Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Question from Sandra - Old rhyme about Henry VIII

Can anyone help me with this one. I remember from school part of a poem about Henry VIII it goes like this

"Bluff King Hal was full of beans, he married half a dozen queens, for 3 called Kate he cried the banns, 1 called Jane and a couple of Annes."

Can you help with the rest of the verses it goes on to describe all the wifes and what happened to them. I would love to get the rest of the words for my children as I think it is a great way to remember and help them with their history.


Anonymous said...

I found this by using the first line of the poem as a phrase for a Google search:

Bluff King Hal was full of beans
He married half a dozen queens
For three called Kate they cried the banns
And one called Jane, and a couple of Annes.

The first he asked to share his reign
Was Kate of Aragon, straight from Spain
But when his love for her was spent
He got a divorce, and out she went.

Anne Boleyn was his second wife.
He swore to cherish her all his life,
But seeing a third, he wished instead
He chopped off poor Anne Boleyn’s head.

He married the next afternoon
Jane Seymour, which was rather soon,
But after one year as his bride
She crept into her bed and died.

Anne of Cleves was number four.
Her portrait thrilled him to the core,
But when he met her face to face
Another royal divorce took place.

Catherine Howard, number five,
Billed and cooed to keep alive.
But one day Henry felt depressed,
The executioner did the rest.

Sixth and last was Catherine Parr
Sixth and last and luckiest far
For this time it was Henry who
Hopped the twig, and a good job too.

Anonymous said...

I remember parts of this poem from school but thought the teacher had made it up. No one else I met knew anything about it but I have always loved poetry and have found many poems by doing a Google search on a line or part of a line. It's wonderful to find them.

Anonymous said...

I've just seen 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. I assured my friend that Henry had 6 wives and started to recite this poem but couldn't remember the final verse. I Googled the first line of the poem and couldn't believe that someone else 'out there' also new this one - after all I'm 52! Thank you for filling in the gaps.


Anonymous said...

My son is just starting to learn about the Tudors at school & I too could only recall part of this poem.A tribute to my dear teacher Miss Lawson who taught me this when I was just 8 years old, it's lovely to see the whole poem, thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm reciting this poem for ESB- English Speaking board- test! I'm still in primary school. I was looking for a good poem with expression and this one is perfect! Thank- you!

Sarah said...

Thanks, the poem is great, and i will be sharing it with my Year 4 class next week. Anybody know who wrote it?


Anonymous said...

In 1955 our elementary school in
Holybourne, hants, England did a pageant solely based on this poem.
I was Catherine of Aragon - I still remember all the words, and all the fun we had. J.P.S.

PeterG said...

Hello Catherine of Aragon! What a surprise - I was "Bluff King Hal" in the pageant in Holybourne back in 1955. I've got a great picture of the pageant as well. Can you remember who all "my wives" were? Peter

Unknown said...

are you still seeking information about this? it comes from a book of poems about the English monarchs. I happen to own a copy. Let me know if you want to know more.

mamie.dail said...

posting by Deborah says she still has a copy of this book. Am trying to get a copy. Do you or anyone else know book title, copywrite info etc.? mamie.dail

Lara said...

It's still out there - the book is called "Kings and Queens" and the authors are Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon.

Unknown said...

thank you you actuarially found it your a life saver

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the rest of the poem about Henry V111 that begins as follows:

'When Hal was still a bachelor, he wed with Kitty Aragon and oh she was a paragon, this widow of his brother. Soon he grew a weary and looked out for another.

Next came Annie Bullen and she was even prettier and dressier and wittier but soon he grew a weary and looked out for another.

Next came Jinny Seymour .....'

Anonymous said...

The encyclopedia I consulted when, in high school, I wanted to get straight Henry's unusual love life, I found this succinct verse: "King Henry the Eighth to six wives was wedded: One, died, one survived, two divorced, and two beheaded." The long version is hilarious. If I had found it back then in 1948, I might have memorized it.

Anonymous said...

This is how I was taught to remember it in school:
Divorced, Beheaded, Died
Divorced, Beheaded, Survived

Anonymous said...

At Last ... I have now discovered the rest of the poem .. (Source: Sarasota Jnl 20Jul65 .. Wow!) I first heard this at the tender age 12 (and struck me then) at St Pius X School, Dickinson Road, Manchester - I am now nearing 60 and it has bugged me for years ... here it is:

When Hal was still a bachelor …

He wed with Kitty Aragon and, oh, she was a paragon, (This widow of his brother). He walked with her and talked with her and hunted and hawked with her ….

But soon he grew a-weary and he looked out for another

The next was Annie Bullen, and she was even prettier and dressier and wittier (He stole her from her Mother).

King Hal was overjoyed with her. He teased and he and toyed with her….
But soon he grew a-weary and he looked out for another

Jane Seymour was a country lass when Henry saw the sprightly maid
So slim and so lightly made, (Tho one’s same as tother).
To London her carried her, and courted her and married her
But soon he grew a-weary and he looked out for another

Came bouncing in was Flemish Anne and straight away he detested her, politely he requested her to run home to her Mother … He couldn’t stand the sight of her
The thickness and the height of her… A-weary not the word for it and he looked out for another

His last two wives were Katherines
The first was not the Best of ‘em
And went like all the rest of ‘em
From the smoke into the smother

The second as you doubtless know, survived the gallant husband tho
Although, of course, she wearied him,
He didn’t need another …

Lizi Q said...

Delighted to find this poem again, although when I first knew it it was a song which we sang at school in the 1950's. I remember the Eleanor Farjeon book about the Kings and queens of england - thanks to all who contributed bits of this research!

Anonymous said...

I am 57 and have had a fascination with Henry VIII since I was in 3rd class (age 8) , when our teacher, Miss Tebbut, read it to us. I could only ever remember the last verse with Henry hopping the twig and a good job too, I have been looking for it for years now. Thank you so much. Rhonda

Anonymous said...

I memorised this poem off by heart once!

Sandra said...

Hi, I'm Sandra, who originally was looking for this poem, I now work in a school and today was speaking to the History teacher about this poem, I completely forgot that I had asked the question here. Now I will go in on Monday with a copy for the History class. Thank you.

Unknown said...

I was taught this during elecution lessons when I was eight years old. My teacher, Miss Prest, was very formal, taught me public speaking and introduced us to Shakespeare. All rather overwhelming for an eight year old- I called them "execution" lessons at the time - but as an adult, I am so thankful for the skills I attained. I particularly loved this poem and am so glad I now have a complete version.

Unknown said...

Watching Bloody Tales of the Tower and suddenly the last verse of a poem from primary school popped into my head. Thank you to whoever posted the full poem. It must be 53 years since I heard it.

Unknown said...

Thank you. 53 years since I heard this. Been racking my brain to remember it

Unknown said...

Thats the opening lines to the brilliant new musical SIX on in London now 2019

ernie said...

Original poem is by the noteworthy Eleanor Farjeon.

Unknown said...

I am 76 and still remember parts of the poem from the Farjeon book about the Kings and Queens of England my father would read to me as a little girl on Long Island, New York in the 1950s. Many of the poems (William the second he had a red head is another that stayed with me!) are hilarious as well as being memorable and a good basis for later studying history. I am thrilled to find the complete poem here.

Anglo Italian said...

My dad gave me the book when I was five in 1964. By age six I knew all the dates of the 40 Kings & Queens and by two years later I had memorized most of the poems: "Considering Henry VI wasn't strong, it's very surprising he lasted so long...."; "King James the First had goggle eyes and drank more liquor than was wise...." I too recited Bluff King Hal at a school concert. I went on to create a talk "900 Years in 90 minutes" which I have given in various countries of the world, also behind the Iron Curtain. 90 minutes sprawled over to cover 41 and two half kings and queeens + the history of the future. And whatever the quiz, I am there, thanks to this wonderful Farjeon collection, to score points about the White Ship disaster, Lambert Simnel, Crookback Dick and Longshanks. Dad couldn't have given me a better present wnhich has added great colour and fun to my life!