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Cuckoo, cuckoo,-O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!



When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,

And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and darvs,

And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,

Mocks married men, for thus sings he,
Cuckoo ;

Cuckoo, cuckoo,-O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!


Winter. When icicles hang by the wall,6

And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,

And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,

Tu-whit, to-who, a merry note,

While greasy Joan doth keels the pot.


[6] i. e. from the eaves of the thatch or other roofing, from which in the morning icicles are found depending in great abundance, after a night of frost Our author (whose images are all taken from nature) has alluded in The Tempest, to the drops of water that after rain flow from such coverings, in their natural unfrozen state :

"His tears run down his beard, like winter's dr
"From eaves of reeds."

[7] So, in King Henry VI. Part III :


"What time the shepherd, blowing of his nails,
"Can neither call it perfect day or night." MAL.

[8] This word is yet used in Ireland, and signifies to scum the pot.


Keel the pot. i. e. cool the pot: "The thing is, they mix their thicking of oatmeal and water, which they call blending the litting (or lithing,) and put it in the pot, when they set it on, because when the meat, pudding and turnips are all in, they cannot so well mix it, but 'tis apt to go into lumps; yet this method of theirs renders the pot liable to boil over at the first ris ing. and every subsequent increase of the fire; to prevent which it becomes necessary for one to attend to cool it occasionally, by lading it up frequently with a ladle, which they call keeling the pot, and is indeed a greasy office." Gent Mag. 1760. This account seems to be accurate. RITSON.

To keel signifies to cool in general, without any reference to the kitchen. Mr. Lambe observes, in his notes on the ancient metrical History of The Battle of Floddon, that it is a common thing in the North "for a maid ser


When all aloud the wind doth blow,

And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,

And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,

Then nightly sings the staring owl,

Tu-whit, to-who, a merry note,

While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

Arm. The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo.-You, that way; we, this way.


vant to take out of a boiling pot a wheen, i. e. a small quantity, viz. a porringer or two of broth, and then to fill up the pot with cold water. The broth thus taken out, is called the keeling wheen. In this manner greasy Joan keeled the pot.

"Gie me beer, and gie me grots,

"And lumps of beef to swum abeen;
"And ilka time that I stir the pot,
"He's hae frae me the keeling wheen."


[9] Saw seems anciently to have meant, not as at present, a proverb, a sentence, but the whole tenor of any instructive discourse. STEEVENS.

Yet in As you like it, our author uses this word in the sense of a sentence, or maxim: "Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might," &c. It is, I believe, so used here. MAL.

[1] i. e. the wild apples so called.


The bowl must be supposed to be filled with ale; a toast and some spice and sugar being added, what is called lamb's wool it produced.




Third Edition.

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