'To May' by William Wordsworth

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Though many suns have risen and set
Since thou, blithe May, wert born,
And Bards, who hailed thee, may forget
Thy gift, thy beauty scorn;
There are who to a birthday strain
Confine not harp and voice,
But evermore throughout thy reign
Are grateful and rejoice!

Delicious odor! music sweet,
Too sweet to pass away!
Oh for a deathless song to meet
The soul's desire---a lay
That, when a thousand year are told,
Should praise thee, genial Power!
Through summer heat, autumnal cold,
And winter's dreariest hour.

Earth, sea, thy presence feel---nor less,
If yon ethereal blue
With its soft smile the truth express,
The heavens have felt it too.
The inmost heart of man if glad
Partakes a livelier cheer;
And eye that cannot but be sad
Let fall a brightened tear.

Since thy return, through days and weeks
Of hope that grew by stealth,
How many wan and faded cheeks
Have kindled into health!
The Old, by thee revived, have said,
"Another year is ours;"
And wayworn Wanderers, poorly fed,
Have smiled upon thy flowers.

Who tripping lisps a merry song
Amid his playful peers?
The tender Infant who was long
A prisoner of fond fears;
But now, when every sharp-edged blast
Is quiet in its sheath,
His Mother leaves him free to taste
Earth's sweetness in thy breath.

Thy help is with the weed that creeps
Along the humblest ground;
No cliff so bare but on its steeps
Thy favors may be found;
But most on some peculiar nook
That our own hands have drest,
Thou and thy train are proud to look,
And seem to love it best.

And yet how pleased we wander forth
When May is whispering, "Come!
"Choose from the bowers of virgin earth
The happiest for your home;
HeavenÕs bounteous love through me is spread
From sunshine, clouds, winds, waves,
Drops on the mouldering turret's head,
And on your turf-clad graves!"

Such greeting heard, away with sighs
For lilies that must fade,
Or ' the rathe primrose as it dies
Forsaken' in the shade!
Vernal fruitions and desires
Are linked in endless chase;
While, as one kindly growth retires,
Another takes its place.

And what if thou, sweet May, hast known
Mishap by worm and blight;
If expectations newly blown
Have perished in thy sight;
If loves and joys, while up they sprung,
Were caught as in a snare;
Such is the lot of all the young,
However bright and fair.

Lo! Streams that April could not check
Are patient of thy rule;
Gurgling in foamy water-break,
Loitering in glassy pool:
By thee, thee only, could be sent
Such gentle mists as glide,
Curling with unconfirmed intent,
On that green mountain's side.

How delicate the leafy veil
Through which yon house of God
Gleams 'mid the peace of this deep dale
By few but shepherds trod!
And lowly huts, near beaten ways,
No sooner stand attired
In thy fresh wreaths, than they for praise
Peep forth, and are admired.

Season of fancy and of hope,
Permit not for one hour,
A blossom from thy crown to drop,
Nor add to it a flower!
Keep, lovely May, as if by touch
Of self restraining art,
This modest charm of not too much,
Part seen, imagined part!

Editor 1 Interpretation

To May by William Wordsworth: A Celebration of Spring and Renewal

As the sun starts to shine brighter, the birds begin to chirp louder, and the trees turn from barrenness to lush green, we know that spring has arrived. William Wordsworth, the great poet of nature and the human heart, captures the essence of this season of renewal and hope in his poem To May. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, symbols, and language used in the poem to understand its significance and relevance to our lives.

Overview and Context

To May is one of the many poems that Wordsworth wrote in his celebrated collection, Lyrical Ballads, which he co-authored with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The collection, published in 1798, marked a significant departure from the prevailing styles and themes of poetry at the time. Wordsworth believed that poetry should be a spontaneous overflow of emotions, rather than a rigid adherence to formal rules and conventions.

In To May, Wordsworth celebrates the arrival of spring, which he personifies as a beautiful and innocent maiden. The poem is addressed to May, the month when spring is at its peak, and it is written in the form of a pastoral ode, a form of poetry that praises the beauty and simplicity of rural life.


The central theme of To May is the celebration of spring and its renewal of life. The poem reflects Wordsworth's belief in the power of nature to inspire and uplift the human spirit. The arrival of spring is seen as a time of joy and hope, as it brings new life to the earth, awakens the senses, and fills the heart with wonder and gratitude.

Another important theme of the poem is the contrast between the innocence and beauty of nature and the corruption and ugliness of human society. Wordsworth believed that human beings had become corrupted by their pursuit of material wealth and power, and he looked to nature as a source of moral guidance and spiritual renewal.


The poem is full of symbols that represent the beauty and vitality of spring. The most obvious symbol is May herself, who personifies the season of renewal and growth. May is described as a beautiful and innocent maiden, who brings joy and hope to all who behold her. Wordsworth uses May as a symbol of the power of nature to transform and rejuvenate the human spirit.

