On May-day, when the lark began to rise

On May-day, when the lark began to rise,
To matins went the lusty nightingale
Within a temple shapen hawthorn-wise;
He might not sleep in all the nightertale,
But " Domine labia ", gan he cry and gale,
" My lips open, Lord of Love, I cry,
And let my mouth thy praising now bewrye."

The eagle sang " Venite , bodies all,
And let us joy to love that is our health."
And to the desk anon they gan to fall,
And who come late, he presseth in by stealth.
Then said the falcon, our own heartes wealth,
" Domine, Dominus noster , I wot,
Ye be the god that don us bren thus hot."

" Celi enarrant ", said the popinjay,
" Your might is told in heaven and firmament."
And then came in the goldfinch fresh and gay,
And said this psalm with heartly glad intent,
" Domini est terra ; this Latin intent,
The god of Love hath earth in governance."
And then the wren gan skippen and to dance.

" Jube, Domine , Lord of Love, I pray
Command me well this lesson for to read;
This legend is of all that wolden dey
Martyrs for love; God give the soules speed!
And to thee, Venus, sing we, out of dread,
By influence of all thy virtue great,
Beseeching thee to keep us in our heat."

The second lesson Robin redbreast sang,
" Hail to the god and goddess of our lay!"
And to the lectern amorously he sprang.
" Hail", quod he eke, " O fresh season of May,
Our moneth glad that singen on the spray!
Hail to the flowers, red, and white, and blue,
Which by their virtue make our lustes new!"''

The third lesson the turtle-dove took up,
And thereat lough the mavis as in scorn.
He said, " O God, as mot I dine or sup,
This foolish dove will give us all an horn!
There been right here a thousand better born,
To read this lesson, which, as well as he,
And eke as hot, can love in all degree."

The turtle-dove said, " Welcome, welcome, May,
Gladsome and light to lovers that been true!
I thank thee, Lord of Love, that doth purvey
For me to read this lesson all of due;
For, in good sooth, of courage I pursue
To serve my make till death us must depart."
And then " Tu autem " sang he all apart.

" Te deum amoris ", sang the throstle-cock:
Tubal himself, the first musician,
With key of harmony could not unlock
So sweet a tune as that the throstle can.
" The Lord of Love we praisen", quod he than,
" And so don all the fowles, great and lite;
Honour we May, in false lovers' despite."

" Dominus regnavit ", said the peacock there,
" The Lord of Love, that mighty prince, ywis,
He hath received here and everywhere:
Now Jubilate sing." " What meaneth this?"
Said then the linnet: " Welcome, Lord of bliss!"
Outstert the owl with " Benedicite ,
What meaneth all this merry fare?" quod he.

" Laudate ", sang the lark with voice full shrill;
And eke the kite, " O admirabile !
This choir will through mine eares pierce and thrill.
But what? Welcome this May season", quod he,
" And honour to the Lord of Love mot be,
That hath this feast so solemn and so high."
" Amen ", said all; and so said eke the pie.

And forth the cuckoo gan proceed anon,
With " Benedictus " thanking God in haste,
That in this May would visit them eachon,
And gladden them all while the feast shall last.
And therewithal a-laughter out he brast,
" I thank it, God, that I should end the song,
And all the service which hath been so long."

Thus sang they all the service of the feast,
And that was done right early, to my doom;
And forth go'th all the Court, both most and least,
To fetch the flowers fresh, and branch and bloom;
And namely, hawthorn brought both page and groom;
With fresh garlandes, parti-blue and white,
And them rejoycen in their great delight.

Eke each at other threw the flowers bright,
The primerose, the violet, the gold;
So then, as I beheld the royal sight,
My lady gan me suddenly behold,
And with a true-love, plighted manifold,
She smote me through the very heart as blive;
And Venus yet I thank I am alive.
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