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Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey

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JUMP ROPE CHANTS
THREE SIX NINE


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GUEST,genie 18 Jul 02 - 04:51 PM
greg stephens 18 Jul 02 - 04:57 PM
DMcG 18 Jul 02 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Willa 18 Jul 02 - 05:04 PM
Jeanie 18 Jul 02 - 05:05 PM
beadie 18 Jul 02 - 05:06 PM
dorareever 18 Jul 02 - 05:08 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Jul 02 - 05:14 PM
Clinton Hammond 18 Jul 02 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Willa 18 Jul 02 - 05:20 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Jul 02 - 05:48 PM
greg stephens 18 Jul 02 - 05:50 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Jul 02 - 06:01 PM
GUEST 18 Jul 02 - 06:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jul 02 - 06:13 PM
GUEST 18 Jul 02 - 06:13 PM
greg stephens 18 Jul 02 - 06:17 PM
greg stephens 18 Jul 02 - 06:26 PM
Mudlark 18 Jul 02 - 06:34 PM
greg stephens 18 Jul 02 - 06:55 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Jul 02 - 07:39 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 18 Jul 02 - 07:44 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Jul 02 - 07:48 PM
greg stephens 18 Jul 02 - 08:12 PM
greg stephens 18 Jul 02 - 08:23 PM
GUEST 18 Jul 02 - 08:42 PM
greg stephens 18 Jul 02 - 08:48 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Jul 02 - 09:09 PM
greg stephens 18 Jul 02 - 09:16 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Jul 02 - 09:24 PM
greg stephens 18 Jul 02 - 09:28 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Jul 02 - 09:37 PM
greg stephens 18 Jul 02 - 09:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Jul 02 - 09:49 PM
masato sakurai 19 Jul 02 - 03:48 AM
Mark Cohen 19 Jul 02 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,Bagpuss 19 Jul 02 - 06:07 AM
greg stephens 19 Jul 02 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,Bagpuss 19 Jul 02 - 06:57 AM
greg stephens 19 Jul 02 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Bagpuss 19 Jul 02 - 07:06 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 19 Jul 02 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,Nerd 19 Jul 02 - 03:38 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 19 Jul 02 - 05:35 PM
GUEST 19 Jul 02 - 07:42 PM
masato sakurai 19 Jul 02 - 09:24 PM
GUEST 19 Jul 02 - 09:32 PM
Allan Dennehy 19 Jul 02 - 09:46 PM
masato sakurai 19 Jul 02 - 09:57 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 19 Jul 02 - 10:19 PM
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Subject: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,genie
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 04:51 PM

Asked in another thread's topic so here is a new one. I would like to know where Ring Around The Rosey came from?


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 04:57 PM

Can we have a text to start with?The common English child's rhyme is
Ring a ring a roses
A pocket full of posies
Atishoo atishoo
We'll all fall down

With a falling on the ground game to go with it.How does yours go?


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 05:02 PM

I've seen lots of explanations that it is based on the Black Death/Plague, and quite a lot saying this is rubbish! A verified history would be nice ....


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Willa
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 05:04 PM

And if that is the version you mean, it is said to refer to the plague "Atishoo atishoo We'll all fall down" being the symptoms and the result.The "pocket full of posies" would probably relate to the use of a pomander/nosegay of flowers, which was thought to be effective in warding off the germs.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Jeanie
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 05:05 PM

The alternative version to the common English one has "Ring around the rosey" instead of "Ring a ring of roses" and "Ashes, ashes" instead of "atishoo, atishoo". I heard it sung like this by an (American) talking doll.

I'm sure there will be lots about the origin of this song on earlier threads. My understanding is that it is all about the Plague: The "ring of roses" is the rash; the "pocket full of posies" is the nosegays that people carried around with them to fend off the foul smell of people suffering from the plague, and "atishoo... we all fall down" - their dying. Good cheerful subject matter for a children's song (as is often the case !)

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: beadie
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 05:06 PM

The story I heard was that it originated as a rhyme sung by children during the time of the Black Death.

