Medieval Songs, Ring A Ring A Roses

PlagueRing a ring a roses, A pocket full of poses
A tishoo, A tishoo
We all fall down

The Great Plague was an illness and it killed millions of people in Europe in the seventeenth century. One of the signs of the illness was a circle of red marks. They looked like roses, and that explains the first line of the song.

In the second line, "poses" are small bunches of flowers. People carried flowers because of the smell of the Plague. "A tishoo" is the sound of a sneeze. That was another sign of the Plague. Then after a few days people "fell down" or died.

Ring-around-a-Rosie = People with plague would hang roses around their heads.
Pockets full of posies = They would stuff their pockets with posies.
Ashes-Ashes = They burned the bodies so the disease did not spread.
We all fall down = (Dead)  The top one is what's sung today !

Music Songs Ring a ring a roses Oranges and Lemons Jerusalem Rule Britannia Ding Dong Bell The Grand old Duke of York Land of Hope and Glory London Bridge is falling down God save the queen Baa baa black sheep Goosey Goosey Gander Rhymes