This famous piece is a very rare example of an English secular song of the High Middle Ages. It occurs in a monastic manuscript of c. 1240, along with alternative religious lyrics to the same tune.
For pronunciation, the vowels have the following sounds: a as in father, e as in break, i as in pin, o as in go, u as in cuckoo; on as in tour; unstressed e is a schwa as in the second vowel of moisten; lh is pronounced as l; wde is a spelling for wude. The piece is a round for up to four parts, each entering as the previous voice sings “Lhude.” There are also two simple bass lines. The lyrics run “Summer has come in, loudly sing cuckoo! The seed grows, the meadow blooms, and the wood springs to life now. Sing cuckoo! The ewe bleats after the lamb and the cow after the calf. The bullock leaps, the buck bellows, merry sing cuckoo! Cuckoo, cuckoo, sing well cuckoo, nor cease never now.”
This lively piece was popular in northern France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It survived in several manuscripts, with some var-