“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”… Achievements’ family history research team celebrates the onset of spring and the warm weather with an investigation into some popular March sayings

We often take for granted that the language of the 21st century, rich as it is with new terminology for our modern technologically advanced age, also has an underlying mine of everyday expressions that our ancestors would have understood and recognised and that centuries down the line their descendants and family members are still using today.

One of the most famous sayings to be associated with this month must be "As Mad as a March Hare". This saying is centuries old and relates to the hare in the breeding season who were noted for leaping, boxing and chasing in circles. All though the breeding season was not limited to this particular month it was probably the first noticeable sighting of these usually shy animals that led people to believe that hares went mad in March.

An early verbal record of this animal's strange behaviour occurred in about 1500, in the poem Blowbol's Test where the original poet said:

Thanne ţey begyn to swere and to stare, And be as braynles as a Marshe hare

(Then they begin to swerve and to stare, And be as brainless as a March hare)

Similar phrases are attested in the sixteenth century in the works of John Skelton (Replycacion, 1528: "Aiii, I saye, thou madde Marche Hare"; Magnyfycence, 1529: "As mery as a marche hare"). A later recorded use of the phrase occurs in the writings of Sir Thomas More (The supplycacyon of soulys made by syr Thomas More knyght councellour to our souerayn lorde the Kynge and chauncellour of hys Duchy of Lancaster. Agaynst the supplycacyon of beggars) :"As mad not as a March hare, but as a madde dogge."

Although the phrase in general has been in continuous use since the 16th century,it was popularised in more recent times by Lewis Carroll in his book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which has the March Hare as one of its main characters. "The March Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps as this is May it won't be raving mad -- at least not so mad as it was in March."

There are also of course, many weather related quotes for March as the month often begins with winter weather, but can end with warm spring weather, the most common of which must be: "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb"

Of course there are some not so well known quotations which are also very true such as Ogden Nash's
"March the month of wind and taxes, The wind will presently disappear, The taxes last all year"!

With this last thought in mind, we would draw attention to the budget cost of a full round of research currently on offer, which has not been subjected to a tax increase and has actually decreased over the past few months. Make hay while the sun shines and contact our research team for a free quotation for your own family history research needs.

Contact us today to trace your ancestry the expert way!

30 March 2012

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