Sleep, Little Baby, Sleep
"The Holy Innocents"
Words by Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
Music: tune, DOLOMITE CHANT, Austrian melody, arr. Joseph T. Cooper, 1873; alt. and arr. Dean McIntyre, 2012 Scripture: Matthew 2:7-23
Topics: Innocents; Massacre of the Innocents; Christmas; birth; baptism;
children; infants; sleep; protection; angels
This poem by Christina Rossetti is titled "The Holy Innocents," thus linking it to the Massacre of the Innocents by King Herod in Matthew 2:7-23, commemorated in the church calendar during the week following Christmas Day. However, there is no direct reference in the poem to Herod or the slaughter. The hymn is entirely appropriate on other occasions, including Christmas and the birth and baptism of infants.
DOLOMITE CHANT is a traditional Austrian melody. The harmonization in The United Methodist Hymnal (455) is by Joseph T. Cooper, 1879. It has been altered and arranged in this setting to accommodate the different meter.