Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/368

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290
THE ELIZABETHAN PEOPLE

Formerly when they used to troul
Gilt bowls of sack, they gave the bowl;
Two spoons at least; an use ill kept;
'Tis now well if our own be left."}}

The birthday was annually commemorated by a great feast, often given at high noon. An interesting superstition concerning the time of infancy is thus alluded to in Dekker's Westward Ho. "I do assure you if a woman of any markable face in the world give her child suck, look how many wrinkles be in the nipple of her breast—so many will be in her forehead by that time twelve month."

Courtship in the time of Shakespeare was carried on in a more fearless though less refined manner than at the present time. Except for this people seem to have fallen in love then much as they have done at other times in the history of the race. It was the custom to send gifts and tokens to the sweetheart; and it was quite the fad to accompany the present with a set of verses which, at a period of several years either way from 1600, usually were couched in the form of a sonnet. Whether it was the sonnet vogue which produced such an appalling mass of worthless sonnet literature, justifying Mr. Sidney Lee's comparison of their authors to "mere wallowers in the bogs that lie at the foot of the poetic