PLAYES Confuted in fiue Actions, Prouing that they are not to be suffred in a Christian common weale, by the waye both the Cauils of Thomas Lodge, and the Play of Playes, written in their de­fence, and other obiections of Players frendes, are truely set downe and directlye aun­sweared.

By Steph. Gosson, Stud. Oxon.

S. Cyprian.
Non diserta, sed fortia.

LONDON Imprinted for Thomas Gosson dwel­ling in Pater noster row at the signe of the Sunne.

To the Right Honorable Sir Frances Walsingham Knight, one of the principall Secretaries to her excellent Maiestie, of her highnesse most honorable Priuy Coun­sell, & Chauncellor of the order, Stephen Gosson wisheth prosperitie in this life, and life euerlasting in Christ our Sauiour.

IT is repor­ted (Right Honoura­ble) of Cal­licratides, that being appointed by the Lacedemo­nians to succeede Lysander as Admirall of their Fleete, th [...] Atheniens sente out aboue [...] hundred & fiftie Shippes [...] ­ [...]ainst him: wherevpon the [Page] Master of his Shippe persua­dinge him to retire without offeringe hys enemies anye play, because he was to deale with the greater number; he answered, that Sparta wold be neuer the woorse though hee were [...]oylde, but to [...]e, was in hys iudgemente, the greatest reproch of all. So fa­reth it this present time with me, which giuing forth my Defiaunce vnto Playes, am mightily beset with heapes of aduersaries, yet such is the Maiestie of the Cause, that, though all the pride of mine enemies, and pompe of A­thens be ship [...] to meete mee, [Page] it will stand vpright, when I with Callicratides am ouer­throwne, but to shrinke in so good a quarrell, is in my opinion, more foule a dis­grace then death it selfe. God knoweth I neuer vndertoke thys troublesome peece of woorke for any vaine glorie as Crassus did his Inuectiue a­gainste Carbo, and repented him afterwardes, because it was a hatchet to hys owne libertie, setting many mens eyes a worke to watch hym; nor of any fantasticall ouer-hardinesse, as he that hauing taken a Wolfe by the eare, neither letteth hym goe; for [Page] being assaulted; nor is able to master hym for wante of mighte: But as the Wrastler entring the liste, first tasteth his strength, by lifting some churlish peece of vveight at the armes end, & therevvith as it vvere rebateth hys sto­macke, for being too rough vvhen he comes to grapple; I first vveighed in my hands the aunciente Fathers of the Church, that the massinesse of theyr argumentes in thys matter might cause me not to deale so ouerthvvartlye & stubbornelye, as the Defen­dantes of Players haue deser­ued. Neuertheles I thought [Page] it necessarye to nettle one of their Orators aboue the rest, not of any set purpose to de­face hym, because hee hath dealt very grossely, homely, and vncharitably vvith me, but like a good Surgeon to cut, & to seare, vvhen the place requireth, for his ovvn amendment. Which thinge I trust shall neither displease your honor, nor any of the godly, in the reading, so lōg as the person vvhom I touch is (as I heare by hys ovvne frendes, to hys repentance if he can perceiue it) hunted by the heauy hand of God, and become little better than a [Page] vagarant, looser than liberty, lighter than vanitie it selfe. The righte, for the recouery vvherof I framed these acti­ons belongeth not to mee, but vnto God, vvhose man­ner is to beate dovvne the loftinesse of vsurpers, not vvyth the vvisdome of the world, or with preparation of speare & shield, but with the foolishnes of the Gospel, and the nakednesse of hys truth. Therefore it had bene as daungerous for me, in this simple Confutation of our Comedies, to play with my penne by seekinge fine pou­ders for deintie noses, as it is [Page] for the soldier to dally with his weapon when the bat­tell ioynes. It is one thing to flourish, an other to fighte, one thing to bragge, another to come to handye gripes. Finding Playes of thēselues, as filthy as the stables of Au­gia, impossible to bee clean­sed before they be carried out of Englande, wyth a stiffe streame, and the banishinge of them as worthy to be re­gistred in the labors of Her­cules as the conqueringe the monstruous wilde Bore, of Erymanthus, that wasted the countrey round about: If e­uer so notable a thinge bee [Page] brought to passe it must bee done by some Hercules in the Court, whom the roare of the enimy cā neuer daunt. Whiche perswaded mee a­mongest all the patrones of vertue in her Maiesties court to dedicate both this & my selfe vnto your honor, that your wisedome might be a countenaunce to my study, your authoritie a buckler vnto my life. Agamemnon a valiaunt Captayne of the Greekes, thought verely, that if hee might haue but tenne suche as Nestor to take hys part, it would be no trouble to sacke Troy: I haue beene [Page] alwaies of this opinion, that if but one suche as Nestor, that is, your honor, doe no more then thruste out your hand to succour mee, let the wicked discharge their shot at my face, Playes will bee easely fired out: and I when I sleepe shall be as safe, as the childe in his cradle, whose mother will not suffer a flye to bite him. Meane while I most humbly craue pardon for my bouldnesse, in presu­ming, to crepe into your ho­nours patronage: I make as much accounte of your ho­nour, as the Atheniens did of Paralus their holye shippe, [Page] that was n [...]uer lanched but vpon high, & great affaires [...] The Ge [...]tlemen Players in the citie of London, are gro­wen in such a heate, that by their foming, their fretting, their stampinge, my frendes do perceiue how their harts woorke, and enfor [...]eme to bring to your honor no cō ­mon fraighte, but as much as my life and securitie here­after shall be woorth. If the prouidence of God, who many times scourgeth a mā with the sinne that he loued, haue ordeined those players whome I fed with fancies, to be a whippe to my back, [Page] and a dagger to my brest, the fault is mine owne, the pu­nishmente due: But if it be the pleasure of the Almigh­tie, rather in mercy to deli­uer, then in iustice to con­found; & by your honora­ble patronage to snatch mee out of the iawes of those ra­uenous wolues, that haue whetted their teeth to pull me downe; I shall learne to employ my study to the glo­ry of God, and be bound to your honour vvhilest I liue. Thus vvishing a charitable minde to them, better suc­cesse vnto my selfe, plentye of happines to your honor; [Page] I leaue them and me to your honors consideration, and your honor to the tuition of God himselfe.

To the Rightworshipful Gentlemen and studentes, of both Vniuersities, and the Innes of Court.

TWo things (Gen­tlemen) I [...]er­cei [...]e to be inuin­cible in ye world, both whiche, to my griefe, are quite against me, Fauour, & Eloquence: the one in Players, and that I feare: the other in you, and that per­ad [...]ēture wil stay my passag. I mistrust that the fauour, which Players haue gotte with the greater multitude, will make them preiudiciall to the cause I handle, for loue is so blinde, that it neuer sees any blemishe in the thing it liketh, but a [...]iuy, euen by the smallest, and wea­kest proppes that it [...]atcheth, findeth a way to reare it selfe. [Page] The eloquence that is in you, as I confesse it to be great, so were it not greatly to be doub­ted, if it were but indifferent in my selfe. Nowe sith my Rheto­rike is litle, my Eloquence no­thing, compared to you, whose continuali exercise, is ioyned to co [...]tinuall studye: though the trueth be as sure on my side, as the succession of night is to the day, yet I holde my selfe vanquisht before you s [...]rike.

