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ADD: Singing in the May / Padstow May Day Song

01 May 20 - 05:23 PM (#4049832)
Subject: Lyr Req: Singing in the May
From: Joe Offer

I heard this today - I remember phrases: "summer is a-come," "singing in the May," "Unite! Unite!"

Anybody know this one?


01 May 20 - 05:26 PM (#4049833)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Singing in the May
From: Joe Offer

Here's a start:

The Padstow Night Song
by Anonymous

Unite, unite, let us all unite,
For Summer is a-come unto day
And whither we are going we will all unite
On the merry morning of May.

The young men of Padstow, they might if they would,
For Summer is a-come unto day.
They might have built a ship and gilded her with gold,
On the merry morning of May.

The maidens of Padstow, they might if they would,
For Summer is a-come unto day.
They might have made a garland of the white rose and the red
On the merry morning of May.

Up Merry Spring, and up the merry ring,
For Summer is a-come unto day!
How happy are those little birds that merrily do sing
On the merry morning of May!

01 May 20 - 06:22 PM (#4049853)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Singing in the May
From: GUEST,Starship

Check this link (Mainly Norfolk)

01 May 20 - 11:17 PM (#4049878)
Subject: RE: ADD: Singing in the May / Padstow May Day Song
From: Joe Offer

Here's the lengthy entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Padstow May Day Song

DESCRIPTION: Ritual song, for a hobby-horse, in English or Cornish: "Unite and unite, and let us all unite"..."Rise up, Mrs. __ and gold be your ring/And give to us a cup of ale the merrier we shall sing"..."Where are these young men that now here should dance..."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1860 (Baring Gould MS)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Ritual song, accompanying antics of a hobby-horse; sung in English or Cornish: "Unite and unite, and let us all unite"..."Rise up, Mrs. __ and gold be your ring/And give to us a cup of ale the merrier we shall sing"..."Where are these young men that now here should dance?/Some they are in England and some they are in France"..."Now we fare you well and we bid you all good cheer/We'll call no more unto your house before another year"
KEYWORDS: ritual drink foreignlanguage moniker nonballad animal horse
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South,North))
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Kennedy 86, "Can Cala Me [May Day Song]" (1 text, 1 tune; the notes give a related text and a version of "The Old May Song")
Reeves-Circle 104, "Padstow May Song" (2 texts)
Gundry, pp. 15-17, "May Day Song" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
ADDITIONAL: Bob Stewart, _Where Is Saint George? Pagan Imagery in English Folksong_, revised edition, Blandford, 1988, pp. 129-131, "The Padstow May Song" (1 text, divided into "Night Song," "Day Song," and "Dirge")

Roud #305
Blue Ribbon Hobby Horse Team, "May Day Song" (on FSB9)
People of Padstow, "Padstow May Day Song" (on Lomax41, LomaxCD1741)

