Manuscript: London, British Library, Harley 978

Index number: # 144

Files: cuckoot.dic    cuckoot.tag

Date: C13a2–b1 (1260–1280, refs. in Platzer (1995: 123).

Text: Musical tracts containing:
(1) fol. 11v Svmer is icumen in . Lhude sing cuccu.
On fol. 24v, in a different hand is (2) a vocabulary of the names of plants.

Grid reference: 472 172

Localisation: Reading, Berks

Evidence and comments: Literary anchor text, although the text is so short that it provides very little linguistic information. The manuscript is said to be a monk’s commonplace book written at Reading Abbey. See Buck (1929: vol. 1, 179) and Ker Med Lib, p. 156.

Corpus sample: Tagged sample is of fol. 11v, Svmer is icumen in, only. This represents all the text in English in this hand.

Number of tagged words: 55 (number of tagged forms 65)

Number of place names: 0

Number of personal names: 0

Total number of words: 55 (other elements 0)

Script: Textura.

Other information: The song is written over seven manuscript lines, each line consisting of music, English text, Latin text, adjusted to fit. The fifth, sixth and seventh lines — the last two being the refrain — are short and the scribe has written muscial instructions in Latin at the right hand side of these lines. In the tagged text all the Latin has been transcribed below the English verse.

Status: Manuscript punctuation done; tagging notes and textual notes up to date.

Bibliography: (1) Wells XIII.6; Wells Suppl 1, p. 985 and Wells Suppl 9, p. 1845. IMEV 3223. CB13 6. OBMEV 10. D&W XXIV. BSD VIII A and p. 318. Edited: Ellis (1869: 426–428).
See Platzer (1995) for arguments in favour of reading uerteþ as a loan from Latin vertere with the meaning ‘move to and fro’. I find this sense weak and the arguments in favour of vertere and against a form of OE fertan ‘fart’ unconvincing and non-sequential. The argument that <u/v> is rare at this date for earlier initial f- in Reading (or the sister cell Leominster) is not right. Proportions of <v/u> and <f> tell us less about whether voicing was more or less present in the spoken language than they do about scribal attitude (parsimony vs. profligacy) to system. The use of <v/u> rather then historic <f> is rarely necessary for disambiguation and so not all scribes employed <v/u> even in areas where voicing is known to have occurred. If they did use <v/u> it did not need to be consistently. In the only other English in item (2) — not considered by Platzer — there are six examples of word or syllable initial <u/v> for earlier f- beside 26 <f>. The use of <u/v> was clearly possible in English at the time and place of copying of item (1).
(2) Printed: Wright-Wülcker, 554–59. See Wells X.23; Wells Suppl 2, p. 1127 (X.16a) and MED Plan & Bibl, 46a. Facsimile in Pal Soc, Parts i–viii, plate 125.

Cross references:








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