This Entry Is Dedicated To The Ancient/Future Ways…. Happy Beltane, Happy May Day!
(Art: Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema)
A Blessing on You and Yours. Run Free!
CORINNA’S GOING A-MAYING.
by Robert Herrick
Get up, get up for shame, the blooming morn
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.
See how Aurora throws her fair
Fresh-quilted colours through the air :
Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see
The dew bespangling herb and tree.
Each flower has wept and bow’d toward the east
Above an hour since : yet you not dress’d ;
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,
Whereas 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 spring-time, 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 a street, each street a park
Made green and trimm’d 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 white-thorn 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 white-thorn laden home.
Some have despatch’d their cakes and cream
Before that we have left to dream :
And some have wept, and woo’d, 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 pick’d, 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 vapour 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.
Left to dream, ceased dreaming.
Green-gown, tumble on the grass.
(from the film The Wicker Man)
In the woods there grew a tree,
And a very fine tree was he.
And on that tree there was a limb,
And on that limb there was a branch,
And on that branch there was a spray,
And on that spray there was a nest,
And in that nest there was an egg,
And in that egg there was a bird,
And on that bird there was a feather,
And on that feather was a bed,
And on that bed there was a girl,
And on that girl there was a man,
And from that man there was a seed.
And from that seed there was a boy,
And from that boy there was man,
And from that man there was a grave,
And on that grave there grew a tree.
In the Summerisle wood.
POEM: MAY DAY
Will you go a-maying, a-maying, a-maying,
Come and be my Queen of May and pluck the may with me?
The fields are full of daisy buds and new lambs playing,
The bird is on the nest, dear, the blossom’s on the tree.”
“If I go with you, if I go a-maying,
To be your Queen and wear my crown this May-day bright,
Hand in hand straying, it must be only playing,
And playtime ends at sunset, and then good-night.
“For I have heard of maidens who laughed and went a-maying,
Went out queens and lost their crowns and came back slaves.
I will be no young man’s slave, submitting and obeying,
Bearing chains as those did, even to their graves.”
“If you come a-maying, a-straying, a-playing,
We will pluck the little flowers, enough for you and me;
And when the day dies, end our one day’s playing,
Give a kiss and take a kiss and go home free.”
A Maying Song
(English -16th Century)
If all those young men were like hares on the mountain
Then all those pretty maids would get guns, go a-hunting.
If all those young men were like fish in the water
Then all those pretty maids would soon follow after.
Oh, in the even they go
Merry young men and merry young maids
Down to the woods to seek the bloom
Returning by dawn
The first of May.
If all those young men were like foxes a-hiding
Then all those pretty maids would get hounds, go a-riding.
If all those young men were like quail in the bracken
Then all those pretty maids would soon come a-clapping.
Oh, in the even they…
If all those young men were like fruit on the bramble
Then all those pretty maids would gather a lap full.
If all those young men were like rushes a-growing
Then all those pretty maids would get scythes, go a-mowing.
Oh, in the even…
If all those young men were like oak trees a-biding
Then all those pretty maids would get axes, come hying.
If all those young men were like hilltops a-fire
Then all those pretty maids each a leap would desire.
Oh, in the even…
Cornish May Carol – The Padstow May Song
Unite and unite and let us all unite
For summer is a-come unto day
And wither we are going, we will all unite
In the merry morning of May
With a merry ring and now the joyful spring
O give us a cup of ale and the merrier we will sing
The young men of Padstow, they might if they would
They might have built a ship and gilded it all in gold
The young women of Padstow, they might if they would
They might have built a garland of the white rose and the red
Where are those young men that now here should dance?
For some they are in England and some they are in France
O where is St. George?
O where is he o ?
He’s out in his longboat
All on the salt sea-o
Up flies the kite
Down falls the lark-o
And Ursula Birdhood she had an old ewe
And she died in her own park-o
With a merry ring and now the joyful spring
So happy are those little birds and the merrier we will sing