I knew this had sinister connotations, but had forgotten that it refers to the bubonic plague.
Symptoms of the plague were thought to include a rose red rash in the shape of a ring on the skin. So people filled their pockets with sweet smelling herbs, known as posies, because they believed bad smells helped carry the disease. Well, this one has several theories behind it, dating all the way from the Vikings to Henry VIII. It’s also possible that it simply refers to the need to rebuild a bridge that was in bad repair.
Consequently, the two could never marry, as it would seem to confirm those scandalous suspicions.
Eventually Robert fell in love with Lettice Knollys, the queen’s beautiful cousin, and they married in secret, earning Elizabeth’s wrath and leading to Robert’s banishment. Well, Robert is the dish; Lettice the spoon; the dog represents Elizabeth’s counselor Robert Cecil; the laugh refers to Amy being pushed down the stairs preventing Elizabeth and Robert’s love to be; the cow was the queen, and the moon was forbidden love. Another unpleasant history lesson can be found in this rhyme.
The prince was not too smart and he was immensely fat.
The X-rated version involves George Villiers (1592-1628) who was a handsome nobleman who caught the eye of James I.
The pretty picture conjured in this poem actually refers to instruments of torture and death—silver bells are thumbscrews; cockleshells were attached to the genitals, and maids refers to The Maiden, a device used to behead people.
Convicted of plotting against the queen, represented in the ditty by the farmer’s wife, the noblemen were not blinded, just burnt at the stake.You may not be pleased to know that this one supposedly concerns adultery.There are claims that a couple back in 1697 used to sneak up a hill in the small English village of Kilmersdon.I wanted to go on a rant about the state of the universe in this month’s column (Brexit, Trump, Isis, Orlando), but I calmed myself down and started to think about what I’ve really been doing with my life lately.Believe it or not, I’ve been singing nursery rhyme songs with my soon-to-be two-year-old grandson.It refers to a love triangle that prevented Elizabeth from marrying the man she loved, Robert Dudley, Earl of Essex, who was married to Amy Robsart.Although Elizabeth and Dudley flirted, and she loved him, any possible liaison between the two was thwarted when Amy was found at the bottom of a staircase with a broken neck, and there were suspicions that Elizabeth had her murdered in order to have Dudley for herself.He was named Gentleman of the Bedchamber (there are any number of puns that could be made of that title) and later Duke of Buckingham.Georgie, however, was appreciative of both men and women, and had many affairs (so he kissed the girls and made them cry).: This one teaches us some harsh history, as it dates back to feudal days and the institution of a harsh wool tax in England.While we say, one bag is for the master, one for the dame, and one for the little boy down the lane, in reality one-third went to the king and nobility, another third to the Church, and another third was left for everybody else. In Victorian England, fresh foods were purchased from individual vendors since supermarkets did not exist.The muffin men went through the streets ringing bells to advertise their tasty wares, just like ice cream trucks do today.