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Sing A Song Of Sixpence By Mother Goose

Sing a Song of Sixpence

Sing a Song of Sixpenceis a popular, well-loved nursery rhyme that originated in the 18th century like most English nursery rhymes. There are a few different variations of the poem. Some add stanzas, while others change words. For example, snipped off is sometimes replaced with pecked off or nipped off. Some verses are also added in order to change the songs ending. One is:

They sent for the kings doctor,

who sewed it on again

He sewed it on so neatly,

the seam was never seen

These alternate endings and changes to the text are quite common with nursery rhymes. They are often changed in order to make them more palatable for the time in which they were written and the purpose for which theyre being sung.

Four And 20 Blackbirds Baked In A Pie Not Quite

A little before dusk on March 14, 1934, a man was seen walking on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, a shotgun in his hands. A Capitol police officer approached the man.

Its my duty to tell you that its against the law to shoot the birds in the Capitol grounds, said the officer.

Well, replied the man, you have done your duty.

He then walked up to a tree, raised the gun and pulled the trigger. A cloud of buckshot erupted from the barrel and about 50 starlings tumbled to the ground, dead.

That the gunman, South Trimble, was not arrested probably had something to do with his job: He was the clerk of the House of Representatives and a former congressman from Kentucky. Also, Washingtonians were none too fond of starlings.

Alexandrias Jim Trimble, South Trimbles grandson, shared the story of his grandfathers hunting expedition after reading my recent columns on the starling colonies that live in downtown Washington.

In the 1920s, thousands of starlings roosted on buildings at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, including on the District Building. By 1934, the birds were a nuisance at the Capitol.

Said one Capitol policeman, They chase the starlings off the District Building and they come up here to roost: then Congressmen give us hell if we dont get rid of em.

In February 1934, the Capitol police tried to shoo the birds away by firing blanks, first from shotguns, then from revolvers. One newspaper said it sounded like the Battle of the Marne.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ Junipear Pie

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If you’ve never baked with juniper berries before, now is a perfect time to start. The berries themselves are crusted with sugar and citrus zest, combined with slices of pear macerated in lemon and orange juice. The result is a refreshingly fragrant, citrus-tinged pie.

Excerpted from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book by Emily and Melissa Elsen . Copyright 2013. Photographs by Gentil & Hyers.

  • All-Butter Crust :
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 6 to 7 medium pears
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried juniper berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Egg wash
  • Demerara sugar, for finishing

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Nursery Rhyme Sing A Song Of Sixpence With Lyrics And Music

Are you ready to “Sing a Song of Sixpence”? This nursery rhyme is very popular today – as it has been for almost 300 years… It originates from England, but it is also used in USA. Do you remember it from your own childhood?

Don’t you remember the Sing a Song of Sixpence tune? No problem at all! You can listen to “Sing a Song of Sixpence” at the bottom of this page. Lucky for you…

Sing a song of sixpence- A pocket full of rye.Four and twenty blackbirdsWhen the pie was opened,The birds began to sing.Wasn’t that a dainty dishTo set before the king?The king was in his counting house,Counting out his money.The queen was in the parlour,Eating bread and honey.The maid was in the garden,Hanging out the clothes.When down came a blackbirdAnd pecked off her nose!

Let’s Sing a Song of Sixpence! Fun, isn’t it?

Four And Twenty Blackbirds Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Four And Twenty Blackbirds Baked In A Pie Digital Art by ...
  • Total: 3 hr 55 min
  • Prep: 1 hr 30 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr 30 min
  • Cook: 55 min
  • Total: 3 hr 55 min
  • Prep: 1 hr 30 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr 30 min
  • Cook: 55 min

1 recipe your favorite butter pie crust

Salted Caramel

1 stick fresh unsalted butter

1/2 cup fresh heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Apple Filling

5 to 6 medium to large apples*

Apple Filling Seasoning

1/3 cup raw sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters


Raw sugar, for sprinkling on top

1 teaspoon sea salt

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Origins Of Sing A Song Of Sixpence

Sing a Song of Sixpencehas unclear origins. This is far from unusual for this kind of childrens song. Many nursery rhymes have somewhat mysterious beginnings, leading to all kinds of speculation in regards to what theyre about and who wrote them. These are only emphasized as the song undergoes lyrical changes over decades and centuries.

Some believe the rhyme originated with George Steevens, who used it as a Punic 1790 while talking about Henry James Pye, the poet laureate at that time. But, as entertaining as this suggestion is, it had already been documented in Tommy Thumbs Pretty Song Book in 1744. At that time, the song read:

Sing a Song of Sixpence,

A bag full of Rye,

Four and twenty Naughty Boys,

Baked in a Pye

It underwent a few more changes over the following years, with the two boys replaced by birds. A version in 1784 has a magpie attaching the maid at the end.

