“An Adieu”: A Poem by Florence Earle Coates

Apr 22, 2022 | Posted by Jennifer

The month of April marks National Poetry Month. As the school year is beginning to wind down and summer nears, it is enjoyable for teachers and students alike to read, memorize, and enjoy poetry. Poems also provide great fodder for teaching. Today we wanted to highlight a poem by a lesser known poet, Florence Earle Coates. You might enjoy reading it aloud to your class this spring. Coates lived from 1850 to 1927 and wrote several volumes of poetry. A native of Pennsylvania, she was named the state’s poet laureate in 1915. Many of her poems celebrate nature, including today’s, which is especially fitting for the month of April.

An Adieu

by Florence Earle Coates


Sorrow, quit me for a while!

Wintry days are over;

Hope again, with April smile,

Violets sows and clover.

Pleasure follows in her path,

Love itself flies after,

And the brook a music hath

Sweet as childhood’s laughter.


Not a bird upon the bough

Can repress its rapture,

Not a bud that blossoms now

But doth beauty capture.


Sorrow, thou art Winter’s mate,

Spring cannot regret thee;

Yet, ah, yet—my friend of late—

I shall not forget thee!


Let’s take a few moments to look at this poem by first noticing the rhyme scheme. The pattern follows an alternating line pattern of ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GHGH. Next, let’s turn our attention to the lines themselves. Throughout the poem are scattered a variety of stylistic techniques, including personification (e.g., “Hope again, with April smile”), simile (e.g., “Sweet as childhood’s laughter”), and drawing out of the senses (“and the brook a music hath”), as well as plenty of rich vocabulary words: wintry, sows, bough, rapture, regret.

The meaning of the poem is fairly transparent. The speaker tells sorrow, exemplified by wintry days, to leave and explains that spring is newly arrived, bringing with it all its attendant pleasures, such as love, a bubbling brook, a delighted bird, and the promise of new life as shown by the buds transforming into blossoms. Even with all of the delights that spring brings, however, the speaker is not forgetful of the winter although it is temporarily gone. The cycle will repeat itself.

Share the poem with your students. The title of it is “An Adieu.” Who is the adieu to? ( It’s to winter.) Ask your students what they personally think of as they notice winter turning into spring. Depending upon where they are located, students may mention the popping of the forsythia buds or the blooming of the lilacs. Others may point out the lengthening days and gradual warming in the air. Some students may point out that the end of school is near. Still others may be more attuned to the annoying chartreuse grass and tree pollen because their allergies are signaling its presence. It is good to remark on the passage of time and of the seasons, the sweet along with the bitter.

Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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