The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Baloo, Lammy
Lullaby, Little Lamb

Words and Music: Scottish Traditional

Inspired by Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, by Martin Luther
From Joseph Klug's Gesangsbuch, 1535
Notes and Translations: Notes for Vom Himmel Hoch Da Komm Ich Her

Translator: Unknown

1. This day to you is born a child
Of Mary meek the Virgin mild:
That blessed bairn so loving and kind,
Shall now rejoice both heart and mind.
    Baloo, lammy, balulalow.

2. And now shall Mary's little boy
Forever be our hope and joy;
Eternal be his reign here on earth,
Rejoice then all people for this holy birth:
    Baloo, lammy, balulalow.

3. Sleep gently, sweet Jesus, and know no fear,
Thy subjects adoring watch over thee here;
God's angels and shepherds and kine in their stall,
And wise men and Virgin, Thy guardians all:
    Baloo, lammy, balulalow.

Note: A musical setting can be found in Roy Ringwald's Book Of American Carols (2004), who gives attribution for the first verse to John Wedderburn, 1567. He states that the author of verses 2 and 3 is unknown.

The full original title was "An Sang of the birth of Christ," from James, John and Robert Wedderburn's Ane Compendium Buik of Godly and Spirituall Sangis (1567)

The Fitzwilliam Museum gives the following:

1. Out of heaven I come to tell
The best news that ere befell;
To ye such tidings true I bring,
And of them I will say and sing.

2. This day to you is born a child
Of Mary Virgin, meek and mild;
That blessèd child, gracious and kind,
Shall you rejoice both heart and mind.

3. Ye shall him find sans mark or ring,
Full simple in a cribb lying;
So lieth he who us hath wrought
And all the world made out of nought.

4. O God, that made all creature,—
How art thou become so poor,
On the hay and the straw to lie
Among the asses, oxen, and kye.

5. Were the world ten times as wide,
Clad over with gold and stones of pride,
Unworthy still it were of thee—
Under thy feet a stool to be.

6. The silk and sandell, thee to ease,
Are hay and simple swathing-claes,
Wherein thou gloriest, greatest King,
As thou in Heaven satt'st in thy ring.

7. O my dear Heart, young Jesus sweet,
Prepare thy cradle in my spirit,
And I shall rock thee in my heart
And never more from thee depart.

8. But I shall praise thee evermore
With sweet songs unto thy gloire;
The knees of my heart I shall bow,
And sing that right Balulalow.

9. Glory be to God eternally,
Who gave his only son for me!
The angels are gladdened when they hear
The gracious gift of this new Year.

It was said to have been transcribed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the 1850s. The manuscript in the Fitzwilliam Museum. See: Early Christmas Carols (Link opens in a new window at an exterior site).

The editors of The Oxford Book of Carols (1928) give verses 7 and 8 under the title of "Balulalow" from Wedderburn, Ane Compendious Buik of Godly and Spirituall Songis, 1567 (Carol 181).

For notes and other translations, see Vom Himmel hoch, o Engel kommt.

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