Ring-a-round the Rosie

Outside in my garden enjoying the afternoon I heard children swimming next door over the fence. I enjoy the sound of children playing. It is a sound that always continues as the sound of the summer birds singing or the crickets that come out at night. Suddenly, a chorus of young children sang this song loudly,

  ”  Ring-a-round the rosie,

    A pocket full of posies,

    Ashes! Ashes!

    We all fall down.”

~ Common American version: Delamar (2001), pp. 38-9.

It was a wake-up call to me out of my summer daze.  As if ancestors were singing the rhyme as a memory of a time long gone by. A time of the Great Plague. I find this ironical that here and now in our modern times we are experiencing a similar plague or pandemic. I wonder if the dead are still grieving. As our generation will be grieving for a long time after the Coronavirus disease has passed. How this all came together as innocent children were playing is not so strange. Yet it felt as if the Realm of the Fay opened and superimposed their song around these children and through them. Dancing fairies swimming through the air as Puck grabbed the moment in a soft breeze.  


“The invariable sneezing and falling in modern English versions have given would-be origin finders the opportunity to say that the rhyme dates back to the Great Plague. A rosy rash, they allege, was a symptom of the plague, and posies of herbs were carried as protection and to ward off the smell of the disease. Sneezing or coughing was a final fatal symptom, and “all fall down” was exactly what happened.”

 ~[ Opie and Opie (1985), pp. 221–222.. ~Opie and Opie (1951), p. 365.

“Ring a Ring o’ Roses” or “Ring a Ring o’ Rosie” is an English nursery rhyme or folksong and playground singing game. It first appeared in print in 1881, but it is reported that a version was already being sung to the current tune in the 1790s and similar rhymes are known from across Europe. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 7925.”

~ Delamar, Gloria T.


Delamar, Gloria T. (2001) [1987]. Mother Goose, From Nursery to Literature. Lincoln, Nebraska. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-0595185771.

Opie, Iona; Opie, Peter (1997) [1951]. The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press (Nabu Press). pp. 364–365. ISBN 978-0198600886.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.