[A couple of years back I penned a similar post as shown below. And now, I’m emboldened to share with all of you an updated version, which hearkens back to a time when it was OK to imagine a more comforting era spent with friends and neighbors welcoming the arrival of summer in our midst – at least, in the Northern Hemisphere!}
“Sumer Is Icumen In” is a traditional English round, or a musical composition in which two or more voices sing exactly the same melody but nevertheless fit harmoniously together. It is possibly the oldest such example in existence of counterpoint, which is the relationship between two or more voices. The title might be translated as “Summer has come in” or “Summer has arrived.”
The round is sometimes known as the Reading Round because the manuscript comes from Reading Abbey, which was founded by Henry the First in 1121 “for the salvation of my soul, and the souls of King William, my father, and of King William, my brother, and Queen Maud, my wife, and all my ancestors and successors.” The round may not have been written there, but it is the oldest piece of six-part polyphonic music, that is, music with two or more independent melodic voices. Its composer is anonymous, and it is estimated to date circa 1260. The manuscript – written in Middle English, extant between the late 11th and the late 15th century – is now at the British Library in London.
Summer has arrived,
Loudly sing, Cuckoo!
The seed grows and the meadow blooms
And the wood springs anew,
The ewe bleats after the lamb
The cow lows after the calf.
The bullock stirs, the stag farts,
Merrily sing, Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing, cuckoo;
Don’t you ever stop now,
Sing Cuckoo now.
Sing cuckoo now!
A lively rendition of the ancient round can be heard on YouTube: Sumer is icumen in
In 2017, the summer begins with the solstice on June 20 at 12:38 P.M. EDT.
This summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the whole year.
The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop (or seemingly stand in the sky) at this time.
The crescent Moon joins Venus and Jupiter on the 19th and 20th, respectively, creating truly eye-catching conjunctions at dusk.
This is a rare chance to see a triple conjunction of the three brightest objects in the night sky!
After sunset near dusk, look towards the western horizon. (You’ll need to find an unobstructed view.) First you’ll see bright white Venus. Nearby is a fainter yellowish Jupiter and the thin crescent Moon.
Main Sources: British Library, London and Wikipedia.
You number over 75,000 in nearly two-and-a-half years ago back in early 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.
My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.
Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas