Sound the Flute!
Now it's mute.
Birds delight
Day and Night
In the dale,
Lark in Sky,
Merrily, Merrily to welcome in the Year.

Little Boy
Full of joy,
Little Girl
Sweet and small;
Cock does crow,
So do you;
Merry voice,
Infant noise,
Merrily, Merrily to welcome in the Year.

Little Lamb
Here I am;
Come and lick
My white neck,
Let me pull
Your soft Wool,
Let me kiss
Your soft face;
Merrily, Merrily we welcome in the Year.

William Blake, "Songs of Innocence", 1789

Nothing is so beautiful as spring -
       When weeds in wheels shoot long and lovely lush;
       Thrushs' eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightning to hear him sing;
       The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
       The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
       A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.–Have, get, before it cloy,
       Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
       Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

- Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
A spring is a place where groundwater comes to the surface. The earth's crust can have many layers of rock, some porous and some impervious to water. When a layer of impervious rock lies underneath a porous layer, water that has soaked in to the porous part will flow, underground, along the top of the impervious layer. If the level of the ground drops so that the impervious layer is exposed, this water will come out of the ground as a spring.

There are several kinds of springs. Sometimes water is expelled from the earth under pressure, because of the shape of rock layers and channels; in that case it's called an artesian spring. Geysers are another kind of spring. Hot springs occur when groundwater is heated by geothermal activity before coming to the surface. Temperature of the Earth's hot springs varies a great deal -- anywhere from lukewarm to life-threateningly boiling.

This was my longest Spring ever.

There have been years in my life when I’ve entirely missed Spring. I’ve been in one place while Spring was in another. Spring is my favorite time of year (with the exception of Summer), so this seemed exceptionally cruel.

This year seems to have made up for all of that.

It started in the South, of course. After a winter that seemed, as every winter must seem, endless. Come March I was working in Alabama and Florida. Flowers started blooming. Monday there would be no leaves. But by Wednesday there were buds. The following week, leaves on the trees. Great blooms of flowers in lilac trees.

In Florida, ivies started climbing the trees as soon as it was warm enough. A woodpecker couple had a baby in the small patch of forest behind the hotel. The baby spoke a lot – every morning and evening for several weeks. I kept thinking I heard it crying about the loss of habitat to the vines – to the kudzu. But I think in truth it was crying the same thing young woodpeckers always cry. Bring me food. Are you near me? It’s a beautiful day.

Then in South Carolina, home. I thought the Live Oaks in my front yard were dying. I didn’t know, had no idea, that they normally lost their leaves in the Spring. I called an urban forester from the Extension Office to look at it. The tree is sick – they cut through its roots when they put in the septic system – but the leaf loss in the Spring was normal. So I saw my first Spring in Charleston; my new home town. But I was gone, in Alabama, during the biggest storm – a hard long rain that had everyone talking about it four days later when I returned from a business trip.

Last week, I went to Denver. While it’s summer in Florida, Alabama and South Carolina, it is very much Spring in Denver. The first day was warm and the locals spent time standing outdoors, just remembering what warm feels like. The leaves on the trees were young and bright green. The second day was cold, rainy drizzle. Birds were busy, but their young had not hatched yet. And flowers – especially the blue ones along the highways. Wonderful stretches of brilliant blue among the vast expanses of green.

Three months of Spring – this makes up for so many previous years.

Sour Grapes (1921)
William Carlos Williams


O my grey hairs!
You are truly white as plum blossoms.

In spite of the burden of his medical practice and a young family, Williams published four books of verse, Al Que Quiere! (1917), Kora in Hell (1920), Sour Grapes(1921), and Spring and All (1921), that visibly launched him as America's leading modernist. It was throughout the 1920s and 1930s while Williams labored mainly in anonymity during his stint with Robert McAlmom editing Contact where strong ideas arose to bond the earth with the reality of life. Soon the editors of the short-lived publication insisted that art stem from everyday life.

This celebration of the everyday came in part from a response to archaic forms of expression. Early in the century, poets of the movement known as imagism included many American poets. In addition to Pound and Lowell, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) and William Carlos Williams–turned from ideas to things. They endeavored successfully to use a detached depiction of objects in the world, an approach that could truly create a deep emotional response in the reader.

