"Fear No More The Heat O' The Sun - William Shakespeare
An Verse from the only poem by William Shaespeare (from Cymbeline) which makes a possible reference to the Dandelion.
Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
Fear no more the frown o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The scepter, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.
The names of around 100 different plants were used by William Shakespeare in his plays and sonnets -- but there seems to be not one single reference to the Dandelion --except for the last two lines in the first verse in the excerpt of the above poem. "Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust."
The last two lines are an enigma, although to the Elizabethans they must have made sense to have been included in the play. In fact they belong to the Warwickshire vernacular of the time; (Stratford-On-Avon of course is in Warwickshire.) Golden lads was the local name for dandelions, and chimneysweepers was the term for the dandelion when it is ready to spread its seeds to the wind like dust and when it looks like the brush that chimneysweeps used in times past.
'Golden' conveys a sense of privilege and talent with bright futures. We still use the phrase 'golden boy/girl' to mean a successful man/woman. The song tells us that death comes to all, whether the highest in the land or the lowest. Chimney sweeps cleaned soot from chimneys, a dangerous and terrible job. They were black from the soot engrained in the pores of their skin, so there's that contrast with the young men and women shining bright..." "There's an entirely different meaning to these lines, and so Shakespeare was saying three things at the same time.. " "Golden lads (Warwickshire dialect name for dandelions) and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, (dialect name for dandelion-clocks) come to dust." (Note that this is not chimney-sweeps.) Dandelion (Taraxacum): Dandelion clock (seed-head of dandelion):Source: https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/golden-lads-and-girls-all-must-as-chimney-sweepers-come-to-dust.3428743