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Balulalow (Cradle Song)

[ Roud 23036 ; James, John and Robert Wedderburn]

Balulalow is a carol (#181 in the Oxford Book of Carols) which was published by the Wedderburn brothers—16th Century Scottish poets—under the title Ane Sang of the Birth of Christ (“I come from Heaven to tell”) in their Ane Compendious Buik of Godly and Spiritualt Sangis in 1567. It is a translation of Luther's Christmas Eve carol Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, first published in 1535 in Geistliche Lieder.

Sandy Denny recorded Cradle Song (Balulalow) in 1968 as a home demo that was for a long time known but “available” on bootlegs only. This recording was finally officially released in 2000 on the Sandy Denny Box and it was also included in 2012 on The Notes and the Words. Another recording at Alex Campbell's house at 19 Rupert St, Glasgow, on August 5, 1967 was published in 2011 on the Sandy Denny / Alex Campbell CD 19 Rupert St.

Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band sang Ane Sang of the Birth of Christ (Balulalow) in 1991 on their Park Records CD Carols and Capers.

Karine Polwart sang Balulalow live at The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland on December 21, 2003. This concert was released a year later on the Green Linnet CD Cold Blow These Winter Winds.

Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker sang Balulalow in 2013 on their CD Midwinter.

Lyrics

Sandy Denny sings Balulalow

O my deir hert, young Jesus sweit,
Prepare thy creddil in my spreit,
And I sall rock thee in my hert
And never mair from thee depart.

But I sall praise thee evermore
With sangis sweit unto thy gloir;
The knees of my heart sall I bow,
And sing that richt Balulalow!

The knees of my heart sall I bow,
And sing that richt Balulalow!

Maddy Prior sings Ane Sang of the Birth of Christ (Balulalow)

I come fra hevin here to tell
The best nowells that e'er befell
To you thir tythings trew I bring
And I will of them say and sing.
To you this day is born ane child
Of Marie meik and Virgin mild.
That blissit bairn bening and kind
Sall you rejoyce baith hart and mind.

Lat us rejoyis and be blyth
And with the Hydris go full swyth
And see what God of his grace hes done
Throu Christ to bring us to his throne
My saull and life, stand up and see
What lyis in ane cribbe of tree.
What Babe is that, sa gude and fair?
It is Christ, God's Son and Air.

The silk and sandell thee to eis
Ar hay and sempill sweilling clais,
Whar thou greit glorious God and King
As thou in hev'n war in thy ring.
And war the warld ten times sa wide,
Cled ouer with gold and stanes of pride
Unworthie yit it were to thee
Under thy feet ane stule to be.

O my deir hart, yung Jesus sweit,
Prepare thy creddil in my spreit!
And I sall rock thee in my hart
And never mair fra thee depart.
Bot I sall praise thee evermoir
With sangis sweit unto thy gloir.
The kneis of my hart sall I bow,
And sing that rycht Balulalow.