Roses Are Red

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Roses Are Red

by unknown

Roses are red
  Violets are blue,
Sugar is sweet
  And so are you.

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Origins

The origins of the rhyme remains unknown, however, there are several early works which include hints as to its origins.

Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen (1590) includes the following lines:

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.

In 1784, a collection of English nursery rhymes was published in London, titled Gammer Gurtland’s Garland, and published by Joseph Johnson. Among the poems in the collection are the following lines. This does not tell us the exact origin but it lets us know that the modern version of this rhyme goes back prior to this date and already linked the rhyme to the Valentine’s Day celebration:

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

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The rhyme has subsequently been copied satirized innumerable times. PoemAnalysis.com published 100 funny alternative renderings of this format. I’ll excerpt a few below:

Roses are red,
that much is true,
but violets are purple,
not bloody blue.

Roses are red,
I hate Miley Cyrus,
stay alert,
control the virus.

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
Master Skywalker, there are too many of them,
what are we going to do?

Roses are red.
violets are blue,
they don’t think it be like it is,
but it do.

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
It’s not really stalking,
If they never see you

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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