# Jack Be Nimble
Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack jump over
# History and Meaning
The rhyme was first documented by James Halliwell-Phillipps, a 19th Century English Nursery Rhyme collector and literary scholar.
At that time people would jump over candle sticks as a fair-trick. It would be a sign of good luck to leap over the candle without putting it out.
There are also theories that the rhyme was based on an English pirate, 'Black Jack Smatt'. Black Jack was said to be able to escape from capture whenever under threat ('nimble' and 'quick'). He was said to have lived in late 16th Century Port Royal in Jamaica, originally arriving as a legitimate merchant trader but later crossing the line into piracy. There was a fine line for English pirates. Whilst publicly denouncing piracy the English crown would privately support or ignore attacks against England's enemies. Spain was shipping huge quantities of Gold back from 'the New World' and these made rich pickings for opportunists like Black Jack. Back in England, the public would have regarded these pirates more as heros than as villains, so rhymes and songs of their adventures were popular.