Page images
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

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 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 key's betraying


This night, and locks pick'd: yet w' are 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 drown'd with us in endless night.

Then, while time serves, and we are but decaying,

Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

SWEET Country life, to such unknown,
Whose lives are others', not their own!

But, serving courts and cities, be

Less happy, less enjoying thee.

Thou never ploughed the ocean's foam,
To seek and bring rough pepper home;
Nor to the eastern Ind dost rove,

To bring from thence the scorched clove;


Nor, with the loss of thy lov'd rest,

Bring'st home the ingot from the west.
No; thy ambition's master-piece

Flies no thought higher than a fleece;
Or how to pay thy hands, and clear
All scores, and so to end the year;
But walk'st about thy own dear grounds,
Not craving others' larger bounds;

For well thou know'st 'tis not th' extent

Of land makes life, but sweet content.

When now the cock, the ploughman's horn,

Calls for the lily-wristed morn,

Then to thy corn-fields thou dost go,

Which, though well soil'd, yet thou dost know

That the best compost for the lands

Is the wise master's feet and hands.

There, at the plough, thou find'st thy team,

With a hind whistling there to them;
And cheer'st them up by singing how
The kingdom's portion is the plough.
This done, then to th' enamelled meads
Thou go'st; and, as thy foot there treads,
Thou seest a present god-like power
Imprinted in each herb and flower;
And smell'st the breath of great-eyed kine,

Sweet as the blossoms of the vine.

Here thou behold'st thy large, sleek neat,

Unto the dewlaps up in meat ;

And, as thou look'st, the wanton steer,


« PreviousContinue »