This week is the official beginning of spring and I, for one, am ready!
Spring has sprung is an expression that I had never researched and is not in any of my books. I had a lot of fun tracing this one down!
Many attribute this to the poem “Spring in the Bronx,” which is anonymous, despite claims that it was written by Ogden Nash. It is sometimes called “Spring in Brooklyn” and has different versions.
Sierra Madre News, a California newspaper, Friday, May 30, 1932, page 2 has the phrase as we know it in a song titled “Rustic Spring Song” by Bailey Millard which begins:
“Oh, spring has sprung
Out in the sticks.
And it has brung
Joy to the hicks”
Then on March 22, 1939 in The Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, has this version, later adapted in New York City because of the Bronx dialect, titled “Sol’s Sunshine and Shadow.”
“Spring is sprung,
Duh grass is riz
I wonder where dem boidies is.
Duh little boids is on duh wing —
But dat’s absoid:
Duh little wing is on duh boid.”
I wondered if it appearing in the Ogden newspaper may have been when the mix-up occurred in authorship.
An even earlier poem, “Spring Song,” appeared on page 42 of a book titled “Poems and Pictures” by Charles Thomas Duvall, published in 1914. Every verse ends with “That gentle Spring” has “Sprung.”
But the earliest citation of the phrase that I found is in The Public Daily Ledger, a Maysville, Kentucky newspaper, on page 2 of the Tuesday April 30, 1903 edition, where it is in quotes in an advertisement for Hechinger and Co., a tailor. The quotation marks meant it was already in use at that time, but likely recently coined.
“Is there anything to the fact that “spring has sprung” home to every man and boy more forcibly and joyfully than a well-fitting and well-tailored spring suit?”
If you have a phrase you would like to see featured here, please text Stan at 931-212-3303 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.