"Ring around the Rosey" referred to the characteristic marks and redness of the skin eruptions that appeared on victims of the Bubonic Plague.

The "pocket full of posies" was linked to the practice of always carrying flowers on one's person (frequently close to the face) as a means to cover the stench of the dead and dying.

"Ashes, Ashes" related to the fact that dead victims were burned rather than buried.

"All fall down" was a rather fatalistic view of where it would all end . . . presumably with everyoine falling down dead.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: dorareever
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 05:08 PM

I guess it's about plague.Children songs are usually very gruesome so it really could be about that.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 05:14 PM

Just posted a verse to Historical Childrens Songs, from North Carolina Folklore. The tune for that one is the German "Hoch soll er Leben." Also Gomme, 1898 date for an American version. Nothing useful yet.
Birthday song (small children and young ladies are neuter in German).

"Hoch soll er (sie, es) leben,
Hoch soll er leben,

dreimal hoch!

Er lebe hoch,
Er lebe hoch,
Er lebe dreimal hoch!


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 05:14 PM

Ashes were also thought to ward off the plague for a while... and so were carried around in the pockets...

At least that's what I read in one book on the Black Death

;-)


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Willa
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 05:20 PM

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/3041/rosie.html has a good item on the origin of the rhyme


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 05:48 PM

"Ring around a Rosy- a reference to rosary beads ??

A version from Lomax and Lomax, 1939 Southern States Collecting Trip, from Wiergate, Texas:

Ring around a rosey, pocket full o' posies,
Light bread, Sweet bread, Squat!
Guess who she told me, tralalalala,
Mister Red was her lover, tralalalala,
If you love him, hug him!
If you hate him, stomp!

(Sec. 13, Merryville, LA and vicinity)


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 05:50 PM

The standars explanation is nice, but only a conjecture. But I believe it. Why not? Until someone comes up with a better theory.No historycan tell you the answer. Nobody made a note of what they meant when they wrote it.(Mind you, the bit of paper might just be lurking in that old box in your attic?).
By the by, the Great Plague of 1665 seems a lot more likely to methan the Black Death of the Middle Ages. I cant really see a rhyme lasting in that form as long as that. And the verse structure seems subjectively to me to have more 1660 than 1360 about it. (Having said that, "Summer is icumen in" sounds dead modern but is definitely medieval).
Agreed, we need Masato or Malcolm Douglas to chase up the earliest known date first, before getting carried away.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 06:01 PM

Greg's date of 17th Century is much more likely that the days of the Black Death.

Is there any trace of the rhyme before 1800? Here is where our English friends may come in with more information. The rhyme has also been related to smallpox epidemics, the ring around the rosy being application of make-up to cover up blemishes.
Somewhere in Google is a story with a tie-in to Shiva and Hindu mythology, but that one is too far-fetched to quote here.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 06:02 PM

The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes cites the earliest English language version as 1881. They note that 'would be origins finders' relate it to the Great Plague.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 06:13 PM

There've been other threads chasing this up - one of them ended up leaving me pretty confident that the Plague/Black Death idea is Victorian historical romanticism, but I couldn't find that one.

However by now, whatever the origins, it has fairly well taken on those connotations from its use in protests against mass murder weapons research and so forth. Maybe that's more important than the strict facts about the origins of the rhyme. Another aspect of the folk process. If we need it, we make it.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 06:13 PM

See this page too


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 06:17 PM

My dictionary gives 16th century as first appearance of the word "posy"....so the rhyme presumably dates from after that.(though an earlier form without the roses/posies rhyme could be predate it of course). It could easily have existed unrecorded from 1680-1880....much longer definitely seems unlikely to me. I665 wasn't the last plague either, just the last Big One.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 06:26 PM

I appreciate that the earliest recorded form of the rhyme doesnt have the "all fall down" stuff.But that does not have any particular value as evidence: it may iself have been a variant of an earlier form which did have "all fall down" or something similar.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Mudlark
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 06:34 PM

And isn't it a creepy thing to hear, sung in a certain kind of singsong way....


