Oxford May Song

from by Telling the Bees

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Beautiful cardboard gatefold sleeve designed by Rima Staines, with astrolabe design on CD. Lyrics included.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Steer by the Stars via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

      £10 GBP or more 


  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      £1 GBP  or more



A song about the very wonderful May Morning in Oxford, where people take to the streets at 6am to listen to Madrigals, watch Morris dancers, and dance to the rough music of the Hurly Burly Band.


Arise, arise, greet the break of day-o
For summer is a-comin’ in
In the merry month of May-o

Now Padstow has its ’obby ’oss
And Bristol has its Green Man
But Oxford has two dragons strong
At the centre of this island
Now red and white they have to fight
Each springtime and each fall-o
But when the scarlet dragon wins
The trees they do grow tall-o

The students jump from Magdalen Bridge
And we say let them fall-o
The common man together stands
United one and all-o
The choir sing from Magdalen Tower
And brightly cut the day-o
But we will play our rough music
And celebrate the day-o

So down your tools, don’t go to work
It is a holy day-o
Plant your feet on Oxford’s streets
In the merry month of May-o
And hear the morris dancers crack their sticks together, hey-ho
We will wear the green and dance
In the merry month of May-o

And when the day is done and all the dragons put away-o
Men and maids go to their beds
And celebrate the May-o
So old and young come join our throng
It is a holy day-o
For summer is a-comin’ in
And winter’s gone away-o


from Steer by the Stars, released May 1, 2015
Song © Andy Letcher, arrangement © Telling the Bees 2015



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Telling the Bees Oxford, UK

Telling the Bees are an innovative acoustic band making a unique and original music they call darkly crafted folk.
They met in 2007 at Oxford's legendary Catweazle Club, and as a four piece released two acclaimed albums, Untie the Wind and An English Arcanum. In 2011 they expanded to the current five-piece line-up. Steer by the Stars is their third album.
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