The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Lullay, Mine Liking, My Dere Sone, Mine Sweting

For Christmas

Words: English Traditional from the Sloane Ms. 2593, British Library, London

Versions on this site:
Lullay, Myn Lykyng (Richard Greene)
Lullay My Liking - Version 1
 Lullay My Liking - Version 2
Lullay, Mine Liking (Modern, From Rickert)
I Saw A Fair Maiden (Richard Terry, with music)

Music: Not Stated

Source: E. K. Chambers and F. Sidgwick, eds., Early English Lyrics (London: A. H. Bullen, 1907), #LXIX, p. 131.

Lullay, mine liking, my dere sone, mine sweting,
Lullay, my dere herte, mine owen dere derling !

I saw a fair maiden
    Sitten and singe,
Sche lulled a litel child,
    A swete lording.

That eche lord is that
    That made alle thinge ;
Of alle lordes he is lord,
    Of alle kinges king. 10

There was mekel melody
    At that childes berthe ;
Alle tho wern in hevene bliss
    They made mekel merthe.

Aungele bright they song that night, 15
    And seiden to that child,
' Blessed be thou, and so be sche
That is bothe meke and mild.'

Prey we now to that child,
    And to his moder dere, 20
Graunt hem his blessing
    That now maken chere.


7. eche, eternal.

Note to #LXIX, p. 49.

Sloane 2593. Printed Archiv, cvii. 49; Wright, W.C., 94.

Extended Citations:

Archiv, cvii. 49;
Bernhard Fehr, "Weitere Beiträge zur englischen Lyrik des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts," in Alois Brandl and Adolf Tobler, eds., Archiv fur das Studium der Neueren Sprachen und Litteraturen. CVII Band / Volume 107. (Braunschweig: George Westermann, 1901), 32a, "lullay myn lyking my dere sone my swytyng," p. 49. The article contains excerpts from Sloane 2593, Sloane 1212, Sloane 3501, Harley 541, Harley 367, & Harley 7578.

Wright, W.C., 94.
Thomas Wright, ed., Songs and Carols from a Manuscript in the British Museum of the Fifteenth Century (Warton Club, 1842), I saw a fayr mayden syttng and synge, p. 94. (Texts from Sloane 2593).

Editor's Note.

This very sweet lullaby is among the oldest of the lullabies to the infant Christ, and is found only in the Sloane Ms. 2593. It has been interpreted by numerous artists, and has been the subject of several musical settings. It is sometimes found with variants of the title "I Saw A Fair Maiden." 

The text from Fehr's article:

32 a:
lullay myn lyking my dere sone my swytyng
lullay my dere harte my owyn dere derlyng
I saw a fayr maydyn syttyn and synge
she lullyd a lytyl chyld, a swete lordyng   4
ŝat eche lord is ŝat ŝat made alle ŝinge
of alle lordis he is lord of alle Kynges Kyng
   ŝer was mekyl melody at ŝat chyldes berthe

alle ŝo wern in heuene blys ŝei made mekŝe   8
   Angel bryζt ŝei song ŝat nyζt and seydyn to ŝat chyld
Blyssid be ŝou and so be sche ŝat is boŝe meke and myld
   Prey we now to ŝat chylde and to his moder dere
Grawnt hem his blyssyng ŝat now makyn chere.   12

Sloane 2593.
Sloane 2593. Paper, 5 3/4 x 4 1/2. Songs and carols, seventy-four in number, of which three are in Latin, and the rest in English. Mainly religious or moral, but some trivial and satirical. Wright considered it to be the song-book of a minstrel (cf. Eng. Poet. e. 1) ; the last folio bears the name ‘Johannes Bardel' or ‘Bradel,' written in the same hand as the rest of the MS. Wright traces one poem to 1362-9, but probably this and others were traditional when written down ; he dates the handwriting temp. Henry VI. According to Bradley-Stratmann, the MS. was written in Warwickshire at the beginning of the XV cent. Variants of some poems appear in Eng. Poet. e. i. Extracts in Ritson (1790), Wright, Carols (1836), and S.L.P., Rel. Ant., and Fehr in Archiv, cvii. 48; Edited complete by Wright for the Warton Club in 1856 ; and by B. Fehr in Archiv, cix. 33 ; who does not print poems extracted as above, but is ignorant of the Warton Club print. Source: Notes, pp. 303-304.

Extended Citations:

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