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TO THE CUCKOO.
O RUSTIC herald of the spring,
At length, in yonder woody vale, Fast by the brook I hear thee sing;
And, studious of thy homely tale, Amid the
vespers Amid the chanting choir of love,
Thy sage responses hail.
of the grove,
The time has been when I have frown'd
To hear thy voice the woods invade; And while thy solemn accent drown'd
Some sweeter poet of the shade : Thus, thought I, thus the sons of care Some constant youth or generous fair
With dull advice upbraid.
• While Philomela's song Proclaims the passion of the grove,
It ill beseems the Cuckoo's tongue
Her charming language to reprove."
The sober truth of love!
When hearts are in each other blest,
When nought but lofty faith can rule The nymph's and swain's consenting breast,
How cuckoo-like in Cupid's school, With store of grave, prudential saws On fortune's power and custom's laws,
Appears each friendly fool!
Yet think betimes, ye gentle train,
Whom love, and hope, and fancy sway, Who every harsher care disdain,
Who by the morning judge the day;
The Cuckoo joins his lay.
Lords and ladies, for your ear
* The crows,
says Mr. Mitchell, the translator of Aristophanes, appear to have been in great disfavour with the Athenians. They had the fee-simple of all that society wished to eject from itself; and thus stood to the Greeks somewhat in the relation of that malignant person, who, according to Rabelais, breakfasts on the souls of serjeants-at-arms fricasseed. But this song will show that this dislike to the crow did not prevail universally among the Greeks, but that the same use was made, in some parts, of the crow as was made of the swallow."
Open, open gate and door:
Nurse a boy who calls thee mother ;
Rock a girl who calls him brother;
feet and eyes are led, Dropping at each door a strain, Let me lose my suit or gain.
Then search, worthy gentles, the cupboard's close
To the lord, and still more to the lady, we look: Custom warrants the suit, let it still then bear
sway, And your Crow, as in duty most bounden, shall
The Swallow, the Swallow, has burst on the sight,
Can your pantry nought spare,
That his palate may please,
Or a slice of rich cheese?
* The song of the swallow, who, as the harbinger of spring, was a great favourite among the Greeks, by which, too, the little mendicants used to levy contributions on the good-nature of their fellow-citizens.