A Poor Blogger's Songbook
Monday, August 07, 2006
  Sumer Is Icumen In
English lyrics (secular)

The better-known lyrics for this piece are in Middle English, and comprise a song of spring (reverdie):

Svmer 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 naver nu,
Sing cuccu nu. Sing cuccu.
Sing cuccu. Sing cuccu nu!

Modern English translation

Spring has come in,
Loudly sing, Cuckoo!
Seeds grow and meadows bloom
And the forest springs anew,
Sing, Cuckoo!
The ewe bleats after the lamb,
The Cow lows after the calf.
The bullock jumps, the billy-goat farts*,
Merrily sing, Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing, cuckoo;
Nor cease you ever now,
Sing cuckoo now. Sing, Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo. Sing cuckoo now!

Latin lyrics (sacred)

This work is also one of the earliest examples of music with both religious and secular lyrics, though the secular ones are perhaps better known. It is not clear which came first, but the religious lyrics, in Latin, are a reflection on the sacrifice of the Crucifixion. A vertical bar indicates the end of a musical phrase:

Perspice Christicola† que dignacio |
celicus agricola |
pro uitis vicio |
filio | non parcens
exposuit mortis exicio |
Qui captiuos semiuiuos a supplicio |
vite donat et secum coronat
in celi solio |

†written "χρ̅icola" in the manuscript

English translation

Observe, Christian, such honour!
The heavenly farmer,
due to a defect in the vine,
not sparing the Son,
exposed him to the destruction of death.
To the captives half-dead from torment,
He gives them life and crowns them with himself
on the throne of heaven.

In film

The song was used with chilling effect at the climax of the film The Wicker Man.

nice post
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