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One last poem, as we head out of April and National Poetry Month into May, which has all kinds of other things going on in it.

Elizabethan poet and dramatist Thomas Dekker wrote this poem, which was originally published in The Shoemaker’s Holiday (1600).  Due to his lack of reliable patronage, most of his work has been lost, but Shoemaker’s Holiday is acknowledged as Dekker’s masterpiece.  It’s a portrait of contemporary London life, and like most of Dekker’s work, tends towards the comic and the romantic.

I wonder who the Peg is in the poem.  Peg is a nickname for Margaret – and it must be a character in Shoemaker’s Holiday, though I can’t find any mention of a Peg or a Margaret in the brief Wikipedia synopsis.  Saucy little poem, this.

THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY

by: Thomas Dekker

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.