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There Was An Old Woman
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do,
She gave them some broth, without any bread,
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.
This rhyme was first published in 1794
It is thought to refer to King George II who was often referred to as an 'old woman' because he was very much dominated by his wife. The children are members of parliament who have to be whipped to get bills through parliament. Even today political parties employ 'whips' who make sure that party members vote the way that the party wants.