Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
And springþ þe wde nu,
~ Oldest written English song, about 1260
The air conditioner is broken again.
~ David Davis, April 25, 2022
Sumer has not cume in yet, although the thermometer sometimes suggests it has. Today, though, it’s raining, 62 degrees, still spring.
The air conditioner will be fixed well before sumer cumes in.
“This 800-year-old song comes from a miscellany that was probably written in Oxford around 1260 and it’s the first recorded use of six-part polyphony.
“The beautifully preserved manuscript contains poems, fables and medical texts – and is the only written record of ‘Sumer is icumen in’. The song is a ‘rota’ or round, a canon for several voices (in this case six). It describes the coming spring, a singing cuckoo and various excited farm animals. Click the image below for a closer look at the full manuscript in all its glory.” (Listen to one of the oldest songs ever written, ‘Sumer is icumen in’)
Summer has come in,
Loudly sing, cuckoo!
The seed grows and the meadow blooms
And the wood springs anew,
The ewe bleats after the lamb
The cow lows after the calf.
The bullock stirs, the goat farts,
Merrily sing, Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing, cuckoo;
Don’t ever you stop now,
Ground (sung by two lowest voices)
Sing cuckoo now. Sing, Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo. Sing cuckoo now!
Image by Wynn Pointaux from Pixabay
One thought on “Sumer is icumen in, almost”
Many years ago, my Anglo-Saxon Poetry And Grammar professor taught our class that song. It always makes me smile!
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