Download The May Queen Study Guide

Subscribe Now

"Call Me Early, Mother, I'm To Be Queen Of The May"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: "The May Queen" is filled with vain young Alice's joyous anticipation of her one-day reign as Queen of the May. Other girls are fair and black-eyed, but none, she exults, "so fair as little Alice in all the land they say." She will "sleep so sound all night" that her mother must wake her with a loud call, to "gather knots of flowers, and buds and garlands gay." She boasts of the sharp look she gave Robin, who must have thought her a ghost, "for I was all in white." She knows her reputation for cruelty, "but I care not what they say." Though Robin is not dying of love, as reported, his heart may be breaking, but "what is that to me?" Many a bolder lad will woo her "any summer day." Her mother, her little sister Effie, and shepherd lads from far away will come to see her crowned. Honeysuckle, cuckoo-flowers, and marsh-marigolds are all in bloom. Night-winds blow and seem to brighten the stars above, and Alice predicts, "There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the livelong day." All the valley will be "fresh and green and still," cowslip and crowfoot will cover the hillside, and the rivulet in the dale below will "merrily glance and play," for Alice is to be Queen of the May. Thus she ends as she began, exulting, and reminding her mother:

So you must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear,
To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year:
To-morrow 'ill be of all the year the maddest merriest day,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.