lands say if he answers with

“And how about me?” than ten calls it is because he sits on "I never heard your name," said the a 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, Come down and tell me,

ginning of June, he changes the tune How many years afore I dee?

of his song, that is all. In France:

It is fortunate that the law of MadaCoucou

gascar, whereby all the syllables comBoloton,

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:

else were our oracle dumb in secula Guggu, ho, ho,

seculorum, for, though it is į 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 language

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 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 swers 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

could the cuckoo's vocabulary came to

be make up his mind to return the baubre, 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 Staar,” so runs the tale, and asked

hawk hovering; for


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







Cuckoo: An English Idyll.

59 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 va- 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 as William the Conqueror came 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


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 And his elegant en revanche is this:

a wanderer that the cuckoo is house

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 anu given to practical him call remember, for 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 the poor 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 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 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

drives away depraved humors and dethe sun. It is quite true what they

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 ily.

former brought in a rough system of When the sun 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 est 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 fold ments 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 cathedra 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-ball 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


man of our time does among Americans. the other hand, was the instrument of Germany, too, sent her quota of music the nobility; all noble children were teachers although the German seems taught to play on the harp. Thus the not to have been so popular as the king of Westnesse commands the harp French or Italians. There is a strange for the education of his son: "Teach story related of a German named Putta, him of the harp and of song; teach him "a simple-minded man in worldly and to tug o' the harp with his nails sharp." caurch matters, but especially well Most famous knights of King Arthur skilled in song and music.” This Ger- were taught "harping.” And we know man was finally made bishop; but evi- that Alfred the Great put his knowldently his calling was that of a glee- edge of the harp to other than musical man; for shortly after consecration his purposes. It is also worth noting that church in Mercia burned down, and he St. Aldhelm and St. Dunstan were remade no effort to rebuild it, but wan- nowned as harpers. In fact, a gentledered about the country in the charac- man of Anglo-Saxon days was supposed ter of a strolling minstrel.

to be able to play the harp as a matter In the eighth century the Gregorian of course, just as an American or an system superseded all others in vogue English girl is supposed to play the among Anglo-Saxons. It was intro- piano. duced by the Archbishop of Canter- A few specimens of very early Anglobury. As Dean Hook justly observes:– Saxon music remain; as, for example,

the music to the "Praise of Virginity" Gregory, following the example of Saint and to other poems by St. Aldhelm; but Ambrose, introduced into the Western

we cannot interpret their peculiar notaChurch the system of chanting which had prevailed in Antioch so early as the year leading. F was represented by a red

tion—it is decidedly imperfect and mis107, improving what he had imported but venerating a style of music which had

line and C by a yellow line, and singing probably been inherited from the Jews. marks or numes were written between Gregory increased the number of the these lines, but the time is quite inecclesiastical tones, which somewhat re- definite. As to harmony, considerable semble our modern keys, from four to progress must have been made, since eight. And the Gregorian chants, now the nation used the harp and organ, and harmonized according to the improve- this implied some knowledge of conments of modern science, remain to the

cordant sounds. present hour the basis of church music in England.

It is claimed that Anglo-Saxon secular

music was plaintive. Doubtless this Strange to relate, Greece had a mo- was the case, for melancholy played a nopoly of organ-making in those days; considerable part in their moods. The for, according to Muratori, the first philosophy of Schopenhauer has a natorgan to be introduced into western ural basis in the Teutonic nature; and Europe was one sent to Pepin from among other rich deposits they possess Greece in 756. But there were already a strong vein of pessimism. It must in sacred use among Anglo-Saxons the have found expression in Saxon music, horn, trumpet, flute, harp and lyre. as it assuredly found expression in

