Friday, March 18, 2016

Two Delightful Signs of Spring in Regency England

Are you seeing the signs of spring where you are? Here, daffodils and crocuses are blooming (even if the wild bunnies are eating the latter before they can bud). Tulips are poking up, my camellia has the loveliest pink blossoms, and the forsythia is a blaze of yellow. But when I was in England a few years ago, I noticed a two different signs of spring than I am used to in the Pacific Northwest. And they would have been seen in the Regency as well.

1.      Daffodils. Yes, I have daffodils in my flower bed, but in England it’s common to see them naturalized, raising their golden heads from every grassy nook and across wide fields. They certainly inspired the poet, William Wordsworth, who wrote about them from the Lakes District in 1807.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
 Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

2.     March hares. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, anyone? Even though that book by Lewis Carroll was first published in 1865, young lords and ladies in Regency England would have heard the saying, “Mad as a March hare.” European hares, or brown hares as they are often called in England, do appear a bit mad this time of year as they hop about during mating rituals. With a top speed of 45 miles an hour, they are England’s fastest land animal. Apparently, the lady uses her back legs to force away overly amorous gentlemen. Though approaching endangerment today, they were far more numerous in the 1800s. Even when they aren’t mating, these creatures have been known to jump hedgerows— forwards and backwards! Now, that’s a sign to watch for!

Any interesting signs of spring in your area?


Helena said...

The daffodils are out everywhere now, and some of the flowering trees are blossoming. The birds are much more vocal, too. It does feel like spring now!

Regina Scott said...

How pretty, Helena! I heard birdsong for the first time yesterday. Made me smile. There were few songbirds on the east side of the mountains where I used to live, so it's a treat to hear them on the west side.

QNPoohBear said...

Spring birds, buds on trees and a March snowstorm! All signs of spring in southern New England. I haven't seen any rabbits yet. They usually come out on summer evenings to nibble on the grass.

Regina Scott said...

Yes, I was watching the Weather Channel a few minutes ago, QNPoohBear, and thinking of you and Marissa our other 19Teen friends in that area in the snow. :-) Hope it melts away in a quiet manner and lets spring shine through!

Rachel said...

I remember when I was in grad school in England, I'd see a whole field of daffodils and bluebells in the spring. One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

Ah, spring in AL means azaleas and bradford pear trees in bloom. And it seems like every other front yard has one or perhaps both of those things in bloom in their yard :)

Happy Spring!!

Regina Scott said...

Thanks, Rachel! I love azaleas--they grow all over the place here in the Pacific Northwest, but not this early. Things to look forward to!