Say the Bells of St. Clements

The bowl of oranges and lemons of my previous post would not wait another day, so I cut this twill table runner off the loom last night.

Odd how old nursery rhyme chants roll round and round in the mind.  They are so instilled in us that vague and meaningless as they are, they become cultural references. George Orwell in “Nineteen Eighty Four” uses Oranges and Lemons as a repeated chant – a mnemonic evoked as a touchstone of a lost and irretrievable time.

Oranges and lemons
Say the bells of St Clements
You owe me five farthings
Say the bells of St Martins
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey
When I grow rich
Say the bells of Shoreditch
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney
I’m sure I don’t know
Says the great bell at Bow
Here comes a candle to light you to bed
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head

Put to music..

A fascinating and well researched history of the rhyme can be found here.