Jack Be Nimble


Jack Be Nimble

"Jack Be Nimble" is a nursery rhyme. Suggestions about its origins are: it is related to a marriage ceremony; it celebrates the escapes of [http://www.rhymes.org.uk/jack_be_nimble.htm a pirate] ; or it is about a religious choice which could have led to burning at the stake.

Another tradition holds that the Jack be Nimble nursery rhyme refers to the Yellow Fever (also called the yellow jack fever), which was believed to be kept at bay by flames. Candles would be put at the bedsides of children to keep the fever away.

It is also suggested that "jumping over a candlestick" was a way of foretelling the future. If the candle stayed lit, good luck should follow, where as if he went out, bad luck would follow.

Traditional Version

:Jack be nimble,:Jack be quick,:Jack jump over the candlestick.

:Jack jumped high,:Jack jumped low,:Jack jumped over and burned his toe.

[http://www.zelo.com/family/nursery/nimble.asp Zelo.com] , [http://www.vtaide.com/png/ReadWeb/jack-b-nimble.htm Virtual Teacher Aide] and [http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=%22Jack+be+nimble%22+%22Jack+be+quick%22+candlestick+%22burned+his+toe%22&btnG=Search others] claim the second verse is traditional. Some others only include the first verse in the traditional version (see Alchin, L.K. [http://www.rhymes.org.uk/jack_be_nimble.htm Nursery Rhymes Lyrics and Origins] ).

Alternate Versions

There is an alternate version of the 2nd verse:If Jack had jumped a little lower:He wouldn't have caught his pants on fire

In urban culture, pants is sometimes replaced with "arse" Like this::If Jack had jumped a little higher,:He wouldn't have caught his arse on fire!

A modern reworking of the rhyme [http://www.nncc.org/Literacy/cc21_nurse.rhyme.html] is as follows::Jack be quick,:Jack jump over the candle stick.

:Jill be nimble,:Jump it too,:If Jack can do it, so can you.

Then there's the modern American version::Jack be nimble:Jack be quick:Jack jump over the candlestick:Asbestos pants

References in Popular Culture

*The lyrics of the Black Sabbath song " [http://black-sabbath.com/discog/dehumanizer.html#tvcrimes TV Crimes] " from the album "Dehumanizer" refer to the nursery rhyme twice. In the first refrain they are: "Jack is nimble, Jack is quick / Pick your pocket, turn a trick", while in the second: "Jack be nimble, Jack be slick / Take the money, get out quick".
*In the video game "", There is an NPC named Jakben Imbel.
*An episode of the TV Show "Profiler" names " Jack be nimble, Jack be quick ".
* Don McLean's song "American Pie" contains the lines "So come on Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack Flash sat on a candlestick cos the fire is the devil's only friend". This is a reference to the rhyme and to the Rolling Stones's song "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
*In the role-playing game Shadowrun, there is an encrypted file called JackBNimble.
* In the comic series Fables, Jack Be Nimble is an alias of the character Jack Horner.


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