Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top,
|When the wind blows, the cradle will rock;|
|When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall.|
|And down will come baby, cradle, and all.|
Then I hate to be the one to break it to you, but your parents wanted to kill you.
With these words, they are saying, "I will put you in your cradle and tie it to the highest tree branch I can find, and when--not if but when--there is a strong gust of wind, you will plummet to the ground." This is why the song is so effective in quieting fussy babies. One also wonders why the verse ends there--would the second chorus be set in traction or the morgue?
Nothing works so well to soothe the nerves as a good old-fashioned death threat.
Rock-a-Bye Baby (Traditional Nursery Rhymes)