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Head nod to history and the saying “April showers bring May flowers”

April 30, 2019 – Washington Co., WI – April showers bring May flowers.

A common saying and timely this week as neighbors across Washington County have watched yellow daffodils gather along white picket fences and the grass turn a lush green.

An effort to trace the seasonal phrase led to a number of answers:

  • In 1557, a man by the name of Thomas Tusser compiled a collection of writings he called “A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry.” In the April husbandry section, he wrote:

    Sweet April showers

    Do spring May flowers

 

  • Fourteenth Century, where legendary poem Geoffrey Chaucer had his own say on the month of April in his famous collection of stories titled, “The Canterbury Tales.” Chaucer’s version goes as follows:

Original:

“Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;”

Translation:

“When in April the sweet showers fall
That pierce March’s drought to the root and all
And bathed every vein in liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;”

Image result for april showers bring may flowers, 1960 vintage card

 

  • According to George Latimer Apperson’s “Dictionary of Proverbs,” we can trace the phrase “April showers bring May flowers” to an 1886 saying — “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers” — which might have even deeper roots in a 1610 poem.

April showers bring May flowers,
That is what they say.
But if all the showers turned to flowers,
We’d have quite a colourful day!

There’d be bluebells and cockleshells,
Tulips red and green,
Daffodils and Chinese squill,
The brightest you’ve ever seen.

Garden Lounge 3

You’d see tiger lilies and water lilies,
Carnations pink and blue,
Forget-me-not and small sundrop
Glistening with the dew.

We’d have fireweed and milkweed
And many more different flowers.
Mexican star and shooting star,
Falling in the showers.

And if all the showers turned to flowers
On that rainy April day,
Would all the flowers turn to showers
In the sunny month of May?

All that being said…. the Washington County community has received quite a bit of rain the past two days. Feel free to jot down your rainfall totals.

Photo courtesy Good Housekeeping magazine, with poem details courtesy Petal Talk, U.S. Army, and Quora.com

 

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