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Love & Marriage



. . . upon a true contract
I got possession of Julietta's bed.
. . . she is fast my wife. . . .
Measure for Measure (1.2.142-144)

In Shakespeare's time, couples who clasped hands and exchanged vows before witnesses performed a ceremony called handfasting, after which they were widely regarded as legally married.


George Wither. A collection of emblemes, ancient and moderne. London, 1635 (Detail)




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