Lighting The Baal Fires…

Tune into “The Beltaine Celebration” playing now on Radio Free EarthRites!

Today’s Offerings….

The Links

What’s Coming Up on Earthrites: THE INVISIBLE COLLEGE

The Articles: Maio &

The Poetry: Poetry and Songs of Beltaine…

The Artist: Norman Lindsay

On Norman Lindsay:

Norman Alfred William Lindsay (February 22, 1879 – November 21, 1969) was a prolific artist, sculptor, writer, editorial cartoonist and scale modeler. He is widely regarded as one of Australia’s greatest artists. His sumptuous nudes were highly controversial, and in 1939, several were burned by irate wowsers in the United States who discovered them when the train in which they traveled caught fire. A large body of his work is housed in his former home at Faulconbridge, New South Wales, now the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum, and many works reside in private and corporate collections. His art continues to climb in value today. In 2002, a record price was attained by his oil painting, Spring’s Innocence, which sold to the National Gallery of Victoria for $AU333,900.

Lindsay was associated with a number of poets, such as Kenneth Slessor and Hugh McCrae, influencing them in part through a philosophical system outlined in his book Creative Effort. He also illustrated the cover for the seminal Henry Lawson book, While the Billy Boils. Lindsay’s son, Jack Lindsay, emigrated to England, where he set up Fanfrolico Press, which issued works illustrated by Lindsay.

Lindsay wrote the children’s classic The Magic Pudding and created a scandal when his novel Redheap was banned due to censorship laws. Many of his novels have a frankness and vitality that matches his art.

(Lindsay Self Portrait)

Lindsay also worked as an editorial cartoonist, notably for The Bulletin. Despite his enthusiasm for erotica, he shared the racist and right-wing political leanings that dominated The Bulletin at that time; the “Red Menace” and “Yellow Peril” were popular themes in his cartoons. These views occasionally spilled over into his other work, and modern editions of The Magic Pudding often omit one couplet in which “you unmitigated Jew” is used as an insult.

Lindsay influenced more than a few artists, notably the illustrators Roy Krenkel and Frank Frazetta.

Sam Neill played a fictionalized version of Lindsay in John Duigan’s Sirens (1994), set and filmed primarily at Lindsay’s Faulconbridge home. James Mason and Helen Mirren starred in Age of Consent (1969), Michael Powell’s adaptation of Lindsay’s 1935 novel


The Links:

Thanks to Steve F. for this… Wombat.

Balls of Steel – Free Umbrellas!

Water Monster…

Delivering the Message…


What’s coming soon to Earthrites: THE INVISIBLE COLLEGE PDF Magazine

It is with great pleasure that we can announce something new under the Sun: The Invisible College, a PDF Magazine we have long dreamed about producing, will soon be ready for publishing.

The current proposed publishing dates will be on or about the Cross Quarter Days: (give or take a week or so)

Beltane (May 1)

Lughnasadh(August 1)

Samhain (November 1)

Imbolc (February 1)

First edition will include articles, artwork, poetry from many of todays’ most forward thinkers and artists.

So keep tuned and watch for its appearance!


Article: MAIO

Maio, or Calendi Maggio, a May-Day festival still surviving in rustic Italy, especially in Tuscany and the Roman provinces, as a relic of the old Roman custom of celebrating the kalends of May. Songs called maggiolate are composed, or at ]east sung, by the peasantry on this occasion, trees are festooned with ribbons and garlands and windows decorated with branches, the adornments being known as the Maio. In the heyday of Florentine glory these festivals were celabrated in the city, and dignified by songs, dances, and feastings, which lasted several days; as, for instance, the grand banquet of the 1st of May given in the Portinari palace, where Dante fell in love with Beatrice. Evidence of the former prevalence of these festivals exists in the numerous maggiolate composed by different authors, and among others by the magnificent Lorenzo dei Medici, whose poems are not at all worse than those of a common citizen. One of his songs commences thus:

Ben venga Maggio

El gonfalon salvaggio:

and in another he thus alludes to these festivities:

Se tu v appicare un maggio

A qualcuna che tu ami.

