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Nursery Rhymes are not a bed o’ roses

Written by on March 7, 2022

You learned them when you were young, you sung them to your children, you may even have fond memories of Humpty Dumpty, three blind mice, or a (baa baa) black sheep, but these stories aren’t what you thought they were.  Behind the sing song meter, gentle voice, and light music that accompanies many nursery rhymes are dark lyrics that tell tales of religious persecution, violence, plagues, oppressive regimes, the supernatural and much more.

The folks at The Vintage News blog wrote a short article years ago detailing the origins of many of today’s most popular nursery rhymes, from Ring O’ Roses referencing the bubonic plague to Mary, Mary Quite Contrary’s referencing the murder and torture of Protestants.  Give the article a read, but keep singing those songs, they do sound nice after all.

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