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SONGS WITH MUSIC—THIRTEENTH CENTURY. 25
Awe bleteth after lomb Ewe bleateth after lamb,
Lhouth after calve cu ; Loweth after calf [the] cow.
Bulluc sterteth, bucke verteth Bullock startetli,* buck vertethb Murie sing Cuccu, Merry sing, Cuckoo ;
Cuccu, Cuccu. Cuckoo, Cuckoo !
"Wei singes thu Cuccu Well sing'st thou Cuckoo
Ne swifc thu naver nu. Nor cease thou never now.
In the original, the " Foot," or Burden, is sung, as an under part by two voices, to the words, " Sing Cuccu, nu, sing Cuccu," making a rude base to it.
Two other songs of the thirteenth century on the approach of Summer are printed in Reliquiae Antiquae (8vo. Lond. 1841), but without music. The first is taken from MSS. Egerton, No. 613, Brit. Mus., and begins thus :—
" Somer is comen, and winter is gon, this day beginniz to longe [lengthen], And this foules everichon [birds every one] joy [t]hem wit[h] songe."
The other from MSS. Digby, No. 86, Oxford, of the Thrush and the Nightingale:
" Somer is comen with love to toune With blostme [blossom], and with brides roune [birds' songs] The note [nut] of hasel springeth," &c.
In the Douce Collection (Bod. Lib., Ox., MS. No. 139), there is an English song with music, beginning—
" Foweles in the frith, the fisses in the flod."
and the MS., which contains it, is of the thirteenth century, but it is only in two parts; and in Harl. MSS. No. 1717, is a French or Anglo-Norman song, " Parti de Mai," which seems to have been cut from an older manuscript to form the cover of a Chronicle of the Dukes of Normandy, written by order of Henry II. It is only for one voice, and a sort of hymn, but a tolerable melody. Both these may be seen in Stafford Smith's Musica Antiqua, Vol. 1-.
Another very early English song, with music, is contained in a manuscript, " Liber de Antiquis Legibus," now in the Record Room, Town Clerk's Office, Guildhall. It contains a Chronicle of Mayors and Sheriffs of London, and of the events that occurred in their times, from the year 1188 to the month of August, 1274, at which time the manuscript seems to have been completed. It is the Song of a Prisoner. The first four lines are more Saxon than modern English:—
Original Words. Words Modernized.
Ar ne kuthe ich sorghe non Ere [this] knew I sorrow none
Nu ich mot manen min mon Now I must utter my moan
Karful wel sore ich syche Full of care well sore I sigh
Geltles ihc sholye muchele schame Guiltless I suffer much shame
Help, God, for thin swete name Help,- God, for thy sweet name, Kyng of Hevene riche. King of Heaven-Kingdom.
b Frequents the green fern.