by Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936)

Tell it to the locked‑up trees
Language: English 
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,
Tell him squat and square-a!
Old Woman! 
Old Woman! 
Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair-a!

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
Down the orchard bare-a!
Old Woman! 
Old Woman! 
Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair-a!

When your heart is young and gay
And the season rules it --
Work your works and play your play
Before the Autumn cools it!
Kiss you turn and turn about,
But, my lad, beware-a! 
Old Woman! 
Old Woman! 
Old Woman's let the Cuckoo out
At Heffle Cuckoo Fair-a!

About the headline (FAQ)

The poem is published with the following note at the top: "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."
Confirmed with The Works of Rudyard Kipling, Wordsworth Editions, Ware, Hertfordshire: 1994, page 519.


Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)


Researcher for this text: Mike Pearson

This text was added to the website: 2013-07-26
Line count: 30
Word count: 140