Saturday, April 7, 2012

Macbeth - Rhubarb - Purgative drug

Near the end of Act 5.3 in Macbeth, we have him saying:

 That should applaud again.  Pull’t off, I say,
What Rhubarb, Cyme, or what Purgative drug
Would scour these English hence:  hear’st thou of them?

We know that Bacon was fanatic about studying herbs as drugs. Was William of Stratford also?
Bacon wrote when listing purgative herbs:

“Astringents purgative, which, having by their purgative or expulsive power thrust out the humours, leave behind them astrictive virtue:

RHUBARB, especially that which is toasted against the fire: myrobalanes, tartar, tamarinds, an Indian fruit like green damascenes.”

Comedy of Errors - Turkish Tapestry

There’s a sentence in The Comedy of Errors, Act. 4.1

Antipholus of Ephesus:

Give her this key, and tell her in the Deske
That’s cover’d o’er with Turkish Tapestry

Well, this is from “Shakespeare’s England: an account of the life & manners of his age”:

At Gorhambury there is a carpet of Turkey work in perfect preservation with Elizabeth's cognizances and initials, made for and used by the Queen when making her frequent visits to Sir Francis Bacon. This Turkey work was a needlework imitation of an Eastern carpet, and was chiefly used for window seats, bed valances, and chair cushions. It was a treble cross-stitch on canvas in coloured wools, cut open to a close pile. There are constant allusions to it.

Measure for Measure - Sources

There is already a series of posts on Bacon’s connection to the play Measure for Measure. Now a little more.  As a reminder, this play was first known with the publication of the First Folio in 1623. One of Shakespeare’s primary sources for the play was The Right Excellent and Famous Historye of Promos and Cassandra: Divided into Commercial Discourses, by George Whetstone, published in 1578. Shakespeare also seemed to have used another Whetstone publication, The Roke of Regard (1576) when he wrote Much Ado About Nothing. This same George Whetstone, in 1579, wrote a biographical elegy in honor of Francis Bacon’s father, Sir Nicholas Bacon. In addition, Whetstone’s three brothers were at Gray’s Inn at the same time as Francis Bacon. So Bacon would almost surely be known to the Whetstone family and have easy access to George Whetstone’s published works.

Whetstone, George, 1544?-1587? A remembraunce, of the woorthie and well imployed life, of the Right Honorable Sir Nicholas Bacon Knight, Lorde Keeper of the Greate Seale of Englande, and one of the Queenes Maiesties most honorable priuie counsell, who deceased, the 20 daye of Februarie 1578. London : Imprinted ... for Myles Jennyngs [etc.], 1579.