The Cuckoo sings in the poplar tree (George Alexander Macfarren)

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  • (Posted 2023-11-13)  CPDL #77237:     
Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2023-11-13).   Score information: Letter, 8 pages, 383 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: The Cuckoo sings in the poplar tree
Composer: George Alexander Macfarren
Lyricist: Edward Fitzball
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1872 Novello, Ewer, and Co.
Description: From the opera She Stoops to Conquer (1864)

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

The cuckoo sings in the poplar tree,
But his carol is not gay;
For he knows that spring, like himself’s on the wing,
By the ricking of the hay.
Little we heed his pensive note,
High on the poplar spray;
While in the new-mown meadows sweet,
In sunshine we make hay.
Ha! Ha! poor cuckoo! cuckoo!

Old women, tell us, in mournful tone,
That our merry days will pass;
And that death will soon come and mow us down,
Like flowers in the grass.
But if so swift the moments fly,
Let us drive care away;
Better it is to laugh than cry,
In sunshine, then, make hay.
Ha! ha! poor cuckoo! cuckoo!