The History and Future of the Book

Middle English Lyrics: 13th century

Sumer is icumen in


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


Spring has come in
loudly, cuckoo
seed, blooms, meadow
forest, now

Awe* bleteth after lomb,
Lhouth* after calve cu*,
Bulluc sterteth*, bucke* ferteth*.
Murie* sing, cuccu!
Cuccu, cuccu,
Wel singes thu*, cuccu.
Ne* swik* thu naver* nu!


lows, cow
jumps, billy goat, farts

well you sing
nor, cease, never

Sing cuccu nu, sing cuccu!
Sing cuccu, sing cuccu nu!



"Sumer is icumen in" from MS Harley 978, is one of the best known Middle English lyrics. It is one of several songs that appear at the beginning of a monks' commonplace book compiled at Reading Abbey. The poem is usually dated around 1240. This is sung as a round (click to hear the mp4 file [1.1 MB ]).

MS Harley 978