London Bridge is Falling Down: the Song as Illustrated by Ed Emberley
Posted January 11, 2017on:
London Bridge is Falling Down (The Song and the Game illustrated by Ed Emberley)
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Ed Emberley
An Illustrated Rendition of the Song LONDON BRIDGE
Ed Emberley’s illustration of London Bridge was first published in 1967. I absolutely love the pictures he made for LONDON BRIDGE. The game that children play while singing the song is the focus of this book. Unlike Peter Spier’s illustration, the lyrics are not completely written out. And, these, like what happens with many nursery rhymes and folks songs, uses very much the same, but often different words. This rendition also uses fewer verses.
A wonderful thing about Ed Emberley’s illustrations is his sense of humor. His pictures are funny, and there are many jovial details here. For example the dog, the watchman smoking his pipe, the judge, and pictures of grownups playing the game are all whimsical and witty.
Ed Emberley gives some interesting background about the song on the inside flap of the cover:
Essay at the back of Emberley’s book which gives a brief history of London Bridge:
LYRICS FOR ED EMBERLEY’S ILLUSTRATION
Ed Emberley’s illustration focuses on the song’s playground game, so it has a different set of lyrics than Peter Spier’s illustration. Both illustrations are marvelous, full of detail and beautiful to look at. Peter Spier’s illustration (and lyrics) are more historically accurate. Definitely, Ed Emberley’s is more whimsical.
Here are the lyrics you can sing when playing the playground game. This book does not reprint the repeated phrases, so you’ll have to fill those in yourself as you move through the book. For the record, that is one one of my quabbles with the book. I wish they’d just gone ahead and printed the words as the words are to be sung.
LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN
Traditional Words and Tune (as they are printed in Ed Emberley’s illustration)
London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.
How shall we build it up again?
Build it up with wood and clay.
Wood and clay will wash away.
Build it up with iron bars.
Iron bars will bend and break.
Build it up with gold and silver.
Gold and silver will be stolen away.
Get a guard to watch all night.
Suppose the guard should fall asleep?
Get him a pipe to smoke all night.
Suppose the pipe should fall and break?
Get a dog to bark all night.
Suppose the dog should fall asleep?
Get a cock to crow all night.
Suppose the cock should fly away?
What has this poor prisoner done?
He broke my watch and sole my keys.
A hundred pounds will set him free.
A hundred pounds he has not got.
Then off to prison he must go,
He must go, he must go
Then off ot prison he must go,
My fair lady.
INSTRUCTIONS for how to play THE GAME
LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN, IN ILLUSTRATED SONG
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