Humpty Dumpty
Nursery Rhyme from Mother Goose

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Clockwise from top: National Rhymes of the Nursery (illustrator Gordon Browne); Humpty-Dumpty (W.W. Denslow); The Real Mother Goose (Blanche Fisher Wright)

Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme (click to it)

First appearance in print: 1797

Interesting: Note that the rhyme doesn't say anything about Humpty being an egg!

Literate: Humpty appears in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass and manages to say some things!


  • Humpty Dumpty, formerly slang for a short and clumsy person

References in literature

Humpty gets around! He visited with Alice in Through the Looking-Glass, and the rhyme even appears in such grown-up literature as Finnegan's Wake. The 1946 movie All the King's Men draws it's title from this ditty, and the Watergate book and movie, All the President's Men, plays on the same notion.

And in 1903, author-illustrator W.W. Denslow wrote the story of the son of Humpty-Dumpty, an earnest young egg who doesn't want to meet the same fate as his dad! I'll share with you a little bit of it below (and you can see the cover above).

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the King's horses, and all the King's men
Cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again.

W.W. Denslow's Humpty Dumpty

This is it!

HUMPTY-DUMPTY was a smooth, round little chap, with a winning smile, and a great golden heart in his broad breast.

Only one thing troubled Humpty, and that was, that he might fall and crack his thin, white skin; he wished to be hard, all the way through, for he felt his heart wabble when he walked, or ran about, so off he went to the Black Hen for advice.

This Hen was kind and wise, so she was just the one, for him to go to with his trouble.

“Your father, Old Humpty,” said the Hen, “was very foolish, and would take warning from no one; you know what the poet said of him:

‘Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall; All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men Cannot put Humpty-Dumpty together again.’

 “So you see, he came to a very bad end, just because he was reckless, and would not take a hint from any one, he was much worse than a scrambled egg; the king, his horses and his men, did all they could for him, but his case was hopeless,” and the Hen shook her head sadly...

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