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spread itself over the map in a forest really the Watling Street-there would of houses and streets, it is impossible be so much that it would file volumes, to avoid hitting it somewhere. In for its whole history is nothing less than comes the road from the country as the tale of British traffic down to the straight as a ruler down to the Marble time when the London and BirmingArch, and there stops. To get to the ham Railway-which is now called the City it is necessary to turn sharp to the North-Western-made another straight left, along one of the arms of a cross streak in the same direction across the road. But putting things back a bit, map. Therefore it was better to begin it is quite easy to see what the Edg- with a road down in Suffolk, where ware-road originally made for, and at everything-even conjectural history, the same time that it is older than Lon- is on a modest scale. don town. Take the time when London
JOHN HAWKWOOD. had not spread much beyond its walls, anu when on the east there was a brook running down from Marylebone to Westminster, and on the west the Serpentine was a crinkly stream running
From Leisure Hour. under the Knight's Bridge down to the
CUCKOO : AN ENGLISH IDYLL.
For all his faults, and he stands accurved line of the boundary of the par- cused of some criminal offences, the ish of St. George's, Hanover-square, cuckoo, that ne'er do weel of ornitholand determines the fact whether one is ogy, is a favorite. Irresponsible parent a denizen of Belgravia or not. Sweep- of city arabs that involve hird coming away the houses and parks and iron munities in heavy liabilities for the railings, it is seen that the long, straight maintenance of infant paupers; houseroad pointed not to Charing Cross, breaker who inveigles respectable where we measure our cab-fares from, birds like the wryneck into aicing and but along the high and dry ground to a abetting in his raids on the treasure ferry over the Thames, somewhere of unprotected homes; villain who is above Westminster. Where exactly stranger to all chivalrous sentiment as the ferry was, it is not now possible to well as to the plain virtues of the good say. No one can tell exactly the shift- citizen; one whom in sound ing channel of a tidal river or recon sense we should abhor and despisestruct the original form of the marshes is the bird above all others who has of Lambeth. But there, in the bend of found the way to our hearts. the river, would be a good place for a
It is not too much to say of this gay crossing, and there the road went, and renegade that souls sigh for his comprobably kept well to the south between ing when winter's iron rule wearies the marshes and the wooded hills until the northern worlds; that some, exiled, it found its continuation in the Dover would lay down fame and fortune road. Of course, when London was a once more to hear him call across the town, and piles were driven into the bed May flowers in an English lane; that of the Thames and a bridge laid across hearts beat high at the sound of his them, no one would use a dangerous jubilate, and summer, sweet summer, ferry when an extra mile or so would would be shorn of half her hopes if he take them safely over London Bridge. her herald were struck dumb. So the old trace of the road is lost, as is For Cuculus Canorus of the house of also lost the way in which Lundonbury Cuculidæ is the modern representative passed from the hands of its Romanized of Freya and Iduna, at whose coming British inhabitants into those of the frost and
vanished, whose Teutonic invaders.
smiles strewed the earth with flowers, But if one were to try to scrape the whose tears stored the sea with pearls. history off the Edgware Road-which is And right well does he fill the office.
“Cooey!" "Cooey!" we cry to tlic knows that Cornish stories are more songs and the sunshine and the flow- than half legendary. No, the cuckoo ers of Spring, and if only the answer must come from
ΕΙ Dorado comes back from the oaks and the where flowers may be bad for the elms, or copses of lesser growth and picking of them. Perhaps he gathers greater shelter, “Cuckoo!" “Cuckoo!" them on the fertile shores of the Nile, we know that all is well, for they or in some flowery wilderness of Percome at his beck and call.
sia, but this is merely a suggestion and As he sings the young green blades not strictly speaking cuckoo lore, that come up among the grasses, butter interesting study for much of which cups and daisies bestrew The I am indebted to Mr. Swainson's book meadows, and a dais of most ancient of bird legends. vair is hung anew over the baby birds But the cuckoo is dear not only for that are rocked in the tree tops. Trav- his gift of spring, he answers some of elling birds come home to sing to us, the many questions that harry these and all things fair and beautiful fall inquisitive minds of ours. First he gently as the dew on the old earth and tells all the young people when they veil the scars that time and his secrets are going to be married, and then he have graven on her ancient face and tells the old ones how long they have form.