One of the latest celebrations of this festival in Florence was in 1612, when a Maio was planted and sung before the Pitti palace in honor of the Archduchess of Austria.

In Rome it was customary for children on the 1st of May to place upon a chair before the house door a puppet of the Madonna crowned with a garland. Every passenger was then applied to for a donation in the following verse, which was sung by the little beggars:

Belli, belli giovanotti,

Che mangiate pasticiotti

E bevete del buon vino,

Un quattrin’ sull’ altarino.

This custom suggests a curious parallel in the past. On the kalends of May the foundation festival of the altars of the lares praestites was celebrated in all the houses of ancient Rome. The lararium, bearing the small household gods, was decked on this occasion with fresh garlands of flowers and foliage, and modern antiquarians believe that the custom of the Roman children is a relic of the ancient festival.

Curiosities of Popular Customs

And of Rites, Ceremonies, Observances, and Miscellaneous Antiquities

by William S. Walsh.

J.B. Lippincott Company. Philadelphia.

Copyrights 1897 and 1925.



From Twice-Told Tales, 1836, 1837

By Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804-1864

The May-Pole of Merry Mount

BRIGHT WERE the days at Merry Mount, when the Maypole was the banner

staff of that gay colony! They who reared it, should their banner be

triumphant, were to pour sunshine over New England’s rugged hills, and

scatter flower seeds throughout the soil. Jollity and gloom were

contending for an empire. Midsummer eve had come, bringing deep verdure

to the forest, and roses in her lap, of a more vivid hue than the tender

buds of Spring. But May, or her mirthful spirit, dwelt all the year

round at Merry Mount, sporting with the Summer months, and revelling

with Autumn, and basking in the glow of Winter’s fireside. Through a

world of toil and care she flitted with a dreamlike smile, and came

hither to find a home among the lightsome hearts of Merry Mount.

Never had the Maypole been so gayly decked as at sunset on midsummer

eve. This venerated emblem was a pine-tree, which had preserved the

slender grace of youth, while it equalled the loftiest height of the old

wood monarchs. From its top streamed a silken banner, colored like the

rainbow. Down nearly to the ground the pole was dressed with birchen

boughs, and others of the liveliest green, and some with silvery leaves,

fastened by ribbons that fluttered in fantastic knots of twenty

different colors, but no sad ones. Garden flowers, and blossoms of the

wilderness, laughed gladly forth amid the verdure, so fresh and dewy

that they must have grown by magic on that happy pine-tree. Where this

green and flowery splendor terminated, the shaft of the Maypole was

stained with the seven brilliant hues of the banner at its top. On the

lowest green bough hung an abundant wreath of roses, some that had been

gathered in the sunniest spots of the forest, and others, of still

richer blush, which the colonists had reared from English seed. O,

people of the Golden Age, the chief of your husbandry was to raise


But what was the wild throng that stood hand in hand about the Maypole?

