The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Our Blessed Lady's Lullaby

For Christmas

Author: Richard Rowlands (Also Richard Verstegen), From "Odes," 1601.

Music: "Sellenger's Round (16th Century).

Source: Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), #38, pp. 68-69.

1. Upon my lap my sov'reign sits
And sucks upon my breast;
Meantime His love maintains my life
And gives my sense her rest.
   When Thou hast taken thy repast,
   Repose my babe on me;
   So may Thy mother and Thy nurse
   Thy cradle also be.

Chorus
Sing lullaby, my little boy,
My life's Joy lullaby.

2. The earth is now a heaven become,
And this base power of mine
A princely palace unto me,
My Son doth make to shine.
   This sight I see, this Child I have,
   This Infant I embrace,
   O endless Comfort of the earth
   And heaven's eternal Grace.
Sing lullaby &c.

3. My Babe, my Bliss, my Child, my Choice,
My Fruit my Flower and Bud,
My Jesus and my only Joy,,
The sum of all my good.
   Three Kings their treasures hither brought,
   Of incense, myrrh and gold,
   The heavens' treasure and the King
   That here they might behold.
Sing lullaby &c.

4. And let th'ensuing blessed race
Thou wilt succeeding raise,
Join all their praises unto mine,
To multiply their praise.
   And let th'ensuing blessed race
   Thou wilt succeeding raise,
   Join all their praises unto mine,
   To multiply their praise.
Sing lullaby &c.

Notes:

Rev. Terry's Note:

A native of London who matriculated at Christchurch Oxford, in 1565. He went shortly afterwards to Antwerp where he set up as a printer and changed his surname to Verstegen. He published a volume of "Odes" including a number of hymns, entitling  the present example "Our Blessed Ladies Lullaby." He died in Antwerp about 1626, three years after William Byrd, to whom he tune is sometimes (without much authority) ascribed. Ed.

At Wikipedia, see Richard Rowlands.

This is an edited from a much longer lullaby. See, for example, Arthur Symons, "A Pageant of Elizabethan Poetry," Poem #305. "Our Blessed Lady's Lullaby," pp. 307-312. On this site, see: Our Blessed Lady's Lullaby - Richard Verstegen.

Sheet Music from Richard Runciman Terry, Two Hundred Folk Carols (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited, 1933), #38, pp. 68-69.

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