1766
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

On the Approach of May.

Universal Magazine 38 (April 1766) 209.

Anonymous


A pastoral lyric in four double-quatrain stanzas, not signed. The poem, which has a repeating refrain, hails the return of the Spring season: "The goddess will visit ye soon, | Ye virgins be sportive and gay; | Get your pipes, oh ye shepherds, in tune, | For music must welcome the May." Seasonal verse was perennially popular in monthly periodicals.



The virgin, when soften'd by May,
Attends to the villager's vows;
The birds sweetly bill on the spray,
And poplars embrace with their boughs;
On Ida bright Venus may reign,
Ador'd for her beauty above!
We shepherds that dwell on the plain,
Hail May as the mother of love.

From the west as it wantonly blows
Fond zephyr caresses the vine:
The bee steals a kiss from the rose,
And willows and woodbines entwine;
The pinks by the rivulet side,
That border the vernal alcove,
Bend downward to kiss the soft tide;
For May is the mother of love.

May tinges the butterfly's wing,
He flutters in bridal array!
And, if the wing'd foresters sing,
Their music is taught them by May.
The stock-dove, recluse with her mate,
Conceals her, fond bliss in the grove,
And murmuring seems to repent
That May is the mother of love!

The goddess will visit ye soon,
Ye virgins be sportive and gay;
Get your pipes, oh ye shepherds, in tune,
For music must welcome the May.
Would Damon have Phillis prove kind,
And all his keen anguish remove,
Let him tell her soft tales, and he'll find
That May is the mother of love.

[p. 209]