Williams’ work was frequently published in both Pound's and Amy Lowell's Imagist collections of poetry. Hence his first successful poems adhere essentially to the dictates of Imagism. The poems from this period of his life illustrate Williams steadily fashioning his elastic enjambment modes from the unrefined textile of run of the mill Modernist verse. They expose a gathering of distinctive imagery, alongside his desire to prove that he really values them. Words are used to envision short scenes and vivid objects. From time to time they pay homage to Eastern precedents and the subject of living life, love and the nature of truth and beauty, many of which are encapsulated within the metaphor of fruit. Profoundly influenced by Chinese and Japanese poets, Williams composed verse in which the existence of an object took center stage.

In this manner Williams shapes his response to the forces around him and Spring is no exception. Like summer spiders, an autumn moon or the winter bush warbler of the well seasoned haiku. The poet brings to the reader spring plum blossoms. He does a stunning job of putting such a simple sentence before the reader and allowing the mind's eye to clearly place it in an 8 X 10 mental Rolodex.


Original text: "Spring," Sour Grapes: a Book of Poems (Boston: The Four Seas Company, 1921): 58. York University Library Special Collections 4748.

Selected Poetry of William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) :

Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:

William Carlos Williams :

Williams' Life and Career:

CST Approved

A spring is a device that relates force (f) to displacement (x).

Each spring has a constitutive law, expressed as either a graph or an equation, relating f to x.

Most springs are designed to be linear, at least over a certain range. The linear constitutive law of a spring is:
F = kx
where F is the force being applied to the spring, k is the spring constant (the larger k is, the stiffer the spring is), and x is the difference between the current length of the spring and its relaxed length, x0.
This equation is referred to as Hooke's law.

Force and displacement are vectors, meaning they have direction as well as magnitude. Hooke's Law is often written
F = -kx
to emphasize the fact that the force exerted by the spring is in the opposite direction of the spring's motion (displacement).

The force is always the same at both ends of a spring(see: through variable). If the force is positive, the spring is in tension. A negative force means that the spring is in compression.

Likewise, the displacement is positive when the spring is in tension, negative when it is compressed. Displacement of a spring is an across variable.

NOTE: Velocity is not directly related to force for springs. A spring can have a positive force and displacement, and still have a negative velocity.
Consider a stretched spring being allowed to slowly relax. As the spring relaxes, its velocity is negative (it is shortening from end to end), while the force and displacement are still positive until it reaches its relaxed length.

Commentary on Edna St. Vincent Millay's 'Spring'

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Possibly one of the most original seasonally-themed poems I have ever seen, and on a certain level out of character from the rest of Millay's work, Spring is both a philosophical and an artistic triumph. The imagery, cadence and depth of this poem set it apart from other commentary regarding the first season. Here, as in her other poems, Millay expresses herself as a profoundly Christian writer; here, however, her expression of faith is more refined than in many of her other poems. There are a variety of points of interest within this work:

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.

On the surface the poem seems openly cynical or despondent at the very least; it is very reasonable to envision the opening line to be hostile, almost Shakespearean in nature--an aside against the futility of living. When taken in context, however, with the rest of the poem and the underlying moralist bent of Millay's philosophy one may see this segment as a segue into the moral treatise to come later in the poem.

Why is beauty, to Millay, insufficient? One notices in reading the rest of Millay's work that she is an intrinsically transcendentalist writer whose chief pleasure seems to rest in her appreciation of nature. Spring appears to be the result of a crisis of faith, a reevaluation on the part of the author regarding her perception of her place in the world. She can no longer be given solace by the beauty of nature alone, perhaps realizing that the natural world is an impersonal and utterly unromantic force.

You can no longer quiet me. . .

One is again given the impression that whatever naive consolation Millay has found in her friendship with nature has somehow been betrayed. Some pall has been cast over her life; this has brought her to a new view of the world:

I know what I know.

What is it that Millay has come to know? She explains herself in lines 13 and 14. Taking into context her Christian worldview, it is arguable that the subtext of Spring is a rejection of materialism. The unspoken addendum to

Life in itself
Is nothing

seems to be that life requires spirituality to be full; this is a common pattern of thought within Christian philosophy. Millay, however, adds an interesting observation of her own, calling life

An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.

