British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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May i.]                                may day.                                          233
Such scenes and sounds once blest my eyes And charm'd my ears ; but all have vanish'd.
On May-day now no garlands go,
For milkmaids and their dance are banish'd. See Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden Time, 1855-9;
also Every Day Book, vol. ii. p. 1562.
May-gosling.A writer in the Gent. Mag. (1791, vol. lxi. p. 327) says a May-gosling, on the 1st of May, is made with as much eagerness in the north of England as an April noddy (noodle) or fool on the 1st of April.
" U. P. K. spells May-goslings " is an expression used by boys at play as an insult to the losing party. U. P. K. is up-pick, that is, up with your pin or peg, the mark of the goal. An additional punishment was thus: the winner made a hole in the ground with his heel, into which a peg about three inches long was driven, its top being below the surface; the loser, with his hands tied behind him, was to pull it up with his teeth, the boys buffeting with their hats, and calling out, "Up-pick! you May gosling !" or "U. P. K., gosling in May."*
At Abingdon the children and young people formerly went about in groups on May morning, singing the following carol:
" We've been a-rambling all the night, And sometime of this day; And now returning back again, We bring a garland gay. Why don't you do as we have done
On this first day of May? And from our parents we have come, And would no longer stay.
A garland gay we bring you here,
And at your door we stand; It is a sprout well budded out,
The work of our Lord's hand. Why don't you do, &c.
So dear, so dear as Christ loved us,
And for our sins was slain; Christ bids us turn from wickedness Back to the Lord again.
Why don't you do," &c.
N. & Q 4th S. vol. iii. p. 401.
* See p. 265.
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