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aery ( “eyrie,” Cambridge ) “ of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question—An,” HAMLET, ii. 2. 335. “Shakespeare here alludes to the encouragement at that time given to some ‘eyry’ or nest of children, or ‘eyases’ (young hawks) [see eyases], who spoke in a high tone of voice. There were several companies of young performers about this date engaged in acting, but chiefly the Children of Paul's and the Children of the Revels, who, it seems, were highly applauded, to the injury of the companies of adult performers. From an early date the choir-boys of St. Paul's, Westminster, Windsor, and the Chapel Royal, had been occasionally so employed, and performed at Court” (COLLIER) .

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  • Cross-references in text-specific dictionaries from this page (1):
    • William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, 2.2
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