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 06:55 PM

Mudlark's point reinforces McGrath's wonderfully. It may not have been creepy in 1800, and we'll probably never know. But is most certainly creepy now.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 07:39 PM

Thanks, Guest, for the Mother Goose Society page.

A bit of a side issue: Most versions have the fall down or tumble down line. I quoted one from Louisiana, Lomax Coll., which has "squat." My wife, from Georgia, says it was always "squat" in her area. Is "squat" confined to the South or a part thereof, or is it more widespread?

Another thought. Has it ever been related to the burning of witches or heretics??


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 07:44 PM

British version A-tishoo! instead of Ashes! Suddenly it becomes obvious. It is a song about pollen allergy!


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 07:48 PM

No; it isn't old enough for that. It's quite easy to consult the Opie's Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (available in all good libraries), and it's a constant puzzle to me why people rarely bother to do so, preferring instead to repeat long-discredited Old Wives' Tales. First printed in Britain in 1881, but apparantly known in Massachusetts around 1790; where it had none of the later accretions which people nowadays imagine to refer to the Black Death.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 08:12 PM

Malcolm, you come down hard on lack of rigour in others concerning dates or origins of songs.On this occasion it is time to jump on you: you refer to "later accretions", ie lines which occur in an 1881 version but not in one from 1790. You know as well as I do that the fact that those lines do not appear in one version printed in 1790 has no bearing whatsover on whether they existed pre- 1790 or not.You may be right in your guess that they are later accretions, or you may be wrong. The fact that they don't appear in that 1790 version has no evidential weight one way or the other.
Say, by all means "In my opinion they are later accretions and my reasons are thus and thus". But you can't just state it as a fact. In my opinion, the 1790 and 1881 versions are from separate strands in the development of this rhyme, not two points along the same strand.

thus".


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 08:23 PM

I was a bit long-winded there.Put it more simply. Say I write out 3 verses of Dirty Old Town today, and Malcolm Douglas writes out the full four verse version tomorrow. According to his logic, his fourth verse would be a "later accretion". My position is that I would have forgotten the fourth verse.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 08:42 PM

Greg,

Your point is worth pursuing, and I've made a number of attempts to start threads discussing the issue.

All have been filled with crap, by people who prefer to 'hear/read' themselves (and their half-baked opinions) rather than doing a bit of basic research.

It's a complex question, certainly.

I would however imagine that the amount of nonsensical junk generated here is part of the reason that Malcolm prefers to discuss such question in more erudite company.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 08:48 PM

GUEST your point is worth pursuing too, but the fact is that Malcolm is indeed discussing it here, you and I have just read his contribution.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 09:09 PM

I'd certainly quarrel with Greg's argument (particularly the analogy!) though in essence it's a perfectly fair point, in answer to which I can only plead tiredness; I should have been more specific, and have paid for it now! Though a form of the rhyme is on record as having existed at the end of the 18th century, it appears at that time to have been a simple dancing game:
Ring a ring a rosie,
A bottle full of posie,
All the girls in our town,
Ring for little Josie
The Opies further comment
"The A-tishoo is notably absent here, as it is also in other versions [William Wells Newell, Games and Songs of American Children, 1883] gives, in which the players squat or stoop rather than fall down:

Round the ring of roses,
Pots full of posies,
The one who stoops last
Shall tell whom she loves best.

They go on to dismiss fairly comprehensively the "Black Death" myth, which appears to be a fanciful invention of the 20th century. I think I've quoted them on the subject here before, so there's no need to repeat it now. As I've said, the book is easily available. All of this doesn't prove, as Greg rightly points out, that sneezes and falling down did not occur in earlier versions; since, however, their first known appearance is of some 90 years after the first recorded forms of the rhyme, the balance of probability is that they are, as I said (though I should have suggested) later accretions. Whatever, there is no evidence of any kind that the rhyme is older than the 18th century, unless further material has been unearthed since the Opies wrote on the subject.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 09:16 PM

I take all your points Malcolm, and you're quite probably right. But you can't tar all your opponents with the Black Death brush...Great Plague is surely more commonly quoted. Anyway, I'm sorry to say I was just having a go at you for fun, because you don't half jump on people with your hob-nailed boots for sloppy arguments; and I noticed a little chink in your formidable armour!


