A Charm of Lullabies

Song Cycle by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976)

Word count: 620

German (Deutsch) translation: Zaubrische Wiegenlieder ( Bertram Kottmann)

1. A cradle song [sung text checked 1 time]

Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,
Dreaming o'er the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep, in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

[ ... ]
O! the cunning wiles that creep In thy little heart asleep. When thy little heart does wake Then the dreadful lightnings break, From thy cheek and from thy eye, O'er the youthful harvests nigh. Infant wiles and infant smiles Heaven and Earth of peace beguiles.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Geoffrey Wieting

2. The Highland Balou [sung text checked 1 time]

Hee Balou, my sweet wee Donald,
Picture o' the great Clanronald!
Brawlie kens our wanton Chief
What gat my young Highland thief.
(Hee Balou!)

Leeze me on thy bonnie craigie!
And thou live, thou'll steal a naigie,
Travel the country thro' and thro' ,
and bring hame a Carlisle cow!

Thro' the Lawlands, o'er the Border,
Weel, my babie, may thou furder!
Herry the louns o' the laigh Countrie,
Syne to the Highlands hame to me!

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Josef Václav Sládek) , "Ukolébavka"
  • ENG English (David K. Smythe) , "The Highland lullaby", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (David K. Smythe) , copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "Wiegenlied aus den schottischen Highlands", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: David K. Smythe

3. Sephestia's Lullaby [sung text checked 1 time]

Weep not, my wanton, smile upon my knee;
When thou art old there's grief enough for thee.
      Mother's wag, pretty boy,
      Father's sorrow, father's joy;
      When thy father first did see
      Such a boy by [him]1 and me,
      He was glad, I was woe;
      Fortune changèd made him so,
      When he left his pretty boy,
      Last his sorrow, first his joy.

[ ... ]
Weep not, my wanton, smile upon my knee; When thou art old there's grief enough for thee. The wanton smiled, father wept, Mother cried, baby leapt; More he crow'd, more we cried, Nature could not sorrow hide: He must go, he must kiss Child and mother, baby bliss, For he left his pretty boy, Father's sorrow, father's joy. Weep not, my wanton, smile upon my knee, When thou art old there 's grief enough for thee.

Authorship

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "Sephestias Wiegenlied", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Biggs: "you"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. A charm [sung text checked 1 time]

Quiet! 
Sleep! or I will make
Erinnys whip thee with a snake,
And cruel Rhadamanthus take
Thy body to the boiling lake,
Where fire and brimstones never slake;
Thy heart shall burn, thy head shall ache,
And ev'ry joint about thee quake;
And therefor dare not yet to wake!
Quiet, sleep!
Quiet, sleep!
Quiet!

Quiet! 
Sleep! or thou shalt see
The horrid hags of Tartary,
Whose tresses ugly serpants be,
And Cerberus shall bark at thee,
And all the Furies that are three
The worst is called Tisiphone,
Shall lash thee to eternity;
And therefor sleep thou peacefully
Quiet, sleep!
Quiet, sleep!
Quiet!

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Ein Zaubersang", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Yvonne Helander

5. The Nurse's Song [sung text checked 1 time]

Lullaby baby,
Lullaby baby,
Thy nurse will tend thee as duly as may be.
Lullaby baby!

Be still, my sweett sweeting, no longer do cry;
Sing lullaby baby,  lullaby baby.
Let dolours be fleeting, I fancy thee, I ...
To rock and to lull thee I will not delay me.

Lullaby baby,
Lullabylabylaby baby,
Thy nurse will tend thee as duly as may be
Lullabylabylaby baby

The gods be thy shield and comfort in need!
The gods be thy shield and comfort in need!
Sing Lullaby baby, 
Lullabylaby baby

They give thee good fortune and well for to speed,
And this to desire ... I will not delay me.
This to desire ... I will not delay me.

Lullaby baby,
Lullabylaby baby,
Thy nurse will tend thee as duly as may be.
Lullabylabylabylaby baby.

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (David K. Smythe) , "La chanson de la nourisse", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Lied des Kindermädchens", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Yvonne Helander