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TO THE CUCKOO.
O RUSTIC herald of the spring,
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."
Hates all the sober truth to hear,
When hearts are in each other blest,
Yet think betimes, ye gentle train,
Who every harsher care disdain,
Who by the morning judge the day;
We have a petitioner :
Name and lineage would you know?
His is not the mouth to halt.
* The crows," says Mr. Mitchell, the translator of Aristophanes, 66 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;
Then search, worthy gentles, the cupboard's close
To the lord, and still more to the lady, we look :
And your Crow, as in duty most bounden, shall pray.
THE Swallow, the Swallow, has burst on the sight,
He brings us gay seasons of vernal delight;
Can your pantry nought spare,
That his palate may please,
A fig, or a pear,
Or a slice of rich cheese?
Mark, he bars all delay:
At a word, my friend, say,
Do we go-do we stay?
*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.