May Day

may day pole

Now happy swains review the plains,
And hail the first of May;
Now linnets sing to welcome spring,
And every soul is gay.

Hob, joyful soul, high rears the pole,
With wild-flower wreaths entwin’d;
Then tiptoe round the maidens bound,
All sorrow lags behind.

Branches of thorn their doors adorn,
With every flowret lin’d
That earliest spring essays to bring,
Or searching maids can find.

All swains resort to join the sport,
E’en age will not disdain,
But oft will throng to hear the song,
And view the jocund train.

I often too had us’d to go,
The rural mirth to share,
But what, alas l time brought to pass,
Soon made me absent there.

My Colin died the village pride,
O hapless misery!
Then sports adieu, with him they flew,
For he was all to me.

And May no more shall e’er restore
To me those joys again,
There’s no relief but urging grief,
For memory wakens pain.

To think how he, so dear to me,
Had us’d to join the play;
And O so dear such pleasures were,
He gloried in the day.

But now, sad scene, he’s left the green,
And Lubin here to mourn:
Then flowers may spring, and birds may sing,
And May-day may return;

But never more can they restore
Their rural sports to me–
No, no, adieu! with him they flew,
For he was all to me.

John Clare

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