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Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey

DigiTrad:
JUMP ROPE CHANTS
THREE SIX NINE


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McGrath of Harlow 16 Nov 02 - 05:16 PM
greg stephens 16 Nov 02 - 05:53 PM
Hester 16 Nov 02 - 07:45 PM
toadfrog 16 Nov 02 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,adavis@truman.edu 16 Nov 02 - 08:46 PM
greg stephens 16 Nov 02 - 09:03 PM
masato sakurai 16 Nov 02 - 09:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Nov 02 - 10:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Nov 02 - 10:02 PM
GUEST,Q 16 Nov 02 - 10:31 PM
lady penelope 17 Nov 02 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,adavis@truman.edu 17 Nov 02 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Q 17 Nov 02 - 12:22 PM
lady penelope 17 Nov 02 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,adavis@truman.edu 17 Nov 02 - 03:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Nov 02 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Q 17 Nov 02 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,jonilog 18 Nov 02 - 05:53 AM
Declan 18 Nov 02 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,Q 18 Nov 02 - 12:21 PM
masato sakurai 28 Jan 03 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,Mad cow 02 Mar 04 - 01:05 AM
GUEST 03 Jul 04 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,the skin trader 19 Jul 04 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,Icehotchik771@yahoo.com 01 Aug 04 - 03:57 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Aug 04 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,chrisnlisa03 27 Aug 04 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,MMario 27 Aug 04 - 11:43 AM
Nerd 27 Aug 04 - 11:45 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Aug 04 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,the unknown 20 Sep 04 - 09:16 AM
Nerd 20 Sep 04 - 02:30 PM
masato sakurai 05 Oct 04 - 01:50 AM
GUEST,claudiakeel@earthlink.net 30 Oct 04 - 09:46 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Oct 04 - 11:21 PM
Malcolm Douglas 31 Oct 04 - 01:22 AM
GUEST 01 Nov 04 - 08:15 PM
MMario 02 Nov 04 - 11:02 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Nov 04 - 11:52 AM
GUEST 20 Nov 04 - 11:34 PM
GUEST,Sher 08 Dec 04 - 08:31 PM
GUEST,Di 11 Jan 05 - 10:02 PM
GUEST,Not High 12 Jan 05 - 12:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Jan 05 - 01:20 PM
The Unicorn Man 12 Jan 05 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,MMario 12 Jan 05 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Lighter at work 12 Jan 05 - 05:33 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Jan 05 - 05:34 PM
Malcolm Douglas 12 Jan 05 - 08:15 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Jan 05 - 08:57 PM
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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 05:16 PM

We've had a reference to Pete St John's Rare Old Times, which quotes the children's song that this thread is about. Here is a related thread about an earlier another song that does the same - East Side, West Side. And I'm sure some version of that must have been in Pete St John's mind when he wrote the Dublin song.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 05:53 PM

This threed is fascinating reading, the confusion of evidence, supposition and prejudice that occurs with most folklore discussion: always a problem when discussing things which by their nature dont tend to be documented till well after their creation(evolution). The thing that bedvils this particular discussion is the idea that a new or recent theory must be wrong because of its newness. This is presumably a leakage from the folky part of some peoples brains into the scientific part. Some sort of subconscious feeling " I prefer old songs, so perhaps I shouldn't like new ideas". Probably many contributors, of whom Malolm Douglas is the obvious example, have no particular objection to Newton nailing gravity in the 1600's, even though gravity had been knocking around for a good while before he explained it. So why should anybody be hostile to a theory just because it can only dated to the 20th century. It may be wrong, it may be right, but its newness is no argument against it. That can be settled by evidence, or in the absence of evidence it can be left as an intriguing idea.
What is interesting is the active hostility of certain posters, purely, as far as I can see, beacuse it is new.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Hester
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 07:45 PM

Masato mentioned the village of Eyam. If anyone's interested, there is a recent novel based on the plague outbreak in Eyam in the 17th century:

Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks

Cheers, Hester


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: toadfrog
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 08:25 PM

Greg: You may be right, but I can't really tell what it is you are saying. I think the objection to the "plague" theory is not that it is new, but that there is no evidence to support it. No one has yet pointed to such evidence. It sure does sound like an urban legend. That is, it seems to tell one more about the people who propound it than about the subjet nursery rhyme. Like Malcom, I see no particular advantage in preserving urban legends.

1. Do I misunderstand you? Are you saying the "plague" theory is "intriguing"? If so, why?
2. Am I wrong?
3. If the answer to (2) is other than unconditional negagive, why?


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,adavis@truman.edu
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 08:46 PM

Just started Norman Cantor's book on the Plague, and he blithely tosses out the Ring-Around-the-Rosy thing on page 1. He's a good scholar, and ought to know better. Has anybody mentioned that the bubonic plague isn't characterized by rosy spots, ringed or otherwise? But there are these really memorable grapefruit-sized swellings in the armpits, neck and groin that turn black, burst and discharge gangrenous gook. That's just before the end. You'd think the kiddiwids might've noticed THAT if they were of a mind to work up a little ditty on the subject...


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 09:03 PM

Toadfrog what i was trying to say (and not putting it very well) is that the age of the theory has no relevance to whether it is true or not.Whether it was first suggested in 1720 or 1920 doesnt matter. I think in this(and in other threads I have seen) people get confused between discussing evidence, and other irrelvant points. I dont think the theory is true, neither do I think it's false. It's plausible, and it's intersting, and it's amusing. It could have been perfectly true in 1666, but nobody wrote it down at the time, and then the explanation wasnt thought of for 300 years.
   But I entirely agree nobody is entitled to quote it as a fact.
Take an example:
The Rat the Cat and Lovell the Dog
Ruled all England under a Hog.
Now we know what that means, and people have always known what it means becaues it was documented at the time. But say somebody found it for the first time in a manuscript now, or heard somebody say it.. Some clever person would eventually figure out what it meant. And in no time Mudcatters would be attacking the theory of its meaning, because it was a recent explanation.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: masato sakurai
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 09:39 PM

It is always difficult or often impossible to document what never happened or existed.
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 10:00 PM

"I see no particular advantage in preserving urban legends."



Urban legends are very vibrant aspect of current folklore. And they reflect real patterns of fears and of social preoccupations.

Surely the point here isn't that the link between the song and the plague is recent, but that the evidence so far isn't there. And it seems highly unlikely that the kind of evidence that would be required is going to turn up, because it's the kind if stuff that gets recorded. It could of course - some diary or letter in which someone talked about listening to some children playing, or a sermon about the fragility of life in face of the plague, quoting the rhyme... But nothing has turned up so far.

Until and unless it does, it's pure speculation, based on a sense of what sounds right poetically, which doesn't mean it might not be true, but certainly doesn't mean it is true either.

However, as has been mentioned, this suggestion has become current to such an extent that it colours how we hear the rhyme nowadays. I suppose that's what calling it an urban legend means. And as an urban legend, or something analogous to that, it has its own enduring strength, irrespective of whether it actually coincides with historical truth.

It rings a bell with us, because we are aware of the sense in which children playing are playing in the imagined presence of death and devastation. And that is an echo of the century we have gone through, with its wars and genocide, and the nuclear threat hanging over us - and it continues, changing, but never letting up. So the song has somehow come to relate to our own Plague time.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 10:02 PM

"I see no particular advantage in preserving urban legends."

Urban legends are very vibrant aspect of current folklore. And they reflect real patterns of fears and of social preoccupations.

Surely the point here isn't that the link between the song and the plague is recent, but that the evidence so far isn't there. And it seems highly unlikely that the kind of evidence that would be required is going to turn up, because it's not the kind of stuff that gets recorded. It could, of course, justvpossibly - some diary or letter in which someone talked about listening to some children playing, or a sermon about the fragility of life in face of the plague, quoting the rhyme... But nothing has turned up so far.

Until and unless it does, it's pure speculation, based on a sense of what sounds right poetically, which doesn't mean it might not be true, but certainly doesn't mean it is true either.

However, as has been mentioned, this suggestion has become current to such an extent that it colours how we hear the rhyme nowadays. I suppose that's what calling it an urban legend means. And as an urban legend, or something analogous to that, it has its own enduring strength, irrespective of whether it actually coincides with historical truth.