It could not be that the fauns and nymphs, when driven from their

classic groves and homes of ancient fable, had sought refuge, as all the

persecuted did, in the fresh woods of the West. These were Gothic

monsters, though perhaps of Grecian ancestry. On the shoulders of a

comely youth uprose the head and branching antlers of a stag; a second,

human in all other points, had the grim visage of a wolf; a third, still

with the trunk and limbs of a mortal man, showed the beard and horns of

a venerable he-goat. There was the likeness of a bear erect, brute in

all but his hind legs, which were adorned with pink silk stockings. And

here again, almost as wondrous, stood a real bear of the dark forest,

lending each of his fore paws to the grasp of a human hand, and as ready

for the dance as any in that circle. His inferior nature rose half way,

to meet his companions as they stooped. Other faces wore the similitude

of man or woman, but distorted or extravagant, with red noses pendulous

before their mouths, which seemed of awful depth, and stretched from ear

to ear in an eternal fit of laughter. Here might be seen the Salvage

Man, well known in heraldry, hairy as a baboon, and girdled with green

leaves. By his side, a noble figure, but still a counterfeit, appeared

an Indian hunter, with feathery crest and wampum belt. Many of this

strange company wore foolscaps, and had little bells appended to their

garments, tinkling with a silvery sound, responsive to the inaudible

music of their gleesome spirits. Some youths and maidens were of soberer

garb, yet well maintained their places in the irregular throng by the

expression of wild revelry upon their features. Such were the colonists

of Merry Mount, as they stood in the broad smile of sunset round their

venerated Maypole.

Had a wanderer, bewildered in the melancholy forest, heard their mirth,

and stolen a half-affrighted glance, he might have fancied them the crew

of Comus, some already transformed to brutes, some midway between man

and beast, and the others rioting in the flow of tipsy jollity that

foreran the change. But a band of Puritans, who watched the scene,

invisible themselves, compared the masques to those devils and ruined

souls with whom their superstition peopled the black wilderness.

Within the ring of monsters appeared the two airiest forms that had ever

trodden on any more solid footing than a purple and golden cloud. One

was a youth in glistening apparel, with a scarf of the rainbow pattern

crosswise on his breast. His right hand held a gilded staff, the ensign

of high dignity among the revellers, and his left grasped the slender

fingers of a fair maiden, not less gayly decorated than himself. Bright

roses glowed in contrast with the dark and glossy curls of each, and

were scattered round their feet, or had sprung up spontaneously there.

Behind this lightsome couple, so close to the Maypole that its boughs

shaded his jovial face, stood the figure of an English priest,

canonically dressed, yet decked with flowers, in heathen fashion, and

wearing a chaplet of the native vine leaves. By the riot of his rolling

eye, and the pagan decorations of his holy garb, he seemed the wildest

monster there, and the very Comus of the crew.

“Votaries of the Maypole,” cried the flower-decked priest, “merrily, all

day long, have the woods echoed to your mirth. But be this your merriest

hour, my hearts! Lo, here stand the Lord and Lady of the May, whom I, a

clerk of Oxford, and high priest of Merry Mount, am presently to join in

holy matrimony. Up with your nimble spirits, ye morris-dancers, green

men, and glee maidens, bears and wolves, and horned gentlemen! Come; a

chorus now, rich with the old mirth of Merry England, and the wilder

glee of this fresh forest; and then a dance, to show the youthful pair

what life is made of, and how airily they should go through it! All ye

that love the Maypole, lend your voices to the nuptial song of the Lord

and Lady of the May!”

This wedlock was more serious than most affairs of Merry Mount, where

jest and delusion, trick and fantasy, kept up a continual carnival. The

Lord and Lady of the May, though their titles must be laid down at

sunset, were really and truly to be partners for the dance of life,

beginning the measure that same bright eve. The wreath of roses, that

hung from the lowest green bough of the Maypole, had been twined for

them, and would be thrown over both their heads, in symbol of their

flowery union. When the priest had spoken, therefore, a riotous uproar

burst from the rout of monstrous figures.

“Begin you the stave, reverend Sir,” cried they all; “and never did the

woods ring to such a merry peal as we of the Maypole shall send up!”

Immediately a prelude of pipe, cithern, and viol, touched with practised

minstrelsy, began to play from a neighboring thicket, in such a mirthful

cadence that the boughs of the Maypole quivered to the sound. But the

May Lord, he of the gilded staff, chancing to look into his Lady’s eyes,

was wonder struck at the almost pensive glance that met his own.

