Then, if ever, come lusty days

What is so rare as a day in May?

Caught on the Our Bastard Language group on Facebook this morning, this Addison cartoon (by Mark Addison Kershaw):

(#1) Sexy springtime (in the northern hemisphere)

Birds are urgently trolling for sex on every street corner and mating shamelessly in the bushes. Plants are flagrantly displaying their female parts, meanwhile spraying the botanical counterpart of semen everywhere. It’s a jungle out there.

Two springtime poems. First, altered significantly in the cartoon,

O, the month of May, the merry month of May,
So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!
O, and then did I unto my true love say,
Sweet Peg, thou shalt be my Summer’s Queen.

[Note. The poem antedates common use of gay in a sexual sense and of green as a symbol of homosexuality (a late 19th-century development), but slang uses of peg ‘penis’ arise at the same same as this poem and in the same social milieu: GDoS has its first cite from the dramatist Fletcher c. 1609, with some memorable later cites — like 1664 Lifting one Leg. / And pulling out his trusty Peg. So if you want a queer reading of the lines, have at it.]

On this poem, from Wikipedia:

The Merry Month of May is a poem by Thomas Dekker (c. 1572–1632), an English Elizabethan dramatist and pamphleteer. ‘The Merry Month of May’ was a part of Dekker’s play, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, first performed in 1599.

The poem is included within Act 3 Scene V of the play. In a scene set in a “french hood”, where people are performing for some of the major characters of the play.

Then the poem alluded to in the title, altered there by perfection becoming lustiness and a shift of month: James Russell Lowell’s The Vision of Sir Launfal:

And what is so rare as a day in June?
…Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
…And over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten

More rising sap.

The cartoonist of #1 is new to this blog. From his website:

Mark Addison Kershaw: I think I was born a cartoonist, but wasn’t cognizant of this handicap until developing an urge to share doodles resembling primitive Thurber drawings in a college newspaper. That led to sporadic and experimental drawing periods in my life intertwined with jobs a sane person would hold, but never stepping too far away from this odd passion.  In my mid-twenties I entered and won a Minneapolis newspaper cartoon contest, and that firmly planted my feet down the cartooning path. Over the years my work has been published in magazines, businesses trade journals, national greeting card companies, newspapers, and in several books for national book publishers. I was honored to win the Green Eyeshade Award for editorial cartooning in a print publication the three years I entered. I was most influenced by my father, James Thurber, Woody Allen, Charles Schultz, Berke Breathed, Bill Watterson, and a host of The New Yorker cartoonists. God was included in this list, but he asked to be taken off.

Another Addison, with a version of the Caveman meme, combined here with a surly teenager / rigid parent theme:


One Response to “Then, if ever, come lusty days”

  1. John Baker Says:

    Also, it may perhaps be worth mentioning that the cartoon’s caption is a reference to the song, “The Lusty Month of May,” from the musical Camelot.

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