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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,Mira Butterfly 05 Dec 09 - 08:31 PM
Jack Campin 05 Dec 09 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,-Crylo- 27 Dec 09 - 11:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Dec 09 - 12:42 PM
MGM·Lion 29 Dec 09 - 06:12 AM
GUEST 30 Dec 09 - 04:18 AM
DMcG 30 Dec 09 - 04:25 AM
MGM·Lion 30 Dec 09 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,Asterisk 20 Jan 10 - 10:47 PM
GUEST,latecomer 30 May 10 - 08:39 PM
Monique 13 Oct 10 - 04:41 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Oct 10 - 01:26 PM
Monique 13 Oct 10 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,Nerd 17 Jul 14 - 05:44 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: GUEST,Mira Butterfly
Date: 05 Dec 09 - 08:31 PM

I would like to know the original verse, whether it be referring to the plague or not. All three verses; or so I am told.

Can anyone possibly help me with that?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Dec 09 - 08:45 PM

There isn't an "original" form of the rhyme - there are wide variations in the earliest ones we know. Read the whole of this thread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: GUEST,-Crylo-
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 11:02 PM

My understanding of the rhyme here in Canada goes "Ring around the rosey a pocket full of posies, husha husha we all fall down.

It seems depending on location we hear the rhyme with different lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 12:42 PM

Crylo, correct.
The 'husha....' part is similar to that of a Greenaway Mother Goose version from England, c. 1881-
Hush! Hush! Hush! Hush!
We're all tumbled down.

To repeat from posts above, no reports of the rhyme before 1880, and the 'plague' idea is a fanciful interpretation from about the time of the First World War.
See Iona and Peter Opie, 1985, "The Singing Game," Oxford University Press.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 06:12 AM

Peter Opie, whom, along with Iona, I interviewed for Folk Review in the 1970s, described the 'plague' interpretation to me as "one of those pieces of folklore about folklore".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 04:18 AM

Following from Q, the Opies suggest the link is even more recent that the First world War. "The legend linking the plague with the game-song ... has not been found in the work of any commentator before the Second World War ..."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: DMcG
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 04:25 AM

Sorry, above post was from me. I'm a few crumbs short of a cookie, I fear.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 04:36 AM

Further to my last post: Peter Opie went on to say that he didn't think children would ever have wanted to play games about dying of the plague — but they both looked a bit nonplussed, and simply replied "Good question", when I asked them: what, then, of the 'Going to the gas-chambers' game which they describe children in Auschwitz as having played, in their 'Children's Games in Street and Playground'. For some reason that I can't quite now recall I omitted this bit of our dialogue [which naturally I taped thruout with their permission] from the Folk Review feature as it eventually appeared (July 1974), so this is the first time I have published it. I still have the tape - somewhere...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: GUEST,Asterisk
Date: 20 Jan 10 - 10:47 PM

THANK YOU for your wonderful, scholarly, and humourous thread on this fascinating rhyme...
to which no one will ever 'truly' know the all of answers. I have read the entire thread and do so appreciate all of your comments.

My hypothesis is that 'Ring around the Rosie' was inspired by the Dance of Death, gleefully performed in most European cities during the 14th century plague years. Death had become the Great Leveller, refuting the Chain of Being theory (heirarchy status quo of the Dark Ages)... it was the beginning of European understandings about equality!

I believe that children copied the swirling circular dance depicted in many medieval murals because it gave meaning to that terrible fact that everyone was falling down dead. The 'sing song' tone of the rhyme is an almost universally understood to be making mockery... in this case of the old ideas about heirarchy. All fall down became a type of anthem in that this fate was assured no matter what status a person had during their lifetime.

In the Dance of Death (I performed as Death in an original Spanish resucitation in 1982, then we 'modernized' the play for Canadian audiences in 1985), Death calls everyone, from the Pope, down through the Emporer, King, Captain, Merchant, etc. through 32 characters who all have their excuses, but none can refuse!

Na nana na na....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: GUEST,latecomer
Date: 30 May 10 - 08:39 PM

This may be a bit irrelevant at this point, but I'm not sure how accurate verses that come after the well-known "Ring around the rosy" verse are. The one I know of goes:

Cows in the meadow
eating buttercups
ashes, ashes,
we all stand up.

Maybe kids wanted a reason to stand up after they fell down, and so made up a rhyme for themselves. What other "stand up" verses have you heard?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: Monique
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 04:41 AM

Would anyone know if there's a Welsh version of this rhyme?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 01:26 PM

No mention (Welsh) in Iona and Peter Opie, The Singing Game, Oxford, 1985, nor in Gomme.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: Monique
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 03:17 PM

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Ring around the Rosy / Rosey
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 17 Jul 14 - 05:44 PM

Reading through this old thread, I just noticed that Hester unintentionally misunderstood the Opies. She says there is no connection between the English "May Games" and "Ring Around the Rosie" (which may be true), and that the Opies are therefore perpetuating nonsense when they say there is a connection among Classical deities, roses, and this rhyme, because those don't appear in English "May Games." But the Opies specified "the Continental tradition of May games," which goes back much further than the English May Games Hester studies. Indeed, the Opies seem merely to have meant European May celebrations, which go back to Classical times and do have all the associations the Opies mention.

As to whether they were part of English May Games, Hester knows more than I. But these associations were certainly known in England prior to the "May Games" proper; Chaucer's Legend of Good Women features Classical deities in rose garlands (though daisies are more prominent in the poem) who visit the poet on May Day. They were also certainly known during the heyday of the "May Games"; Thomas Morton's famous May Revels in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1627 combined a maypole, dancing, and a song to classical deities. Morton himself attested that his maypole "was a Trophe erected at first in honor of Maja, the Lady of learning which they [the Puritans] despise...," while Bradford, his detractor, wrote that "Morton became lord of misrule [...] They allso set up a May-pole, drinking and dancing aboute it many days togeather, inviting the Indean women, for their consorts, dancing and frisking togither, (like so many fairies, or furies rather,) and worse practices. As if they had anew revived & celebrated the feasts of ye Roman Goddes Flora, or ye beasly practieses of ye madd Bacchinalians."

Bradford and Morton were both middle-class rural Englishmen, Morton from Devon and Bradford from Yorkshire. The fact that they were fully aware of May Day's connection with flowers, Classical deities, and even fairies, makes it very unlikely, in my mind, that English people at the time were generally unaware of these connections.


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