“Edith, sweet Lady of the May,” whispered he reproachfully, “is yon

wreath of roses a garland to hang above our graves, that you look so

sad? O, Edith, this is our golden time! Tarnish it not by any pensive

shadow of the mind; for it may be that nothing of futurity will be

brighter than the mere remembrance of what is now passing.”

“That was the very thought that saddened me! How came it in your mind

too?” said Edith, in a still lower tone than he, for it was high treason

to be sad at Merry Mount. “Therefore do I sigh amid this festive music.

And besides, dear Edgar, I struggle as with a dream, and fancy that

these shapes of our jovial friends are visionary, and their mirth

unreal, and that we are no true Lord and Lady of the May. What is the

mystery in my heart?”

Just then, as if a spell had loosened them, down came a little shower of

withering rose leaves from the Maypole. Alas, for the young lovers! No

sooner had their hearts glowed with real passion than they were sensible

of something vague and unsubstantial in their former pleasures, and felt

a dreary presentiment of inevitable change. From the moment that they

truly loved, they had subjected themselves to earth’s doom of care and

sorrow, and troubled joy, and had no more a home at Merry Mount. That

was Edith’s mystery. Now leave we the priest to marry them, and the

masquers to sport round the Maypole, till the last sunbeam be withdrawn

from its summit, and the shadows of the forest mingle gloomily in the

dance. Meanwhile, we may discover who these gay people were.

Two hundred years ago, and more, the old world and its inhabitants

became mutually weary of each other. Men voyaged by thousands to the

West: some to barter glass beads, and such like jewels, for the furs of

the Indian hunter; some to conquer virgin empires; and one stern band to

pray. But none of these motives had much weight with the colonists of

Merry Mount. Their leaders were men who had sported so long with life,

that when Thought and Wisdom came, even these unwelcome guests were led

astray by the crowd of vanities which they should have put to flight.

Erring Thought and perverted Wisdom were made to put on masques, and

play the fool. The men of whom we speak, after losing the heart’s fresh

gayety, imagined a wild philosophy of pleasure, and came hither to act

out their latest day-dream. They gathered followers from all that giddy

tribe whose whole life is like the festal days of soberer men. In their

train were minstrels, not unknown in London streets: wandering players,

whose theatres had been the halls of noblemen; mummers, rope-dancers,

and mountebanks, who would long be missed at wakes, church ales, and

fairs; in a word, mirth makers of every sort, such as abounded in that

age, but now began to be discountenanced by the rapid growth of

Puritanism. Light had their footsteps been on land, and as lightly they

came across the sea. Many had been maddened by their previous troubles

into a gay despair; others were as madly gay in the flush of youth, like

the May Lord and his Lady; but whatever might be the quality of their

mirth, old and young were gay at Merry Mount. The young deemed

themselves happy. The elder spirits, if they knew that mirth was but the

counterfeit of happiness, yet followed the false shadow wilfully,

because at least her garments glittered brightest. Sworn triflers of a

lifetime, they would not venture among the sober truths of life not even

to be truly blest.

All the hereditary pastimes of Old England were transplanted hither. The

King of Christmas was duly crowned, and the Lord of Misrule bore potent

sway. On the Eve of St. John, they felled whole acres of the forest to

make bonfires, and danced by the blaze all night, crowned with garlands,

and throwing flowers into the flame. At harvest time, though their crop

was of the smallest, they made an image with the sheaves of Indian corn,

and wreathed it with autumnal garlands, and bore it home triumphantly.

But what chiefly characterized the colonists of Merry Mount was their

veneration for the Maypole. It has made their true history a poet’s

tale. Spring decked the hallowed emblem with young blossoms and fresh

green boughs; Summer brought roses of the deepest blush, and the

perfected foliage of the forest; Autumn enriched it with that red and

yellow gorgeousness which converts each wildwood leaf into a painted

flower; and Winter silvered it with sleet, and hung it round with

icicles, till it flashed in the cold sunshine, itself a frozen sunbeam.

