Thursday, May 31, 2007

Rock-a bye baby...

Last night my son requested me to sing this lullaby for him. And since he's the only darling who would ask me to sing, who actually looks forward to me singing, I obliged.

And at the end of it, tho' I've heard the lullaby a hundred times, I suddenly noticed that its such a not-suitable song to rock a baby to sleep. I mean the tune is perfect and lilting and it rhymes and all that is alright.

But it is pretty moronic I would say, to make up a lullaby for a baby in which, at the end of it all, the baby falls down, cradle and all! And you don't even know if he was alright after it!

By now Sonny boy has picked up enough of the Queen's English to understand what we say perfectly, especially after I have started reading out stories to him straight from books. So yesterday I could see that he was following the lines and was puzzled by the anticlimax at the end, in which the poor baby fell down... and worse, there was no Momma or God to pick it up and kiss away its hurts....

For the record, am putting down the little rhyme here

Rock a bye baby 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!

This is all I know of it. Is there somebody out there who knows if there's more to this rhyme than what I've put here?

9 comments:

Moppet's Mom said...

A lot of the nursery rhymes we learnt and our children still learn today weren't intended to be nursery rhymes at all. They were parodies that depicted often horrific events in history.

For example, Ring o' roses refers to the time of the bubonic plague, Oranges and Lemons was about the practice of beheading prisoners who could not pay back their debts. Humpty Dumpty refers to a cannon that was destroyed during the English Civil war - and so on.

Rock a bye baby has a rather less horrific explanation - it was apparently written by a young pilgrim who was struck by the sight of Native American cradles which were often hung from birch trees while the parents worked in the fields nearby.

Sorry for leaving such a long comment - the subject of nursery rhymes fascinated me even before I had Moppet - I found out about Ring o' roses by accident, and then went on to find out the origins of several of the nursery rhymes that I remembered.

Just like that said...

Wow! Had absolutely no idea that there could be such a history to the nursery rhymes we take so lightly.

How sad if it could be the truth that the babies fell down cradle and all....poor parents who had no other go either, except to probably rush to brush the dust off their precious babies.

Now you've made me curious enough to start digging into history myself... :-)thanks for the nuggets

Swati said...

Hi JLT and others who read here ,Your suggestion is needed.

http://recollectthescattered.blogspot.com/2007/05/complete-contrast.html

Sunita said...

Yes I did read that stuff too. And its very difficult to play Ring'o roses after that without thinking about plagues and stuff.

Just like that said...

Sunita: Methinks the non-rhymes deserve to be a post themselves, after reading Moppets informative comment.

WhatsInAName said...

Well :)
Lullavy reminde me of the times when my MIL used to sing Tamil lullabies and my kid used to cry herself hoarse !!! Songs were the last thing that made her asleep :)

Yes, the rhyme does sound funny! Many of them do not make much sense do they? Or have we lost the sense of appreciation!

Just like that said...

WIN- Sonny boy loves Kishore and Yesudas and the rest, but not me! Sigh!

karmickids said...

The brat was in hospital once, and being starved for an MRI on GA the next morning, and made me sing Rockabyebaby one million times...I think it was the only rhyme that soothed him at that point...now its progressed to whiny Himesh...

Just like that said...

hmmm, am afraid I do not like the way his taste in music has progressed.:-)