cf. "May Day Carol" (subject) and references there
The Old May Song
Cornish May Carol
NOTES [1867 words]: Kennedy's Cornish words are a revivalist translation from the English. - PJS
Some versions of this ask, "O where is Saint George" or equivalent. (The answer being, "He's out in his longboat, all on the salt sea, O.") It's an interesting question: As Stewart notes (p. 62), George was not a natural English saint; Edward the Confessor was long considered England's national saint (indeed, King Edward I was given such an un-Norman name only because his father Henry III revered Edward the Confessor) -- and in Northumbria, Saint Cuthbert was long revered. Saint Dunstan was also popular. Stewart notes that various authors date George's adoption as England's Patron at diverse times from 1220 to 1415.
It should be noted, however, that the tale of "St. George for Merry England" (Briggs, pp. 474-476) makes George a son of the Earl of Coventry. (An odd claim, given that Coventry was not an ancient earldom.)
The best-known version of the legend of George in medieval England would be that in the so-called "Golden Legend." George is #58 in Ryan's edition (pp. 238-242). It calls him a military tribune from Cappadocia. His exploit with the dragon is said to have taken place by a lake near "Silena in the province of Lybia." The dragon demanded two animals -- sheep or humans -- per day, and George arrived when the king's daughter (a king? Inside the Roman Empire?) was to be sacrificed. George hits the dragon with his lance and orders the girl to bind it with her girdle as a leash. He then converts the whole town. (The legend admits that there are variants in the story.)
After that the "Legend" tells how, in the time of the Emperor Diocletian, a "prefect Dacian" started a persecution. (Diocletian's persecution of Christians was the most severe in Roman history.) George therefore quit the army and gave away his possessions. Dacian orders George tortured, and this makes no impression on him. So Dacian calls in a magician to poison him, but the poison fails. So does persuasion. Dacian's wife tells him it is pointless, whereupon the wife too is tortured -- and George tells her that her blood "will be both your baptism and your crown."
George is then sentenced to be dragged through the streets and beheaded. He is said to have prayed that all who asked for his help receive their requests, and a voice from heaven said it would be so. George is then executed -- and lightning strikes and kills Dacian.
Stewart remarks that the Catholic church in 1969 effectively de-sanctified George, demoting him to local status only. This is frankly logical, since the records of his works, and even of his existence, are slight. As early as 494 C.E., Pope Gelasius had declared that George was "one of those saints whose names are justly revered by men but whose works are known only to God" (Alexander, p. 253). Chadwick, p. 155, thinks "the" Saint George is George of Lydda, a soldier -- but also thinks that his history has been mixed up with that of the Arian Bishop George of Alexandria (martyred 360), and that much of the tale of Saint George comes from the martyrdom of this heretic! Benet, p. 970, declares this to have been disproved, however, and the revised fourth edition of Benet, which shortens the entry on George (p. 393) does not even mention it. Similarly Hole, p. 104, declares that this story "carries within it the seeds of its own refutation." The story apparently was popularized by Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Hole, p. 106).
OxfordCompanion, p. 412, says that George was martyred at Lydda in Palestine in the fourth century, with the first signs of reverence in the sixth century. It suggests that the story of George and the Dragon is "a reminiscence of Perseus and Theseus" -- a statement that seems very likely, since the story is that the dragon, which was terrorizing a kingdom, demanded the daughter of the king as a meal, and George killed the beast instead (Alexander, p. 253). Eventually this fight came to be associated with Dragon Hill in Berkshire (Alexander, p. 254). Hole, p. 110, confesses that we do not know when he came to be known as a dragon-fighter, but the two had certainly been linked by the twelfth century. It is only with the Golden Legend, however, that we see George actually fighting the dragon, as opposed to defeating it by prayer.
George was not the only victim of Diocletian's persecution -- in Britain, saints Alban, Aaron, and Julius of Caerlon were said to have suffered (Hole, p. 105). Alban's story was particularly interesting, in that he had to make a miraculous river crossing to reach his own place of execution, and his executioner went blind as he struck the fatal stroke (DictSaints, p. 6). But that wasn't enough to make him Britain's patron saint.
OxfordCompanion adds that George was the patron of the Order of the Garter, founded by Edward III in 1348. It has met on April 23, St. George's day, ever since, except for a brief interruption during the reign of Edward VI (Hole, p. 116, who thinks Edward disliked St. George. There were also orders devoted to George in Aragon and Prussia; Hole, p. 115). Simpson, p. 105, says that Edward III added St. George's name to the English battle cry during the siege of Calais at about the same time. This doubtless helped make him popular in England.
Hole, p. 115, says that he was certainly England's patron saint by the time of the Battle of Agincourt (1415). It is possible that his cult is older; a legend eventually arose that Richard I had called upon St. George during the siege of Acre in the Third Crusade (Saul, p. 93; Hole, p. 114). Hole, p. 115, says that several of his alleged relics were brought to Europe following the First Crusade. And Hole, p. 103, says that George's legend was known in the time of the Venerable Bede. But Saul, p. 171, says that the evidence of Richard introducing George's cult into England is weak.
Simpson, p. 105, says that George was celebrated by a guild in Norwich by 1389, and they had equipment for an elaborate pageant by 1408. George's feast day was made an official holiday in 1415 (reign of Henry V). Alexander, p. 253, suggests however that he gained his fame at the time of the Third Crusade, since a soldier-saint would appeal to the British crusaders. We know that Richard III supported his cult in the 1480s (Saul, p. 195).