to live. Many refrain from asking
this latter question, for it is doubtful There is one story about the cuckoo whether it be wise to ask it. Most of -it is well known and so should be us like to feel that our billet here betrue—that I never can believe. It is low is indefinitely long, and were the about its winter whereabouts, and cuckoo to measure the small dimencomes from some corner of still primi sion which we divide into two long tive Sussex. It runs thus. When win- days, called youth and age, by months ter approaches all the cuckoos and years, it might seem so appalgiven into the care of an old woman, lingly short as to paralyze our senses. who keeps them through the cold On the other hand, perhaps his verweather. When April the fourteenth dict would so stir the nobler energies comes round, she carries them in ber of a man, that his short span should apron to Heathfield Fair, and there prove an era in the world's history. lets them fly. Now I hold two strong Lovers, however, never fear to quesarguments against the truth of this tion all the world
Maidens in tale. My first is that the gifts the England say:cuckoo showers broadcast on his first
Cuckoo, cherry tree, appearance are not to be gathered in
Good bird, tell me, any old woman's cottage. Who ever
How many years shall I be saw there any wealth of flowers
Before I get married. greater than one tightly bound posy stuck in a pickle jar? Not that this is In France the jeunes paysannes to be despised, but it is no voucher for sing:the tons of daffodils that nod at the
Coucou des villes, brookside, and the cartloads of prim
Coucou des bois, roses that rejoice the meadows where
Combien ai-je d'années the cuckoo has passed by. My second,
A me marier? is that I myself have heard his voice in a Middlesex coppice on April the German Mädchen consult him sixth, showing a discrepancy in dates thus:of eight days.
This story is nearly as ridiculous as Kukuk, achter de hecken, the Cornish legend, that he flies out of Wo lang schall min Brut nock gaen de
bliken? a burning log in spring, but this it is needless to refute, for every
High-spirited young people in all
lands say if he answers with more
"And how about me?" than ten calls it is because he sits on “I never heard your name," said the & bewitched bough; but the old folk starling. who ask the other question, even the “Then," said the cuckoo, “I must most philosophical, will not admit this sing my own praises, Cuckoo! Cuckoo! at all. They consult him in this wise. Cuckoo!” and he has said nothing else In England:
ever since. When he begins to find it
monotonous, as he does about the beCuckoo, cherry tree,
ginning of June, he changes the tune Come down and tell me,
of his song, that is all. How many years afore I dee? In France:
It is fortunate that the law of Mada
gascar, whereby all the syllables comCoucou Boloton,
posing a king's name are proscribed Regarde sur ton grand livre,
for a year at his demise, and only Combien y a d'années à vivre? used on pain of death in his domain,
does not prevail among the cuckoos, In Switzerland:
our oracle dumb in secula Guggu, ho, ho,
seculorum, for, though it is fact alWie lang leben i no?
most forgotten in these levelling days,
the cuckoo comes of a race of kings, It does not matter much though in though since that rascally hoopoe stole what tongue you speak to a cuckoo, his crown, no outward insignia marks for he is accustomed
to be ad- his station. dressed in almost every la nguage Was ever such dastardly trick under the sun. Certainly he is fa- played on poor mortal bird? It hapmiliar with all the European forms of
pened thus. speech, patios included, but whether
The cuckoo, good-natured, generous you talk purest English or broadest fellow that he is, was
invited to a Scotch, French, German, Italian, Scan- wedding where the hoopoe was to give dinavian, Swabian, Greek, Polish
away the bride; and to lend the alBohemian, he always answers in his ready overdressed bird yet another own tongue. It is not very polite, but fine feather to add to his dignity on so it answers the purpose, and he an
great an occasion, the cuckoo handed your questions, for cuckoo
him his crown. The hoopoe, not being passes as a lingua franca in all civilized then so proud as he has since become, regions.
accepted the proffered loan; but it was It was all through petty rivalry that the ruin of him, for he never could the cuckoo's vocabulary came to be make up his mind to return the bauble, composed so entirely of homonyms. and now his crowned head is covered It took place in a German Städtchen with dishonor. Perhaps this is why and was just such a tempest in a tea- the hoopoe flattens himself out on the pot as gathers in country towns here, ground in such an abject way, and there, and everywhere.
throws his head back till the crown is "Ein Kukuk sprach mit einem buried in feathers, when he
sees а Staar," so runs the tale, and asked hawk hovering; for
say the her what folk thought of the nightin- cuckoo hunts in the guise of a hawk gale.
in winter, and his feelings towards the “The whole town worships her,” she hoopoe would naturally not be of the said.
most charitable description. Even in “And what of the lark?”.
the summer, when the cuckoo appears “Half the town is talking of him.”
in his own character, the smaller birds “The blackbird ?"
scarcely know him from their heredi“Some admire his voice."
tary foe, and when they see bim com1 A boy who robs birds' nests to suck the eggs. ing they hurry away and hide them
selves for fear he should pounce and bough to bough, as the children follow carry them off.
him through the wood pursuing their This strange resemblance is prob- fruitless search. "Cuckoo!" right over ably one of those curious instances of head, cuckoo! close at hand, cuckoo! at mimetic coloring which the exigencies their very feet, but ever and always of some creatures' lives seem to re this clever play-boy is off to another quire and to produce, for in most lands shelter before they can spy him. And the native cuckoo resembles the directly the children get home from smaller of the native hawks, any the woods they throw down their riety peculiar to the country in the treasures, the bluebells and windfeathering of the hawk being repeated flowers killed almost with the clasp of in the color of the cuckoos. Doubtless hot hands, and are off to play the this makes his winter transformation game the cuckoo has taught them. easier too.
