Learn a Rhyme

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There Was A Crooked Man

There was a crooked man,
And he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence
Upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat,
Which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together
In a little crooked house.

This rhyme was first published in 1842

It is thought to refer to the Solemn League and Covenant which Charles I was forced to accept in 1643 and which gave new freedoms to Scotland. In the rhyme the Crooked stile is the border between England and Scotland while the crooked house means the relationship between the two countries that shared a common monarch.

It is also thought to refer to mental illness where the term crooked is used as a generic term for a range of emotional and mental states. Before modern times people with mental illnesses were often viewed as strange or crooked.