When icicles hang by the wall, And Dick the shepherd blows his nail, And Tom bears logs into the hall, And milk comes frozen home in pail, When blood is nipp’d and ways be foul, Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-whit; Tu-who, a merry note, While greasy Joan doth keel the pot. When all aloud the wind doth blow, And coughing drowns the parson’s saw, And birds sit brooding in the snow, And Marion’s nose looks red and raw, When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl, Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-whit; Tu-who, a merry note, While greasy Joan doth keel the pot. William Shakespeare - Love's Labours Lost
William Shakespeare – Love’s Labours Lost (LLL V.ii.901)
The poem is near the end of the play, by way of a conclusion, two works are composed for the King of Navarro in praise of the Cuckoo and the Owl, one read by a representation of the Spring and the other by ‘Hiems’ the representation of winter.
Here it is set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams