Original Version 1
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
Thesaurus Version 2
John and his sweetheart betook themselves onto a naturally raised area of land
To bring back a bucket of one of the four elements in medieval philosophy.
John toppled and fractured the top part of his head
And the young woman came headlong afterwards.
Thesaurus Version 3
The former king of England and his lover went to an elevated position of the earth’s surface not covered by water
To find the essence of life.
His Lordship was overthrown and split the government in the process
And his mistress was beheaded.
Thesaurus Version 4
The Crown and his junkie went where there was no life
In search of it.
The Supreme Power was unseated and divided the upper administration.
She who was particularly skilled was separated from her intentions.
Thesaurus Version 5
The government and its bureaucracy sought in desolation
God was disturbed and apportioned control
With experienced calculation.
“While the true origins of the rhyme are unknown there are several theories. As is common with nursery rhyme exegesis, complicated metaphors are often said to exist within the lyrics of Jack and Jill. Most explanations post-date the first publication of the rhyme and have no corroborating evidence. These include the suggestion by S. Baring-Gould in the 19th century that the events were a version of the story told in the 13th-century Prose Edda Gylfaginning written by Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson, who stated that in Norse mythology, Hjúki and Bil, brother and sister (respectively), were taken up from the earth by the moon (personified as the god Máni) as they were fetching water from the well called Byrgir, bearing on their shoulders the cask called Saegr and the pole called Simul. Around 1835 John Bellenden Ker suggested that Jack and Jill were two priests, and this was enlarged by Katherine Elwes in 1930 to indicate that Jack represented Cardinal Wolsey (c.1471–1530); and Jill was Bishop Tarbes, who negotiated the marriage of Mary Tudor to the French king in 1514.
It has also been suggested that the rhyme records the attempt by King Charles I to reform the taxes on liquid measures. He was blocked by Parliament, so subsequently ordered that the volume of a Jack (1/2 pint) be reduced, but the tax remained the same. This meant that he still received more tax, despite Parliament’s veto. Hence “Jack fell down and broke his crown” (many pint glasses in the UK still have a line marking the 1/2 pint level with a crown above it) “and Jill came tumbling after”. The reference to “Jill”, (actually a “gill”, or 1/4 pint) is said to reflect that the gill dropped in volume as a consequence.
The suggestion has also been made that Jack and Jill represent Louis XVI of France, who was deposed and beheaded in 1793 (lost his crown), and his Queen, Marie Antoinette (who came tumbling after), a theory made difficult by the fact that the earliest printing of the rhyme pre-dates those events. There is also a local belief that the rhyme records events in the village of Kilmersdon in Somerset in 1697. When a local spinster became pregnant, the putative father is said to have died from a rock fall and the woman died in childbirth soon after.”