Favorite Lullabies

Origins and Samples

Father Singing Lullabies
Klubovy/Getty Images

Many parents sing to their child at bedtime; it's one of the most beautiful expressions of love children will fondly remember. Have you ever wondered where these songs came from?

Origin of Lullabies

Lullabies or berceuse, a French word which means "cradle song," is believed to have emerged from the 19th century. It is a song or instrumental music, usually in 6/8 time, that is sung or performed to lull a child to sleep. Lullabies are most often played on the piano and have a rhythmic pattern (somewhat like being rocked steadily) that is repeated throughout the composition. One good example of this is Frederick Chopin's "Berceuse opus 57."

Famous Musicians Who Wrote Lullabies

Favorite Lullabies

Lullabies have been handed down from generation to generation; they will continue to live in our hearts and memories. Here are several favorite lullabies. Sweet dreams!

All Through the Night 

  • An ancient Welsh folk song, the English lyrics were written by Harold Boulton.

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night.

While the moon her watch is keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night
O'er they spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night.

Love, to thee my thoughts are turning
All through the night
All for thee my heart is yearning,
All through the night.
Though sad fate our lives may sever
Parting will not last forever,
There's a hope that leaves me never,
All through the night.

Lullaby and Goodnight 

  • This is a German song originally written by Johannes Brahms, also known as "Brahms Lullaby."

Lullaby, and good night,
With pink roses bedight,
With lilies o'erspread,
Is my baby's sweet head.
Lay you down now, and rest,
May your slumber be blessed!
Lay you down now, and rest,
May thy slumber be blessed!

Lullaby, and good night,
You're your mother's delight,
Shining angels beside
My darling abide.
Soft and warm is your bed,
Close your eyes and rest your head.
Soft and warm is your bed,
Close your eyes and rest your head.

Sleepyhead, close your eyes.
Mother's right here beside you.
I'll protect you from harm,
You will wake in my arms.
Guardian angels are near,
So sleep on, with no fear.
Guardian angels are near,
So sleep on, with no fear.

Lullaby, and sleep tight.
Hush! My darling is sleeping,
On his sheets white as cream,
With his head full of dreams.
When the sky's bright with dawn,
He will wake in the morning.
When noontide warms the world,
He will frolic in the sun.

Rock-a-Bye Baby

  • Also called "Hush-a-Bye Baby," is considered both a lullaby and a nursery rhyme. It is said to have originated from Wampanoag Indians onboard the Mayflower.

On the treetop
When the wind blows,
The cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall
And down will come baby
Cradle and all

Baby is drowsing
Cosy and fair
Mother sits near
In her rocking chair
Forward and back
The cradle she swings
And though baby sleeps
He hears what she sings

From the high rooftops
Down to the sea
No one's as dear
As baby to me
Wee little fingers
Eyes wide and bright
Now sound asleep
Until morning light

Hush Little Baby

  • The author of this lullaby is unknown.

Hush, little baby, don't say a word,
Mama's going to buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird don't sing,
Mama's going to buy you a diamond ring.
And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Mama's going to buy you a looking glass.
And if that looking glass gets broke,
Mama's going to buy you a billy goat.
And if that billy goat won't pull,
Mama's going to buy you a cart and bull.
And if that cart and bull turn over,
Mama's going to buy you a dog named Rover.
And if that dog named Rover won't bark,
Mama's going to buy you a horse and cart.
And if that horse and cart fall down,
You'll still be the sweetest little baby in town