Page images

'Till then, I'll sweat, and seek about for eases; And, at that time, bequeath you my diseases. [Exit.

In an ancient satire called Cocke Lorelles Bore, bl. 1. printed by Wynkyn de Worde, no date, is the following list of the different residences of harlots :

" There came such a wynde fro Winchefter,
" That blewe these women over the ryver,
" In wherye as I wyll you teil :
" Some at saynt Kateryns stroke agrounde,
“. And many in Holborne were founde,
« Some at saynte Gyles I trowe :
" Also in Ave Maria Aly, and at Weftmenfter ;
" And some in Shordyche drewe theder,
• With grete lamentacyon ;
“ And by cause they have lost that fayre place,

They wyll bylde at Colman bedge in space, &c." Hence the old proverbial fimile, “ As common as Coleman Hedge :" now Coleman-fireet. STEEvers.

There are more hard, bombastical phrases in the serious part of this Play, than, I believe, can be picked out of any other fix Plays of Shakspeare. Take the following specimens : Tortive,

perfiftive,-protractive,-importlefs,-infifture,-deracinate, dividable. And in the next Act,-- paft-proportion,-unrespective, - propugnation, self-assumption, self-admiffion,-afubjugate,kingdom'd, &c.

TYRWHITT. THIS play is more correctly written than most of Shakspeare's compositions, but it is not one of those in which either the ex. tent of his views or elevation of his fancy is fully displayed. As the story abounded with materials, he has exerted little inven. tion; but he has diversified his characters with great variety, and preserved them with great exactnėss. His vicious characters sometimes disgust, but cannot corrupt, for both Cressida and Pandarus are detested and contemned. The comic characters seem to have been the favourites of the writer ; they are of the superficial kind, and exhibit more of manners than nature s but they are copiously filled and powerfully impreffed. Shakspeare has in his story followed, for the greater part, the old book of Caxton, which was then very popular ; but the character of Thersites, of which it makes no mention, is a proof that this play was written after Chapman had published his version of Homer. Johnson.

The first seven books of Chapman’s Homer were published in the year 1596, and again in 1998. They were dedicated as fol. lows: To the most honoured now living instance of the Achilleian virtues eternized by divine Homere, the Earle of Elexe, Earl Mar. fall, &c: and an anonymous Interlude, called THERSYTES bis Humours and Conceits, had been published in 1598. STEEVENS. Vol. IX.



How the devil luxury, with his fat tump and potatoe fingers tickles these together.]

Luxuria was the appropriate term used by the school divines, to express the fin of incontinence, which accordingly is called luxury, in all our old English writers. In the Summe Theologia Compendium of Tho. Aquinas, P. 2. II. Quæft. CLIV. is de Luxurice Partibas, which the author diftributes under the heads of Simplex Fornicatio, Adulterium, Inceftus, Stuprum, Raptus, &c. and Chaucer, in his Parson's Tale, descanting on the seven deadly fins, treats of this under the title, De Luxuria. Hence in K. Lear, our author uses the word in this peculiar sense :

To't Luxury pell-mell, for I want soldiers.” And Middleton, in his Game of Chefs, 1625 :

“in a room fillid all with Aretine's pictures,
(More than the twelve labours of Luxury)
“ 'Thou shalt not so much as the chaste pummel see

“ Of Lucrece' dagger." But why is luxury, or lasciviousness, said to have a potatoe finger This root, which was in our author's time bat newly imported from America, was considered as a rare exotic, and esteemed a very strong provocative. As the plant is fo common now, it may entertain the reader to see how it is described by Gerard in his Herbal, 1597, p. 480.

“ This plant, which is called of fone Skyrrits of Peru, is gene. rally of us called Potatus, or Potatoes. There is not any that hath written of this plant--therefore, I refer the description thereof unto those that shall hereafter have further knowledge of the fame. Yet I have had in my garden divers roots (that I bought at the Exchange in London) where they flourished until winter, at which time they perished and rotted. They are used to be eaten roased in the ashes. Some, when they be so roasted, infuse them and sop them in wine; and others, to give them the greater grace in eating, do boil them with prunes. Howsoever they be dreffed, they comfort, nourish, and strengthen the bodie, procure budily lufi, and that with great greediness."

