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Cuckoo Song


UMER is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweth sed, and bloweth med,
And springth the wude nu-
Sing cuccu!

Awe bleteth after lomb,

Lhouth after calve cu;
Bulluc sterteth, bucke verteth,
Murie sing cucu!

Cuccu, cuccu, well singes thu, cuccu:
Ne swike thu naver nu;

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

awe] ewe. lhouth] loweth.

C. 1250

sterteth] leaps.



BYTUENE Mershe ant Averil

When spray biginneth to spring,
The lutel foul hath hire wyl

On hyre lud to synge:
Ich libbe in love-longinge
For semlokest of alle thynge,
He may me blisse bringe,

Icham in hire bandoun.
An hendy hap ichabbe y-hent,
Ichot from hevene it is me sent,
From alle wymmen my love is lent
Ant lyht on Alisoun.

On heu hire her is fayr ynoh,

Hire browe broune, hire eye blake;
With lossom chere he on me loh;

With middel smal ant wel y-make;
Bote he me wolle to hire take
For to buen hire owen make,
Long to lyven ichulle forsake
Ant feye fallen adoun.
An hendy hap, etc.

Nihtes when I wende and wake,
For-thi myn wonges waxeth won;

on hyre lud] in her language. ich libbe] I live. seemliest. he] she. bandoun] thraldom. ichot] I wot. lossom] lovesome. make] mate.

semlokest] hendy] gracious. lyht] alighted.

loh] laughed.

nihtes] wonges

C. 1300

y-hent] seized, enjoyed. hire her] her hair.

bote he] unless she.

feye] like to die.

at night. wende] turn. for-thi] on that account. waxeth won] cheeks grow wan.


Levedi, al for thine sake
Longinge is y-lent me on.

In world his non so wyter mon
That al hire bountè telle con;
Hire swyre is whittore than the swon,
Ant feyrest may in toune.
An hendy hap, etc.

Icham for wowyng al for-wake,
Wery so water in wore;
Lest any reve me my make
Ichabbe y-yerned yore.
Betere is tholien whyle sore
Then mournen evermore.
Geynest under gore,
Herkne to my roun-
An hendy hap, etc.


ys come with love to toune,

With blosmen ant with briddes roune,
That al this blisse bryngeth;
Dayes-eyes in this dales,
Notes suete of nyhtegales,
Vch foul song singeth;

2. levedi] lady. wise a man.

c. 1300

y-lent me on] arrived to me. swyre] neck. may] maid.

so wyter mon] so for-wake] worn out

with vigils. so water in wore] as water in a weir. reve] rob. y-yerned yore] long been distressed. tholien] to endure. geynest der gore] comeliest under woman's apparel. roun] tale, lay. 3. to toune] in its turn.

The threstlecoc him threteth oo,
Away is huere wynter wo,

When woderove springeth;
This foules singeth ferly fele,
Ant wlyteth on huere winter wele,
That al the wode ryngeth
The rose rayleth hire rode,
The leves on the lyhte wode

Waxen al with wille;
The mone mandeth hire bleo,
The lilie is lossom to seo,

The fenyl ant the fille;
Wowes this wilde drakes,
Miles murgeth huere makes;

Ase strem that striketh stille,
Mody meneth; so doth mo
(Ichot ycham on of tho)

For loue that likes ille.
The mone mandeth hire lyht,
So doth the semly sonne bryht,

When briddes singeth breme;
Deawes donketh the dounes,
Deores with huere derne rounes
Domes forte deme;

him threteth oo] is aye chiding them. huere] their. woderove] woodruff. ferly fele] marvellous many. wlyteth] whistle, or look. rayleth hire rode] clothes herself in red. mandeth hire bleo] sends forth her light. lossom to seo] lovesome to see. fille] thyme. wowes] woo. miles] males. murgeth] make merry. makes] mates. striketh] flows, trickles. mody meneth] the moody man makes moan. so doth mo] so do many. on of tho] one of them. breme] lustily. deawes] dews. donketh] make deores] dears, lovers. huere derne rounes] their secret domes forte deme] for to give (decide) their decisions.




Wormes woweth under cloude,
Wymmen waxeth wounder proude,
So wel hit wol hem seme,
Yef me shal wonte wille of on,
This wunne weole y wole forgon
Ant wyht in wode be fleme.

Blow, Northern Wind
[CHOT a burde in boure bryht,
That fully semly is on syht,
Menskful maiden of myht;

Feir ant fre to fonde;
In al this wurhliche won
A burde of blod ant of bon,
Never yete y nuste non

Lussomore in londe.

Blou northerne wynd!
Send thou me my suetyng!
Blou northerne wynd! blou, blou, blou!

With lokkes lefliche ant longe,
With frount ant face feir to fonge,

With murthes monie mote heo monge,
That brid so breme in boure.

C. 1300

3. cloude] clod. wunne weole] wealth of joy. y wole forgon] I will forgo. wyht] wight. fleme] banished. 4. Ichot] I know. burde] maiden. fonde] take, prove.

feir] fair. multitude.

menskful] worshipful. wurhliche] noble. won] lussomore in londe] lovelier lefliche] lovely. fonge]

on earth.

y nuste] I knew not. suetyng] sweetheart.

take between hands. murthes] mirths, joys. mote heo monge] may she mingle.

brid] bird.

breme] full of life.

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