“Rub-a-dub-dub” is a Traditional nursery rhyme dating back to the late 18th century England.

The rhyme has many known versions and it was first recorded in 1798 in the “Christmas Box” collection, in London. In the original version as it appeared both in England and in the USA (Boston) the song was talking about three maids instead of three men.

Later research, according to The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1951) suggests that the lyrics are illustrating a scene of three reputable men watching on the sly a less decent moment.

“Rub-a-dub-dub” Lyrics

Original Version

Here is a version of the original song published in 1825 in Mother Goose’s Quarto (Melodies Complete):

Hey! rub-a-dub, ho! rub-a-dub, three maids in a tub,
And who do you think were there?
The butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker,
And all of them gone to the fair.

In the later printed versions of the song three maids were replaced with three men.

“Rub-a-dub-dub” Modern Lyrics

Below are the modern lyrics of song as known today.

(1)
Rub-a-dub-dub,
Three men in a tub,
And who do you think they were?
The butcher, the baker,
The candlestick-maker,
They all sailed out to sea,
‘Twas enough to make a man stare.

(2)
Rub-a-dub-dub,
Three men in a tub,
And who do you think they be?
The butcher, the baker,
The candlestick-maker,
All put out to sea.

Comments are closed.