Dating back to the 16th century England “Little Boy Blue” is a traditional nursery rhyme, first published in 1744, in Tommy Thumb’s collection, the Little song book.
“Little Boy Bule” has a similar theme and origin as Little Bo Peep. One of the oldest references of Little Boy Blue lyrics can be found in the King Lear play by W. Shakespeare. Edgar appears disguisedly as Mad Tom and says:
“Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepheard?
Thy sheepe be in the corne;
And for one blast of thy minikin mouth
Thy sheepe shall take no harme”
The Little Bo Peep character was attributed to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, the arrogant son of an Ipswich rich man, who was a butcher. Wolsey was a very unpopular person among English people, nicknamed the “Boy Bachelor” after he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree at Oxford University at only 15 years old. He was quickly promoted in different positions, becoming one of the best employers in the King’s administrative and diplomatic services. He was also the creator of the imperious Hampton Court Palace, a medieval manor house until that time.
However this supposition was never confirmed with sufficient evidences. Old Mother Hubbard was also related to the character.
“Little Boy Blue” Lyrics
Little Boy Blue come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow the cow’s in the corn.
But where’s the boy who looks after the sheep?
He’s under a haystack fast asleep.
Will you wake him? No, not I – for if I do, he’s sure to cry.