According to Simpson, p. 106, by 1532 the girl George rescued was reputed to be St. Margaret -- i.e. St. Margaret of Antioch, whose dates are unknown but who was a pagan converted to Christianity who was oppressed by her father and who was swallowed by a dragon which later threw her up (DictSaints, p. 152). This is the only St. Margaret associated with a dragon, although the ties with George are at best tenuous (and Simpson maintains Margaret was fictitious, which makes it interesting that Jean Darc once claimed to have heard her...). Margaret, like George, was found in the famous Golden Legend (Simpson, p. 107), one of the earliest printed books in English, so that may have cemented the link.
Alternately, Simpson, p. 115 (and preceding pages) mentions a sort of a "hobby dragon" tradition parallel to the hobby horse. She hints that this would cause Saint George the Dragon Slayer to be attracted to hobby horse celebrations.
Stewart, p. 63, is of the opinion that George is based on a pagan deity. This is perhaps an elaboration of the link to Perseus. But on p. 68, Stewart rings in fertility deities such as the Green Man. This is somewhat more logical than the other -- the Greek name "George" means "farmer." So he is associated with agriculture -- but hardly as a fertility deity!
It is curious to note that Greene, p. 227, observes that only one early carol about George has been preserved for us (it is Greene's #62, p. 124, beginning "Enfors we us with all our might To love Seynt Georg, Owr Lady knyght"). But he is hardly more popular in recent folk song. Could he have been less popular with the folk than the nobility?
Englebert, pp. 28-29, declares, "St. George suffered martyrdom at Lydda in Palestine shortly before the accession of the Emperor Constantine. These words contain all we certainly know of him whom the Greeks call 'the great martyr....'" He supposedly was celebrated in the east by the fifth century, and his cult reach France by the sixth. Oxford was celebrating him in 1222.
As mentioned above, Benet, p. 970, calls George a soldier in Diocletian's army, killed in 304, and the revised edition cuts this. The explanation of George and the Dragon also changes; the first edition, pp. 970-971, links it to various tales of Christian heroes slaying dragons, including the account in the Revelation to John of the Dragon (Greek d?a???, drakon) who contests with God in chapter 12 and after, and who is cast out of heaven by Michael in 12:7. The revised edition, while mentioning this, also brings in (Perseus and) Andromeda.
Finally, both editions of Benet mention that the Red Cross Knight in Spenser's Fairie Queene is Saint George.
Adding all this up, I wonder if the reference in this song is not to Saint George the (mostly fictional) saint but to Saint George's Banner, one of the naval flags. This would explain why Saint George was "out in his longboat." Although Stewart has an explanation for that, too -- or, rather, two of them. On p. 66, he thinks Saint George is to be identified with the brother in the bottomless boat of "Edward" [Child 13]. On p. 67, he suggests that the bottomless boat that we have no actual reason to believe Saint George is in is in fact a sacrifice to the mother deep. I leave it to you to decide how to apply Occam's Razor to that.... Somewhat more likely is Kennedy's suggestion that it is associated with St. George's Well near Padstow.
Since we're talking ancient legends anyway, another thought I had is that St. George being in his longboat might somehow be a confusion with the legend of Joseph of Arimathea, plus some subset of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany floating to England after being driven out of the Holy Land.
Greene, pp. 9-10, would have us believe that the song must go back at least to the time of the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, because of the lines, "Where are the French dogs that made so great a boast, O, They shall eat the grey goose feather, And we will eat the roast, O." The goose feathers do sound like clothyard arrows, of course -- but as far as beating the French goes, the Napoleonic Wars are much more recent.
Alexander, p. 134, has what strikes me as the most likely explanation of all. "There can be little doubt that the 'Obby 'Oss goes back to some long-forgotten pagan ritual but over the years the locals grew frustrated at not knowing the reason for their great day and several explanations evolved. The most popular is that a French warship attempted to raid Padstow in the fourteenth century when most of the men of the town were away at the siege of Calais [i.e. 1346-1347]. Some quick-thinking person rushed a hobby horse to the harbour, where the French thought it was the Devil come to protect the Cornish and turned about with all speed."
With that sort of hypothesis floating around, is it any wonder that the song got a bit strange too? - RBW
  • Alexander: Marc Alexander, A Companion to the Folklore, Myths & Customs of Britain, Sutton Publishing, 2002
  • Benet: William Rose Benet, editor, The Reader's Encyclopdedia, first edition, 1948 (I use the four-volume Crowell edition but usually check it against the single volume fourth edition edited by Bruce Murphy and published 1996 by Harper-Collins)
  • Briggs: Katherine Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, Part A: Folk Narratives, 1970 (I use the 1971 Routledge paperback that combines volumes A.1 and A.2)
  • Chadwick: Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (being volume I of The Pelican History of the Church), Pelican, 1967
  • DictSaints: Revd. Philip D. Noble, editor, The Watkins Dictionary of Saints, Watkins Publishing, 2007
  • Englebert: Omar Englebert, The Lives of the Saints, translated by Christopher and Anne Fremantle, Penguin, 1995
  • Greene: Richard Greene, editor, A Selection of English Carols, Clarendon Medieval and Tudor Series, Oxford/Clarendon Press, 1962
  • Hole: Christina Hole, English Folk Heroes: From King Arthur to Thomas a Becket, 1948? (I use the 1992? Dorset Press reprint)
  • OxfordCompanion: John Cannon, editor, The Oxford Companion to British History, Oxford, 1997
  • Ryan: Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, translated by William Granger Ryan, Volume I, Princeton University Press, 1993 (I use the 1995 Princeton paperback)
  • Saul: Nigel Saul, The Three Richards: Richard I, Richard II and Richard III, Hambledon & London, 2005
  • Simpson: Jacqueline Simpson, British Dragons, 1980; second edition with new introduction, Wordsworth/Folklore Society, 2000
  • Stewart: Bob Stewart, Where Is Saint George? Pagan Imagery in English Folksong, revised edition, Blandford, 1988
Last updated in version 5.0
File: K086