One will notice that it is an object of utility, of purpose; in neither case is life totally without significance. In this sense Millay has maintained her transcendentalism by acknowledging that the material world is a purposeful and often beautiful compliment to our internal lives. Liquid without a cup to contain it is nearly useless; you cannot climb the flaccidity of an unsupported rug. Here she departs further from the apparent fleshly mortification of her thesis; her conception of life does not incorporate the puritanical view that worldly living exists simply to present us with temptations we must deny. Life and Spirituality are complimentary halves of a functional unit to Millay, the maturation of a previous view that life is the path to spirituality. The semantics are minute, yet the resulting philosophical deviation is profound. Millay seems to have developed from the view that our experiences on earth and our appreciation of nature lead directly to the divine; this is very orthodox within the transcendentalist school. In maturation--the starkness of such realization reflected in the poem itself--generates a new philosophy in which a relationship to the divine must be present in order to 'carpet the stairway of life', that is, to make our existence complete. This subtext is underwritten by the somewhat inscrutable intervening passage, in which Millay broods that

It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?

It seems that Millay here utilizes the discrepancy between the most common understandings of the verb 'To be apparent'. On one hand, that which is apparent may be merely visible, a fallible perception; on the other, that which is apparent is obvious. When one dovetails the two meanings of the word one may come to the conclusion that there is only a seeming absence of death--a surface vitality, further criticized in the following lines:

Not only under ground are the brains of men
eaten by maggots.

It seems that Millay here concludes that the significance of such an appearance is nil; even if there is no bodily expiration, it is not merely in death that our identities decompose. This image has several interlocking meanings: discounting the introductory not only one is struck by the inherent bitterness, almost nihilism of Millay's accusation against the workings of the world. That such a marvelous organ as the human brain--and by her use of 'the brains of men', despite historical connotation, she seems to be referring to scholarly men--should fall to ruin and be eaten by larvae affronts her sense of the dignity of the world. It is here and particularly in the tremblingly emotional closing line that one is made aware of the true severity of Millay's revelation. Spring represents not merely a casual realization but a wrenching rearrangement of how a woman views the world--the culmination of what feels as though it were a long and bitter struggle against depression or tragedy. Millay is both enlightened and shattered--her transcendentalism has failed her. Here we are introduced to the second meaning of lines 11 and 12, that the minds of the living may be likewise consumed by maggots. This casts the poem's nature as invective against the agnostic sensualism of the transcendentalist mindset into sharp profile; Millay seems to have determined that a mind divorced from divinity must inevitably fall into decay despite all the appreciation of nature of which it is capable.

Millay's entire conception of nature has changed. Notice the language she uses in lines six and seven:

The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.

A transcendentalist does not observe. To observe is to detach oneself, to make a specimen of a thing. How drastic the removal from the Millay who wrote God's World! Nature is no longer a divinely ordered mandala, a path to enlightenment through sensation; instead it

Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

With this staggeringly good simile, the image of which I can scarcely keep out of my head, Millay has reshaped her worldview. Nature is devoid of reason now, a blithe and uninspired force which blithers and flings its singsong blossoms across the world with neither relevance nor grace. In this shock of recognition, Millay has rebelled against her previous philosophy to such an extent that she is overtly hostile toward the world she so admired--her invective is so sharp that one may well wonder if she will ever quite recover.

I can only wonder what the spiritual struggle of Edna St. Vincent Millay was; it is obvious that she viewed herself as having transgressed in some way, as having lived in spiritual poverty; Millay was hurt, by who or what we can only speculate, and that hurt has put her beyond the consolation of

. . . the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily

And so, indeed, the whole of the world that once gave her so much pleasure.

(Part One of Four)

In Spring, the god at the bottom of the Well slumbered deeply. Shiraz’s father went away as he did every time the currents warmed, leaving Shiraz and Lilith alone for weeks on end to swim and play as they liked. The warming of the waters brought yellowfish and seahorses and silvery shoals of squid laying tangles of eggs in the coral. The seaweed was bright green, the coral itself seemed to brighten, and the fish were endlessly active.

