A cock-horse is anything a kid rides on and pretends is a horse like someone's lap, a rocking horse or a long wooden stick with a toy horse's head on top.

Ride a Cock-horse to Banbury Cross - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

Here's a variation of this rhyme from The National Nursery Book:

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see an old lady upon a white horse;
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And so she makes music wherever she goes.

Here's another version from Mother Goose, The Original Volland Edition (1915), edited and arranged by Eulalie Osgood Grover and illustrated by Frederick Richardson:

Ride a cock horse
To Banbury Cross
To see what Tommy can buy:
A penny white loaf,
A penny white cake,
And a two-penny apple pie.

The following version merges two of the versions above, but makes it a young lady on a white horse. It's from Cole's Funny Picture Book No. 1, written and compiled by Edward William Cole (1st Published in 1879 in Melbourne, Australia)....

Ride a cock-horse to banbury-cross,
To see what Tommy can buy;
A penny white loaf, a penny white cake,
And a two-penny apple pie.
Ride a cock-horse to banbury-cross,
To see a young lady on a white horse,
Rings on her fingers, and bells on her toes,
And so she makes music wherever she goes.

Here's the version from An Alphabet of Old Friends (1874) by Walter Crane (it's recited in the 3rd mp3):

Ride a-cock horse to Banbury Cross,
To see an old woman get up on her horse;
Rings on her fingers and bells at her toes,
And so she makes music wherever she goes.

Here are two more versions from Boys and Girls Bookshelf; a Practical Plan of Character Building, Volume I (of 17), Fun and Thought for Little Folk (1912):

Ride A Cock-horse to Charing Cross

Ride a cock-horse to Charing Cross,
To see a young lady jump on a white horse;
With rings on her fingers, and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.

And:

Ride a Cock-horse to Shrewsbury-cross

Ride a cock-horse to Shrewsbury-cross,
To buy little Johnny a galloping horse;
It trots behind and it ambles before,
And Johnny shall ride till he can ride no more.

Ride a Cock-horse to Banbury Cross - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Comment After Song Image
Ride a Cock-horse to Banbury Cross - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World 1
Ride a Cock-horse to Banbury Cross - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World 2
Ride a Cock-horse to Banbury Cross - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World 3
Ride a Cock-horse to Banbury Cross - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World 4
Listen

As you can hear in the mp3's below there are many little variations of this song.

Download

Sung by Ruth Golding.

Download

2nd mp3 performed by 17 talented university student musicians who were sisters in the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity for Women at California State University-Stanislaus in 2007. The musical score the recording is based on comes from Our Old Nursery Rhymes (1911) arranged by Alfred Moffat.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

The first illustration comes from The National Nursery Book and the second one comes from Kate Greenaway's Mother Goose (1881). The 3rd illustration is from The Real Mother Goose (1916), illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright. The 4th illustration is from The Little Mother Goose (1912), illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith. The 5th illustration comes from An Alphabet of Old Friends (1874) by Walter Crane (with a little graphical editing by Mama Lisa). The 6th illustration is by H. Willebeck Le Mair from Our Old Nursery Rhymes (1911), arranged by Alfred Moffat.

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