Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
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Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
 
Cuckoo Song
 
   (Spring begins in Southern England on the 14th April, on which date the Old Woman lets the Cuckoo out of her basket at Heathfield Fair—locally known as Heffle Cuckoo Fair.)

TELL it to the locked-up trees,
Cuckoo, bring your song here!
Warrant, Act and Summons, please,
For Spring to pass along here!
Tell old Winter, if he doubt,        5
Tell him squat and square—a!
Old Woman!
Old Woman!
Old Woman’s let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair—a!        10
 
March has searched and April tried—
’Tisn’t long to May now.
Not so far to Whitsuntide
And Cuckoo’s come to stay now!
Hear the valiant fellow shout        15
Down the orchard bare—a!
Old Woman!
Old Woman!
Old Woman’s let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair—a!        20
 
When your heart is young and gay
And the season rules it—
Work your works and play your play
’Fore the Autumn cools it!
Kiss you turn and turn-about,        25
But my lad, beware—a!
Old Woman!
Old Woman!
Old Woman’s let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair—a!        30
 
 
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