Author Topic: Add: Hush My Babe (Lullaby)


Posted - 12 Oct 02 - 02:36 pm

Hush, My Babe (Lullaby)

Hush my babe, lie still in slumber
Holy angels guard they bed
Sweetest blessings without number
Gently fall upon thy head.

Hush, my babe, lie still in slumber,
Cold and hard thy saviour lay
When his birthplace was a stable
And his softest bed was clay.

Source: Bushes and Briars, Ed Roy Palmer, ISBN 1-86143-072-8


Collected from Mr Thompson, Dunstan, Northumberland by Vaughan Williams, British Library MSS 54187/91

Database entry is here

Edited By dmcg - 10/13/2002 8:24:37 AM

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 12 Oct 02 - 05:44 pm

This text is not yet listed in the Roud Index, but is probably Roud 8885, of which one example, from Kentucky, is included. It appears to be a much cut-down oral form of A Cradle Hymn, written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), which can be seen in the Oxford Book of English Verse. More information in an old discussion in the Mudcat Forum: Christmas Lullaby by Doc Watson.


Posted - 13 Oct 02 - 08:35 am

More background: Ralph Vaughan Williams was one of the editors of "The Oxford Book of Carols"(ISBN 0-19-353314-6), along with Percy Dearmer and Martin Shaw. Carol 130 is "Watt's Cradle Song" and the melody is described as "Northumbrian (Freely arr M.S.)". The notes further say "Watt's words are here set to a traditional carol tune, sung to these words and noted in Northumberland by R. Vaughan Williams". All would therefore seem totally clear - except the copyright confusingly is by Martin Shaw, not RVW as you might expect.

Edited By dmcg - 10/13/2002 8:59:03 AM


Posted - 13 Oct 02 - 04:03 pm

Here is the complete text for Isaac Watts "A Cradle Hymn":

HUSH! my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.

Sleep, my babe; thy food and raiment,
House and home, thy friends provide;
All without thy care or payment:
All thy wants are well supplied.

How much better thou'rt attended
Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven He descended
And became a child like thee!

Soft and easy is thy cradle:
Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
When His birthplace was a stable
And His softest bed was hay.

Bless├?┬Ęd babe! what glorious features?
Spotless fair, divinely bright!
Must He dwell with brutal creatures?
How could angels bear the sight?

Was there nothing but a manger
Curs├?┬Ęd sinners could afford
To receive the heavenly stranger?
Did they thus affront their Lord?

Soft, my child: I did not chide thee,
Though my song might sound too hard;
'Tis thy mother sits beside thee,
And her arms shall be thy guard.

Yet to read the shameful story
How the Jews abused their King,
How they served the Lord of Glory,
Makes me angry while I sing.

See the kinder shepherds round Him,
Telling wonders from the sky!
Where they sought Him, there they found Him,
With His Virgin mother by.

See the lovely babe a-dressing;
Lovely infant, how He smiled!
When He wept, the mother's blessing
Soothed and hush'd the holy child.

Lo, He slumbers in His manger,
Where the horn├?┬Ęd oxen fed:
Peace, my darling; here 's no danger,
Here 's no ox anear thy bed.

'Twas to save thee, child, from dying,
Save my dear from burning flame,
Bitter groans and endless crying,
That thy blest Redeemer came.

May'st thou live to know and fear Him,
Trust and love Him all thy days;
Then go dwell for ever near Him,
See His face, and sing His praise!

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 13 Oct 02 - 06:56 pm

I forgot to check The Oxford Book of Carols. Martin Shaw's copyright relates to the arrangement, which was by him, rather than the melody.

Mary in Kentucky

Posted - 21 Oct 02 - 05:33 pm

Here is the ABC for Watts's Cradle Song in The Oxford Book of Carols.

E2A2G2A2|B2d2c3/2B/2 A2|d2d2c2e2|B2B2A4|
E2A2G2A2|B2d2c3/2B/2 A2|d2d2c2e2|B2B2A4|]


Posted - 21 Oct 02 - 06:58 pm

ABC from the Oxford Book of Carols added here.

Thanks, Mary

masato sakurai

Posted - 18 Mar 03 - 04:09 pm

Two versions are given in Elizabeth Poston, The Second Penguin Book of Christmas Carols (1970, pp. 43-46). The tune to "Watts's Cradle Song" (no. 4) is a Tennesee version of RESTORATION (or ARISE, I WILL ARISE, ATHENS; Doc Watson's tune); the second (no. 5) is a variant of SWEET AFFLICTION (or GREENVILLE, IMPORTUNITY, ROUSSEAU'S DREAM; "Aunt Rhody"). The only tune in The New Oxford Book of Carols (no. 115) comes from SWEET AFFLICTION, the editors commenting: "Although the hymn has appeared in several modern carol-books, the lack of a good tune denied it the popularity it deserves until Elizabeth Poston, in The Second Penguin Book of Christmas Carols (1970), married it to the tune that forms our bars 1-16" (p. 411). A correction: the "marriage" was not by Poston; according to Bin Ebisawa (in Musunde Hiraite Ko, 1986, pp. 131-133; score given), "[Watts's] Cradle Hymn" with the GREENVILLE tune was in J.P. McCaskey's Franklin Square Song Collection (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1881, p. 22), and later in Heart Songs (Boston: Chapple, [1909], p. 133).

masato sakurai

Posted - 19 Mar 03 - 01:21 am

From Southern Harmony (the melodies are in the middle):

Sweet Affliction
See also HUSH, MY DEAR (from The Cyber Hymnal).

masato sakurai

Posted - 19 Mar 03 - 01:29 am

Sheet music is at Public Domain Music (from The Book of A Thousand Songs, 1918):
Cradle Hymn

Edited By masato sakurai - 19/03/2003 01:34:38

masato sakurai

Posted - 01 Jun 03 - 01:32 pm

Two tunes from Poston's carol book.