It rings a bell with us, because we are aware of the sense in which children playing are playing in the imagined presence of death and devastation. And that is an echo of the century we have gone through, with its wars and genocide, and the nuclear threat hanging over us - and it continues, changing, but never letting up. So the song has somehow come to relate to our own Plague time.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 10:31 PM

Found in a manuscript? Mss. can be dated by paper, inks, and provenance- not closely, but the gap here would be from the 17th to the 19th century at the least. The 1790 American date is suspect.
Now I have some interesting new interpretations:

Story of an ancient Paul Revere. Through the folk process his exploit has been condensed into one night. He dallied with the queen in the hanging gardens and had to make a getaway because the king discovered him.

How many miles to Babylon?
Threescore miles and ten.
Can I get there by candlelight?
Yes, and back again.
If your heels are nimble and light,
You may get there by candlelight.

This one is certainly dates from about 50AD. The apostles are leaving to spread the gospels, and the crys by early Christians, "Will ye no come back again?" are heard throughout the land.
A graffito of a fly in flight on a Judean wall is evidence of the antiquity of this little plea.

Fly away, Peter!
Fly away, Paul!
Come back Peter,
Come back Paul.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: lady penelope
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 11:53 AM

It seems we've come to what I call the "English literature exam question" problem. For example, a question in an English exam will quite commonly start along these lines...

"What did Shakespear mean when Mark Anthony declares "There is beggery in the love that can be reckoned...." ?"

I always had a problem with these questions, because there is no real way I can find out what Shakespeare meant by anything he wrote. He's been dead 400 years.

I can make a lot of educated guesses, but when you get to the nitty gritty, no one will ever know what he meant for sure.

Similarly, regardless of any evidence for or against "Ring a ring o' roses" being linked to the "Great plague" we will never be able to nail down when the rhyme even appeared let alone if it was actually connected to any event in history.

I say, either keep an open mind or agree to differ. We can't do much about it either way. : )

TTFN M'Lady P.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,adavis@truman.edu
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 12:18 PM

Lady Penelope's view is clearly reasonable, especially on questions like this one, where we've been over the ground pretty thoroughly. But I sometimes see that gesture used for hidden purposes in argumentation (which, in my field, is how we find things out as well as just plain fun). It may be used to avoid conceding defeat where there's a very important point of fact at stake (extreme example: holocaust deniers; doesn't apply here). Or it may cut off a discussion where the true/not true issue isn't going to be brought to conclusion, but a preponderance-of-evidence decision is possible. And argument of this type is how we learn rules of evidence anyway (Ong wrote that up until the twentieth century, advanced study in just about every subject consisted of arguing).


Adam


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 12:22 PM

"One that promist naught but beggary, and poore lookes" (Shakespeare).
Beggary means extreme poverty, lack of content. In the other statement, Marc meant that love that can be circumscribed doesn't mean much. Perfectly (in the current sense of completely) understandable!
(Just sign me Teach)


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: lady penelope
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 12:29 PM

So you've met Shakespear and asked him about this, eh Q ?

The argument, in general, on this thread had started to go round in circles. Contradiction is not argument, there seemed to be no further progression or introduction of new points. If that rocks your world Adam, have a nice day.

Lady P.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,adavis@truman.edu
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 03:44 PM

No disagreement with you, Lady P, just a reflection on how agree-to-disagree is used in other topics, for other purposes. The point was about argumentation, not about the argument at hand. And I wish you a nice day in return.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 04:01 PM

"There is beggery in the love that can be reckoned...."

I'd say his handwriting let him down again, and what he actually wrote was

"There is bugger all in the love that can be reckoned...."


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 04:45 PM

Oh, my yes, Lady Penelope, we played shove ha'penny in many a tavern. "I wuz borned 'bout ten thousand yars ago!"
(Wasn't that said earlier by someone in this thread?) Yes, not much more to be said unless something new turns up.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,jonilog
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 05:53 AM

The version of the rhyme common in Motherwell, Scotland was:
Ring a ring a Roses a cup a cup o' shell
The dogs away tae Hamilton tae buy a new bell
If ye cannae tak it I'll tak it tae mysel
A ring a ring a rosies a cup a cup o' shell

Don't ask me what it means ,I haven't a clue either. Its also the version my wife remembers from her childhood. We probably never heard the well known version till the introduction of television in the fifties.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Declan
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 10:59 AM

Lady P,

Surely thats what ring a ring a rosie is all about. Going around in circles until we all fall down !


