Sumer is icumen in (Anonymous)

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  • CPDL #26506:   
Editor: Christopher Upton (submitted 2012-06-14).   Score information: A4, 1 page, 94 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC SA
Edition notes: This edition is intended to reproduce as closely as possible the layout of the original manuscript, using modern notation and type, with translations of the rubrics added (italicised), and replacing the letter Þ with th in the Middle English text.
  • CPDL #17453:  Icon_pdf_globe.gif Icon_snd_globe.gif Icon_mp3_globe.gifIcon_ly_ext.png Network.png
Editor: Monique Rio (submitted 2008-07-03).   Score information: Letter, 1 page, 85.2 kB   Copyright: Creative Commons BY 4.0
Edition notes: Updated 2016-08-17
  • CPDL #15742:   
Editor: Philip Legge (submitted 2008-01-01).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 63 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: with a realisation, and alternate lyrics © David Greagg.
  • CPDL #11317:  Network.png
Editor: N. Nakamura (submitted 2006-03-24).   Score information: A4, 1 page, 56 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Postscript file also available. Copyright © 2004 by N. Nakamura.
  • CPDL #09307:       
Editor: Brian Russell (submitted 2005-08-30).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 32 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: NoteWorthy Composer file may be viewed and printed with NoteWorthy Composer Viewer.
  • CPDL #02715:      (Encore)
Editor: John Henry Fowler (submitted 2001-05-19).   Score information: Letter, 6 pages, 37 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Canon realized for 4 mixed voices, BB.SATB.

General Information

Title: Sumer is icumen in
Composer: Anonymous

Number of voices: 6vv   Voicing: 6 equal voices
Genres: Secular & SacredCanon

Languages: Middle English, Latin
Instruments: A cappella

Published: c. 1250 C.E.

Description: This rota or round was originally sung with the secular Middle English text. It is widely held that the Latin text was added later in order to preserve it in the library of Reading Abbey (since profane works would not be held in the Abbey).

External websites:

Original text and translations

Middle_English.png Middle English text

Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing Cuccu!
GroweÞ sed, and bloweÞ med,
and springÞ wde nu.
Sing Cuccu!

Awe bleteÞ after lomb,
lhouÞ after calve cu.
Bulluc sterteÞ,
bucke verteÞ,
murie sing Cuccu!
Cuccu, cuccu,
wel singes Þu Cuccu
ne swik Þu naver nu.

Pes:
Sing cuccu nu. Sing cuccu.
Sing cuccu. Sing cuccu nu!

*Note: Þ in Middle English sounds like "th".

Latin.png Latin text

Perspice Christicola,
que digacio;
celicus agricola
pro vitis vicio,
filio,
non parcens exposuit
mortis exicio.
Qui captivos
Semivivos
a supplicio
Vite donat
et secum coronat
in celi solio.

English.png English translation

Summer is come,
sing loud, cuckoo!
The seed grows and the meadow blooms,
and now the wood turns green.
Sing, cuckoo!

Ewe bleats after lamb,
cow lows after calf,
bullock leaps,
buck farts,
sing merrily, cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo!
You sing well, cuckoo.
Don't ever stop now.

Pes:
Sing cuckoo now. Sing, Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo. Sing cuckoo now!

English.png English translation

Observe, worshipper of Christ,
what gracious condescension!
The heavenly husband,
because of the vine's imperfection,
not sparing his son,
exposed him
to death's destruction.
The prisoners,
who are half-dead
on account of the death sentence,
he restores to life,
and crowns them at his side
on heaven's throne.
Translation by Ernest H. Sanders

German.png German translation

Der Sommer kommt: Kuckuck, singe laut!
Es wächst die Saat, die Wiese grünt
und das Gehölz schlägt aus,
singe, Kuckuck!
Die Aue [das Mutterschaf] blökt nach dem Lamm,
die Kuh muht nach dem Kalb.
Der Ochse rührt sich, der Bock furzt,
singe froh, Kuckuck!
Kuckuck, Kuckuck, wie schön singst du, Kuckuck.
Nun schweige niemals mehr.

Pes:
Sing, Kuckuck!
Singe nun, Kuckuck!