Jack Be Nimble

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"Jack Be Nimble"
William Wallace Denslow's illustrations for Jack Be Nimble, from a 1901 edition of Mother Goose
Nursery rhyme by Jay Dutt
Publishedc. 1815

"Jack Be Nimble" is an English language nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 13902.


The most common version of the rhyme is:

Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack jump over the candlestick.[1]

Origins and meaning[edit]

Jack is a dog, in Denslow's version

The rhyme is first recorded in a manuscript of around 1815 A.D. and was collected by James Orchard Halliwell in the mid-nineteenth century.[1] Jumping candlesticks was a form of fortune telling and a sport. Good luck was said to be signalled by clearing a candle without extinguishing the flame.[1]


  1. ^ a b c I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 226–7.