Abbildungen der Seite

Hush-a-bye baby, on the tree-top,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock;
When the bough bends the cradle will fall,
Down will come baby, bough, cradle and

The Scotch have a simple but very characteristic little ditty, "He-ba-laliloo," which is not very difficult to trace to the French "Hé bas! 'là le loup," which in turn brings our thoughts to bear upon a universal nursery story favorite, namely, "Little Red Riding Hood."

Ba-loo, ba-loo, my wee thing,

Oh, softly close thy blinkin' e'e,
Thy daddy now is far awa',

A sailor laddie o'er the sea.

Hibernian mothers sing thus:

Hush, baby dear, weep not awhile,

And o'er thee shall bright treasures smile,
As did thy royal sires once own
In the green land of Conn and Owen.

Denmark is a country which, through our well-beloved princess, is so nearly connected with our own, that I make no apology for giving two of its lullabies amongst ours. Strange to say the Danish mothers are the only ones whose slumber songs contain any element of castigation about them:

Sleep, sleep, little mouse!

The field your father ploughs;
Your mother feeds pigs in the sty,
She'll come and slap you when you cry.

The next one is a dozing song:

Visse lull, my love,

Had I such four,

Four-and-twenty in each corner,
Then all our cradles should go.

Here is a verse of a somewhat lengthy old Danish lullaby :

Sleep sweetly, little child; lie quiet and still;
As sweetly sleep as the bird in the wood,
As the flowers in the meadow.
God the Father has said, "Angels stand
On watch when the little ones are in bed."


Rabbit pie! rabbit pie!

Come, my ladies, come and buy,
Else your babies they will cry.

This is a favorite old lullaby in the north of England, one which is, perhaps, still heard occasionally. The last word is pronounced bee.

Hush-a-bye, lie still and sleep,
It grieves me sore to see thee weep,
For when thou weep'st thou wearies me,
Hush-a-bye, lie still and bye.
You shall have a new bonnet,
With blue ribbons to tie on it,
With a hush-a-bye, and a lull-a-baby,
Why so like to Tommy's daddy.

All over England babies are crooned to sleep to these verses; sometimes the mother substitutes a tune of her own in lieu of the recognized one :

Plump little baby clouds,
Dimpled and soft,
Rock in their air cradle,
Swinging aloft.

Snowy cloud mothers

With broad bosoms white,
Watch o'er the baby clouds
Slumbering light.

Tired little baby clouds
Dreaming of fears,
Rock in their air cradles,
Dropping soft tears.

Great brooding mother clouds
Watching o'er all,

Let their warm mother tears

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The sheep's in the meadow,

The kye's in the corn,

Thou's ower lang in thy bed,

Bonny at morn,

Canny at night,

Thou's ower lang in thy bed, Bonny at morn.

The bird's in the bush,

The trout's in the burn;
Thou hinderest thy mother
In many a turn.

Canny at night,
Bonny at morn,

Thou's ower lang in thy bed,
Bonny at morn.

We're all laid idle

Wi' keeping the bairn, The lass wi' net learn, The lad wi' net work.

Canny at night,

Bonny at morn,

Thou's ower lang in thy bed, Bonny at morn.

With the colliers' wives of Northumberland this funny song is a great favorite :


Up the raw, down the raw,
Up the raw, lass. every day;

For shape and color, ma bonny hinney,
Thou bangs thy mother, ma canny bairn.

Black as a craw,1 ma bonny hinney,
Thou bangs them a', lass, every day;
Thou's a' clag-candy, ma bonny hinney,
Thou's double-japanded, ma bonny bairn.
For hide and for hue, ma bonny hinney,
Thou bangs the crew, ma bonny bairn ;
Up the raw, down the raw, ma bonny hin-

Thou bangs them a', lass, every day.

Bobby Shaftoe's bright and fair,
Combing down his yellow hair;
I will never see him mair,

Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.

Yorkshire, which has that strange ditty
about the rabbit pie, has also a predi-
lection for this, which is popular in
Essex too:

Young lambs to sell, young lambs to sell!
If I'd as much money as I can tell

I never would cry — young lambs to sell.

One can readily set the words of the following to the monotonous rhythm of a rocking-chair :

Hey, my kitten, hey, my kitten,
And hey, my kitten, my deary!
Was neither far nor neary.
Such a sweet pet as this
Here we go up, up, up,

And here we go down, down, down,
And here we go backwards and forwards,
And here we go round, round, roundy.

