1999

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2035  Friday, 19 November 1999.

From:           Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 18 Nov 1999 11:11:55 -0600
Subject:        Dyers and Big Calves

Colleagues,

Can anyone explain why dyers might have developed large calf muscles? A
joke in The Art of English Poesy runs as follows:

=====

as we once sported upon a country fellow who came to run for the best
game, and was by his occupation a dyer and had very big swelling legs:

He is but course to run a course,
Whose shanks are bigger than his thigh:
Yet is his luck a little worse,
That often dyes before he dye.

=====

Readers of Webster will know that barge-men had notoriously strong
thighs (a fact also attested to by Camden), but why the occupation of
dyeing would develop the calves is unclear to me.

Many thanks.

Frank Whigham

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.