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Oss, Oss, Wee Oss

Unite and unite and let us all unite
For summer is a-come unto day
And wither we are going, we will all unite
In the merry morning of May

With a merry ring and now the joyful spring
O give us a cup of ale and the merrier we will sing

The young men of Padstow, they might if they would
They might have built a ship and gilded it all in gold

The young women of Padstow, they might if they would
They might have built a garland of the white rose and the red

Where are those young men that now here should dance?
For some they are in England and some they are in France

O where is St. George?
O where is he o ?
He's out in his longboat
All on the salt sea-o
Up flies the kite
Down falls the lark-o
And Ursula Birdhood she had an old ewe
And she died in her own park-o

With a merry ring and now the joyful spring
So happy are those little birds and the merrier we will sing

from the May celebration at Padstow, Cornwall
@ritual @Cornish
filename[ CORNMAY

Popup Midi Player

01 May 20 - 11:44 PM (#4049879)
Subject: ADD: Padstow May Song - Morning
From: Joe Offer

104 Padstow May Song


Unite and unite, and it’s all how white,
For summer is a-come in to-day
And whither we are going we all will unite
In the merry morning of May.

I warn you young men every one
To go to the greenwood and fetch your may home.

Arise, Master.. . and joy you betide,
And bright is your bride that lies by your side.

Arise, Mistress . . . and gold be your ring
And give us a cup of ale that merrier we may sing.

With the merry sing and now joyful spring,
How happy are the birds that merrily do sing.

Arise, Master. . . with your sword by your side,
Your steed is in stable awaiting you to ride.

Arise, Master. . . for I know you well and fine,
You’ve a shilling in your purse, I wish it were in mine.

Arise, Miss. . . and strew all your flowers,
It is but a little while since we strewed ours.

With the merry sing and now joyful spring,
How happy are the birds that merrily do sing.

Arise, Master. . . and reach me your hand
And you shall have a lovely lass with a thousand pounds in hand.

Arise, Miss. . . from out of your bed,
Your chamber shall be spread with the white rose and red.

Arise, Miss. . . all in your smock of silk,
And all your body under as white as any milk.

Where are the young men that now here should dance?
Some they are in England and some are in France.

Where are the maidens that now here should sing?
They are all in the meadows a flower gathering.

For the merry sing now the joyful spring,
How happy are the birds that merrily do sing.

The young men of Padstow they might if they wold,
They might ha’ built a ship and gilded her with gold.

The maidens of Padstow they might if they wold,
They have made a garland and gilded it with gold.

Now fare you well and we wish you good cheer,
We will come no more unto your house until another year.

For the merry sing now the joyful spring,
How happy are the birds that merrily do sing.

Source: The Everlasting Circle: English Traditional Verse from the MSS of S. Baring-Gould, H.E.D. Hammond, & George B. Gardiner, edited by James Reeves (© James Reeves, 1960 - published by Heinemann) - pp 205-206, #104 A

Notes: Baring-Gould Version A ‘Taken down from the singing of the man who dances the Hobby Horse’

01 May 20 - 11:56 PM (#4049880)
Subject: RE: ADD: Singing in the May / Padstow May Day Song
From: rich-joy

I know this is not the same song (and it was written by Dave Webber), but it is a firm favourite amongst folkies in Oz and my friends and I in the Top End would always carouse with it around May 1st.   In the Top End it helped herald in "The Dry" season, whereas in SE Qld where I now live, this year May 1st (yesterday!) brought us an intense chill, warning of The Winter to come!

Here is a version of Dave's "May Song" (aka HAIL, THE FIRST OF MAY) by Magpie Lane, with some great pics too :

And a CV19 Mayday has been disruptive for Morris Dancing rituals everywhere (e.g. Dancing Up the Sun, at dawn on Mayday).
Here is a blog reporting the issues, from Qld, ending with a song by the lovely Nicole Murray of Cloudstreet called "Let Winter Begin" :

Down Under

PS   Joe, if this is not the correct thread, feel free to move it :)

02 May 20 - 12:03 AM (#4049882)
Subject: ADD:Padstow May Song - The Day Song
From: Joe Offer


Awake St George, our English knight,
For summer is a come, and winter is a go.

Where is St George and where is he O?
He’s down in his long boat upon the salt sea O.

For to fetch summer home, summer and may O,
For summer is a come, and winter is a go.

Where are the French dogs that make such boast O?
They shall eat the goose feathers and we’ll eat the roast O.

Thou mightst ha’ shown a knavish face, or tarried at home O,
But thou shalt be a cuckold and wear the horns O.

Up flies the kite, down falls the lark O,
Aunt Ursula Birdwood, she had an old ewe.
Aunt Ursula Birdwood, she had an old ewe,
And she died in her own park long ago.

Source: The Everlasting Circle: English Traditional Verse from the MSS of S. Baring-Gould, H.E.D. Hammond, & George B. Gardiner, edited by James Reeves (© James Reeves, 1960 - published by Heinemann) - pp 206-207, #104 B

02 May 20 - 12:07 AM (#4049883)
Subject: RE: ADD: Singing in the May / Padstow May Day Song
From: Joe Offer


B-G Version A ‘Taken down from the singing of the man who dances the Hobby Horse’
Version B ‘Taken down from the man who dances before the hobbyhorse’, n.d. Chorus (‘For to fetch. . .‘) repeated after each stanza

These two songs, corrupt and confused as they are, are part of the May celebrations at Padstow in Cornwall. Written and pictorial records do not go back very far, but students of comparative anthropology have established that the Padstow celebrations are one manifestation of a fertility ritual which goes back to pre-Christian times, survivals and revivals of which are found in many parts of the world. They are perhaps the most purely Dionysian survival to be found in Britain, incorporating a dance-mime of undisguised sexual significance. It was these rites which the first Christian missionaries discovered all over Britain, and which the Roman Church attempted to come to terms with, either by suppression or by conversion to Christian uses. It was indeed the success of the pre-Reformation church in adapting pagan practices to the Christian calendar which later drew down upon these practices the furious denunciations of reformers who believed them to be of popish origin.

