Four and Twenty Blackbirds Lost with Some Rye

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The blackbirds baked in the pie being the disaffected monks after the dissolution of the monasteries. There is much more about Blackbeard here: I tend to prefer the Tudor links to the rhyme for although Sing a Song of Sixpence was first published in the 18 th century it certainly has origins in the 16 th.


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Perhaps sixpence was the going rate for a good song during this time. Why, this is the best fooling, when all is done. Come on; there is sixpence for you: Of course, no Tudor banquet was complete without minstrels to play the favourite songs. One can easily imagine the king and queen seated with their court at groaning tables, dining on exotic dainties to the strains of fabulous music.

In the Tudor period and certainly before that extravagant dishes were created to amaze and enthrall the king. Swans and peacocks were roasted and the feathers then replaced to make it appear the birds were still living.


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  8. Song birds were regularly eaten, it is only one step further to serve the dish a little al dente. Why not a pie full of live birds?

    Sing A Song of Sixpence

    Sing a Song of Sixpence,. A bag full of Rye,. Four and twenty Naughty Boys,. Baked in a Pye.

    Sing a song of sixpence rhyme (blackbirds baked in a pie)

    What else, one wonders, would you do with twenty four disobedient children? Incidentally, Elizabeth also graces the playing card and the likeness to her contemporary portraits are quite clear. His taxes were unpopular enough for the Cornish to rise in arms against him. Mind you, that is not at all unusual, people never like to pay tax. Elizabeth of York took no part in governing the country; her role was purely a domestic one, concerned with the children and charitable works; so again, the positioning of her in the rhyme eating bread and honey in the parlour is in keeping.

    In my forthcoming novel A Song of Sixpence Elizabeth is not depicted scoffing bread and honey in the parlour; instead she is battling to come to terms with the loss of the primary male members of her family and preserving her surviving kin from a similar fate. Her marriage to the former enemy Henry VII is difficult and not helped by the appearance of a man claiming to be her brother, Richard of York, thought to have perished in the Tower in A man that Henry dubs Perkin Warbeck.

    She has become as two dimensional as the image on the playing card.


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    But she was a real woman, with real emotions, who lived in very turbulent times. I wanted to put some flesh on her bones, some thoughts in her head and give her some of the credit she is due. And the same for Henry.

    Curious Origins of Nursery Rhymes: Sing a Song of Sixpence

    In both fiction and non-fiction he is either a cold calculating king or a complete monster. He is by no means an easy husband for Elizabeth for his years of exile have left him with insecurities and a chip on his shoulder that threatens both his marriage and his throne. In their The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes , Iona and Peter Opie write that the rhyme has been tied to a variety of historical events or folklorish symbols such as the queen symbolizing the moon, the king the sun, and the blackbirds the number of hours in a day; or, as the authors indicate, the blackbirds have been seen as an allusion to monks during the period of the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII , with Catherine of Aragon representing the queen, and Anne Boleyn the maid.

    The rye and the birds have been seen to represent a tribute sent to Henry VII, and on another level, the term "pocketful of rye" may in fact refer to an older term of measurement. The number 24 has been tied to the Reformation and the printing of the English Bible with 24 letters. From a folklorish tradition, the blackbird taking the maid's nose has been seen as a demon stealing her soul.

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    No corroborative evidence has been found to support these theories and given that the earliest version has only one stanza and mentions "naughty boys" and not blackbirds, they can only be applicable if it is assumed that more recently printed versions accurately preserve an older tradition. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Sing a song of sixpence

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