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Spinning in April


Yet sweet wild April,

The blithe, the brave,
Fell asleep in the fields

By a windless wave
And Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Preached over his grave.

Sing hi,
Sing hey,
Sing ho!

O sweet wild April,

Farewell to thee!
And a deep sweet sleep

To thy sisters three,-
Carnation, and Rose,
And tall Lily.

Sing hi,
Sing hey,
Sing ho!

William Force Stead (18


Moon in heaven's garden, among the clouds that wander, Crescent moon so young to see, above the April ways, Whiten, bloom not yet, not yet, within the twilight yonder; All my spinning is not done, for all the loitering days.


Oh, my heart has two wild wings that ever would be flying!
Oh, my heart's a meadow-lark that ever would be free!
Well it is that I must spin until the light be dying;
Well it is the little wheel must turn all day for me!

All the hill-tops beckon, and beyond the western meadows
Something calls me ever, calls me ever, low and clear:
A little tree as young as I, the coming summer shadows, -
The voice of running waters that I ever thirst to hear.

Oftentime the plea of it has set my wings a-beating;
Oftentime it coaxes, as I sit weary-wise,

Till the wild life hastens out to wild things all entreating, And leaves me at the spinning-wheel, with dark, unseeing eyes.

Josephine Preston Peabody (18

Now the bright morning-star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth and youth and warm desire!
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

John Milton (1608-1674)

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THROUGH meadow-ways as I did tread,
The corn grew in great lustihead,
And hey! the beeches burgeonèd.

By Goddès fay, by Goddès fay!
It is the month, the jolly month,
It is the jolly month of May.

God ripe the wines and corn, I say,
And wenches for the marriage-day,
And boys to teach love's comely play.

By Goddès fay, by Goddès fay!
It is the month, the jolly month,
It is the jolly month of May.

As I went down by lane and lea,
The daisies reddened so, pardie!
“Blushets!” I said, “I well do see,

By Goddès fay, by Goddès fay!
The thing ye think of in this month,
Heigho! this jolly month of May.”

Corinna's Going A-Maying


As down I went by rye and oats,
The blossoms smelt of kisses; throats
Of birds turned kisses into notes;

By Goddès fay, by Goddès fay!
The kiss it is a growing flower,
I trow, this jolly month of May.

God send a mouth to every kiss,
Seeing the blossom of this bliss
By gathering doth grow, certes!

By Goddès fay, by Goddès fay!
Thy brow-garland pushed all aslant
Tells—but I tell not, wanton May!

Francis Thompson (1859?-1907]


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 toward the cast,
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,
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 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 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 despatched their cakes and cream

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.

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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.

Robert Herrick (1591-1674]


SISTER, awake! close not your eyes!

The day her light discloses,
And the bright morning doth arise

Out of her bed of roses.

See the clear sun,

the world's bright eye,
In at our window peeping:
Lo, how he blusheth to espy

Us idle wenches sleeping!

Therefore awake! make haste, I say,

And let us, without staying,
All in our gowns of green so gay

Into the Park a-maying!



May! queen of blossoms,

And fulfilling flowers,
With what pretty music

Shall we charm the hours?
Wilt thou have pipe and reed,
Blown in the open mead?
Or to the lute give heed

In the green bowers?

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