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Shakespeare and Precious Stones
Great. One society, the Academia Secretorum Naturae of Naples, goes back to 1560, and the Accademia dei Lincei of Prince Federico Cesi was founded at Rome in 1603. But of these Shakespeare could have known little or nothing.
That the poet knew, more or less vaguely, of America as a source of precious stones, as were the Indies, comes out in the farcical lines from The Comedy of Errors (Act iii, sc. 2), when one of the Dromios, in locating the various lands of the world on parts of his mistress's body, to the query of Antipholus: "Where America, the Indies?" replies: "Oh, sir, upon her nose, all o'er embellished with rubies, carbuncles, sapphires." This is the only mention of America in the plays.
A coincidence having its own significance is that April 23, the day of Shakespeare's death and also his birthday, was the day dedicated to St. George, the patron saint of Merry England. The war-cry of England is given several times by Shakespeare, as, for example:
Cry, God for Harry, England and Saint George!
Henry V, Act iii, sc. 1. First Folio, "Histories," p. 77, col. B, line 51. God and Saint George! Richmond and Victory!
Richard III, Act v, sc. 3. First Folio, "Histories," p. 203, col. A, line 31. 3                                         33
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