Courtship in Maydetails

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Courtship in May

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Spring flowers adorn a grassy hill in a forest where a shepherd girl (by her crook, or sheep-staff) and a minstrel boy (by his pan pipes) are courting. The young man is about to put a wreath or garland of flowers on the head of the young lady, a floral crown for the maiden.

In the merry month of May,

On a morn at break of day,

Forth I walked the wood so wide,

When but May was in her Pride;

There I spied, all alone, all alone—

Phyllida and Coridon.

Much ado there was, God wot,

He would love, but she could not;

She said man was never true—

He said none was false to you;

He said he had lov’d too long—

She said love should have no wrong.

Coridon would have kissed her then—

She said Maids must kiss no men

Till they kiss for good and all.

Then she made the shepherd call

All the heavens to witness truth,

That never loved a truer youth.

Then with many a pretty oath:

Yea and Nay, and faith and troth—

Such as silly shepherds use

When they will not love abuse;

Love, which had been long deluded,

Was with kisses sweet concluded.

Some sources add two more lines, not in the book:

And Phyllida with garlands gay

Was crowned the Lady May.

This song was I think first collected in Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy, written or edited by Thmas d’Urfey between 1698 and 1720.


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