A lovely girl who married January, an old Lombard baron, sixty
years of age. She had a liaison with a young squire named Damyan, and
was detected by January; but she persuaded the old fool that his eyes
were to blame and that he was labouring under a great mistake, the
effect of senseless jealousy. January believed her words, and “who is
glad but he?” for what is better than “a fruitful wife, and a confiding
(Chaucer: The Marchaundes Tale. Pope: January and May,)
(the month) is not derived from Maia, the mother of Mercury, as
the word existed long before either Mercury or Maia had been
introduced. It is the Latin Maius- i.e. Magius, from the root mag, same as the Sanscrit mah, to grow; and means the
growing or shooting month.
May unlucky for weddings.
This is a Roman superstition. Ovid says, “The common people profess
it is unlucky to marry in the month of May.” In this month were held
the festivals of Bona Dea (the goddess of chastity), and the feasts of
the dead called Lemuralia.
Nec viduæ tædis eadem, nec virginis apta
Tempora; quæ nupsit, non diuturna fuit;
Hæc quoque de causa, si te proverbia tangunt,
Mente malum Maio nubere vulgus ait.
Ovid: Fasti, v. 496, etc.
Here we go gathering nuts of May.
(See Nuts Of May.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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