Ye Attic nymphs, ye Attic swains
Inspired begin your vocal strains —
In accents loud, in accents clear
Charming the delightful ear
Hail, oh hail, the first of May!
Hail young Cupid’s natal day!
Now nature wears her mantle green
And Earth put on her verdant screen
The flowers in varied robes peep forth
And fear no more the biting North
But hail with joy the first of May
The youthful Cupid’s natal day.
Venus at his birth elate
The powers invited to a fête
And each to her in compliment
To the young god some gift present.
Then hail in many a sprightly lay
The smiling Cupid’s natal day.
Their golden points with venom fraught
Apollo first his arrows brought
His bow he unsuspecting gave
Nor ever thought to be its slave
Then joyful hail the first of May
The youthful archer’s natal day!
On harmless turtles, and on sparrows
The urchins first employed his arrows
But bolder grown, at last began
To fix their powerful points in man
Then hail, oh hail, the first of May
Hail young Cupid’s natal day.
This fame now spreading far and wide
The sportive gods his power deride
But all, he quickly doomed to feel
Sharp pangs which Paeon could not heal
No more they hailed the first of May
The youthful archer’s natal day.
And in this month o’er all the rest
He most assails the human breast
And far most sure his arrows course
When wit and beauty lend them force
The oh beware the first of May
The wily archer’s natal day.