Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark
DESCRIPTION: "Hark, hark, the dogs do bark, The beggars are coming to town, Some in rags, and some in jags, And one in a velvet gown."
EARLIEST DATE: 1844 (Halliwell)
KEYWORDS: dog animal begging clothes travel
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 140, "Hark, Hark" (1 text)
Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #84, pp. 84-85, "(Hark, hark, the dogs do bark)"
Jack-PopGoesTheWeasel, p. 55, "Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark" (1 text)
Dolby-OrangesAndLemons, p. 30, "Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark" (1 text)
NOTES [106 words]: Reportedly first found in the 1788 Tommy Thumb's Song-Book, but I have been unable to verify this.
One hypothesis is that the "beggars" referred to here are the followers of William III of Orange, hangers-on who showed up after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. If we want to give it a political context of a foreign monarch, though, I'd think George I (reigned 1714-1727) a better bet -- he was more foreign, and had a more useless company. Another hypothesis links it with the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the monks and nuns who lost their livelihood and were forced to beg. I can't claim to find any of this very convincing. - RBW
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