Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall

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.

Humty Dumpty on a wall

 

The 1810 version:

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

 

Humpty Dumpty as an Egg

Nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall is probably the most well known in the entire English-speaking world. The 1810 version presented it as a riddle to which the answer was an egg. That's why even today the illustrations to this rhyme most often show an egg with a face, arms and legs sitting on the wall.

 

Originally, however, the nursery rhyme had nearly nothing to do with an egg. In the seventeenth century, “humpty-dumpty” was a slang word for a short, fat and clumsy person—who indeed may have looked like an egg.

Humpty Dumpty as a Siege Tower

In August 1643, during the very first engagement of the English Civil War, the Royalists used a very poorly constructed siege tower to attack Gloucester which was then defended by the Parliamentary forces. This wooden tower fell over and how much the besieging forces tried, all attempts to raise it up again were futile. The battle was eventually lost and the siege tower was written (or rather sung at that time) into a mocking rhyme as Humpty Dumpty.

Humpty Dumpty in Wonderland

Humpty Dumpty on a Wall With a FlagLater on, Lewis Caroll wrote Humpty Dumpty also into one of his books. The character appears in “Through the Looking-Glass”, the sequel to “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland”. As was already the tradition in the nineteenth century (the book was first published in 1871), Humpty Dumpty is an egg in the book too.

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