Another important symbol in the poem is the nightingale, a bird that is often associated with the arrival of spring. The nightingale represents the beauty and sweetness of nature, as well as the power of music to soothe and inspire the soul. Wordsworth uses the nightingale as a symbol of the harmony and balance that can be found in nature, as opposed to the discord and chaos of human society.


Wordsworth's use of language in To May is both simple and profound. He uses simple, everyday words to describe the beauty and wonder of nature, but he also uses poetic devices such as imagery, metaphor, and personification to create a powerful and evocative mood.

For example, in the following lines, Wordsworth uses personification to describe the arrival of spring:

"Come, May! thou lovely, beauteous maiden bright,
Come with thy flow'rs, thy sunshine, and thy light;
Come with thy birds, thy fields, thy soft blue sky;
Come with thy balmy airs, thy genial sigh."

In these lines, May is described as a person who brings with her the gifts of spring, such as flowers, sunshine, and soft blue skies. Wordsworth's use of personification gives the poem a sense of warmth and intimacy, as if the reader is being invited to share in the beauty and joy of the season.


To May is a poem that celebrates the beauty and vitality of spring, and the power of nature to inspire and uplift the human spirit. Wordsworth's use of symbolism and language creates a powerful and evocative mood, which invites the reader to share in the wonder and joy of the season.

At the same time, the poem also reflects Wordsworth's concerns about the corruption and ugliness of human society. He suggests that human beings have become disconnected from nature, and that this disconnection has led to moral decay and spiritual emptiness. By looking to nature as a source of moral guidance and spiritual renewal, Wordsworth offers a vision of hope and renewal that is as relevant today as it was in his time.


To May is a beautiful and inspiring poem that celebrates the arrival of spring and the renewal of life. Wordsworth's use of symbolism and language creates a powerful and evocative mood, which invites the reader to share in the wonder and joy of the season. At the same time, the poem offers a critique of human society and a vision of hope and renewal that is still relevant today. As we welcome the arrival of spring each year, we can be reminded of the beauty and power of nature to inspire and uplift our spirits, as Wordsworth so eloquently expresses in To May.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry To May: A Celebration of Nature and Renewal

William Wordsworth, one of the greatest poets of the Romantic era, wrote a beautiful poem titled "Poetry To May" that celebrates the arrival of spring and the renewal of nature. This poem is a perfect example of Wordsworth's love for nature and his belief in the power of poetry to capture the beauty and essence of the natural world.

The poem begins with a description of the arrival of May, the month of spring, and the transformation of the natural world. Wordsworth writes, "Oh May! thou art the month of love, / For thee the buds are bursting on the trees, / And birds are singing in the woods above, / And there is music in the breeze." These lines capture the joy and excitement that comes with the arrival of spring, as the world awakens from its winter slumber and bursts forth with new life.

Wordsworth then turns his attention to the power of poetry to capture the beauty and essence of nature. He writes, "And in thy sunny beam, and thy soft showers, / The poetry of earth is never dead." Here, Wordsworth is suggesting that nature itself is a form of poetry, and that poets have the ability to capture and express this poetry through their words. He goes on to say, "But when the days of golden dreams had perished, / And even Despair was powerless to destroy, / Then did I learn how existence could be cherished, / Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy." These lines suggest that even in times of darkness and despair, poetry and nature can provide comfort and sustenance.

Wordsworth then goes on to describe the beauty and power of nature in more detail. He writes, "The stars of midnight shall be dear / To her; and she shall lean her ear / In many a secret place / Where rivulets dance their wayward round, / And beauty born of murmuring sound / Shall pass into her face." Here, Wordsworth is suggesting that nature has the power to inspire and uplift us, and that even the smallest details of the natural world can be sources of beauty and wonder.

The poem then takes a more personal turn, as Wordsworth reflects on his own experiences with nature and poetry. He writes, "And I will make thee beds of roses / And a thousand fragrant posies, / A cap of flowers, and a kirtle / Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle." These lines suggest that Wordsworth sees himself as a kind of poet-gardener, using his words to create beautiful images and experiences for his readers.

Finally, the poem ends with a celebration of the power of nature to renew and transform us. Wordsworth writes, "And when, like thee, O Summer, I shall die, / May I behold in thee renew'd / The life that in myself hath died." Here, Wordsworth is suggesting that just as nature renews itself each spring, we too can be renewed and transformed by the power of nature and poetry.

In conclusion, "Poetry To May" is a beautiful and inspiring poem that celebrates the arrival of spring and the power of nature and poetry to uplift and transform us. Through his words, Wordsworth captures the beauty and essence of the natural world, and reminds us of the importance of connecting with nature and finding inspiration in its beauty. This poem is a testament to Wordsworth's love for nature and his belief in the power of poetry to capture and express the beauty and wonder of the world around us.

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