Not to be confused with "led up the garden path," which is an idiom suggesting that one is being deceived or led astray.
An early appearance of the phrase in print occurs in Shakespeare's 1602 play Hamlet (Act I, Scene III), where Ophelia, rebuffing her brother Laertes' insistence that she resist Hamlet's advances, warns Laertes against hypocrisy:
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,And recks not his own rede.
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
- "primrose path - definition by the Free Online Dictionary". Free Online Dictionary. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "What's the origin of 'primrose path'?". The Straight Dope. 2001-08-23. Retrieved 2013-09-24.