The subject of this nursery was made famous in Daniel Defoe’s popular novel which was published in 1719. The full title of the novel was 'The Life and strange and surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe'.
The story is based on the the life and of Alexander Selkirk who had run away to sea in 1704 and left on an uninhabited island for five years.
A chapbook is "a small book or pamphlet containing poems, ballads, stories, or religious tracts". They originated as long ago as 1570 when they were cheap penny pamphlets, complete with pictures printed from woodcuts, which were sold at fairs to the common folk who were often illiterate. These Chapbooks contained Nursery Rhymes and ballads but the content and material of the Chapbooks expanded in the 1700's to include children's stories like Robinson Crusoe! So the Rhyme of 'Poor old Robinson Crusoe' brings us full circle!
The Chapbooks and the Nursery Rhyme