Greetings, Poetry Lovers!
Back again, after dipping in and out this summer, and after my couple-of-months hiatus in May and June around the birth of our first (amazing – wonderful – thriving) grandchild, Sawyer.
For Poetry Friday inspiration at the start of a new school year, I picked up one of my books that I likely bought thinking I'd cannibalize for artsyletters projects, but that upon inspection went straight to my personal collection of treasured old books. It's a gilded-edged 1906 copy of The Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1900, edited by A. T. Quiller-Couch.
Are you a fan of Medieval literature? I enjoyed a class on the subject way back in college, with one of my favorite professors. It's a long, fascinating time period. (Of course, with a birth name of 'Robyn Hood,' I was pretty much assured of some medieval curiosity!) Such a mix of breathtaking poetry, legends, chivalry, illuminated manuscripts – and, fleas, persecution, pestilence, lice, and the like… nice to visit from a historical distance.
Anyway, our Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch opened his Oxford collection with the following 13th century verses. While the piece heralds the arrival of summer, I'm taking some August liberties and sharing it now. (Still feels very much like summer here!)
Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweth sed, and bloweth med,
And springth the wude nu –
Awe bleteth after lomb,
Llouth after calve cu ;
Bulluc serteth, bucke verteth,
Murie sing cucu!
Cuccu, cuccu, well singes thu, cuccu ;
Nu swike thu naver nu ;
Sing cuccu, nu, sing cuccu,
Sing cuccu, sing cuccu, nu !
lhude=loud, awe=ewe, lhouth=loweth, sterteth=leaps, swike=cease
These old verses can be difficult to parse, I know. Sometimes just saying them out loud phonetically will open the doors of meaning.
"Cuckoo Song" is actually meant to be sung in a round. In Tabatha fashion, let me share this link for you to enjoy it on a whole 'nuther level (scroll down)! (And – I was happy to stumble upon this site, Luminarium. Oh, I could meander along its hedgerows for days… maybe I'll see you there?) ;0)
Speaking of Olde British Thinges, if you have an Ancestry account and haven't checked in lately, the DNA data just keeps getting more interesting! (I am ALL British/Scottish/Welsh/Irish with some Dutch and un peu francais.) I ended up checking in with the old family tree online again and marvelling that one of the first branches I ever followed back went (possibly) all the way to 12th Century Scotland. Fun to think about the verses and songs floating in the misty air back then. I've not had that luck with any other lines, though several do go back centuries.
Anyway, looks like some of our posts this week have Scottish connections; can't wait to dive in! I've just barely had a chance to shout out to Jone since her return from Scotland and Ireland, but we plan to do some catching up soon.
Happy New School Year, Happy Old English Celebration of Songbirds!
Our marvelous Margaret has this week's Roundup over at Reflections on the Teche. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Margaret!:0)