Study Guide

Spring (Shakespeare) Speaker

By William Shakespeare


As we mentioned in the "In a Nutshell" portion of the program, this poem is actually a song sung at the end of Shakespeare's play Love's Labour's Lost. It's never entirely clear who sings it exactly, but we know it's a member or members of the cast from the play within Love's Labour's Lost. The play within a play's performance is interrupted before the big finale. Still, they don't want to let these musical numbers go to waste, so they ask the attending king if just the concluding songs can be performed. The king agrees and the players, divided between Winter and the Spring, rush out and begin.

Is all this confusing? You bet. Does it really matter if we know exactly who is singing this song? Nope. At this point, it's all about the song, not the singer. However, being that this is the "Speaker" section, here's what we can tell about the singer of this song:

First off, he (or she) sure knows his flowers and his birds. He does lots of namedropping to prove that he's totally down with nature. If he just repeated the generic "bird" and "flower" every time one came up, this song would be a real drag. He also seems to know a good deal about outdoor work like shepherding and plowing. We picture this speaker as an outdoorsy type, someone well-acquainted with the ways of rural life and living. There's no way some city slicker would know the names of so many flowers and birds. City folks only know pigeons and roses, right?