King John and the Bishop is an English folk-song dating back at least to the 16th century. It is catalogued in Child Ballads as number 45 and Roud Folk Song Index 302.
The song recounts the poor relationship between King John and the archbishop of Canterbury, but is also an example of a riddle-song. Francis James Child makes the comment that the roots of this ballad may be much older - perhaps going back to the sixth century, when riddling was a much stronger tradition in English poetry.
It is sufficiently old and widespread to have its own entry in the Aarne-Thompson classification system of fokltale classicifications, where it is classed as "AT 922". It is theoretically possible that it began as mythic folk tale, and was superimposed onto a story from history and then written as a song.
Other articles related to "king john and the bishop, john, king john and the":
... In 1728 the ballad opera "Penelope" by Thomas Cooke and John Mottley used the tune ... To the tune of King John and the Abbot of Canterbury.' A mythological ditty of fourteen verses, each ending with a derry down ... Gentleman" magazine published a song called "A Ballad of New Scotland", to be sung to the tune "King John and the Abbot of Canterbury" ...
Famous quotes containing the words king john, bishop, king and/or john:
“Thou hast brought him a pardon from good King John.”
—Unknown. King John and the Abbot of Canterbury (l. 108)
“The frowsy sponge boats keep coming in
with the obliging air of retrievers,”
—Elizabeth Bishop (19111979)
“... and the next summer she died in childbirth.
Thats all. Of course, there may be some sort of sequel but it is not known to me. In such cases instead of getting bogged down in guesswork, I repeat the words of the merry king in my favorite fairy tale: Which arrow flies for ever? The arrow that has hit its mark.”
—Vladimir Nabokov (18991977)
“Look Johnny, Spig just joined the Navy. Im married to it. I run the mess hall. I swab the deck. I chip the rust. Youre afraid that theyll kick Spig out of the Navy. Im afraid that they wont.”
—Frank Fenton, William Wister Haines, co-scenarist, and John Ford. Minne Wead (Maureen OHara)