Who Killed Cock Robin?

The children's nursery rhyme "Who Killed Cock Robin" is a traditional nursery rhyme. The earliest published form of the poem was in England in 1744, and some people believe it is actually a political poem about the downfall of Robert Walpole's government, which happened in 1742. This belief comes from the timing of the poem's first written publication and the fact that "Robin" was a common nickname for someone named Robert.

Who Killed Cock Robin?

Who killed Cock Robin?
"I," said the sparrow,
"With my litle bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin."

Who saw him die?
"I," said the fly,
"With my little eye,
I saw him die."

Who'll dig his grave?
"I," said the owl,
"With my spade and trowel
I'll dig the grave."

Who'll be the parson?
"I," said the rook,
"With my little book,
I'll be the parson."

Who will be chief mourner?
"I," said the dove,
"For I mourn my love,
I shall be chief mourner."

Who'll sing the psalm?
"I," said the thrush,
"As I sit in a bush.
I'll sing a psalm."

Who'll carry the coffin?
"I," said the kite,
"If it's not in the night,
I'll carry the coffin."

Who'll toll the bell?
"I," said the bull,
"Because I can pull,
I'll toll the bell."

All the birds of the air
Fell sighing and sobbing,
When the heard the bell toll
For poor Cock Robin.


  1. What other versions of this nursery rhyme can you locate? Compare different versions.
  2. YOU be the poet! Can you write and illustrate additional verses to the nursery rhyme? See how many of these animals you can add verses for loon, swan, dog, cat, jay, crow, deer. Here's an example we thought of:
      Who can weave the shroud?
      The spider came forth and bowed.
      My silk would make him proud.
      I shall weave the shroud.