[Home]Shakespeare, William

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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!!!"

(transliteration uncertain)


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Last edited September 30, 2004 4:45 pm by Dunx (diff)