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Origins: Jack Sprat

Jack Sprat. Possibly.

Jack Spratt could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean,
And so between them both
They licked the platter clean.

This popular rhyme describing the symbiotic relatioship of the Spratt family first appears in Mother Goose’s Melody in 1765. It is probably based on a proverb that has fallen out of use:

Jack will eat not fat, and Jull doth love no leane.
Yet betwixt them both they lick the dishes cleane.

In 1888 Arm & Hammer introduced trade cards, one of which used a version of the rhyme.

Jack Spratt used in Arm & Hammer advertising. Late Victorian. USA.

It’s probably worth noting that The Spratt’s are one of the few happy marriages in nursery rhymes, where comic differences and supposed incompatibilities between the genders make are stock.

One response »

  1. Pingback: [Origins] Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater | TreasuryIslands

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