Thus each alternate season did homage to the Maypole, and paid it a

tribute of its own richest splendor. Its votaries danced round it, once,

at least, in every month; sometimes they called it their religion, or

their altar; but always, it was the banner staff of Merry Mount.

Unfortunately, there were men in the new world of a sterner faith than

these Maypole worshippers. Not far from Merry Mount was a settlement of

Puritans, most dismal wretches, who said their prayers before daylight,

and then wrought in the forest or the corn-field till evening made it

prayer time again. Their weapons were always at hand to shoot down the

straggling savage. When they met in conclave, it was never to keep up

the old English mirth, but to hear sermons three hours long, or to

proclaim bounties on the heads of wolves and the scalps of Indians.

Their festivals were fast days, and their chief pastime the singing of

psalms. Wo to the youth or maiden who did but dream of a dance! The

selectman nodded to the constable; and there sat the light-heeled

reprobate in the stocks; or if he danced, it was round the

whipping-post, which might be termed the Puritan Maypole.

A party of these grim Puritans, toiling through the difficult woods,

each with a horseload of iron armor to burden his footsteps, would

sometimes draw near the sunny precincts of Merry Mount. There were the

silken colonists, sporting round their Maypole; perhaps teaching a bear

to dance, or striving to communicate their mirth to the grave Indian; or

masquerading in the skins of deer and wolves, which they had hunted for

that especial purpose. Often, the whole colony were playing at

blindman’s buff, magistrates and all, with their eyes bandaged, except a

single scapegoat, whom the blinded sinners pursued by the tinkling of

the bells at his garments. Once, it is said, they were seen following a

flower-decked corpse, with merriment and festive music, to his grave.

But did the dead man laugh? In their quietest times, they sang ballads

and told tales, for the edification of their pious visitors; or

perplexed them with juggling tricks; or grinned at them through horse

collars; and when sport itself grew wearisome, they made game of their

own stupidity, and began a yawning match. At the very least of these

enormities, the men of iron shook their heads and frowned so darkly that

the revellers looked up, imagining that a momentary cloud had overcast

the sunshine, which was to be perpetual there. On the other hand, the

Puritans affirmed that, when a psalm was pealing from their place of

worship, the echo which the forest sent them back seemed often like the

chorus of a jolly catch, closing with a roar of laughter. Who but the

fiend, and his bond slaves, the crew of Merry Mount, had thus disturbed

them? In due time, a feud arose, stern and bitter on one side, and as

serious on the other as anything could be among such light spirits as

had sworn allegiance to the Maypole. The future complexion of New

England was involved in this important quarrel. Should the grizzly

saints establish their jurisdiction over the gay sinners, then would

their spirits darken all the clime, and make it a land of clouded

visages, of hard toil, of sermon and psalm forever. But should the

banner staff of Merry Mount be fortunate, sunshine would break upon the

hills, and flowers would beautify the forest, and late posterity do

homage to the Maypole.

After these authentic passages from history, we return to the nuptials

of the Lord and Lady of the May. Alas! we have delayed too long, and

must darken our tale too suddenly. As we glance again at the Maypole, a

solitary sunbeam is fading from the summit, and leaves only a faint,

golden tinge blended with the hues of the rainbow banner. Even that dim

light is now withdrawn, relinquishing the whole domain of Merry Mount to

the evening gloom, which has rushed so instantaneously from the black

surrounding woods. But some of these black shadows have rushed forth in

human shape.

Yes, with the setting sun, the last day of mirth had passed from Merry

Mount. The ring of gay masquers was disordered and broken; the stag

lowered his antlers in dismay; the wolf grew weaker than a lamb; the

bells of the morris-dancers tinkled with tremulous affright. The

Puritans had played a characteristic part in the Maypole mummeries.

