(George). Son of the worthy Vicar of Wakefield. He went to Amsterdam to teach the people English, but forgot that he could not do so till he knew something of Dutch himself. (Goldsmith: Vicar of Wakefield.)
Moses Primrose. Brother of the above, noted for giving in barter a good horse for a gross of worthless green spectacles with copper rims and shagreen cases. (Goldsmith: Vicar of Wakefield.
Mrs. Deborah Primrose. Mother of the above; noted for her motherly vanity, her skill in housewifery, and her desire to be genteel. Her wedding gown is a standing simile for things that “wear well.” Her daughters' names are Olivia and Sophia. (Goldsmith: Vicar of Wakefield.)
The Rev. Dr. Primrose. Husband of Mrs. Deborah, and Vicar of Wakefield. As simple-minded and unskilled in the world as Goldsmith himself, unaffectedly pious, and beloved by all who knew him.
(Goldsmith: Vicar of Wakefield.
A curious corruption of the French primeverole, Italian primeverola, compounds of the Latin primavera (first spring flower). Chaucer calls the word primirole, which is a contraction of the Italian primerola. The flower is no rose at all.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894