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.
–Old English nursery rhyme

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Doesn’t it seem odd that Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water? A water well is seldom found on top a hill, and streams flow downhill, so why climb uphill for water which could be fetched below with far less effort? It seems that the English had a penchant for verse that makes little sense, as epitomized by 19th Century nonsense-verse masters Lewis Carroll, W. S. Gilbert and the subject of my May 12 post, Edward Lear.

Well, what’s good enough for those three
is more than good enough for me,
so for the third or more post in a row,
with nonsense verse I shall go:


Hello, Joe! Whatta you know?
Hello, Will! I don’t know Jack. Whatta you know?
I know Jack. Do you know Jill?
Jack and Jill from up the hill?
I thought you said you don’t know Jack.
I don’t know Jack; I know Jack and Jill.

Say what…you will: if you know Jill, you know Jack.
Say what? You Will. I Joe. I mean, I’m Joe. Just so you know.
I know you Joe! Now back to Jack…
I don’t know Jack. Why bring up Jill ?
So ends our tale of woe, and of Joe & Will
Who don’t know Jack and never will.


7 comments on “MORE NONSENSE

  1. Jack and Jill
    went up the hill
    each with a buck and a quarter
    Jill came down with a buck and a half
    do you think Jack went up for water?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mistermuse says:

    Not if nine months later
    Jill broke water
    And had a son or daughter


  3. Don Frankel says:

    “Jack and Jill went up the hill
    Each with a buck and a quarter
    Jill came down with two fifty.”

    That’s the way I heard it.


  4. mistermuse says:

    That would seem to make more cents, Don.


  5. arekhill1 says:

    Andrew Dice Clay already had his fifteen minutes, men. If I had to pick somebody’s career to resuscitate, his would be way down on the list.


  6. mistermuse says:

    The name sounded vaguely familiar, but I had to wikipedia Andrew Dice Clay to refresh my memory and get the connection. It seems that in 1989 MTV banned him for reciting “adult nursery rhymes.” So now I recall he was a foul-mouthed stand-up comedian with no discernible redeeming qualities. R.I.P. (even though he’s still among us).


  7. Joseph Nebus says:

    I have heard the occasional attempt to claim “Jack and Jill” as a political satire. I forget the details, but I’m skeptical. My gut instinct is that trying to read nonsense verse as political satire is often assigning a meaning that wasn’t in the original writer’s intent. Nonsense is appealing because it is nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

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