Little Polly Flinders

Little Polly Flinders
Sat among the cinders
Warming her pretty little toes;
Her mother came and caught her,
Whipped her little daughter
For spoiling her nice new clothes.

Little Polly Flinders

Origin and History

Little Polly Flinders, a captivating English nursery rhyme, emerged in the early 1800s. Charles Dibdin, a talented English poet, is said to have composed this delightful ditty. The rhyme spins the tale of a young girl who, one fine morning, wakes up early and adorns her hair with roses.

The rhyme was likely concocted as a cautionary tale and a relatable experience for young children.


The primary message of the rhyme is to inspire a sense of responsibility, discipline, and order. It cautions against the consequences of neglecting one's duties, such as ruining one's garments.

Some interpretations propose that the nursery rhyme conceals secret and hidden meanings. For instance, it could be a metaphorical narrative of wealth, with the cinders symbolizing money and the roses representing luxurious items. The last verse of the rhyme might be perceived as a caution against the lavishness of society's elite and a keen insight into the vast divide between the wealthy and the less fortunate.

Controversy about the Last Line

The last line of the nursery rhyme has sparked controversy in the past, with educators and parents passionately debating its inclusion. Some think that the stern words in the line could damage young children, while others maintain that it imparts a crucial lesson. Regardless, the line is frequently omitted or substituted with softer language when reciting the rhyme.

Fun Facts

• In the mid-19th century, the song's fame grew tremendously, frequently acting as a helpful aid for instructing children in reading and writing.
• British musician George Cole composed an updated rendition of the rhyme, infusing it with a fresh and modern touch.
• The US sitcom "That '70s Show" amusingly incorporated the rhyme as the theme song for their opening credits, bringing a whimsical element to the series.