This Old Man

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"This Old Man"
Roud #3550
Written byTraditional
Published1906
WrittenEngland
LanguageEnglish
FormNursery rhyme
 
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"This Old Man"
Roud #3550
Written byTraditional
Published1906
WrittenEngland
LanguageEnglish
FormNursery rhyme

"This Old Man" is an English language children's song, counting and nursery rhyme with a Roud Folk Song Index number of 3550.

Origins and history[edit]

The origins of this song are obscure. The earliest extant record is a version noted in Anne Gilchrist's Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (1937), learnt from her Welsh nurse in the 1870s under the title "Jack Jintle" with the lyrics:

My name is Jack Jintle, the eldest but one,
And I can play nick-nack upon my own thumb.
With my nick-nack and click-clack and sing a fine song,
And all the fine ladies come dancing along.

My name is Jack Jintle, the eldest but two,
And I can play nick-nack upon my own shoe.
With my nick-nack, etc.[1]

Lyrics[edit]

A more familiar version goes like this:

This old man, he played one,
He played knick-knack on my drum;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played two,
He played knick-knack on my shoe;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played three,
He played knick-knack on my knee;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played four,
He played knick-knack on my door;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played five,
He played knick-knack on my hive;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played six,
He played knick-knack on my sticks;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played seven,
He played knick-knack up in heaven;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played eight,
He played knick-knack on my gate;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played nine,
He played knick-knack on my spine;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played ten,
He played knick-knack home again;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

Variations[edit]

A similar version was included in Cecil Sharp and Sabine Baring-Gould's English Folk-Songs for Schools, published in 1906.[2] It was collected several times in England in the early twentieth century with a variety of lyrics. In 1948 it was included by Pete Seeger and Ruth Crawford in their American Folk Songs for Children and recorded by Seeger in 1953. It received a boost in popularity when it was adapted for the 1958 film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness by composer Malcolm Arnold as "The Children's Marching Song", which led to hit singles for Cyril Stapleton and Mitch Miller.[3]
In popular culture Columbo whistles this tune in almost every episode. It also appears as a motif in the musical score. The PBS children's series Barney & Friends uses this tune for its ending theme "I Love You".

References[edit]

  1. ^ A. G. Gilchrist, "Jack Jintle", Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, 3 (2) (1937), pp. 124–5.
  2. ^ S. B. Gould and C. J. Sharp English Folk-Songs for Schools (London: J. Curwen & Sons, 1906) pp. 94–5.
  3. ^ N. Musiker and D. Adès, Conductors and Composers of Popular Orchestral Music: a Biographical and Discographical Sourcebook (London: Greenwood, 1998), p. 248.

External links[edit]