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 09:24 PM

And you were quite right to do that; I expressed myself poorly that time. It's Doc Martens though, not hob-nails...


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 09:28 PM

And I admit that my analogy was a little specious. Though rather neatly constructed, don't you think?


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 09:37 PM

Not unless Ewan was 150 years or so old by the time he died! %>)


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 09:41 PM

go to bed, your brain's addled, Malolm. I'm off to curl up and read some history books.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Jul 02 - 09:49 PM

Go for it. I'm for a beer and a spot of television, I think. Talk to you soon (Great Plague permitting).


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: masato sakurai
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 03:48 AM

There have been some sites on this rhyme, in addition to the links above.

(1) "Ring around the Rosie" Mini-FAQ

(2) "Ring around the Rosie" Variations
This is a comprehensive duscussion.
(3) The AFU and Urban Legend Archive: Misc -- ring around the rosie
As urban legend.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 04:05 AM

Here's another thought. I haven't read the Opie book (not everyone has access to a good library, Malcolm, nor time to visit one during operating hours!) It seems to me, though (please correct me if I'm wrong, as it's late and I'm sleepy) that the argument put forth above goes something like this:
(1) "Ring Around a Rosy" can be found in an early form, which does not include elements like ashes and falling down.
(2) Those elements (ashes, etc.) are the ones that suggest to some people a reference to plague (let's leave the precise century open for now)
(3)Therefore, "Ring Around a Rosy" has nothing to do with plague.

It seems to me, though, that this argument is flawed. Isn't it possible that there is another song/poem which did refer to the Great Plague (or another one), and which then later became conflated with "Ring Around a Rosy"? If this were the case, then there would be some validity to the position that the rhyme as it exists today does in fact refer to plague.

Does this makes any sense to the scholars? Or to anyone? Or should I just go back to the beach?

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Bagpuss
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 06:07 AM

When we were little, there was a second verse, sung while sitting on the floor after "all fall down":

Down at the bottom of the deep blue sea
Catching fishies for my tea
By a one, by a two by a three

At the count of three everyone stood up and lifted the smaller children playing into the air.

Is this just a local thing (NE England), or did others have this ending too? Anyone know where it comes from/what it means?

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 06:17 AM

Undoubtedly one of the few relics left to us of the songs of the Atlantean civilisation.The 1,2,3 bit is certainly the date of the final destruction of Atlantis, possibly by the explosion of the volcanic island Santorini. Some have said the reference is to 123BC as the date of the explosion, but this seems unlikely as in 123 BC they didnt know it was 123BC as BC had not been invented. The most we can say with any certainty is that the explosion happened 123 years after(or possibly before) something or other else. Anything more would be conjecture at this stage.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Bagpuss
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 06:57 AM

LOL Greg.

However the Santorini eruption occurred in 1645BC.

Not just a saggy old cloth cat....


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 07:02 AM

OK so the Atlanteans counted their years from 1768 BC


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Bagpuss
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 07:06 AM

I wonder what happened in 1768 BC that was so significant to them that they started counting years. Maybe one of them had a premonition that there would be a catastrophic eruption in 123 years time, so they had better start counting so they would know when to expect it.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 07:07 AM

The article by Philip Hiscock (see Masato's third blue clicky) seems to make it an open-and-shut case (groan).


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 03:38 PM

The piece left out of the puzzle in the above posts is that the plague interpretation is itself not old. There is no old folk knowledge about a connection between the plague and this rhyme. The claim seems to have been made only in the mid twentieth century, if Philip Hiscock of memorial University Newfoundland is correct.

In the absence of any sort of old folk knowledge, we can reasonably ask what evidence the mid twentieth century originators of the plague idea had. First of all, the interpretation is based essentially on one variant instead of on the huge range of texts that exist. Second, it proposes meanings for some of the words (ashes referring to cremation, ring around the rosie referring to a rash on the cheek) which are clever but not compelling. Third, even if they were compelling, why a medieval plague and not a nineteenth century outbreak of some disease?