When Shiraz swam all the way to the surface, she saw clouds as dark as octopus ink. Spring had not yet come to the surface world. There were mountains all along the coast, stark piles of stone as high as the Well was deep. There was rain coming down in sheets of cool, fresh water lifted from seas a thousand miles away. Even as she watched, the rain thickened. The coast, with its wonderful mountains, was hidden from her view.

She was enraptured by the rain and the wind, and she was drifting lazily without listening or feeling the currents. The gunboat was almost upon her before she noticed it, and she barely had time to throw herself backwards and kick down hard with her tail when the gunboat came crashing out of the rain. It rushed over her head with inches to spare, and she fought against the turbulence of its passage for a score of seconds before she could push away, safe from the murderous propellers. She kicked out with all her strength, and when she was far enough away she turned to watch the knifelike hull passing overhead.

She blinked. Following the propellers, bucking and biting in the wake of the warship, was a swarm of small, transparent creatures. They were thin, with long glass tails like blades, broad paddle fins, and clawed hands. Their mouths were full of needle teeth, gaping open in evil smiles.

The rain seemed to subside in the boat’s wake, and the surface began to clear up. When she was sure the gunboat was a safe distance away, she surfaced. A shaft of sunlight broke through the clouds, then was swallowed again by the gray dimness.

There was another boat coming, slower than the gunboat. This was a small, white-hulled diving boat, coming from the north end of the sea, heading directly towards the Well. She dove to watch it from beneath the surface, feeling its approach as a pointed wave and a thrumming of engines. Her vision was dull, but she had other senses that were sharper. They told her the size of the boat, its speed and displacement down to the finest details. It was slowing as it neared the Well, and she could tell it was going to stop dangerously close to her home.

She started to swim as fast as she could, angling down towards the floor. Lilith was down there somewhere, probably playing with the octopuses, doubtless paying no attention to her surroundings. Lilith was the reckless one.

Shiraz swam down to the floor, where the corals covered her. Swimming through coral passages, arrowing between schools of fish that darted away from her just before she touched them. Towards the great pool of deepest blue, the blue where the ocean floor dropped away into impenetrable depths. The Well was famous amongst human divers, and they came regularly to see it. Her father had carefully hidden the entrance to their home, but if Lilith was out in the open she would not be protected. And the water in these parts was as clear as crystal - she would be visible almost from the surface.

Just as she had suspected, Lilith was teasing a large eel, waving an octopus in front of its hole to tempt it out of its dwelling.

“Leave it alone. Come into the nest,” Shiraz told her.

“Wait. I’ve almost got this eel,” her younger sister protested.

“Now! There are divers coming.”

With a disgusted face, Lilith released the octopus, which immediately inked and disappeared, changing its colour to exactly the same rosy shade as the surrounding coral. With some reluctance on Lilith’s part, the sisters swam to their grotto’s entrance and hid themselves, waiting for the humans to come.

It was not long before they could feel the wave distortions of the humans swimming down to the Well’s entrance. Shiraz pulled at the greenweed to make sure their grotto was covered, and peered out through the fronds to watch the humans.

There were two of them, swimming several yards apart. They stopped above the Well and looked down, awestruck. One of them seemed frozen. After a few seconds, his partner moved closer and tapped him on the shoulder.

The frozen diver looked around, startled. He spread his arms, fingers flaring to encompass the magnificence. The other diver nodded. Shiraz had seen this exact scene before. The humans were always stunned when they first saw the Well. Divers were used to the floor deepening slowly, gradiating into the benthic depths and giving them time to prepare themselves. The Well was not like that. Here, the floor dropped away without warning, and many of them were simply incapable of entering it. It was too deep, too sudden, too infinitely blue, like a gateway into another world beneath the ocean floor. Of course, none of them realised that it was exactly that.

After a minute or so, the new diver recovered his wits, and they began to descend slowly. The new one hugged the walls, afraid to plunge directly into the azure gateway. Instead he examined the coral and seaweed walls of the hole, watching the schools of unfrightened fish and the polyps with their dazzling colours. The other diver swam away, having reassured himself that the new one would not suddenly lose his senses.

