|Sometimes in Fraunce it did so chaunce,
One that did seruice lacke:
A country clowne went vp and downe,
With fardell on his backe.
When that this swad long trauailde had,
Some seruice to require:
His fortune was, as hee did passe,
A farmar did him hire.
When Aprill showres, yt brings May flowers,
Made spring time bud and sprout:
This country swaine, for maisters gaine,
Did ride his fieldes about:
Now as he road, in ground abroad,
In prime of pleasaunt spring:
Hard by their towne, this country clowne,
Did heare two cuckoes sing:
One of them sat fast by a gate,
In their towne fielde, which stoode
In place neereby, hee might discry
The other in a wood.
These Cuckoes seemde, as lobcocke deemde,
With enuie to contend:
Which of them twaine, in playnesong vaine,
The other could amend.
Thus sange they long, their woonted song,
Their townefielde Cuckoes throate
Was nothing cleer, which chaungd the cheere
Of farmers man, God wote.
His horse hee ties, and fast hee hies,
Upon a tree to stand:
And made a noyse, with Cuckoes voyce,
To get the vpper hand.
Hee thought not good, hee of the wood,
Should beare away the prayse:
To make him yeeld, to him of fielde,
Himselfe the Cuckoe playes.
Cuckoe, quoth hee, vpon the tree,
And cuckoe, cuckoe sayde,
With cuckoe, cuckoe, & cuck cuck cuckoe,
Long time these cuckoes playde.
As they thus stand, from woodes at hand
Two wolves for pray that sought,
By chaunce espyed, the horse fast tyed,
That lobcocke thither brought,
To him they hye, and presently,
In peeces did him teare:
Whereat amasde, the lobcocke gazde,
And pist himselfe for feare.
When Wolues were gone, comming downe anone,
Homewardes hee hide with speede:
And there doth tell, all that befell,
Of this vnluckie deede.
His maister swore, being wroth therfore,
He would none other nay,
But that the slaue, and foolish knaue,
The price of horse should pay.
But to proceede, it was agreed,
The wiues that there did dwell,
The case should scan, of this poore man,
If hee did ill or well.
It being seene, hee did it in
Defence of all the towne:
With one intent, they gaue consent,
For to accquite the clowne.
They eke him gaue a garland braue,
Adornd with many a rose:
And great and small, him captaine call
Of Cuckoes, where he goes.
Now in my minde, hee were vnkinde,
That would wish any ill:
Unto a wight, in townships right,
That shewd so great goodwill.