a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

SPECK ‘N U (29): The Cuckoo Song

Posted on the May 4th, 2013

Speck 'N U 20130504b

* Speck is paraphrasing the first two lines of an anonymous thirteenth century poem, “The Cuckoo Song.” The poem is written in Middle English, so the spellings are odd and the meanings are obscure at times, compared to present day English. (Middle English dictionary here.)

This version of “The Cuckoo Song” is from the textbook “Poems, Poets, Poetry” by Helen Vendler (Harvard University).

 

The Cuckoo Song

Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude* sing, cuccu!    (loud)
Groweth sed and bloweth med*    (meadow)
And springth the wude nu.
Sing, cuccu!

Awe* bleteth after lomb,      (ewe)
Lhouth* after calve cu,*    (loweth/cow)
Bulluc sterteth,* bucke verteth*     (leaps/breaks wind)
Murie sing, cuccu!
Cuccu, cuccu.
Wel singes thu, cuccu.
Ne swik* thu never nu!      (stop)

Anonymous

Reader Comments (1) - Post a Comment
  1. Jennifer said, on May 4th, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    What a wonderful song! I love the idea of ringing in the spring with a Middle English poem.

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