Thursday, February 13, 2014

“Who Killed Cock Robin?”

Who Killed Cock Robin?
 Anonymous

This is an anonymous English poem, dating perhaps to the 15th century or earlier. I include it here solely for its ornithological references and interesting language. Read it aloud, noting how one must adjust modern pronunciations (“thrush”) to older forms (“throosh”) to render the rhymes.


“Who killed Cock Robin?”
“I,” said the Sparrow,
“With my bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin.”

“Who saw him die?”
“I,” said the Fly[catcher?],
“With my little eye,
I saw him die.”

“Who caught his blood?”
“I,” said the Fish,
“With my little dish,
I caught his blood.”

“Who'll make the shroud?”
“I,” said the Beetle,
“With my thread and needle,
I'll make the shroud.”

“Who'll dig his grave?”
“I,” said the Owl,
“With my pick and shovel,
I'll dig his grave.”

“Who'll be the parson?”
“I,” said the Rook,
“With my little book,
I'll be the parson.”

“Who'll be the clerk?”
“I,” said the Lark,
“If it's not in the dark,
I'll be the clerk.”

“Who'll carry the link?”     [link=light, torch]
“I,” said the Linnet,
“I'll fetch it in a minute,
I'll carry the link.”

“Who'll be chief mourner?”
“I,” said the Dove,
“I mourn for my love,
I'll be chief mourner.”

“Who'll carry the coffin?”
“I,” said the Kite,
“If it's not through the night,
I'll carry the coffin.”

“Who'll bear the pall?”
“We,” said the Wren,
“Both the cock and the hen,
we'll bear the pall.”

“Who'll sing a psalm?”
“I,” said the Thrush,
as she sat on a bush,
“I'll sing a psalm.”

“Who'll toll the bell?”
“I,” said the bull,
“Because I can pull,
I'll toll the bell.”

All the birds of the air
fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
When they heard the bell toll
for poor Cock Robin.


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