Monday Morning Poem: Sumer Is Icoumen In

Middle English Version

Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
And springþ þe wde nu,
Sing cuccu!
Awe bleteþ after lomb,
Lhouþ after calue cu.
Bulluc sterteþ, bucke uerteþ,
Murie sing cuccu!
Cuccu, cuccu, wel singes þu cuccu;
Ne swik þu nauer nu.

Sing cuccu nu. Sing cuccu.

Sing cuccu. Sing cuccu nu!


Modern English Version

Summer is coming in,

loudly sings the cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo….

The seed grows; the meadow blossoms,

and the woods alivens anew.

The ewe bleats after the lamb;

the cow lows after the calf;

The bull leaps; the goat capers;

merrily sing cuckoo!

Well sing you, cuckoo–don’t ever stop now.

Sing cuckoo, now….

“Sumer Is Icumen In” is a traditional English round, and possibly the oldest such example of counterpoint in existence. The title might be translated as “Summer has come in” or “Summer has arrived”. The round is sometimes known as the Reading rota because the manuscript comes from Reading Abbey though it may not have been written there. It is the oldest piece of six-part polyphonic music . Its composer is anonymous, possibly W. de Wycombe, and it is estimated to date from around 1260. The manuscript is now at the British Library. The language is Middle English, more exactly Wessex dialect. [excerpt from Wikipedia]


5 thoughts on “Monday Morning Poem: Sumer Is Icoumen In

  1. pamwalter2 says:

    Just remembered a book I wanted to recommend: The Well and the Mine. A first effort by author Gin Phillips. I think you’d enjoy it.

    • katknit says:

      Thanks for the compliment and the book recommendation, Pam! And for visiting so often and leaving comments.

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