A Bitter Lullaby by Anonymous with rough rendering into almost modern English by flusteredduck

Lullay, lullay, litel child, why weepestou so sore?
Needes most thou weepe, it was y-yarked thee yore
Evere to live in sorwe, and siken everemore,
As thine eldren dide er this, whil they alives wore
Lullay, lullay, litel child, child, lullay, lullow,
Into uncouth world ycomen so art thou.

Beestes and thise fowles, the fisshes in the flood,
And eech sheef alives, ymaked of boon and blood,
Whan they cometh to the world they dooth hemself som good—
Al but the wrecche brol that is of Adames blood.
Lullay, lullay, litel child, to care art thou bimet:
Thou noost nat this worldes wilde bifore thee is yset.

Child, if it bitideth that thou shalt thrive and thee,
Thenk thou were yfostered up thy moder knee;
Evere have minde in thyn herte of thise thinges three:
Whennes thou comest, what thou art, and what shal come of thee.
Lullay, lullay, litel child, child, lullay, lullay:
With sorwe thou come into this world, with sorwe thou shalt away.

Ne tristou to this world, it is thy fulle fo:
The riche it maketh poore, the poore riche also;
It turneth wo to wele and eek wele to wo:
Ne triste no man to this world whil it turneth so.
Lullay, lullay, litel child, the foot is in the wheele:
Thou noost whether it wol turne to wo other to wele.

Child, thou art a pilgrim in wikkednesse ybore;
Thou wandrest in this false world—thou looke thee bifore:
Deeth shal come with a blast out of a wel dim bore
Adames kinne down to caste—himself hath do bifore.
Lullay, lullay, litel child, so wo thee warp Adam
In the land of Paradis through wikkenesse of Satan.

Child, thou nart a pilgrim, but an uncouth gest:
Thy dayes beeth ytold, thy journeys beeth ycest
Whider thou shalt wenden, north other est,
Deeth thee shal bitide with bitter bale in brest.
Lullay, lullay, litel child, this wo Adam thee wrought
Whan he the apple eet, and Eve it him bitoughte.

A Bitter Lullaby by Anonymous

Lullay, lullay, little child, why weeps thou so sore?
Needs must thou weep, it was destined thee of yore
Ever to live in sorrow, and sigh ever more,
As thine elders did ere this, while they alive were
Lullay, lullay, little child, child, lullay, lullow,
Into a strange world so art thou come.

Beasts and fowls, the fishes in the flood,
And each creature alive, made of bone and blood,
When they come to the world, they do themselves some good—
All but the wretched brat that is of Adam’s blood.
Lullay, lullay, little child, to care art thou bound:
Thou knowest not that this world’s wilds before thee are set.

Child, if it betides that thou shall thrive and prosper,
Remember as thou were brought up at thy mother’s knee;
Ever have mind in thy heart of these things three:
Whence thou comes, what thou art, and what shall become of thee.
Lullay, lullay, little child, child, lullay, lullay:
With sorrow thou come into this world, with sorrow thou shall away.

Never trust to this world, it is thy full foe:
The rich it makes poor, the poor rich also;
It turns woe to well and changes well to woe:
Never trust no man to this world while it turns so.
Lullay, lullay, little child, thy foot is in the wheel;
Thou knowest [not] whether it will turn to woe or to well.

Child, thou art a pilgrim in wickedness born;
Thou wanders in this false world
thou look thee ahead:
Death shall come with a blast out of a very dim shadow
Adam’s kin down to cast
as himself hath done before.
Lullay, lullay, little child, such woe was for thee wove by Adam
In the land of Paradise through the wickedness of Satan.

Child, thou art not a pilgrim, but an unknown guest:
Thy days be numbered, thy journeys be determined
Whither thou shall wend, north or east,
Death thee shall betide with bitter pain in thy breast.
Lullay, lullay, little child, this woe Adam has for thee wrought
When he the apple ate, and Eve it him brought.

From: https://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/noa/pdf/15Lyrics_1_6.pdf

Date: Early 14th century

By: Anonymous

Alternative Title: Adult Lullaby

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