Learn a Rhyme

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Sing a Song of Sixpence

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing,
Wasn't that a dainty dish,
To 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 blackbird
And pecked off her nose

This rhyme was first published in 1744

The Shakespeare play Twelfth Night makes reference to singing a song for sixpence.

In the Middle Ages pies were often served at royal banquets. Royal cooks tried their best to be innovative with the types of pie they produced. In the sixteenth century it was fashionable to put live birds in a pie so that when it was cut open the birds would fly out to the delight of the dinner guests.