Table of Contents
The poem is quite lyrical and induces joy in the reader as the poet talks about spring and new opportunities. The poem creates vivid imagery of the spring season and makes us feel about the beauty of nature. This poem also brings attention to the connection between nature and life.
About the poet
Thomas Nashe was a prominent Elizabethan dramatist, poet, satirist, and pamphleteer. He was baptized in November 1567 and lived until approximately 1601. Summer’s Last Will and Testament and The Unfortunate Traveller are two of his best-known compositions. A song from Thomas Nashe’s Summer’s Last Will and Testament is titled “Spring, The Sweet Spring.” A significant role in the evolution of English Renaissance theatre was played by the play Summer’s Last Will and Testament. Nashe collaborated on his other theatrical works; this play was the only one he authored alone. In the pastoral drama Summer’s Last Will and Testament, many individuals represent the four seasons.
The poem has three stanzas with each stanza consisting of 4 lines except the third stanza which consists of 5 lines. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter.
Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king, Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in ring, Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing: Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-wee, to-witta-woo!
The stanza begins with the poet comparing the spring season with all the other seasons and declaring the spring season the “king” of all the seasons. The poet calls the spring ‘sweet’ because it brings joy and sweetness to everybody’s lives. In the spring season, everything is blooming and all the people are celebrating while dancing. In the spring season, the cold does not bother anybody and does not sting either, while the pretty birds are also singing. The final line of the stanza mimics the birds’ song, “Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!” This line, which will act as a chorus, makes the reader think of the sounds made by owls, lapwings, nightingales, and cuckoos.
The palm and may make country houses gay, Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day, And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay: Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-wee, to-witta-woo!
Everybody is enjoying the spring season and the celebrations that come with it. Little lambs “frisk and play” in this pastoral setting, bringing enthusiasm and vitality to the picture.
In addition, everyone appears happy as they sing in the countryside (“the shepherds pipe all day”). The arrival of springtime fills everyone with delight and happiness. The birds sing their joyful song once more, “And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay.” Similar to the preceding verse, the final line introduces the chorus as the birds singing. The sounds that these creatures make seem to be mimicked by this choir. “Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!” sings the birds.
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-wee, to-witta-woo! Spring, the sweet spring!
The significance of spring is introduced in the final stanza. “The fields breathe sweet,” the poetic voice adds. Here, the landscape is personified, suggesting that the fields and their blooms (the daisies kiss our feet) are what revitalize nature. Everyone is welcome to visit this beautiful area, from “young lovers” to “old wives.” The lyrical voice connects spring to a season when people meet and feel incredibly excited and in love by referring to young couples. Since “these tunes our ears do greet,” happiness can be observed “In every street,” suggesting that everyone is impacted by this happy mood.
The poetic voice ends with the words, “Spring, the sweet spring!” This poem’s opening repetition highlights the point that the poet’s tone has been making throughout the stanzas.
In this lovely ode to spring, the poet personifies the season as a happy ruler over nature’s regeneration, crowned as “the year’s pleasant king.” The air turns pleasant, flowers bloom, maidens dance in circles, and the delightful songs of “pretty birds,” such as the well-known cuckoo song “Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-wee, to-witta-woo!” appear. This lighthearted theme recurs frequently in the poem, emulating the joyous chirping of springtime.
After that, the poem presents us with a colorful tapestry of images and sounds. Country homes are adorned with flora (“The palm and may make country houses gay”), lambs run through the meadows, and shepherds play their pipes to entice the view. Everywhere, the sound of birdsong creates a “merry lay,” broken up by the constant sound of the cuckoo’s call.
The natural world itself turns into a comforting and joyful place. Fields “breathe sweet,” and as we go, flowers “kiss our feet” softly. Romantic moments are pilfered by youthful couples, who even “old wives a-sunning sit,” soaking in the warmth. Every street is filled with the joyful sounds of spring, reminding us of the season’s global appeal.
The poem ends with a straightforward but impactful cry, “Spring, the sweet spring!” The poem’s concluding phrase, which celebrates the season’s capacity to transform and uplift all living things, captures its essence.