Do You Know the Muffin Man?: Sing-Along Song Video for Kids

Sing this classic rhyme at mealtime -- and it might make your little one hungry!

Sing this fun classic around mealtime—and it might make your little one hungry!

The rhyming song "Do You Know the Muffin Man?," sung by English children, dates back to the early 1800s at least, but the reputed first mention of muffin-men in literature comes from a passage in chapter 14 of Jane Austen's Persuasion (published in 1818). The passage reads:

"When Lady Russell, not long afterwards, was entering Bath on a wet afternoon, and driving through the long course of streets from the Old Bridge to Camden Place, amidst the dash of other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of newsmen, muffin-men, and milk-men, and the ceaseless clink of pattens, she made no complaint."

A couple of years later, around 1820, the lyrics to the now-familiar rhyme was published in a British manuscript:

Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man.
Do you know the muffin man, that lives in Drury Lane?

The rhyme soon became a question and answer song, with the ungrammatical "that" exchanged for "who":

Oh, do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man, who lives in Drury Lane?
Oh, yes, I know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man,
Yes, I know the muffin man, who lives in Drury Lane.

Some versions of the song substituted "Dorset Lane" for "Drury Lane," but the variant never became as popular.

By the mid 1800s, the song had spread from Britain to other countries, including the U.S. and the Netherlands. The Dutch version changed "muffin" to "mussel" and "Drury Lane" to "Scheveningen," the location of a bathing resort that dates back to 1818:

Zeg ken jij de mosselman, de mosselman, de mosselman
Zeg ken jij de mosselman, die woont in Scheveningen
Ja ik ken de mosselman, de mosselman, de mosselman
Ja ik ken de mosselman, die woont in Scheveningen
Samen kennen we de mosselman, de mosselman, de mosselman
Samen kennen we de mosselman, die woont in Scheveningen!

In the late 1880s, the rhyme segued into a counting singing game:

Singer 1 to singer 2:

Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man?
Do you know the muffin man, who lives on Drury Lane?

Singer 2 to singer 1:

Yes, I know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man;
Oh, yes, I know the muffin man, who lives on Drury Lane.

Singers 1 and 2 in unison:

Then two of us know the muffin man, the muffin man, etc.

Singer 2 to singer 3:

Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, etc.

...and round the song goes until all singers have been asked and answered in turn, with the final singer questioning the first, the first answering, and the whole group ending with:

So all of us know the muffin man, the muffin man, etc.

The rhyming song has been featured in many films as well as referenced in music and pop culture. It is still sung by children all over the world to this day.

Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation.

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1 Comment

  1. Yes i know, i watched this song on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x8lo8DxDCc


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