« ÎnapoiContinuă »
Che Month of May.
"Get up, get up, for shame; the blooming morne
The dew bespangling herbe and tree.
Each flower has wept, and bowed towards the east
Above an houre since, yet you are not drest;
Nay, not so much as out of bed,
When all the birds have matteynes sayd,
And sung their thankfull hymnes; 'tis sin,
Nay, profanation to keep in,
When as a thousand virgins on this day,
Shines sooner than the lark to fetch in May."-HERRICK.
HE Month of May is the festival of Nature. The first day was, in old times, the rural festival of our forefathers. Their hearts responded merrily to the bright sunshine, the beautiful flowers, and the sparkling waters. At the dawn of May, merrily the lads and lasses left their houses and villages, and, repairing to the woodlands, by sound of music they gathered the may and blossoming
branches of the trees, and bound them with wreaths of flowers; then returning to their homes by sunrise, they decorated their lattices and doors with the sweet-smelling spirit of their joyous journey, and spent the remaining hours in sports and pastimes. Now, in these days of mental illumination, when education has done such
mighty wonders among our humble population, we have presented to us various groups of dirty boys and girls, stuck round with trumpery and painted paper, withered flowers, and uncouth garlands; or if the "rural custom" should be attempted on a larger scale, stalwart fellows are dressed up as men and as women, in dirty finery, to jump
Jim Crow, play the bones, or sing stupid ribaldry. So much does the present live in comparison with the past, as regards social life. But in nature its life is still the same-the gentle spiriting, the loveliness, the beauty, the glory, still stand forth beneath the kindly gaze of heaven. Go forth, then, my young friends, with your old friend Peter Parley. Go forth on May-day, or, if that
be not fine, on the earliest May morning, and pluck your flowers and green boughs, to adorn your rooms with, and to show that you do not live in vain. As to me, I am a natural "Jack of the Green," deeply in woods embowered. High and disagreeable trees spring up thirty feet above my house top, driving the smoke down my chimney, clogging up my gutters, engendering damp and its concomitant rheumatism; feeding fever, and shutting out the blessed and glorious sunlight from my dwelling. Thank God that no one can shut out the sunshine from my heart-no one can keep flowers, aye, and amaranthine ones, too, from blooming there, or fruits from becoming ripe, or merry and happy thoughts, like blithe birds, from singing therein; and so I endeavour to keep a cheerful temper, and look upon the budding bough and the unfolding leaf with a kindly eye,
although the bough and the leaf will shut me up in darkness, keep. my house damp, and ruin my wall fruit. But to speak again of May-May, the beautiful, the bright, the fair, and the lovely. It will not be amiss to let my young friends know how our forefathers celebrated the birth of the Spring-the May-day festival, and I shall give something approaching to an idea, of the manner in which the May pageant was performed by the household servants of a
baronial mansion in the fifteenth century, as described by a "mummer" therein. This is the scene, and I hope it will please my young friends.
In the front of the pavilion erected for the occasion, a large square was staked out and fenced with ropes, to prevent the crowd from pressing upon the performers, and interrupting the diversion. There were also two bars at the bottom of the enclosure, through