Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Thursday, 1 May 2008

May Day!

May blossom (Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna) - steadfastly in bud, just over the garden fence.

Now is the month of Maying

With merry lads a playing
Fa la la la la la la la la
Fa la la la la la la

[Repeat, softer]

Each with his bonny lass
A dancing on the grass
Fa la la la la, Fa la la la la la la
La la la la la

[Repeat, softer]

I may have left school over 30 years ago, but come maytime I still find myself singing the 'special spring songs' reserved by Mrs Flowers just for the summer term music lessons - Now is the Month of Maying, Come Lasses and Lads, Nymphs and Shepherds, It was a Lover and His Lass, When Daisies Pied. The latter 'imaginatively' retitled When Daisies Peed by us giggling schoolgirls. I'll leave you with this last song, the lyrics are from Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, Act 5 Scene 2:

When daisies pied and violets blue
And ladysmocks all silver white
And cuckoo buds of yellow hue
Doth paint the meadow with delight

The cuckoo then on every tree
Mocks married men
Mocks married men
Mocks married men
For thus sings he:

Cuckoo (cuckoo echoed on the piano)
Cuckoo (ditto)
Cuckoo (ditto)
Cuckoo Cuckoo (ditto - several times, in very twiddly mode as was most of the accompaniment)

Oh word of fear

Oh word of fear
Unpleasing to a married ear
Unpleasing to a married ear!

Garden Bloggers' Muse Day is bought to you on the first of each month courtesy of Carolyn Gale over at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago. Why not visit and wish her a happy birthday today too?


  1. Ah-Mrs Flowers-how aptly named for us two gardeners- in the School hall tinkling on the old ivories! That was a very pleasant trip down memory lane VP.(My hawthorn is still in bud too)

  2. Thank you, VP, for your a-musing contribution to GBMD and your birthday wishes as well.

  3. When I was at infants school we used to dance round the Maypole every Mayday (no holiday in those years!) and sing The Floral Dance. Or, as I insisted that it was called despite my mother's attempts at correction (you know, my teacher said ...) The Floor Room Dance.
    But I can still remember the concentration it took at six years old to do that dance, weaving in and out with the ribbons from the Maypole. Haven't seen one since - do they still do the dance anywhere, I wonder?

  4. What a great tradition of culture on which to draw! May day never meant anything here in the US. It isn't even our "Labor Day." Love the wicked Shakespeare quote!

  5. Good Gracious!

    And what does your husband think of such a post?

    And what was censored out by all these 'fol-de'rolls?

    And your laughter brigade would have saved the expense of custard tarts by gathering a group of children and singing them 'Sweet Lovers Love the Spring'. It gets them hysterical. (The children.)



  6. May - what a magical month - my favourite time of the year. I love that Shakespeare quote too - it's one that has stuck in my mind along with 'I know a bank where the wild thyme grows'. What I can't remember is one of the songs that we were taught at school which I think began with the words 'As I walked out one fine morning in May' but after that it is a complete blank. Perhaps you know the next line VP?

  7. Anna - was it this one:-

    As I went out one bright May morning,
    To view the fields and flowers gay,
    When who should I spy but my own true lover
    As she sat under yon willow tree?


    Esther Montgomery

    P.S. If it is, I can add the rest.

  8. Threadspider - glad you liked it! I'm still singing the songs...

    Carolyn - you're welcome!

    Sue - I think lots of primary schools still do

    MMD - sounds like you need to insert another holiday into the American calendar!

    Esther - I dread to think. We sniggered too! And thanks for answering Anna's question

    Anna - Esther's already come up with the goods!


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