What Does Darling Buds of May Mean?

The Darling Buds of May Meaning

Definition: The beautiful flower buds that sprout in the springtime.

Origin of Darling Buds of May

William Shakespeare, the renowned English playwright, was the first to use this expression. It appears in Sonnet 18, which is from the early 1600s.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

In the 1950s, another British author, H.E. Bates, wrote a book with this same name. It is about a family who lives in the countryside and enjoys nature. It later became a television show.

Examples of Darling Buds of May

rough winds do shake the darling buds of may In this example, two friends are discussing the weather.

Cassie: I’m so glad winter is finally over!

Rebecca: Me too. I hate the cold and the snow.

Cassie: I love the springtime. I love seeing all the blooming flowers, the darling buds of May, as they say.

Rebecca: I don’t. I have bad allergies to flowers.

define darling buds of may In the dialogue below, two men are discussing what to do on a free day that they have.

Antonio: I don’t have to work tomorrow because of the holiday, but I’m not sure what I should do with my extra time.

Igor: I was going to go on a hike. You’re welcome to join me.

Antonio: Really? What are you hoping to see on the hike?

Igor: Maybe just some birds and the darling buds of May. Perhaps a few scenic views.

More Examples

Most examples of this expression in the press refer to the British TV show of the same name. However, the two examples below use it in its original sense.

This excerpt is about a man driving through the countryside.

  • Full of expectation I drove through the ‘darling buds of May’ lining the route to the coast. The Yorkshire spring had well and truly sprung. There were lots of pretty villages, fresh with green leaves and colourful blossom falling like confetti. –Yorkshire Post

This excerpt uses the expression in an article about the progression of spring weather across the United States.

  • Shakespeare wrote “rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.” But those winds blow much harder in some parts Maine than others. –WSCH6


The phrase darling buds of May refers to the blooming flowers that begin to grow after winter has ended.