The next song scarcely merits a place amongst the songs of motherland, as it is evidently only used as a solace by husbands when left in charge of the nursery pet:

There are several uncouth local terms in these verses which certainly require interpretation. The word "hinney" in Northumbrian parlance is an epithet of extreme endearment; it is a corruption of honey. "Canny" has not the same significance in the coal district as it has in Scotland, for over the Tweed it means nearness, and sometimes even niggardliness, whilst this side of the Border it stands for something very nice. "Clag-candy" is a sticky compound much in request among the juveThy mammy has gone to the mill, niles of the pitmen's country, and To grind thee some wheat, "double-japanded" is an expression To make thee some meat, which, although it may be underAnd so, my dear babby, lie still. standed" of most people, has yet a special meaning in the north, where ject of inquiry in this, history does not Why Tony Lumpkin should be the sub

[ocr errors]

the large kitchen fireplaces are rendered lustrous by means of japanning from day to day.

The sad and indeed almost tragic story of "Bobby Shaftoe" is another Northumbrian lullaby; it, however, is only such by courtesy, as the nursery is not the only place where its somewhat terse history is a favorite.


Bobby Shaftoe's gone to sea.
Silver buckles on his knee;
He'll come back and marry me,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.

Bobby Shaftoe's bright and fair,
Combing down his yellow hair;
He's my ain forevermair,
Bonny Bobby Shaftoe.

1 Crow.


Hush thee, my babby,
Lie still with thy daddy,

Bye, baby bumpkin,

Where's Tony Lumpkin?
My lady's on her death-bed
With eating half a pumpkin.

We can only conclude that Tony's
surname rhymes with bumpkin and
pumpkin; as to my lady dying after so
prodigious a feat as the eating of half a
pumpkin, well, it was only what might
have been expected. From such non-
sense it is charming to turn to this
little ebullition of motherly love and

My dear cockadoodle, my jewel, my joy,
My darling, my honey, my pretty sweet boy,
Before I do rock thee with soft lullaby,
Give me thy dear lips to be kissed, to be

The lullabies of Malaga have long been celebrated for their extreme beauty. In the pretty Spanish tongue the word arrullo means both the cooing of doves and the lulling of children, so that we may think of the little dark-haired, large-eyed babies of the land of the Manzaneres being cooed into the land of Nod by some such tender little songs as the following:

A dormir va la rosa

De los rosales;

A dormir va mi niña

Porque ya es tarde.

The next lullaby, which is a great favorite with the Romany mothers of Spain, refers to "the Moor as a very benignant sort of bogey:

Isabellita, do not pine

[ocr errors]

Because the flowers fade away;
If flowers hasten to decay,
Weep not Isabellita mine.

Little one, now close thine eyes,
Hark! the footsteps of the Moor,
And she asks from door to door
Who may be this child who cries?
When I was as small as thou,

And within my cradle lying,
Angels come about me flying,
And they kissed me on my brow.
Sleep then, little baby, sleep,

Sleep, nor cry again to-night,
Lest the angels take to flight
So as not to see thee weep.

Speaking of the gipsies of Spain reminds me of several beautiful slumber songs which have originated with the tent mothers. Here is the Romany version of a lullaby which, a few years ago, we might often have heard crooned over a tiny Romany babe at the door of the camp :

Jaw to sutters, my tiny chal,

Your die to dukker has jall'd abri,

At rarde she will wel palal,
And tute of her tud shall pie.

Jaw to lutherum, tiny baw!
I'm teerie deya's purie mam,
As tute cams her tud canaw,

Thy deya meerie tud did cam.


Sleep thee, little tawny boy!

Thy mother's gone abroad to spae,

[blocks in formation]


Lullaby, my little one,

Thou art mother's darling son;
Loving mother will defend thee,
Mother she will rock and tend thee,
Like a flower of delight,

Or an angel sheathed in white.

Sleep with mother; mother well
Knows the charm for every spell.
Thou shalt be a hero as

Our good lord great Stephen was:
Brave in war and strong in hand,
To protect thy fatherland.

Sleep, my baby, in thy bed,
God upon thee blessings shed;
Be thou dark, and be thine eyes
Bright as stars that gem the skies;
Maiden's love be thine, and sweet
Blossoms spring beneath thy feet.

The slumber-suggesting word Naninani begins and ends most of the Roumanian lullabies; it recalls the pretty Italian verse which is chanted by the peasant women in some parts of Italy on Christmas day :

Dormi, dormi nel mio seno,
Dormi, o mio fior Nazareno !
Il mio cor sulla sera

Fa la nina-nana-na.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

the most beautiful in the world; they are frequently used in other lands, although it must be admitted that they lose somewhat in the translation.


Peacefully slumber, my own darling son; Close thy dear eyelids, and sweetly sleep on! All things lie buried in silence profound, Sleep, I will scare e'en the gnats floating round.

'Tis now, my dearest, thy life's early May, Ah! but to-morrow is not as to-day; Trouble and care round thy curtains shall


Then, child, thou'lt slumber so sweetly no more !

Angels of Heaven as lovely as thou

Float o'er thy cradle and smile on thee now;

Later, when angels around thee shall stray,
Twill be to wipe but thy teardrops away.
Peacefully slumber, my own darling son,
I'll watch by thy bedside till dark night is

Careless how early, how late it may be, Mother's love wearies not, watching o'er thee.

