Hush, Little Baby
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"Hush, Little Baby" is a traditional lullaby, thought to have been written in the Southern United States. Like most folk songs, 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 performed and recorded by many artists including Joan Baez, Nina Simone, The Weavers and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Additionally, the song 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.
And if that mockingbird don't sing,
Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Mama's gonna buy you a looking glass.
And if that looking glass is broke,
Mama's gonna buy you a billy goat,
And if that billy goat won't pull,
Mama's gonna buy you a cart and a bull.
And if that cart and bull turn over,
Mama's gonna buy you a dog named Rover.
And if that dog named Rover won't bark,
Mama's gonna buy you a horse and a cart.
And 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.