I am not a "lullaby person." Frankly, I find them inane. (Go ponder the words to "Rock a Bye Baby." Think about what they actually mean, and then tell me that's something that's appropriate to fill small children's heads with.) I think singing them is insulting to the intelligence of the child you're trying to get to sleep. I didn't sing them when I watched other people's children, and I can't bring myself to sing them to Shirley.
But when she's fussy, Shirley likes to have someone talking to her. And as the sleep deprivation that life with a newborn entails makes me feel very brain-damaged, I have a hard time coming up with things to say to her that aren't as puerile as your average lullaby.
Enter the "Song of Roland." In a constant attempt to overcome my lingering insecurities about growing up redneck, I keep thinking I need to read more "great works of literature." So since I have a book with the complete text of several medieval epics, I've been reading it aloud to her.
I'm about halfway into it, and I've come to a conclusion: Roland is a punk. And even after reading this far, I'm still not sure why they named the song after him. Although you may not like your stepfather, it's just tacky to volunteer him as the French hostage to the Saracens. This being a medieval epic, I'm sure his stepfather Ganelon's treacherous plotting with the Saracens to have Roland and the rest of Charlemagne's rearguard killed off will result in a very messy death for Ganelon, but all the same, I'm still hoping that Roland bites it as well.
"Great literature" or not, I'm still not convinced that "Roland" is any more appropriate for small children than "Rock a Bye Baby." While less people die than in the Old Testament, their ends are recounted in far more graphic detail. Of the demise of one Saracen lord, who gets multiple spear wounds and keeps on fighting, the poet writes (John O'Haggan translation) "Were he Christian, what a baron he!"
Oh well, it'll still probably require less counseling to set her straight than if I start singing lullabies.