Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.



Friday, April 29, 2011

Queen of the May


You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow ’ill 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,
So I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.


I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake,
If you do not call me loud when the day begins to break;
But I must gather knots of flowers, and buds and garlands gay,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

The honeysuckle round the porch has woven its wavy bowers,
And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;


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 o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.


All the valley, mother, ’ill be fresh and green and still,
And the cowslip and the crowfoot are over all the hill,
And the rivulet in the flowery dale ’ill merrily glance and play,
For I’m to be Queen o’ 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 ’ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
To-morrow ’ill 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.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

The painting at the top of this post is called 'Queen Guinevere's Maying' by an artist called John Collier.
I shall be away visiting my son and daughter-in-law in their new home in Norfolk for a few days and hopefully going to a Tudor Living History Day at Kentwell Hall on May Day. This is one of the lovliest times of the year now filled with all the wonderful fresh new leaves and flowers of early summer.

The wonder of the world,
the beauty and the power,
the shapes of things,
their colours,lights, and shades;
these I saw.
Look ye also while life lasts.

I wish all of you a very Happy Beltane.

19 comments:

Pomona said...

A lovely poem - I also love the description of maying in Lark Rise by Flora Thompson.

Pomona x

liZZie said...

Beautiful fitting and caringly put together post, really lovely and very apt. Happy Beltane ♥

MorningAJ said...

And a happy Beltane to you too. Bright bessings on you and yours.

Gracie said...

Lovely rhymes, thanks. Happy Beltane to you too, and enjoy your time with your family.

Mac n' Janet said...

What a beautiful painting. The Tudor living history day sounds great, take lots of pictures.

Piecefulafternoon said...

Wonderful and lovely.

WOL said...

Have a very merry Beltane and enjoy your Tudor getaway. May Blessings on the new home.

Diane said...

Have a lovely time. I think this time of year is lovely too. xxxx

Elizabeth Rhiannon said...

Absolutely beautiful...and a blessed Beltane to you as well.

Leanne said...

a blessed Beltane to you. Enjoy kentwell hall, its not far from where i lived once upon a time,and I know it well, always a good day out!

Leanne x

Monique said...

Hi Rowan, happy Beltane. I hope you'll have a wonderful time visiting. That history day sounds like a lot of fun !!
Have a great time.

Bovey Belle said...

Well, we certainly have had the right weather this year - what lovely photos. Chasing my tail here (and still - blushing - owe you a letter . . .)

Lucy said...

There's something very disturbing about this poem. I think it's because it uses the same rhythms that a sad, ghostly one uses - which is just out of sight, just out of reach of my brain.

The painting is pretty severe.

Your photos lighten the mood. This is the first year I have liked cowslips.

Lucy

Mary said...

Know you've all been having great Spring weather over there. Please keep it coming for our visit - we arrive on Sat. and head to the Lake District - I so don't want rain there!!!!! Devon may be nice the following week, although after the best April ever here's hoping it's not going to change and be wet there!
Oh well, whatever, will be lovely to be home for a little while, see family and friends, and my always beloved countryside. Can always fine a warm and welcoming pub to dry off and raise a glass to England!

Happy days Rowan.
Hugs - Mary

Wanda..... said...

So appreciated the lovely poem and photos, Rowan.

Kath said...

Just perfect words and pictures. Belated Beltane bleesings.

Petra said...

Beautiful picture and poem, Rowan. The girl sounds so excited, thrilled and flattered, I like the repeating verse in the end of each strophe: "So I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May." As if I could see her...

The Summer Porch said...

Rowan be still my heart this post just totally captivated me... Sigh! Such beauty in this poetry.
Hugs Rosemary...XX

Dog Trot Farm said...

Perfect words to such lovely pictures and photos. I had never heard of this poem before, Thank you for sharing. Julie