The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Lulle Lullay

For the Feast of the Holy Innocents, December 28

Appalachia, Collected by John Jacob Niles
The musical arrangement published by G. Schirmer is distributed by
Hal Leonard Corporation, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Compare the traditional English, Coventry Carol (with notes and sheet music)

Lullay, Thou tiny little Child
    Bye-bye, lulle, lullay;
Lullay, Thou tiny little Child,
    Bye-bye, lulle, lullay.

Oh sisters two, how may we do
    To preserve this day?
This poor Childling for whom we sing
    Bye-bye, lulle, lullay.

Herod, the King, in his raging,
    Charged he hath this day
His soldiers in their strength and might,
    All children young to slay.

Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee,
    And ever mourn and say,
For at thy parting nor say nor sing
    Bye-bye, lulle, lullay.

And when the stars ingather do,
    In their far venture stay,
Then smile as dreaming, Little One,
    Bye-bye, lulle, 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.

According to Niles, it was recorded at an Old-timers day, June 16, 1934, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, from the singing of an old lady known only to me as "the old lady with the gray hat." Niles believed that the song came from the Shapenote singers.

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