One beeing asked of Archi­damus the king of Sparta, whe­ther he, or Pericles were the bet­ter wras [...]ler, a [...]swered, that he coulde not [...]ell: for, when I throw him (quoth he) he denies he was downe, and persuadeth the beholders to beleeue him: Such is the excellencie of your witte, if it be bent to contende with me for Playes, that how­ [...]oener [Page] I trip you, or fetche you ouer, you are a [...]le to say that I come not neere you, and make the Reader auoueh it, agains [...]e the open testimony of his eyes. I woulde Readers considered y when they come to [...]he view of any newe booke, they are bidde by their frend as ghestes to a banquet: at a banket if any dish bee before you, which your stomacke a [...]hors, It is a poin [...]e of good manners, somewhat orderly to remoue it: In bokes if any thing bee offred that you cannot rellish, curtesy wils you, with a thankefull kinde of mo­desti [...] to refuse it. Our fathers forefathers in older time, were wont to place Mercurie in their Temples amonge the Graces, whose meaninge was, that as Mercurie was counted the God of vtterance: and the three Gra­ces, [Page] the Ladies of Curtesy: so placinge the shrines of them to­gether, might teach vs to know that spee [...] is desirous of frendlye eares, and writers haue great need of Gentle Readers. When Gentlemen reade with a minde to barke, their throtes are so narrow that nothing wil downe: whatsoeuer we speake is too rounde or too flatte, too blunte or too sharpe, too square or too crooked, one waye or o­ther it standes a wry. The fay­rest citie in the worlde may bee ouerthrowen, with lesse charge, lesse labor, lesse time, than it can bee builte: a bracke is sooner spiede than drawne together: bookes many times are speedi­ly reprehended, but amended by leisure, at the Calendes of the Greekes. It is the propertie of some kinde of Dogges, to teare [Page] the skinne of the beast with wō ­derfull stomacke, when it is deade and within the doores, which abroad they neuer durst open at when it liued: and di­uers iollie sif [...]ers in these dayes can tosse, and turne, and within their owne walles make dishe­cloutes of writers, whose sight would be too hot for their presence if th [...]y mighte ioyne. Seeinge many bookes printed & few liked, I coniecture with my selfe that the reason is, that some ar curious, some froward, some idle. W [...] know that coun­sell is as necessarie to our eares as light to our eies, the one is a lanterne to the bodie, the other a bright shining lampe vnto the soule. Receauing instruction, if your tooth bee too white, you may chaunce to sterue: if your nose be so fine that nothing will [Page] please you, but that whiche is sweete, you may well be cōpa­red to those nice kind of Dames which in platting of Garlands forget their thrifte, or to him whiche thinkes it impossible to quenche his thirst, if his drinks be not serude in a cup of golde: if you be contentious and ouer­thwart, willinger to cauil, than to learne: contented to reade, but not to regard: to be taught, but not reformed: you are like vnto him that forsakes the Phisitian when he is cutte, and neuer permits him to finish the cure: if you be so slow, of your selues, that because writers many times doe not set downe euery thing that may be spokē, but onely pointe with their fin­gers to the place, where you may bee satisfied if you seeke it, you wil not trauell and study to [Page] fish it out, you are not much vn­like to naked birdes in the nest that euer lie yauning at the bill of ye dam, & search for no more then is put in their mouths. You know it is a notable point of folly for a man to toaste him­self by his neighbours fire, and neuer bestirre him to keepe any warmthe in his owne chimnie: as great a madnes is it in ma­nye Readers, when they are taught, not seeke to mainetaine it of their owne: whiche is, to contente themselues with the glorious blase of an other mās knowledge, whereby they out­wardly get some colour in their cheekes, but within they are duskie, darke and obscure. Ma­ny thinges might bee spoken a­gainst Playes, for the vaine o­stentation of a flourishinge wit, brauelie, for satisfieng thē that [Page] are vnsatiable, largelie: for in­structing of them that are vn­learned, plainly: which I haue omitted. For, to treade alof [...] a­mong you as a tragicall Poet in my bus [...]ins, were as fondlie done as to throw water in the sea where it can not be seene: to dilate this discourse for the vn­satiable, were as much as to close vp the mouth of Curtius gulfe, that will neuer be stopt but with my life: to lay open e­uery thing to ye ignorant, were without iudgment to charge them beyonde theire strength, which are to be fed like childrē, with a litle, and ofte.

What effect my labour wil take amōg you, I am not sure, yet hope the best, at all aduen­tures I haue committed it to the Presse. Seiramnes the Persian seeing many men wonder that [Page] he spake w [...]sely, but nothing that euer he spake was regar­ded: tolde them that wordes were [...]uer in his owne power, but success [...] was neuer within his rea [...]he. You may see if you please, that the counsel I bring is good and sounde, but if you despise it when it is read, I wil comfort my selfe as Seiramnes did: I haue my bokes in my study at commandement: you are out of my walke, & your owne men. I was very willing to write at this time, because I was enformed by s [...]e of you which [...]eard it with your ears, that [...]i [...]e my publishing the Schole of Abuse, two Playes of my making were brought [...]o the Stage: the one was a cast of Italian deuises, called, The Comedie of Captaine Mario: the other a Moral, Praise at parting. [Page] These they very impudētly af­firme to be written by me since I had set out my in [...]ec [...]iue a­gainst them. I can not denie, they were both mine, but they were both pēned two yeeres at the least before I forsoke them, as by their owne friends I am able to proue: but they haue got suche a custome of counterfai­ting vpon the Stage, that it is growen to an habite, & will not be lefte. God knoweth, before whom to you all I doe protest, as I shal answer to him at the last day, when al hidden secrets shal be discouered, since the first printing of my Inuectiue, to this day, I neuer made Playe for them nor any other. There­fore if euer they [...]e so shameles, and gra [...]les [...]o be [...]ye me again, I beseech God, as he hath giuē me more wit, to spende my time [Page] well: so to sende to them more honestye, to speake a trueth. I coulde purge my selfe of this sclaunder in many words, both how I departed from the City of London, and bestowed my time in teaching yong Gentle­men in the Countrie, where I continue with a very worship­f [...]ll [...]entleman, and reade [...]o his sonnes in his owne house: but the men are so vaine, & their credite so light, that the least worde I speake is inough to choke them. He that reprehēds a vice, & shunnes it not, snuffes the Lampe to make it burne, but puts in no oyle to nourishe the flame. Therefore as sonne as I had inueighed against Playes, I withdrewe my selfe from them to better studies, which so long as I liue I trust to follow.

Thus submitting my booke [Page] and my self to your iudgement, I leaue to trouble you any far­ther, crauing this at your hāds before we parte, that if anye Player belie me in your hea­ring vpon the stage, you would rather consider of the person than of the speach, for a Player is like to a Marchants finger, that standes sometime for a thousande, sometime for a cy­pher, and a Player must stand as his parte fals, sometime for a Prince sometime for a peasant.

Yours Stephen Gosson.

The first Action.