For the laity the crowth, harp and Saxon poetry. pipe were favorite musical instruments. Yet the word "gleeman" seems to The tabor was used at Anglo-Saxon en- change that conclusion somewhat, for tertainments, but it was not so popular this name, given to their bards, signias these three. Drums were occasion- fies “joy-man,” or one who sung of joys. ally used to heighten the effect, but Doubtless the gleeman's "musical they, also, do not seem to have been in wood” rang through the scale of both high favor, While the pipe was a joy and sorrow. favorite instrument among the lower The gleeman was in earliest times not classes, such as bear-dancers and ex- only the master-musician, he was the hibitors of dancing-dogs, the harp, on philosopher, historian, prophet and poet of his age; he could hold civil dignities jingles used by children were shown such as the government of a province or to bave deep political and moral meanof an important city. But when Chris- ings; others, like the counting-out tianity was introduced the gleemen games, were exposed as the remains were hated by the clergy, and looked of dark and deadly incantations. upon as rebels. Their duty, later on, “The Cow that Jumped Over the was to sing the praise of their patron, Moon” is, we believe, asserted to be a to attend him and play whenever re- piece of gnosticism. “Ten Little Nigquired by the courtiers or by himself; ger Boys” is a charm probably against so that after a time the gleeman who the rheumatics. "Hickery Dickery stood next to the king in dignity became Dock,” though it sounds like nonsense, in the end an obsequious dependant, is composed in gipsy language,-a Roflatterer and parasite. Those who did many lyric. But these were mere afnot like the court, wandered about; fairs of outposts. Mr. Buckman, in these wandering bards were little better the May number of the Nineteenth Centhan mendicants playing from house tury, has had the hardihood to march to house for a night's lodging.

up to the very edge of the cradle and Often the Saxon gleeman sung the to allege that when our child's first acfamous genealogy of his patron, the cents break they are not delicious nonfamily traditions and connections. sense, sweet babblings of the tiny huAlcer dinner, when there was “song man brook, but a highly organized sysand music together and the wood of joy tem of infantile Volapuk. Mr. Buckwas touched,” he sang these topics to man in all seriousness parades before the assembled feasters. The following the reader's astonished eyes the essennames applied to the Saxon gleeman tial words of the baby's vocabulary. will indicate how many rôles he could “Ma,” he tells us, is an urgent cry of play: poet, harper, pantominist, tum- attention. So we have ourselves gathbler, saucy jester, ribald player, juggler ered. "Ma,” indeed, is so universal a and mimic. Here is variety enough and word that even the lambs use it. “The to spare. But in all these rôles he was, lamb, greatly excited to make itself first of all, a musician.

heard, says 'ma,' while the mother WILLIAM HENRY SHERAN. (sheep), not moved by such strong feel

ings, answers ‘ba.'” What the human mother answers when "not moved by such strong feelings” as her infant, we

are not told by Mr. Buckman. We beFrom The Spectator. lieve, however, that when her feelings THE SPEECH OF CHILDREN.

match those of ner offspring she is not The men of science have begun to unknown to reach to the height of attack the cradle. For some time the such a phrase as “Drat the child, what nursery and the play-room have been does it want now?” But to continue, subject to their attentions, and now "Da, dadda" is the next item in the the very citadel of babyhood is to be universal language of babes. It is destormed. First came the folklorists, scribed as “a cry of recognition now and laid their sacrilegious hands upon applied to the father." True, but un“Puss-in-Boots" and the “Sleeping fortunately the recognition is often Beauty,” showing that these stories very imperfect, and it is not unusual contained we know not what marvel- for a total stranger in an omnibus or lous indications as to the origin of railway carriage to be addressed over mankind and the universality of par. and

and over again as “Da, ticular beliefs. The next positions as- dadda,”—the imperfect and embarrasssaulted by science were the nursery- ing recognition being enforced by the rhymes and the games such as "Here placing of a much-sucked index finger we go round the Mulberry Bush” and or a sodden crust on the knee of the “Oranges and Lemons.” Some of the stranger, “Ta, tatta,” we are told, is:


« ElőzőTovább »