When I am king, there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel all in one livery.—Shakespeare: 2 Henry VI. act iv. sc. 2 (1591).

Jack and Jill, said to be the Saxon and Norman stocks united. “Jack” is the Saxon John, and “Jill” the French Julienne.

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water;
Jack fell down and cracked his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
   —Nursery, Rhyme.

Or thus, by Samuel Wilberforce—

’Twas not on Alpine ice or snow,
But homely English soil;
“Excelsior!” their motto was;
They spared nor time nor toil;
They did not go for fame or wealth,
But went at duty’s call;
And tho’ united in their aim,
Were severed in their fall.

Jack and the Bean-Stalk. Jack was a very poor lad, sent by his mother to sell a cow, which he parted with to a butcher for a few beans. His mother, in her rage, threw the beans away; but one of them grew during the night as high as the heavens. Jack climbed the stalk, and, by the direction of a fairy, came to a giant’s castle, where he begged food and rest. This he did thrice, and in his three visits stole the giant’s red hen which laid golden eggs, his money-bags, and his harp. As he ran off with the last treasure, the harp cried out, “Master! master!” which woke the giant, who ran after Jack; but the nimble lad cut the bean-stalk with an axe, and the giant was killed in his fall.

(This is said to be an allegory of the Teutonic Al-fader: the “red hen” representing the all-producing sun, the “money-bags” the fertilizing rain, and the “harp” the winds.)

Jack-a-Lent, a kind of aunt Sally set up during Lent to be pitched at; hence a puppet, a sheepish booby, a boy-page, a scarecrow. Mrs. Page says to Robin, Falstaff’s page—

You little Jack-a-Lent, have you been true to us?—Shakespeare: Merry Wives of Windsor, act iii. sc. 3 (1603).

Jack-in-the-Green, one of the May-day mummers.

(Dr. Owen Pugh says that Jack-in-the-Green represents Melvas king of Somerset-shire, disguised in green boughs and lying in ambush for queen Guenever the wife of king Arthur, as she was returning from a hunting expedition.)

Jack of Newbery, John Winch-comb, the greatest clothier of the world in the reign of Henry VIII. He kept a hundred looms in his own house at Newbery, and equipped at his own expense a hundred of his men to aid the king against the Scotch in Flodden Field (1513).

(Thomas Delony published, in 1633, a tale so called.)

Jack Robinson. This famous comic song is by Hudson, tobacconist, No. 98, Shoe Lane, London, in the early part of the nineteenth century. The last line is, “And he was off before you could say ‘Jack Robinson.’ ” The tune to which the words are sung is the Sailors’ Horn-pipe. Halliwell quotes these two lines from an “old play”—

A warke it ys as easie to be doone
As ’tys to saye, Jacke! robys on.
   —Archaic Dictionary.

Jack Sprat, of nursery rhymes.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
His wife could eat no lean;
And so betwixt ’em both
They licked the platter clean.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.