Poems (Tennyson, 1843)/Volume 1/The May Queen

THE MAY QUEEN.

i.

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;

To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New year;
Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest day;
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

ii.

There's many a black black eye, they say, but none so bright as mine;

There's Margaret and Mary, there's Kate and Caroline:
But none so fair as little Alice in all the land they say,
So I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

iii.

I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake,

If you do not call me loud when the day begins to break:
But I must gather knots of flowers, and buds and garlands gay,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

iv.

As I came up the valley whom think ye should I see,

But Robin leaning on the bridge beneath the hazel-tree?
He thought of that sharp look, mother, I gave him yesterday,—
But I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

v.

He thought I was a ghost, mother, for I was all in white,

And I ran by him without speaking, like a flash of light.
They call me cruel-hearted, but I care not what they say.
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

vi.

They say he's dying all for love, but that can never be:

They say his heart is breaking, mother—what is that to me?
There's many a bolder lad 'ill woo me any summer day,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

vii.

Little Effie shall go with me to-morrow to the green,

And you'll be there too, mother, to see me made the Queen;
For the shepherd lads on every side 'ill come from far away,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

viii.

The honeysuckle round the porch has wov'n its wavy bowers,

And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;

And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

ix.

The night-winds come and go, mother, upon the meadow-grass.

And the happy stars above them seem to brighten as they pass;
There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the livelong day,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

x.

All the valley, mother, 'ill be fresh and green and still,

And the cowslip and the crowfoot are over all the hill,
And the rivulet in the flowery dale 'ill merrily glance and play,
For I'm to be Queen of the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

xi.

So you must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear,

To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year:
To-morrow 'ill be of all the year the maddest merriest day,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.