Arise, Oh Sun!
The 20th century greets midsummer day
in white-robed anticipation.
When ancient druids worshipped in Britain,
Stonehenge was already a ruin, its priests dead and its builders forgotten.
Such is the power of the lintelled sarsens on Salisbury Plain, people still
come to make their own prayers.
If that's not your bag, you could
gather and dry herbs this month.
'Of leaves choose only such as are green, and full of juice, and cast away such as are any way declining, for they will putrefy the rest. Dry them well in the sun (and not in the shade, as the saying of physicians is): for if the Sun draw away the virtues of the herb, it must needs do the like by hay . . . . which the experience of every country farmer will explode for a notable piece of nonsense. Having well dried them, put them up in brown paper, sewing the paper up like a sack, and press them not too hard together, and keep them in a dry place near the fire.'
(Culpeper, English physician 1653)
if, however, you are too lazy to do that,
catch yourself a fairy to do the work for you.
Fairies being particularly active in the period between midsummer and St. Peter's Day, now is a good time to bind them to your service; but if you do see the fairies, be sure you never tell.
(late 17th century)
I know of a long-established way to catch yourself a fairy, which I am willing to
divulge, for a small consideration, naturally.
Or else, you could look it up yourselves in
Elias Ashmole's manuscript, late 17th century.
Whatever you do,
with Midsummer Eve so close,
be sure to keep your house clean.
Farewell, rewards and fairies
Good Housewives now may say
For now foul sluts in Dairies
Do fare as well as they
And though they sweep their hearths no less
Than maids were wont to do
Yet who of late for Cleanliness
Finds six-pence in her Shoe?
Not Me. folks.