Nursery rhyme – “down by the river where the green grass grows…” Do you know of any other variations?

I first heard this rhyme while watching one of the episodes in series five (2003) of "Cold Feet", a Granada Television production in the UK. It occured when Adam Williams (James Nesbitt) takes his baby son Matthew to a parent and baby singing circle. The words (as I remember them) are as follows:

Down by the river where the green grass grows,

there sits XXX washing his clothes,

he sings, he sings, a song so sweet,

crying to his playmates up and down the street.

The song seemed to be intended for group singing; the same verse being sung repeatedly around the group like a game, using different group member’s names where the XXX is.

The reason why I remembered it, and still recall it now, is that’s it’s probably the most absurd rhyme I’ve ever heard – and because of that it’s also the most hilarious(!) The "Cold Feet" presentation of the song was all the more hilarious owing to the seriousness by which the group’s singing leader enforced the rules of this singing game.

3 Answers

  • Down by the river where the green grass grows

    There sits ___ sweet as a rose

    She sings, she sings, she she sings so sweet

    Along came __ and kissed her on the cheek.

    When I was a child we jumped rope to this rhyme,

  • Down by the river where the green grass grows

    There sits Mary washing her clothes

    She sings, she sings, she sings so sweet

    And calls her friends all up and down the street

    Susan O Susan please come to tea

    Come next Saturday at half past three

    Tea cakes, pancakes, all you see

    O won’t we have a happy time at half past three!

  • Down by the river where the green grasss grows, there sat xxxx pretty as a rose. Along came xxxx, kissed her on the cheek. How many kisses did she get that week? 1,2,3,4,5,………………

1 thought on “Nursery rhyme – “down by the river where the green grass grows…” Do you know of any other variations?”

  1. Down by the river where the green grass grows
    Where our _____ washes her clothes, she sang and she sang and she sang so sweet
    Calling to her sweetheart down the street, sweetheart, sweetheart will you marry me?
    Yes my darlin, half past 3
    Ice cakes and cream cakes all for tea
    We shall have a party at half past 3.

    My mum used to sing this to me and my brother when we were babies. Now she sings it to my daughter.

    Reply

Leave a Comment