“Tweedledum and Tweedledee” is a traditional English nursery rhyme dating back to the 18th century.
Originally Tweedledum and Tweedledee are two words invented by poet John Byrom in a satire depicting the rivalry of two great celebrities of the time, musicians George Frideric Handel and Giovanni Bononcini.
Some say, compar’d to Bononcini
That Mynheer Handel’s but a Ninny
Others aver, that he to Handel
Is scarcely fit to hold a Candle
Strange all this Difference should be
‘Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee!
Over the years they have become characters or nicknames that are synonymous with two people competing that imitate each other.
The rhyme was published in its present form only in 1805 in the collection “Original Ditties for the Nursery”.
“Tweedledum and Tweedledee” Lyrics
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.