Flowers in the Arts

The Origin of April Showers Bring May Flowers

March 9, 2015

april-showers-bring-may-flowers-tulipsOnce April 1st comes around, it’s time to take out of storage those rain boots, umbrellas, ponchos and of course – vases for your spring flowers. The age-old saying “April Showers Bring May Flowers” still holds true today. But just how did this fun saying originate? Today we’re diving into the history of this poem and prepping for the rainy months ahead of us!

April Showers Bring May Flowers: A History

The poem as we know it today originated all the way in 1157, in the form of a short poem written by Thomas Tusser. The poem can be found in the April section of a collection of his writings titled, “A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry.” The poem goes as follows:

“Sweet April showers
Do spring May flowers”

While this poem is clearly a direct ancestor to the version we know today, let’s travel back in time a bit further to the end of the 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:

origin-of-april-showers-bring-may-flowersOriginal:

“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;”

While Chaucer speaks of April in relation to March rather than April, it could certainly be said that while Thomas Tusser may be the father of this saying, Geoffrey Chaucer is certainly the grandfather.