IF any that haue known me alredy by acquain­tance, or shall knowe me hereafter by rea­ding some parte of my simple trauels, chance to woonder, that I whic [...]e heretofore haue not onely so fauoured, but writ­ten Playes, that my penne hath bene readier to defend them, then to deface them; now with alteration of minde so depely accuse that which so highly I esteéemed. Whatsoeuer hée bée, if hee weigh the reason that mooueth mée thereunto, I trust he will both allowe that which by my Schoole of Abuse hath past against them: And thinke it necessary for me at this time, to renue my plea. When I firste gaue my selfe to the studie of Poetrie, and to set my cunning abroache, by penning Tra­gedies, and Comedies in the Citie of London: perceiuing such a Gordians knot of disorder in euery play house [...] as woulde neuer bée loosed without ex­tremitie, [Page] I thought it better with A­lexander to draw ye sword that should knappe it a sunder at one stroke, then to seeke ouernicely or g [...]gerly to vn­doe it, with the losse of my time and wante of successe. This caused mee to bidde them the base at their owne gole, and to geue them a volley of heathen [...]riters: that our diuines considering the daunger of suche houses as are set vp in London against the Lord, might batt [...]r them thoroughly with greater shotte. But such is the queasinesse of our stomacke, that like vnto [...]r [...]uei­lers at the Sea, being ready to cast, we thinke to finde remedy by chaunge of place, sprawling down from the Ship to the Cockb [...]a [...]e, yet are neuer the néere, so longe as the hum [...]ur workes within vs: & acknowledging the [...]s­chefe bred by playes we hope to auoid yt by changing their day yet suffer thē still to remaine amonge vs. Wherein we may well be compared to children that holdinge yse in their [...]andes, for discomodities sake are vnwilling to keepe it; & for wantonn [...]s, loth to le [...] it go. Cōmod [...]s a Romane [...] Emperor, [Page] was so excellente in throwinge of [...]i [...] darte, that hauinge gotten Sundrie sortes of wilde beastes, as markes for the exorcise of his hand, the whole cittie of Rome assembled together to behold him, neither [...]we him throwe twise at one marke, nor giue any wound which was not deadly: And yt were to bee wished that euery man which talketh vpō him to rebuke sinne, should leuell so streight with Commodus, and sticke so sure, that as oft as he shootes at deformityes, he might hit them, and as ofte as he hittes, kill; So shoulde the readers with the Romanes see, neyther anye kinde of monster twice gaulde, nor anye vice recouer the first wounde. Neuerthelesse as some Phi­losophers are of this opinion that the heauens because they moue doe yelde a kinde of harmonie in theyr motti­on, yet yf you requeste to knowe the reasone, why we discerne it not by the eare, their aunswere is, that wee ne­uer heare it, because wee euer heare it. So the abhominable practises of playes in London haue bene by godly preachers, both at Paules crosse, and [Page] el [...] where, so zealously, so learnedly, so loudly cried out vpon to small redresse; that I may well say of them, as the Philosophers reporte of the moouing of the heauens, we neuer heare them, because we euer heare thē. Whereby I gather, that the wisedome of man, is able to rule any thinge but man: for the sauage and brute beasts nei­ther grudge to féede where they are appoynted, nor resist when they are driuen from those places, where they loue most of all to byte. But whether our eares be wilfully stoped, & our eyes muffled, that in hearing, we heare, and not vnderstand; in seeing, we see and not perceiue; or whether the deuill our ancient enemie hath stricken so deepe and so venemous a tothe into the hart of man, as hath infected, and wounded the soule to death, I know not well [...] yet sure I am,Heb. 6.8. Heb. 4.12 and haue sufficient war­rant by the worde of God, that beinge watred with the Preachinge of the Gospell, if the fruite wee yéelde bee thornes and briers, it is a very eare­marke of reprobates, and of such as are giuen ouer by the Lorde, to their owne sense, to follow destruction with full saile. The worde of God is liue­lie, [Page] and mightie in operation: being liuelie, if it doe not quicken and stirre vs vp to a newenesse of life, it is a to­ken that we haue no life, but are al­readie stone deade, in the workes of darkenes: being mightie in operati­on, both the plaiers and wee must be persuaded, that their idle occupation, hauing so stoute, so strong, so puys­sante, so mightie an enemie as the worde of God, though the honour and authoritie of their Masters hold them vp for a time, yet in the end they must haue a fall. For neither strong holds, nor inuentions of men, nor any high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, shalbe able to stand, whē the foote of his Prophetes comes a­gainst it. Amongest all the fauorers of these vncircumcised Philistines I meane the Plaiers, whose heartes are not right, no mā til of late durst thrust out his heade to mayntaine there quarrell, but one, in witt, simple; in learning, ignorant; in attempt, rash; in name, Lodge; whose booke, as it came not to my handes in one whole yeere after the priuy printing thereof, [Page] so I confesse, that to it, before this time I aunswered nothing, partlie because he brought nothing; partly because my hearte was to bigge, to wrastle with him, that wanteth armes. Therefore considering with my selfe that such kinde of sores might bee launced to sone, I chose rather to let him ripen and breake of him selfe, that vomiting out his owne disgrace, & being worke out of fauour among his own friends, I might triumph in the cause & shedde no blood. Though some of his acquaintaunce haue vaunted to cut and [...]ewe mee [...] I knowe not howe: yet hauing greater regarde to the soules of many, then to the threatninges of fewe; to the honour of God, then to the pride of euer bragging and b [...]sie Players; by Gods assistanc [...] I will proue vnto you, that stage Plaies are not to be [...]uf [...]red in a christian cōmon weale. Which I trust I shalbe able sufficiēt­ly to [...], if I giue you a tast [...] of the [...] o [...] Plaies, and of the [...]: [...]f the ca [...]es, which I fi [...]de by [...]eading; of the effectes, which I knowe by my owne experience. I [Page] hope that no Christiā wilbe so shame­lesse to say that the doctrine & inuentiō of the Deuill, is to bee suffered in that commō weale, where the glad tidings of grace is truelie preached. For to mainetaine the doctrine and inuention of the Deuil, is a kind of Apostasie & falling from the Lorde. For God hath made vs to his owne likenesse,Ephes. 4.24. which likenesse consisteth not in lineaments and proportion of the body, but in ho­linesse and singlenesse of life. There­fore receiuing the doctrine and inuen­tions of the Deuill, betwee [...]e whome and God there can bee no truce, no league, no manner of agréemente, be­caus [...] the one is holy, the other impu [...]e; the one good, the other euill; the one light, the other darkenes: we forsake our God, forsakinge of him, wee loose his image and likenesse, loosinge his i­mage, wee are not hys children, and consequently haue no part nor felow­ship with Christ in the world to come. That Stage Playes are the doctrine and inuention of the Deuill, may bee gathered by Tertullian, who noteth verie well that the Deuill foreséenge [Page] the ruine of his kingdome, both inuen­ted these shewes, and inspired men with deuises to set them out the better thereby to enlarge his dominion and pull vs from [...]od. And Thomas Lodge in that patchte pamphlet of his wherein he taketh vp­on him the defence of playes, little per­ceiuinge how lustely ye chippes flye in his face, whilst he heweth out timber to make the frame, confesseth openly that playes were consecrated by the heathens to ye honour of their gods, which in deede is true, yet serueth it better to ouerthrow them them establish them: for, whatsoeuer was consecrated to the honour of the Heathen Gods was consecrated to idolatrie, Stage Playes by his owne confession were consecra­ted to the honour of Heathen Gods, therefore consecrated to idolatrie. Be­ing consecrated to idolatrie, they are not of God, if they proceede not from God, they are the doctrine and inuen­tions of the deuill. This will be coun­ted news learninge amonge a greate number of my gay countymen, which beare a sharper smacke of Italian [Page] deuises in their heades, then of En­glish religion in their heartes. Neuer­thelesse the godly perceiue how lamen­table & damnable a case we stand in; lamentable, because we are so asotted with these delightes, so blinded with the loue, and drunken with the swéet­nes of these vanities, that greedely we flocke together, and with our braine­sicke assemblies not vnlyke to the Troyanes hale in the horse, whose mi­schiefe hath beene discouered by the Prophets of the Lorde, and whose bo­wels haue beene manye times gaged with the sword of his trueth: damna­ble, because we professe Christ, and set vp the doctrine of the deuill; wee holde with the hare and run with the hound, heaping vp iudgement vpon our soules by this hipocrisie. Certayne it is, that this life of ours is a continuall warre­fare, a pitchte fielde, wherein, as the lickerous tounge of our mother Eue hath iustly prouoked the Lorde, to set the deuill and vs at deadly feude, so is it our part to bethinke vs of him, that neuer leaues nibling at our heele. Hee is called the Serpent, the enuious mā, [Page] the Prince of this world, the common enemie of Christé, and of man kinde. Being a Serpent hee is subtile; being enuious, he repineth at our estate [...] be­ing a Prince, hee is mightie; being an enemy, hee is malicious; malice bree­deth continuall discorde; continuall dis­corde, a perpetuall studye and desire to hurt: which the Apostle vnderstāding, giueth vs a watche woo [...]de to walke warely. For hauing an enemy so craf­ty conc [...]ited, so well appoynted, so en­uious, so malitious, so willinge to mis­ [...]h [...]e vs: no doubte but he hath sett vp many trappes, shott many nettes, bayted many hookes, to take vs, to tan­gle vs, to thrattle vs. Which is enough to make vs suspecte euerie pleasure that hee profereth. When Pyrrhus L. P [...]erus. sawe that the Romaynes coulde not be ouer throwne by force of armes, he buried the bodies of them that were slayne; he dealte very honorablie with hys prisoners returninge them home without ransome, and sent his Ambas­sadours to entreate of peace: wherby he made accounte to winne that with vndermininge, which open assalt could [Page] neuer get. The Deuill, whose treache­ry passeth the shiftes of Pyrrhus, fee­ling such a terrible push, giuen to his breast by the chaunge of religion, and [...] the happy entraūce of her Maiestie to the crowne, hath played [...] be­guilie euer since. Hee deales verye fa­uourably with vs now, hee entertay­neth his captiues with all manner of curtesie, hee craueth no raunsome for our release, his Ambassadours haue bene a great while amonge vs. First hee sente ouer many wanton Italian bookes, which being trāslated into eng­lish, haue poysoned the olde maners of our Country with foreine delights, they haue so hardned the readers har [...]s ye seuer [...]r writers are trode vnder foote, none are so pleasunte or plausible as they, that sound some kinde of libertie in our eares. This contempt of good bookes hath breede a desire of fancies & toyes. For if it be as Ambrose De fuga secu [...]. sayth that the decrease of vanitie is the in­crease of vertue: I may reason of the contrary, that the increase of vanity is the decrease of vertue. Therefore the Deuill not contented with the num­ber [Page] he hath corrupted with reading I­talian ba [...]dery, because all cānot reade presēteth vs Comedies cut by the same paterne, which drag such a monstrous taile after thē, as is able to swéep whole Cities into his lap. They which haue any experience in martial discipline, know yt the easiest way to conquere, is either to bribe ye Captaine, to betray [...] his Prince, or to allure ye Souldiers, to reuolte & forsake their Captaine. Our enemie whose experience is great by continuall practise had from the begin­ning tried his cunning vpon Christe but tooke the foyle: yet leauing no­thing vnsifted that may serue his pur­pose, and séeing that neither riches nor preferment of this world, could moue our Captaine to fall forward and wor­ship him, because we are commanded to followe our Captaine foote by foote which is Ircksome to performe, hee settes Comedies abroach and er [...]cteth Theaters to make vs fall backwarde & flie the fielde. Happy saith the Pro­phet is he That walketh not in the Counsell of the vngodly, Psalm .1. nor stan­deth in the way of sinners, nor sits [Page] in the chaire of pestilence. The counsell of the vngodly is the cun­ning drift, the déepe search, the subtill cast of the Children of darkness which are sharpe sighted in all kinde of mis­chiefe. The way of sinners is the pro­céedings and practises of sinners. The chaire of pestilence is the Assembly of wicked worldlings. But if we flocke to Theaters to gase vpon playes, wee walke in the Counsell of the vngodly, because plaiyng is one of those poli­tique hornes which our enemie do [...] ­eth against the Gospell; We stand in the way of sinners, because plaies are the procéedings & practises of the Gen­tiles in their Idolatrie; We sit in the chaire of pestilence, because we thrust our selues into the companie of them, which being ouergorged with the pre­aching of the word, begin to lift at se­uerer discipline, and worship the De­uill by falling backward. This Apo­stacy plungeth vs vp to the throat in sinne and wickednes & ringes a peale for reueng in the eares of God, by whome wee learne that the reward of sinne is a bitter cursse. Sithince stag [Page] plaies are the doctrine of the Deuill; the Counsell of the vngodly; the way of sinners, the chaire of pestilence; the forerun [...]ers of a cursse procured to that lande wherein they floorish, howe can they bee suffered in this common weale wherein we professe the name of Christ, except we stand at defiance with Christianity, or proclaime open warre to our soules? Some curious sister peraduēture may iudge me to be streighter l [...]ced thē I neede, or cast this in my teeth,Obiection. y such chris [...]iās as wil bo­row nothing f [...] the Gētiles lest they stand in the way of sinners, must nei­ther occupie ships, for they were inuē ­ted by Minerua; nor weare any linē, because it was proper to Osyris; nor exercise almost any kinde of handy­craft, for most of them were borowed of the Gentiles. To whome I aun­swere with Tertullian, A [...]nsweare [...] that of things receiued from the Heathens, Some were reuealed vnto them by God, for necessary vses and the benefite of mā; some were inspyred by the Deuill, which vnder the shew of indifferency shadow the corruption of a priuy con­dition, [Page] by which they are subiect vnto vanitie. Those things that are inuen­ted for necessarie vses, as, Shippes, clothing wollen or linnen, Manuary craftes, may be accepted of Christians without error, for they are the bles­sings of God bestowed vpon vs; but those things which are neither neces­sary nor beneficiall vnto man, yet ca­ry in their Foreheaddes a manyfest printe of their first condition, as May­games, Stageplaies, & such like, can not be suffred amōg Christians with­out Apostacy, because they were suckt from the Deuilles teate, to Nurce vp Idolatrie. God thinking him selfe not sufficiently honoured, except the outwarde conuersation of our li [...]e doe giue a testimony to the worlde of the inwarde holinesse of the minde, charg­eth vs seuerely to avoide euery thing that hindereth the outwarde professi­on of Christianitie. Therefore the Apostles writing to the Churches of Antioch, Syria, Cilicia, Act. 15. vers. 28. and 29. iud­ged it a necessary Burthen to bée layed vpon them, that they touch not thinges sacri [...] vnto Idoles. [Page] Wherefore if ye outward vse of things indifferent, as meats, be to be tied to ye rule of charitie, and not to be taken, when they offende the consience of the weake; how much lesse ough we to ioyn [...] with idolaters in theire playes, which are nawghte of them selues, & offensiue to the godly? yf we be carefull that no pollution of idoles enter by the mouth into our bodies, how dilligent [...] how circumspect, how wary ought we to be, that no corruption of idols, enter by the passage of our eyes & eares in­to the soule? we knowe that whatsoe­uer goeth into the mouth d [...]fileth not but passeth away by course of nature; but that which entreth into vs by the eyes and eares, muste bee digested by the spirite, which is chiefly reserued to honor God. This spirite of ours is al­ready defiled with the idolatrye of the Gentiles, if wee be partakers of their sacrifices, and maketh vs stinke in the sight of God, for as he that steales but a trifle is guiltie of theft, so hee that al­loweth the least parcell of offringes of the Gentiles is accessary to idolatry if not by ye quantitie of ye thing, yet by ye [Page] nature of the crime. Which being con­sidered, I am forced to saye, that suche men as are erectors of Stage Playes among Christians, either see not that they communicate with the sacrifices and idolatry of the Gentiles, for lacke of knowledge; or seeing it, dissembl [...] the matter [...]or wante of zeale. Two sortes of sacrifice were vsed among the Heathens, the one, to the Gods of their countrey, the other to the Spirites of the deade, they committed idolatrye in them both. Amonge suche Idolatrous spectacles as they sacrificed to their Gods,Lib. de specta­c [...]lis. Tertullian affirmeth yt Playes were consecrated vnto Bacchus for the first [...] findinge out of wine. These Playes wer not set vp by the Gentiles of any blinde zeale within themselues, but by the motion of the diuell, as may be prooued by the originall of them in Rome. This kinde of Idolatrye was long practised among the Gréekes, the Romanes not being acquainted with ye same. Therefore ye deuill spying his time to bring it into Itali [...], about 400. yeares after ye building of Rome, in ye Consulship of Sulpicius & Stolon [Page] the inhabitantes beinge mightelie de­uowred with a greate plague, the De­uill foreseeing the time whē the plague should cease, taught ye Romanes by the oracles of Sibilla to set forth plaies to app [...]a [...]e ye āger of ye Gods, yt ye pestilence ceasing after this solemnising of their plaies, might nussle thē in idolatrie and wātonnesse euer after. For as ye wic­ked spirits which ye Gentiles worship­ped appeared once fightinge in the plaine of Campania, to whet them to slaughter and bloudshead by this illu­si [...]n:Lib. 2. de ciui­tate Dei. so did they (saith S. Augustine) with the like subtilty, cause Playes to be consecrated vnto them, wherein theire Adulteries [...] and Impurities were peinted out, that such as gaue credite to the same, might follow their example, and they that coulde not bée brought to beléeue it, yet séeing theyr Gods delight to bee worshipped so, might giue them selues ouer to abho­minable lust. Though the Romans in that horrible Plague that vexed theyr City fetcht the famousest Plai­ers out of Hetruria, yèt did not the Sicknes of bodie surcease, because the [Page] delicate phrensie of plaiyng entred, but the craftines of wicked spirits foresee­ing that the pestilence shoulde haue an end,Agust. lib. 1. de ciuitate Dei cap. 32. tooke aduantage hereby to in­fect not the bodies, but the manners of the Citizēs with a greater plague. E­uerie Seafaring man is able to tell you that there is greater daunger in those stormes that forbid you to shoote into the Hauen, then in them that wil not suffer you to saile at al: which po­licy the Deuill vsed to peruert the Gentiles. For those wicked spirites which challenging a diuinitie to them selues, were worshipped of the Gentiles, neither regarded the smoke of sacrifices, nor showe of plaies, but the men that offered vp bothe to ho­nour them. By this meanes the De­uill driuing them from the worship of the true God, as ships from the har­bour where they shoulde ryde, helde them in greater perill of death then if they had worshipped no God at all. Sithince it is manifest by all Antiqui­ties, if we search them, that plaies are the Sacrifices of the Deuill, taught by him selfe to pull vs from the seruice of [Page] our God, as ofte as euer wée set them vp in our Christian Cities, the Di­uell, triumpheth and reioyceth therein as in thinges sacrificed by Christians vnto him.

