March 20 marks the start spring—or as we enjoy thinking of it, the season of fresh beginnings. Whether you like to usher in the promising time by making adjustments to your surroundings (think: planting flowers or tackling the cleaning projects you put off in winter), or you’re looking forward to the jolt of positivity that warmer weather tends to bring, these spring quotes may help inspire a new outlook. We’ve gathered excerpts from literature’s most famous writers like Ernest Hemingway and Maya Angelou, which can serve as Instagram captions, as well as short sayings to help wish others a happy spring. However you use these quotes, we hope you’re encouraged to spend time outdoors, because as author Harriet Ann Jacobs observed, “The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.”
William Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 98, “From you have I been absent in the spring, / When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim, / Hath put a spirit of youth in everything, / That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.”
Algernon Charles Swinburne
“Blossom by blossom the spring begins,” 19th century English poet Algernon Charles Swinburne wrote in his 1902 tragedy Atalanta in Calydon.
“Spring’s greatest joy beyond a doubt / Is when it brings the children out,” poet Edgar Guest wrote in his book of poems, A Heap O’ Livin.
“…April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go,” journalist and author Christopher Morley wrote in his 1931 autobiographical novel John Mistletoe.
Ellis Peters, an English writer known for her mystery novels, wrote, “Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment” in The Summer of the Danes, originally published in 1991.
English poet Christina Georgina Rossetti wrote, “There is no time like Spring,/ When life’s alive in everything.”
Edwin Way Teale
Naturalist Edwin Way Teale wrote, “The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May,” in his book North With the Spring.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
In his poem “Hamatreya,” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Earth laughs in flowers.”
Langston Hughes, a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance, wrote about springtime in a book of his collected columns, The Early Simple Stories. “Nobody can keep spring out of Harlem. I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face. Sunshine patted me all over the head.”
“…Spring unlocks the flower to paint the laughing soul,” English bishop and writer Reginald Heber wrote in a collected publication of his poems and hymns.
“I glanced out the window at the signs of spring. The sky was almost blue, the trees were almost budding, the sun was almost bright,” Millard Kaufman, screenwriter, novelist, and co-creator of the cartoon character Mr. Magoo, wrote in Bowl of Cherries.
Harriet Ann Jacobs
Harriet Ann Jacobs, a woman who was enslaved but later escaped, wrote about being revived in the springtime in her autobiography Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. “The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett
British-American author Frances Hodgson Burnett described springtime through a conversation in her novel The Secret Garden. She wrote, “‘Is the spring coming?’ he said. ‘What is it like?’ ‘It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up and working under the earth.'”
“The point is that the pleasures of spring are available to everybody, and cost nothing. Even in the most sordid street the coming of spring will register itself by some sign or other, if it is only a brighter blue between the chimney pots or the vivid green of an elder sprouting on a blitzed site,” Animal Farm author and social critic George Orwell wrote in his essay Some Thoughts on the Common Toad.
“Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land, grew especially strong in spring,” Vladimir Nabokov wrote in his debut novel Mary in 1926.
“April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain,” 20th century Nobel Prize-winning poet T.S. Eliot wrote in his poem “The Waste Land.”
“It was a perfect spring afternoon, and the air was filled with vague, roving scents, as if the earth exhaled the sweetness of hidden flowers,” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ellen Glasgow wrote in The Miller of Old Church.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, “It was an ideal spring day, a light blue sky, flecked with little fleecy white clouds drifting across from west to east. The sun was shining very brightly, and yet there was an exhilarating nip in the air, which set an edge to a man’s energy,” in his 1892 novel The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
Author and nature writer Henry Williamson wrote, “Music comes from an icicle as it melts, to live again as spring water,” in The Gale of the World, the last installment in his series A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight.
Ernest Hemingway wrote, “When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest” in his memoir A Moveable Feast.
Henry David Thoreau
The 19th-century transcendentalist and naturalist wrote, “The buds swell imperceptibly, without hurry or confusion, as if the short spring days were an eternity” in his book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.
Renowned American poet Emily Dickinson wrote, “The older I grow the more do I love spring and spring flowers. Is it so with you?” in a letter.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote “There’s so much spring in the air- there’s so much lazy sweetness in your heart,” in his debut novel This Side of Paradise.
“If we had no winter the spring would not be so pleasant,” poet Anne Bradstreet wrote in a book of her collected works.
Acclaimed poet, author, and activist Maya Angelou wrote “I’m a spring leaf trembling in anticipation of full growth” in the New York Times bestseller Letters to My Daughter.
In “A Light Existed in Spring,” Dickinson wrote, “A light exists in Spring/ Not present in the year/ at any other period/ When March is scarcely here.”
Along the river, over the hills, in the ground, in the sky, spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm, new life, new beauty, unfolding, unrolling in glorious exuberant extravagance—new birds in their nests, new winged creatures in the air, and new leaves, new flowers, spreading, shining, rejoicing everywhere,” naturalist John Muir wrote in his book, The Wilderness World of John Muir Paperback.
“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” Mark Twain wrote in Tom Sawyer, Detective.
Lucy Maud Montgomery
“That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs,” Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote in Anne of Avonlea, the sequel to the classic children’s book Anne of Green Gables.
Poet and essayist Kathleen Norris wrote “Spring seems far off, impossible, but it is coming. Already there is dusk instead of darkness at five in the afternoon; already hope is stirring at the edges of the day” in her book Dakota: A Spiritual Geography.
“The air and the earth interpenetrated in the warm gusts of spring; the soil was full of sunlight, and the sunlight full of red dust. The air one breathed was saturated with earthy smells, and the grass under foot had a reflection of the blue sky in it,” American author Willa Cather wrote in her 1927 novel Death Comes for the Archbishop.
English novelist and social critic Charles Dickens wrote in Great Expectations, “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote “And Spring arose on the garden fair,/ Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;/ And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast/ rose from the dreams of its wintry rest” in the poem “A Sensitive Plant.”
Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood wrote “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt” in a book of short stories, Bluebeard’s Egg.
Scientific historian and nature writer Neltje Blanchan wrote “Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring—that delicious commingling of the perfume of arbutus, the odor of pines, and the snow-soaked soil just warming into life?” in his book Nature’s Garden: An Aid to Knowledge of our Wild Flowers and Their Insect Visitors.
H. Peter Loewer
“May and June. Soft syllables, gentle names for the two best months in the garden year: cool, misty mornings gently burned away with a warming spring sun, followed by breezy afternoons and chilly nights,” gardening and natural history writer H. Peter Loewer wrote in his 1983 book Peter Loewer’s Month by Month Garden Almanac for Indoor & Outdoor Gardening.