Lulla, lulla, lullaby

mia0815

Senior Member
Taiwanese
(sing)
 Philomel, with melody
 Sing in our sweet lullaby.
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby.
 Never harm
 Nor spell nor charm
 Come our lovely lady nigh.


A Midsummer Night's Dream
by Shakespeare

Are Lulla, lulla, lullaby meaningless sounds in this context?
Please help. Thank you.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Lullaby" is obviously not a meaningless sound - it means a song you sing softly to help a baby get to sleep, and "lulla" is the first two syllables of it. It is a song, and would be an equivalent to a song of today with a refrain of:
    "Baby you're so beau- beau - beautiful!"
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Lulla, lullay, lully, are all variants of lullaby.
    According to the OED, the example in post #1 is the first recorded example of "lullaby". The others had been around for a hundred years or so before.

    Think of words like "rockabye" or "hushabye" - other words where the "bye" suffix is added. And so we get "Bye bye lully lullay" in the Coventry Carol, recorded from the early sixteenth century.

    [Edit. When I say "recorded from the early sixteenth century, I'm not using "recorded" in the audio sense normally used today :D]
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top