Rings on her fingers, bells on her toes

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Feb 20 18:32:29 UTC 2000

    Someone asked me about this.  Here goes.
    The RHHDAS has "with bells on" from 1899.  The phrase is placed in no
context whatsoever.  I first heard the full phrase in a Tony Orlando song,
"Sweet Gypsy Rose."
    Christine Ammer's AMDOAQ relates "with bells on" to the well known
nursery rhyme, found in GAMMER GURSON'S GARLAND (1784):

Ride a cocked horse to Bambury cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes.

     The Making of America database has CATHOLIC WORLD, August 1873, pg. 663:
 "...she had curls and crimps, she had flounces and frills, she had chains
and trinkets, she had rings on her fingers, and we should not be surprised if
she had bells on her toes."
     The American Memory database has the 19th century song, "The Fisherman's
daughter that lives o'er the water," which has:

I'll plant in her bosom a blooming moss rose.
She shall go like a fairy with sweet tinkling music,
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes.

     Personally, I find that the rings get in the way of typing these ADS-L

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