Corinna's Going A-Maying
by Robert Herrick
Corinna's Going A-Maying Theme of Man and the Natural World
If Christianity is an inside religion—churches, monasteries, saying prayers round the kitchen table—then May Day paganism is definitely an outside religion. It exists to welcome in the spring, and it's no surprise that this poem is bursting at the seams with nature.
But there's a lot going on here. In the first two stanzas, nature is personified into powerful mythological gods and goddesses who control the weather, passage of time, and all growing things. But in the next three stanzas, nature takes a back seat to a horde of busy villagers who are out scrambling across the countryside to pick, weave, trim, and decorate nature into artistic submission. May Day doesn't just sit in a pew and passively worship the glory of spring; it jumps in with gardening gloves and clippers. It's craft time.
Questions About Man and the Natural World
- What is the community's relationship with the natural world?
- Why does the speaker talk so much about nature?
- What is the effect of giving the natural world human characteristics, like making flowers weep?
- Is love more natural outside or inside?
Chew on This
May Day is a celebration of the power of the natural world.
May Day is a celebration of respectful human power over the natural world.