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1596: _" There was then set up a curious wrought tabernacle of gray marble, and in the same an alabaster image of Diana, and water conveyed from the Thames, prilling from her naked breast.”—STEEVENS.

" Good wine needs no bush." -Act V. Sc. 4.
It appears formerly to have been the custom to hang a tuft of ivy at
the door of a vintner: ivy was rather used than any other plant, because
it has relation to Bacchus. The subjoined passages prove the custom :

“ 'Tis like the ivy-bush unto a tavern."-Rival Friends, 1632.
"Green ivy-bushes at the vintners' doores.”
Summer's Last Will and Testament, 1600.


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Tit's rush for Tom's forefinger.”—Act II. Sc. 2. In France there was formerly a custom of placing a rush ring on the lady's finger, when a marriage was finally agreed upon. But in England, rush rings were employed to abuse the simplicity of young girls, by deluding them into a state of concubinage with a pretended marriage. Richard Poore, bishop of Salisbury, in his Constitutions, 1217, forbids the putting of rush rings, or any of the like matters, on women's fingers, in order to the debauching them more readily, and he insinuates, as a reason for the prohibition, that there were some people weak enough to believe, that what was thus done in jest, was a real marriage.

Like him that leaped into the custard.—Act II. Sc. 5. It was a foolery practised at city entertainments, whilst the jester or zany was in vogue, for him to jump into a large deep custard, prepared for the purpose. --THEOBALD.

· Palmers." —Act III. Sc. 5. Pilgrims that visited holy places, so called from a staff, or bough of palm, they were wont to carry, especially such as had visited Jerusalem. "A pilgrim and a palmer differed thus: A pilgrim had some dwelling, the palmer none; the pilgrim travelled to some certain place, the palmer to all, not one in particular; the pilgrim might bear his own charges, the palmer must profess wilful poverty; the pilgrim might relinquish his vocation, the palmer must be constant till he won the palm, that is, victory over his ghostly enemies, and life by death.”


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John Drum's entertainment."-Act III. Sc. 6. Holinshed, in his History of Ireland, speaking of Patrick Sarsefield, a mayor of Dublin, and of his extravagant hospitality, says, that “no guest had ever a cold or forbidding looke from any part of his family: so that his porler, or any other officer, durst not, for both his eares, give the simplest man that resorted to his house, Tom Drum his entertaynement, which is to hale a man in by the heade, and thrust him out by both the shoulders."


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The sheriff's fool."— Act IV. Sc. 3. We are not to suppose that this was a fool, kept by the sheriff for his diversion. The custody of all idiots possessed of land, belonged to the king, who was entitled to their income, but was obliged to provide them necessaries. When the property was large, this prerogative was gene rally given to some favourite, or other person, who made suit for and had interest enough to obtain it, which was called begging a fool. But where the land was of small value, the natural was supported out of the profits, by the sheriff, who accounted for them to the crown. As for those unhappy creatures, who had neither possessions nor relations, they seem to have been considered as a species of property, being sold or given, with as little ceremony, treated as capriciously, and very often, it is to be feared, left to perish as miserably, as dogs or cats.-Ritsos.

Villainous saffron.”—Act IV. Sc. 5. This alludes to a fantastic fashion, of using yellow starch for bands and ruffs. Yellow starch was invented by one Turner, a tire-woman, a court bawd, and in all respects of so infamous a character, that her invention deserved the name of " villainous saffron.” This woman was afterwards among the miscreants concerned in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, for which she was hanged at Tyburn, and would die in a yellow ruff of her own invention; which made yellow starch so odious, that it imme diately went out of fashion.” Starch was used of various colours, and is declaimed against most bitterly by Stubbes in his Anatomie of Abuses.

Plutus himself, That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine."-Act V. Sc. 3. In the reign of Henry IV. a law was made to forbid thenceforth to multiply gold, or use any craft of multiplication, of which law, Boyle, when he was warm with the hope of transmutation, procured a repeal.

JOHNSON “ Exorcist.”—Act V. Sc. 3. By an exorcist, we now mean one who can lay spirits but in Shakspeare's age, exorcist implied a person who could raise spirits. The dif ference between a conjuror, a witch, and an inchanter, is as follows:“ The conjuror seemeth by praiers and invocations of God's powerful names, to compell the devill to say or doe what he commandeth him. The witch dealeth rather by a friendlie and voluntary conference or agreement between him or her and the devill or familiar, to bave his or her turne served, in lieu or stead of blood or other gift unto him; espe cially of his or her soule. And both these differ from inchanters or sor. cerers, because the former two have personall conference with the desill, and the other meddles but with medicines and ceremonial formes of words called charmes, without apparition."-MINSHEU's Dict. 1617.


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