When Daisies Pied and Violets Blue

Original Text: 
William Shakespeare, Loves Labours Lost (1598); facs. edn. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957). PR 2750 B22 1957 Victoria College Library
1When daisies pied and violets blue
2    And lady-smocks all silver-white
3And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
4    Do paint the meadows with delight,
5The cuckoo then, on every tree,
6Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
7      Cuckoo;
8Cuckoo, cuckoo: O, word of fear,
9Unpleasing to a married ear!
10  When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
11    And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks,
12When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
13    And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
14The cuckoo then, on every tree,
15Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
16      Cuckoo;
17Cuckoo, cuckoo: O, word of fear,
19  When icicles hang by the wall,
20    And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
21And Tom bears logs into the hall,
22    And milk comes frozen home in pail,
23When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul,
24Then nightly sings the staring-owl,
25      Tu-who;
26Tu-whit, tu-who--a merry note,
28  When all aloud the wind doth blow,
29    And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
30And birds sit brooding in the snow,
31    And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
33Then nightly sings the staring owl,
34      Tu-who;
35Tu-whit, tu-who--a merry note,
36While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


18] nail: blow one's nails, so as to keep one's hands warm. Back to Line
27] keel: cool the pot by stirring, straining, etc. Back to Line
32] crabs: crab-apples. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.230; RPO 1996-2000.