‘When Daisies Pied and Violets Blue’ is a song from Shakespeare’s play Love’s Labour’s Lost. Although it’s easy, because this is a song, to dismiss its meaning as frivolous or the words as ‘nonsense’, it’s worth stopping to analyse the lyrics of the song and their place in the play as a whole. Here’s the text of ‘When Daisies Pied and Violets Blue’ followed by a few words of comment and analysis.
When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he: