A poem by John Clare

Now comes the bonny May, dancing and skipping
Across the stepping-stones of meadow streams,
Bearing no kin to April showers a-weeping,
But constant Sunshine as her servant seems.
Her heart is up--her sweetness, all a-maying,
Streams in her face, like gems on Beauty's breast;
The swains are sighing all, and well-a-daying,
Lovesick and gazing on their lovely guest.
The Sunday paths, to pleasant places leading,
Are graced by couples linking arm in arm,
Sweet smiles enjoying or some book a-reading,
Where Love and Beauty are the constant charm;
For while the bonny May is dancing by,
Beauty delights the ear, and Beauty fills the eye.

Birds sing and build, and Nature scorns alone
On May's young festival to be a widow;
The children, too, have pleasures all their own,
In gathering lady-smocks along the meadow.
The little brook sings loud among the pebbles,
So very loud, that water-flowers, which lie
Where many a silver curdle boils and dribbles,
Dance too with joy as it goes singing by.
Among the pasture mole-hills maidens stoop
To pluck the luscious marjoram for their bosoms;
The greensward's littered o'er with buttercups,
And whitethorns, they are breaking down with blossoms.
'T is Nature's livery for the bonny May,
Who keeps her court, and all have holiday.

Princess of Months (so Nature's choice ordains,)
And Lady of the Summer still she reigns.
In spite of April's youth, who charms in tears,
And rosy June, who wins with blushing face;
July, sweet shepherdess, who wreathes the shears
Of shepherds with her flowers of winning grace;
And sun-tanned August, with her swarthy charms,
The beautiful and rich; and pastoral, gay
September, with her pomp of fields and farms;
And wild November's sybilline array;--
In spite of Beauty's calendar, the Year
Garlands with Beauty's prize the bonny May.
Where'er she goes, fair Nature hath no peer,
And months do love their queen when she's away.

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