Old King Cole
Nursery Rhyme from Mother Goose


From left: The Nursery Rhyme Book (L. Leslie Brooke, illus.); The Baby's Opera (Walter Crane)

Old King Cole nursery rhyme

First appearance in print: 1708-9

Interesting: Many different kings have been theorized to be the inspiration for this nursery rhyme.

Old King Cole

Old King Cole
Was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he;

He called for his pipe,
And he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three!

And every fiddler, he had a fine fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he.
"Twee tweedle dee, tweedle dee, went the fiddlers.

Oh, there's none so rare
As can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.

The Old King Cole nursery rhyme appears in Blanche Fisher Wright's classic The Real Mother Goose collection.

Here's something exciting: a 1912 addition to the rhyme!

I've happened upon a delightful old book:


The Boys and Girls Bookshelf; a Practical Plan of Character Building,
Volume I
: Fun and Thought for Little Folk.

In it is a section entitled, "Mother Goose Continued," by Anna Marion Smith. Among the Mother Goose nursery rhymes that she added delightful new verses to is this one. Enjoy!...

Old King Cole continued

GOOD Queen Kate was his royal mate,
And a right royal mate was she:
She would frequently state that carousing till late
Was something that never should be.
But every fiddler had such a fine fiddle,—
Oh, such a fine fiddle had he,—
That old King Cole, in his inmost soul,
Was as restive as he could be.

WHEN thus spoke she to his majesty,
He planted his crown on tight.
“We will wait,” whispered he to the fiddlers three,
“Till the Queen has retired for the night.”
Every fiddler then tuned up his fiddle,
And tuned it as true as could be:
While old King Cole got his pipe and bowl
And replenished them secretly.

SO gay they grew as the night hours flew,
He forgot how the time sped away;
Till swift overhead he heard the Queen’s tread
As she sprang out of bed, when he hurriedly said
They might finish the tune the next day.
Every fiddler he had a fine fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he:
Oh, ’t was not fair such a concert rare
Should be ended so suddenly!

More Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

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