Lullabies S-Y

Sing a song at twilight

Sleep, O sleep!

Softly, softly rock

Star light, star bright

Stars shining

Tell me why

That’s an Irish lullaby

The little white boat / Half moon

The moon’s song

The night will never stay

The Starlighter

Three white gulls

Time for man go home

Twinkle, twinkle, little star

Up the wooden hill

Upstairs to fairyland

Warm kitty, soft kitty

Way up high in the cherry tree

Where do you sleep?

Where should a baby rest?

Which is the way the wind blows?

Winkum, winkum

Wishing star

Yea ho, little fish

 

Also see:

Maranoa lullaby an Aboriginal song

Last updated: 10/17/2017 4:58 PM

The songs below are compiled, illustrated and sometimes adapted by Dany Rosevear

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To listen to music from these songs click on 🔊

To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:

 

© Dany Rosevear 2008 All rights reserved

You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform these works under the following conditions:

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Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.


 

 

Sing a song at twilight 🔊

 

 


‘Just a song of twilight’ or Love’s own sweet song’ was written by J. L. Molloy 1884. The words here were adapted by Albert E. Wier in his wonderful anthology ‘Songs children love to sing’ published in 1916.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sing a song at twilight, when the lights are low;

And the flickering shadows, softly come and go,

Whipporwill’s a singing, robin’s in his nest.

May our song at twilight lull you to rest,

Lull you to sweet rest.


 

 

Sleep, O sleep! 🔊

 

 


From ‘Mother’s Nursery Songs’ written by Thomas Hastings and published in 1848; most of these songs are of their time when childhood deaths were common, as was the talk of the poor heathen child in other lands. They were written with the purpose of instilling good behaviour in the young child and were accompamied by a strong religious and moral fervour. This one, however, is quite wonderful and has just had minor adaptations made to the words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sleep, O sleep!

While breezes so softly are blowing;

Sleep, O sleep! 

While streamlets so gently are flowing.

Sleep, O sleep! Sleep, O sleep!

 

Sleep, O sleep!

While flocks in the meadows are straying,

Sleep, O sleep!

While lambkins are merrily playing,

Sleep, O sleep! Sleep, O sleep!

 

Sleep, O sleep!

While birds in the forests are singing,

Sleep, O sleep!

While echoes of music are ringing,

Sleep, O sleep! Sleep, O sleep!

 

Sleep, O sleep! 

While angels are watching beside thee,

Sleep, O sleep!

May blessings forever betide thee,

Sleep, O sleep! Sleep, O sleep!

.


 

 

 

Softly, softly rock O

 

This lovely Austrian Christmas lullaby ‘Still, still, still, weil's Kindlein schlafen will’ is loosely translated by Helen Henschel in ‘A third sixty songs for little children’; It does not appear to be a familiar one but I have used it for Nativity plays throughout my teaching life. I have adapted two further verses as sung by Trinity Church in Boston, hopefully in the same tradition.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Softly, softly, rock my baby fast asleep.

The little stars look down from heaven,

Angels through the window peep,

So softly, softly rock my baby fast asleep.

 

Hush, hush, hush, hear the gently falling snow,

For all is quiet, the world is sleeping,

Stars above thy vigil keeping,

Hush, hush, hush, hear the gently falling snow,

 

Dream, dream, dream, my dearest little one.

While stars a-twinkling without number,

Watch you as you sweetly slumber,

Dream, dream, dream, my dearest little one.


 

Star light, star bright O

 

Wishing when we see a shooting or falling star is a lovely tradition, possibly one from ancient times, to pass on to our children. It is also a custom to wish as the first star of the evening appears.

This nursery rhyme has the Roud number #16339.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Star light, star bright,

First star I see tonight;

Wish I may, wish I might,

Have the wish I wish tonight.

 


 

 

Stars shining O

 

A lullaby from Texas.

Ruth Crawford Seeger in ‘American Folk songs for children’ suggests counting other objects such as buttons and children.

 

For the words below open and close fists to show twinkling stars. Indicate numbers with fingers. Throw hands forward for ‘Good Lawd’ Move open hands from side to side for ‘by’m bye’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


By’m bye, by’m bye,

Stars shining, number number one,

Number two, number three,

Good Lawd, by’m bye, by’m bye, by’m bye,

Good Lawd, by’m bye.

 

By’m bye, by’m bye,

Stars shining, number number four,

Number five, number six,

Good Lawd, by’m bye, by’m bye, by’m bye,

Good Lawd, by’m bye.

 

By’m bye, by’m bye,

Stars shining, number number seven,

Number eight, number nine, number ten,

Good Lawd, by’m bye, by’m bye, by’m bye,

Good Lawd, by’m bye.

 

 

 


 

 

Tell me why O

 

 


A traditional song with a sense of wonder that works so well as a lullaby. The words inspired me to write two further verses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tell me why the stars do shine,

Tell me why the ivy twines,

Tell me why the skies are blue,

And I will tell you just why I love you!

 

I don’t know why the stars do shine,

I don’t know why the ivy twines,

I don’t know why the skies are blue,

One thing I do know is that I love you!

 

Tell me where the stars do shine,

Tell me where the ivy twines,

Tell me where the skies are blue,

And I will tell you just where I love you!

 

Way up high the stars do shine,

Round the old oak tree the ivy twines,

Above the clouds the skies are blue,

Asleep in my arms is where I love you!

 


 

 

That’s an Irish lullaby O

 

 


A song from Ireland written by J.R. Shannon. My grandmother who had Irish parents sang this song to me when I was a young child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Over in Killarney,

Many years ago,

My mother sang a song to me

In tones so sweet and low.

 

Just a simple little ditty,

In her good old Irish way,

And I'd give the world if she could sing

That song of hers today.

 

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo ra,

Too-ra-loo-ra-li,

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo ra,

Hush, now don't you cry!

 

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo ra,

Too-ra-loo-ra-li,

Too-ra-loo-ra-loo ra,

That's an Irish lullaby.

 


 

 

The little white boat O

 

 


‘The little white boat’ or 반달 ‘Half moon’ has lyrics and music by Yin Kerong, a Korean composer (1903 - 1988) who wrote other songs for children. It has also been translated into Chinese 小白船 and Japanese. Find out more about Yin Kerong and the Korean lyrics at: http://et97.com/view/2481305.htm .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


See the small white boat in the sky,

Sailing t’wards the west,

High above a cinnamon tree,

Where white rabbit rests.

With no sail nor oars it skims

O’er the Milky Way,

Floating among the clouds,

It slowly just fades away.

 

Through the silver galaxy sail,

Through a rainbow land

Of clouds that billow high in the sky,

Where will it go then?

Onwards to a far off place

Where shines a golden light,

The dawn star, a guiding light,

It shines, how it shines so bright.


 

 

 

The moon’s song O

 

 


These lovely words were written or translated from German ‘Das lied von mond’ by Frances B. Wood in ‘Sixty songs for little children’ OUP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


When day has gone and darkness

Comes sweeping o’er the sky,

I leave my cloudy palace

To swing my lamp on high.

 

And all my dear star children

Their little lanterns light,

And twinkles down to tell you

We’re watching through the night.

 


 

 

The night will never stay 🔊

 

 


Written by the wonderful children’s poet Eleanor Farjeon 1881-1965. One of my favourite poets and so many of her poems are suitable for younger children.

Music by Dany Rosevear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The night will never stay,

The night will still go by,

Though with a million stars

You pin it to the sky;

Though you bind it with the blowing wind

And buckle it with the moon,

The night will slip away

Like sorrow or a tune.


 

 

 

The Starlighter 🔊

 

 


Words to this haunting poem are by Arthur Guiterman 1871 – 1943 an American poet; find out more at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Guiterman.

Music and arrangement by Dany Rosevear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


When the bat's on the wing and the bird's in the tree,

Comes the old Starlighter, whom none may see.

First in the West, where the low hills are,

He touches his wand to the evening star.

Then swiftly he runs on his rounds on high,

Till he's lit every lamp in the dark blue sky.


 

 

 

Three white gulls O

 

This gentle and rather beautiful lullaby is supposedly of Italian origin but I have been unable to find the Italian equivalent. Do let me know if you find the source material.

 

It makes a lovely calming down song as children swoop and soar moving their arms and then finally sink down and sleep.

 

Make fingers flash on and off to mimic starlight and mime other parts of the songs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were three white gulls a-flying,

There were three white gulls a-flying,

There were three white gulls a-flying,

And they soared through the sky,

They soared through the sky,

They soared through the sky.

 

In the waves they dipped their soft wings,

In the waves they dipped their soft wings,

In the waves they dipped their soft wings,

And they soared through the sky...

 

In the clouds they danced and tumbled...

 

 


 

 

 

Time for man go home 🔊

 

 


This song from Trinidad is usually regarded as a chanty or work song, it is also popular at community events to sing when it is time to leave; here it is sung as a gentle going to bed lullaby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Time for man go home,

Time for man go home.

Time for man go home,

It’s time for man and it’s time for beast,

Time for man go home.

The bird in bush go kwa, kwa, kwa,

Time for man go home,

Time for man go home,

 

Time for man go home,

Time for man go home.

Time for man go home,

Time for man go home.

It's time to go and it's time for bed,

Time for man go home.

It's time to go and the sun go down,

Time for man go home,

Time for man go home.

 


 

 

 

Twinkle, twinkle, little star O

 

 


A tune that is so very familiar and used in many other nursery songs. The tune came from the French song Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman’ published in 1761. You can find this song at:

 

Make fingers flash on and off to mimic starlight and mime other parts of the songs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are.

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are.

 

When the blazing sun has gone,

When he nothing shines upon.

Then you show your little light,

Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Twinkle, twinkle...

 

Then the traveller in the dark,

Thanks you for your tiny spark.

He could not see where to go,

If you did not twinkle so.

Twinkle, twinkle...

 

In the dark blue sky you keep,

And often through my windows peep,

For you never shut your eye,

‘Til the sun is in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle...

 

 

 


 

 

Up the wooden hill O

 

A rhyme for bedtime; the wooden hill is the stairs and Sheet Lane / Blanket Fair are the bedding.

It encourages reluctant young children on their way to bed, though staircases are nowadays invariably carpeted.

The first couplet can be found in the Opie’s ‘The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book’; the second two are possibly an older rhyme that can be found in ‘My very First Mother Goose’ edited by Iona Opie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire;

And down Sheet Lane to Blanket Fair.

 

Up the wooden hill to Blanket Fair,

What shall we have when we get there?

 

A bucket full of water and a pennyworth of hay,

Gee up, Dobbin, all the way!

 


 

 

 

Upstairs to fairyland 🔊

 

 


A ‘going to bed’ song written by Stanley Galpin.

It featured on BBC radio in 1928.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Upstairs to fairyland,

Mind how you go.

Hold tight to mummy's hand,

Walk on tiptoe.

Get your tickets ready to

Pass through the nursery gate,

Quiet as a mouse.

Then you'll be in Fairyland

At the top of the house.


 

 

 

Warm kitty, soft kitty O

 

This song makes a good introduction to adjectives.

 

As a lullaby sing this song more quietly each time to send a child to sleep.

 

It also will work well as a calming down song as children sit in a circle and make actions to accompany the words: 1.Cross arms and hold upper arms. 2. Stroke back of the hand. 3. Make a ball shape with cupped hands. 4. Put hands to cheek. 5. Draw smile on face. 6. Brush whiskers on face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Warm kitty, soft kitty,

Little ball of fur,

Sleepy kitty, happy kitty,

Purr! Purr! Purr!

 

 


 

 

Way up high in the cherry tree 🔊

 

 


A hand play or lullaby.

Music arranged by Dany Rosevear.

 

Verse 1: Look up at outstretched hands. Hand to brow. Open and close thumb and forefinger, raise three fingers on the other hand. Look up at tree.

