The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1534  Thursday, 20 June 2002

From:           Dave Johnson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 19 Jun 2002 16:19:40 -1000
Subject:        Flapdragons

The following passages refer to "flap-dragon".  I believe I have seen
other references to that term in footnotes to other Shakespeare plays.
I believe the word refers to a drinking game that involved a drink with
something floating in it, where either the drink or the floating item
was flaming, and had to be quickly swigged down.  I believe Lewis
Carroll used "snapdragon" to refer to the same activity.  Does anyone
know the exact nature of the drink, its floating contents, how it is
made, and how it is consumed.

Love's Labour's Lost

Act 5, Scene 1

COSTARD O, they have lived long on the alms-basket of words.
        I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word;
        for thou art not so long by the head as
        honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier
        swallowed than a flap-dragon.

The Winter's Tale

Act 3, Scene 3

Clown   *       *       *     But to make an
        end of the ship, to see how the sea flap-dragoned
        it: but, first, how the poor souls roared, and the
        sea mocked them; and how the poor gentleman roared
        and the bear mocked him, both roaring louder than
        the sea or weather.

Dave Johnson

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