The central figure in the Padstow rites, as in other similar survivals, is the wild horse, the black, demonic vegetation-spirit and embodiment of male fertility, known in various parts of Britain as the Hobby Horse. This is not in origin the same as the hobby horse of the morris dance, but the two became confused. Tracing the connections between the several British manifestations of the ritual horse at Padstow and elsewhere, Violet Alford says:
    ‘All these animals are of the magical sort. They represent a wild not a domestic horse; they snap, they bite, they seize devotees; some die or fall to pieces; all are closely bound up with fertility of the earth and of humankind, made of bits of plough, sieves, corn, maize; they pursue women; they visit the entire town, they undergo rain charms.’ (JEFDSS, 1939.)
The Padstow rites, like the words of the songs that accompany them, have become corrupt; bits of them have been curtailed, suppressed, or forgotten; revived in other forms or replaced by new interpolations. In essence, however, May Day was a general holiday, a rejoicing for the defeat of winter by summer, a Saturnalia as Baring-Gould called it, to be enjoyed by all classes alike.

At the time when he wrote, the Maypole had disappeared, though it was lat revived. This had been supplied on May Eve by the local shipwrights, by whom it was erected in the middle of the town. It was then decorated with gulls’ eggs, garlands, and ribbons. At night the eight men (the ‘pairs’ or ‘peers’) whose duty it was to attend the hobby would gather at the principal inn and, after a hearty supper, would go round the outlying farms singing what is variously called the ‘Night song’ and the ‘Morning song’. The ‘Day song’ was sung on the morning of May Day. The horse itself was led from its stable on May morning by the ‘pairs’, to the music of a drum and fife band and the noise of pistol-shots. The leader of the hobby men was the club-man who danced in front of the horse, sometimes in woman’s attire, luring it on to prance and curvet, to snap its jaws and give a mimic display of exultant virility. It was led to a place outside the town known as the Treator Pool, where it was made to drink. This subjection of the creature to a rain charm still further ensured its efficacy as a bringer of fertility. It was then led triumphantly back through the town, accompanied by singing and shouting people, and ran wild among the onlookers, chasing the women and girls. During the day song it was at one point made to lie down as if dead, and was revived by the caresses of the girls, who endeavoured to attract it to them. At times during the long history of the ritual, the hobby was daubed with tar or soot; and the marking of a woman with black was powerful fertility magic.

The significance of the two May songs which belong to the Padstow rites is obvious enough in general, though details are obscure. In the morning song the omitted names of Master and Mistress So-and-so were supplied according to the householder who was being serenaded. In Baring-Gould’s time the gathering of flowers and garlands with which houses, and sometimes heads, were bedecked took place during the days preceding May 1st. Flowers were freely ‘stolen’ from near-by gardens, and such ritual theft was regarded as lucky. In earlier times the gathering of flowers and garlands would no doubt have taken place during the small hours of May morning.

The mention of the ship of gold refers, locally, to the ship-building trade, and traditionally to the ship of plenty associated with Ceres or Demeter, the Earth Goddess in whose honour the May rites were originally performed.

In the day song the reference to the French dogs is doubtless a patriotic interpolation due to local pride in associating Cornishmen with the repulsion of invaders. The enemy, originally winter, was thought by the singers to be the national foe of the time.

Faced with the stanza about ‘aunt Ursula Birdwood’, the commentator choose one of three courses: either he can regard it as a nonsensical corruption of something now lost; or he can follow Lucy Broadwood into the intricacies of German mythology and regard it as a reference to St Ursula, whose cult was substituted by the Church for that of the Earth Mother in parts of Europe (see FSJ 20, 1916); or he may suspect a more or less ribald allusion to some local personage long forgotten. With respect for Lucy Broadwood’s profound scholarship and her knowledge of Teutonic anthropology, I am nevertheless inclined to adopt the third interpretation. See note on ‘Aunt Mary Moses’ in The Hal-an-Tow (p. 547).