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! how It seems a little hard on the cuckoo, sweetly their voices ring through the particularly since he poses as an ora- house, Cuckoo! Cuckoo! from the cupcle, that every awkward lass and boards and all possible nooks and clumsy lad, every loon and natural crannies. Is there anything so joyous and simple, should be his namesake. or so pathetic as the unconscious glee He must have done something very of children at play? foolish in those distracted times when The cuckoo can work, as well William the Conqueror
over; play. He did once build a nest, in a perhaps he forgot to crown his stag hay field in France, but when he came when, with the other nobles of ancient out to tell the hay-makers what he had British and Saxon lineage, he led him done, the wheel of a loaded wagon up to the Norman invader in proud went over his body, and that is why submission; for ever since that time he flies so heavily. Of course, he gave the expressive though ugly words up building nests after that. "gowk," "gawk," "gawky" have been But he has not been idle-indeed, so popular terms of reproach.
occupied is he with bringing home the In the north, where a people more errant spring, and telling fortunes, and plain-spoken than courteous dwells, showing children his good game, that the April Fool bears this missive: folk who have never been to France
think that is why he is not "seated," The first and second day of April
though so distinguished an individual. Hound the gawk another mil.
Others think it is because he is such
a wanderer that the cuckoo is houseAnd his elegant en revanche is this:
less, but some other absentees are the The gawk and the titlene sit on a tree,
owners of the finest homes in all our Ye're a gawk as well as me.
trees and meadows. The cuckoo is the
first of the travellers to go, so let all This use of his name is comprehensi- who are wise in their generation take ble, for the cuckoo was once a "beck- advantage of his presence while he is erknecht,” and bakers' boys have been at hand, especially when first you hear mischievous and given to practical him call remember, for it is a tide in jokes always, even since the day when your affairs. So sit you down upon a that one who stole the dough which green bank, and, taking off your right God had blessed for
was stocking, invoke him thus by saying:turned into a cuckoo.
May this to me
Now lucky be. There is no doubt about who it is that teaches children to play hide and It is quite simple. And if you would seek.
know any important matter such as “Cuckoo! cuckoo!" cries the little the color of your future spouse's hair brown bird noiselessly flittering from or when to sow your corn (though if
you have put this off till the cuckoo Teuton loved music, and it became his comes you will have but a poor har- constant companion. So that when the vest), make haste with your questions, Anglo-Saxons, a Teutonic tribe, mifor you cannot keep the cuckoo; he is grated to England, they brought with on the wing and only paying a flying them this passionate love of song. visit to his native land, when he rides Under the fostering care of religion and in on a kite's back in April.
patriotism music enjoyed quite as much You cannot keep him, though you popularity in Saxon England as on the bind him with links of gold and a Continent. Witness the testimonial in string of pearls. Some have tried, see its praise from the pen of the Venerable ing how flowers begin to fade and Bede:leaves to wither at his going, but they
Among all the sciences music is most have only succeeded in making them
commendable, courtly, pleasing, mirthful selves a by-word. Fulke Greville and lovely. It makes a man cheerful, wrote in the sixteenth century: liberal, courteous, glad, amiable; it “Fools only hedge the cuckoo in." rouses him in battle, excites him to bear
You cannot keep him, go he must, fatigue, comforts him in travail, reback to his favorite haunts in Africa, freshes him when disturbed, takes away Persia, and all the far-away lands of weariness of the head and sorrow, and the sun. It is quite true what they drives away depraved humors and de
sponding spirits. say who know all about him:
Anglo-Saxon music came from two In June, he changes his tune;
sources-the clergy and the laity; the In July, away he doth fly.
former brought in a rough system of When the shines through a notation, and chanted their hymns with shower of rain—the thing of all others some uniformity; the latter practised that makes some birds sing their best only in ear and in memory, simply -the we'ans in Scotland say:
handed down the treasures of tradition.
And a like difference is to be noted in The fairies are baking,
their musical instruments, for the The rain waters the bannocks.
former used a species of organ, while And little Germans sing:
the latter employed simpler instru
ments—such as the harp, lyre, crowth, The Devil is beating his grandmother; pipe, tabor, and cymbals. Yet the laity His laugh and her tears are falling.
often insisted on bringing these instruBut the child angels in England foldments to divine service, especially the their little hands and whisper:
crowth, and thus accompanying the organ. Much quarrelling
the A cuckoo is going to heaven.
natural result, and often a “musical F. A. FULCHER.
case” was appealed to Rome. Finally, a decision came ex câthedra that the choir should be divided into two parts, aid that these parts should sing alternately; moreover, that those who could
not sing in tune, or who brought into From The Westminster Review. church an instrument to accompany the ANGLO-SAXON MUSIC.
organ, should keep silent, or, if not, Love for music has always been a re should be immediately turned out of markable characteristic of Teutonic doors. nations. As Roman historians testify, The clergy were very active in securit cheered the Teuton in battle, it con- ing the best musical instructors for soled him in defeat, it gladdened his their choirs. French and Italians came heart in victory. At the shrine or the over, and were heartily welcomed by mead-hall it was ever present, exciting the Saxons; they received as much care the ardor of priest and of patriot. The and attention as a travelling English