Sing a song of sixpence
Pocket full of rye
Four-and-twenty black-birds
Baked in a pie
When the pie was openned
The birds began to sing--
Isn't this a dainty dish
To give to a king?

As I heard it, the rhyme refers not to pirates, but to Henry VIII's closing of the monasteries in England. The number 24 is how many monasteries Henry closed, and the black birds are the monks (Blackfriars?). Supposedly, the deeds were given over to Henry in a pie, though this may be a confusion with Little Jack Horner.

The King was in his counting house
Counting out the money
The Queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey
The Maid was in the garden
Hanging out the clothes
Along came a blackbird
Who snapped off her nose!

Part of Henry's motivation in closing the monestaries was the amount of wealth the monks had, which now went to the king.

Conjecture--could the maid, getting her "nose" snapped off by the blackbird, be a reference to the not-so-celibate English monks?