Stopford - Lully, Lulla, Lullay

An ancient carol from Coventry, reworked in the 21st century.

British composer Philip Stopford composed this version of the Coventry Carol in 2008. 

The original Coventry Carol dates from the 16th century and was traditionally performed in Coventry as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The rocking lullaby tells the story of the Massacre of the Innocents — when King Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two to be killed.

It's sung though from a mother's perspective, as a beautiful lament for her doomed child.

The words are:

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his owne sight,
All young children to slay.
That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.