Many versions of this song exist from Great Britain to the Appalachian Mountains in the U.S.


Here's the version from "A Garland of Country Song" (1895) by Baring-Gould...

The cuckoo is a pretty bird,
She sings as she flies;
She bringeth good tidings,
She telleth no lies;
She sucketh sweet flowers
To keep her voice clear,
And when she sings Cuckoo,
The summer draweth near.

O meeting is a pleasure
And parting is a grief;
An inconstant lover
Is worse than a thief;
A thief can but rob me
Of all that I have,
But an inconstant lover,
Will bring me to the grave.

The grave it will recieve me
And bring me to dust.
An inconstant lover
No maiden can trust;
He'll court you, cajole you
Poor maids to decieve;
There is not one in twenty
A maiden can believe.

Come all you sweet maidens
Wherever you be,
Your hearts - do not hang them
On a sycamore tree.
The leaf it will wither,
The root will decay;
Alack! I'm foresaken
And wasting away.

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