There is little known about Little Poly Flinders and its origins. The rhyme was popular in the earlier times as it had a moral lesson and suited the then societal norms. However, the changing scenarios put it out of the limelight. Kids these days sure don’t appreciate the ending of the rhyme.
The nursery rhyme appears to date back to 19th century England. While there isn’t any information about who wrote it and when, we have some interesting information to share. Go ahead and scroll down to get the lyrics and read the tidbits we gathered about Little Polly Flinders.
Little Polly Flinders
Sat among the cinders
Warming her pretty little toes!
Her mother came and caught her,
And whipped her little daughter,
For spoiling her nice new clothes.
Get the printable PDF with lyrics of the nursery rhyme by clicking here.
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Check out the animated video of the rhyme:
Here’s another video with the rhyme in a different melody:
Origins and History
The rhyme belongs to the 19th century and has been printed in quite a few collections since then. It is a simple rhyme in a single stanza and has six short lines. The rhyme talks about a little girl named Polly Flinders who sits near the cinders to stay warm. She ends up spoiling her dress in the process. Her mother comes to whip her for ruining new clothes.
The moral of the rhyme is that kids should be careful with new dresses and not spoil them with stains. It was a common practice to whip kids (beat with a stick) back in those days. Since it is frowned upon in the current times, the rhyme lost its significance and prominence.
While there is no evidence of the rhyme being based on a real/ known incident, it could have been something many people related to in those days.
An interesting tidbit here is the rhyme has a few similarities with the famous fairytale Cinderella. Cinderella got her name from being covered in cinder dust and was often abused by her stepmother and step-sisters in the story. Maybe Polly Flinders is another version of Cinderella or inspired by it? It could be just a coincidence too. Sadly, there’s no evidence to support the theory.
Yes, it does. The rhyme follows the same tune as Baa Baa Black Sheep but at a slightly faster pace. It has a rhyme scheme of AABCCB. The first line rhymes with the second, the third with the sixth, and the fourth with the fifth.
Well, it could have been. Brothers Richard Baylis and Merritt Baylis started Polly Flinders to sell children’s clothing in the 1950s. The brand ruled the market for three decades in the post-WWII market. The company started by selling clothes for little girls and might have chosen the rhyme for this purpose.