Nursery Rhymes

There was a Little Guinea Pig

Secret Meaning!
The origins and lyrics of 'There was a little guinea-pig' like many old nursery rhymes have secret, hidden, meanings and allude to people and events in history. The references in 'There was a little guinea-pig' are believed to refer to the people in the Plantagenet court of King Richard III of England (Immortalised by William Shakespeare in the play Richard III.) To understand the meanings of this Nursery Rhyme we need to refer to the famous satirical rhyme by Colyngbourne:

"The Cat, the Rat and Lovell our Dog,
Rule all England under a Hog"

The Cat was Sir Thomas Catesby. The Rat was Sir William Ratcliffe of Ordsall Hall. The Dog was Francis, Lord Lovell (Lovell's emblem was a talbot, a now-extinct breed of hunting hound). The Hog was Richard III (his emblem was a white boar). The couplet refers to the fact that this hated trio of men enjoyed enormous power and influence in the reign of the equally disliked King Richard III. William Shakespeare discredited King Richard even further in his famous play. The nursery rhyme 'There was a little guinea-pig' provides an even more obscure reference to these men.

Our thanks go to James Lovell for his kind help with this page

There was a Little Guinea Pig
Nursery Rhyme lyrics, origins and history

There was a little guinea-pig,
Who, being little, was not big;
He always walked upon his feet,
And never fasted when he eat.

When from a place he run away,
He never at the place did stay;
And while he run, as I am told,
He ne'er stood still for young or old.

He often squeaked, and sometimes violent,
And when he squeaked he ne'er was silent.
Though ne'er instructed by a cat,
He knew a mouse was not a rat.

One day, as I am certified,
He took a whim and fairly died;
And as I am told by men of sense,
He never has been living since.

There was a Little Guinea Pig
Nursery Rhyme lyrics, origins and history

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