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Corinna's Going A-Maying

Corinna's Going A-Maying


by Robert Herrick

Corinna's Going A-Maying Theme of Tradition and Customs

Congress is all about creating national holidays (hello Mothers' Day!). But what if your representatives started plotting to destroy national holidays? Pumpkin pie makes people fat? Bye-bye, Thanksgiving. Exchanging cut-out construction paper hearts encourages immorality? Sayonara, Valentine's Day. We'd all be pretty pissed, right? Everyone needs a day off. Plus, holidays aren't just about sleeping in and watching Netflix all day. They're also about getting together with friends and family and celebrating traditions. Uncle Bob's deep-fried turkey? Heck yes.

Herrick feels the same way. Although it doesn't sound very political, "Corinna's Going A-Maying" is actually an in-your-face revolt against the Puritan ban on May Day. Sure, this holiday might get a little naughty around the edges, but at its heart, it's a festival that reinforces community, celebrates nature, and promotes wholesome rustic traditions. Cakes with cream and DIY decorations out of flowering branches? That's the true religion of village life.

Questions About Tradition and Customs

  1. What's the relationship between Christianity and May Day in the poem?
  2. What's the relationship between civic government and May Day in British history?
  3. This festival is very community-oriented. How does that affect the speaker's lust?
  4. Why does the speaker use "sin" in the pagan context of May Day?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Herrick thinks that nature-oriented community traditions should replace Christianity.

Put in its historical context, "Corinna" argues that nature is a more source of power than Parliament.

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