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Goosey Goosey Gander

Goosey Goosey Gander is an English nursery rhyme which has a long tradition of being sung to music. It's one of the most famous traditional nursery rhymes in the English language and is still very popular with children today.

goosey goosey gander

Here are the words to Goosey Goosey Gander as they're usually sung today:

Goosey Goosey Gander, where shall I wander? 
Upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's chamber. 
There I met an old man who wouldn't say his prayers, 
So I took him by the left leg and threw him down the stairs.

Nursery Rhyme Origins

The traditional nursery rhymes many of us grew up with were passed down orally from parents to their children for many, many years before anyone thought to write them down. That's why it's often hard to work out exactly how old a particular nursery rhyme is, where it came from or even the original wording that was used. Over the years, new variations often appeared, making it even harder to trace the original rhyme.

The earliest written record of Goosey Goosey Gander is in 1784, where the rhyme doesn't include the last four lines:

Goose-a, goose-a, gander, 
Where shall I wander? 
Up stairs, down stairs, 
In my lady's chamber; 
There you'll find a cup of sack 
And a race of ginger.

There was a separate rhyme that school-children used to say when they found a crane fly and there is evidence to suggest that the two rhymes were combined at some point to form the rhyme we know today.

Records of this rhyme go back to about 1780 and it's possible  the two may have been amalgamated in the early nineteenth century:

Old father Long-Legs
Can't say his prayers:
take him by the left leg,
And throw him downstairs.

Goosey Goosey Gander is often sung. This is a lovely traditional version of the song.

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