Isacc Watts Cradle Hymn

My cousin Bo in St. Louis sent me this Hymn text, and I’ve written some music and taken out some scary verses so it can make the Slugs and Bugs Christmas Record.

I wanted to post the text in its entirety, however, because it is beautiful and frightening at the same time.  Certainly, times were different, and it is probably perilous to second-guess the father of modern hymnody, but still… “makes me angry while I sing”… in a lullaby? I guess I appreciate his rebel spirit and willingness to tell it like it is.  Dude could have written some awesome Slugs and Bugs songs.

HUSH! my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.

Sleep, my babe; thy food and raiment,
House and home, thy friends provide;
All without thy care or payment:
All thy wants are well supplied.

How much better thou’rt attended
Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven He descended
And became a child like thee!

Soft and easy is thy cradle:
Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
When His birthplace was a stable
And His softest bed was hay.

Blessèd babe! what glorious features—
Spotless fair, divinely bright!
Must He dwell with brutal creatures?
How could angels bear the sight?

Was there nothing but a manger
Cursèd sinners could afford
To receive the heavenly stranger?
Did they thus affront their Lord?

Soft, my child: I did not chide thee,
Though my song might sound too hard;
‘Tis thy mother sits beside thee,
And her arms shall be thy guard.

Yet to read the shameful story
How the Jews abused their King,
How they served the Lord of Glory,
Makes me angry while I sing.

See the kinder shepherds round Him,
Telling wonders from the sky!
Where they sought Him, there they found Him,
With His Virgin mother by.

See the lovely babe a-dressing;
Lovely infant, how He smiled!
When He wept, the mother’s blessing
Soothed and hush’d the holy child.

Lo, He slumbers in His manger,
Where the hornèd oxen fed:
Peace, my darling; here ‘s no danger,
Here ‘s no ox anear thy bed.

‘Twas to save thee, child, from dying,
Save my dear from burning flame,
Bitter groans and endless crying,
That thy blest Redeemer came.

May’st thou live to know and fear Him,
Trust and love Him all thy days;
Then go dwell for ever near Him,
See His face, and sing His praise!

2 thoughts on “Isacc Watts Cradle Hymn

  1. I was singing this to the tune of a hymn as I read, and I can’t figure out which hymn it is… *hunts for the hymnal with the meter index…* Well, that didn’t work.

    Okay. After consulting with my mom, it is “May the Mind of Christ my Savior” with a slightly different ending that I apparently invented all on my own.

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