The new one was coming very near their grotto. When he was about twenty yards above them, he stopped to watch an eel in its hole. His face could not be seen, but Shiraz had the sense that he was smiling. Her heart opened to him, just a tiny bit.

Lilith was smiling. “I like this one,” she told Shiraz.

“I thought he wasn’t going to be able to come down.”

They watched him moving slowly downward. Soon he was almost at the entrance to the grotto. Shiraz tensed, never completely sure their home would not be seen through the veils of greenweed. They had always been safe before, but now that the humans came here regularly, she wondered how long it would be before some enterprising diver poked through the camouflage.

“I want him,” said Lilith.


“Please, Shiraz. I haven't had one in ages.”

“You had one last winter,” Shiraz reminded her. “You killed it. You know Father doesn’t like you playing with them. And he’s right.”

“Just this one, Shiri." Lilith was whining now. “The other one won’t know a thing. He’s far away.”

Shiraz sent out a short ping, and found the other diver far beneath them, apparently testing his own willpower by diving as deep as he could. He seemed vaguely familiar. Many of the divers came here only once, but there were some who came back year after year. That thought made up her mind.

“It’s too dangerous, Lilith. If they keep disappearing here -“

But Lilith had already shown herself, and the diver, not sure what he had seen moving inside the greenweed, was brushing the veils aside to look into the grotto. Shiraz saw his eyes widen inside his mask, caught by surprise. She knew what he was thinking. She had played the same tricks herself, when she had been much younger. A quick flash of colour, so brief the divers were never sure if they had actually seen it. Their friends would never believe them. A woman hiding in the coral like an exotic fish, pearly bare skin glittering, without diving gear? They could not believe it. The stories persisted, never fully believed but running like an undercurrent through the seas of their history.

But Lilith was more reckless than Shiraz had ever been. She liked the humans too much to restrain herself, and in the last ten years she had already killed half a dozen of them. She never seemed to remember that they could not breathe underwater. Perhaps she didn’t care. Shiraz could not quite understand her fascination. There were, after all, perfectly good men of their own kind living in the sea. None near the Well, but they were not too far away. There was even one that she was thought might make quite a good mate, when and if the time for that came.

The diver was passing through the curtains of greenweed, his eyes open wide. Lilith was moving towards him, smiling to welcome him into their home.

He tried to say something, muffled by his mouthpiece. Lilith reached him and held him tight where he was. His eyes flared again. They were always surprised by her strength. Shiraz had never seen a human woman, but supposed they must be as soft as jellyfish, judging by the way their men reacted to Lilith.

She was holding him by one arm now, her grip irresistible, and putting a finger to her mouth to hush him. He was flailing and trying to backpedal, utterly unable to pull himself away. Lilith reached out and pulled his mouthpiece away, clamping her lips over his, kissing him. He would be quiet now. He would have done anything for her if he had understood her. But they never understood a word. Shiraz had heard their own speech once or twice at the surface, and it was a monotonous rush of gutturals, unlike any voice of their world. For creatures that looked so much like them, the humans were strangely alien.

He floated helplessly, stunned by her kiss and completely bewildered. Shiraz guessed he was not going to last long, even though Lilith had carefully replaced his breathing gear. He was too confused. He couldn’t have had much experience diving.

Shiraz carefully brushed through the veils and looked out for the diver’s companion. He had just noticed his friend’s absence, and was circling around to find him. Apparently he didn’t remember where he had last seen his partner. That was good.

He began to swim towards the near wall of the Well, but had misjudged his depth. He spent several minutes darting around ineffectively, searching through the combs of coral far below their grotto. Shiraz could sense the panic beginning to grip him. He knew the stories, of course. All the tales of the Well’s infamous dizzying effect, and the whispered stories of other things as well. Of course, he didn’t believe the truth, even though he had heard the rumours. The truth was not believable.

Behind her, Shiraz could hear Lilith amusing herself with her new human, removing and replacing his mask. She knew better than to let him make much noise, but the more time he spent breathing her air the more disoriented he got. Her breath had the power to support him for a short time, but it was not the air he was used to. He was fading rapidly. Shiraz took another look, making sure the other one was nowhere near the grotto’s entrance, than went back to talk to Lilith.

