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Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?

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COVENTRY CAROL


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Coventry Carol: the power of a song (7)
(origins) Origins: Coventry Carol (Lullay, thou little...) (39)
Chord Req: Need chords for Coventry Carol (4)


JHW 26 Oct 12 - 06:54 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 26 Oct 12 - 08:49 AM
JHW 26 Oct 12 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Jack Sprocket 26 Oct 12 - 08:14 PM
Paul Davenport 27 Oct 12 - 11:47 AM
Haruo 27 Oct 12 - 12:00 PM
growler 27 Oct 12 - 03:46 PM
Haruo 27 Oct 12 - 04:49 PM
LadyJean 27 Oct 12 - 05:10 PM
Paul Davenport 27 Oct 12 - 05:25 PM
Haruo 28 Oct 12 - 12:22 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?
From: JHW
Date: 26 Oct 12 - 06:54 AM

We (Darlington Mummers) were looking at The Coventry Carol and could not understand the last verse.

Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee,
And ever mourn and say; (some versions sigh or pray instead of say)
For Thy parting, nor say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Any ideas please?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 26 Oct 12 - 08:49 AM

The best explanation for the origins of the Coventry Carol can be found Here.

As for the last verse, if it is "dialogue" from a play as described in the link, it seems like Mary is saying, "oh, woe is me, poor child! And I'll keep mourning and saying 'woe is me'until your departure, but I won't sing, 'Bye bye.... Etc."
Of course, trying to parse it with that much detail takes all the poetry and beauty out of it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?
From: JHW
Date: 26 Oct 12 - 04:57 PM

Thanks very much for that, lots of interest as well as the explanation


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?
From: GUEST,Jack Sprocket
Date: 26 Oct 12 - 08:14 PM

Try this for an origin

Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee,
We'll never mourn nor stay
For Thy parting, nor say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

In other words:

The women singing to the baby will not be present at his death to sing a lullaby.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 11:47 AM

You don't sing lullabies to dead babies. The song is designed to help a live baby sleep.
The version I know is;
'Then woe is me,
Poor child for thee,
And ever watch and pray.
For thy parting, nor say nor sing
Bye, bye lully lullay.'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?
From: Haruo
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 12:00 PM

Don't forget that the Christ Child and the Stabat Mater Dolorosa is part of the mental context of the lullaby/carol. There is a cross on the horizon.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?
From: growler
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 03:46 PM

This carol was not about the Christ child, but referred to the slaughter of the inocents by Herod


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?
From: Haruo
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 04:49 PM

I know, but it's part of the same story, and it's all there in the background. And I'm sure the Black Death is in there somewhere, too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?
From: LadyJean
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 05:10 PM

The song comes from the Coventry Pageant of Shearmen and Tailors, a medieval miracle play that portrays the birth of Christ and the slaugher of the innocents. When Herod, supposedly, ordered all boys under the age of four born in the city of Bethlehem to be killed. This is the lament for those murdered boys.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 27 Oct 12 - 05:25 PM

Haruo has a point here. There are literary resonances here and the implied crucifixion is well observed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Coventry Carol - last verse meaning?
From: Haruo
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 12:22 AM

Typologically I think the Innocents are a Type of Christ. Their slaughter is a foreshadowing of his. I don't mean this is necessarily "true", nor that the Evangelist meant it that way, but rather that this way of looking at things was customary in that time and place where the carol was first composed and presented.


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