Hush, Little Baby
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"Hush, Little Baby" is a traditional lullaby, thought to have been written in the United States (mockingbirds are from the New World), but the author and date of origin are unknown. The lyrics promise all kinds of rewards to the child if he or she is quiet. The simple structure allows more verses to be added ad lib.
The song has been recorded by many artists and has been adapted into pop songs such as Maurice King's "Hambone," Inez and Charlie Foxx's "Mockingbird" and Bo Diddley's eponymous song Bo Diddley, as well as Eminem's Mockingbird.
The song has also been used in the play "The Miracle Worker," about Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan.
There are several versions of the song, but the most common lyrics are:
Hush, little baby, don't say a word,
Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird.
If that mockingbird don't sing,
Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring
If that diamond ring turns brass,
Mama's gonna buy you a looking glass.
If that looking glass gets broke,
Mama's gonna buy you a billy goat,
If that billy goat don't pull,
Mama's gonna buy you a cart and a bull.
If that cart and bull tip over,
Mama's gonna buy you a dog named Rover.
If that dog named Rover don't bark,
Mama's gonna buy you a horse and a cart.
If that horse and cart fall down,
you'll still be the sweetest little baby in town.
Mama is sometimes substituted by Papa, Dada, etc. according to the singer's relation to the child or personal preference. There are simple revisions to the lyrics, but all remain true to the promise of rewards for being quiet.