Seriously fucked up nursery rhymes

May 12, 2016

A lot of Lachlan’s toys have music and I know pretty much all the songs from my own childhood, but damn, the lyrics are seriously fucked up! And it’s not just one or two songs, it’s like every single one has something creepy or weird behind it! I never really thought about it until now, but I like stuff like this kind of stuff lol. Here’s my top favorite fucked up nursery rhymes:

  1. Ring Around the Rosie

    (British version)
    Ring-a-ring o’ roses,
    A pocket full of posies,
    A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
    We all fall down.

    (American version)
    Ring-a-round the rosie,
    A pocket full of posies,
    Ashes! Ashes!
    We all fall down

    The invariable sneezing and falling down in modern English versions have given would-be origin finders the opportunity to say that the rhyme dates back to the Great Plague. A rosy rash, they allege, was a symptom of the plague, and posies of herbs were carried as protection and to ward off the smell of the disease.

  2. Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

Here we go ’round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush.
Here we go ’round the mulberry bush,
So early in the morning.

Historian R.S Duncan suggests that the song originated from female prisoners at HMP (Her Majesty’s Prison) Wakefield. A sprig was taken from Hatfield Hall in Stanley, Wakefield, which grew into a fully mature mulberry tree around which prisoners exercised in the moonlight.

3. London Bridge

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

(skip a few verses)

Set a man to watch all night,
Watch all night, watch all night,
Set a man to watch all night,
My fair lady.

The watchman seems to be appointed to make sure thieves don’t make away with the precious building materials like silver and gold, but there’s also a more sinister explanation for his role. Legend has it, living people were built into the foundations of walls and gates “to serve as guardian spirits.”

4. Rock-A-Bye-Baby

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all

One interpretation of this famous lullaby is that it is about the son of King James II of England and Mary of Modena. It is widely believed that the boy was not their son at all, but a child who was brought into the birthing room and passed off as their own in order to ensure a Roman Catholic heir to the throne.

5. Sing a Song of Sixpense

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing;
Wasn’t that a dainty dish,
To set before the king?

(skip a few verses)

The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.
They sent for the king’s doctor,
Who sewed it on again;
He sewed it on so neatly,
the seam was never seen.

A royal maid gets her nose pecked off by a blackbird after his brothers are baked into a pie for the king. Even though they emerge from the pastry unscathed, their protector is still determined to take his wrath out on someone from the royal household.

6. Alouette

Alouette, gentille alouette,
Alouette, je te plumerai.
Je te plumerai la tête. Je te plumerai la tête.
Et la tête! Et la tête!
Alouette! Alouette! A-a-a-ah.

Lark, nice lark,
Lark, I will pluck you.
I will pluck your head. I will pluck your head.
And your head! And your head!
Lark! Lark! O-o-o-oh.

It’s about kids slowly tearing the feathers off of birds.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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