…of May…


To May

by Leigh Hunt

MAY , thou month of rosy beauty,
Month, when pleasure is a duty;
Month of maids that milk the kine,
Bosom rich, and breath divine;
Month of bees, and month of flowers,
Month of blossom-laden bowers;
Month of little hands with daisies,
Lovers’ love, and poets’ praises;
O thou merry month complete,
May, thy very name is sweet!
May was maid in olden times,
And is still in Scottish rhymes;
May ‘s the blooming hawthorn bough;
May’s the month that’s laughing now
I no sooner write the word,
Than it seems as though it heard,
And looks up, and laughs at me,
Like a sweet face, rosily, —
Like an actual colour bright,
Flushing from the paper’s white;
Like a bride that knows her power,
Started in a summer bower.

If the rains that do us wrong
Come to keep the winter long,
And deny us thy sweet looks,
I can love thee, sweet, in books,
Love thee in the poets’ pages,
Where they keep thee green for ages;
Love and read thee, as a lover
Reads his lady’s letters over,
Breathing blessings on the art,
Which commingles those that part.

There is May in books for ever;
May will part from Spenser never;
May’s in Milton, May’s in Prior,
May’s in Chaucer, Thomson, Dyer;
May’s in all the Italian books;
She has old and modern nooks,
Where she sleeps with nymphs and elves
In happy places they call shelves,
And will rise, and dress your rooms
With a drapery thick with blooms.

Come, ye rains then, if ye will,
May’s at home, and with me still:
But come rather, thou, good weather
And find us in the fields together.

Cheers to a fine May Monday!


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