The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Coventry Carol

For the Feast of the Holy Innocents, December 28

Version 2
Compare Version 1 with notes and sheet music,
 The Coventry Carol (Terry, with sheet music) and
Lulle Lullay, Collected by John Jacob Niles

Words Attributed to Robert Croo, 1534

English Melody, 1591
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / Sheet Music

It is named after the city of Coventry, England, where the 15th Century Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors depicted Herod's slaughter of the innocents, told in the lyrics.

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

1. O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor Youngling for Whom we sing
By, by, lully, lullay?

2. Herod the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

3. That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever morn and day
For Thy parting neither say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.


This is one of many songs which relate to the Holy Innocents, whose feast day is December 28. For more, please see The Hymns Of The Holy Innocents.

Also found in Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), p. 76. Rickert duplicates the second line of of the burden.

Print Page Return Home Page Close Window