naughty old will

Seven (soon to be Eight) has been learning (again – is it just me or do the same lessons crop up again and again every year?) about the seasons and the months of the year, and so there has been lots of talk about the first day of spring, the first day of summer, how long do the seasons last and what are they for, what if there were more than four of them, etc. Then tonight we were reading a book together and there was mention of Shakespeare, the main character, a little boy, taking Shakespeare to mean something about shaking a spear.

“But what is Shakespeare really?” Seven then asked.

“William Shakespeare is probably the most well-known playwright in the English language.” I don’t know if he got it, but he let me go on with the story. And then, after he was all tucked into his bed, I came downstairs to see if I could find something by Shakespeare to show him in the morning. I could have sworn I remembered a nice, accessible spring-themed poem by Shakespeare.

Spring
By William Shakespeare

When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
Cuckoo;
Cuckoo, cuckoo: Oh word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
And merry larks are plowmen’s clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
Cuckoo;
Cuckoo, cuckoo: Oh word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

Or maybe not. I can see where that conversation would go, and fast. I think I’ll go with the “Song of the Witches” from Macbeth. He already knows about witches; cuckolds not so much.

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About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
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