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Cradle Song

[words Isaac Watts (1674-1748), tune USA early 19th Century]

Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band sang Isaac Watts' Cradle Song on their 1991 CD Carols and Capers, on their live CD from 1998, Carols at Christmas, and live at Oxford Town Hall on their 2005 CD and DVD An Evening of Carols and Capers.

Finest Kind sang The Cradle Carol (Watts' Cradle Hymn) on their 2004 Christmas album Silks & Spices. They noted:

Watts published this hymn in 1706, with 14 stanzas in serious need of pruning (one, for instance, is downright anti-Semitic). Most modern renditions stick to the quite tender lines focusing on the child. Ann [Downey] learned her version from the singing of Maddy Prior; the melody comes from the old shape note hymn, Restoration (312b in The Sacred Harp—“Come Thou Fount of every blessing…”).


Maddy Prior sings Cradle Song

Hush my dear, lie still and lumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed.
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.

Sleep me babe; thy food and raiment,
House and home, thy friends provide;
All without thy care and payment,
All thy wants are well supplied.

How much better thou art attended
Than the Son of God could be
When from heaven he descended
And became a child like thee.

Soft and easy is thy cradle;
Coarse and hard the Saviour lay,
When his birthplace was a stable
And his softest bed was hay.

Lo, he slumbers in a manger,
Where the horned oxen fed;
Peace, my darling, here's no danger,
Here's no ax a-near thy bed.

May'st thou live to know and fear him,
Trust and love him all thy days;
Then go dwell for ever near him,
See his face and sing his praise.