Sumer is icumen in

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Please enjoy this wonderful post from John Bainbridge!

Country Ways

Yesterday was the first walk we’ve done this summer that actually felt like a summer’s day. We walked from Sizergh, up to St John’s Church at Helsington, then back through Brigsteer Wood. Really warm day and a real feel of summer. I’ve blogged about this walk before (see blogs passim) so won’t repeat myself here. Sadly, there was no cuckoo to be heard – we’ve only heard one distant cuckoo this year, which is very concerning.

But I never walk in Summer without thinking of the medieval song that gives this blog its title. Sumer is icumen in is a roundelay, a polyphony, sung by several voices all coming in at different points. I give it here in the original Middle English and an updated take on the old song.

It is at least 800 years old, and one of the first songs for which we have the tune…

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