Introduction. This ten-line aubade (a poem with dawn as its subject) also celebrates another beginning, the coming of spring. In this respect, "On May Morning" echoes the theme of Milton's Elegy 5. The poem celebrates youth and innocence and a carefree attitude. As Flannagan asserts, "On May Morning" is similar to L'Allegro in its mirth. It is difficult to pinpoint the date that Milton composed "On May Morning." Most critics reckon that it was written in May, some time between 1639 and 41. While the 1673 edition of this poem is almost an exact copy of the 1645 version, the copytext for this edition is from the 1645 Poems.

bright morning Star. Venus, also called Lucifer (the bringer of light). See Paradise Lost 5. 708.

dayes harbinger. Forerunner. For a similar usage, see Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream3.2.398.

green lap. Flannagan suggests comparing this line with Paradise Lost 9.1041. Also, England has a "green lap" in Shakespeare's Richard II 3.3.49 and 5.2.50.

pale Primrose. This list seems to be a significant echo of Shakespeare's Henry V:

The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth
The freckled cowslip, burnet and green clover.
(5.2.47-48)

Also, see similar lists in Shakespeare's Winter's Tale 4.4.143 and Cymbeline 4.2.281.

our early Song. An aubade: a poem whose subject is dawn.