You must have hummed the tunes of this lovely song so many times. Lavender’s Blue is a traditional song, enjoyable for both kids and adults.
Dating back to the 16th century, it has a romantic essence about a man and woman who fell in love with each other. The song likely originated in England, but the exact origin is not clear.
Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, lavender's green,
When I am king, dilly dilly, you shall be queen:
Who told you so, dilly dilly, who told you so?
'Twas mine own heart, dilly dilly, that told me so.
Call up your men, dilly dilly, set them to work,
Some with a rake, dilly dilly, some with a fork;
Some to make hay, dilly dilly, some to thresh corn,
Whilst you and I, dilly dilly, keep ourselves warm.
If you should die, dilly dilly, as it may hap,
You shall be buried, dilly dilly, under the tap;
Who told you so, dilly dilly, pray tell me why?
That you might drink, dilly dilly, when you are dry.
Stop searching for this song’s printable lyrics, as you can get it right here!
The modern version of the song is used in various movies and music albums, even by pop artists. Here is a kid-friendly video of the rhyme for you to sing and enjoy with your child.
Origin and History
The song was first printed in 1680 under the title "Diddle, Diddle." Here the narrator was smitten by a girl and wanted her to reciprocate his feelings, with the verse, "You must love me, diddle, diddle, 'cause I love you."
Earlier the song was supposed to be sung to the tune of "Lavender Green," and it contained some not-so-kid-friendly lyrics about courtship, and the word ‘diddle’ has an obscene connotation. The lyrics were like,
Lavender's green, diddle, diddle,
You must love me, diddle, diddle,
cause I love you,
I heard one say, diddle, diddle,
since I came hither,
That you and I, diddle, diddle,
must lie together.
In 1805, this was published as a children's song in ‘Songs For The Nursery’ where the wordings, "When I am king, you shall be queen” were used. There are as many as 30 verses to the song and many variations of the verses.
Folklorist Eloise Hubbard Linscott linked it to the Twelfth Night, a Christian holiday that happens on the last night of the Twelve Days of Christmas. There is a popular custom of making a special cake containing a pea and a bean; whoever receives those slices are designated king and queen of the festivities.
In 2015, Disney again revived "Lavender's Blue" as a signature song for another film called Cinderella. It was sung by Cinderella’s mother and was reprised during the movie's climax. The orchestral version was used as background music throughout the movie.
"Dilly dilly" had been used as a recurring phrase from the nursery rhyme, Lavender’s Blue from the 1700s. Dictionary.com defines "dilly" as "delightful" or "delicious".
It is suggested that a lover might be singing this song for his love interest, and wanted to propose by offering lavender flowers.