Hamlet Act Iv Scene 5
Cultivation.--Rosemary is easily propagated by means of cuttings, root
division and layers in early spring, but is most frequently multiplied
by seed. It does best in rather poor, light soil, especially if limy.
The seed is either sown in drills 18 to 24 inches apart or in checks 2
feet asunder each way, half a dozen seeds being dropped in each "hill."
Sometimes the seedbed method is employed, the seed being sown either
under glass or in the open ground and the seedlings transplanted.
Cultivation consists in keeping the soil loose and open and free from
weeds. No special directions are necessary as to curing. In frostless
sections, and even where protected by buildings, fences, etc., in
moderate climates, the plants will continue to thrive for years.
Uses.--The tender leaves and stems and the flowers are used for
flavoring stews, fish and meat sauces, but are not widely popular in
America. Our foreign-born population, however, uses it somewhat. In
France large quantities, both cultivated and wild, are used for
distilling the oil of rosemary, a colorless or yellowish liquid
suggesting camphor, but even more pleasant. This oil is extensively used
in perfuming soaps, but more especially in the manufacture of eau de
cologne, Hungary water and other perfumes.
(Ruta graveolens, Linn.), a hardy perennial herb of roundish,
bushy habit, native of southern Europe. It is a member of the same
botanical family as the orange, Rutaceae. In olden times it was highly
reputed for seasoning and for medicine among the Greeks and the Romans.
In Pliny's time it was considered to be effectual for 84 maladies!
Today it "hangs only by its eyelids" to our pharmacopoeia. Apicus
notes it among the condiments in the third century, and Magnus eleven
centuries later praises it among the garden esculents. At present it is
little used for seasoning, even by the Italians and the Germans, and
almost not at all by English and American cooks. Probably because of its
acridity and its ability to blister the skin when much handled, rue has
been chosen by poets to express disdain. Shakespeare speaks of it as the
"sour herb of grace," and Theudobach says:
"When a rose is too haughty for heaven's dew
She becometh a spider's gray lair;
And a bosom, that never devotion knew
Or affection divine, shall be filled with rue