Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full, a song in Swedish and English.

As a little lad, my grandfather put me on his knees and sang this little lullaby. He was a skipper, having been both “on the Heat” and fishing on the banks of Iceland, so he sang it with emotions, slowly rocking as if we were sailing.

This is how I remember it.

Byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
där kommer tre vandringsmän på vägen,
byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
där kommer tre vandringsmän på vägen.
Den ene, ack så halt,
den andre, o, så blind,
den tredje säger alls ingenting.

Byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
på himmelen vandra tre stjärnor,
byssan lull, koka kittelen full.
på himmelen vandra tre stjärnor,
Den ene är så vit,
den andra är så röd,
den tredje är månen den gula.

Byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
där blåser tre vindar på haven,
byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
där blåser tre vindar på haven.
På Stora Skagerack,
på lilla Kattegatt
och långt upp i Bottniska viken.

Byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
där segla tre skepp uppå vågen,
byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
där segla tre skepp uppå vågen.
Den första är en bark,
den andra är en brigg,
den tredje har så trasiga segel.

Byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
sjökistan har trenne figurer,
byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
sjökistan har trenne figurer.
Den första är vår tro,
den andra är vårt hopp,
den tredje är kärleken den röda.

Byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
de tre äro heliga ena
byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
de tre äro heliga ena.
Den förste är Gud Far,
den andre är Hans Son,
den tredje är den Helige Ande.

And now for the English translation:

Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
three wanderers are coming down the alley.
Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
three wanderers are coming down the alley.
The first one, oh so limp,
the second, oh, so blind,
the third one is mute, saying nothing.

Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
in heaven three stars are a-wand’ring,
Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
in heaven three stars are a-wand’ring,
The first one is so white,
the second is so red,
the third is the moon, bright and yellow.

Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
three winds blowing over the oceans.
Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
three winds blowing over the oceans.
On greater Skagerak,
on little Kattegat,
and far up in the Bothnian Bay.

Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
three ships sailing over the ocean.
Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
three ships sailing over the ocean.
The first one is a barque,
the second is a brigg,
the sails of the third are so tattered.

Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
the Seaman’s chest has triple engravings.
Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
the Seaman’s chest has triple engravings.
The cross is for our faith,
the anchor for our hope,
the heart is for charity the crimson.

Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
these three are in one that are holy.
Byssan lull, boil the kettle so full,
these three are in one and are holy.
The first is Father God,
the second is His Son,
the third is the Holy Spirit.

And here is the music score, as per Evert Taube.

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Published by

lenbilen

Engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, and chip manufacturing. Presently adjunct faculty at PSU, teaching one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

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