Flour of England
DESCRIPTION: "Flour of England, fruit of Spain, Met together in a shower of rain, Put in a bag and tied with a string, If you tell me this riddle, I'll give you a ring."
EARLIEST DATE: 1844 (Halliwell)
KEYWORDS: food riddle ring nonballad
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 153, "Flour of England, fruit of Spain" (2 texts)
Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #691, p. 273, "(Flour of England, fruit of Spain)"
Jack-PopGoesTheWeasel, p. 34, "Flour of England" (1 text)
NOTES [94 words]: All sources on this seem to agree that the "standard" answer is plum pudding but that there could be a political undercurrent. If we spell the first line "Flower of England, fruit of Spain," then it might refer to a Spanish marriage. Usually the marriage suggested is that between Mary Tudor and Philip II (since Mary did once publicly give Philip a ring), but it might make more sense to point to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.
Jacks proposes yet another possibility, having to do with the defeat of the Spanish Armada. That one seems pretty strange to me. - RBW
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