Sing a Song of Sixpence [Illustrated]

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Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site. The Photoduplication Service estimates that it takes weeks to complete an order. Cite This Item Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate. Chicago citation style: Crane, Walter, and Juvenile Collection.

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APA citation style: Crane, W. Statement Of Responsibility. Also available Routledge and Sons Date: Contributor: Frederic W. William Wallace - Goudy, Frederic W. Frederic William Date: Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web Clara Miller Date: I pondered on why, in an astonishing act of avian cruelty, were four and twenty blackbirds baked alive in a pie.

Sing a song of sixpence | Sammie's Blog

I asked myself, why, like in cluedo, the various protagonists were placed in the counting house, in the kitchen and in the garden respectively when the crime was committed. And finally just why does it culminate in the maid having a crude rhinoplasty by a flying blackbird. Is the song just a puerile nonsensical exercise in rhyming or are their hidden depths to the poem? As with the other rhymes in our series, many speculators and self confessed literary historians their opinions on the secret history of this nursery rhyme.

Let us wander through some spurious speculations and canny constructions on the supposed origins of Sing a song of sixpence. You may not be enlightened with stunning revelations, but trust me, you will be entertained. And pecked off her nose. Sing a song of sixpence may have been around in oral tradition before arriving in print form. No one is clear of its origins. It has been published in various collections of nursery rhymes since the 18th century.

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The first verse appears in print in Tommy Thumbs pretty song book , published around In the first appearance it wasn't the blackbirds but some naughty boys that were baked in the pie:. A more complete version of the four verses appeared first in in the Gammer Gurton's Garland or The Nursery Parnassus. A modern version some felt the need to tack on a happy ending, so as to not upset the child. I am sure our children who have grown in on a diet of angry birds are made of far sturdier stuff.

The reference to a pocket full of rye could be the seeds used to feed the blackbirds. The blackbirds themselves were originally magpies in some versions.


A recital of this rhyme could end with a playful tweaking of a child's nose. The act of baking live animals or birds in a pie for entertaining the guests was a popular one in wealthy banquets in medieval times. It has lasted to this day as the pop-out birthday cakes. Though it may sound like a pill that you could buy over the counter, Entremet is not a drug.

Lavishly entertaining dishes, such as our blackbird pie, served as elaborate surprises in a banquet are called 'entremets'. Entremets literally mean 'between servings' in French. These were popular from late Middle ages as a sign of luxury, an opportunity for the hosts to show off their opulence. The Chefs were encouraged to bake highly decorative dishes that would prompt oohs and aahs from the guests.

Initially the entremets were highly coloured edible decorative offerings. Sometimes they were scale models of castles some where birds cooked and then redressed in their colourful plumage. Some were modelled caricatures of knights on their steed - such as a grilled capon dressed in a paper hat and a lance sitting astride a roast piglet. The chefs were allowed to be innovative and highly creative and the entremets were made to be talked about. As the years progressed, the entremets were referred as subtleties I know they were anything but subtle. In its older meaning the word meant clever or surprising.

The ambitious chefs depicted battle scenes, scale castles with fountains complete with miniature occupants and many such wonders. Soon someone came with the idea of covering live animals or birds with pastry shell. This was so that when the pie was opened the entrapped creature will pop or fly out, much to the delight or utter horror!

The animals included various birds, pigs and even frogs. I am sure much mirth ensued. One peculiar myth or certainly a masterful urban legend about the rhyme is connected to the most famous pirate of them all, Captain Blackbeard. Edward Teach - , also known as Captain Blackbeard, was a notorious Pirate of the Caribbean operating in the early 18th century.

The nursery rhyme emerged from the same era. In a highly original and elaborate interpretation, the sing a song of sixpence is supposed to allude to the fact that Blackbird was one of the few Pirate Captains who actually paid his crew members a daily wage of sixpence. Most pirate vessels of the era did not pay a salary but merely divided any spoils.

In the s sixpence would have been a handsome daily purse for a pirate. Although yo ho ho one would normally associates pirates with 'a bottle of rum'. The four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie refers to the fact that pirates usually lulled unsuspecting merchant ships by flying innocent masts while the armed scoundrels hid below deck about 24 of 'em. When the passenger or merchant ship got close the pie was opened and the birds began to sing i. The King could refer to the King of Pirates, Blackbeard himself, who certainly would appreciate the ' dainty dish ' of the pirated spoils served before him.

He would then count all his plunder in his counting house. Blackbeard inherited his ship ' Le Concorde de Nantes' - originally an English Frigate, then captured by the French and ran as a slave ship from its captor, Captain Benjamin Hornigold. Hornigold made his prodigy Edward Teach the Captain of the ship.

SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE - Baby Poems In English - Rhymes For Kids By KIDS HUT

Teach took on the moniker of Captain Blackbeard and renamed his ship 'Queen Anne's revenge'. The Queen would call at friendly ports for provisions, ' eating bread and honey '. The maid in the garden refers to the known routes of potential target ships for plunder and hanging out the clothes is setting sail with the masts billowing in the wind. Then Blackbeard's ship will fly in and attack the unsuspecting ship and peck off its nose , namely ransack its spoils. This may be pure fiction, but I admire the speculator's fantastic bit of imagination and the cunning blend of known facts. The maid hanging out the clothes is Anne Boleyn as she was the maid of honour to Claude of France daughter of Louis XII , during her formative years of education in France.

Rye and Pie may be tributes to the gluttonous king. The pecking of the nose may well be her eventual execution. There were many conspiracies around the time against the King due to his stance on annexing the land of the Monasteries and Catholic Bishops. The conspiracies were often unearthed and the conspirators often sold out their own compatriots for their own freedom - the birds began to sing.

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Sing a Song of Sixpence illustrated by Frederick Richardson

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