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Fresh as the month, and as the morning fair,
Adown her shoulders fell her length of hair;
A ribbon did the braided tresses bind,
The rest was loose, and wanton'd in the wind,
Aurora had but newly chas'd the night,
And purpled o'er the sky with blushing light,
When to the garden walk she took her way
To sport and trip along in cool of day,
And offer maiden vows in honor of the May.

At every turn she made a little stand,
And thrust among the thorns her lily hand,
To draw the rose ; and every rose she drew,
She shook the stalk, and brush'd away the dew;
Then parti-colored flowers of white and red
She wove, to make a garland for her head :
This done, she sung and carrol'd out so clear,
That men and angels might rejoice to hear :
Our wandering Philomel forgot to sing,
And learned from her to welcome in the spring.




If every pleasure were distilled
Of every flower in every field,
And all that Hy bla's hives do yield,
Were into one broad mazer filled ;
If thereto added all the gums
And spice that from Panchaïs comes,
The odor that Hydaspes lends,
Or Phønix proves before she ends;
If all the air my Flora drew,
Or spirit that Zephyr ever blew,
Were put therein; and all the dew
That every rosy morning knew;
Yet all diffused upon this bower,
To make one sweet detaining hour,
Were much too little for the grace
And honor you vouchsafe the place ;
But if you please to come again,
We vow we will not then with vain
And empty pastimes entertain
Your so desired, though grieved, pain;

For we will have the wanton fawns,
That frisking about the lawns,
The Panisks and the Sylvans rude,
Satyrs, and all that multitude,
To dance their wilder rounds about,
To cleave the air with many a shout,
As they would hunt poor Echo out
Of yonder valley, who doth flout,
Their rustic noises, to visit whom,
You shall behold whole bevies come
Of gaudy nymphs, whose tender calls
Well tuned unto the many falls
Of sweet and several sliding rills,
That stream from tops of those less hills,
Like so many silver quills,
When Zephyr them with music fills.
For them Favonius here shall blow
New flowers, that you shall see to grow-
Of which each hand a part shall take,
And for your heads fresh garlands make,
Wherewith, while they your temples round,
An air of several birds shall sound
An Io Pæon, that shall drown
The acclamation at your crown.
All this, and more than I have give gift of saying,
May vows, so you will oft come here a Maying.

BEN JONSON, 1574-1637.



Up, up! let us greet
The season so sweet,

For winter is gone,
And the flowers are springing,
And little birds singing,
Their soft notes ringing,

And bright is the sun!
Where all was dressed
In a snowy vest;
There grass is growing,
With dew-drops glowing,

And flowers are seen
On beds of green.

All down in the grove,
Around, above,

Sweet music floats;
As now loudly vying,
Now softly sighing,
The nightingale's plying

Her tuneful notes ;
And joyous at spring,
Her companions sing,
Up, maidens, repair
To the meadows so fair,

And dance we away,

This merry May. Translation of E. TAYLOR.




May, sweet May, again is come-
May, that frees the land from gloom ;
Children, children, up and see
All her stores of jollity!
On the laughing hedgerow's side
She hath spread her treasures wide;
She is in the greenwood shade,
Where the nightingale hath made
Every branch and every tree
Ring with her sweet melody;
Hill and dale are May's own treasures.
Youths, rejoice! In sportive measures

Sing ye ! join the chorus gay!
Hail this merry, merry May!

Up, then, children! we will go
Where the blooming roses grow;
In a joyful company
We the bursting flowers will see :
Up; your festal dress prepare !
Where gay hearts are meeting—there
May hath pleasures most inviting,
Heart, and sight, and ear delighting.
Listen to the bird's sweet song ;
Hark! how soft it floats along'

Courtly dames our pleasures share !
Never saw I May so fair;
Therefore dancing will we go.
Youths, rejoice! the flowerets blow!

Sing ye! join the chorus gay!

Hail this merry, merry May!
Our manly youths, where are they now?
Bid them up and with us go,
To the sporters on the plain :
Bid adieu to care and pain,
Now, thou pale and wounded lover!
Thou thy peace shalt soon recover,
Many a laughing lip and eye
Speaks the light heart's gayety ;
Lovely flowers around we find,
In the smiling verdure twined;
Richly steeped in May-dews glowing.
Youths, rejoice! the flowers are blowing !

Sing ye! join the chorus gay!

Hail this merry, merry May!
0, if to my love restored
To her, o'er all her sex adored-
What supreme delight were mine!
How would care her sway resign?
Merrily in the bloom of May
Would I weave a garland gay.
Better than the best is she,
Purer than all purity;
For her spotless self alone,
I will praise this changeless one:
Thankful, or unthankful, she
Shall my song, my idol be.

Youths, then join the chorus gay!

Hail this merry, merry May! Translation of EDGAR TAYLOR.

CONRAD V. KIRCHBERG, about 1170.



Sing, sweet thrushes, forth and sing!

Meet the morn upon the lea ;
Are the emeralds of the spring

On the angler's trysting-tree?

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