To The Cuckoo: Poem by William Wordsworth - Summary

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O blithe Newcomer! I have heard,
I hear thee and rejoice.
O Cuckoo ! shall I call thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?
While I am lying on the grass
Thy twofold shout I hear;
From hill to hill it seems to pass
At once far off and near.
Though babbling only to the Vale,
Of sunshine and of flowers,
Thou bringest unto me a tale
Of visionary hours.
Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring!
Even yet thou art to me
No bird, but an invisible thing,
A voice, a mystery;
The same whom in my school-boy days
I listened to; that Cry
Which made me look a thousand ways
In bush, and tree, and sky.
To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green;
And thou wert still a hope, a love;
Still longed for, never seen.
And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again.
O blessed Bird! the earth we pace
Again appears to be
An unsubstantial, faery place;
That is fit home for Thee!


      The Cuckoo visits England in summer. Its ‘twofold shout’ of coo-coo announces that winter is over. Its voice is heard everywhere but the bird itself is seldom seen. It seems to be a voice rather than a visible bird. As a school-boy, Wordsworth had listened to its cry and searched for it everywhere but could never see it. It, seemed to be still a hope, a love still longed for. Now when he hears the cuckoo’s cry, he recalls the feelings of joy he experienced when he was young. The cuckoo babbling of sunshine and of flowers, of meadow, grove and stream, the earth and every common sight, which in his infancy - so Wordsworth tells us in one of his Odes—seemed to him clothed in heavenly light, the glory and the freshness of a vision. Even now the cuckoo is to him no bird but a voice, an invisible, mysterious thing.

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