Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo” words to the wise and the songs of the cuckoo, the nightingale, the lapwing , and the owl. The words are from Thomas Nashe’s poem, Spring, the sweet spring, published around 1600.

Can you decipher the hidden meaning?

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!

Have you found the hidden warning?

The cuckoo is a bird famous for laying its eggs in another’s nest. Hence the perjorative term to be cuckolded when a man’s wife sleeps with another. The wife is wooed with the song of the Nightingale, the most celebrated songbird, while the Lapwing issues its warning cry, and the wise owl makes the deed known.


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