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History and Information behind Ba Ba Black Sheep

There have been many nursery rhymes that have helped children through their early stages in life, through compelling and joyful rhythms that are undeniably easy to master even for the youth. One of the most renowned English rhyme for the youth that has survived centuries is the Ba Ba Black Sheep. The youngest version of the rhyme that has survived dates back to the year 1731 which made it easy to observe the changes of the rhymes since its advent.

The rhyme of Ba Ba Black sheep is sung with the French melody variant dating back to 1761 - the 'Ah! Vous Dirai-je, maman'. The rhyme was also the one used in other famous rhymes like the 'Alphabet Song' and 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star'. Like any other part of history, even nursery rhymes were tried to be analyzed by experts, however, there are no known analysis that was backed up by strong, irrefutable evidences. This makes every analysis, a simple personal conclusion by each reviewers of the rhyme.

Some said that it was a song connected to slave trade, while some infer that it was a complaint on wool taxes back in the days of Medieval English. It has also garnered quite a debate as the 20th century entered, stating that it was a song that's aimed for 'political correctness'. Despite this profound yet unproven conclusions regarding the purpose of the song, it was still used as a popular allusion and even a metaphor for various popular culture and even literatures.

The rhyme has first seen the light of existence as it was printed for the Pretty Song Book of Tommy Thumb which was a collection of nursery rhymes and one of the oldest ones today (1741). Its lyrics were irrefutably close to what we know of today. On 1765, the rhyme was again printed, now on the Melody of Mother Goose where the last line included no wools for the boy and changed 'lives' to 'cries'.

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