Shakespeare loved spring, and April, with its freshness and optimism is the month of which he writes most fondly.
I couldn’t let it go by without a post containing a few of his lines, together with a selection of photographs taken mostly this year in or around Stratford-upon-Avon. I hope you enjoy them.
Such comfort as do lusty young men feel
When well-apparell’d April on the heel
Of limping winter treads, even such delight
Among fresh female buds shall you this night
Inherit at my house.
Romeo and Juliet Act 1 Scene 2
Yet I have not seen
So likely an ambassador of love.
A day in April never came so sweet
To show how costly summer was at hand.
The Merchant of Venice Act 2 Scene 9
He dances, he has eyes of youth…he writes verses, he speaks holiday, he smells April and May. He will carry it.
The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 3 Scene 2
O, how this spring of love resembleth
The uncertain glory of an April day,
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 1 Scene 3
And he wasn’t alone. Nicholas Breton, in his 1626 book Fantasticks, writes this exuberant description of the delights of the month:
It is now April, and the Nightingale begins to tune her throat against May; the sunny showers perfuse the air, and the bees begin to go abroad for honey:…the garden banks are full of gay flowers, and the thorn and the plum send forth their fair blossoms; the March Colt begins to play, and the cosset lamb is learned to butt. The Poets now make their studies in the woods, and the youth of the country make ready for the Morris-dance; the little fishes lie nibbling at the bait, and the porpoise plays in the pride of the tide; the Shepherd’s pipe entertains the Princess of Arcadia, and the healthful soldier hath a pleasant march… The aged hairs find a fresh life and the youthful cheeks are as red as a cherry: It were a world to set down the worth of this month; but in sum, I thus conclude, I hold it the Heavens’ blessing and the earth’s comfort. Farewell.