As I was a-walking one morning in May,
I met a pretty fair maid, anon to her did say,
“For love I am inclined, and I'll tell you me mind,
That me inclination lies in your cuckoo's nest.”
“Me darling,” says she, “I am innocent and young,
And I scarcely can believe your false deluding tongue;
Yet to see it in your eyes and it fills me with surprise,
That your inclination lies in me cuckoo's nest.”
Some like a girl who is pretty in the face,
And some like a girl who is slender in the waist;
But give me a girl that will wriggle and will twist.
At the bottom of the belly lies the cuckoo's nest.
“Then me darling,” says he, “if you see it in me eyes,
Then think of it as fondness and do not be surprised,
For I love you, me dear, and I'll marry you I swear
If you let me clap me hand on your cuckoo's nest.”
“Me darling,” says she, “I can do no such thing,
For me mother often told me it was committing sin,
Me maidenhead to lose and me sex to be abused,
So have no more to do with me cuckoo's nest.”
“Me darling,” says he, “it is not committing sin,
but common sense should tell you it is a pleasing thing,
For you were brought into this world to increase and do your best,
And to help a man to heaven in your cuckoo's nest.”
“Then me darling,” says she, “I cannot you deny,
For you've surely won me heart by the roving of your eye.
Yet to see it in your eyes that your courage is surprised,
So gently lift your hand in me cuckoo's nest.”
So this couple they got married and soon they went to bed,
And now this pretty fair maid has lost her maidenhead;
In a small country cottage they increase and do their best,
And he often claps his hand on her cuckoo's nest.
I took this song from the recording Morris On, by Ashley Hutchings, Richard Thompson, John Kirkpatrick, Barry Dransfield and Dave Mattacks. Many other versions have been published and recorded, including a version with similar words, but different melody, in English Country Songs, edited by Roy Palmer.
I sing “The Cuckoo's Nest” in E Minor as the music is notated. My bouzouki, on which I accompany myself, is capoed at the second fret, so I play as if in D Minor.