The “flowering” stage of the writing process is a pleasure. I love making historical simile searches on Google. Such a search can provide a sweet detail for a historical scene, that telling detail that reminds the reader that we’re in another world. 

1) Go to Google and type the lead-in to the simile in quotes. For example, “as sweet as a”.

2) Under More select “books.”

3) Click Search tools, and select the time period you want. I select “custom” and type in between 1600 and 1800. 

Here are the treasures that resulted, images that tell you quite a bit about daily life hundreds of years ago.

  • as sweet as a Parsnip
  • as sweet as a Nut
  • as sweet as a Cow (!)
  • as sweet as a Jordan almond
  •  as sweet as a Lark
  • as sweet as a Pistack Nut
  • (smelled) as sweet as a nosegay
  • (smelled) as sweet as a per- fum’d Spanish Glove
  • as sweet as a wild Fig
  • as sweet as a thin syrup
  • Her Breath is as sweet as a young Fawn’s
  • Her Breath is as sweet as a Grecian Captain. (?)

And, of course, a rose. 

Here are some more:

  • as slender as a Crow’s- quill
  • as hungry as a Church-mouse
  • as hungry as a hawk
  • as tall as a May-pole
  • as tall as a wild-Goat
  • as small as a cobweb
  • as big as a Goose’s egg

I find these simply delightful.

Some recent posts to Baroque Explorations, my research blog:

Happy 376th birthday, Louis XIV!

Honey, figs and red dove feet: cosmetic secrets of the Middle Ages