Source: The Everlasting Circle: English Traditional Verse from the MSS of S. Baring-Gould, H.E.D. Hammond, & George B. Gardiner, edited by James Reeves (© James Reeves, 1960 - published by Heinemann) - pp 206-207

God, I love this book....

02 May 20 - 05:01 AM (#4049901)
Subject: RE: ADD: Singing in the May / Padstow May Day Song
From: MoorleyMan

All of the above is true, but I suspect Joe you tuned in to the same session yesterday morning as I did (yes?), and may have heard the song which is correctly titled Singing In The May, written by Mike O'Connor, which has the words "Unite, unite" as its refrain. I can post the lyric later if you wish, just need to access the file...

02 May 20 - 05:09 AM (#4049902)
Subject: RE: ADD: Singing in the May / Padstow May Day Song
From: MoorleyMan

Here you are, Joe - from your description it has to be this one you heard yesterday! (Someone beat me to singing it cos i was further back in the queue!)

Singing In The May (Mike O’Connor)

The street was hushed, the listening stars were bright,
The church clock chimed at twelve o’clock midnight,
And as its echoes died, voices at my side
In unison replied: “Unite, unite”.

Singing in the May, Singing in the May,
(Repeat last line of verse, eg:)
In unison replied: “Unite, unite”.

I heard familiar voices in the crowd,
Soft but clear this song they sang aloud;
From many miles away, old friends seemed to say:
“Let all upon this day unite, unite”.

Then voices we had thought to hear no more
From generations that had gone before
With us seemed to sing, these words re-echoing:
“As Summer follows Spring – unite, unite.”

And from the narrow streets came this reply,
Across the harbour to the starlit sky,
As children yet unborn sang in the new May morn,
To welcome Summer’s dawn – unite, unite.

And from the town the rising voices cried
That all should be as one, whate’er betide;
Now Winter-time has gone, the wheel of life rolls on,
For Summer is a’come – unite, unite.

02 May 20 - 07:36 AM (#4049925)
Subject: RE: ADD: Singing in the May / Padstow May Day Song
From: Steve Shaw

He's a lovely chap is Mike. He's a grand fiddle player too (if Mike reads this, I'm the Bude harmonica man!) No Bude Folk Festival this year either, sadly.

I live a short drive from Padstow. If you ever get there, buy a pasty at the Chough Bakery on the harbour front and eat it al fresco, risking the gulls snatching it from you. What a treat. Sadly, the 'Obby 'Oss day on May Day didn't happen this year. The tune of the song is all you hear all day! I love Steeleye's stomping version of the song. The second line is quite often rendered as "summer is a come in today" or similar. I think that "summer is a come unto day" is more likely, though I speak absolutely without authority!

02 May 20 - 07:54 AM (#4049927)
Subject: RE: ADD: Singing in the May / Padstow May Day Song
From: Herga Kitty

Mike O'Connor is Mudcat's Crowdercref, though I haven't seen any posts from him for a while. He's written lots of brilliant songs, and I have a very fond memory of him hiding in the Admiral's bathroom on HMS Victory on Kendall Morse's birthday in 2011 to surprise him with Carrying Nelson Home, performed by the author and composer!


03 May 20 - 08:04 AM (#4050101)
Subject: RE: Padstow Mayday
From: GUEST,akenaton

My old uncle had his front teeth kicked out by an 'oss who's 'oofs he was attending...…"nivir trust thae bastards" he would say.

01 May 24 - 02:20 PM (#4201882)
Subject: RE: ADD: Singing in the May / Padstow May Day Song
From: Joe Offer

A good day to refresh this.

01 May 24 - 05:18 PM (#4201890)
Subject: RE: ADD: Singing in the May / Padstow May Day Song
From: Hesk

Thank you Joe. I enjoyed listening to this.