Different use of a word...

Hello all,
I'm a singer studying a piece of music by John Ireland, the song I'm taking a look at is Dante Gabriel Rossetti's poem "English May". (I really don't know who he is either, so there's no pressure to come off as a history buff). In the music, at the end of the phrase, there's a funny usage of a word, and I haven't quite figured out what he's trying to say:

But here the hedgerows pine from green to grey
While yet May's lyre is tuning, and her song
Is weak in shade that should in sun be strong:
And your pulse springs not to so faint a lay.

Does anyone know what he means here? One of my problems is that 'lay' is usually a verb, but the structure of the sentence clearly indicates that the word is supposed to be a noun. sigh
Any knowledge about Rosetti's use of old English terms in this poem would be immensely appreciated.

Thank you!

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