On the Approach of May

by John Cunningham

John Cunningham

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 repeat
That May is the mother of love.

The goddess will visit you 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.

Last updated September 05, 2017