Verse 2: Cup hands. Gently move from side to side.  Open and close thumb and forefinger. Put hands to cheek. Verse 3: As before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Way up high in the cherry tree,

If you look, you will see,

Mother robin and babies three,

High, high in the tree.

 

See the nest in the treetops,

Swinging, swaying;

Mother robin is singing,

Singing her babies to sleep….

 

Way up high in the cherry tree,

If you look, you will see,

Mother robin and babies three,

High, high in the tree.


 

 

 

Where do you sleep? 🔊

 

 


This song comes from Maurice Sendak’s wonderful ‘Lullabies and night songs’. The beautiful words are by William Engvick and the music by Alec Wilder. I have added an end couplet, a wishful plea for all those sleepless parents of young babies. The chord arrangement is also mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The green worm sleeps in silk,

The turtle sleeps in sand,

And the bluebird sleeps in a feather bed,

The yak prefers to stand.

 

The white lamb sleeps in wool,

The ermine sleeps in fur,

But the monkey sleeps in his mommy's arms,

All warm and close to her.

 

And my baby sleep in my arms, so sweet,

Sleep soft and do not stir.


 

 

Where should a baby rest? 🔊

 

 


Or ‘Little Margaret’s lullaby’ from the ‘Infants’ annual or A Mother’s offering’, published 1834.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Where should a baby rest?

Where but on its mother's arm -

Where can a baby lie

Half so safe from every harm?

Lulla, lulla, lullaby,

Softly sleep, my baby;

Lulla, lulla, lullaby,

Soft, soft, my baby.

 

Nestle there, my lovely one!

Press to mine thy velvet cheek;

Sweetly coo, and smile, and look,

All the love you cannot not speak.

Lulla, lulla, lullaby,

Softly sleep, my baby;

Lulla, lulla, lullaby,

Soft, soft, my baby.


 

 

 

Which is the way the wind blows 🔊

 

 


An old Dutch cradle song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Which is the way the wind blows,

Over the silver sea?

Bringing a ship for father

And a golden dream for me.

 

Which is the way the wind blows,

Over the silver sea?

Bringing a gown for mother

And a silver shoe for me.

 

Which is the way the wind blows,

Over the silver sea?

Bringing a moon for mother

And a tiny star for me.


 

 

Winkum, winkum, shut your eye O

This popular traditional lullaby was published in “The Most Popular Mother Goose Songs” compiled and arranged by Carrie Bullard in 1910; there have been only slight variations of the words since that time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Winkum, winkum, shut your eyes,

Sweet, my baby, lullaby,

For the dews are falling soft,

Lights are flick'ring up aloft,

And the moonlight’s peeping over

Yonder hilltop, capped with clover.

 

Chickens long have gone to rest,

Birds lie snug within their nest,

And my birdie soon will be

Sleeping like a chickadee;

For with only half a try,

Winkum, winkum shuts her eyes.

 


 

 

Wishing star O

 

 


A rhyme from the Waldorf Curriculum. Melody added by Dany Rosevear.

 

Draw a star, sun and moon on your child’s back; with a kiss goodnight of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A star for you to wish on,

A sun so warm and bright,

A moon for you to sleep on,

Happy dreams,

A kiss goodnight.


 

 

 

Yea ho, little fish O

 

This gentle lullaby has travelled worldwide with sailors and fishermen from its Portuguese origins in the Cape Verde Islands off the East African coast and became a familiar one in Australia’s North Queensland.

The version below is from ‘The Revels book of Chanteys and Sea Songs’ by John Langstaff and George Emlem. To find more comprehensive information about the song visit Mudcat: http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=8689.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Come all ye bold fishermen, listen to me;

I'll sing you a song of the fish in the sea.

 

Yea ho, little fish, don't cry, don't cry;

Yea ho, little fishies, you be a whale by and by.

 

You go to fish school and can learn from a book

How not to get caught on a fisherman's hook.

 

Watch out, little fish, we're out after you,

But you can escape away deep in the blue.

 

You just swim around the fisherman's bait

And you won't end up on that fisherman's plate.

 

 

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