Because that as in the Church sin­ging and praysing the Lorde together as hee him selfe hath instrcted vs in his worde, is a signe by whiche the true God is assured that we sacrifice our hearts vnto him with the Calues of our lippes: So the Diuell percei­uing vs to aduaunce the offringes or sacrifices of the Gentiles, after the same manner of houses, of apparell, of Stages, of Plaies, that he instruct­ed the Gentiles by his Oracles, hath greate cause to bee merrie, and to holde him selfe honoured thereby. Is it [...]o? and shall wee say wee doe it not with the minde to commit Idolatrie? Truely this aunsweare is like to a drawght of colde water in burning Feuers, whereby the bodie is quieted for a time, but the sickenes can neuer be remoued. The noble Scipio Na­sica perceiuing that the Citie cannot longe endure whose walles stande [Page] and manners fall, when hee sawe the whole Senate bent to builde vpp Theaters, aud sett out Playes, with earnest persuasion drewe them from it. And Valerius Maximus flatlie af­firmeth, t [...]at they were not brought in to Rome Sine pacis rubore, without à steine of disgrace to the time of Peace. August. de ci­uit. Dei. lib. 2. They grewe in time so infa­mous among ye Romanes thē selues, that if any continued in that arte, they were depriued of the dignitie of other Citizens, and remoued by the Censors from their Tribe.

