England does not have a large stock of traditional lullabies, or at least they have not been documented as such. It has probably always been the case that many parents simply use any sufficiently soothing tune which they happen to know. Nevertheless, two which are still generally known are 'Hush-a-bye baby' (or 'Rock-a-bye baby') and 'Cry Baby Bunting', both of which first appear in print in the late 18th century. Two less well-known lullabies are:
   Sleep like a lady (or gentleman) You shall have milk When the cows come home Father is the butcher Mother cooks the meat Johnnie rocks the cradle While baby goes to sleep
   (Newmarket, Cambridgeshire; Folk-Lore 25 (1914), 364).
   Sleep bonnie bairnie, behind the castle By! By! By! By!
   Thou shalt have a golden apple By! By! By! By!
   (Newcastle; JFSS 5 (1915), 121)
   The nurse who sang the latter 'used to sing the By! By! With the greatest energy, accenting each By! By clapping her hand vigorously on her knee and beating her foot on the floor, in a way that any one but an infant would have considered the reverse of soothing'. See Opie for a general discussion of lullabies and some further variants.
   ■ Opie and Opie, 1997: 17-18, 69-73; Evelyn Carrington, 'Folk Lullabies', Fraser's Magazine 103 (1881), 87-99; Leslie Daiken, The Lullaby Book (1959); 'Three Northern Lullabies', JFSS 5 (1915), 117-21.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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