The fair maid who the first of May
goes to the field at break of day
and bathes in the dew of the hawthorne tree
will ever after handsome be
This nursery rhyme, commonly attributed to Mother Goose, encodes the old country custom of Beltane, or May Day, when young people would wander to the woods and spend the night, bringing back branches of the faery hawthorne tree at break of day to festoon the door lintels of houses.
Calligraphy and painted Celtic knotwork by Cari Ferraro, 1997
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