Wherefore I beséech God so to touch the heartes of our Magistrates with a perfite hatred of sinne, and feare of Iudgement; so to stirre vpp some noble Scipio in the Courte, that these daūsing Chaplines of Bacchus, and all such as set vp these wicked artes, may be driuen out of Englande, may bee shutt from the companie of the Godly, & as open professors of I­dolatrie, separated from vs by Sea and Lande. If there be a zeale in au­thoritie, to banish them; a diligence in Preach [...]rs to pursue them [...] a gene­rall [Page] consent in vs to loath them; I dare boldely auouch from my owne experience, that monstrous sinnes, with very light trauell; imminent dā ger, with very small troble; olde fe­s [...]red corruptions, in very shorte time wilbe displaced; the Churches in London more frequented, more fur­nishte, more [...]illed; the diuine seruice of God more regarded, more reueren­ced, more kept; and the vtter suppres­sing of a fewe, bréed a swéete reforma­tion in many thousandes.

The 2 Action.

IF the daye wherein wee bee deli­uered from the iawes of death, ought to bée as ioyfull to vs as the houer of birth, because the ioy of sa [...]etie atchiued is sure, the condition of byrth vncertaine; and because wee are borne without pleasure, saued with gladnes: Both I shal think my study very well employed, and my louing cuntrimen of Englande shall haue cause to reioyce, if it please God [Page] by my trauell against Plaies, to make me a stay to the ryot of their expen­ces, a discloser of the corruptiō in their families, and a watchman againste the hazard of their soules. All which as I iudge to proceed of Stage Plays; so must I confute the opinion of them that holde the contrary. Yonge Ma­ster Lodge thinking to iett vpon star­toppes, and steale an y [...]che of his hight by the bare name of Cicero, alle­geth frō hi [...], [...] t a Play is the School­mistresse of life; the lookinge glas [...]e of manners; and the image of trueth. But finding him selfe too wéeke in the knées to stand it out, nei­ther alleadging the place where Tullie saith it; nor bringing any reason of his owne, to proue it; hee flittes from this to the Etymologie of Plai [...]s, frō thence to the mu [...]niors, and so gallops his wisedome out of breath. It sé­emeth that Master Lodge s [...]w this in Tulile with other f [...]lk [...]s eyes, and not his owne. For to my remembrance I neuer read it in him, neither doe I thinke that Master Lodge can shewe it me. For in his Tusculans second, [Page] third, and [...]ourth booke, he misliketh playes, in his bookes of the common weale, he is sharpe set against them. In his Epistles writing to Marius, Ep. Iam. lib. 7. who was absent from the playes that were set out at Pompeys charges, he telleth him that if any paine of bodie, or decaye of health withhelde him, hee attributeth it rather to for [...]une, then to his wisdome, but if he contemned those bables, that other men wonder at, and being not [...]indered with sick­nes refused to see them of his own ac­cord, he rei [...]yceth greatly in his friēdes behalfe, first, that he felt no greese of bo­die, next that [...]he was perfectly whole in minde, because he fores [...]owed to come to those spectacles, which other mē delight in without cause. I would it pleased master Lodge to remember that in cases of conscience no mans aucthoritie may stand for reason, it is therefore our duetie to weighe before we speake, whether the testi­monies of other men will abide the hammeringe, when they come to be wrought by the worde of God, otherwise to take what soeuer they [Page] say for Oracles, and muster them together in proofe of that which nei­ther reason nor conscience doth allow, is as fonde and impertinent an en­terprise, as to open our locke with the hatchet, and cleaue our wood with the key.

But because master Lodge will needes father these wordes vpon Tullie that neuer spake them, I will first sette downe the matter, and the persons of both kindes of playes, then rippe vp euery part of this definition, that you may see how this gentleman like the Foxe at the banquet of the Storke, Aesop. Fab. lickes the outside of the glasse with an emp­tie stomacke, when his heade will not suffer him to enter in.

The argumēt of Tragedies is wrath, crueltie, incest, iniurie, mur­ther eyther violent by sworde, or vo­luntary by poyson. The persons, Gods, Goddesses, fu­ries, fiendes, Kinges, Quenes, and mightie men. The ground worke of Commedies, is loue, cose­nedge, [Page] flatterie, bawderie, slye con­neighance of whordome. The persōs, cookes, queanes, knaues, baudes, pa­rasites, courtezannes, lecherouse olde men, amorous yong men. There­fore Plautus in his prologue before the comedie of the captiues, desiring to curry fauoure with his auditours, ex­horteth them earnestly to marke that playe, because it shall cast no such stenche of impuritie into theire noses as others doe. There is in it (saith he) neither forsworne baude, nor harlot, nor bragging souldier. Why could he not giue this commendation to all the rest? because it was the practise of the deuill, to weaue in a threed of his own spinning. Why is this rather purged of filthines then the rest? because it is the iuglinge of the deuill, to turne him­selfe sometimes to an Angel of light, to deceiue vs the sooner. The best play you can picke out, is but a mi [...]ture of good and euill, how can it be then the schoolemistres of life? The beholding of troubles and miserable slaughters that are in Tragedies, driue vs to im­moderate sorrow, heauines, woma­nish [Page] weeping and mourning, where­by we become louers of dumpes, and lamentatiō, both enemies ro [...]ortitude. Comedies so tickle our senses with a pleasanter vaine, that they make vs louers of laughter, and pleasure, with­out any meane, both foes to tempe­rance, what schooling is this? Some­time you shall see nothing but the ad­uentures of an amorous knight, pas­sing from countrie to countrie for the loue of his lady, encoūtring many a te­rible monster made of broune paper, & at his retorne, is so wonderfully chan­ge [...], that he can not be knowne but by some posie in his tablet, or by a broken ring, or a handkircher, or a piece of a cockle shell, what learne you by that? When ye soule of your playes is eyther meere trifles, or Italian baudery, or wooing of gentlewomen, what are we taught? paraduenture you will saye,A common & fond obiectiō. that by these kinde of playes, the au­thours instruct vs how to loue with constancie, to sue with modestie, and to loth whatsoeuer is contrarie vn­to this. In my opinion,Answere. the disci­pline we gette by playes is like to [Page] the iustice that a certaine Schoolema­ster taught in Persia, which taught his schollers to lye, and not to lye; to de­ceiue, and not to deceiue,Xenopho. Lib. 1. de instit. Cy [...]. with a di­stinction howe they might doe it to their friends, & how to their enemies; to their friends, for exercise; to their fooe [...], in earnest. Wher [...]in many of his schollers became so skilfull by pra­ctise, by custome so bolde, that their dearest friendes payde more for their learning then their enemies. I would wish the Players to beware of this kind of schooling, least that whilst they teach youthfull gentlemē how to loue, and not to loue; how to woo, and not to woo, their schollers grow as cun­ning as the Persians.

