A shopping list in the midst of a Shakespeare play….if you’re talking about Shakespeare, you’re much more likely to use forms like ‘midst’ when middle could do as well. And although the play is called The Winter’s Tale, sheep shearing happens in June – or late May, when the weather is warm, so it’s a timely list.
A Winter’s Tale
Act IV, scene III
Clown: I cannot do’t without counters. Let me see; what am
I to buy for our sheep-shearing feast? Three pound
of sugar, five pound of currants, rice,–what will
this sister of mine do with rice? But my father
hath made her mistress of the feast, and she lays it
on. She hath made me four and twenty nose-gays for
the shearers, three-man-song-men all, and very good
ones; but they are most of them means and bases; but
one puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to
horn-pipes. I must have saffron to colour the warden
pies; mace; dates?–none, that’s out of my note;
nutmegs, seven; a race or two of ginger, but that I
may beg; four pound of prunes, and as many of
raisins o’ the sun.
Sugar, Currents, Rice, Mace,Nutmegs, a race or two of ginger
If there’s some cream around, I’d ask Sister for Rice Pudding!
A hundreth good pointes of husbandrie (1557)
In June washe thy shepe, where the water doth runne:
and kepe them from dust, but not kepe them from sunne.Then share them and spare not, at two daies anende:the sooner the better, their bodies amende.