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 12:21 PM

jonilog, only thing I can think of are the left over shells of peas, husks or some such. Shells of clams, etc.? Of course childrens rhymes needn't make sense, only rhyme.
Any more variations out there waiting to be collected?


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: masato sakurai
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 07:24 AM

This song (of course, only a part of it) seems to be based on the rhyme (from the Levy collection):

Title: I'll Make a Ring Around Rosie. Song.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Words by William Jerome. Music by Jean Schwartz.
Jean Schwartz Publication: New York: Jerome H. Remick & Co., 1910.
Form of Composition: strophic with chorus
Instrumentation: piano and voice
First Line: Rosie, Rosie, she thinks a lot of me
First Line of Chorus: I'll make a ring around Rosie, I'll make a ring around Rose


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Mad cow
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 01:05 AM

ITS THE PLAGUE!!!

actually its all bilbo baggins fault.
He was trying to write a song for his dear daughter, for he could not fathom why she was so bright with little spots.
He was sure surprised by his eyes when she dropped.

There, Case closed.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jul 04 - 07:29 PM

If you all would really like to know where Ring Around the Rosey" comes from, it comes from around the WW2 era. The Jewish kids would sing it around the ashes of their dead kin folk that had been burned and gased... are you all happy now? It's a sadistic song that everyone teaches their kids.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,the skin trader
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 04:58 PM

I was looking for a name for my "Vendor Cart" and thought that maybe a nice olde childrens dittie (the name that preceeds nursury rhyme) would be a nice way to go. Now it is remarkable that: first I even found this thread and actually read the most of it. And by the by since I will be selling skins, pelts and tails at renaisance faires. the (implied meaning behind) name "ring around the rosies" and for actual (believed) personnal pest control ashes and posies in ones pockets were of some actual possibility. Let alone eucalyptus and or glasses of water around the floors of your house to catch the bouncing flea. But the (as a result of finding out why skins and pelts and tails were indeed so popular with the middle aged climate of both peasant and royal dress. As it turns out tails were worn by the upper class women (those residing within the castle walls) to attract the flea and before ending their own day they would detach and shake it fervently over the moat to drop the fleas collected during their day. "Nice tail" takes on new meaning! But at the same time both the upper class men and peasants and farmers and lower classed survivors alike would wrap pelts around thyne own ankles laces by their ghillies to then at days end walk throught the streams and shires waters to evict their own vermin attracted during there days work. Pretty easy decision I think on my part. I believe my cart has a name! "Ring Around the Rosie"


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Icehotchik771@yahoo.com
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 03:57 PM

I'd like to now if this song is a form of death song . So many people play it as a game , but don't think about the lyrics . I want to know what the word posey means.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 04:17 PM

Well, you could always read the thread. Failing that:

1. No.

2. A small bunch of flowers.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,chrisnlisa03
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 11:28 AM

is there an exact definitive source to once and for all determine not only the right WORDS in the song....but where the origin of the song came from? especially since not everyone at the time of the black plague may not have had scholarly abilities.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 11:43 AM

NO. and No.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Nerd
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 11:45 AM

chrisnlisa03, please read the thread.

There is no "definitive" set of words to a folk rhyme; one of the essential characteristics of folklore is that it changes all the time.

There is usually no way to definitively establish the exact origin, either. Folklorists used to do research to establish the "Ur-form," what they believed to be the initial form a piece of folklore, and to establish its origin. Problem was, the results were always more or less speculative.

Beyond that, if you DO read the thread you'll find there is no evidence for the rhyme being as old as the Plague. Therefore the scholarly abilities of plague victims are irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 12:46 PM

Only one unsupported statement that puts the rhyme back as far as the late 1700s. All this has been gone over before, just read the thread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,the unknown
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 09:16 AM

ya'll need to grow up find something else to do better with ur time


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Nerd
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 02:30 PM

Well, we HAD until you revived this boring old thread!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 01:50 AM

I've found this version in J.P. McCaskey, ed., Franklin Square Song Collection, No. 4 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1887, p. 101). The tune is a "Yankee Doodle" variant.

