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Chetwood the Prompter, as well as the addition to the title of the piece—“ Thersites his Humours and Conceits;" for no such words are found in the catalogue published in 1671, by Kirkman, who appears to have seen it. "MALONE,

P. 436. How the devil luxury, with his fat rump, and potatoe finger, tickles these together.] Luxuria was the appropriate term used by the school divines, to express the sin of incontinence, which accordingly is called luxury in all our old English writers. In the Summæ Theologia Compendium of Thomas Aquinas, P. 2. II. Quæst. CLIV. is de Luxuriæ Partibus, which the author distributes under the heads of Simplex Fornicatio, Adulterium, Incestus, Stuprum, Raptus, &c. and Chaucer, in his Parson's Tale, descanting on the seven deadly sins, treats of this under the title De Luxuria. Hence, in King Lear, our author uses the word in this particular sense :

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

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

6. Of Lucrece' dagger.” But why is luxury, or lasciviousness, said to have a potatoe finger? - This root, which was, in our author's time, but newly imported from America, was considered as a rare exotick, and esteemed a very strong provocative. As the plant is so common now, it may entertain the reader to see how it is described by Gerard, in his Herbal, 1597, p. 780:

“ This plant, which is called of some Skyrrits of Peru, is generally 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 same. 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 roasted 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 dressed, they comfort, nourish, and strengthen the bodie, procure bodily lust, and that with great greediness."

Drayton, in the 20th Song of his Polyolbion, introduces the same idea concerning the skirret :

“ The skirret, which, some say, in sallets stirs 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 Humour, among other good unctuous meats. So, T. Heywood, in The English Traveller, 1633 :

« Caviare, sturgeon, anchovies, pickled oysters; yes
And a potatoe pie: besides all these,

“ What thinkest rare and costly.Again, in The Dumb Knight, 1633: “ — truly I think a márrow-bone pye, candied eringoes, preserved dates, or marmalade of cantharides, were much better harbingers ; cock-sparrows stew'd, dove's brains, or swans' pizzles, are very provocative; ROASTED POTATOES, or boiled skirrets, are your only lofty dishes.”

Again, in Decker's Honest Whore, 1635: “ If she be a woman, marrow-bones and potatoe-pies keep me," &c. Again, in A Chaste Maid of Cheapside, by Middleton, 1620:

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

They were fitter kept for your own wedding dinner.” Again, in Chapman's May-Day, 1611:"-a banquet of oysterpies, skirret-roots, potatoes, eringoes, and divers other whetstones of venery.

Again, in Decker's If this be not a good Play the Devil is in it, 1612:

Potatoes eke, if you shall lack

“ To corroborate the back.” Again, in Jack Drum's Entertainment, 1601 : “ — by Gor, an me had known dis, me woode have eat som potatos, ór ringoe.” Again, in Sir W. 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 Ghost, 1640:

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

Potatoe pasties, lusty marrow-pies," &c. Again, in Histriomastix, or the Player whipt, 1610:

“Give your play-gull a stool, and your lady her fool,

“ And her usher potatoes and marrow.” Nay, so notorious were the virtues of this root, that W. W. the old translator of the Mencechmi of Plautus, 1595, has introduced them into that comedy. When Menôchmus goes to

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the house of his mistress Erotium to bespeak a dinner, he adds, “ Harke ye, some oysters, a mary-bone pie or two, some 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,


badde proffittes againe growes from whoores. Bridewell woulde have verie fewe tenants, the hospitall would wante patientes, and the surgians much woorke: the apothecaries would have surphaling water and potato-roots lye deade on their handes.”

Again, in Cynthia's Revels, by Ben Jonson: “—'tis your only dish, above all your potatoes or oyster-pies in the world." 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 Subject, by the same authors:

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

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 !" Again :

“ See provoking dishes, candied eringoes

" And potatoes." Again, in The Picture, by Massinger :

he hath got a pye
“Of marrow-bones, potatoes and eringoes."
Again, in Massinger'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,

“ Coral and ambergris," &c.
Again, in The Guardian, by the same author:

Potargo, Potatoes, marrow,

caviareAgain, 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, ascribes 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 cashier'd—now Sophi '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

Lastly, in Sir 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 Huswives Jewell, a book of cookery published in 1596, I find the following receipt to make a tarte that is a courage to a man or woman: “ 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 eggs, 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 set 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 strengtheneth the back," &c.

Speaking of dates, he says, that “thereof be made divers excellent cordial comfortable and nourishing medicines, and that procure lust 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 pastry.” It appears from Dr. Campbell's Political Survey of Great Britain, 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 openank. 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 Sisarum Peruvi. anum, i. e. the skirret of Peru. Dr. Hill says it is a solanum; 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 à proof how often dark allusions might be cleared up, mentators were diligent in their researches. COLLINS.

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