Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
"Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush"
Roud #7882
Written by Traditional
Published 1840s
Written England
Language English
Form Nursery rhyme

"Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" (also titled "Mulberry Bush" or "This is the Way") is an English language nursery rhyme and singing game. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 7882.



The most common modern version of the rhyme is:

Here we go round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush
On a cold and frosty morning.

Origins and meaning

The rhyme is first recorded as a children's game by James Orchard Halliwell in the mid-nineteenth century.[1] He also noted that there was a similar game with the lyrics 'Here we go round the bramble bush'. Some commentators believe that the bramble bush was the earlier version, and perhaps changed because of the difficulty of articulating the alliteration, not least because mulberries do not grow on bushes.[2]

Halliwell noted that subsequent verses included: 'This is the way we wash our clothes', 'This is the way we dry our clothes', 'This is the way we mend our shoes', 'This is the way the gentlemen walk' and 'This is the way the ladies walk'.[1]

The song and associated game is traditional, and has parallels in the Scandinavian languages and in Dutch (although the mulberry bush is replaced by a juniper bush in Scandinavia).[citation needed]

Local historian R. S. Duncan has suggested that the song derives from female prisoners at HMP Wakefield. A sprig was taken from Hatfield Hall (Normanton Golf Club) in Stanley, Wakefield, which grew into a fully mature mulberry tree around which prisoners would exercise.[3] There is no corroborative evidence to support this theory.

There exists a folksong called 'As I Sat on a Sunny Bank', collected by Cecil Sharp in Worcestershire, that has a very similar melody.[citation needed]

The game and song

The simple game involves holding hands in a circle and moving around to the first verse, which is alternated with the specific verse, where the players break up to imitate various appropriate actions.[1]

A variant of this rhyme is Nuts in May, both sharing the same tune.

In popular culture

  • In 1968, Traffic released a song, titled "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush", as a single.
  • In a 1970s commercial for Oster electric toothbrushes, the song was used with the line "This is the way we brush our teeth".
  • A commercial for Scoop Away cat litter used the song with the line "This is the way we wash our face".
  • This rhyme was included in the song "Falling Back In Fields Of Rape" by english apocalyptic folk band Current 93 (album "Dogs Blood Rising", 1984)

Silly old Gordon fell in the ditch,
Fell in the ditch,
Fell in the ditch.
Silly old Gordon fell in the ditch
All on a Monday morning.

Kidsongs recorded a version of the song for use in the video "A Day At Old MacDonald's Farm".

The Merry-Go-Round

The Merry-Go-Round is a song with the same tune as "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush", but some notes are removed. The song tells the story of several children on a merry-go-round that—in a sadistic twist—collapses because so many children are riding it. The circle game that accompanies it is similar to the one for Ring Around the Rosie, as described below. This song is one of the last three songs in Grandpa's Magical Toys and is one of the songs on its "companion" audio CD WeeSing and Play as well.

The merry-go-round goes 'round and 'round,
The children laughed and laughed and laughed,
So many were going 'round and 'round,
That the merry-go-round collapsed.

The verse is usually repeated for a second time.

The circle singing game that accompanies these verses also changes by region, but the most common form consists of participants standing in a circle and holding hands, followed by skipping in one direction as they sing the tune that accompanies these verses. As the word collapsed in the second verse is sung, the group usually falls down into a heap.


  1. ^ a b c J. Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales: A Sequel to The Nursery Rhymes of England (London: John Russell Smith, 1849), p. 127.
  2. ^ E. Godfrey, Home Life Under the Stuarts - 1603-1649 (London, 1903), p. 19.
  3. ^ R. S. Duncan, Here we go round the mulberry bush' The House of Correction 1595 / HM Prison Wakefield 1995 (Privately published, 1994).

See also

External links

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