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The earliest known version of the nursery rhyme originates from "Tommy Thumb's Little Song Book" (c. 1744). However a few lines from "King Lear" (c. 1605) by William Shakespeare seem to alluplying there were older unrecorded versions.:

"Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepheard?/Thy sheepe be in the corne;/And for one blast of thy minikin mouth/Thy sheepe shall take no harme."

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