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PART I

heat, Show all your thousand-coloured

light! Black winter freezes to his seat; The grey wolf howls he does so bite; Crookt age on three knees creeps the

street; The boneless fish close quaking lies And eats for cold his aching feet; The stars in icicles arise: Shine out, and make this winter

night Our beauty’s spring, Our Prince of

Light!

  • (Anon. 16th Century)

    • *

      From Elizabethan Lyrics by the late Norman Ault,

printed by permission of his executrix

The Merry Cuckoo

The merry cuckoo, messenger of

spring, His trumpet shrill hath thrice already

sounded; That warns all lovers wait upon their

king, Who now is coming forth with

garlands crowned: With noise whereof the quire of birds

resounded Their anthems sweet devised of love’s

praise, That all the woods their echoes back

rebounded. As if they knew the meaning of their

lays. But ’mongst them all, which did

love’s honour raise, No word was heard of her that most

it ought,

nought. Therefore O love, unless she turn to

thee Ere cuckoo end, let her a rebel be.

  • Edmund Spenser

Spring

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s

pleasant king; Then blooms each thing, then maids

dance in a ring, Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds

do sing: Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-

woo!

The palm and may make country

houses gay, Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds

pipe all day, And we hear aye birds tune this

merry lay: Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-

woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies

kiss our feet, Young lovers meet, old wives a-

sunning sit; In every street these tunes our ears

do greet: Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-

woo! Spring, the sweet Spring!

  • Thomas Nashe

7

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