A ring, a ring o’ roses
- A ring, a ring o’ roses,
- A pocket full o’posies.
- Atishoo atishoo.
- We all fall down
- A ring, a ring o’ roses,
- A pocketful of posies.
- Ashes, ashes.
- We all fall down.
I am are sure every one of us must have joined hands together with our friends and turned around in circles singing this popular nursery rhyme – Ring a Ring o’ Roses. Children have been singing A Ring, a Ring o’ Roses since 1881 when the first version was printed.
It is often suggested that the rhyme relates to the symptoms of the great plague, which happened in England in 1665 or with earlier outbreaks of the Black Death in England.
A rosy rash, they allege, was a symptom of the plague, posies of herbs were carried as protection and to ward off the smell of the disease. Sneezing or coughing was a final fatal symptom, and ‘all fall down’ was exactly what happened.
The line Ashes, Ashes in alternative versions of the rhyme is claimed to refer variously to cremation of the bodies.
- Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
- Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
- All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
- Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Humpty Dumpty is a character in an English nursery rhyme, probably originally a riddle and one of the best known in the English-speaking world. He is typically portrayed as an egg and has appeared or been referred to in a large number of works of literature and popular culture.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term “humpty dumpty” referred to a drink of brandy boiled with ale in the seventeenth century. The riddle probably exploited, for misdirection, the fact that “humpty dumpty” was also eighteenth-century repeated slang for a short and clumsy person. The riddle may depend on the assumption that, whereas a clumsy person falling off a wall might not be irreparably damaged, an egg would be. The rhyme is no longer posed as a riddle, since the answer is now so well known.
Baa Baa Black Sheep
- Baa, baa, black sheep,
- Have you any wool?
- Yes sir, yes sir,
- Three bags full.
- One for my master,
- One for my dame,
- And one for the little boy
- Who lives down the lane.
This rhyme from the middle ages tells of the problems farmers had when much of the land inEngland was used purely for the rearing of sheep. The boy in the rhyme most probably represented the general population who were left with whatever money was remaining after the King (the master) and the Dame (the wool merchants) had taken their ‘share’.
Hey Diddle Diddle
- Hey diddle diddle,
- The cat and the fiddle,
- The cow jumped over the moon,
- The little dog laughed to see such sport,
- To which the dish ran away with the spoon.
Hey diddle diddle is a fantasy rhyme designed to delight children with impossible images such “the Cow jumped over the Moon”!
Hey Diddle Diddle is thought to have originated during Elizabethan times as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth I and her love of dancing and music. Queen Elizabeth is represented by the cat and the fiddle represented her enjoyment of the music played on this instrument.
The original title was known as ‘High Diddle Diddle’ but has been changed to ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’ during the course of time.
There are many versions of these nursery rhymes in all languages? What are your favourites?
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