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Cornish Midsummer Bonfire Song Post by :Strychnine Category :Poems Author :Unknown Date :May 2011 Read :603

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Cornish Midsummer Bonfire Song

(The very ancient custom of lighting fires on Midsummer-eve, being the vigil of St. John the Baptist, is still kept up in several parts of Cornwall. On these occasions the fishermen and others dance about the fires, and sing appropriate songs. The following has been sung for a long series of years at Penzance and the neighbourhood, and is taken down from the recitation of the leader of a West-country choir. It is communicated to our pages by Mr. Sandys. The origin of the Midsummer bonfires is fully explained in Brand's Popular Antiquities. See Sir H. Ellis's edition of that work, vol. i. pp. 166-186.)


The bonny month of June is crowned
With the sweet scarlet rose;
The groves and meadows all around
With lovely pleasure flows.

As I walked out to yonder green,
One evening so fair;
All where the fair maids may be seen
Playing at the bonfire.

Hail! lovely nymphs, be not too coy,
But freely yield your charms;
Let love inspire with mirth and joy,
In Cupid's lovely arms.

Bright Luna spreads its light around,
The gallants for to cheer;
As they lay sporting on the ground,
At the fair June bonfire.

All on the pleasant dewy mead,
They shared each other's charms;
Till Phoebus' beams began to spread,
And coming day alarms.

Whilst larks and linnets sing so sweet,
To cheer each lovely swain;
Let each prove true unto their love,
And so farewell the plain.


(The end)
Anonymous's poem: Cornish Midsummer Bonfire Song

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