Christmas Carol of the Day: Спи Ісусе спи

December 11, 2012

So yesterday we talked about “Christmas” carols and gave special attention to  the Ukrainian shchedrik that we in the west know as “Carol of the Bells”.  It’s such a pity that we don’t know more of these little Ukrainian carols.  They are so beautiful. So today, at the end of this post,  I will swallow my pride and share with you a very humble English version that I made of a Ukrainian carol that I love, “Спи Ісусе спи” or “Sleep, Jesus, Sleep”

This is a traditional carol and from what I can find in my research this particular melody that I use in my version and that is heard in this video doesn’t have an author.  If someone knows that it does, please correct me.  You’ll hear several different versions of this song, sometimes with different melodies, sometimes with different lyrics but the essence is always that of a lullaby. So here’s the Ukrainian version:

And the lyrics that I based my English translation off of.  Obviously, when I made up my English lyrics for this song I didn’t translate them word for word because that would sound awkward but I tried to keep the essence of what is sung in the song.  So here I will write the Ukrainian lyrics and give you a word for word (more or less) translation in my not very good Ukrainian.  After that I’ll include the video of my song and my lyrics.

1. Спи, Ісусе, спи                                          Sleep, Jesus, sleep

Спатоньки ходи                                           Go to sleep

Я тебе му колисати                                      I will rock you

Песеньками присипляти (х 2)                    with songs to sleep

Люлі, серденько, люлі                               rockaby, little heart, rockaby

2. Спи Лелійко, спи,                                Sleep, little one, sleep
Голівку склони,                                      bow your little head
Та на рученьки Марії,                            and on the hands of Mary
Бач, вона Тебе леліє:                            See, she caresses you (x2)
Спи Ісусе,спи маленький,                     Sleep, Jesus, sleep little one
Спи, Ісусе, спи!

3. Спи, Терпіннє спи,                             Sleep, patience, sleep
Очка зажмури.                                       Let your eyes gaze up
Не питай, що колись буде,                   Don’t ask what will be someday
Що зготовлять Ти хрест люди.            That the people will prepare a cross (?)
Спи Ісусе,спи маленький,                     Sleep, Jesus, sleep little one
Спи, Ісусе, спи!

4. Спи, Ісусе, спи,                                 Sleep Jesus sleep
Серце відчини,                                    Open your heart
Хай при Ньому спочиваю,                   Let me rest in Him
Тут на землі і там в Раю,                    Here on earth and there in paradise
Спи Ісусе, спи маленький,                  Sleep, Jesus, sleep little one.

See? Isn’t it beautiful.  I apologize for my bad Ukrainian. It’s much more beautiful in the original language.  So I wanted to try and capture that sweetness in my translation.  I kept the feel of a lullaby that begins singing to the baby Jesus and ends as if your singing a lullaby to your own child.  I sang and recorded all the parts using a free recording software.  So I apologize ahead of time for the less than perfect quality of production and singing.  Hope it warms your heart and does minimal damage to your ears.

Lyrics

Copyright © Janey Top 2010

Sleep, sweet Jesus, sleep
Holy and so meek.
You are born in light and glory
Let us tell the world your story
Luli, luli, Jesus, sleep.

Sleep, my little one
Life has just begun
Oh, how great the cross you’ll carry
But for now you’re safe with Mary
Luli, luli, little one.

Sleep, sweet Jesus, sleep
Savior that we seek.
Round your manger humbly kneeling
We have come for hope and healing
Luli, luli, Jesus, sleep.

Sleep, my little child
Tiny and so mild.
Christ, like you, made our lives brighter
Knowing this I’ll hold you tighter
Luli, luli, little child.

I made a Google site here where you can download this song (the Ukrainian version) and many other Christmas carols.

6 Responses to “Christmas Carol of the Day: Спи Ісусе спи”

  1. […] “Sleep, Jesus, Sleep” Including my own English version of this Ukrainian song. […]

  2. Old Rasputin said

    Cool. Who arranged it? you? Why not a standard SATB? Or is that 4th part in there and I’m just not hearing it? Anyway, good job!

  3. DG said

    What a beautiful prayer, Janey; the angels wept when you wrote it

  4. Jayme Berry said

    So beautiful! I would really like to have something more accessible for young children to sing, too. But that one brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful translation!

  5. Marika said

    I believe it was composed by a Ukrainian Catholic priest Bohdan Hanushevsky.

  6. SHEILA ANDERSON said

    Thank you so much for your English translation of thus beautiful lullaby. We heard it recently at a Children’s Christmas concert and I’ve been searching the internet for melody and translation.
    You did a beautiful job. Love this !!

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