Spring, the season of rejuvenation and rebirth, has captured the imagination of writers and poets throughout the centuries. Here are ten quotes about Spring from books and poems that have been written over a time frame of more than six hundred years by some of the most influential writers the world has ever known.
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
Excerpt from Great Expectations, Chapter 54 – Charles Dickens (1812-1870) – is regarded as, perhaps, the greatest Victorian author and, unlike many of his peers, enjoyed immense fame during his lifetime.
“Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote/The droghte of March hath perced to the roote…” (‘When in April the sweet showers fall/ That pierce March’s drought to the root and all…’)
Excerpt from the General Prologue, lines 1-2, of the Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1342/3-1400) – Considered to be the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, the Canterbury Tales being his most well known work.
Chaucer has been given the accolade of ‘Father of English Literature’ and is the first writer to have been buried in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey. Contrary to popular belief , it was not due to his fame as a poet, but, because he was Clerk of the King’s Works.
Almost two hundred years later, Edmund Spenser (1553-1598), author of The Faerie Queen, requested to be buried close to Chaucer, and so began the literary memorial area that has become known as Poets’ Corner.
“She turned to the sunlight /And shook her yellow head, /And whispered to her neighbour: /‘Winter is dead’.”
Excerpt from When We Were Very Young – A A Milne (1882-1956) – English Author best known for his world-famous Winnie the Pooh.
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Excerpt from Meditations Divine and Moral (1664) – Anne Bradstreet (c.1612-1672) – Poet and Author. She was one of the most well known of the early English Poets of North America and is renowned for being the first author to have work published in England’s North American colonies.
“Yes, I deserve a Spring – I owe nobody nothing.”
Excerpt from The Diary of Virginia Woolf: Volume 5 1936-1941 – Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) – Considered to be one of the most important 20th century modernist and feminist English authors.
“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
Excerpt from Ode to the West Wind – Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) – One of the major English Romantic Poets who only gained recognition posthumously. His second wife, Mary Shelley, wrote Frankenstein.
“From you have I been absent in the spring,/When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,/Hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
Excerpt from Sonnet 98 – William Shakespeare (1564-1616) – A poet, playwright and also actor in his own plays. He is regarded as one of the greatest English writers of all time and is also known as The Bard (of Avon).
Despite his fame next to nothing is known about Shakespeare’s personal life and there’s only one known contemporary description about him by his friend and fellow playwright, Ben Jonson: ‘He was indeed honest, and of open and free nature…There was ever more in him to be pardoned.’
“I wandered lonely as a cloud/That floats on high o’er Vales and hills,/When all at once I saw a crowd,/A host, of golden daffodils…”
Excerpt from I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud written in 1804 – William Wordsworth (1770-1850) – He helped found, what was to become, the English Romantic movement with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, when they co-wrote Lyrical Ballads with a Few Other Poems in 1798.
“O Spring has set off her green fuses/Down by the Tamar today,/And careless, like tide-marks, the hedges,/Are bursting with almond and may…”
Excerpt from The Seasons in North Cornwall from Collected Poems 1951-2000 – Charles Causley (1917-2003). A Cornish schoolmaster, poet and writer who spent most of his life in his beloved Launceston.
“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”
Excerpt from An Opinionated Gardener – Geoffrey B. Charlesworth (1920-2008) – Born in a Yorkshire mining village and emigrated to US in the 1950s. He won a scholarship to Cambridge where he was recruited by Alan Turing to join the code breakers at Bletchley Park.