Tuesday 21 June 2022

Sumer is icumen in

Fans of medieval English music might be familiar with this 13th Century song which celebrates the arrival of Summer. This was a time when nearly everyone was a smallholder of one sort or another. I have found the lyrics in Middle English and a modern translation which are reproduced below.

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!


  1. Wasn't familiar with it but I enjoyed trying to interpret the old text before listening to the song. Lovely music!

    1. I first came across this in a poetry anthology. You Tube has different renditions but I like the jaunty style of this one.