
Jack came down with a smile on his face
And his trousers round his knees.

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jill came down with twenty pounds
And it wasn’t for carrying water.

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To do what they didn’t ought’er.
Jill came down with half-a-crown
And now they’ve got a daughter.

 

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