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Spring, The Sweet Spring by Thomas Nashe
Transcript of Spring, The Sweet Spring by Thomas Nashe
Born and baptized in 1567 in Lowsoft, Suffolk
Son to clergyman
Attended St. Johns College in Cambridge
Father died early 1567, possible reason behind Nashe leaving school
Playwright, poet and satirist
One of the greatest Elizabethan pampleteers
Known for controversy (Harvey Brothers, Menaphon and Marprelate)
History of drinking, smoking and casual sex
Summer's Last Will and Testament
Nashe wrote this when spending the autumn of 1592 with archbishop
Pastoral play where the four seasons are personified and examined through different characters
"Summer" represents Henry VIII's clown Will Summers
Spring represents prodigal son who believes resources should be spent
Showed what many servants went through when asked to clean up the corruption of a kingdom
Summary and Speaker
The poem begins with the speaker praising the beauty and life that Spring produces. The speaker then goes on to celebrate what Spring can represent, such as the start of a relationship.
The speaker is someone who is in the countryside celebrating the arrival of spring
Speaker has low diction
This stanza explains the beauty of nature during Spring using visual imagery
"is the year's pleasant king"
- contrasts with Summer being seen as 'king of the world' because Summer is powerful and Spring is not as much but still considered the most joyous time of the year
"Then blooms each thing"
- represents that nature is at its most beautiful and also represents rebirth
"Then maids dance in a ring"
- shows that people are joyful and celebrating
"Cold doth not sting"
- this means that Winter is ending and Spring is arriving because while it is still cold, it does not "sting"
"The pretty birds do sing"
- creates idea of optimism and contentment
This stanza is, again, focusing on the beauty of nature during Spring
"The palm and may makes country houses gay"
- these are spring festivals and the start of something new
"Lambs frisk and play"
- sense of energy and fresh spirit, mentioning of birth and the start of something new
"Shepherds" and "Birds"
- both of these are making noises, bombarding the reader with sounds of joy and cheer
The final stanza introduces what Spring is symbolic of
"The fields breathe sweet"
- scents of nature are being reborn through daises and fresh fields, also promotes imagery as it makes the reader imagine the freshness
"Young lovers meet
" - makes direct comparison between Spring and love, tying Spring to when lovers meet and thus showing Spring is when romance, excitement and feritility blossom
"In every street these tunes
" - shows joy of spring is not an isolated emotion but instead everyone is alive with music and joy
"Spring, the sweet spring!"
- the last line of this stanza breaks the consistent meter, having 4 syllables total which emphasizes the excitement and cheerfulness Spring brings
More Poetic Devices
: "Cuckooo, jug-jug, pu-wee, to-witta-woo!" - represents the cheery tone of the poem
: "Spring, the sweet spring" and "Cuckoo, jug-jug- pu-wee, to-witta-woo!" - emphasizes the tone and subject of the poem
: "Young lovers meet" - this ties the idea of natural freshness and excitement of spring with the first emotions seen in the beginning of a relationship
Themes and Tone
When something dies, something else is born
Tone is never shifted during the poem
Keeps joyful and excited tone
Speaker is celebrating end of cold and death and arrival of warmth and opportunity
Every line in each stanza (minus last line) rhyme, including the breaks, Ex: spring, king, thing, ring, sting, sing in the first stanza
Considering this is a song, the simple rhyme helps keep the rhythm and have a cheerful type of sound that correlates with what is being told in the song
Last lines "Cuckoo, jug-jug...." stand as the chorus
is consistently 10 except for very last line(4)
Each stanza has a tercet and a single line