"hedge in the cuckoo"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Sep 8 15:32:29 UTC 2013

The phrase "hedge in the cuckoo" appears figuratively in two
quotations in the OED:

Under "cuckoo, n." sense 1.a.:
1652   W. Blith Eng. Improver Improved ii. 14   He..may as well make
a hedge to keep in the Cuckow.

And under "cordon, n.", sense 3.c. fig.:
1792   E. Burke Corr. (1844) IV. 21   They propose that all Europe
shall form a cordon to hedge in the cuckoo.

"Garrisons were here and there planted in the wild woods on a
pretence, To keep the Indians from Fishing; which project of Hedging
in the Cuckow's, our dull New-Englanders could not understand."

I have no idea whether the expression should be called out as a
separate item, nor under what main heading ("hedge" or "cuckoo").

1689 June 6.
The Puritan Leaders Justify Their Actions.
In The Glorious Revolution in America: Documents on the Colonial
Crisis of 1689.
Ed. Michael G Hall, Lawrence H. Leder, and Michael G. Kamman.
Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1964.
P. 49, col. 1.

Cited to [W. H.] Whitmore, ed., Andros Tracts [Prince Society,
Publications], II, 191--202.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list