Richard Day, A Booke of Christian prayers..., 1581 - Feed the Hungry woodcut, p.72v.

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Date:1581

Description:Charity: feeding the poor in Shakespeare's time.

All communities had their share of the poor and Elizabethans would regularly offer their unwanted ‘left-over’ food to those less fortunate than themselves. The dissolution of the English monasteries in the time of Henry VIII led eventually to the Poor Relief Act of 1601, to assist the needy poor. In King Lear Edgar chooses to become Poor Tom, a beggar, to escape recognition and the notice of the nobles of the court: He cries ‘Do Poor Tom some charity, whom the foul fiend vexes’ King Lear, 3,4, line 57.

Full title: Richard Day, A Booke of Christian Prayers collected out of the auncient writers and best learned in our tyme, worthy to be read with earnest mynde of all Christians in these daungerous and troublesome dayes', London, John Daye, 1581.


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1570s
Henri Estienne, A mervaylous discourse upon... Katherine de Medici…, 1575 - title page
Henri Estienne, A mervaylous discourse upon... Katherine de Medici…, 1575 - title page

Shakespeare may have owned this book. Shakespeare purchased New Place, the largest ...

1590s
William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, 1594, leaf F4v.
William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, 1594, leaf F4v.

Shakespeare’s first published works. The long poem, Venus and Adonis, was ...

1610s
Plutarch, The lives of the noble Grecians and Romaines, 1612 - Antony and Cleopatra, p. 922, detail.
Plutarch, The lives of the noble Grecians and Romaines, 1612 - Antony and Cleopatra, p. 922, detail.

Shakespeare followed this description of Cleopatra. Shakespeare became very ...

1630s
William Shakespeare, Quartos, Love's Labour's Lost, 1631 - title page
William Shakespeare, Quartos, Love's Labour's Lost, 1631 - title page

A play for the Blackfriars Theatre: Shakespeare's Love’s Labour’s Lost. The ...

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Donor ref:SR 98 [25,674] (32/10444)

Source: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Library

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