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Three poems

"The Merry Month of May," "Cradle Song," and "Beauty Arise"

But O, I spy the cuckoo, the cuckoo, the cuckoo
But O, I spy the cuckoo, the cuckoo, the cuckoo

The Merry Month of May

  • O the month of May, the merry month of May, 
  • So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green! 
  • O, and then did I unto my true love say, 
  • Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my Summer’s Queen. 
  • Now the nightingale, the pretty nightingale, 
  • The sweetest singer in all the forest quire, 
  • Entreats thee, sweet Peggy, to hear thy true love’s tale: 
  • Lo, yonder she sitteth, her breast against a brier. 
  • But O, I spy the cuckoo, the cuckoo, the cuckoo; 
  • See where she sitteth; come away, my joy: 
  • Come away, I prithee, I do not like the cuckoo 
  • Should sing where my Peggy and I kiss and toy. 
  • O, the month of May, the merry month of May, 
  • So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green; 
  • And then did I unto my true love say, 
  • Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my Summer’s Queen. 

Cradle Song

  • Golden slumbers kiss your eyes, 
  • Smiles awake you when you rise ; 
  • Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry, 
  • And I will sing a lullaby, 
  • Rock them, rock them, lullaby. 
  • Care is heavy, therefore sleep you, 
  • You are care, and care must keep you ; 
  • Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry, 
  • And I will sing a lullaby, 
  • Rock them, rock them, lullaby. 

Beauty Arise

  • Beauty arise, show forth thy glorious shining, 
  • Thine eyes feed love, for them he standeth pining ; 
  • Honor and youth attend to do their duty 
  • To thee, their only sovereign, Beauty. 
  • Beauty arise, whilst we, thy servants, sing 
  • Io to Hymen, wedlock’s jocund king. 
  • Io to Hymen, Io, Io, sing ; 
  • Of wedlock, love, and youth is Hymen king. 
  • Beauty arise, Beauty arise, thy glorious lights display, 
  • Whilst we sing Io, glad to see this day. 
  • Io, Io, to Hymen, Io, Io, sing ; 
  • Of wedlock, love, and youth is Hymen king. 

Thomas Dekker (c. 1572-1632) was an English poet and playwright who wrote during the Elizabethan period. A contemporary of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, Dekker was versatile and prolific in his output and part of the playwright group known as the Admiral’s Men. While there is scant detail about his early life or birthplace, he is believed to have been a London native. The double consonant in his last name implies Dutch ancestry and his facile use of Latin suggests he received some kind of formal education. Dekker may have slipped into obscurity as far as the lyric canon is concerned, but his words live on today, thanks to the Beatles, who adpted his “Cradle Song” as part of the group’s “Golden Slumbers,” on their 1969 album Abbey Road.

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But O, I spy the cuckoo, the cuckoo, the cuckoo
But O, I spy the cuckoo, the cuckoo, the cuckoo

The Merry Month of May

  • O the month of May, the merry month of May, 
  • So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green! 
  • O, and then did I unto my true love say, 
  • Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my Summer’s Queen. 
  • Now the nightingale, the pretty nightingale, 
  • The sweetest singer in all the forest quire, 
  • Entreats thee, sweet Peggy, to hear thy true love’s tale: 
  • Lo, yonder she sitteth, her breast against a brier. 
  • But O, I spy the cuckoo, the cuckoo, the cuckoo; 
  • See where she sitteth; come away, my joy: 
  • Come away, I prithee, I do not like the cuckoo 
  • Should sing where my Peggy and I kiss and toy. 
  • O, the month of May, the merry month of May, 
  • So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green; 
  • And then did I unto my true love say, 
  • Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my Summer’s Queen. 

Cradle Song

  • Golden slumbers kiss your eyes, 
  • Smiles awake you when you rise ; 
  • Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry, 
  • And I will sing a lullaby, 
  • Rock them, rock them, lullaby. 
  • Care is heavy, therefore sleep you, 
  • You are care, and care must keep you ; 
  • Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry, 
  • And I will sing a lullaby, 
  • Rock them, rock them, lullaby. 

Beauty Arise

  • Beauty arise, show forth thy glorious shining, 
  • Thine eyes feed love, for them he standeth pining ; 
  • Honor and youth attend to do their duty 
  • To thee, their only sovereign, Beauty. 
  • Beauty arise, whilst we, thy servants, sing 
  • Io to Hymen, wedlock’s jocund king. 
  • Io to Hymen, Io, Io, sing ; 
  • Of wedlock, love, and youth is Hymen king. 
  • Beauty arise, Beauty arise, thy glorious lights display, 
  • Whilst we sing Io, glad to see this day. 
  • Io, Io, to Hymen, Io, Io, sing ; 
  • Of wedlock, love, and youth is Hymen king. 

Thomas Dekker (c. 1572-1632) was an English poet and playwright who wrote during the Elizabethan period. A contemporary of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, Dekker was versatile and prolific in his output and part of the playwright group known as the Admiral’s Men. While there is scant detail about his early life or birthplace, he is believed to have been a London native. The double consonant in his last name implies Dutch ancestry and his facile use of Latin suggests he received some kind of formal education. Dekker may have slipped into obscurity as far as the lyric canon is concerned, but his words live on today, thanks to the Beatles, who adpted his “Cradle Song” as part of the group’s “Golden Slumbers,” on their 1969 album Abbey Road.

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