Their darksome figures were intermixed with the wild shapes of their

foes, and made the scene a picture of the moment, when waking thoughts

start up amid the scattered fantasies of a dream. The leader of the

hostile party stood in the centre of the circle, while the rout of

monsters cowered around him, like evil spirits in the presence of a

dread magician. No fantastic foolery could look him in the face. So

stern was the energy of his aspect, that the whole man, visage, frame,

and soul, seemed wrought of iron, gifted with life and thought, yet all

of one substance with his headpiece and breastplate. It was the Puritan

of Puritans; it was Endicott himself!

“Stand off, priest of Baal!” said he, with a grim frown, and laying no

reverent hand upon the surplice. “I know thee, Blackstone! Thou art the

man who couldst not abide the rule even of thine own corrupted church,

and hast come hither to preach iniquity, and to give example of it in

thy life. But now shall it be seen that the Lord hath sanctified this

wilderness for his peculiar people. Wo unto them that would defile it!

And first, for this flower-decked abomination, the altar of thy


And with his keen sword Endicott assaulted the hallowed Maypole. Nor

long did it resist his arm. It groaned with a dismal sound; it showered

leaves and rosebuds upon the remorseless enthusiast; and finally, with

all its green boughs and ribbons and flowers, symbolic of departed

pleasures, down fell the banner staff of Merry Mount. As it sank,

tradition says, the evening sky grew darker, and the woods threw forth a

more sombre shadow.

“There,” cried Endicott, looking triumphantly on his work, “there lies

the only Maypole in New England! The thought is strong within me that,

by its fall, is shadowed forth the fate of light and idle mirth makers,

amongst us and our posterity. Amen, saith John Endicott.”

*Did Governor Endicott speak less positively, we should suspect a

mistake here. The Rev. Mr. Blackstone, though an eccentric, is not known

to have been an immoral man. We rather doubt his identity with the

priest of Merry Mount.

“Amen!” echoed his followers.

But the votaries of the Maypole gave one groan for their idol. At the

sound, the Puritan leader glanced at the crew of Comus, each a figure of

broad mirth, yet, at this moment, strangely expressive of sorrow and


“Valiant captain,” quoth Peter Palfrey, the Ancient of the band, “what

order shall be taken with the prisoners?”

“I thought not to repent me of cutting down a Maypole,” replied

Endicott, “yet now I could find in my heart to plant it again, and give

each of these bestial pagans one other dance round their idol. It would

have served rarely for a whipping-post!”

“But there are pine-trees enow,” suggested the lieutenant.

“True, good Ancient,” said the leader. “Wherefore, bind the heathen

crew, and bestow on them a small matter of stripes apiece, as earnest of

our future justice. Set some of the rogues in the stocks to rest

themselves, so soon as Providence shall bring us to one of our own

well-ordered settlements, where such accommodations may be found.

Further penalties, such as branding and cropping of ears, shall be

thought of hereafter.”

“How many stripes for the priest?” inquired Ancient Palfrey.

“None as yet,” answered Endicott, bending his iron frown upon the

culprit. “It must be for the Great and General Court to determine,

whether stripes and long imprisonment, and other grievous penalty, may

atone for his transgressions. Let him look to himself! For such as

violate our civil order, it may be permitted us to show mercy. But wo to

the wretch that troubleth our religion!”

“And this dancing bear,” resumed the officer. “Must he share the stripes

of his fellows?”

“Shoot him through the head!” said the energetic Puritan. “I suspect

witchcraft in the beast.”

“Here be a couple of shining ones,” continued Peter Palfrey, pointing

his weapon at the Lord and Lady of the May. “They seem to be of high

station among these misdoers. Methinks their dignity will not be fitted

with less than a double share of stripes.”

Endicott rested on his sword, and closely surveyed the dress and aspect

of the hapless pair. There they stood, pale, downcast, and apprehensive.

