The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #158793   Message #3758652
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
15-Dec-15 - 06:29 PM
Thread Name: Xmas Carols from North-East England
Subject: RE: Xmas Carols from North-East England
Roy Palmer included Hush My Babe (The Dunstan Lullaby) in his collection Bushes and Briars, ISBN 1-86143-072-8. I understand he found it in a Ralph Vaughan Williams' notes, British Library MSS 54187/91.

He adds; "Traditional lullabies are rare in English, although they still flourish in Gaelic-speaking parts of Britain and also in Europe. Oddly enough, the anti-soporific dandling song is much less uncommon in England. This lullaby came in 1906 from a Mr Thompson of Dunstan, Northumberland, who had learned it from his mother fifty years previously. It was still sung by the mothers of Dunstan to their children. I wonder if it still is."

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 (ISBN 0-19-214182-1).

Carol 130 in the Oxford Book of Carols"(ISBN 0-19-353314-6), 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".

With thanks to folkinfo by Joe Offer. Coope Boyes and Simpson have recorded the Dunstan Lullaby too.