Thursday, June 09, 2005

Oranges and Lemons

Are the sources accurate that indicate the London bells in the lyrics of the nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons" refer to impending executions? After all, "Ring a Round a Rosie" is not about the Plague, and "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is not a catechism song.

I had hoped that the bells refered to different kinds of liqueurs. In the interest of maintaining general silliness, here is the research I've come up with so far:

"Oranges and lemons," say the bells of St. Clements.

“You owe me five farthings,” say the bells of St. Martins.

“When will you pay me?” say the bells of Old Bailey.

"When I grow rich," say the bells of Shoreditch.

"Pray, when will that be?" say the bells of Stepney.

"I do not know," says the great bell of Bow.

(Even I know that the last one is a bit of a stretch.)

2 comments:

galetea said...

I have yet to encounter all of those other bells of London, but let me tell you, if you're sitting in Westminister Square and both Big Ben and the Abbey bells start going at the same time, it is a bit of a trouser-changing experience.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

It's an experience I want to have!!