Skip to main content

Little-known 2nd verses of famous songs

By Stacy Conradt, Mental Floss
Kids rarely get beyond the first verse and chorus of many popular nursery rhymes.
Kids rarely get beyond the first verse and chorus of many popular nursery rhymes.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • There are some obscure lyrics to the children's songs we all know and love
  • "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" involves terrifying nightmares
  • After spelling out BINGO the dog's name, this song goes on about some fine ale
  • And after a girl drops a green and yellow basket, someone else takes it

(Mental Floss) -- Either I had a really short attention span as a kid and never made it past the first verse of a song -- which is entirely possible -- or there are some obscure lyrics to the songs we all know and love.

1. "The Teapot Song" goes on to further explain this little teapot character:

I'm a clever teapot,
Yes it's true
Here let me show you
What I can do
I can change my handle
And my spout
Just tip me over and pour me out!

2. "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" I'm impressed that a children's song contains the word "semaphore."

Do your ears hang high?
Do they reach up to the sky?
Do they droop when they are wet?
Do they stiffen when they're dry?
Can you semaphore your neighbour with a minimum of labour?
Do your ears hang high?

3. "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" involves terrifying nightmares:

Last night as I lay on my pillow
Last night as I lay on my bed
Last night as I lay on my pillow
I dreamed that my Bonnie was dead.

Mental Floss: 10 adult versions of children's songs

4. "Oh My Darling Clementine" I didn't know anything beyond the "Oh my darling" chorus, but there's a whole little tale that goes along with the tragic Clementine. There are a few variations. One of them goes like this:

In a cavern, in a canyon,
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner forty niner,
And his daughter Clementine
Light she was and like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine,
Wearing boxes, without topses,
Sandals were for Clementine.
Drove she ducklings to the water
Ev'ry morning just at nine,
Hit her foot against a splinter,
Fell into the foaming brine.
Ruby lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,
But, alas, I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine.
How I missed her! How I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine,
But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine.

5. "Bingo" The earliest recorded version from 1888 adds two verses after the one that spells out the famous farmer's dog's name. They went like this:

Thys Franklyn, syrs, he brewed goode ayle,
And he called it Rare good Styngo!
S, T, Y, N, G, O!
He call'd it Rare goode Styngo!
Nowe is notte thys a prettie song?
I thinke it is, bye Jyngo,
J wythe a Y -- N, G, O --
I sweare yt is, bye Jyngo!

Mental Floss: Look What the Dog Swallowed!

6. "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" just keeps going:

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.
In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveller in the dark, --
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

7. "Baa Baa Black Sheep" If you feel the need to deplete the rest of the barnyard denizens of their precious goods after you've taken the sheep's wool, you certainly can:

Cluck, cluck, red hen, have you any eggs?
Yes sir, yes sir, as many as your legs.
One for your breakfast and one for your lunch;
Come back tomorrow and I'll have another bunch.
Moo, moo brown cow, have you milk for me?
Yes sir, yes sir, as tasty as can be.
Churn it into butter, make it into cheese,
Freeze it into ice cream or drink it if you please.
Buzz, buzz busy bee, is your honey sweet?
Yes sir, yes sir, sweet enough to eat.
Honey on your muffin, honey on your cake,
Honey by the spoonful, as much as I can make.

8. "A Tisket, A Tasket" You probably know about the green and yellow basket, and you might remember that the person singing the song dropped it. After that, the sordid tale goes like this:

I dropped it, I dropped it
Yes, On the way I dropped it
A little girlie picked it up
And put it in her pocket
She was truckin' on down the avenue,
Without a single thing to do
She was peck-peck-peckin all around
When she spied it on the ground
She took it she took it
my little yellow basket
And if she doesn't bring it back
I think that I shall die
(Was it brown?) no, no,no, no,
(Was it red?) no, no,no, no,
(Was it blue?) no, no,no, no,
Just a little yellow basket

Mental Floss: 10 highly decorated animals