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 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 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 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: 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 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, 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, 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, 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 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: 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 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. 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 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.
This poem is in the public domain.
Born in August 1591, Robert Herrick was the author of Hesperides; or, the Works Both Human and Divine of Robert Herrick, Esq.
Date Published: 1648-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/corinnas-going-maying