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* It is difficult to fix the date of the above Tune: but E probably, it alludes to the departure of KING CADWALADR,
when a plague and famine raged in his dominion he failed to Brittany to his cousin Alan, about the year 665..
Or. it may allude to the departure of KING RICHARD the - first (called Coeur de Leon,) when he embarked on the Cru. -sade expedition in 1190.Or it may refer to the victorious HENRY the V. on his lear ing England to go to the battle of Agincourt in the year 1415.
Hoffedd y Brenhin.
F Possibly, the above Tune alludes to King Henry the Seventh,grandson of Owen Tudor, who had experien. ..ced the affection of the Welsh towards him at Bosworth-field; consequently, he reformed those unmerciful laws which were enacted against the Welsh by his predecessors, and granted them a Charter of Liberty and immunity, the same as the English,
ACCOUNT of the CORNISH MAY SONG.
The inhabitants of Cornwall, being a remnant of the Ancient Britons, consequently they still retain . some of their ancient customs, as the Welsh do. This old traditional Ballad is the source of convivia
lity of the inhabitants of the Town and neighbourhood of Helston, in Cornwall, where it is always Sung, and nniversaliy danced ly them, on the eighth of May, when they hail the Summer with peculiar rejoicings; rural re:cry, feftivity, and mirth. The common people call the ceremony FFYNNU, and FFODI; which implies prosperity, and happiness: and others call it, FLORA-day. This custom seems to have originated from the DRUIDS; because, the fruits of the earth are then tender; and to avert their being blast ed, it was usual to return thanks to God for his infinite blessings, and to rejoice at the flourishing prospect of the produce of the Earth; which was generally celebrated on the sixth day of the new moon*
The custom now is this: at break of day, the commonalty of HELSTON go into the fields and woods to gather all kinds of flowers, to decorate their hats and bosoms, to enjoy the flowery meads,and the che. ruping of the birds: and during their excursions, if they find any person at work, they make him ride on a pole,carried on men's shoulders, to the river, over which he is to leap in a wide place, if he can; if he cannot, he must leap in, for leap he must, or pay money. After this rustic sport is over, they. then return to the Town and bring their flowery garlands, or Summer home, (Hawthorn boughs, Sycamore, &c.).
Then they form themselves into various dancing groups, with the lasses, and they jig it, hand in hand all over the town; claiming a right of dancing through any person's house, in at one door, out at the other, and so through the garden; thus' they continue their FFODI, or prosperous song, and dance, until it is dark.
Hail bounteous may, that dost inspire
In the afternoon, the gentry of the place, take their May excursions in parties, and some go to the farm-houses in the neighbourhood to drink Sillabubs, Cider, Tea, &c; and afterwards, they return to the Town in a Morrice-dance; both the Ladies and Gentlenen elegantly dressed in their summer attirement, and adorned with nosegays, and accompanied with Minstrels, who play for the dancers this traditional May-Tune; so they whisk it along all through the streets, and after a few dancing essays, each gentleman leads his partner into the Assembly-room, where there is always a Ball that Evening; and such Bevies of fair women, in their native simplicity, as are rarely to be seen. There they enjoy their happy dance un. til supper time; when they repair to their festive houses to their convivial repasts: thus, the night is crown_ ed with harmony, as well as the day. The inferior classes of the people pass their evening in similar merriment at the public houses, and at other places; which is continued until midnight, with the greatest hilarity and decorum .
To welcome the summer was a very ancient custom among the old Britons, by the number of May Carols, which are still preserved among the Welsh; and indeed, it is an universal custom among most na_ tions. The month of May, among the ancient Romans, was consecrated to Maia, the daughter of ATLAS, and mother of MERCURY. Hall's Chronicle mentions King Henry the eighth, and Queen Catherine's going a maying, from Greenwich to the high ground of Shooters-hill, accompanied with many Lord's and Ladies.
Pfalm 81. Verses 1,2,3. _And Pfalm 149.