London Bridge - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

Matt Adamo wrote: "I just wanted to write to say that version of the above nursery rhyme is not the most well-known version. As a child, I never sang the first stanza as it is written, but rather "London bridge is falling down." Below is a transcript of what I believe to be the most common form of the poem, albeit in its full (long) form:


London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, Falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

Take a key and lock her up,
Lock her up, Lock her up.
Take a key and lock her up,
My fair lady.

How will we build it up,
Build it up, Build it up?
How will we build it up,
My fair lady?

Build it up with silver and gold,
Silver and gold, Silver and gold.
Build it up with silver and gold,
My fair lady.

Gold and silver I have none,
I have none, I have none.
Gold and silver I have none,
My fair lady.

Build it up with needles and pins,
Needles and pins, Needles and pins.
Build it up with needles and pins,
My fair lady.

Pins and needles bend and break,
Bend and break, Bend and break.
Pins and needles bend and break,
My fair lady.

Build it up with wood and clay,
Wood and clay, Wood and clay.
Build it up with wood and clay,
My fair lady.

Wood and clay will wash away,
Wash away, Wash away.
Wood and clay will wash away,
My fair lady.

Build it up with stone so strong,
Stone so strong, Stone so strong.
Build it up with stone so strong,
My fair lady.

Stone so strong will last so long,
Last so long, Last so long.
Stone so strong will last so long,
My fair lady.

*****

Here's a version I found in The Baby's Bouquet, A Fresh Bunch of Rhymes and Tunes by Walter Crane (1878):

1. London Bridge is broken down,
Dance over my Ladye Lea;
London Bridge is broken down:
With a gay ladye.

2. How shall we build it up again?
Dance over my Ladye Lea;
How shall we build it up again?
With a gay ladye.

3. Silver and gold will be stole away,
Dance over my Ladye Lea;
Silver and gold will be stole away:
With a gay ladye.

4. Iron and steel will bend and bow,
Dance over my Ladye Lea;
Iron and steel will bend and bow:
With a gay ladye.

5. Wood and clay will wash away,
Dance over my Ladye Lea;
Wood and clay will wash away:
With a gay ladye.

6. Build it up with stone so strong,
Dance over my Ladye Lea;
Huzza! 'twill last for ages long.
With a gay ladye.

Here's the version from The Real Mother Goose (1916), illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright:

London Bridge is broken down,
Dance over my Lady Lee;
London Bridge is broken down,
With a gay lady.

How shall we build it up again?
Dance over my Lady Lee;
How shall we build it up again?
With a gay lady.

Build it up with silver and gold,
Dance over my Lady Lee;
Build it up with silver and gold,
With a gay lady.

Silver and gold will be stole away,
Dance over my Lady Lee;
Silver and gold will be stole away,
With a gay lady.

Build it up with iron and steel,
Dance over my Lady Lee;
Build it up with iron and steel,
With a gay lady.

Iron and steel will bend and bow,
Dance over my Lady Lee;
Iron and steel will bend and bow,
With a gay lady.

Build it up with wood and clay,
Dance over my Lady Lee;
Build it up with wood and clay,
With a gay lady.

Wood and clay will wash away,
Dance over my Lady Lee;
Wood and clay will wash away,
With a gay lady.

Build it up with stone so strong,
Dance over my Lady Lee;
Huzza! 'twill last for ages long,
With a gay lady.

London Bridge - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Comment After Song Image
London Bridge - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World 1

Comments

The 1st illustration comes from The Baby's Bouquet, A Fresh Bunch of Rhymes and Tunes by Walter Crane (1878). The 2nd illustration comes from Early Britain by Alfred John Church (1889), it's the earliest known representation to exist of the Old London Bridge. The 3rd illustration is from Children's Singing Games (1894), collected and edited by Alice B. Gomme, illustrated by Winifred Smith.

Listen

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Many thanks to Brownie Troop 282 for singing London Bridge for us!

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Many thanks to Susan Pomerantz for playing the tune on the piano for us!

Sheet Music

Sheet Music - London Bridge

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Matt Adamo for contributing the second version of this song and to Monique Palomares for the midi tune to London Bridge.

Thanks so much!

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