Nursery rhymes are rarely as innocent as they seem—there is a wealth of concealed meaning in our familiar childhood verse. More than a century after Queen Victoria decided that children were better off without the full story, London librarian Roberts brings the truth to light. He traces the origins of the subtle phrases and antiquated references, revealing religious hatred, political subversion, and sexual innuendo. A history lesson that makes astonishing connections to contemporary popular culture, this book is for Anglophiles, parents, history buffs, and anyone who has ever wondered about the origins of rhymes. The book features a glossary of slang and historical terms, and silhouettes of Mother Goose characters to accompany the rhymes.—From publisher description.A history of the origins and meanings of nursery rhymes reveals the popular sport behind "Jack Be Nimble" and Humpty Dumpty's identity as a cannon mounted on the walls of a Colchester church.