Shakespeare 1564-1616

Shakespeare used the word GALL  extensively.  There is an outstanding reference on the web called   Rhyme Zone: Shakespeare  that allows one to identify specific phrases in Shakespeare’s works and creates a link to the text.  When the word “gall” was searched 206 results were found, about 60 of which seemed to have inference to the word gall in this context under discussion. (Rhyme Zone  search “gall“)

You have the honey still, but these the gall;   Toilus and Cressida: II, ii
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,   Hamlet: IV, vii
Some galled goose of winchester would hiss:   Toilus and Cressida: V, x
And they that are most galled with my folly,   As You Like It: II, vii
A choking gall and a preserving sweet.   Romeo and Juliet: I, i
Why, we have galls, and though we have some grace,   Othello: IV, iii
Whom from the flow of gall I name not but   King Henry VIII: I, i
Which a dismiss’d offence would after gall;   Measure for Measure: II, ii
Wherein have you been galled by the king?   King Henry IV, part II: IV, i
Well, I am loath to gall a new-healed wound: your   King Henry IV, part II: I, ii
Upon the daring huntsman that has gall‘d him;   King Henry VIII: III, ii
Touches us not: let the galled jade wince, our   Hamlet: III, ii
Though ink be made of gall.   Cymbeline: I, i
Thou wert better gall the devil, salisbury:   King John: IV, iii
Thou grievest my gall.   Love’s Labour’s Lost: V, ii
These sentences, to sugar, or to gall,   Othello: I, iii
Their eyes o’ergalled with recourse of tears;   Toilus and Cressida: V, iii
The hart ungalled play;   Hamlet: III, ii
The canker galls the infants of the spring,   Hamlet: I, iii
The bull, being gall‘d, gave aries such a knock   Titus Andronicus: IV, iii
That reigns in galled eyes of weeping souls,   King Richard III: IV, iv
Stand by, or I shall gall you, faulconbridge.   King John: IV, iii
Say is a gallimaufry of gambols, because they are   The Winter’s Tale: IV, iv
Save how to gall and pinch this bolingbroke:   King Henry IV, part I: I, iii
Out, gall!   Toilus and Cressida: V, i
Or else it would have gall‘d his surly nature,   Coriolanus: II, iii
O deadly gall, and theme of all our scorns!   Toilus and Cressida: IV, v
Now seeming sweet convert to bitter gall.   Romeo and Juliet: I, v
Let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou   Twelfth Night: III, ii
Let it not gall your patience, good iago,   Othello: II, i
Item, sack, two gallons, 5s. 8d.   King Henry IV, part I: II, iv
However this may gall him with some cheque,   Othello: I, i
How I am galled,–mightst bespice a cup,   The Winter’s Tale: I, ii
Have steep’d their galls in honey and do serve you   King Henry V: II, ii
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,   Hamlet: I, ii
galling the gleaned land with hot assays,   King Henry V: I, ii
galling at this gentleman twice or thrice. you   King Henry V: V, i
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?   Measure for Measure: III, ii
But when they would seem soldiers, they have galls,   Toilus and Cressida: I, iii
But I am pigeon-liver’d and lack gall   Hamlet: II, ii
But cried ‘good seaman!’ to the sailors, galling   Pericles, Prince of Tyre: IV, i
As fearfully as doth a galled rock   King Henry V: III, i
And that, my state being gall‘d with my expense,   Merry Wives of Windsor: III, iv
And that the legions now in gallia are   Cymbeline: III, vii
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,   Macbeth: I, v
And he may well in fretting spend his gall,   King Henry VI, part I: I, ii
And added to the gall. o lear, lear, lear!   King Lear: I, iv
Age to show himself a young gallant! what an   Merry Wives of Windsor: II, i
Against your yet ungalled estimation   The Comedy of Errors: III, i
A slave whose gall coins slanders like a mint,   Toilus and Cressida: I, iii
A’ has a little gall‘d me, I confess;   The Taming of the Shrew: V, ii
A pestilent gall to me!   King Lear: I, iv
‘twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them   Measure for Measure: I, iii
Spurr’d, gall‘d and tired by jouncing bolingbroke.   King Richard II: V, v
Livers with the bitterness of your galls: and we   King Henry IV, part II: I, ii
gall of goat, and slips of yew   Macbeth: IV, i
gallus, go you along.   Antony and Cleopatra: V, i
galls the one, and the pox pinches the other; and   King Henry IV, part II: I, ii
gall, worse than gall, the daintiest that they taste!   King Henry VI, part II: III, ii
gall! bitter.   Love’s Labour’s Lost: V, ii
Fraughted with gall.   Various poetry: XVIII

The implications of the meaning of the word gall is quite varied with many usually having a negative connotation such as bitter, irritation, or anger, and sometimes implying a positive trait such as in courage. There are some instances where Shakespeare uses his knowledge of the fact that ink is made from the gall that are embedded on leaves and bark, (“Let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou ”  Twelfth Night: III, ii )while he seems to have been familiar wirth Aristotles knowledge that pigeons did not have gallbladders.(“But I am pigeon-liver’d and lack gall”   Hamlet: II, ii ) .  In a very interesting line from Lady Macbeth (“And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,”   Macbeth: I, v ) where she infers the perceived differences between women (milk = loving and sustaining) and men (perhaps a negative mixed with positive  – anger, irritation, and courage inferred) she asks to be unsexed and to be given male gallness.

Ref Rhyme Zone for Shakespeare 

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