Nursery Rhymes

When Good King Arthur ruled this Land

This nursery rhyme was first published in 1872. The legend of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, the Knights of the Round Table and the Kingdom of Camelot is well known by all. The existence of King Arthur has not been proved but his story has been passed from generation to generation. The Romans left Britain in 410AD and the period following this is referred to as the Dark Ages (a phrase coined during the Victorian era when statesmen were keen to express the belief that the fall of a Great Empire would result in a Dark Age). Britain, no longer subject to Roman rule, was divided into small kingdoms ruled by various chiefs or kings. It is possibly that the story of Camelot was introduced at the time the Britons were subjected to raids by both the Saxons and Vikings and the people would have longed for a strong leader to unite their country. Geoffrey of Monmouth, famous for his chronicles, wrote of King Arthur as did Sir Thomas Malory in Le Morte d'Arthur. The Nursery Rhyme has no connection to the legends of King Arthur!

The Knight's Code of Chivalry - Sir Thomas Mallory

  • To never do outrage nor murder
  • Always to flee treason
  • To by no means be cruel but to give mercy unto him who asks for mercy
  • To always do ladies, gentlewomen and widows succour
  • To never force ladies, gentlewomen or widows
  • Not to take up battles in wrongful quarrels for love or worldly goods

When Good King Arthur ruled this Land
Nursery Rhyme lyrics, origins and history

When good King Arthur ruled this land,
He was a goodly king;
He stole three pecks of barley-meal
To make a bag-pudding.

A bag-pudding the king did make,
And stuffed it well with plums;
And in it put great lumps of fat,
As big as my two thumbs.

The King and Queen did eat thereof,
And noblemen beside;
And what they could not eat that night,
The Queen next morning fried.

When Good King Arthur ruled this Land
Nursery Rhyme lyrics, origins and history

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