What are the lyrics for ‘London Bridge is falling down’?

Did you know the nursery rhyme 'London Bridge is falling down' dates back to the 17th century? Here are its famous lyrics

London Bridge is falling down lyrics

When was ‘London Bridge is falling down’ written?

It is unknown who wrote the nursery rhyme ‘London Bridge is falling down’ (also know as ‘My Fair Lady’)  but it is believed to dates back to the 17th century – if not earlier –  and was first printed in the mid -18th century. It is also a singing game where two children form an arch for the other children to pass through. When the children sing the last word the two forming the arch lower their arms to capture whoever is passing under.

Did London Bridge really fall down?

The origins of the rhyme are unknown but one theory is that it deals with the problem of building a bridge across the River Thames, while another explanation could be the supposed destruction of London Bridge by Olaf II in 1014 when the Vikings attacked.
It is also worth noting that until the mid-eighteenth century the Old London Bridge was the only way of crossing the River Thames in London, and therefore of vital importance.  Given the bridge was damaged in a major fire in 1633 it is not inconceivable that this song rose from its ashes.

What are the lyrics for ‘London Bridge is falling down’?

London Bridge is falling down
Falling down, falling down
London Bridge is falling down
My fair Lady
Build it up with iron bars
Iron bars, iron bars
Build it up with iron bars
My fair Lady
Iron bars will bend and break
Bend and break, bend and break
Iron bars will bend and break
My fair Lady
Build it up with gold and silver
Gold and silver, gold and silver
Build it up with gold and silver
My fair Lady
London Bridge is falling down
Falling down, falling down
London Bridge is falling down
My fair Lady

Silver and gold will be stolen away,
Stolen away, stolen away,
Silver and gold will be stolen away,
My fair Lady.

Set a man to watch all nigh,
Watch all night, watch all night,
Set a man to watch all night,
My fair Lady.

Suppose the man should fall asleep,
Fall asleep, fall asleep,
Suppose the man should fall asleep?
My fair Lady.

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Give him a pipe to smoke all night,
Smoke all night, smoke all night,
Give him a pipe to smoke all night,
My fair Lady.

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Top image by Walter Crane (1845–1915), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons