Sing A Song of Six Pence

I have heard an altogether different origin for this nursery ryme. For it to make any sense one must first be aquainted with the following

  1. The blackbird is the animal associated with the IRA (Irish Republican Army)
  2. IRA members routinely fill their pockets with rye seed when they go on a mission. If shot and/or killed in the ensuing action, the rye seed falls to the ground and “Patches of rye grass” are seen the following season (commemorating the loss of the member)

With these two salient facts in mind, (and considering how nursery rymes were often used as a means of making cloaked political statements) It is not a far leap of extrapolation to find a second meaning behind the words of this nursery ryme!

Welcome to the Boards. It’s always helpful to include a link to the column under discussion. What’s the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence” all about?

Dex did that one, and a pretty good job.

You say you’ve heard a different Origin for the song? And, the IRA is involved? Not likely.

The original song, as Dex notes, is recorded from the mid-1700s. The IRA wasn’t even though of at that date. Nor in the next century.

Interesting about what you’ve heard about the IRA and rye seed. Any help in finding links to what you’re added?

Maybe there is some connection between blackbirds and the IRA, but the rye grass thing sounds like nonsense.

Rye grass isn’t especially recognisable - it just looks like grass.

How would you carry rye grass in your pocket in such a way that it will spill out only if you are killed?

Seems unlikely and unnecessary. “Pocket” scans better than “bag”.

Why is “naughty boys” an apparent synonym/euphamism/alter for birds?

I assume after the birds fly out, you don’t eat the pie.

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I did the research on that one some time ago, and I don’t recollect why “naughty boys” became “birds.” I personally wouldn’t be happy eating a pie that had a bunch of cooped-up live birds in it, what with feathers and bird shit and all, but tastes vary, I suppose.

I ate one once and had no egrets.

That’s apocryphal. Apocryphal of wry.

Wren does it stop?

You’re both raven mad.

Yep, a couple of loons!

  • bangs head on writing desk *


Why is a raven like a writing desk?