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"Rain, Rain, Go Away!" (2) PDF
Friday, 15 January 2010 15:20
 

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Rain rain go away,
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play;
Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again!

The history and origins of the lyrics to this version of the English nursery rhyme date back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) .....

 

The history and origins of the lyrics to this version of the English nursery rhyme date back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), one of the Tudor monarchs. During this period of English history there was constant rivalry between Spain and England culminating in the launch of the Spanish Armada in 1588. 

The Armada, led by Duke of Medina Sedonia, numbered over 130 galleons, while the English fleet, under Admiral Lord Howard, totalled just 34 small Navy vessels and 163 armed merchant ships. His second-in-command that day was Sir Francis Drake. The most famous (but probably apocryphal) anecdote about Drake and the Spanish Armada relates that, prior to the battle, he was playing a game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe. On being warned of the approach of the Spanish fleet, Drake is said to have remarked that there was plenty of time to finish the game and still beat the Spaniards. There is no known eyewitness account of this incident and the earliest retelling of it was printed 37 years later.
 
Whatever the truth, the great Spanish Armada was defeated. Only 65 Spanish galleons and just 10,000 men returned to Spain.
 
Truth is the attack by the Spanish Armada failed because of superior tactics, the swift nature of the smaller English ships and also because of the stormy weather which scattered the Armada fleet. Hence the origins of this version of the nursery rhyme.
 

Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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