Friday, December 14, 2012

On the last day of Blog Caroling...

This morning we are making a brief departure from Civil War Pension Files and the Waterman's Song for an interlude of Blog Caroling.

Started by the Footnote Maven's Tradition of Blog Caroling, she encourages all us GeneaBloggers to assist her in raising our "voices" with lyrics of the Christmas Season.

Here is my offering, The Coventry Carol.
Courtesy: DVIchannel,
Uploaded December 20, 2008

The Coventry Carol

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child.
By, by, lully, lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
By, by, lully, lullay.

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All children young to slay.

Then, woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh
For they parting neither say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

There is an interesting history behind this English Carol of which I have only recently learned. The Coventry Carol was part of the Coventry Mystery Plays, of which there were originally ten in all. They were performed in Coventry, England in the 16th Century. The plays were performed by different guilds, each guild performing one. 

In an article entitled, Coventry Mystery Plays, the author notes that they were first performed as early as 1392. Each year the King of England would visit Coventry to see the performances. 

Traditionally, this carol was part of a pageant known as The Pageant of The Shearers and the Tailors, called such because of the two guilds which performed it. 

In a book entitled, Medieval and Tudor Drama: Twenty-Four Plays, by John Gassner, you will find a modernized version of the play. 

For a digital copy of the original manuscript, go to

I hope you will enjoy it as I have for many years, although it is quite a mournful song for the Christmas Season. Below you will find a choral version of The Coventry Carol.


  1. Hi Debra! This carol is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing it as well as the history behind it. I really enjoyed my visit here this evening!

    I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

  2. Glad to have found your blog! Wonderful song, thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas!