Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Children of Green Knowe

Le berceau (The Cradle), 1872. Berthe Morisot.

Lully Lulla, Thou little tiny child
By by, Lully Lullay.
O sisters too, how we may do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling
For whom we sing
By by, Lully Lullay.

"Who is it?" he whispered.

"It's the grandmother rocking the cradle," said Mrs. Oldknow, and her eyes were full of tears.

"Why are you crying, Granny? It's lovely."

"It is lovely, only it is such a long time ago. I don't know why that should be sad, but it sometimes seems so."

The singing began again.

"Granny," whispered Tolly again, with his arm through hers, "Whose cradle is it? Linnet is as big as I am."

"My darling, this voice is much older than that. I hardly know whose it is. I heard it once before at Christmas."

It was queer to hear the baby's sleepy whimper only in the next room, now, and so long ago. "Come, we'll sing it too," said Mrs. Oldknow, going to the spinet. She played, but it was Tolly who sang alone, while, four hundred years ago, a baby went to sleep.

~The Children of Green Knowe, Lucy M. Boston
(p. 153-154)

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