Hey, Diddle, Diddle

Hey, Diddle, Diddle

 by Mother Goose

Hey, diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Summary of Hey, Diddle, Diddle

  • Popularity of “Hey, Diddle, Diddle”: This short poem was written by Mother Goose, a famous imaginary author of French fairy tales and many famous nursery rhymes. It was first published in 1587. This poem is famous nursery rhyme of English literature about innocent animals playing. The poem comprises a fantasy rhyme that has been designed to please children with highly effective imaginary visuals. For example, ‘jumping on the moon’ is taken literally and also means the cow was very excited. The poem is famous even after so many years of publication and is still read and taught in different pre-school syllabuses across the globe.
  • “Hey, Diddle, Diddle” As a Representative of Wonder: This poem is written to amuse the young minds. Although the content of the poem is childish, yet the powerful imagery has made it a treat to read. The writer has introduced many characters in this short poem such as a cat playing a fiddle, a dish running away with the spoon. The comparisons used in the poem do not make any literal sense. However, it has been interpreted in several ways. According to some, it was written to capture the 16th century’s dark relationship between Queen Elizabeth, Lady Katherine Grey, and her relationships with Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford and Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. Some others believe that the poem captures the glimpses of certain nights when many constellations seem close to the moon.
  • Major Themes in “Hey, Diddle, Diddle”: Wonder and surprise are the major themes of this poem. The poet has intentionally inserted unique imagery to incite happiness in young minds. Though it is impossible for a cow to jump over the moon and for a dish to run away with the spoon, yet their appropriate use makes the children laugh at these strange happenings.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “Hey, Diddle, Diddle,”

Literary devices are tools that enable the writers to present their ideas, emotions, and feelings, using persuasive language. Mother Goose has also used some literary devices in this poem to make it catchy for children. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been given below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of the vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /i/ in “Hey, diddle, diddle” and the sound of /a/ in “The cat and the fiddle”.
  2. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /l/ in “Hey, diddle, diddle”.
  3. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “The cow jumped over the moon”; “The little dog laughed” and “And the dish ran away with the spoon”.
  4. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to inanimate objects. For example, “The little dog laughed” and “And the dish ran away with the spoon.” It seems as if the dog and the dish are humans that can perform a certain action.
  5. Hyperbole: Hyperbole is a figure of speech in which a writer exaggerates. For example, “The cow jumped over the moon” in which a cow does not really jump over the moon. Therefore, it is hyperbole.
  6. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought or clause that does not come to an end at a line break; instead, it moves over the next line. For example,

“The little dog laughed
To see such sport.”

Analysis of Poetic Devices in “Hey, Diddle, Diddle,”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem

  • Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There is only one stanza in this poem comprises of six lines.
  • Sestet: A sestet is a six-lined stanza or the last six lines of a sonnet. There is only one sestet in this poem.
  • Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows AABCDE rhyme scheme.
  • End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. For example, “fiddle/diddle” and “moon/spoon.”

Quotes to be Used

1. The above-stated lines can be used while teaching phonics to the children. The repetition of /t/ and /d/ in the given lines would help them understand the correct pronunciation of the sounds.

“Hey, diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed.”

2. The lines stated below can be used to describe the playful activities of a dog.

“The little dog laughed
To see such sport.”