All this suggests to a folklorist (which I am) that the whole thing is a red herring. You have to assume that the one text being analyzed retained all the oldest features (for which there is no evidence), that this text contains cryptic refernces to disease (for which there is no evidence) and that this disease was a very old plague (for which there is no evidence). In the end, whether a folklorist believes a given interpretation or not is based on evidence, and there is just no evidence of any kind that this interpretation is correct, besides a clever correspondence between some meanings of some of the words and some of the features of some diseases.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 05:35 PM

The plague of 1665, mentioned by Greg Stephens and others, reminded me that Samuel Pepys, who lived through this time, best known for his diaries, was a ballad collector. His collection of over 1800 was left to Magdalene College (See Firth, Introduction to "An American Garland").

The thorough explanation by Philip Hiscock should be saved because the topic will undoubtedly come up again. I can't bring up any old threads today, but titles suggest that the subject has come up several times before.
I am intrigued by a song title in the DT, "Ring-Around-The-Rosy Rag," and look forward to reading the lyrics when the DT-Forum is functioning again.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 07:42 PM

Dicho, Samuel Pepys's entire collection of broadside ballads, those in the 5 bound volumes, and the loose scattered sheets, may be found indexed in the broadside ballad index at www.erols.com/olsonw. The ballads in Firth's 'An American Garland' are also indexed there, as are all but a few unreprinted and unindexed collections in BL.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: masato sakurai
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 09:24 PM

Another link:

(4) The "Real" Meaning of "Ring Around the Rosie"

The story of "Ring around the Rosie" and the Plague seems to be fairly widespread and diehard. A good number of websites contend or imply that there was a relationship (e.g., Black Death). Jack Maguire, in his Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato, and Ha, Ha, Ha: A Rulebook of Children's Games (Prentice Hall, 1990, p. 4), reiterates this origin theory (of course, without evidence):
One of the grimmest stories of the origin of a game now called Ring-Around-the-Rosy. The first line of this verse, originally "Ring-a-ring o' roses," refers to the circular body rash that was an early symptom of the Great Plague of London, 1665. The healthy attempted to thwart the disease by carrying herbs ("A pocket full of posies"). In the final stages of the disease, the victim would start sneezing violently ("A-tishoo! A-Tishoo!," later corrupted to "ashes! Ashes!"). Death followed quickly ("We all fall down").

It would be interesting to discuss it from another point of view: "Why and how was the plague theory born in spite of nonexistence of evidence?".

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 09:32 PM

Masato, facts and evidence are irrelevant to true believers, and true believers always have the most votes. They call those who hold to facts or evidence heretics.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Allan Dennehy
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 09:46 PM

Ring around the rosies As the light declines I remember Dublin city In the rare old times.

The Dubliners used to sing this , if I remember right. Im guessing that this song comes from the last century. The modern equivelant of the Black Death in Ireland up to 1950 was TB, by the way.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: masato sakurai
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 09:57 PM

Still another:

(5) Urban Legends Reference Palges - Language (Ring Around the Rosie)

I myself like this kind of interpretation (that is, the plague theory), whether or not it is based on facts or evidence.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jul 02 - 10:19 PM

A-tishoo is noted in 1883, according to Opie. Two years earlier, Greenway had published Hush! Hush! Hush! Her writings were very popular in both the British Isles and North America and Hush! would be expected there as well. When was Ashes! first noted? You suggest that it is the corruption of A-tishoo, which is possible, but this shift would have more likely taken place in England.
The interpretation of the rose tree and the circle of players as a rash seems a difficult jump; it could have been stated by a popular author or editor of a widely circulated paper or magazine. (Wasn't there a tendency for Late Victorian-Edwardian authors to make illogical jumps like that?). It seems to me that the shift to ashes! from hush or a-tishoo is more likely a "guided" one than one evolved by children.

My (unsupported) suggestion is that there is an author or editor in the woodpile, and we might be able to identify him. Children certainly(?) did not evolve the plague theory.


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