Subscribe!

London Bridge Is Falling Down


St. Olaf, King Olaf II of Norway
 The very first London Bridge was built of wood in and was destroyed with fire by  Olaf II of Norway in either 1014 or 1009. It is believed  that the nursery rhyme goes all the way back to that time! 

A very early version is found in the Norse Saga Heimskringla:

"London Bridge is broken down. —
 Gold is won, and bright renown.
Shields resounding, War-horns sounding,
Hild is shouting in the din!
Arrows singing, Mail-coats ringing — Odin makes our Olaf win!"

Old London Bridge

The oldest known version of the rhyme from England goes like this:

London bridge is broken down,
Dance over the Lady Lea;
London Bridge is broken down,
With a gay lady.

The subsequent verses began with the lines, with lines in italics above repeated between them:

Then we must build it up again.
What shall we build it up withal?
Build it up with iron and steel,
Iron and steel will bend and break.
Build it up with wood and stone,
Wood and stone will fall away.
Then we must set a man to watch,
Suppose the man should fall asleep?
Then we must put a pipe in his mouth,
Suppose the pipe should fall and break?
Then we must set a dog to watch,
Suppose the dog should run away?
Then we must chain him to a post.


Girls playing London Bridge, 1898
 London Bridge was an extremely popular children's game for centuries and is still known today. Here's how you play:

"Two of the kids make an arch with their hands. The other kids pass through single file while everyone sings the song.

"The line of kids walking under the arch circles back around. On the last word of the song the 2 children making the arch drop their hands and 'capture' who ever was in the arch at the time. The game continues until all are captured." http://www.clevelandseniors.com/people/london-bridge.htm

1950s version of the song:

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

Additional Verses:
Build it up with wood and clay, etc
Wood and clay will wash away, etc
Build it up with bricks and mortar, etc
Bricks and mortar will not stay, etc
Build it up with iron and steel, etc
Iron and steel will bend and bow, etc
Build it up with silver and gold, etc
Silver and gold will be stolen away, etc
Stolen away, stolen away, etc
Set a man to watch all night, etc
Suppose the man should fall asleep, etc
Give him a pipe to smoke all night, etc

No comments:

Post a Comment