As the mischiefe that followed that discipline of Persia enforced them to make a lawe, that yong men should e­uer after be taught simply as house­holders vse to instruct their families: so I trust, that when the Londoners are sufficiently [...]eaten with the hurte of such lessōs as are learned at Plaies, if not for conscience sake, yet for shun­ning the mischiefe that may priuately [Page] breake into euery mans house, this methode of teaching will bée come so hatefull, that euen worldly pollicy without any gramercy shalbe driuen [...]o banish it.

Sappho writing to her Louer Pha­on, telleth him,Ouid. Epist. that her study péepes out in her behauiour, and Thalia her Muse hath made her wanton. Howe true this assertion is, appeareth by Mathematicians, which are solitary; musitians, whose mindes are as va­riable as their arte. This may suf­fice to persuade vs that no man [...]er of goodnes can bée learned at a play, partly because the best is a mixture of good and eull, as shalbe showen more euidently by the formall cause thereof when I come to that place. The minde of it selfe is simple without mixture or composition, therefore those instructions that are giuen to the minde must bee simple without mingle māgle of fish & flesh, good & bad where both are profred, the hereditacie corruptiō of our nature taketh ye worst and leaueth the best.Polit. 7. [...] vlt. Upon this cōside­ratiō Aristotle [...] fo [...]biddeth yōg [Page] men of Plaies till they bee setled in minde & immoueable in affection lest comming to the Stage to fetche Phy­sicke for loue, they quench their heate with a pynte of water and a pottle of fire; partly because that whiche is learned, must be learned of the best, least the example of vngodly Masters, poyson vs rather thē instructe vs. But whether Playes, for the matter; or Players, for their manners; be fitte Schoolmasters of honestie, I report me to them that by frequenting The­aters are very well acquainted with the argument of the one, the life of the other. If any goodnes were to bée learned at Playes it is likely that the Players them selues which com­mitt euery sillable to memory shoulde profitte most, béecause that as euery man learneth so hee liueth; and as his study is, such are his manners; but the dayly experiēce of their behauiour, sheweth, that they reape no profit by the discipline them selues; how then can they put vs in any good hope to be instructed thereby when wée haue the sight of such lessons, but an houre or [Page] two as they study and practise euerie daye, yet are neuer the better. Ma­ster Lodge finding some péeuish index or gatherer of Tullie to be a sléepe, is very wel contented to winke for com­pany, and thinking his worde so cur­rant to goe for payment, woulde glad­ly persuade vs vpon Tullies credite that a Play is the Schoolmistres of life. Wherein I perceiue hée is no changeling, for hée disputeth as sound­ly being from the vniuersitie and out of exercise, as hée did when hée was there, and at his booke.

The next property that of his owne braine, (but in Ciceroes name) hée giues to a Play, is, that it is a very Glasse of behauiour. The corrup­tion of manners is there reu [...]aled and accused. Which is easily confuted, by the circumstaunce of the place, of the person, of the manner, and of the end of accusation. For the place; no priuate mans life ought to be brought in question or accused, but where hée may pleade in his owne defence and haue indifferent iudges to determine the cause, to that ende [...]eceiue wee [Page] a couple of eares that both partes might be heard, both equally weigh­ed, & therfore did Alexander in iudge­ment stop one eare with his finger reseruing it wholly for the defendant. At Stage Plaies it is ridiculous, for the parties accused to replye, no indif­ferency of iudgement can be had, bée­cause the worste sorte of people haue the hearing of it, which in respecte of there ignorance, of there [...]icklenes, and of there furie, are not to bee admitted in place of iudgement. A Iudge must be gra [...]e, sober, discréete, wise, well exercised in cases of gouernement. Which qualities are neuer founde in the baser sort.

A Iudge must be immoueable, vn­corrupted, vpright, neither turning to the right hand, nor to the left; the mea­ner sort [...] tottre, they are caried away with euery rumor, and so easily cor­rupted, that in the Theaters they generally take vp a wonderfull laughter, and shout altogether with one voyce, when they see some notable cosenedge practised, or some slie conueighance of [...] brought out of Italy. Wherby [Page] they showe them selues rather to like it then to rebuke it. A iudge must nei­ther be in [...]lamed with choler, nor blin­ded wt affectiō; The rudest of the peo­ple are sometime rau [...]shed with euery giewgawe, sometime so headie, that they runne together by heapes, they know not whither; and lay about with theire clubbes, they see not why. Which thing the auncient Philoso­phers considering called them a mon­ster of many heades. If the common people which resorte to Theate [...]s being but ā assemblie of T [...]ilers, Tin­kers, Cordwayners, Saylers, olde Men, yong Men, Women, Boyes, Girles, and such like, be the iudges of faultes there painted out, the rebu­king of manners in that place, is ney­ther lawfull nor conuenient, but to be held for a kinde of libelling, and de­faming. Howsoeuer they face it out with their owne cardes, pretending that as the Painter in his shoppe ex­presseth one or other by a counterfaite:Obiection. so the Poet on stages presenteth you a picture of his owne drawing, wherein you may behold the whole life of man,Answere, [Page] it appeareth by antiquitie, that the Poets which were before, had another meaning: for as any man had displea­sed them, to reueng theire owne cause they studied to present him vpon the stage, there did they russie, and taunt; scoffe, and [...]ppe; thunder, and lighten, and spue vp theire c [...]unning to deface him. Whereupon grewe one of the lawes of the twelue tables, that no man should be so hardie as to write a­ny thing,Cicer. in his 4. booke of the. cōmon weale whereby the good name of any bodie might be hurt; they woulde not haue the life and behauiour of the citizens, subiect [...]ythēr to a Poets in ke­horne, or a Players tongue, but to the seate of iustice.

Epist. lib. 2.This may be gathered by the Epi­stle of Horace to Augustus, and by other famous writers, which hauinge curiously searched ye lawes of the Ro­maines, confesse in plaine words, that the ouerlashing of players was so restrayned. Whether this be the pra­ctise of Poets in these dayes you may perceiue by the drift of him that wrote the play termed the three Ladies of London, which in the Catastrophe [Page] maketh Loue and Conscience to be examined how thrie good ladishippes like of playes? Loue answeres that she detesteth them, because her guttes are tourned outward, and all her se­cret conueighaunce, is blazed with colours to the peoples eye. Consci­ence like a kindharted gentlewoman doth alow them.

