Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again.
When they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only halfway up,
They were neither up nor down.
It is said that this well known
'nursery rhyme' refers to the defeat of the Duke of York in
the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. This was just one of many battles
between the House of York and the House of Lancaster (Wars of
the Roses - the sign of the House of York was the white rose,
and that of the House of Lancaster was the red rose.
For more on the Wars of the Roses,
try sites such as