“That’s enough, Lilith. You have to let him go.”

“Why?” Lilith never understood these things. To her the human was just a new toy. Her casual cruelty alarmed Shiraz, but she forced herself to remember that it was not Lilith’s fault.

She had always been like this. And Shiraz had always been looking after her. She had long since grown accustomed to the idea that she would spend her life looking after things - her home, her sister, the god at the bottom of the Well. For one day that, too, would be her responsibility. Her family had guarded the gateway from time immemorial, and one day it would be her turn to share the sleeping god’s dreams and feelings. She would keep it fed and contented. She would groom its barbs and fins, swimming in its dream of First waters and impossibly twisted First creatures. Above all, she would have to make sure it never awoke, never rose, never opened the gateway to the First Sea.

Her father never talked about his duties, but it seemed to Shiraz that looking after the god was a lot like looking after a beautiful, simpleminded, unthinkingly cruel older sister.

“I’m going to take him back outside, so his friend can retrieve him. We can’t let any more humans die here, Lilith.”

Lilith grimaced, but let Shiraz take the diver away. Carefully replacing his protective gear, she dragged him effortlessly through the greenweed and launched him into blue space. He spun slowly, drifting towards the opposite wall. He looked lifeless, but he was still breathing, and hopefully he would recover. With any luck, he would think Lilith had been some kind of dream, or would at least be afraid to mention her to others. It was unlikely that anyone would believe him if he did talk, but it would not do to have any more humans spreading tales of the Well. The surface world was already encroaching on the borders of their little kingdom, with more divers coming every year and boats crossing the surface with increasing regularity. And what could they do if the humans came to the Well in force? They were the gatekeepers. They could never leave.

The diver’s friend saw him and swam down towards him. He waved his hand in front of the other’s mask, shook his arm, and finally put the man’s arm around his shoulders and began to swim him towards the surface.

Spring came and went. The water grew warmer, and fish and squid hatched and were devoured in millions before they ever left their little birthing grottos. Shiraz waited, her sleep haunted by visions of bloodshed.

The god of the Well was dreaming of war.

Blue Summer

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
    Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
    Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
    Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!

Thomas Nashe (1567-1601)from Summer's Last Will and Testament (1600)

Spring (?), v. i. [imp. Sprang (?) or Sprung (); p. p. Sprung; p. pr. & vb. n. Springing.] [AS. springan; akin to D. & G. springen, OS. & OHG. springan, Icel. & Sw. springa, Dan. springe; cf. Gr. to hasten. Cf. Springe, Sprinkle.]


To leap; to bound; to jump.

The mountain stag that springs From height to height, and bounds along the plains. Philips.


To issue with speed and violence; to move with activity; to dart; to shoot.

And sudden light Sprung through the vaulted roof. Dryden.


To start or rise suddenly, as from a covert.

Watchful as fowlers when their game will spring. Otway.


To fly back; as, a bow, when bent, springs back by its elastic power.


To bend from a straight direction or plane surface; to become warped; as, a piece of timber, or a plank, sometimes springs in seasoning.


To shoot up, out, or forth; to come to the light; to begin to appear; to emerge; as a plant from its seed, as streams from their source, and the like; -often followed by up, forth, or out.

Till well nigh the day began to spring. Chaucer.

To satisfy the desolate and waste ground, and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth. Job xxxviii. 27.

Do not blast my springing hopes. Rowe.

O, spring to light; auspicious Babe, be born. Pope.


To issue or proceed, as from a parent or ancestor; to result, as from a cause, motive, reason, or principle.

[They found] new hope to spring Out of despair, joy, but with fear yet linked. Milton.


To grow; to prosper.

What makes all this, but Jupiter the king, At whose command we perish, and we spring? Dryden.

To spring at, to leap toward; to attempt to reach by a leap. -- To spring forth, to leap out; to rush out. -- To spring in, to rush in; to enter with a leap or in haste. -- To spring onupon, to leap on; to rush on with haste or violence; to assault.


© Webster 1913.

Spring (?), v. t.


To cause to spring up; to start or rouse, as game; to cause to rise from the earth, or from a covert; as, to spring a pheasant.


To produce or disclose suddenly or unexpectedly.