Drayton, in the 20th song of his Polyolbion, introduces the same idea concerning the firret :

“ The skirret, which, some fay, in fallets ftirs the blood." Shakspeare alludes to this quality of potatoes, in the Merry Wives of Windsor:

“ - Let the sky rain potatoes, hail kissing comfits, and snow eringoes ; let a tempest of provocation come.”

Ben Jonson mentions potatoe pies in Every Man out of his Hu. mour, among other good unetuous meats; So T. Heywood, in the English Traveller, 1633 :

“ Caviare, sturgeon, anchovies, pickled oysters ; yes-,
“ And a potato pie : besides all these,
" What thinkest rare and costly;"

Again, in the Dumb Knight, 1633 :

truly I think a marrow-bone pye, candied eringoës; preserved dates, or marmalade of cantharides, were much better harbingers ; cock-sparrows ftew'd, dove's-brains, or fwan's pizzels, are very provocative; ROASTED POTATOES, or boiled kerrets, are your only lofty dishes.” Again; in Decker's Honeft Whore, 1635 :

“ If she be a woman, marrow-bones and poiatoe-pies keep me,
Again, in A Cbafte Maid of Cheapfide, by Middleton, 1620:

“ You might have spar'd this banquet of eringoes,
Artichokes, potatoes, and your butter'd erab;

“ They were fitter kept for your own wedding dinner." Again, in Chapman's May-Day, 1611:

a banquet of oyster-pies, kerret-roots, potatoes, erine goes, and divers other whetstones of venery;". Again, in Decker's If this be not a good Play ibe Devil is in it, 16127.

Potatoes eke, if you shall lack,

• To corroborate the back.”
Again, in Jack's Drum's Entertainment, 1661 1

" by Gor an me had know dis, me woode have eat fora
potatos, ot ringoe.”
Again, in fir . D'Avenant's Love and Honour, 1649:

" You shall find me a kind of sparrow, widow ;

“ A barley-corn goes as far as a potatoe.Again, in The Ghoft, 1640:

Then, the fine broths I daily had sent to me,

Potatoe pafties, lufty marrow-pies, &c." Again, in Hiftriomaftix, or the Player wbipt, 1610:

" Give your play-gull a stool, and my lady her fools

“ And het usher potatoes and marrow." Nay, so notorious were the virtues of this root, that W.W, the old translator of the Menachmi of Plautus, 1595, has introduced them into that comedy. When Menæchmus goes to the house of his mistress Erotium to bespeak a dinner, he adds, “ Harke ye, some oysters, a mary-bone pie or two, fome artichockes, and potato-roots ; let our other dishes be as you please."

Again, in Greene's Disputation between a Hee Coneycatcher and a Shee Coneycatcher, 1592: “ I pray you, how many badde prof. fittes againe growes from whoores. Bridewell would have verie fewe tenants, the hospitall woulde wante patientes, and the sur. gians much woorke: the apothecaries would have furphaling water and potato-roots lye deade on their handes." Again, in Cynthia's Révels, by Ben Jonson.

' 'uis your only dish, above all your potatoes or oyster-pies in the world."


[ocr errors]


[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Again, in the Elder Brother, by Beaumont and Fletcher :

“ A banquet-well, potatoes and eringoes,

« And as I take it, cantharides Excellent !"
Again, in the Loyal Subječt, by the same authors:

Will your lordship please to taste a fine potato ?
" "Twill advance your wither'd state,

“ Fill your honour full of noble itches, &c.”
Again, in The Martial Maid, by Beaumont and Fletcher:

“Will your ladyship have a potatoe-pie? 'tis a good stirring
dish for an old lady after a long lent.”
Again, in the Sea Voyage, by the same authors :

-Oh, for some eringoes,
Potatoes, or cantharides !”

