Friday, May 29, 2015

Spring, the sweet spring - Thomas Nashe

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
     Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country horses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
     Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
     Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
          Spring, the sweet spring!

What an outpouring of love for spring Thomas Nashe had!  The birds are singing their cuckoos and to-wiita-woos and the world seems sunny and pleasant for a time.  It's the season of love for young and old, and everywhere you go, the sound of birds.  I seem to have unintentionally made a theme of spring this week, readers, and with how pleasant the weather has been, I think I can see why!  Enjoy it, and this incredibly sunny, springy, joyful poem.


  1. This is the poem that says everything about Spring to me.

    By Gerard Manley Hopkins
    Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
    When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
    Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
    Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
    The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
    The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
    The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
    With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

    What is all this juice and all this joy?
    A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
    In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
    Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
    Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
    Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

    Every Spring I find myself saying 'What is all this juice and all this joy?' and 'Weeds in wheels shoot long and lovely and lush' and most of all the simple put-it-all-out-there statement of the first line.

    I notice that your profile has changed to being a returned traveller. Is that why spring is striking you so strongly, because you are back in your homeland?

    1. Yes, I think you're right to say that's why. Being back in my homeland for seasons that I missed there last year is evocative and I find myself unable to get spring itself out of my mind. Even though the seasons half a world away from home were shockingly similar at times to the ones I grew up knowing, it's different being back with new eyes, so to speak.

      The Hopkins poem is wonderful. I feel similarly about his poem "Spring and Fall to a Young Child" whenever it's autumn. The phrase "Goldengrove unleaving" comes to mind when I see the foliage start to shed. He had an incredible way with memorable phrases.