“May Day Carol”


The singer has been wandering and will return with a branch of may. It is to celebrate the Lord's handiwork (in bringing forth the plants in spring). The singer wishes the listeners well: "God bless you all both great and small And send you a joyful May."


The two May carols in Ritchie-Southern are so different that I almost split them. This is a distinct problem with May songs; Roud lumps a great variety (many of them clearly distinct) under his #305. I've split a lot of them, but in the case of the Ritchie songs, I lump them because they have many of the same words plus tunes which, while not identical, look as if they might have come from the same original. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Ritchie-SingFam, pp. 238-239, "[May Day Carol]" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Ritchie-Southern, p. 52, "The May Day Carol"; p. 86, "Cambridgeshire May Song" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  4. ADDITIONAL: Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #18, "Song of the Mayers" (1 text)
  5. Roud #305
  6. BI, JRSF238


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1928 (de la Mare)
Keywords: religious ritual carol
Found in: US(Ap) Britain(England)