Mary, Mary Quite Contrary Nursery Rhyme Lyrics, Video and Printable

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary is a traditional English nursery rhyme or children’s song that dates back to the 18th century. The song’s exact origin and meaning are somewhat debated, and it has various explanations and interpretations.

While some think it is simply a nonsense rhyme to entertain children, others think the song has a historical and political context. They suggest the rhyme may refer to Mary, Queen of Scots, or Mary I of England, both of whom had tumultuous reigns.

The “silver bells and cockleshells” might represent instruments of torture or punishments used during their reigns.

However, that interpretation isn’t universally accepted. Others think the song refers to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, while others think the song is simply about gardening.

All the different interpretations don’t stop it from being an enjoyable children’s song, though.

Lyrics for Mary Mary Quite Contrary

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Videos for Mary Mary Quite Contrary



Samantha Bellerose has a Bachelor of Education as well as a Diploma in Performing Arts. She is a mom to four children and is passionate about education and learning. Samantha created Nursery Rhyme Central as the go to place for parents, teachers and carers about all things to do with Nursery Rhymes. She is also the Main Author and creator for websites Dance Parent 101 and Move Dance Learn, where she shares her knowledge and expertise for dance and learning through movement.

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