December, May and

December, May and

A marriage between a young and a much older individual. This disparity was called January and May by Chaucer, January standing for the hoary frosts of old age and May for the young breath of spring. In Chaucer’s The Merchant’s Tale the young girl, May, marries January, a baron aged sixty. This fourteenth-century idea was transformed into December and May by the early 1600s (although January and May survived as well). December, of course, is not only cold but also comes at the end of the calendar year and so may provide a better analogy for late in life. “You doe wrong to Time, enforcing May to embrace December,” wrote Thomas Dekker (The Seven Deadly Sinnes of London, 1606).
See also: and, may