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A Coventry Carol on Classical Guitar

December 23rd, 2006

Coventry Carol is not a true Christmas Carol. It speaks of Jesus as a baby, but not his birth. It comes from a play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors, a street theatre production performed in Coventry England in the 15th and 16th century. The carol itself dates from 1534.

The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors depicts King Herods Massacre of the Innocents and the Coventry Carols lyrics are a mother’s lament for her doomed child.

This performance is of an arrangement by Mark Johnstone, from his book The Holiday Gig Book. It is played by me.

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 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.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever morn and day,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

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