Hymns & songs

donate Books CDs HOME updates search contact

English Christmas Song

The Coventry Carol

The Coventry Carol is a 16th century English song that mourns the Holy Innocents killed in Bethlehem following the birth of Christ. King Herod, approved by Rome to rule over Judea, heard that a King had been born in Bethlehem. Fearing for his earthly crown, Herod ordered the slaughter of all male children under the age of two in Bethlehem. The innocent children were killed by the soldiers of Herod and the mournful mothers grieved the loss of their beloved sons.

The slaughter of the Holy Innocents fulfills the prophecy of Jeremiah and writes in blood the first chapter of the History of the Church. Christ the King is saved by the flight into Egypt, while the children who died in the stead of the Messiah received their crowns in Heaven as the first martyrs of the Church.

The Coventry Carol is an English lullaby of unknown authorship. It was sung as part of the 16th century English Christmas play of "The Pageant of the Shearman and Tailors". The feast day of the Holy Innocents is December 28. It is here sung by the Taverner Choir.



Listen to the the Coventry Carol


Old English Lyrics:

Lully, lulla, thow littell tine child,
By by, lully, lullay thow littell tine child,
By by, lully, lullay!

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day,
This pore yongling for whom we do singe,
By by, lully, lullay?

Lully, lulla, thow littell tine child,
By by, lully, lullay thow littell tine child,
By by, lully, lullay!

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Chargid he hath this day,
His men of might in his owne sight,
All yonge children to slay,

Lully, lulla, thow littell tine child,
By by, lully, lullay thow littell tine child,
By by, lully, lullay!

That woe is me, pore child, for thee,
And ever morne and may,
For thi parting neither say nor singe,
By by, lully, lullay.

Lully, lulla, thow littell tine child,
By by, lully, lullay thow littell tine child,
By by, lully, lullay!


Modern English Spelling:


[thou little tiny]
[thou little tiny]




[poor youngling...sing]


[thou little tiny]
[thou little tiny]



[Charged]
[own]
[young children]

[thou little tiny]
[thou little tiny]


[poor]
[Mourn]
[thy...sing]


[thou little tiny]
[thou little tiny]




Coventry Carol Sheet Music  
 


burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes

King David playing the harp


burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes



Hymns & Songs  |  Religious  |  Home  |  Books  |  CDs  |  Search  |  Contact Us  |  Donate

Tradition in Action
© 2002-   Tradition in Action, Inc.    All Rights Reserved