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Thou little tricksy Puck!
With antic joys so funnily bestuck,
Light as the singing bird that wings the air, (The door! the door! he'll tumble down the stair!) Thou darling of thy sire!
(Why, Jane, he'll set his pinafore afire!)
In love's dear chain so strong and bright a link,
Thou cherub-but of earth!
(That dog will bite him if he pulls its tail!)
(He'll break the mirror with that skipping-rope!) With pure heart newly stamped from nature's mint (Where did he learn that squint ?)
Thou young domestic dove !
(He'll have that jug off with another shove!)
(He'll climb upon the table-that's his plan ?) Touched with the beauteous tints of dawning life, (He's got a knife!)
Thou enviable being!
No storms, no clouds, in thy blue sky forseeing,
My elfin John!
Toss the light ball-bestride the stick,
(He's got the scissors snipping at your gown,)
Thou pretty opening rose !
(Go to your mother, child, and wipe your nose!)
I cannot write, unless he's sent above!)
As I was lying in bed this morning, enjoying one of those half dreams, half reveries, which are so pleasant in the country, when the birds are singing about the window, and the sun-beams peeping through the curtains, I was roused by the sound of music. On going down stairs, I found a number of villagers, dressed in their holiday clothes, bearing a pole ornamented with garlands and ribbons, and accompanied by the village band of music, under the direction of the tailor, the pale fellow who plays on the clarionet. They had all sprigs of hawthorn, or, as it is called, "the May," in their hats, and had brought green branches and flowers to decorate the Hall door and windows, They had come to give notice that the May-pole was reared on the green, and to invite the household to witness the sports. The Hall, according to custom, became a scene of hurry and delighted confusion. The servants were all agog with May and music; and there was no keeping either the tongues or the feet of the maids quiet, who were anticipating the sports of the green, and the evening dance.
I repaired to the village at an early hour to enjoy the merry-making. The morning was pure and sunny, such as a May morning is always described. The fields were white with daisies, the hawthorn was covered with its fragrant blossoms, the bee hummed about every bank, and the swallow played high in the air about the village steeple. It was one of those genial days when we seem to draw in pleasure with the very air we breathe, and to feel happy we know not why. Whoever has felt the worth of worthy man, or has doted on lovely woman, will, on such a day, call them tenderly to mind, and feel his heart all alive with long-buried recollections. "For thenne," says the excellent romance of King Arthur, "lovers call again to their mynde old gentilnes and old servyse, and many kind dedes that were forgotten by negligence."
Before reaching the village, I saw the May-pole towering above the cottages, with its gay garlands and streamers, and heard the sound of music. Booths had been set up near it, for the reception of company; and a bower of green branches and flowers for the Queen of May, a fresh, rosy-cheeked girl of the village.
A band of morris-dancers were capering on the green in their fantastic dresses, jingling with hawks' bells, with a boy dressed up as Maid Marian, and the attendant fool rattling his box to collect contributions from the bystanders. The gipsy-women, too, were already plying their mystery in by-corners of the village, reading the hands of the simple country girls, and, no doubt, promising them all good husbands.Washington Ircing,
You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear; To morrow 'll be the happiest time of all the glad new year; Of all the glad new year, mother, the maddest, merriest day: For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.
There's many a black black eye, they say, but none so bright as mine;
There's Margaret and Mary, there's Kate and Caroline:
But none so fair as little Alice in all the land they say,
I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake,
As I came up the valley, whom think you should I see,
He thought I was a ghost, mother, for I was all in white,
Little Effie shall go with me to-morrow to the green,
The honeysuckle round the porch has wov'n its wavy bowers, And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckooflowers;
And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.
The night-winds come and go, mother, upon the meadow-grass, And the happy stars above them seem to brighten as they pass; There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the livelong day, And I'm to be Queen of the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.
So you must wake and call me early, call me early mother, dear, To-morrow 'll be the happiest time of all the glad new-year: To-morrow 'll be of all the year the maddest merriest day, For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.
If you're waking call me early, call me early mother dear, For I would see the sun rise upon the glad new-year.
It is the last new-year that I shall ever see,
Then you may lay me low i' the mould and think no more of
To-night I saw the sun set: he set and left behind
The good old year, the dear old time, and all my peace of mind, And the new-year's coming up, mother, but I shall never see The blossom on the blackthorn, the leaf upon the tree.
Last May we made a crown of flowers: we had a merry day; Beneath the hawthorn on the green they made me Queen of May.
And we danced about the May-pole and in the hazel copse, Till Charles's Wain came out above the tall white chimney tops.
There's not a flower on all the hills: the frost is on the pane; I only wish to live till the snowdrops come again :
I wish the snow would melt and the sun come out on high:
The building rook 'll caw from the windy tall elm tree,
And the swallow 'll come back again with summer o'er the
But I shall lie alone, mother, within the mouldering grave.
NOTE. We have left out a few verses in order to shorten the poem, as our space was but limited.
Upon the chancel casement, and upon that grave of mine,
You'll bury me, my mother, just beneath the hawthorn shade, And you'll come sometimes and see me where I am lowly laid, I shall not forget you, mother, I shall hear you when you pass, With your feet above my head in the long and pleasant grass.
If I can, I'll come again, mother, from out my resting-place; Though you'll not see me, mother, I shall look upon your face, Though I cannot speak a word, I shall hearken what you say, And be often often with you when you think I'm far away.
Good night, sweet mother: call me before the day is born,
But I would see the sun rise upon the glad new year,
I thought to pass away before, and yet alive I am;
O sweet is the new violet, that comes beneath the skies,
It seem'd so hard at first, mother, to leave the blessed sun,
O blessings on his kindly voice, and on his silver hair!