John Gerarde, The Herball, 1597 - holly, p. 1155,detail.

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Date:1597

Description:Holly and its uses in Shakespeare's time.

There were twenty-seven holy days, or ‘holidays’ spread through the Elizabethan year, but the twelve days of Christmas, at the time of the winter solstice, was the greatest annual period of celebration and feasting. Holly and other winter evergreens and berries, representing future new life, were brought indoors to decorate homes for the festival. In Shakespeare's play As You Like It, despite the cold and bitterness of winter in the forest, Amiens sings to his fellow exiles: ‘ sing hey-ho! unto the green holly... hey-ho the holly; this life is most jolly.’ (2,7, lines 181-184 and 190-194).


Full title: John Gerarde, The Herball, [colophon: Edm. Bollifant for Bonham and John Norton], 1597. Copy with contemporary hand-colouring.)


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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
Church of England, Booke of Common Prayer, 1596 - binding view
Church of England, Booke of Common Prayer, 1596 - binding view

A much-used book, possibly owned by Shakespeare. This prayer book, whose dimensions ...

1610s
William Shakespeare, Quartos, A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1600 [1619] - Theseus goes hunting, p.F4v.
William Shakespeare, Quartos, A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1600 [1619] - Theseus goes hunting, p.F4v.

Duke Theseus’ hounds in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Theseus’s ...

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Donor ref:SR/OS 97.3 [827] (32/10514)

Source: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Library

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