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Re: Ring around the Rosey

Posted by TheFallen on December 12, 2001

In Reply to: Re: Ring around the Rosey posted by Louise on December 12, 2001

I'm with Louise on this one regarding "atishoo", and have always also believed it to be about the great plague of London in 1665.

There are a number of ghoulish superficially innocent English nursery rhymes dating from that period - the other hoary (appropriate adjective :) old chestnut is the one about Lucy Locket losing her pocket and Tilly Trotter finding it, which I seem to remember being about two notorious ladies of negotiable virtue alive in C17th London. Does this ring any bells elsewhere?

: I have always understood it to be
: 'atishoo atishoo we all fall dowb'.

: sneezing being part of the plague etc

: : : : : : Can anybody give the whole nine on "Ring around the Rosey"?

: : : : : : The archive on this site does have a few notations but they lead nowhere and then to a dead web site link.

: : : : : : I googled it and came up with the ol' standby of bubonic plague, blisters, posies to eliminate odors etc etc which I think is just hogwash. All the hits on Google seem to contain cuts and pastes of the same wash from the same hog.
: : : : : : Anybody?

: : : : :
: : : : : Can't say I've ever heard the expression "Ring around the Rosey" - it could be a New World saying.

: : : : Int he UK it's 'ring around the roses'. I too have never heard of 'rosey'.

: : : OK, I really thought this was an international childrens play song. So here goes: ( This is the USA NY Brooklyn Version )

: : : Picture 3 or 4 little kids all holding hands and walking in a circle while singing:

: : : "Ring around the Rosey
: : : A Pocketfull of Posies
: : : Ashes, Ashes
: : : We all fall down"

: : : Then they all fall down to the ground.

: : : The common belief or explanation of this song is about the plague.
: : : The "ring" was a type of skin infection which surrounded a "rosey" or roseola.
: : : "Posies" are flowers which infected people carried hidden in pockets to mask the odor of the oozing sores.
: : : "Ashes, Ashes" was the result of burning the bodies after they died of the plague.
: : : "We all fall down" as a reference to what happens when you finally die of the disease.
: : : Seems all too urbanlegendish.
: : : Anybody?

: : The beautiful Derbyshire village of Eyam, which is just a few miles from where I sit, is known locally as the plague village. There's a well-authenticated and fascinating history of the villager's survival through the Black Death years by a self-imposed quarantine. Most people around here believe that the rhyme originated in Eyam at that time but, although the rest of their story is true, that part isn't likely to be.

: : In short, the origin is uncertain.

: : Gary