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The earliest English language carols come to us from the mystery plays of the 15th century. These were pageants presented by tradesmen's guilds which re-enacted biblical Christmas scenes and stories. These plays were the beginning of a more secular Christmas tradition, for they were written in English and performed on the street, as opposed to the Latin church pageants that were done as part of the liturgy. "Coventry Carol" was originally part of the Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors in Coventry. The play enacted the story of the Slaughter of the Innocents and this carol was sung by the women of Bethlehem just before Herod's soldiers came on stage to take their children. "Christ Child's Lullaby" ("Taladh Chriosda")is a traditional Scottish carol from the Hebrides.

Lyrics

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

O sisters too, what may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor Youngling for Whom we sing
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Herod the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All children young to slay.
Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Then woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and say
For Thy parting nor say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.