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Origins: Solomon Grundy

Promotional cover art for Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy #1, by Shane Davis. (DC Comics)

Solomon Grundy,
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday.
That was the end
Of Solomon Grundy.

First collected, as so many nursery rhymes are, in Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes of England in 1842, Solomon Grundy is likely to have been conceived as a method of teaching children the days of the week. The rhyme has not changed in the intervening 160 years.

It seems Solomon Grundy is a compelling character; the name was used for a zombie supervillain in DC Comics, first introduced as an adversary of the Green Lantern in 1944. The rhyme has also been used as in a number of popular music songs, either as a basis for adaptation or a direct quotation.

One response »

  1. What marks it as a rhyme collected during that period is the morbid fascination with death as part of the calendrical round. While the common conception of this round pivots around the idea of teaching the days of the week, people should take into account that folk rhymes generally performed multiple types of pedagogy. Unlike a teacher’s lesson plan, which in the positivist tradition, has an outlined objective, a piece of folk culture instructs on multiple levels.

    Reply

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