X:1
T:[Ring around a rosy]
M:2/4
L:1/8
K:A
A A B c|A2 E2|A A B c|A2 E2|
w:Ring a-round a ro-sy, Sit up-on a pos-y,
A A B c|(dc) (BA)|G E F G|A2 A2|]
w:All the girls in our_ town_ Vote for Un-cle Jo-sie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,claudiakeel@earthlink.net
Date: 30 Oct 04 - 09:46 PM

In all the discussion of 'Ring around the Rosey', I read no mention of another isource and interpretation that I have come across. Namely that it has its sources in ancient Europe traditions- preserrved by the revelries of the Mummers.
   The interpretation appears to be esoteric, and related to the many traditions around (the (mystical aspect of ) the rose. 'Ring around a rosary' is one version I've heard. The posies were said to be a reference to the fairy realm. In the dance associated with the rhyme, the dancers formed a 5-pointed star and walked around a circle. (A multiple of 5 petals is a number associated with the rose family and also with esoteric thought re. 'quintescence') In the center was a symbolic victim - called a fool - and symbolically slain - to be resurected, after "falling down" by the dew of the rose - (or by the childrens playing!).
   Even if this interpretation cannot be substaniated, certainly there is some connection to the rose tradition in Europe and the protecting aspect of herbs (posies). I would like to hear a response from the group.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Oct 04 - 11:21 PM

In view of the constantly recurring speculations, it seems a good idea to post a variety of the versions, with dates. The earliest dated "Ring Around the Rosie" is ca. 1790 (and this reference can't be found now) as suggested in this rhyme from Massachusetts:

Ring a ring a rosie,
A bottle full of posie,
All the girls in our town,
Ring for little Josie.

Published 1883:
Round the ring of roses,
Pots full of posies,
The one who stoops last
Shall tell whom she loves best.

Also published 1883:
Ring around the rosie,
Squat among the posies,
Ring around the roses,
Pockets full of posies,
One, two, three- *squat!
(this one still used in Georgia in the 1930s. "Last one squats will be old Josie" is the end of one from Texas. Also see the one from Switzerland)

1840s, acc. to W. W. Newell:
A ring, a ring, a raney
Buttermilk and tansy,
Flower here and flower there,
And all- squat!

The above all from W. W. Newell, Games and Songs of American Children, 1883, (1903), Dover reprint.

Now a few from the other side; from the Opies, "The Singing Game."
1880s, Lancashire:
A ring, a ring o'roses
A *pocket full o' posies- *or bottle
Atch chew! atch chew!

1881, Greenaway, Mother Goose:
Ring-a ring-a-roses,
A pocket full of posies;
Hush~ hush! hush! hush!
We're all tumbled down

Shropshire, 1883:
A ring, a ring o' roses,
A pocket full o' posies,
One for Jack and one for Jim
And one for Little Moses!
A curchey in, and a curchey out,
And a curchey all together.
(Children curtsey at end. See the Italian one)

ca. 1900, Italy:
Gira, gira, rosa,
Co la più: bela in mezo,
Gira un bel giardino,
Un altro pochetino;
Un salterelo,
Un altro de più belo;
Una riverenza,
Un'altra per penitenza;
Un baso a chi ti vol.
---
Ring a ring a roses
With the most beautiful in the middle;
Ring a pretty garden,
Another circle round,
A little skip,
Another even better,
A curtsy,
Another for penitence;
A kiss for the one you like.

1857, Switzerland:
Ring-a, ring-a, row,
The children go into the greenwood,
They dance around the rosebush
And all *squat down.

Above all from Iona and Peter Opis, 1985," pp. 219-227, "The Singing Game."

A simple little children's game, with its many variants, has picked up all sorts of baggage from speculation. The rhyme is lost under the load. Even the Opies couldn't resist and piled on their own supercargo-
"Thus in 'Ring a Ring o' Roses,' we have, or so it seems, a spray from the great Continental tradition of May games, that preserves the memory, however faintly, of the rose as the flower of Cupid, the wreath of roses with which Aphrodite crowned her hair, ...."


Now the relation to-
Ring me, ring me, ring me rary,
As I go round, ring by ring,
A virgin goes a-Maying,
Here's a flower ...... etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 31 Oct 04 - 01:22 AM

A refreshing note of realism from Q, important in a discussion of this kind, prone as it is to flights of bizarre and unsubstantiated fantasy.

