Formerly common along the Eastern counties, it had disappeared as a breeding bird by the start of the twentieth century.
Gerald Manley Hopkins attempted to turn the Woodcock’s song into verse:
Teevo cheevo cheevio chee:
O where, what can tháat be?
Weedio-weedio: there again!
So tiny a trickle of sóng-strain;
And all round not to be found
For brier, bough, furrow, or gréen ground
Before or behind or far or at hand
Either left either right
Anywhere in the súnlight.
Well, after all! Ah but hark—
‘I am the little wóodlark.
I am a big fan of Hopkins, but this does not strike me as one of his more successful efforts. Robert Burns made a more successful job of his Address To the Woodlark:
O stay, sweet warbling woodlark, stay,
Nor quit for me the trembling spray,
A hapless lover courts thy lay,
Thy soothing, fond complaining.
Again, again that tender part,
That I may catch thy melting art;
For surely that wad touch her heart
Wha kills me wi’ disdaining.
Say, was thy little mate unkind,
And heard thee as the careless wind?
Oh, nocht but love and sorrow join’d,
Sic notes o’ woe could wauken!
Thou tells o’ never-ending care;
O’speechless grief, and dark despair:
For pity’s sake, sweet bird, nae mair!
Or my poor heart is broken.
However, spoilsport Wikipedia suggests that Burns may have been writing about the wrong bird:
The Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote of the bird’s “melting art” in his poem “To the Woodlark”. As there are currently no woodlarks in Scotland, and Burns never travelled south of Carlisle, many have speculated that Burns never came in contact with the bird and was in fact writing about the tree pipit, which was commonly referred to as the woodlark in Scotland. The woodlark’s song is also thought to be melodious while Burns’ poem has an “underlying sense of grief” which may be attributed to the languishing notes at the end of the tree pipit’s song. However, the woodlark has been spotted in Scotland on occasion and it is possible that Burns was writing about this bird. This is backed up by the entry of a minister from Clinic, Perthshire in the Old Statistical Account, which reads “The notes of the wood-lark are heard, delightful along the banks of the Lunan in spring and autumn; its nocturnal song has a dying cadence peculiarly melodious and has often been mistaken for the song of the Philomel [nightingale].”