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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

The Merry Cuckoo, Messenger of Spring

Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)

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 garland crownèd.

With noise whereof the quire of birds resounded

Their anthems sweet devisèd 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:

But she his precept idly disobeys,

And doth his idle message set at nought.

Therefore, O Love, unless she turn to thee

Ere Cuckoo end, let her a rebel be!