Sunday, February 7, 2010

Two Poems for Hill Country: Months of the Year by Coleridge and Ellis

Posted by Terry Thornton

Today two poems by English authors are presented. Each writer attempts to describe the twelve months --- one takes one-hundred twenty-three words and the other takes only twelve words. Both poems are widely quoted --- both are widely used as examples --- but I've never seen them together.

Sara Coleridge, daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, wrote The Months. Compare her words to the older sparsely worded poem by George Ellis (who also used the wonderful pseudonym of Sir Gregory Gander), The Twelve Months.

The Months
Sara Coleridge (1802 - 1852)

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes loud and shrill,
Stirs the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs,
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children's hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gilliflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit,
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Fresh October brings the pheasant,
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

George Ellis (Sir Gregory Gander) clearly identified the months also with his one word description of each in this widely quoted small poem, The Twelve Months.

The Twelve Months
by George Ellis (1753 - 1815)

Snowy, Flowy, Blowy,
Showery, Flowery, Bowery,
Hoppy, Croppy, Droppy,
Breezy, Sneezy, Freezy.

I do believe that Snowy has continued into Flowy this year although here in the Deep South signs of Spring are rustling if you know where to look and take some time doing it.


Coleridge, Sara. The Months. Pretty Lessons in Verse for Good Children; With Some Lessons in Latin in Easy Rhyme. London: John W. Parker and Son. 5th Edition. 1853. Pages 9 - 10.

Coleridge, Sara. Wikipedia. Click to access.

Ellis, George. The Twelve Months. A Book of Quotation, Proverbs and Household Words by W. Gurney Benham. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company. 1907. Page 123.

Ellis, George. Your Daily Poem. Click to access.

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