T:Watts's Cradle Song
S:Elizabeth Poston, The Second Penguin Book of Christmas Carols (1970, p. 43)
N:Tennessee, arr. E.P.
w:Hush! my dear, lie still and slum - ber; Ho-ly an-gels guard thy bed!
B2d2(BA)G2|A2 (BA) (GE) D2|E3FG2B,2|B,2D2E4|]
w:Heaven-ly bless - ings with-out_ num - ber Gent-ly fall-ing on thy head.

T:Watts's Cradle Song (Second Tune)
S:Elizabeth Poston, The Second Penguin Book of Christmas Carols (1970, p. 45)
N:American traditional, arr. E.P.
w:Hush! my_ babe, lie still and_ slum - ber; Ho-ly_ an-gels guard_ thy_ bed!


Posted - 01 Jun 03 - 01:44 pm

I've put Masato's ABC files in the database here for ease of printing. Please note that only the first will play if you select the MIDI option.

Edited By dmcg - 03/06/2003 11:34:38

Mary in Kentucky

Posted - 01 Jun 03 - 04:55 pm

Masato! I'm having trouble keeping up with you! So many tunes to listen to!

Restoration is one of my favorite tunes. Should I order the "Second Penquin Book of Christmas Carols" as well as the first?

masato sakurai

Posted - 01 Jun 03 - 05:16 pm

Mary, the second book is unique in that it's a collection of American carols and versions.

Mary in Kentucky

Posted - 01 Jun 03 - 06:00 pm

Then I'll definitely order BOTH -- TOMORROW!

Keep on the lookout for Christmas Carols for me.

masato sakurai

Posted - 03 Jun 03 - 05:14 am

"Hush My Babe, Lie Still and Slumber" with a different tune taken from The American Vocalist (Boston, 1849) which is "known variously as Charlestown, Dear Gently With Thy Servants, and Blind Bartimaeus" is on An American Christmas - The Boston Camerata/Joel Cohen (Erato 4509-92874-2).

Mary in Kentucky

Posted - 09 Jun 03 - 06:19 pm

I received the Second Penguin Book of Christmas Carols today. There are a few I've never heard before.


Posted - 09 Jun 03 - 06:42 pm

I've not got that book. Time to get writing the ABC, Mary! (Or send me, Jon or Ed some scans)

Mary in Kentucky

Posted - 09 Jun 03 - 09:15 pm

LOL! I'm in the mood for a few Christmas Carols.

The prettiest tunes, IMO, were collected by John Jacob Niles. Do you want those?


Posted - 09 Jun 03 - 10:04 pm

Certainly, although there are some questions I gather about Niles' work. No doubt Malcolm or masato can say more about it.


Posted - 09 Jun 03 - 10:09 pm


I love John Jacob Niles, at least what I've heard. The 'medley' at is the only audio I know, but I think he's wonderful. Most people think I'm entirely mad for liking him....

I'd be more than happy to ABCify any of the songs he collected if you want to email them to me. (PM me for the best email address if I can help)

You probably know this already, but he isn't seen as being particulary honest in terms of the songs he 'collected'. This Mudcat thread explains a bit more and is interesting reading.


Mary in Kentucky

Posted - 09 Jun 03 - 10:50 pm

Thanks Ed, I'll do that!

I was aware of the JJNiles controversy. So I'll let the people here decide what to do with *his* songs. If I can help track down some info, let me know. The John Jacob Niles Center is at UK (as in The University of Kentucky) in Lexington, and one of my former students (and my son's subsequent college roommate) used to work there.

Just a quick look at this wonderful book Masato suggested...I now have four tunes for "Away in a Manger"! So I just may have to do that one first.

masato sakurai

Posted - 26 Aug 03 - 07:18 am

Shape-note singing of "Sweet Affliction" can be heard at The Joseph Jackson Beasley Memorial Singing.
I've seen "Hush, My Babe" (tune: GREENVILLE) in Joe Mitchell Chapple's Heart Songs (1907; reprint ed., Clearfield, 1997, p, 133), and have confirmed that "Cradle Hymn" (tune: GREENVILLE) is in Franklin Square Song Collection: Two Hundred Favorite Songs and Hymns for Schools and Homes, Nursery and Fireside, No. 1, selected by J.P. McCaskey (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1881, p. 22).

Edited By masato sakurai - 31-Aug-2003 01:25:42 AM

masato sakurai

Posted - 31 Aug 03 - 03:29 am

Another set of words ("Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy" written by Joseph Hart, 1759) is set to the tune RESTORATION (from The Southern Harmony) in The United Methodist Hymnal (1989, no. 340).

Mary in Kentucky

Posted - 31 Aug 03 - 03:59 am

That's where I first learned (and loved) that tune.

******thread drift********
I stay confused on tunes and words because Come Ye Sinners is also used to the tune, Beech Spring, made popular (again) by the Ken Burns' Lewis and Clark special (which we should see on TV again soon since this is the bicentennial celebration of that event).

masato sakurai

Posted - 31 Aug 03 - 02:54 pm

The music for COME, YE SINNERS, POOR AND NEEDY at The Cyber Hymnal is "Restoration" (from The Southern Harmony). Several shape-note recordings of "Restoration" are at VOICES ACROSS AMERICA (Click on "Music", and Search for "Restoration").


Posted - 01 Sep 03 - 12:03 pm

I'm listening to Ed's link - I've never heard JJN's voice before- what an unusual, dramatic voice! It does take some getting used to- but it has a weird beauty!
Thanks for the link, Ed!

masato sakurai

Posted - 21 Feb 06 - 02:14 am

New address for "Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy" at The Cyber Hymnal.

Browse Titles: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z