History in Nursery Rhymes: Three Blind Mice

A R T L▼R K

On the 12th of October 1609, the popular children’s nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice was published in London. A version of this rhyme, together with music, was published in Deuteromelia (1609); the editor was Thomas Ravenscroft (c.1582-1635), still a teenager at the time of its publication. London life in the 1600s was hard for everyone. The capital was a stinky, dark city plagued by smog, disease and darkness, its streets packed with heavy traffic jams of horse carts and wagons, an abundance of beggars and street traders. Ravenscroft  was a musician, theorist and editor, but was mainly busy recording oral traditions off the streets of London: rounds and catches, street cries, vendor songs, ‘freeman’s songs’ and other anonymous pieces of music which he compiled into folk music collections. One of the pieces he is supposed to have come across in 1609 was the rhyme of the Three Blind Mice

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