Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Robert Herrick. 1591–1674
  
247. Corinna's going a-Maying
  
GET up, get up for shame! The blooming morn 
    Upon her wings presents the god unshorn. 
    See how Aurora throws her fair 
    Fresh-quilted colours through the air: 
    Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see         5
    The dew bespangling herb and tree! 
Each flower has wept and bow'd toward the east 
Above an hour since, yet you not drest; 
    Nay! not so much as out of bed? 
    When all the birds have matins said  10
    And sung their thankful hymns, 'tis sin, 
    Nay, profanation, to keep in, 
Whereas a thousand virgins on this day 
Spring sooner than the lark, to fetch in May. 
 
Rise and put on your foliage, and be seen  15
To come forth, like the spring-time, fresh and green, 
    And sweet as Flora. Take no care 
    For jewels for your gown or hair: 
    Fear not; the leaves will strew 
    Gems in abundance upon you:  20
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept, 
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept. 
    Come, and receive them while the light 
    Hangs on the dew-locks of the night: 
    And Titan on the eastern hill  25
    Retires himself, or else stands still 
Till you come forth! Wash, dress, be brief in praying: 
Few beads are best when once we go a-Maying. 
 
Come, my Corinna, come; and coming, mark 
How each field turns a street, each street a park,  30
    Made green and trimm'd with trees! see how 
    Devotion gives each house a bough 
    Or branch! each porch, each door, ere this, 
    An ark, a tabernacle is, 
Made up of white-thorn neatly interwove,  35
As if here were those cooler shades of love. 
    Can such delights be in the street 
    And open fields, and we not see 't? 
    Come, we'll abroad: and let 's obey 
    The proclamation made for May,  40
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying; 
But, my Corinna, come, let 's go a-Maying. 
 
There 's not a budding boy or girl this day 
But is got up and gone to bring in May. 
    A deal of youth ere this is come  45
    Back, and with white-thorn laden home. 
    Some have despatch'd their cakes and cream, 
    Before that we have left to dream: 
And some have wept and woo'd, and plighted troth, 
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth:  50
    Many a green-gown has been given, 
    Many a kiss, both odd and even: 
    Many a glance, too, has been sent 
    From out the eye, love's firmament: 
Many a jest told of the keys betraying  55
This night, and locks pick'd: yet we're not a-Maying! 
 
Come, let us go, while we are in our prime, 
And take the harmless folly of the time! 
    We shall grow old apace, and die 
    Before we know our liberty.  60
    Our life is short, and our days run 
    As fast away as does the sun. 
And, as a vapour or a drop of rain, 
Once lost, can ne'er be found again, 
    So when or you or I are made  65
    A fable, song, or fleeting shade, 
    All love, all liking, all delight 
    Lies drown'd with us in endless night. 
Then, while time serves, and we are but decaying, 
Come, my Corinna, come, let 's go a-Maying.  70
 
GLOSS:  beads] prayers.  green-gown] tumble on the grass.
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors