Oranges and Lemons

Oranges and Lemons

Oranges and Lemons

Playing the game. Picture by Agnes Rose Bouvier (1842-92)

The song is used in a children’s singing game with the same name, in which the players file, in pairs, through an arch made by two of the players (made by having the players face each other, raise their arms over their head, and clasp their partners’ hands). The challenge comes during the final lines:
Here comes a candle to light you to bed. Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.(Chip chop, chip chop, the last man’s dead.)
On the last word, the children forming the arch drop their arms to catch the pair of children currently passing through, who are then “out” and must form another arch next to the existing one. In this way, the series of arches becomes a steadily lengthening tunnel through which each set of two players have to run faster and faster to escape in time. (Wikipedia)

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