Roses are red
|"Roses are red"|
The most common modern form of the poem is:
- Roses are red,
- Violets are blue,
- Sugar is sweet,
- And so are you.
- It was upon a Sommers shynie day,
- When Titan faire his beames did display,
- In a fresh fountaine, farre from all mens vew,
- She bath'd her brest, the boyling heat t'allay;
- She bath'd with roses red, and violets blew,
- And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.
- The rose is red, the violet's blue,
- The honey's sweet, and so are you.
- Thou are my love and I am thine;
- I drew thee to my Valentine:
- The lot was cast and then I drew,
- And Fortune said it shou'd be you.
Victor Hugo was likely familiar with Spenser, but may not have known the English nursery rhyme when, in 1862, he published the novel Les Misérables. Hugo was a poet as well as a novelist, and within the text of the novel are many songs. One sung by the character, Fantine, contains this refrain, in the 1862 English translation:
- We will buy very pretty things
- A-walking through the faubourgs.
- Violets are blue, roses are red,
- Violets are blue, I love my loves.
The last two lines in the original French are:
- Les bleuets sont bleus, les roses sont roses,
- Les bleuets sont bleus, j'aime mes amours.
(Les Misérables, Fantine, Book Seven, Chapter Six)
Numerous satirical versions have long circulated in children's lore. Among them:
- Roses are red.
- Violets are blue.
- Onions stink.
- And so do you.
- Cirrhosis are red,
- so violets are blue,
- so sugar is sweet,
- so so are you.
Benny Hill in a pseudo interview as a poet
- Roses are red and Violets are blue
- so goes the age old rhyme
- but I know Rose's are blue and Violet's are red
- I've seen them hanging on the line
- The Faerie Queene, Cant. VI.
- I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), p. 375.
- Les misérables, Tome I by Victor Hugo at Project Gutenberg
- S. J. Bronner, American Children’s Folklore (August House: 1988), p. 84.
- "Jill Still Playing Jacks And Hopscotch Endures", retrieved 17 September 2009.
- Horse feathers