Baa Baa Black Sheep

December 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

Baa baa black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full,
One for the Master and one for the Dame,
And one for the little boy who lives down the lane.

Thank you said the Master, thank you said the Dame,
Thank you said the little boy who lives down the lane.

The last two lines are most definitely a modern addition to this old rhyme, reflecting perhaps the permeation of victorian values of politeness across wider society, minding one’s pleases and thankyous! Apparently, there have also been moves to change the word black because of its racial overtones. However, the words to the first part of the first have hardly changed in 250 years so it seems unlikely that they will now.

You may have noticed that the tune is essentially the same as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which is the old French tune for ‘Ah vous dirai je, maman’.

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