Yet there was an air of mutual support, and of pure affection, seeking

aid and giving it, that showed them to be man and wife, with the

sanction of a priest upon their love. The youth, in the peril of the

moment, had dropped his gilded staff, and thrown his arm about the Lady

of the May, who leaned against his breast, too lightly to burden him,

but with weight enough to express that their destinies were linked

together, for good or evil. They looked first at each other, and then

into the grim captain’s face. There they stood, in the first hour of

wedlock, while the idle pleasures, of which their companions were the

emblems, had given place to the sternest cares of life, personified by

the dark Puritans. But never had their youthful beauty seemed so pure

and high as when its glow was chastened by adversity.

“Youth,” said Endicott, “ye stand in an evil case, thou and thy maiden

wife. Make ready presently, for I am minded that ye shall both have a

token to remember your wedding day!”

“Stern man,” cried the May Lord, “how can I move thee? Were the means at

hand, I would resist to the death. Being powerless, I entreat! Do with

me as thou wilt, but let Edith go untouched!”

“Not so,” replied the immitigable zealot. “We are not wont to show an

idle courtesy to that sex, which requireth the stricter discipline. What

sayest thou, maid? Shall thy silken bridegroom suffer thy share of the

penalty, besides his own?”

“Be it death,” said Edith, “and lay it all on me!”

Truly, as Endicott had said, the poor lovers stood in a woful case.

Their foes were triumphant, their friends captive and abased, their home

desolate, the benighted wilderness around them, and a rigorous destiny,

in the shape of the Puritan leader, their only guide. Yet the deepening

twilight could not altogether conceal that the iron man was softened; he

smiled at the fair spectacle of early love; he almost sighed for the

inevitable blight of early hopes.

“The troubles of life have come hastily on this young couple,” observed

Endicott. “We will see how they comport themselves under their present

trials ere we burden them with greater. If, among the spoil, there be

any garments of a more decent fashion, let them be put upon this May

Lord and his Lady, instead of their glistening vanities. Look to it,

some of you.”

“And shall not the youth’s hair be cut?” asked Peter Palfrey, looking

with abhorrence at the love-lock and long glossy curls of the young man.

“Crop it forthwith, and that in the true pumpkin-shell fashion,”

answered the captain. “Then bring them along with us, but more gently

than their fellows. There be qualities in the youth, which may make him

valiant to fight, and sober to toil, and pious to pray; and in the

maiden, that may fit her to become a mother in our Israel, bringing up

babes in better nurture than her own hath been. Nor think ye, young

ones, that they are the happiest, even in our lifetime of a moment, who

mis-spend it in dancing round a Maypole!”

And Endicott, the severest Puritan of all who laid the rock foundation

of New England, lifted the wreath of roses from the ruin of the Maypole,

and threw it, with his own gauntleted hand, over the heads of the Lord

and Lady of the May. It was a deed of prophecy. As the moral gloom of

the world overpowers all systematic gayety, even so was their home of

wild mirth made desolate amid the sad forest. They returned to it no

more. But as their flowery garland was wreathed of the brightest roses

that had grown there, so, in the tie that united them, were intertwined

all the purest and best of their early joys. They went heavenward,

supporting each other along the difficult path which it was their lot to

tread, and never wasted one regretful thought on the vanities of Merry




Corinna’s Going A-Maying

Get up! get up for shame! the blooming morn

Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.

See how Aurora throws her fair

Fresh-quilted colors through the air

Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see

The dew bespangling herb and tree.

Each flower has wept and bowed towards the east

Above an hour since, yet you not dressed;

Nay, not so much as out of bed?

When all the birds have matins said,

And sung their thankful hymns, ’tis sin,

Nay, profanation to keep in,

Whenas a thousand virgins on this day

Spring, sooner than the lark, to fetch in May.

Rise, and put on your foliage, and be seen

To come forth, like the springtime, fresh and green,

And sweet as Flora. Take no care

For jewels for your gown or hair;

Fear not; the leaves will strew

Gems in abundance upon you;

Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,

Against you come, some orient pearls unwept;

Come and receive them while the light

Hangs on the dew-locks of the night,

And Titan on the eastern hill

Retires himself, or else stands still

Till you come forth. Wash, dress, be brief in praying

Few beads are best when once we go a-Maying.

