Internet Shakespeare Editions



Detail of the title page for The Accomplished Lady's Delight.
By permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Wife as you will
Now ply your still. . .
The knowledge of stilling is one
pretty feat,
The waters be wholesome, the
charges not great.
What timely thou gettest, while
summer doth last,
Think winter will help thee to
spend it as fast.
(Thomas Tusser, 1580)

On the right a perfume* is prepared by stirring and soaking flowers or herbs in oil; the still is in the middle, and on the left the distillate is bottled.

More about distillation. . .


  1. A Perfume

    To make sweet water of the best kind

    Take a thousand damask roses, two good handfuls of lavender knops [seed vessels] a three-pennyweight of mace, two ounces of cloves bruised, a quart of running water: put a little water into the bottom of an earthen pot, and then put in your roses and lavender with the spices by little and little, and in the putting in always knead them down with your fist, and so continue it until you have wrought up all your roses and lavender, and in the working between put in always a little of your water; then stop your pot close, and let it stand four days, in which time every morning and evening put in your hand, and pull from the bottom of your pot the said roses, working it for a time: and then distil it, and hang in the glass of water a grain or two of musk wrapped in a piece of silk or fine cloth.