Introduction

The poet is enthralled by the Cuckoo’s voice. He recounts some of his early memories of roving around the woods as a schoolboy.

About the Poet

Wordsworth, William (1770-1850), English poet, one of the most accomplished and influential of England’s poets, whose style created a new tradition in poetry. Although Wordsworth had begun to write poetry while still a schoolboy, none of his poems was published until 1793. He is popularly known as the poet of nature. He wrote poems portraying nature as something divine and spiritual.

Theme

Each individual has that one fond memory that always makes them nostalgic. The poet’s one such memory is the cuckoo’s singing. Through the poem, he explores the themes of nature, and nostalgia and admires the cuckoo.

Stanza I & II

O Blithe New-comer! 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.

The poet rejoices in the arrival of the cuckoo, calling it a carefree and merry bird. He finds the cuckoo to be a wandering voice, as it sings where ever it goes and fills every corner with its melodious voice. While the poet laid down on the grass, he heard the cuckoo’s call. The melody travelled over the hills and seemed to be everywhere at once.

Stanza III & IV

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;

Although the cuckoo seems to be singing to the valley of sunshine and flowers, it brings the poet colourful tales and makes him envision the scenic elements of nature and also his days as a schoolboy. He addresses the cuckoo as the darling of the spring and calls it mysterious. He finds the bird a mystery because he only hears its melody and fails to sight the singer.

Stanza V & VI

The same whom in my schoolboy 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.

The cuckoo’s song takes him back to his boyhood when he would hear the melody and attempt to search for the source, the cuckoo. He searched for it in the bush, trees and sky, to catch one glimpse of the bird. To seek a peek he would wander through the forests but the cuckoo always remained unseen.

Stanza VI & VIII

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 poet is so enamoured with the song and the memories that he is always eager to lie down and be whisked away to his good old days.  The poet summons the bird as a blessing on earth and invites it to make an appearance in this unsubstantial world.