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 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! The second part of this rhyme is a clue to the purpose of the first part – the poor fellow ends up dead!The Eastcheap docks saw the unloading of cargo from the Mediterranean – often including oranges and lemons.But not only fruit was unloaded at Eastcheap: it was also the dock at which condemned men would disembark, to begin their final journey.Rub a dub dub Three men in a tub And how do you think they got there?The butcher, the baker and the candlestick-maker It was enough to make a man stare. then we read the original, or at least the oldest known version: Rub a dub dub Three maids in a tub And how do you think they got there?The first verse describes the cheapest food available; the narrator of the poem has no money, so ‘pop’ goes the weasel. The third verse is a bit more obscure than the first two; a monkey is slang for a tankard, while knocking off a stick was slang for drinking.
It’s still an upbeat tune, letting the reader see that a night on the town is well worth the week of terrible food, wages and general living conditions.The bells belong to famous churches in London; it’s possible that these were the churches a condemned man would pass, on his way to his execution.St Clemens, the first church, is likely that in Eastcheap.He ran away and hid himself, afraid of a potential scandal.
So Georgie Porgie is really a coward, a cad and a glutton. Oranges and lemons Say the bells of St Clemens, You owe me five farthings Say the bells of St Martins, When will you pay me?
The spat between the two ladies was well known at the time, as Kitty taunted Lucy for dropping her lover.