Origins of folksongs. Just listening to a BBC4 programme about Cecil B Sharpe and there was a lovely Appalachian rendition of Froggy Goes a Courting, they said it’s “just a children’s song” and also that it’s a nursery rhyme. Oh my no! Most nursery rhymes began life as political songs and Froggy’s yet another. It’s very old, read it’s history here …
According to Albert Jack in his book “Pop Goes the Weasel, The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes” (pp. 33–37, copyright 2008), the earliest known version of the song was published in 1549 as “The Frog Came to the Myl Dur” in Robert Wedderburn’s “Complaynt of Scotland”. He states that in 1547 the Scottish Queen Consort, Mary of Guise, under attack from Henry VIII, sought to marry her daughter Princess Mary (later Mary Queen of Scots), “Mrs. Mouse” to the 3 year old French Prince Louis, the “frog”.
The song resurfaced a few years later, with changes, when another French (frog) wooing caused concern—that of the Duke of Anjou and Queen Elizabeth I in 1579. Elizabeth even nicknamed Anjou, her favourite suitor, “the frog”.
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