<-- to spring a surprise on s.o. -->

She starts, and leaves her bed, amd springs a light. Dryden.

The friends to the cause sprang a new project. Swift.


To cause to explode; as, to spring a mine.


To crack or split; to bend or strain so as to weaken; as, to spring a mast or a yard.


To cause to close suddenly, as the parts of a trap operated by a spring; as, to spring a trap.


To bend by force, as something stiff or strong; to force or put by bending, as a beam into its sockets, and allowing it to straighten when in place; -- often with in, out, etc.; as, to spring in a slat or a bar.


To pass over by leaping; as, to spring a fence.

To spring a butt Naut., to loosen the end of a plank in a ship's bottom. -- To spring a leak Naut., to begin to leak. -- To spring an arch Arch., to build an arch; -- a common term among masons; as, to spring an arch over a lintel. -- To spring a rattle, to cause a rattle to sound. See Watchman's rattle, under Watchman. -- To spring the luff Naut., to ease the helm, and sail nearer to the wind than before; -- said of a vessel. Mar. Dict. -- To spring a mast ∨ spar Naut., to strain it so that it is unserviceable.


© Webster 1913.

Spring, n. [AS. spring a fountain, a leap. See Spring, v. i.]


A leap; a bound; a jump.

The prisoner, with a spring, from prison broke. Dryden.


A flying back; the resilience of a body recovering its former state by elasticity; as, the spring of a bow.


Elastic power or force.

Heavens! what a spring was in his arm! Dryden.


An elastic body of any kind, as steel, India rubber, tough wood, or compressed air, used for various mechanical purposes, as receiving and imparting power, diminishing concussion, regulating motion, measuring weight or other force.

⇒ The principal varieties of springs used in mechanisms are the spiral spring (Fig. a), the coil spring (Fig. b), the elliptic spring (Fig. c), the half-elliptic spring (Fig. d), the volute spring, the India-rubber spring, the atmospheric spring, etc.


Any source of supply; especially, the source from which a stream proceeds; as issue of water from the earth; a natural fountain.

"All my springs are in thee." Ps. lxxxvii. 7. "A secret spring of spiritual joy." Bentley. "The sacred spring whence and honor streams."

Sir J. Davies.


Any active power; that by which action, or motion, is produced or propagated; cause; origin; motive.

Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move The hero's glory, or the virgin's love. Pope.


That which springs, or is originated, from a source; as: (a) A race; lineage.

[Obs.] Chapman. (b)

A youth; a springal

. [Obs.] Spenser. (c)

A shoot; a plant; a young tree; also, a grove of trees; woodland

. [Obs.] Spenser. Milton.


That which causes one to spring; specifically, a lively tune.


Beau. & Fl.


The season of the year when plants begin to vegetate and grow; the vernal season, usually comprehending the months of March, April, and May, in the middle latitudes north of the equator.

"The green lap of the new-come spring."


Spring of the astronomical year begins with the vernal equinox, about March 21st, and ends with the summer solstice, about June 21st.


The time of growth and progress; early portion; first stage.

"The spring of the day."

1 Sam. ix. 26.

O how this spring of love resembleth The uncertain glory of an April day. Shak.

11. Naut. (a)

A crack or fissure in a mast or yard, running obliquely or transversely.


A line led from a vessel's quarter to her cable so that by tightening or slacking it she can be made to lie in any desired position; a line led diagonally from the bow or stern of a vessel to some point upon the wharf to which she is moored.

Sir, pray hand the spring of pork to me. Gayton.

-- Spring pin Locomotive Engines, an iron rod fitted between the springs and the axle boxes, to sustain and regulate the pressure on the axles. -- Spring rye, a kind of rye sown in the spring; -- in distinction from winter rye, sown in autumn. -- Spring stay Naut., a preventer stay, to assist the regular one. R. H. Dana, Jr. -- Spring tide, the tide which happens at, or soon after, the new and the full moon, and which rises higher than common tides. See Tide. -- Spring wagon, a wagon in which springs are interposed between the body and the axles to form elastic supports. -- Spring wheat, any kind of wheat sown in the spring; -- in distinction from winter wheat, which is sown in autumn.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.