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Shakespeare Descants
on letter "O" Foods


Henry IV, part 1, II, 1:
FIRST CARRIER (talking about Robin Ostler): Poor fellow, never joyed since the price of oats rose; it was the death of him.

The Taming of the Shrew, III, 2:
GRUMIO: Ay, sir, they be ready: the oats have eaten the horses.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, IV, 1:
BOTTOM: Truly, a peck of provender: I could munch your good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle of hay: good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.

The Tempest, IV, 1:
IRIS: Ceres, most bounteous lady, thy rich leas Of wheat, rye, barley, vetches, oats and pease; Thy turfy mountains, where live nibbling sheep, And flat meads thatch'd with stover, them to keep; Thy banks with pioned and twilled brims, Which spongy April at thy hest betrims, To make cold nymphs chaste crowns; and thy broom-groves, Whose shadow the dismissed bachelor loves, Being lass-lorn: thy pole-clipt vineyard; And thy sea-marge, sterile and rocky-hard, Where thou thyself dost air;--the queen o' the sky, Whose watery arch and messenger am I, Bids thee leave these, and with her sovereign grace, Here on this grass-plot, in this very place, To come and sport: her peacocks fly amain: Approach, rich Ceres, her to entertain.

King Lear, V, 3:
Captain I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work, I'll do 't.


The Comedy of Errors, IV, 1:
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE: Master, there is a bark of Epidamnum That stays but till her owner comes aboard, And then, sir, she bears away. Our fraughtage, sir, I have convey'd aboard; and I have bought The oil, the balsamum and aqua-vitae. The ship is in her trim; the merry wind Blows fair from land: they stay for nought at all But for their owner, master, and yourself.

The Tempest, II, 1:
GONZALO: I' the commonwealth I would by contraries Execute all things; for no kind of traffic Would I admit; no name of magistrate; Letters should not be known; riches, poverty, And use of service, none; contract, succession, Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none; No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil; No occupation; all men idle, all; And women too, but innocent and pure; No sovereignty;--


Henry VI, part 3, IV, 6:
CLARENCE: No, Warwick, thou art worthy of the sway, To whom the heavens in thy nativity Adjudged an olive branch and laurel crown, As likely to be blest in peace and war; And therefore I yield thee my free consent.

Anthony and Cleopatra, IV, 6:
OCTAVIUS CAESAR: The time of universal peace is near: Prove this a prosperous day, the three-nook'd world Shall bear the olive freely.

Sonnet 107:
Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul Of the wide world dreaming on things to come, Can yet the lease of my true love control, Supposed as forfeit to a confined doom. The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured And the sad augurs mock their own presage; Incertainties now crown themselves assured And peace proclaims olives of endless age. Now with the drops of this most balmy time My love looks fresh, and death to me subscribes, Since, spite of him, I'll live in this poor rhyme, While he insults o'er dull and speechless tribes: And thou in this shalt find thy monument, When tyrants' crests and tombs of brass are spent.


The Taming of the Shrew, Prologue:
And if the boy have not a woman's gift To rain a shower of commanded tears, An onion will do well for such a shift, Which in a napkin being close convey'd Shall in despite enforce a watery eye.

Anthony and Cleopatra, I, 2:
ENOBARBUS: ...indeed the tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow.

ENOBARBUS: What mean you, sir, To give them this discomfort? Look, they weep; And I, an ass, am onion-eyed: for shame, Transform us not to women. (IV, 2)

A Midsummer Night's Dream, IV, 2:
BOTTOM: ...And, most dear actors, eat no onions nor garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy.

All's Well That Ends Well, V, 3:
LAFEU: Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon


Much Ado About Nothing, II, 1:
BEATRICE: The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but civil count, civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.

CLAUDIO: Sweet prince, you learn me noble thankfulness. There, Leonato, take her back again: Give not this rotten orange to your friend; She's but the sign and semblance of her honour. (IV, 1)


The Taming of the Shrew, IV, 2:
BIONDELLO [Aside]: As much as an apple doth an oyster, and all one.

The Merry Wives of Windsor, II, 2:
PISTOL: Why, then the world's mine oyster. Which I with sword will open.

Much Ado About Nothing, II, 3:
BENEDICT: May I be so converted and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool.

As You Like It, V, 4:
TOUCHSTONE: God 'ild you, sir; I desire you of the like. I press in here, sir, amongst the rest of the country copulatives, to swear and to forswear: according as marriage binds and blood breaks: a poor virgin, sir, an ill-favoured thing, sir, but mine own; a poor humour of mine, sir, to take that that no man else will: rich honesty dwells like a miser, sir, in a poor house; as your pearl in your foul oyster.

King Lear, I, 5:
FOOL: Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?

Anthony and Cleopatra, I, 5:
ALEXAS: 'Good friend,' quoth he, 'Say, the firm Roman to great Egypt sends This treasure of an oyster; at whose foot, To mend the petty present, I will piece Her opulent throne with kingdoms; all the east, Say thou, shall call her mistress.'