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and spices, must be drowned thereinne!" Yet, it is but fair to subjoin, as an acknowledged fact, that we derived this vinosity, as Heywood terms it, from the Danes; " they," says he, "have made a profession thereof from antiquity, and are the first upon record that brought their wassel-bowles and elbowe-deep healthes into this land." +

Of the consumption of wine, a striking estimate may be formed, from part of a letter addressed by the Earl of Shrewsbury to the Marquis of Winchester and Sir Walter Mildmay, dated January, 1569: "It may please you to understaund," says His Lordship, "that whereas I have had a certen ordinary allowaunce of wine, amongs other noble men, for expenses in my howsehold, w'out imposte; The charg`s daily that I do nowe susteyn, and have done all this yere past, well knowen by reason of the Quene of Scotts, are so grete therein as I am compelled to be now a suter unto yow that ye woll please to have a friendlie consideracˇon unto the necessitie of my large expenses. Truly two tonnes in a monthe have not hitherto sufficed ordinarily.” "This passage," observes Mr. Lodge, "will serve to correct a vulgar error, relating to the consumption of wine in those days, which, instead of being less, appears to have been, at least in the houses of the great, even more considerable than that of the present time. The good people who tell us that Queen Elizabeth's Maids of Honour breakfasted on roast beef, generally add, that wine was then used in England as a medicine, for that it was sold only by the apothecaries. The latter assertion, though founded on a fact, seems to have led to a mistake in the former; for the word Apothecary, from the Greek Azon'un, repositorium, is applicable to any shopkeeper, or warehouseman, and was probably once used in that general sense." It appears, however, from Decker's Tracts, that apothecaries, in the modern acceptation of the

* Delicate Dyet for Daintie-mouthed Droonkards: wherein the fowle abuse of common carowsing and quaffing with heartie draughtes is honestly admonished. 8vo. 1576. + Philocothonista, or the drunkard opened, dissected, and anatomized, 4to. Lodge's Illustrations of British History, &c., vol. ii. p. 27.

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word, sold both wine and tobacco, and that their shops formed the fashionable lounge of the day::-"here you must observe to know in what state tobacco is in town, better than the merchants; and to discourse of the apothecaries where it is to be sold; and to be able to speak of their wines, as readily as the apothecary himself reading the barbarous hand of a doctor." * "Some lie in ambush, to note what apothecary's shop he (the gallant) resorts to every morning.” †

The variety of wines in the days of Shakspeare has not since been exceeded, or, perhaps, even equalled. Harrison mentions fifty-six French wines, and thirty-six Spanish, Italian, &c., to which must be added several home-made wines, such as Ypocras, Clarey, Braket, &c. &c., for which receipts may be found in Arnold's Chronicle.

Among the foreign wines used at this period, none have attracted so much notice, or so much controversy, as the celebrated beverage of Falstaff, Sack. Whether this was a dry or a sweet wine has been left undecided by the commentators, after much elaborate and contradictory disquisition. If we may repose, however, on the authority of Gervase Markham's " English Housewife," a book published very shortly after the death of Shakspeare, and probably written several years before that event, a book professing to contain "the opinions of the greatest Physicians," many years antecedent to the Dedication which includes this assertion ‡, the question must be considered as finally settled. This author, in his fourth chapter, entitled, "The ordering, preserving, and helping of all sorts of Wines, and first of the choice of sweet Wines," opens the subject by declaring, that he had derived his knowledge on wines from a vintner "profest skilful in

* Gull's Horn-book, 1609, reprint, p. 119, 120. + English Villanies, &c. first printed in 1616.

Of the precise year when the first edition of Markham's English House-wife was published, I am ignorant; but a near approximation to the fact may be deduced from the following statement: -The first edition of his Country Contentments appeared in 1615, and the eleventh in 1683; of his Cheap and Good Husbandry, the first impression took place in 1616, and the fourteenth in 1683; and of the English House-wife, the ninth edition issued from the press in the same year, namely 1683.

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the trade," and he then immediately proceeds, addressing the housewife," to speak first of the election of sweet wines; "she must," he, "be carefull that the Malmseys be full wines, pleasant, well hewed and fine that Bastard be fat, and strong, if it be tawney it skils not: for the tawny Bastards be always the sweetest. Muscadine must be great, pleasant and strong with a sweet scent, and with Amber colour. Sack if it be Seres (as it should be) you shall know it by the mark of a cork burned on one side of the bung, and they be ever full gage, and so are other Sacks, and the longer they lye, the better they be." *

From this passage we learn three circumstances relative to Sack: 1stly, that Sack was a sweet wine; 2dly, that Seres, or Xeres, Sack, or what Shakspeare, in 1597, calls "a good sherris-sack," a wine manufactured at Xeres in Spain, was the most esteemed of its kind; and, 3dly, that other Sacks were in use in this country. Still further light is thrown upon this topic in a subsequent page, where we are told, when enumerating the sweet wines in contradistinction to those of a sharp taste, that Sacks are of three species-" Your best Sacks are of Seres in Spain, your smaller of Galicia and Portugall, your strong Sacks are of the Islands of the Canaries, and of Malligo." It is, therefore, to be inferred, that, though all these Sacks were sweet, the sweetest, as well as the strongest, were the Canary and Malaga; next to these in saccharine impregnation, and best in flavour, the Xeres; and lastly, the weakest and least sweet, were the Galicia and Portugal.

