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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: Lines and Limes in The Tempest
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0577  Tuesday, 30 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Roy Flannagan <
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        Date:   Monday, 29 Mar 1999 09:13:28 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.055 Q: Lines and Limes in The Tempest

[2]     From:   Anthony Burton <
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        Date:   Monday, 29 Mar 1999 12:16:44 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.055 Q: Lines and Limes in The Tempest


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roy Flannagan <
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Date:           Monday, 29 Mar 1999 09:13:28 -0800
Subject: 10.055 Q: Lines and Limes in The Tempest
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.055 Q: Lines and Limes in The Tempest

Since the juice (exudate?) of lime twigs was used to snare birds with
"quick-lime," it wouldn't be a good idea to hang laundry on a sticky
twig.  I thought that Falstaff's rag-tag conscriptees stole clothing
from off hedges, as with hawthorn, which might be a good place to hang
laundry.  Not many herbs would have a growth habit large or sturdy
enough to support a shirt, though I bet a sachet of rosemary or lavender
(still used in southern France) would be nice to put in with the fresh
laundry.

Roy Flannagan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anthony Burton <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 29 Mar 1999 12:16:44 -0800
Subject: 10.055 Q: Lines and Limes in The Tempest
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.055 Q: Lines and Limes in The Tempest

>In The Tempest, 4.1., Ariel is instructed by Prospero to hang the
>glistering apparel with which Caliban etc. are to be seduced from their
>conspiratorial action 'on this line'.  As editors point out 'line' is a
>variant of 'lind', meaning 'lime-tree or linden'.  As far as I can
>recall, in every production I have seen, the clothes are in fact hung
>upon some kind of 'clothes-line', yet, as Orgel points out,  'there are
>no contemporary references to clothes-lines', and so he concludes that
>the apparel is draped over a property tree (and we learn later that
>there is a 'line-grove that weather-fends [Prospero's] cell').  It's
>certainly true that clothing was hung out to dry on bushes or hedges
>during the period (cf. Autolycus in WT,4.3.5)  but the lime-tree
>scarcely sounds a likely candidate, given its stickiness (and some at
>least of the domestic manuals I have consulted encourage draping
>clothing over herbs such as rosemary to give a pleasant aroma to the
>clothes).
>
>Does anyone know of any evidence to contradict Orgel's assertion (which
>so far seems to me entirely well-founded)?  Has anyone ever seen a
>production which took any notice of the academic conviction that a
>'lime-tree' is meant here? I'd be grateful for any suggestions of places
>to look.
>
>David Lindley

As I understand it, many different kinds of tree were called lime trees,
including the tupelo and linden.  One of them was a favorite for
decorative carving, but I'm not sure which.  Is the sticky variety to
which you refer the citrus fruit tree, or something else?
 

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