All the Pretty Little Horses: The Hush-a-Bye Lullaby

Artwork Maria Martin|CC

A beautiful lullaby of bribery, this bedtime folk song promises the baby All the Pretty Little Horses if only the baby will only stop crying and fall asleep. Learn the lyrics to this lovely tune, also known as Hush-a-bye.

All the Pretty Little Horses (Hush-a bye) Lyrics

Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry,

Go to sleep my little baby.

When you wake you shall have

All the pretty little horses.

Black and bays, dapples, grays,

All the pretty little horses.

Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry,

Go to sleep my little baby.

Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry,

Go to sleep my little baby.

When you wake you shall have

All the pretty little horses.

Click to download a pdf printable of All the Pretty Little Horses


History of the Lullaby

The song is also known as Hush-a-Bye, or All the Little Ponies, with the earliest written version appearing by Texan Dorothy Scarborough in 1925. The music was originated as an African-American folk song, sometime near the Civil War.

There are numerous recorded versions of the song, most notably by the Chieftains, Joan Baez, Kenny Loggins, Olivia Newton-John, and our favorite rendition, by Peter, Paul and Mary, called Hush-a-Bye.

First Written Lyrics to Hush-a-Bye

Hush-a-bye, Don’t you cry,
Go to sleep, little baby.
when you wake,
You shall have,
all the pretty little horses.

Blacks and Bays,
dapples and grays,
All the pretty little horses.
Hush-a-bye, Don’t you cry,
Go to sleep, my little baby.

Way down yonder
In the meadow
Poor little baby crying momma
Birds and the butterflies
Flutter ’round his eyes
Poor little baby crying momma

Hush-a-bye, Don’t you cry,
Go to sleep, little baby.
when you wake,
You shall have,
all the pretty little horses.

Source: Scarborough, Dorothy. On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1925.

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