Hickory Dickory Dock

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"Hickory Dickory Dock"
Hickety Dickety Dock 1 - WW Denslow - Project Gutenberg etext 18546.jpg
Illustration by William Wallace Denslow, from a 1901 Mother Goose collection
Nursery rhyme
Publishedc. 1744

"Hickory Dickory Dock" or "Hickety Dickety Dock" is a popular English language nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 6489.

Lyrics and music[edit]

Hickety Dickety Dock, illustrated by Denslow

The most common modern version is:

Hickory, dickory, dock.
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down,
Hickory, dickory, dock.[1]

Other variants include "down the mouse ran"[2] or "down the mouse run"[3] or "and down he ran" or "and down he run" in place of "the mouse ran down".


\new Staff <<
\clef treble \key d \major {
      \time 6/8 \partial 2.     
      \relative fis' {
	fis8 g a a b cis | d4.~ d4 a8 | fis8 g a a b cis | d4.~ d4 \bar"" \break
        a8 | d4 d8 cis4 cis8 | b4 b8 a4. | a8 b a g fis e | d4.~ d4. \bar"" \break
%\new Lyrics \lyricmode {
\layout { indent = #0 }
\midi { \tempo 4. = 63 }

Origins and meaning[edit]

The earliest recorded version of the rhyme is in Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book, published in London in about 1744, which uses the opening line: 'Hickere, Dickere Dock'.[1] The next recorded version in Mother Goose's Melody (c. 1765), uses 'Dickery, Dickery Dock'.[1]

The rhyme is thought by some commentators to have originated as a counting-out rhyme.[1] Westmorland shepherds in the nineteenth century used the numbers Hevera (8), Devera (9) and Dick (10) which are from the language Cumbric.[1]

The rhyme is thought to have been based on the astronomical clock at Exeter Cathedral. The clock has a small hole in the door below the face for the resident cat to hunt mice.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Opie, I.; Opie, P. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 185–186.
  2. ^ The American Mercury, Volume 77, p. 105
  3. ^ "Mother Goose's chimes, rhymes & melodies". H.B. Ashmead. c. 1861. Retrieved 14 November 2009.
  4. ^ Cathedral Cats. Richard Surman. HarperCollins. 2004