" See provoking dishes, candied eringoes

" And potatoes."
Again; in The Piaure, by Mafinger :

-he hath got a pye
“ Of marrow-bones, potatoes and eringoes."
Again, in Maslinger's New Way to pay old Debts:

'tis the quintessence
Of five cocks of the game, ten dozen of sparrows,
“ Knuckles of veal, potatoe-roots and marrow,

5.Coral and ambergris, &c.
Again, in the Guardian, by the same author :

Potatoes, marrow, caviare"
Again, in the City Madam, by the same :

prescribes my diet, and foretells

My dreams when I eat potatoes.
Taylor, the Water Poet, likewise, in his character of a Bawd,
afcribes the same qualities to this genial root.
Again, Decker in his Gul's Hornbook, 1609 :

Potato-pies and custards stood like the sinful suburbs of
cookery, &c.
Again, in Marston's Satires, 1599 :

---camphire and lettice chaste,
" Are now caihier'd-now Soplri 'ringoes eate,

“ Candi'd potatoes are Athenians' meate.”
Again, in Holinshed's Chronicle, Description of England, p. 167.

Of the potato and such venerous roots, &c. I speake not." Lastly, in fir John Harrington's Metamorphosis of Ajax, 1596:

Perhaps you have been used to your dainties of potatoes, of caveare, eringus, plums of Genowa, all which may well encrease your appetite to severall evacuations."

In the Good Hufwives Jewell, a book of cookery published in 1596, I find the following receipt to make a tarte that is a courage 0&man or woman:

** Take

[ocr errors]

“ Take two quinces and twoo or three burre rootes, and a POTATON; and pare your POTATON and scrape your roots and put them into a quarte of wine, and let them boyle till they bee tender and put in an ounce.of dates, and when they be boiled tender, drawe them through a strainer, wine and all, and then put in the yolkes of eight egges, and the braynes of three or four cocke-sparrowes, and straine them into the other, and a little rose-water, and seeth them all with sugar, cinnamon, and ginger, and cloves, and mace ; and put in a little sweet butter, and let it upon a chafing dish of coles between two platters, to let it boyle till it be something bigge.”

Gerard elsewhere observes in his Herbal, that “ potatoes may serve as a ground or foundation whereon the cunning confectioner or sugar-baker may worke and frame many comfortable conserves and restorative sweetmeats.”

The same venerable botanist likewise adds, that the stalk of clotburre “ being eaten rawe with salt and pepper, or boiled in the broth of fat meat, is pleasant to be eaten, and stirreth up venereal motions. It likewise itrengtheneth the back, &c."

Speaking of dates, he says, that “ thereof be made divers ex. cellent cordial comfortable and nourishing medicines, and that procure luft of the body very mightily.He also mentions quinces as having the same virtues.

We may likewise add, that Shakspeare's own authority for the efficacy of quinces and dates is not wanting. He has certainly introduced them both as proper to be employed in the wedding dinner of Paris and Juliet: “ They call for

dates and quinces in the paflry.” It appears from Dr. Campbell's Political Survey of Great-Brifain, that potatoes were brought into Ireland about the year 1610, and that they came first from Ireland into Lancashire. It was however forty years before they were much cultivated about London. At this time they were distinguished from the Spanish by the name of Virginia potatoes,-or battatas, which is the Indian denomination of the Spanish sort. The Indians in Virginia called them operank. Sir Walter Raleigh was the first who planted them in Ireland. Authors differ as to the nature of this vegetable, as well as in respect of the country from whence it originally came. Switzer calls it Sifarum Peruvianum, i. e, the skirret of Peru. Dr. Hill says it is a folanum, and another very respectable naturalist conceives it to be a native of Mexico.

The accumulation of instances in this note is to be regarded as a proof how often dark allusions might be cleared up, if commentators were diligent in their researches. COLLINS,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »