Lavender’s Blue: The Dilly Dilly English Lullaby

Artwork Gina Lai|CC

A fairy-tale song of believing in your heart, Lavender’s Blue, is a magical lullaby for your little prince or princess.  Here are the lyrics for Lavender’s Blue, and parents may already know the refrain, as Dilly Dilly, or Diddle Diddle.

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Lavender’s Blue (Dilly Dilly) Lyrics

Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
Lavender’s green
When you are king, dilly dilly,
I shall be queen

Who told you so, dilly dilly,
Who told you so?
‘Twas my own heart, dilly dilly,
That told me so

Call up your friends, dilly, dilly
Set them to work
Some to the plough, dilly dilly,
Some to the fork

Some to the hay, dilly dilly,
Some to thresh corn
Whilst you and I, dilly dilly,
Keep ourselves warm

Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
Lavender’s green
When you are king, dilly dilly,
I shall be queen

Who told you so, dilly dilly,
Who told you so?
‘Twas my own heart, dilly dilly,
That told me so.

Click to download a black and white pdf printable of Lavender’s Blue Lyrics Printable.

History of the Lullaby Dilly Dilly

Lavender’s Blue originated as an English Folk Song popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. The song was particularly popular in Australia and throughout the United Kingdom, appearing in numerous folk song and nursery rhyme books.

The earliest known version of the song was titled Diddle Diddle, Or The Kind Country Lovers. The original lyrics were set to a pre-existing tune of “Lavender Green”.

A first popular version of the song, titled Lavender Blue, was performed by Burl Ives  in the 1949 Walt Disney film So Dear to My Heart.

There have been numerous renditions of the song to appear on the Billboard music charts, including those by Sammy Kaye, Dinah Shore, and even a doo-woop version by Sammy Turner which reached #5 on the charts in 1959.

Lavender’s Blue gained most recent popularity in 2015 as performed by Lily James and Hayley Atwell in Walt Disney’s live-action film version of Cinderella.

The song is sung to Cinderella by her real mother when she is a child, and later by adult Cinderella after her stepmother locks her in her room.

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Lavender Blue as Originally Performed for Disney by Burl Ives

The Original Risqué Lavender’s Blue

The original version of Lavender’s Blue was titled Diddle Diddle, Or The Kind Country Lovers, which was rather bawdy and risqué, telling of a love story, filled with lyrics of drinking and sexual exploits.

Diddle, Diddle or The Kind Country Lovers Lyrics

Published in London, 1674-1679, Sung to a tune called Lavender Green

Lavender blue and Rosemary green,
When I am king you shall be queen;
Call up my maids at four o’clock,
Some to the wheel and some to the rock;
Some to make hay and some to shear corn,
And you and I will keep the bed warm.

Lavender’s green, diddle, diddle,
Lavender’s blue
You must love me, diddle, diddle,
cause I love you,
I heard one say, diddle, diddle,
since I came hither,
That you and I, diddle, diddle,
must lie together.

My hostesse maid, diddle, diddle
Her name was Nell,
She was a Lass, diddle, diddle
That I loved well,
But if she dye Diddle, diddle,
By some mishap,
Then she shall lye, Diddle, diddle
Under the Tap.

That she may drink Diddle, diddle,
When she is dry,
Because she lov’d Diddle, diddle
My Dog and I.
Call up your Maids Diddle, diddle
Set them to work,
Some to make Hay, Diddle, diddle
Some to the Rock.

Some to make Hay, diddle, diddle,
Some to the Corn
Whilst you and I Diddle, diddle,
Keep the bed warm.
Let the birds sing, Diddle, diddle
And the lambs play,
We shall be safe Diddle, diddle
Out of harms way.

James at the George, Diddle, diddle
Sue at the Swan
He loves his maid Diddle, diddle
She loves her man.
But if they chance Diddle, diddle
For to be found,
Catch them i’th Corn Diddle, diddle
Put them i’th the pound.

I heard a bird Diddle, diddle
Sing in my Ear
Maids will be scarce Diddle, diddle,
The next New year.
For young men are Diddle, diddle
So wanton grown
That they ne’r mind Diddle, diddle,
Which is their own.

Down in a Dale Diddle, diddle
Where flowers do grow,
And the Trees bud Diddle, diddle
All on a row.
A brisk young Man Diddle diddle
Met with a Maid,
And laid her down, Diddle, diddle
Under the shade.

Where they did play Diddle, diddle
And Kiss and Court,
Like Lambs in May Diddle, diddle
Making fine sport.
There lives a Lass Diddle, diddle
Over the Green,
She sells good Ale Diddle, diddle
Think what I mean.

Oft have I been Diddle diddle
With her i’th the dark
And yet I nere Diddle, diddle
Shot at the mark.
But now my Dear Diddle, diddle
Have at thy bumm
For I do swear Diddle, diddle
Now I am come.

I will be kind Diddle, diddle
Until I dye,
When pre thee love Diddle, diddle
My Dog and I.
For thee and I Diddle, diddle
Now are all one,
And we will lye Diddle, diddle
No more alone.

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