'Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so betwixt the two of them
They licked the platter clean.'
The nursery rhyme was first published in 1639 during the reign of Charles I (1625-1649). It is believed that 'Jack' was actually Charles I.
When King Charles declared war on Spain in 1623 he asked the government to fund the war but they refused (he had no 'fat') and so, in a fit of anger, he dissolved parliament. His wife, Henrietta Maria, then imposed an illegal war tax (found plenty of fat) to fund the war and so, between them, they effectively 'cleaned up'.
|Jack Sprat and his Wife, from Mother Goose, The Original Volland Edition (1915)|