May Day Carol

DESCRIPTION: 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."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1877 (Bell-Combined)
KEYWORDS: religious ritual carol
FOUND IN: US(Ap) Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Bell-Combined, pp. 386-387, "The Hitchin May-Day Song" (1 text)
Broadwood/Maitland, pp. 98-99, "May-Day Carol" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Williams-Thames, p. 303, "May Song of the Children at Shilton" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Ox 290, "May Song")
BroadwoodCarols, pp. 84-85, "Bedfordshire May Day Carol" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ritchie-SingFam, pp. 238-239, "[May Day Carol]" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ritchie-Southern, p. 52, "The May Day Carol"; p. 86, "Cambridgeshire May Song" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
DT, MAYCAROL MAYCAR2
ADDITIONAL: Percy Manning, "May-Day at Watford, Herts." in Folk-Lore, Vol. IV, No. 3 (September 1893 ("Digitized by Google)), #5 pp. 403-404 "Verses sung by Children at Watford, Herts, on May-Day" ("Here begins the merry month of May") (2 texts)
Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #18, "Song of the Mayers" (1 text)

Roud #305
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Moon Shines Bright (The Bellman's Song)" (lyrics)
cf. "Swinton May Song" (subject)
cf. "Peterborough May Song" (subject)
cf. "Padstow May Day Song" (subject)
NOTES: 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
Last updated in version 3.7
File: JRSF238

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