Come, my Corinna, come; and, coming, mark

How each field turns (into) a street, each street a park

Made green and trimmed with trees; see how

Devotion gives each house a bough

Or branch each porch, each door ere this,

An ark, a tabernacle is,

Made up of whitethorn neatly interwove,

As if here were those cooler shades of love.

Can such delights be in the street

And open fields, and we not see ‘t?

Come, we’ll abroad; and let’s obey

The proclamation made for May,

And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;

But, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying.

There’s not a budding boy or girl this day

But is got up and gone to bring in May;

A deal of youth, ere this, is come

Back, and with whitethorn laden home.

Some have dispatched their cakes and cram

Before that we have left to dream;

And some have wept, and wooed, and plighted troth,

And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth.

Many a green-gown has been given,

Many a kiss, both odd and even;

Many a glance, too, has been sent

From out the eye, love’s firmament;

Many a jest told of the keys betraying

This night, and locks picked; yet we’re not a-Maying.

Come, let us go while we are in our prime,

And take the harmless folly of the time.

We shall grow old apace, and die

Before we know our liberty.

Our life is short, and our days run

As fast away as does the sun;

And, as a vapor or a drop of rain

Once lost, can ne’er be found again

So when or you or I are made

A fable, song, or fleeting shade,

All love, all liking, all delight

Lies drowned with us in endless night.

Then while time serves, and we are but decaying

Come, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying!

By Robert Herrick




Come, lasses and lads,

Get leave of your dads,

And away to the May-pole hie,

Where every He,

Has got a She,

And the fiddler standing by.

Where Willy has got his Jill,

And Jackey has got his Joan,

And there to jig it, jig it, jig it,

Jig it up and down.

Tol de rol lol, &c.

“Begin,” says Harry,

“Ay, ay,” says Mary,

Let’s lead up Paddington-pound,

“Oh, no,” says Hugh,

“Oh, no,” said Sue,

Let’s dance St. Ledger round.

Then every lad did take

His hat off to his lass;

And every maid did curtsey, curtsey,

Curtsey on the grass.

“You’re out,” says Nick,

“You lie,” says Dick,

“For the fiddler play’d it wrong;”

“And so,” says Sue,

“And so,” says Hugh,

And so says every one.

The fiddler then began

To play it o’er again,

And every maid did foot it, foot it,

Foot it unto the men.

” Let’s kiss,” says Fan,

“Ay, ay,” says Nan,

And so says every she;

“How many?” says Nat,

“‘Why, three,” says Pat,

For that’s a maiden’s fee!”

But instead of kisses three,

They gave them half a score;

The men, then, out of kindness, kindness,

Gave ‘em as many more.

Then, after an hour,

They went to a bower,

To play for ale and cake,

And kisses, too,

Being in the cue,

For the lasses held the stake.

The women then began

To quarrel with the men,

And told ‘em to take their kisses back,

And give them their own again.

Oh, thus they all stay’d

Until it was late,

And tired the fiddler quite,

With fiddling and playing

Without any paying,

From morning until night.

They told the fiddler, then,

They’d pay him for his play,

And every one paid twopence, twopence,

Twopence, and toddled away.

“Good night,” says Bess,

“Good night,” says Jess,

“Good night,” says Harry to Holl;

“Good night,” says Hugh,

“Good night,” says Sue,

“Good night,” says Nimble Nell.

Some ran, some walk’d, some stay’d,

Some tarried by the way,

And bound themselves by kisses twelve,

To meet next holiday!

Source: IN PRAISE OF ALE or Songs, Ballads, Epigrams, & Anecdotes Relating to Beer, Malt, and Hops by W. T. Marchant. London, 1888.

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