[Sca-cooks] Lemons? Limes? Confusion?

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Sun Jul 6 02:08:38 PDT 2008

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Volker Bach" <carlton_bach at yahoo.de>

> --- Daniel & Elizabeth Phelps <dephelps at embarqmail.com> schrieb am So, 
> 6.7.2008:
>> Shakespeare mentions in his plays oranges twice, lemons once
>> and limes
>> twelve times. In the case of limes this would suggest more
>> than a passing
>> acquaintance with the fruit.
> Which opens the question which fruit Shakespeare was talking about. A 
> problem in the German corpus is that loan words from various languages are 
> used to describe citrus fruit. The common 'Limon(i)e/Limun(i)e', e.g., 
> probably actually describes the lemon (modern German Zitrone) rather than 
> the lime (modern German Limone).

I've found several references to lime in Shakespeare.  In Richard II, the 
reference appears to be to limestone.  In Henry IV, it's a reference to the 
practice of adding alkaline earth to fortified wine with a similar reference 
in The Merry Wives of Windsor.  Midsummer Night's Dream appears to be a 
reference to either limestone or cement.  In Henry VI are references to 
using bird lime to trap birds and meaning "to cement".  I haven't found 
anything to suggest that Shakespeare was referring to the fruit of C. 
medica, in fact all such references in English appear to begin in the 
mid-17th Century.

Also, lime or lime tree can be a reference to a linden tree, although the 
reference I have found are 17th Century.

I would like to know where the references I haven't found appear in 
Shakespeare, so that I might review the context.


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