In several of his plays Shakespeare alludes to the game; for example in Richard III Act 3 scene 4 "My lord of Ely, when I was last in Holburn..." and in Act 4 scene 2 "High reaching Buckingam, the Marquis Dorset is fled I hear to Richmond...."
In Henry V the French King refers to "You dukes of Orleans..." a passing reference to the French version of the game invented in 1540 and called Mornington Croissant because the game was played usually over breakfast.
The first folio edition of Henry V contains the clearest evidence for the game from Shakespeare's time where it reads,
- "Once more unto the Bank, dear friend, once more,
- and close Blackwall up with the Bridge of Red.
- In Heyes there's nothing so becomes East Ham as Morden, Shearness and good Beckentree,
- but when Plasto blows in our ears, and imitate the Acton and the Ongar,
- St. Stephen to New Cross summon up St. John's Wood,
- disguise fair Leyton with St. Saviour's stage,
- for Hanger Lane and City, this confounded Heyes, South Fields with severn dials and Weighbride Station,
- now set Blackheath and stretch the Vauxhall wide and teach them Kensington
- Gore and you, good Honiton, South Mimms, Crick Lane, King's Land,
- Forest Mere for St. Mary's and Kew, East Cheam and Walton on the Naize that hath not Holburn, Leicester Square and Guys,
- I see on Strand like Hondsditch, Pinner and Whipps Cross, [Not Clear], Upham and St. Barts
- the game's afoot, follow your spirit and be not rankerous,
- cry God for Hurlingham, Dingwall and St. Pankerous!!!"