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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleCuckoo
Roud No.413
Collected FromBarnett, Alice Mrs.
LocationQuenington
CountyGloucestershire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 127
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 20th May, 1916, p 3, Part 31, No. 5
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

The cuckoo is a merry bird,
He sings as he flies,
He brings us glad tidings,
And tells us no lies.

Verse 2

A-walking and a-talking,
And a-walking went I,
To meet my sweet William,
He'll come by and by.

Verse 3

To meet him it's a pleasure,
But to part it's a grief,
For an unconstant lover,
Is worse than a thief.

Verse 4

For a thief he will rob you,
Take all that you have,
But an unconstant lover,
Will bring you to the grave.

Verse 5

The grave it will rot you,
And bring you to dust,
But an unconstant lover,
No damsel can trust.

Verse 6

They will laugh under their hat, love,
As they see you pass by,
They'll bow with their body,
And wink with one eye.

Verse 7

They will kiss you and court you,
Poor girls to deceive,
There's not one in twenty,
A maid can believe.

Verse 8

They will kiss you and court you,
And swear to be true,
And the very next moment,
They'll bid you adieu.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms: 'I have been waiting to hear a song about the cuckoo for a very long while. I am certain it was sung about the upper Thames. When I heard the opening of this piece I felt sure I had at least met with it, but I was disappointed. Nevertheless, the song is very quaint, and pretty and I am pleased with the words. Obtained of Mrs Alice Barnett, Quenington, late of Ablington.'

Williams, Alfred: WGS: 'I have been waiting to hear a song about the cuckoo for a long while. I am certain it was sung about the upper Thames. When I heard the opening of this piece I felt sure I had at least met with it, but I was disappointed. Nevertheless, the song is very quaint, and pretty and I am pleased with the words. Obtained of Mrs Alice Barnett, Quenington, late of Ablington.'

Note 2

There is a note in another hand saying: 'Copy of M/S found in Packet 23.'

In Verse 2 Line 4 the original text read:

I'll see him by and by

Verse 6 has been added later by Williams.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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