Now is the Month of Maying

Wow, it’s great that May has arrived.  Our wedding month!  When I look at the calendar, I can see the weeks and days leading right up to our wedding.

I’ve had a burst of energy in the past few days and have finished one of our four elements table runners today – Air.  I’ve also done quite a bit of quilting on Cleaved.

Now is the Month of Maying is is one of the most famous of the English madrigals, by Thomas Morley published in 1595.  It is one of a few that will be sung prior to our wedding ceremony.

Now is the Month of Maying

“Now is the month of maying,
When merry lads are playing, fa la,
Each with his bonny lass
Upon the greeny grass. Fa la.

The Spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter’s sadness, fa la,
And to the bagpipe’s sound
The nymphs tread out their ground. Fa la.

Fie then! why sit we musing,
Youth’s sweet delight refusing? Fa la.
Say, dainty nymphs, and speak,
Shall we play at barley-break? Fa la.

Barley-Break is an old English country game frequently mentioned by the poets of the 17th and 18th centuries. It was played by three pairs, each composed of a man and a woman, who were stationed in three bases or plots, contiguous to each other. The couple occupying the middle base, called hell or prison, endeavoured to catch the other two, who, when chased, might break to avoid being caught. If one was overtaken, he and his companion were condemned to hell. From this game was taken the expression “the last couple in hell,” often used in old plays.

Its use in literature usually has sexual connotations. The best known example is in Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s play The Changeling, in which an adulterer tells his cuckold “I coupled with your mate at barley-break; now we are left in hell”. The use of the phrase in Thomas Morley’s madrigal Now is the Month of Maying probably means something similar to the idiom “roll in the hay”.

Source – Wikipedia

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