Pretending to go a Maying

The new piece the Cantabile
Renaissance Band
played last night was by Thomas
Morley
from the Triumphs
of Oriana.
This is a collection of madrigals by most of the
famous composers of the day (1603). They must have been the sort
of music that was played for Queen Elizabeth when she went to
visit her nobles to keep them spending their money on
conspicuous consumption rather than on raising armies to rebel
against her.

You can read what I said about the music on the
Serpent Publications Blog
, but we found the words
interesting as well, particularly the lines:

A Prince,
of beauty rich and rare,
for her delighting,
Pretends to goe a Maying,

We weren’t quite sure what that meant. One idea that occured
to us during the beer-drinking part of the meeting, where we
were discussing our gardens, was that it wasn’t May, but the
prince had too much zucchini in his garden, so he was leaving
them on his neighbors’ doorsteps and ringing the doorbell and
then running away.

Another idea I had was that it was the kind of Maying that led
to teenage pregnancy that he was pretending to do, which the
Queen wouldn’t have really wanted to do, but might have enjoyed
having a beautiful man pretend to want to do it with her.

In any case, your guess is at least as good as mine, so feel
free to leave your ideas in the comments.

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