Elsa Stewart [Shetland Lullaby] SA1971.217.1
Whereas other lullabies recorded in Whalsay form more a part of oral tradition this charming performance is a literary composition, the work ‘The Bard of Thule’ – Laurence J. Nicolson (1844-1901). It first appeared in his poetry collection Songs of Thule published by Gardner (Paisley and London, 1894). The tune Elsa sings it to was composed by a W. Yorston (possibly a Bressay man). Clearly popular, the song was printed with Thomas Manson’s keyboard accompaniment, on individual song sheets with the tune in both staff notation and, on the back page, in sol-fah – ‘price one shilling’. Our thanks go to Elsa for also providing the song sheet some of which is shown below.
Roud Index no. 25914.
Hushy-ba my curry ting, Cuddle close to Mammie,
Cuddle close and hear me sing, Peerie mootie lammie.
Glancin’ goold and siller shells Fae da mermaid’s dwellin’,
Bonnie flo’ers fae fairy dells, Past a mortal tellin’;
Wha’, oh wha sall get but de, Hert o’ my hert, life o’ me.
Saftly, saftly humin grey Ower da sea is creepin’,
An’ it’s nedder night nor day, Wakin’ time, nor sleepin’;
But da waves upo’ da shore Whisper still my lammie,
Doun da lum, an’ troo da door; Cuddle close to mammie.
Cosier du couldna be , Hert o’ my hert, life o’ me.
Bonnie blue een blinkin’ fast, Peerie mootie lammie;
Sleep has ta’en de noo at last, Cuddlin’ close to mammie.
Blissens be attendin’ de, Happy be dy wakin’,
For wir ain comes fae da sea, Whin da day is breakin’.
Daybreak, licht o’ hame is he, Hert o’ my hert, life o’ me.
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