Is There A Symbolism To The Nursery Rhyme 'Ring A Roses'?


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E Jacobson Profile
E Jacobson answered
The children's nursery rhyme, Ring A Roses is actually associated with the plague. In fact it actually describes the process of getting the plague and then dieing!
When someone caught the plague, they would be covered with bright red sores. These were often in clusters which formed a larger circle (a ring of roses). These sores smelt putrid and rancid. So, to combat the offending odour, people would stuff fragrant flowers in their pockets or in little bags around their bodies.
Hence the line 'A pocket full of posies'.
The next line 'Attishoo, Attishoo, we all fall down' is when the plague has taken hold and death sets in.
Whilst it may seem somewhat macabre today to have a children's song about the plague, in the days immediately after the plague in 17th Century Britain, life was pretty brutal and usually very short, so sensitivities were somewhat of a luxury !
thanked the writer.
A Patt
A Patt commented
"Ring around the roses. Pocket full of roses. Ashes. Ashes. All fall down". That's how we sang it in Oklahoma, USA. I was told that it described the 'rings' formed on the body by the Plague in 17th century. Ashes referred to burning the bodies. "all fall down" I think, refers to dying or the pile of burning bodies burning down to ashes...

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