Internet Shakespeare Editions



Thresh seed and to fanning, September doth cry,
Get plough to the field and be sowing of rye.

Tusser's verse here is a reminder that the conventional cycle of the seasons-- spring/birth (sowing seed), summer/ prime (growing crops), autumn/ripe age (harvest), winter/death (hibernation)--is less than descriptive of the actual cycle of farming duties. In the autumn there was sowing for the next year to be done, as well as threshing grain from the current harvest.


  1. A bountiful harvest

    Cleopatra describes Antony's generosity in terms of autumn's harvest:

    For his bounty,
    There was no winter in't; an autumn 'twas
    That grew the more by reaping.
    (Antony and Cleopatra 5.2.86-88)

  2. Macbeth expresses regret

    My way of life
    Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf,
    And that which should accompany old age,
    As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
    I must not look to have. . .
    (Macbeth 5.3.22-26)