The conclusion we consequently draw from these premises is, that the Sherris-Sack of Falstaff was Spanish Xeres, a wine not dry, like our modern Sherry, but sweet, and though not so strong or so sweet as the Sacks brought from Canary and Malaga, superior in flavour to both.

It may be objected to this deduction, that if Sherris-Sack were a sweet wine, it would not have been necessary to add sugar to it, an article which Sir John ever mingled with his favourite potation.

English Housewife, p. 112, 113,

+ Ibid. p. 118.

"If sack and sugar be a fault, god help the wicked."- Reed's Shakspeare, vol. ii.

p. 308.

This will not prove valid, however, when we recollect that, in the first place, Xeres was not the sweetest of the Sacks, and, in the second, that in Shakspeare's time it was the custom to mix sugar with every species of wine; "gentlemen garrawse," observes Fynes Moryson, "only in wine, with which they mix sugar, which I never observed in any other place or kingdom to be used for that purpose. And because the taste of the English is thus delighted with sweetness, the wines in taverns (for I speak not of merchantes or gentlemen's cellars) are commonly mixed at the filling thereof, to make them pleasant.” * A similar partiality for sugar in wine is noticed by Paul Hentzner †, as one of the peculiarities of the English; and from these passages Mr. Reed deduces the legitimate inference that the fondness of the English nation for sugar, at this epoch, was so great as to induce them to mix it even with sweet wines; " if," says he, "the English drank only rough wine with sugar, there appears nothing extraordinary, or worthy of particular notice. The addition of sugar, even to sack, might, perhaps, to a taste habituated to sweets, operate only in a manner to improve the flavour of the wine." ‡

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We find also from Sir John's comments on his favourite liquor, that he added not only sugar, but a toast to it §; that he had an insuperable aversion to its being mulled with eggs, vehemently exclaiming, "I'll no pullet-sperm in my brewage || ;" and that he abominated its sophistication with lime, declaring that "a coward is worse than a cup of sack with lime in it ;" an ingredient which the vinters used to increase its strength and durability.

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*Itinerary, 1617, Part III. p. 152.

+ Travels, Jeffery's edition, p. 64.: "They put a great deal of sugar in their drink.” Reed's Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. 282.

"Go fetch me a quart of sack, put a toast in it," Merry Wives of Windsor,

act iii. sc. 5.

Reed's Shakspeare, vol. v. p. 150.

¶ Ibid. vol. xi. p. 281, 282.-It appears that Sack, in Shakspeare's time, was sold at eight-pence halfpenny a Quart-for in Falstaff's Tavern-bill occurs the following item: "Sack, two gallons, 5s. 8d." Vol. xi. p. 314.

To this deterioration, our witty Knight, as his convivial hours were usually spent in taverns, was, of course, peculiarly subject. Houses of this description were very numerous in our author's days, and, there is reason to think, fully as much frequented as are similar places in the present age. The Boars Head Tavern in Eastcheap, and the Mermaid in Cornhill, immortalised in the writings of Shakspeare, Ben Jonson, and Fletcher, are enumerated in a long list of taverns given us in an old black-letter quarto, entitled Newes from Bartholomew Fayre *; and to these we must add, as of equal poetical celebrity, the Tabard Inn or Tavern, noticed by Stowe, in 1598, as the most ancient in Southwark †, and endeared to us as the "Hosterie" of the never-to-be-forgotten pilgrims, in that delightful work, the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer.

A tavern, says a writer, who lived in these times, and who published in 1628, "is the common consumption of the afternoon, and the murderer or maker-away of a rainy day. -To give you the total reckoning of it; it is the busy man's recreation, the idle man's business, the melancholy man's sanctuary, the stranger's welcome, the inns-ofcourt man's entertainment, the scholar's kindness, and the citizen's

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* The title-page of this curious poem is lost, but the passage alluded to, is as follows:"There hath beene great sale and utterance of wine,

Besides beere and ale, and ipocras fine,

In every country, region, and nation;
Chefely at Billingsgate, at the Salutation,

And Bores Head, neere London Stone,

The Swan at Dowgate, a taverne well knowne,

The Miter in Cheape, and then the Bull Head,

And many like places that make noses red;

The Bores Head in old Fish-street, three Cranes in the Vintree,

And now of late St. Martin's in the Sentree;

The Wind-mill in Lothburry, the Ship at the Exchange,

King's Head in New Fish-streete, where roysters do range;

The Mermaid in Cornhill, Red Lion in the Strand,

Three Tuns Newgate Market, Old Fish-street at the Swan."

The Survay of London," 4to. 1618. bl. 1. p. 782.

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