“B” is for “Bush.”
As you know, the word “Bush” has a number of meanings. For one thing, it’s the last name of a recent American president, George W, of happy memory – or perhaps not so happy, depending on your politics. :-)
It’s also a sort of woody plant that has a thick clump of branches, among other definitions – and we may get some ribald ones in the comments column. :-)
I came upon the word used in an odd way in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”
The beautiful Rosalind, the star of the play, comes on stage at the end of the performance and gives a little “thank you” speech to the audience, during which she uses the phrase “A good wine needs no bush.”
I had to look that up. Turns out, Rosalind is making a comment about what we today call marketing.
Basically she’s saying, if you’ve got a product of good quality you don’t have to do a lot of promotion and advertising.
You see, in Shakespeare’s day wineshops would often have a branch of grapevine – Rosalind refers to it as a “bush” – hanging on the front door (the branch would usually be without the grapes), a way of letting the world know you can get wine there.
Her point is, if you sell great wine you won’t need the bush.
Of course, the really huge drink then was ale: everybody, including kids getting ready for school, drank ale – the water was dangerous. But wine was big for Elizabethans too. The famous Shakespearean comic character Falstaff practically lived on “sack,” a white wine.
“Sack,” in fack – er, in fact – was simply the French word “sec” (dry) translated into Elizabethan English.
Rosalind, of “As You Like It,” by the way, was one of Will Shakespeare’s most successful creations. She’s beautiful, intelligent, witty, charming – what more could you ask for?
Pass the wine please, I’m bushed. :-)
1 year ago