Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Folk-lore of Shakespeare   By:

Book cover

First Page:

FOLK LORE OF SHAKESPEARE

BY THE

REV. T. F. THISELTON DYER, M.A. OXON. AUTHOR OF "BRITISH POPULAR CUSTOMS, PAST AND PRESENT," ETC.

NEW YORK HARPER & BROTHERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE 1884

PREFACE.

It would be difficult to overestimate the value which must be attached to the plays of Shakespeare in connection with the social life of the Elizabethan age. Possessed of a rich treasury of knowledge of a most varied kind, much of which he may be said to have picked up almost intuitively, he embellished his writings with a choice store of illustrations descriptive of the period in which he lived. Apart, too, from his copious references to the manners and customs of the time, he seems to have had not only a wide knowledge of many technical subjects, but also an intimate acquaintance with the folk lore of bygone days. How far this was the case may be gathered from the following pages, in which are collected and grouped together, as far as arrangement would permit, the various subjects relating to this interesting and popular branch of our domestic history. It only remains for me to add that the edition of the poet's plays made use of is the "Globe," published by Messrs. Macmillan.

T. F. THISELTON DYER.

CONTENTS.

CHAP. PAGE.

I. FAIRIES 1

II. WITCHES 25

III. GHOSTS 43

IV. DEMONOLOGY AND DEVIL LORE 52

V. NATURAL PHENOMENA 62

VI. BIRDS 97

VII. ANIMALS 161

VIII. PLANTS 201

IX. INSECTS AND REPTILES 250

X. FOLK MEDICINE 264

XI. CUSTOMS CONNECTED WITH THE CALENDAR 296

XII. BIRTH AND BAPTISM 332

XIII. MARRIAGE 342

XIV. DEATH AND BURIAL 362

XV. RINGS AND PRECIOUS STONES 386

XVI. SPORTS AND PASTIMES 394

XVII. DANCES 424

XVIII. PUNISHMENTS 433

XIX. PROVERBS 444

XX. HUMAN BODY 475

XXI. FISHES 497

XXII. SUNDRY SUPERSTITIONS 505

XXIII. MISCELLANEOUS CUSTOMS, ETC. 521

INDEX 549

FOLK LORE OF SHAKESPEARE.

CHAPTER I.

FAIRIES.

The wealth of Shakespeare's luxuriant imagination and glowing language seems to have been poured forth in the graphic accounts which he has given us of the fairy tribe. Indeed, the profusion of poetic imagery with which he has so richly clad his fairy characters is unrivalled, and the "Midsummer Night's Dream" holds a unique position in so far as it contains the finest modern artistic realization of the fairy kingdom. Mr. Dowden, in his "Shakspere Primer" (1877, pp. 71, 72) justly remarks: "As the two extremes of exquisite delicacy, of dainty elegance, and, on the other hand, of thick witted grossness and clumsiness, stand the fairy tribe and the group of Athenian handicraftsmen. The world of the poet's dream includes the two a Titania, and a Bottom the weaver and can bring them into grotesque conjunction. No such fairy poetry existed anywhere in English literature before Shakspere. The tiny elves, to whom a cowslip is tall, for whom the third part of a minute is an important division of time, have a miniature perfection which is charming. They delight in all beautiful and dainty things, and war with things that creep and things that fly, if they be uncomely; their lives are gay with fine frolic and delicate revelry... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books