Hush Little Baby, Don’t Say a Word

Hush Little Baby, Don’t Say a Word

by Mother Goose

Hush little baby, don’t say a word,
Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.

And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.

And if that diamond ring turns to brass,
Papa’s gonna buy you a looking glass.

And if that looking glass gets broke,
Papa’s gonna buy you a billy goat.

And if that billy goat won’t pull,
Papa’s gonna buy you a cart and bull.

And if that cart and bull turn over,
Papa’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover.

And if that dog named Rover won’t bark,
Papa’s gonna buy you a horse and cart.

And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town!

Summary of Hush Little Baby, Don’t Say a Word

  • Popularity of “Hush little baby, don’t say a word,”: The famous imaginary author of French fairy tales and nursery rhymes, Mother Goose has written this famous lullaby and nursery rhyme of English literature. Its date of origin is unknown. The poem comprises love and attachment of parents with their child. The popularity of the poem lies in the fact that it is widely used as a lullaby and is still taught in different nursery and pre-primary syllabuses across the globe.
  • “Hush Little Baby, Don’t Say a Word,” As a Representative of Love: This poem is written from the perspective of a mother who tries to console her crying child and promises him to provide a lot of things if the baby stays quiet. She mentions the list of things that the baby’s father will buy while trying to put the baby to sleep. A mother knows her child’s likes and dislikes, and she assures the baby that if these things fail to make the baby happy, he/she will be the sweetest baby in the town.
  • Major Themes in “Hush Little Baby, Don’t Say a Word,” Love, attachment, and happiness are the major themes of the poem. The poem appreciates the beauty of parental love who try their best to make their children happy. Also, singing a lullaby is one of the best methods to calm an anxious child. The choice of words suggests that the happiness of her child is the most precious thing for the mother.

Analysis of Literary Devices in “Hush Little Baby, Don’t Say a Word,”

Literary devices are tools that writers use to convey their emotions, ideas, and themes. With the help of these devices, they make their text more convincing and appealing to the reader. Mother Goose has also employed some literary devices in this poem to show the beauty of a mother’s love. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been stated below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /a/ in “Hush little baby, don’t say a word”.
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /g/ in “And if that looking glass gets broke”.
  3. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. “Mockingbird”, “cart”, “looking glass” and “diamond ring” all symbolize priceless affection, happiness and joy parents can promise to children.
  4. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same lie such as the sound of /t/ in “And if that cart and bull turn over” and the sound of /l/ in “You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town.”
  5. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five sense. For example, “Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring”, “Papa’s gonna buy you a horse and cart” and “Papa’s gonna buy you a cart and bull.”
  6. Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word or expression in the first part of some verses. For example, “And if” is repeated to give options to the child and to show love.

“And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.
And if that diamond ring turns to brass,
Papa’s gonna buy you a looking glass.”

Analysis of Poetic Devices in “Hush Little Baby, Don’t Say a Word,”

Poetic Devices refer to those techniques a poet uses to bring uniqueness in his text. The analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem is given below.

  1. Rhyming Couplet: There are two constructive lines of verse in a rhyming couplet, usually in the same meter and joined by a rhyme. There are eight rhyming couplets in this poem.
  2. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABAB rhyme scheme and this pattern continues up to the end.
  3. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. For example, “Pull/bull”, “over/rover”, “bark/cart” and “down/town.”

Quotes to be Used

  1. The lines stated below can be used to teach phonics to the children. Also, as generally used, these lines can be a wonderful lullaby for restless babies.

“Hush little baby, don’t say a word,
Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.”

2. The lines stated below can be used by a mother to express her unbound love for her children.

“And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town!”