As a specimen of the Wiegenliëd in its original form the following could scarcely be surpassed :

Tu lu! Kommst du denn nicht?
Nein, nein, heute nicht!

[blocks in formation]

And the little descendants of the vikings are thus lulled :

Row, row to Baltnarock,

How many fish are caught in the net ?
One for father, and one for mother,
One for sister, and one for brother.

Here is a specimen of a very pretty French lullaby:

Il est tard, l'ange a passé,
Le jour a déjà baissé ;

Et l'on n'entend, pour tout bruit,
Que le ruisseau qui s'enfuit.

Mon fils, c'est moi;

Il est tard, et ton ami,

L'oiseau bleu, s'est endormi.

The following melodious berceuse is well known throughout Brittany;

Go to sleep, you little darling,
Go to sleep, dear little Pierrot ;
I'll sing sweet and low,

And rock to and fro
The crib of Pierrot,
Whom we all love.

The tiny bambino of the Italian peasant hears these lines sung in the soft liquid accents of the Italian tongue :

Sleep, my baby, sleep, my darling,
While I hush thee with my song;
Sleep until the new sun rises,
Sleep in peace the whole night long.

A sample verse of a Sardinian logendorian 1 is here given :

Oh! Ninna and Anninia !
Sleep, baby boy.
Oh! Ninna and Anninia!

God give thee joy.
Oh! Ninna and Anninia!

Sweet joy be thine;
Oh! Ninna and Anninia!

Sleep, brother mine.

The Albanian song which follows is commendably short:

De! de lambskin mine,

Where didst thou this even dine?
In the fields where waters flow,
'Neath the trees where cherries grow.

The Polish slumber song, to our ideas, does not seem sufficiently simple or child-like in style :

1 Lullaby.


The stars shine forth from the blue sky,
How great and wondrous is God's might;
Shine stars through all eternity,
His witness in the night.

Dors, petit oiseau de la prairie; dors doucement, joli petit rouge-gorge! Dieu t'éveillera quand il sera temps. Le sommeil est à la porte et de: N'y a-t-il pas ici un doux enfant qui voudrait dormir-un petit enfant enveloppé dans ses langes, un bel enfant qui repose dans sa couverture de laine? Dors, petit oiseau !

Why dost thou weep, my child?
Wherefore dost thou weep?
Hush, darling, calm thee,
And sleep, my child, and sleep.

From Macmillan's Magazine.

Travellers very frequently hear mothers singing their children to sleep with very musical rhythm, and not rarely are the words in themselves veritable poems from slumberland. M. Xavier THE HUMORS OF A CANADIAN ELECTION. Marnier, on his journey to the North THIS title is not meant as an impertiPole, heard and noted down this charm-nence. There is not any intention here ing berceuse which a woman was sing- of attempting to pass a full judgment ing to her child in a remote part of on Canadian political life, or even, one northern Finland: would like to say, on Canadian Parliamentary elections. There are things to be said on the other side; and chiefly there is that thing which Mr. Bryce notices in the other American country as compared with Europe, the sort of righting force to be reckoned with, the hidden force making for justice and right, and saving American countries from being what they seem to be. Still, when all that is said, there is such gross, open, and palpable public corruption in Canada, and such cynical disbelief frequently expressed in the possibilities of anything better, that one is justified in giving a title to an account of a Canadian election which would be disgraceful if Canadians themselves on the whole did not justify it, either by their own corrupt acts, or by their indifference and submission to corruption, or by their connivance at it. He that is not against it is on its side.

In Iceland a poor little motherless babe was thus sung to its saddened slumbers:

Take me, bear me, shining moon,
Bear me up to the skies;
Mother mine, she's sitting there,
Carding wool so fine.

The Dutch widows have a sorrowful lullaby of their own which says:

O hush thee, my child,

Thy mother bends o'er thee,
And clasps her dear son,

For she is forsaken and alone.

With these Japanese and Hottentot lullabies I bring my songs of motherland to a close :


Lullaby baby, lullaby baby,
Baby's nursey where has she gone?
Over those mountains she's gone to her

And from her village what will she bring?
A tum-tum drum, and a bamboo flute,

Nothing can be understood about Canada until geography and its consequences are admitted, and Canada is understood to be an American country. There is no pretence here to hint at its political future, but in the life of its people it is American. Its churches, colleges, schools, and philanthropic societies, are managed after a fashion which Europeans roughly understand as American; these institutions have The "daruma" is what English chil-ready intercourse or mutual understanddren call a tumbler, a figure which is ing between one side of the border and weighted at the bottom, so that, turn it the other. The speech, too, of Cahow you will, it always regains its equilibrium.

A "daruma (which will never turn over) and a paper dog.

The Hottentot mother sings:

nadians bewrayeth them; hardly an "Americanism" but is as familiar to Nova Scotia as to New England; the

« ZurückWeiter »