Humpty Dumpty and Alice :D

Received in late July 2013 via Postcrossing private swap. Thanks Annie! :)

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty is a character in an English nursery rhyme, probably originally a riddle and one of the best known in the English-speaking world. Though not explicitly described, he is typically portrayed as an anthropomorphic egg. The first recorded versions of the rhyme date from late eighteenth century England and the tune from 1870 in James William Elliott’s National Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Songs. Its origins are obscure and several theories have been advanced to suggest original meanings.

The character of Humpty Dumpty was popularised in the United States by actor George L. Fox (1825–77). As a character and literary allusion he has appeared in, or been referred to in a large number of works of literature and popular culture, particularly in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass (1872). The rhyme is listed in the Roud Folk Song Index as No. 13026.

The rhyme is one of the best known and most popular in the English language. The most common modern text is:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

It is a single quatrain, with external rhymes that follow the pattern of AABB and with a trochaic metre, which is common in nursery rhymes.

The earliest known version was published in Samuel Arnold’s Juvenile Amusements in 1797, with the lyrics:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Four-score Men and Four-score more,

Could not make Humpty Dumpty where he was before.

Humpty appears in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass (1872), where he discusses semantics and pragmatics with Alice.

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”

    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

(Thanks Wikipedia!)

Here’s Humpty Dumpty as illustrated by W.W. Denslow in 1904:

Denslow's_Humpty_Dumpty_1904 s

A US stamp of Lydia Mendoza:

Lydia Mendoza stamp

Lydia Mendoza (May 21, 1916 – December 20, 2007) was an American guitarist and singer of Tejano, conjunto, and traditional Mexican-American music. She is known as “La Alondra de la Frontera” (or “The Lark of the Border” in English).

Mendoza was born on May 21, 1916, in Houston, Texas. She learned to sing and play stringed instruments from her mother and grandmother. In 1928, as part of the family group, Cuarteto Carta Blanca, she made her first recordings for the Okeh Records label in San Antonio, Texas.

(Thanks Wikipedia!)

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