(Us. = Universities). The two Universities in England were at Oxford and Cambridge
respectively. See for details under OXFORD, CAMBRIDGE, and the names of the various
COLLEGES. The Inns of Court in Lond., (q.v. at GRAY'S INN, MIDDLE TEMPLE, INNER
TEMPLE, LINCOLN'S INN) were sometimes spoken of as a U. There are many references
to the Us. on the continent of Europe, such as Paris, Padua, Florence, Bologna,
etc. Jonson dedicates Volpone "To
the most noble and most equal sisters, the 2 famous Us." On the title page of
the 1603 quarto of Hamlet it is said
to have been acted "in the 2 Us. of Cambridge and Oxford, and elsewhere." In Greene's
Friar vii., Ralph undertakes to "make
a ship that shall hold all your Colleges and so carry away the Niniversity with
a fair wind to the Bankside in Southwark "; Niniversity being an obvious and intentional
mis-spelling. In Shrew v. 1, 72,
Vincentio complains, "While I play the good husband at home, my son and my servant
spend all at the U.," sc. of Padua; though Vincentio's experience would appeal
to many English fathers. In Two Gent.
i. 3, 10, Panthino, enumerating the various employments of young men, says, "Some
[go] to the studious Us." The English Us. played an important part in the history
of the Drama, and plays, at first in Latin and later in English, were performed
in the various Colleges from the latter part of the 15th cent. onwards. Details
will be found under CAMBRIDGE and OXFORD. In Ham.
iii. 2, 104, Hamlet asks Polonius, "You played once i' the U., you say?" and Polonius
avers, "I did enact Julius Caesar; I was killed i' the Capitol; Brutus killed
me." A Latin Julius Caesar by Geddes was acted at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1582.
In Jonson's Volpone i. 2, Nano sings,
"Now room for fresh gamesters, who do will you to know They do bring you neither
Play nor U. show."
A nickname for some quarter where debtors found lodging. Rent, or Rents, is often
used to mean a tenement rented from someone; as in Ely Rents, Nasynges Rents,
etc. In John Evangel. 361, Evil
Counsel says, "I have been in U. R."
The Land of Nowhere, a name adopted by Sir Thomas More for his imaginary commonwealth.
Hence Utopian is used in the sense of extravagantly hopeful, absurdly optimistic,
impossible. The scene of Lyly's Woman
in Moon is laid "in the bounds of fair U." In Brome's M.
Beggars iv. 2, the poet says, "I would present a Commonwealth: U., With all
her branches and consistencies "; and Rachel volunteers to act the part: "I'll
be U." In Brewer's Lingua ii. 6,
Memory says, "I remember, in the country of U., they use no other kind of artillery"
than cannons of hollow canes, with rape seed for powder, and turnips for shot.
Jonson, in Case ii. 4, uses U. as
a pseudonym for England. Milton, in Areopagitica, p. 25 (Hales), says, "To sequester
out of the world into Atlantick and Eutopian politics . . . will not mend our
condition." In W. Rowley's Match Mid.
v. 1, Alexander says that Moll has "2 chests of silver and 2 Utopian trunks full
of gold and jewels"; where doubtless the suggestion is that these trunks are "nowhere."
A town in Middlesex on the Coln, 15 m. W. of Lond. In Jonson's Ev.
Man O. iii. 1, Shift professes in his bill to teach the art of taking tobacco;
"as also the rare corollary and practice of the Cuban ebullition, Euripus, and
Whiff; which he shall receive or take in here at Lond., and evaporate at U., or
farther, if it please him." In Jonson's Barthol.
v. 4., Waspe has been to see a bull with five legs: "he was a calf at U. Fair,
two years agone." Fairs were held there on March 25th and Sept. 29th.