Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Oranges and Lemons, a Nursery Song found in Many Compilations of Children’s Rhyme, Poetry, and Song

Posted on: August 5, 2013

ORANGES AND LEMONS, sung by children for hundreds of years, begins as a charming kind of travel guide around London’s church bells, but takes a rather gruesome turn at the end (as many nursery rhymes do have some dark historical implications, meanings and themes).

The rhyme also comes with a game children play together, as depicted in this illustration:

oranges & lemons game Ida Rentoul Outhwaite
Oranges and Lemons
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

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oranges&lemons baby opera gutenberg
Oranges and Lemons
From THE BABY’S OPERA
Words and Music by Various Artists
Shared on THE BABY’S OPERA Project Gutenberg eBook
Illustrated by Walter Crane

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ORANGES AND LEMONS
Traditional Words and Tune

“Oranges and lemons”
Say the bells of St. Clement’s

“You owe me five farthings”
Say the bells of St. Martin’s

“When will you pay me?”
Ask the bells of Old Bailey ”

When I grow rich”
Say the bells of Shoreditch

“When will that be?”
Ask the bells of Stepney

“I do not know”
Says the great bell of Bow

Here comes a candle
To light you to bed

And here comes a chopper
To chop off your head!

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As we already know that nursery rhymes often carry with them dark/alternate implications, meanings, and themes, it is also true that nursery rhymes often have various adaptations and additional lyrics, rhymes and verses.  This is true, certainly, of Oranges and Lemons.  You will find in various places, various alterations to the same lyrics and many an additional verse.  If I ever choose to share this with children, I will absolutely choose to NOT include the final two traditions verses.

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Song history, singing game and lyrics in the ORANGES AND LEMONS wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oranges_and_Lemons

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Bus Songs page for ORANGES AND LEMONS
http://bussongs.com/songs/oranges-and-lemons.php
This page includes lyrics, video, midi sing-along and historical info.

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ORANGES AND LEMONS page on MamaLisa.com
http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=805&c=116
Many extra lyrics listed here, historical info, video and more.

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A few videos for learning the tune:

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www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mmOTFsJv7U

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www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9hzYkh-lp0

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Tune and song history in this video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiurJW1fK_M

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www.youtube.com/watch?v=91Za-Nu2XW4

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ORANGES AND LEMONS is featured in many illustrated compilations of children’s poetry, song, and rhyme, including:

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baby's opera (gutenberg ebook)
The Baby’s Opera (a Book of Old Rhymes with New Dresses, the Music by the Earliest Masters)
Words and Music by Various Artists
Illustrated by Walter Crane
A Project Gutenberg eBook
http://eremita.di.uminho.pt/gutenberg/2/5/4/1/25418/25418-h/25418-h.htm

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marguerite de angeli's book - Copy
Marguerite de Angeli’s Book of Nursery and Mother Goose Rhymes
376 Rhymes with more than 260 Illustrations
Words and Music by Various Artists
Illustrated by Marguerite de Angeli
Published by Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY (1954)
LOC Catalog Card # 54-9838

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Oranges & Lemons
Words and Music by Various Artists
Compiled by Karen King
Illustrated by Ian Beck

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Ring O’Roses (A Nursery Rhyme Picture Book)
Traditional Words and Tunes
Illustrated by L. Leslie Brooke

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rhymes and ballads of london
Rhymes and Ballads of London
Words and Music by Various Artists
Illustrated by Carole Tate

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Related Posts

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MOTHER GOOSE AND NURSERY RHYME COMPILATIONS

A list containing compilations of Mother Goose and Nursery Rhyme Singable Picture Books, including links and resources for learning, singing, and playing the tunes
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/mother-goose-singable-picture-books-rhymes-and-songs-in-compilations/

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MOTHER GOOSE AND NURSERY RHYMES INDIVIDUALLY ILLUSTRATED
Mother Goose and Nursery Rhymes with Individually Illustrated Singable Picture Books

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USEFUL TUNES IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/useful-tunes-in-the-public-domain/

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