On this day - October 12th

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Three_Blinde_Mice_three_voice_round_Deuteromelia_13_(1609)

Three Blind Mice

The first known published version of the well-known children's rhyme was printed on October 12th 1609 in London, together with music, in Deuteromelia or The Seconde part of Musicks melodie. The editor of the book, and possible author of the rhyme, was Thomas Ravenscroft.

The original lyrics are:

Three Blinde Mice,
Three Blinde Mice,
Dame Iulian,
Dame Iulian,
the Miller and his merry olde Wife,
she scrapte her tripe licke thou the knife.

Attempts to read historical significance into the words have led to the speculation that this musical round was written earlier and refers to Queen Mary I of England blinding and executing three Protestant bishops. However, the Oxford Martyrs, Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer, were burned at the stake, not blinded; although if the rhyme was made by crypto-Catholics, the mice's "blindness" could refer to their Protestantism. However, as can be seen above, the earliest lyrics don't talk about harming the three blind mice, and the date of publication,.1609, is well after Queen Mary died.

The rhyme only entered children's literature in 1842 when it was published in a collection by James Orchard Halliwell.

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