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“There was a crooked man”

The origins and lyrics of the Nursery rhyme, “There was a crooked man”.

The content and lyrics of this nursery rhyme have a basis in history. The origins of this nursery rhyme originating from the English Stuart history of King Charles 1. The crooked man is reputed to be General Sir Alexander Leslie of Scotland. The General is one of those who signed the Covenant securing religious and political freedom for Scotland. The 'crooked stile' being the border between England and Scotland. 'They all lived together in a little crooked house' refers to the fact that the 
English and Scots had come to an agreement. The lyrics reflect the times of old England with reference to the animosity between the English and the Scots. The word crooked is pronounced as 'crookED' the emphasis being placed upon the 'ED' in the word. This was  common in olde England and many references can be found in this type of pronunciation in the works of William Shakespeare.

There was a crooked man :

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.


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