Thursday, 30 April 2009

May Day.

"The May pole is up,
Now give me the cup;
I`ll drink to the garlands around it,
But first unto those
Whose hands did compose
The glory of flowers that crown`d it."
Robert Herrick.

May day welcomed the end of the harsh winter days, and welcomed the beginning of Summer.
The houses would be decorated with garlands of flowers, freshly picked from the countryside, and there would dancing around the Maypole.

"But I must gather knots of flowers,
And buds and garlands gay,
For I`m to be the Queen o` May, Mother,
I`m to be Queen o` the May."
Alfred Lord Tennyson.

A girl would be chosen to be Queen of the May, and it would be her duty to take a garland of flowers, or a hoop decked with flowers to the church, where it was placed on the screen and left there until the following May Day.

The fair maid who, the first of May,
Goes to the fields at break of day,
And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree,
Will ever after handsome be.

It was believed if you washed yourself in the dew from the hawthorn early on May morning, it would ensure that your complexion was beautiful for the rest of the year.
"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 the blessing,
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long."
John Milton.

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