Okay everybody, time to ‘fess up. What do you know about Elizabethan literature? Discounting Shakespeare’s and various other drama writers’ works. Poetry- sonnets, Petrarchan vs. anti-Petrarchan, but what else? *crickets chirping* Okay, I might play smart, but I knew nothing either and it would stay that way if not for my pal Michael Roberts, that I’ve written about before. His book ‘Elizabethan Prose’, a book that he wrote, is kept in our collection. Published when monocles reigned supreme, ie. 1933, it is a collection of examples of the prose of the Elizabethan prose.
And those guys wrote wide and wrote well. In the book there is a collection of funny stories, weird stories, bawdy stories. There are beauty tips and treatises. You can get a recipe for a quince marmalade or advice on healthy living. The Elizabethans will help you make mince pies and then help you lose weight you gained eating them. In short, there is a wide selection of fiction and non-fiction that touches many aspects of life. And with books like that, the past seems a little bit less like a foreign country. Sure, they do things differently there, but they enjoy a dirty joke, sweet food and a good drink as much as you do.
And because I love me some spiced wine, here is the recipe for Ipocras taken from the Roberts’ book.
‘How to make Ipocras:
Take a gallon of wine, an ounce of Sinamon, two ounces of ginger, one pound of sugar, twentie cloues bruised and twentie corners of pepper big beaten, let all these soake together one night and then let it run through a bag, and it will be good Ipocras.’