Minnie O'Shirva's cradle song (SATB)

Music: Trad. arr. Frances Cockburn. Words: Trad. Anon
performance time approx 2m 0s
Range S: c' – a' / A: g – f' / T: f – b♭ / B: F – e♭ / melody: c' – d''
Price code: A
Complexity: *

See a perusal copy of the music.
Download a synthesized realisation
A simple but effective arrangement using chords to back up a soloist or group singing this traditional Shetland lullaby. For variety, a fiddle or other instrument can take a turn at the tune.

Also available for SAB and SSAA voicings.

Translation included.


Da boatie sails an da boatie rows,
Dey set dir sails an dey hail dir towes,
Hush-a-baa-baa, me peerie lamb,
De faider is comin awa fae fram.

Da sheep dey baa, an da craas dey craa,
Dey flap dir wings an dey flee awa,
Hush-a-baa-baa, me peerie flee,
Aald Daa'll be comin wi shalls ta dee.

Da burnie rins an da burnie rowes,
Da lambs dey dance ower da hedder-cowes,
Hush-a-baa-baa, me treisir dear,
Dey'll naebody hurt dee whin Mam is near.

Da laverick lifts an he sings ta aa,
Da winter comes wi da caald an snaa,
Hush-a-baa-baa, me peerie flooer,
Lang Willie is löin ahint da door.

Da mares dey böl and da kye comes hame,
We lay wis doon ida Gödie's name,
Hush-a-baa-baa, me peerie ting,
He covers wis aa wi His holy wing.

Traditional Shetland

English word for word translation

The boat sails and the boat rows,
They set their sails and they haul their fishing lines,
Hush-a-bye, my little lamb,
Your father is coming away (back) from the sea.

The sheep they baa, and the crows they cry,
They flap their wings and they fly away,
Hush-a-bye my little fly,
Your grandfather is coming with sea shells for thee.

The stream flows and the stream twists,
The lambs they dance over the heather tufts,
Hush-a-bye my treasure dear,
There's no-one will hurt thee when Ma is near.

The sky lark rises and he sings to all,
The winter comes with the cold and snow,
Hush-a-bye, my little flower,
Long Willie (Willie Winkie) is looking [poss. lurking] behind the door.

The mares they lie down and the cow comes home,
We lay ourselves down in God's name,
Hush-a-bye, my little thing,
He covers us all with His holy wing.

Purchase – 1032: Minnie O'Shirva's cradle song (SATB)

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