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The Honeire Dance

Midsummer’s on St. John’s Eve


What ho ! what ho ! ‘Tis St.

                   John’s Eve,

          The Summer’s joyous feast;

          Come forth to keep the festival

          Bold yeomarr, peer, and


Some hoary eld and childhood fiar-

          The matronand the maid-

For sun ne’er shone on Saint like John

          Who died by Herod’s blade.

Light up the bonfires on the hills-

          The altars of the sun ;

Light up the fires, while city spires

          Ring out their benizon.

And dance ye deftly round and round,

          Each gleesome nymph and swain ;

Or through the fire-ordeal bound,

          With laugh and jest amain.

Ay ! those were good and gallant times

          When England’s King and Queen,

‘Mid loud huzzas and merry chimes,

          Rode to the jocund scene.

They came with all their brilliant Court,

          And beauteous dames serene,

Nor scorn’d to grace the festive sport

          Upon the blazing green.

Then burst the rebeck long and loud,

          Then rose the choral song ;

Then strove the champions of the crowd

          The wrestlers keen and strong ;

And still upon their stalwart limbs

          The bone feux brightly shone ;

So saith the chronicle which hymns

          The Feast of Good St. John.

Then thro’ the glade, the love-sick maid

          Stole forth with mystic rite,

To see the shade, by fairy aid,

          Of her own true love to-night.

Then simple-minded rustic drew

          Omens of good or ill,

By orpine gather’s ‘neath the dew

          Of midnight calm and chill.

Why laugh we at these times bygone,

          And ridicule our sires,

Who hall’d the Feast of God St. John,

          And danced around his fires ?

Wisdom has loved to seek the heart

          When overwrought the head

And virtue often play’d her part

          In scenes where Frolic led.

Then ho ! come forth ! ‘tis St. John’s eve,

          Come forth !  The glorious sun

Prepares our northern clime to leave,

          And smile more warmly on

The sweet, sweet south ! Then age and


          Come forth, with wife and maid,

For never shone a saint like John,

          Who fell by headsman’s blade.




Dance Poetry
A comprehensive anthology
Edited by Alkis Raftis
Copyright 2012