Structure Form And Literary Devices In Sing A Song Of Sixpence

Sing a Song of Sixpence by Mother Goose is a four, five, or six stanza nursery rhyme that is made up of four-line stanzas, known as quatrains. These quatrains follow a simple rhyme scheme of ABCB that is common within nursery rhymes. More often than not, childrens songs and poetry use a consistent rhyme scheme. This is more entertaining for the youthful listeners and singers while also making the poem/song easier to remember.

This nursery rhyme uses several literary devices that also make it appealing. These include but are not limited to imagery, enjambment, and alliteration. The latter is a kind of repetition thats concerned with the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of multiple words. For example, in stanza two, dainty dish and blackbirds / Baked in stanza one. This technique is only one way that a writer can increase the feeling of rhyme and rhythm in a poem.

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Meaning Of Sing A Song Of Sixpence

Sing a Song of Sixpenceact

There are records of a recipe calling for that very thing from 1549. It was also referred to in another cookbook by John Nott in 1725. The bird was meant to remain alive and fly out when the pie was cut. Iona and Peter Opies The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes from 1951 acknowledges a variety of historical events that could be tied to the rhyme. The moon and sun could represent a queen and king, they say, the blackbirds the hours of the day or an allusion to monks.

Unsurprisingly, the rhyme has also been connected to Henry VIII and his marriages Anne Boleyn is suggested to be the maid and Catherine of Aragon, the queen. There is no hard evidence for this theory.

Sing A Song Of Sixpence

Four and Twenty Blackbirds Rhubarb Pie Recipe
“Sing a Song of Sixpence”
Walter Crane‘s 1864 illustration of the maid hanging out the clothes
c. 1744

Sing a Song of Sixpence” is a well-known English nursery rhyme, perhaps originating in the 18th century. It is listed in the Roud Folk Song Index as number 13191. A sixpence is a British coin ” rel=”nofollow”> Irish or Australian). From the lyrics, Four-and-twenty became the name of a horse.

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And 20 Blackbirds Baked In A Pie Really Really

Remember this Mother Goose rhyme?

Sing a song of sixpence,A pocket full of rye.Four and twenty blackbirds,

When the pie was openedThe birds began to sing Wasnt that a dainty dish,To set before the king.

I was always struck by the image of a big pie with live birds in it. What was that all about? Guess what they really did make a big pie with live birds in it!

Blackbirds could be bought by the dozen in Paris: four and twenty baked in a pie would have served about six, which was a rather standard size for a medieval pie. Live birds were served in pies. The pie was cooked with a filling of bran to prevent caving in just before presenting the dish, the cook let the bran out through a hole in the bottom of the pie and slipped the birds in through the hole. Obviously, it would have been prudent to alert the carver before trying this trick. The sources neglect to mention how the birds were removed from the hall after the feast.

If I had any drawing talent at all, I would love to draw the king cutting into the pie and being amazed, startled, frightened at live blackbirds flying up into his face. Better than a whoopee cushion.

The Real Meaning Of Nursery Rhymes

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Sex, death and cruelty. Chris Roberts, the author of Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme, tells Debbie Elliott what lurks beneath the surface of those verses we learned as children.


“Baa, Baa Black Sheep” is actually a protest against taxation. Who knew? And “Sing a Song of Sixpence”? It’s about King Henry VIII and his break from the Catholic Church. London librarian Chris Roberts was moonlighting as a walking tour guide when he discovered that nursery rhymes had juicy histories. Now he’s compiled those tales into a book. It’s called “Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme.” He joins me now from our London bureau.

Welcome, Chris.

Mr. CHRIS ROBERTS : Thank you.

ELLIOTT: I want to read the first line from the introduction in your book. Here it is.: `It should come as no surprise that nursery rhymes are full of sex, death and cruelty.’ Now, really, that does come as somewhat of a surprise to me.

ELLIOTT: Well, let’s get to a little sex and debauchery from your book, “Goosey Goosey Gander.” Why don’t you recite that for us first?

ELLIOTT: So from sex and religion to taxes why don’t we go?

Mr. ROBERTS: Why don’t we? Yes. Yes.

I guess I can see that this would have something to do with paying taxes, but not really.

ELLIOTT: Next, can you read us “Sing a Song of Sixpence”?


Mr. ROBERTS: Well, Chris Roberts, we’ll be coming back to you in the coming weeks for some more reasons behind the rhymes.

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The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

Emily and Melissa Elsen’s first book of pie recipes The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop was released in October of 2013 and has received international critical praise and sold over 35,000 copies worldwide. It has been translated to the French by Marabout and Swedish by Natur & Kultur.

Named Artisans of the Year by Time Out New York in 2011, their pies have received critical praise and have been featured in a variety of international food media including the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Good Morning America, Oprah and New York Magazine.

From 2016 to 2018, the sisters have participated in the annual Hankyu “New York Fair” in Osaka, Japan. Their Salted Caramel Apple Pie has consistently been the best selling featured dessert item at the event.

Hear the Elsen sisters describe how their family’s work ethic and grandmother’s handmade pie recipes inspired them to open their pie shop, Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Cultural Kitchen is a featured series on Tasted.com that explores modern food and the chefs who make it, while showcasing the culture that inspired the plate.

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