Text: Elizabeth S. Swift, “First of May”, Atlantic Souvenir for 1830, 1829, pp. 324-325


[page 324:]


THERE is music on the breeze,

From a thousand tiny throats;

And amid the blossom’d trees,

The wild birds pour their notes;

The rivers flow along,

With a murmur like a song;

But alas! I am sad, I am sad.

There's perfume on the air,

From the early budding flowers;

Bright, beautiful, and fair,

They gem the woodland bowers,

Of every hue and dye,

To tempt the vagrant eye;

But alas! I am sad, I am sad.

’Tis the sunny first of May,

She is tripping on the earth,

To the wild bird's joyous lay;

Fresh flowerets hail her birth, [page 325:]

And with fragrant kisses greet

The coming of her feet;

But alas! I am sad, I am sad.

For the birds and perfumed flowers,

And the waters glancing bright,

But remind me of those hours

Of exquisite delight —

That lang syne first of May

With its glorious array,

When ah! I was glad, I was glad.

The friends my spirit loved,

Were wandering by my side;

Whilst through the woods we roved,

Or watch’d the waters glide

In white and glittering foam,

To their far off ocean home;

And ah! I was glad, I was glad.

But time hath all things changed,

Those blessings all have flown;

The absent and estranged

Have left my heart alone;

Then how can I be gay

On this merry first of May?

Ah no! I am sad, I am sad.



This poem was originally published anonymously, and erroneously attributed to Poe by Charles Bromback in 1917. It was expressly rejected by T. O. Mabbott in 1969, but without knowing who the actual author was. The poem was reprinted and attributed to Elizabeth S. Swift in The Female Poets of America, edited by Thomas Buchanan Read, in 1852, fifth edition, pp. 124-125.


[S:0 - AS, 1829] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Rejected - First of May (E. S. Swift, 1829)