Songs with Simon attacked the history of the Grand Old Duke of York with several questions in mind. Who was this duke and why was he so grand? Where did he learn the military tactic of marching his men up and down a hill? Was he too old to march with his men, preferring instead to occupy the middle ground of “neither up nor down”? Did he favour a particular hill or would any old mound or hummock do?
Our search, as is often the case with these ancient children songs, was met with silence, conjecture and debate. Songs with Simon now wonders if these questions are as futile as the duke’s actions within the song. Perhaps next time we can sing a song about the Unknown Young Milkmaid of Arabia who herded her cows to one side of the field and then herded them back again.
Or maybe you would like to suggest a similar song title?