Queen of the May - aka Bring Flowers of the Rarest

The author and composer of this hymn are unknown:  most sources say that it is English, possibly based on a hymn from the 13th century.   Reliable information about when it was first published has not been found

It is appropriate at May / May-Day celebrations in the Northern Hemisphere.

As well as the traditional hymnal version, there is an alternative set of lyrics which are particularly popular in Ireland.   This version has less-serious words for the 2nd and 3rd verses, and reflects the joy and happiness of May-Day celebrations.  The author is unknown, though some sources attribute it to an un-named Sister of Notre Dame.


Downloads


Traditional version


Alternative version


Examples


Instrumental version, on guitar.

Lyrics

Traditional version

Bring flowers of the rarest
Bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale!

Chorus:
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

Our voices ascending,
In harmony blending,
Oh, thus may our hearts turn
Dear Mother, to thee.
Oh, thus shall we prove thee
How truly we love thee.
How dark, without Mary,
Life's journey would be.

O Virgin most tender,
Our homage we render,
Thy love and protection,
Sweet Mother, to win.
In danger defend us,
In sorrow befriend us,
And shield our hearts
From contagion and sin.

Of mothers, the dearest,
Oh, wilt thou be nearest,
When life with temptation
Is darkly replete.
Forsake us, O never,
Our hearts be they ever,
As pure as the lilies
We lay at thy feet.


Alternative version

Bring flowers of the rarest
Bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale!

Chorus:
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

Their lady they name thee,
Their mistress proclaim thee,
Ah, grant that thy children on earth be as true.
As long as the bowers
Are radiant with flowers,
As long as the azure shall keep its bright hue.

Sing gaily in chorus;
The bright angels o'er us
Re-echo the strains we begin upon earth;
Their harps are repeating
The notes of our greeting,
For Mary herself is the cause of our mirth.

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2 comments:

  1. Hi Maria, thanks for commenting.

    Fr Sydney MacEwan certainly did sing a number of hymns, including Queen of the May. But I haven't found any evidence that he actually wrote any. Have you got a reference to any evidence about his writings?

    ReplyDelete

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