Claudia, for example, has just referred to another very unlikely interpretation; unfortunately without any information of any kind as to who might have suggested it. Sad to say, it will certainly be picked up and quoted as "fact" by future fantasists. I'd be grateful if she would give us a proper citation ("said to be"? By whom? Where, and when?) What dance? Documented where? When? She appears to be describing a typical sword dance, but there is, so far as I know, no record of any kind of any association with the rhyme to be found in any known tradition; though I don't doubt that one or more "happy guessers" has mixed them up some time in recent years, quite possibly insisting because it ought to have been true that there is some real basis for their flight of fancy.

Evidence, please; or at the very least, a reference to something a little more substantial than one person's hearsay.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Nov 04 - 08:15 PM

Can someone please tell me what "ring around the rosey" originated from?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: MMario
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 11:02 AM

guest - the 'best guess' seems to be "no one knows" - but it is almost definately *NOT* about the black plague. Alot of information is in this thread and related ones - you might have more specific questions if you read through the various arguments.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 11:52 AM

Guest, you have the best information anywhere in this thread. There is no more at this time. Echo MMario.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 11:34 PM

I've heard it two ways as a child.
The first version ended with the ashes, ashes part but the second version ended with red bird, blue bird we all fall down. My grandmother didn't like us singing this when we were children because she said it was related to witches incantations. I don't know where she got that idea from seeing as how everyone "believes" it was about the plague. Go figure...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Sher
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 08:31 PM

Well, I just read through all of the threads (from beginning to end). I can see why people would find it easy to believe in the Black Plague Theory. But alas, if some of you, whom seem to have put your first entry over two years ago haven't found any evidence then I doubt I'll find any soon. I have a two-year-old and so my interest has thus been sparked because I'm not sure if I want her to sing it. But if I don't let her I want it to be because there is evidence that it is an incantation or a rhyme about half the world's population dying from some dreadful disease (even tough it seems I can dismiss this theory). Yes, I find I now tend to think about some of this folklore a little differently now that I have an impressionable little one myself.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Di
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 10:02 PM

how can this nursery rhyme be a coincidence? seems to be to many similarities. your all high! get a clue


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Not High
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 12:47 PM

Coincidence? Or somebody's wishful thinking?

We sang this song when we were tots and, regardless, no one seemed to connect it with the plague. Any child who does has been brainwashed by a paranoid grownup in the background.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 01:20 PM

Collected from Yorkshire (Gomme, 1894, 1898, vol. 2, "The Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland," Ring a Ring o' Roses IV, p. 109.

Ring, a ring o' roses,
A pocket full of posies;
Up-stairs and down-stairs,
In my lady's chamber-
Husher! Husher! Cuckoo!

The year 1502. Rose was having a go with the coachman up in her chambers. All the servants went around saying "Hush! Hush!" but of course the story was repeated in the tavern and the husband heard it. He reported her to the church and town councilors and she was bound for trial. Following conviction for adultry and harlotry, she was condemmed and taken to the town square, where she was burned at the stake.

After that, the last line was changed to "Ashes! Ashes!"

(Anonymous authority)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: The Unicorn Man
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 02:12 PM

My version of all this is. "Ring a ring a roses" Meaning red rash all over the body where the plague had attacked. "Pocket full of posey's" meaning as Willa and others have said is the remedy they tried. Petals on the rash to try and calm it. "Tishoo Tishoo they all fall down" Meaning catching a cold and then finally falling down with the fever.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 02:13 PM

Martin - have you read the rest of the thread?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: GUEST,Lighter at work
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 05:33 PM

Q,the mentally ill were customarily burned at the stake too, hence the crowd's cry of "Cuckoo! Cuckoo!"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 05:34 PM

It really doesn't matter which version you believe, there being no real evidence for any of them. Still it's nice to see so many catters enjoying themselves trying to unscrew the inscrutable.

DT


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 08:15 PM

Though it's also a little depressing to see people repeating modern hearsay without bothering to read what has already been said. Genuinely new information is always welcome, but old stuff repeated in ignorance is a waste of everybody's time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 08:57 PM

Cuckoo and cuckold are related words. Cuckold derives from the cuckoo's practice of laying an egg in another bird's nest. Usage found in the 13th century.

Cuckoo, applied to an insane person, originally was U. S. slang and is first found in print in 1918. Not admitted to the Oxford English Dictionary until the 1987 edition. Even as late as Gomme's time, an Englishman would relate the word in the rhyme to a cuckolding.


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