Rock-a-Bye Baby: The Lullaby You Already Know

The best known lullaby in the English language, Rock-a-Bye Baby, is probably the first song that your child will learn to sing, and (hopefully) to put themselves to sleep.  Here are the lyrics for Rock-A-Bye Baby, though you may already know them all too well.

So for those more eclectic parents, we’ve included some additional verses below.  Because who knew the lines about thy cradle is green and thy mother is queen?

Rock-a-Bye Baby Lyrics

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all

Click to download a black and white pdf printable of Rock-a-bye Baby Lyrics.


History of the Lullaby

The song first appeared in 1765 in a collection of Mother Goose Nursery rhymes, originally titled Hush a Bye.  While most lullabies have undergone countless changes and renditions over time, Rockabye is one of the few nursery songs to be little changed over literally hundreds of years.

Legend has it that the song originated from the traditional of hanging a cradle from a tree, gently swaying in the wind.  Alas, yes, there was a high risk the bough could break, but of course, this was well-before modern consumer safety standards!

The Full Lyrics to Rockabye Baby

Rock-a-bye, baby, in the tree top
When the wind blows the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall
Down will come baby, cradle and all

Baby is drowsing, cosy and fair
Mother sits near in her rocking chair
Forward and back, the cradle she swings
Though baby sleeps, he hears what she sings

Rock-a-bye baby, do not you fear
Never mind, baby, mother is near
Wee little fingers, eyes are shut tight
Now sound asleep – until morning light

Alternate Verse, from 1916 The Real Mother Goose:

Rock-a-bye, baby, thy cradle is green;
Father’s a nobleman, mother’s a queen;
And Aggy’s a lady, and wears a gold ring;
And Johnny’s a drummer, and drums for the king.

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