Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sumer Is Icumen in

Summer Canon

Page 30 : "Sarah, Plain and Tall" 
 ESLR 40 - ARC - Natomas Center


"Sumer Is Icumen In" is a traditional English medieval 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 (Albright, 1994). 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.

Middle English

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

Summer has arrived,

Loudly sing, Cuckoo!

The seed grows and the meadow


And the wood springs anew,

Sing, Cuckoo!

The ewe bleats after the lamb

The cow lows after the calf
The bullock stirs, the stag farts,

Merrily sing, Cuckoo!

Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing,


Don't ever you stop now,

Sing cuckoo now. Sing, Cuckoo.

Sing Cuckoo. Sing cuckoo now!

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