Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Poems and Songs.
V. The Raising of the Maypole
By Eliza Cook (1818–1889)
 
MY own land! My own land! Where Freedom finds her throne-land,
  Fair thou art, and rare thou art to every true-born son.
Though no gold ore veins thee, though no grape-juice stains thee,
  We’ve harvest fields, and quartered shields, well kept and nobly won.
    And we have pleasant tales to tell,        5
    And spots in many a native dell,
    Which we may prize and love as well
      As Troubadour his story.
    The lilting troll and roundelay
    Will never, never pass away,        10
    That welcomed in the herald day
      Of Summer’s rosy glory.
    And goodly sight of mirth and might,
    In blood that gained us Cressy’s fight,
    Was hearts and eyes, all warm and bright        15
      About the high and gay pole;
When flower-bedight, ’mid leaves and light,
Shouts echoed it—as it reared upright—
Of—“Hurrah for merry England, and the raising of the Maypole!”
When the good old times had carol rhymes,        20
With morris games and village chimes;
When clown and priest shared cup and feast,
And the greatest jostled with the least
  At the “raising of the Maypole.”
 
My brave land! my brave land! oh! may’st thou be my grave-land;        25
  For firm and fond will be the bond that ties my breast to thee.
When Summer’s beams are glowing, when Autumn’s gusts are blowing,
  When Winter’s clouds are snowing, thou art still right dear to me.
    But yet methinks I love thee best
    When bees are nursed on white-thorn breast,        30
    When Spring-tide pours in—sweet and blest—
      And Mirth and Hope come dancing!
    When music from the feathered throng,
    Breaks forth in merry marriage-song,
    And mountain streamlets dash along,        35
      Like molten diamonds glancing!
    Oh! pleasant ’tis to scan the page,
    Rich with the theme of bygone age;
    When motley fool and learned sage
      Brought garlands for the gay pole;        40
When laugh and shout came ringing out,
From courtly knight and peasant lout,
In, “Hurrah for merry England, and the raising of the Maypole!”
When the good old times had carol rhymes,
With morris games and village chimes;        45
When clown and priest shared cup and feast,
And the greatest jostled with the least,
  At the “raising of the Maypole!”
 
 
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