George Stimpson

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Who first said: "March comes in like a lion"?

"March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb" is an English proverb of unknown origin. It is first alluded to in print in A Wife for a Month, written in 1624 by John Fletcher (1579-1625), who collaborated on many plays with Francis Beaumont and who probably collaborated with Shakespeare on The Two Noble Kinsmen and King Henry VIII. In A Wife for a Month one character says, "I would choose March, for I would come in like a lion," and another rejoins, "Hut you'd go out like a lamb." The proverb originally appears to have meant simply that the month of March is the bridge between two seasons and begins with bleak, bitter and blusterous winds and rough weather and winds up with mild breezes and gentle weather. But it has been twisted into a sort of weather sign and taken to mean that "If March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb." This notion of the saying is not borne out in our latitudes by weather records. [page 31] March, as the name of the third month in the year of the Julian and Gregorian calendars, is derived indirectly from Latin Martium, the Roman god of war, and literally signifies "month of Mars."