In this pointe the Poet makes so much hast to his iorneyes end, that he throwes him selfe headlong downe the hill. For neither Loue disliked them, before he had maried her to Dissimu­lation, whose prop [...]itie is to say one thing and thinke another: nor Con­science allowed them, before he had spotted her with all abhomination, whose nature is to allowe that which is like her selfe, filthie, corrupt, spotted, and defiled. The writer of the plaie called London against the three La­dies confesseth in his prologe that he made it partly for enuie, partly for a vaine glorious minde. For enuie: be­cause his stomack would not beare the commendations, that other men gaue to the three Ladies in his hearing. [Page] For vaine glorie: because he straue to do better himselfe, and [...]sd the cushi­on; somewhat I graunt he bettered it in shewe, touching the substance he doth but cauill as I woulde declare, if it were not from the matter I take in hand. By these fewe you may gather of all the rest, and perswade your selues that as stages and Thea­ters are not allowed by the lawes of God, or man, to medle with disorders: so is it not the marke that theire au­thours shoote at when they fill th [...]se roomes.Mat. 7. ver. 3. If any deformity be reprehen­ded there, it is to be done by the pla­yers mouth, he that will shewe ano­ther man his fault, must purge him selfe first. For as they were forbidden in old time to expounde anie Oracles which had anie infection about theire bodies:Plutarch. so haue they no grace in rebu­king others, that nourish a canker in their owne soules. How are they able to pull vs vp that grouel as flatte in the dust as we? what credit, hath any good counsell in Players lippes, when it workes no amendment in themselues? Concerning the maner [Page] of rebuking whosoeuer taketh that of­fice vpon him must do it secretly, of compassion, and in the spirit of meek­nes [...] Secretly: because we ought not to defame the parti [...] rebuked against the law of charitie, or the rule of Christ: the law of charitie, which couereth the multitude of offences; the rule of Christ which w [...]ll [...]th vs to drawe our brother aside and [...]ell him our minde.

O [...] compassion [...] for he that rebuketh must be inwardly stricken with greese of heart to s [...]e the maiestie of God of­fended, and the soule of his brother h [...]zarded.

So Paul writing against an ince­stuous person,2. Cor. 2 ve 4. confesseth that he did it with many teares, whereby he giueth vs to vnderstand how he pitied the of­fender, and lamented the damnable case he stood in.Gallat. 6. ve 1. In the spirit of méek­nes: because we ought to consider our own [...] weaknes, which are subi [...]te to infirmities, and may be tempted as much as other. But when any thing is reprehended by Players vpon the Stage, it is openly blowne into the [Page] eares of many and made a by worde, it procedeth not of sorrow, or compas­sion towards him that hath offended,August. 2. de ciuit [...] dei. but springeth either of ye Poets mallice, for so Eupolis hādled Alcibiades; or of corruption, as Aristophanes dealt with Socrates and Cleon; with So­crates, in his Comedie called The cloudes, wherin he was hyred by A­nytus and Melitus to discredit him; with Cleon in his Comedie named, The men at armes, bribed by Nicias and Demosthenes (as some writers suspect) to do the like. It is not spoken in the spirit of meek­nes, but with a scoffing, and iearinge spirit, altogether vnmeete for such a purpose. The white that rebu­kers ought to leuil at, is the recouerie of him that hath trodde awrte.Act. 8.21 So Peter bidds Simon the sorcerer to re­pent that his sinne might be forgiuen him.1. Cor. 5.5. So Paul cōmandeth the Church of Corinth to deliuer the incestuous man vnto Satan that his soule might be safe in the day of the Lord. But neither the Poets which penne the playes, nor the Actors that present [Page] them vpon the Stage, doe seeke to doe any good vnto such as they rebuke, for the Poets intente, is, to wreake his owne anger, as I shewed you of Eu­polis & those y were restrained by the Twelue tables; the Actor [...] either hū [...] for their own profit, as the players in London; or followe the humor of their owne fancies, and youthfull de­lightes, as the studentes of the vniuer­sities, and the Inns of Courte.

Therefore vpon the place, vpon the person, vpon the methode, vpon the ende of reprehention, I conclude, that a plaie, can bée no looking glasse of behauiour, and the rebuking of manners is as fit for the Sage, as the picture of Chastitie for the stues. Yet is Master Lodge very eager to force it vpon me, for Tullies sake, vsing his olde facion of disputing, compelled with hunger when reason is scant [...], ei­ther to flye to a blinde texte, or to plaie the woman & braule it out. He row­eth on farther in this barge and holdes it harde that a plaie is the Image of trueth [...] Wherein he far [...]th as ma­riners at Sea, who haue no more ti­tle [Page] to that they haue passed, and le [...]te behinde them; then to that which remayneth vntouched, and lyeth be­fore them.

As t [...]e other two properties which he posted ouer, are su [...]fitiently pro­ued, not to belong to Comedies, for which he clames them: so (God wil­ling) you shall perceiue, that he en­treth as boldely vpon this, without a­ny commission to beare him out. The per [...]ectest Image is that, which ma­keth the thing to séeme, [...]either greater nor l [...]sse, then in deede it is. But in Playes, either those thinges are [...]ai­ned, that neuer were, as Cupid and Psyche plaid at Paules; and a greate many Cōedies more at ye Blacke fri­ers and in euery Playe house in Lon­don, which for breuiti [...]s sake I ouer skippe: or if a true Historie be taken in hand, it is made like our shadows, longest at the rising and falling of the Sunne, shortest of all at hie noone. For the Poets driue it most common­ly vnto such pointes, as may best showe the maiestie of their pen, in Tragicall speaches; or set the hearers [Page] a gogge, with discourses of lo [...]e; or painte a fewe antickes, to fitt their owne humors, with scoffes & tau [...]tes; or wring in a shewe, to furnish the Stage, when it is to bare; when the matter of it selfe comes shorte of this, they followe the practise of the cobler, and set their t [...]th to the leather to pull it out.

So was the history of Caesar and Pompey, and the Playe of the Fab [...]i at the Theater, both amplified there, where the Drummes might walke, or the pen ru [...]fle, when the history swel­led, and ran to hye for the number of ye persons, that shoulde playe it, the Po­et with Proteus cut the same fit to his owne measure; when it afoorded no pompe at al, he brought it to the racke, to make it serue. Which inuinciblie proueth on my side, that Plays are no Images of trueth, because sometime they hādle such thinges as neuer were, sometime they runne vpon truethes, but make them séeme longer, or shor­ter, or greater, or lesse then they were, according as the Poet blowes them vp with his quill, [...]or aspiring heades; [Page] or minceth them smaller, for weaker stomakes. I may boldely say it, because I haue seene it, that the Palace of pleasure, the Golden Asle, the AEthiopian hi­storie, Amadis of Fraunce, the Rounde table, baudie Comedies in Latine, French, Italian, and Spanish, haue beene throughly ransackt, to [...]ur­nish the Playe houses in London. How is it possible that our Playema­kers headdes, running through Ge­nus and Species & euery difference of lyes, cosenages, baudries, whoore­demes, should p [...]esēt vs any schoole­mistres of life, looking glasse of mā ­ners, or Image of trueth?Obiection. for [...]th saith the Authour of the Playe of playes showen at the Theater, the three and twentieth of Februarie last, They shalbe nowe purged, the matter shalbe good.

Aunswere.Bée it as hee sayth, let vs graunte him that hee may haue Playes, if hee please whose matter is good, simple, swéete,De spectaculis, and honest; yet must I aun­swere him with Tertullian that as no man, which desireth to giue you a [Page] deadly poyson will temper the same with gaull, and Elleborus, or any thing that is bitter, and vnpleasaunt; but with sweete & holsome confectiōs: So the Deuill, at Playes, wil bring the comfortable worde of God, which, because it norisheth of nature is very conuenient to carry the poyson into our vaines.

But sith Bucchanans booke is an old wormeaten obiection which was laide in my dish at my first publishing the schoole of abuse, you shall see whe­ther it be lawfull for Christians to play it. when I handle the representa­tion of playes though theirs matter be honest. As for that glosing plaie at ye Theater which profers you so faire, there is enterlaced in it, a ba [...]die song of a maide of Kent, and a litle beastly speach, of the new stawled r [...]ge, both which I am compelled to burie in si­lence, being more ashamed [...]o vtter them, then they. For as in Tragedies some points are so terrible, that the Poets are con [...]rayned to turne them from the peoples eyes; so in the song [...]f the one, the speache of the other, [Page] somewhat is so dishonest, that I can not with honestie repeate it. Neuer­thelesse if they should altogether swepe of this donge from the Stage, and em­ploy them selues soberlie to rebukinge of manners; as I haue already pro­ued the Stage to be vnfitte for such a purpose, so I perswade my selfe, that the other is b [...]t the iugglinge of the deuill, who perceyuing his comedies begin to s [...]inke, giueth vs a graine or two in the weight of the cause, to make vp his market,2. De ciui [...]. Dei. and as Augustine noteth is contented some­time to be euill spoken of in Playes to bleare our eyes. He affordeth to vs as he did to Plautus some small number of plaies without loue or cur­t [...]sane, yea with verie good matter, to [...]aintaine the idolatry of the Genti [...]s.Obiection. The number of the yeares wherein they florished amonge the Gréekes, though they be re [...]oned to be thirtene hundreth, yet if they had mounted to thirtene thousande this is no [...] enough to perswade vs that are Christians to do the like.Answere. For the playes of the Gre­cians are to be receyued among Chri­stians, [Page] if th [...] Gods be [...]o be honou­red, but theire Gods are by no meanes to be honoured, therefore theire playes are by no m [...]anes to be receyued.De spectaculis Te [...] ­tullian teacheth vs that euery part of the preparation of playes, was dedi­cated to some h [...]thē god, or goddesse, as the house, stage, apparrell, to Ve­nus; the musike, to Apollo; the pen­ning, to Minerua, and the Muse [...]; the pronuntiacion and act [...]on to Mercu­rie: he calleth the Theater Sacrarium Veneris, Venus chappell, by resorting to which we worshippe her.

The Censors in Roome whose manner was once in fiue yeare strait­ly to examine, and redresse disorders, hauing a great care to auoyde all cor­ruptions of manners, were verie painefull in racinge and destroying Theaters, which poysoned theire countrie with the lousnesse and disso­lute behauioure of ye Gréekes. There­fore when Pompey had built a stately Theater of stone at his owne char­ges, fearing that in time to come it would be defaced by the Censors som­moning the people to the dedication [Page] of the same, placed a chappel to Venus on the toppe, and called it not a The­ater, but Venus temple consecrated vnto her.Obiection. Though the names of hea­then gods or goddesses be of thēselues no more hurtfull, then the [...]ames of o­ther men,Answere. that are dead: yet triūphing vnder those titles with the Gentiles, and attributing a kind of diuinitie vn­to them, as the Gentiles did, is to be defiled with theire idolatrie. What is idolatrie, but to giue that which is pro­per to God, vnto them that are no gods? what is so proper vnto God, as worship to his maiestie? trust, to his strength? prayer, to his helpe? thanks, to his goodnes? setting out the Stage playes o [...] the Gentiles, so we worship that we stoupe to the names of heathē idols; so we trust yt we giue our selues to the patronage of Mars, of Venus, of Iuppiter of Iuno, and such like, so we pray, yt we call for theire succour vpon the Stage; so we giue thakes for the benefits we receiue, that we make thē ye fountaines of al our blessings, wher­in if we thinke as we speake, we com­mit idolatry, because we bestow yt vpō [Page] the idols of ye Gentils, which is proper to God; if we make a diuorce betwene the tongue & the heart, honouringe the gods of ye heathens in lips, & in iesture, not in thought, yet it is idolatrie, be­cause we do yt which is quite cōtrary to ye outward profession of our faith. God tearmeth himselfe to be iealous, & iea­losie misliketh the smallest iestures or signes of familiaritie, that are giuen to strangers. If Sidrach Misach, & A­bednago had not knowne this, they might haue vailed and bended, to the Kings idoll, but because ye outwarde shew, must represēt yt which is within, they would not seeme to be, that they were not: whose example is set dowe as arule for vs to followe. A bodie would thinke it to be somewhat tolle­rable, to sitt at the table of Idolators, or to eat of ye meate that hath bene con­secrated vnto idols, whē we throw not our bodies downe before thē, yet is not yt to be suffred among Christians, as I proued before by ye Apostles, much les ought this to be suffred among vs, yt a­ny should take vnto thē yt names of ye idols, and iette vpon stages in theire attire,1. Epist. ca. 5. contrary to the counsel of Saint [Page] Iohn which exhorteth vs to kepe our selues frō idols, wh [...]rein he doth not onely forbid the worshipping, but the representing of an idoll.Tertul de Corona. So subtill is the deuill, that vnder the colour of re­creation, in London, and of exercise of learning, in the vniuersities, by séeing of playes, he maketh vs to ioyne with the Gentiles, in theire corruption. Be­cause the sweete numbers of Poetrie flowing in verse, do wōderfully tickle the hearers eares, the deuill hath tyed this to most of our playes, that what­soeuer he would haue sticke fast to our soules, might slippe downe in suger by this intisement, for that which de­lighteth neuer troubleth our swallow. Thus when any matter of loue is en­terlarded though the thinge it selfe bee able to allure vs, yet it is so sette out with sweetn [...]s of wordes, fitnes of Epithites, with Metaphors, Alegories, Hyperboles, Amphibologies, Simili­tudes, with Phrases, so pickt, so pure, so proper; with action, so smothe so liuely, so wantō; that the poyson cree­ping on secretly without griefe chookes vs at last, and hurleth vs downe [Page] in a dead sleepe. As the Diuell hath brought in all that Poetrie can sing, so hath hee sought out euery streine that musicke is able to pipe, and drawē all kind of instruments into that compasse, simple and mixte.

For the eye béeside the beautie of the houses, and the Stages, hee sendeth in Gearish apparell maskes, vauting, tumbling, daunsing of gigges, galiardes, morisces, hobbi­horses; showing of iudgeling castes, nothing forgot, that might serue to set out the matter, with pompe, or ra­uish the beholders with varietie of ple­asure. To séeke this, is, to spend our studies in things that are meere natu­rall, to spende our time so is to be car­nally minded, but to be carnally min­ded is death,Rom. 8 howe then can wee looke to bee Partakers of the benefittes of Christ, which runne a contrary race to him? Where no promise is, there can be no fayth, through the whole course of Scripture as there is no pro­mise for such as liue in the flesh, so hell and damnation is sharpely threatned, shall wee flatter our selues with a [Page] wanne hope, to nourish the delightes of the fleshe while wee liue, neuerthe­lesse to winne heauen after death?Obiect. Paule flat [...]e pronounceth the delights of the flesh to be emnitie against God, if they be e [...]it [...], pursuing them so gréedely as we doe, wee bend our selues openly agaynst him, that payde the pr [...]ce of our rā [...]ome with the b [...]oode of his s [...]ne, O horrible ingratitude; we [...]ellowe the pompe and vanitie of the wicked worlde, which we renoun­ced in Baptisme, O dānable apostacy. The heathens, that knewe not God, but naturally guided them selues by reason, iudged thē rather to be beastes then men, which fixed their studies in wanton spectacles, and spending good howers in euill exercise, seemed to wroote in the earth like swine. Ther­fore Marius in an oration to the Ro­mans reckoneth this vpp among the rest of his vertues to gett him credite, that hee neither banqueted curiously,Sal. lugurth. nor behelde playes: hauing before giuē account of his bringing vp, howe hee was taught to suffer hunger & thirst, [...]ea. [...]a [...]d [...]olde, [...]o beare all weather [Page] in the field, by the way of contempte hee setteth out a softe, a si [...]ken, a Courting kinde of life, fitter for wo­men then for men, wherein he holdeth playes so vnfit for manly discipline, that attributing it for an ornament to his honour to mis [...]ike them, he priui­ly insinuates a reproach vnto such as loue them.

Sithince you sée euē by ye examples of the Romans, that playes are [...]ats­bane to the gouernement of common­weales, and that Players by the iudge­ment of them, are infamous persons, vnworthy of the credite of honest Ci­tizens, worthy to be remoued from their Tribe: if not for religion, yet for shame, that the Gentiles should iudge you at the last daye, or that Publi­canes and sinners shoulde pre [...]e into the kingdome of God before you, withdrawe your féete from Theaters, with noble Marius; set downe some punishment for Players, with the Roman Censors; shewe your selues to be Christians, & with wicked specta­cles bee not puld from discipline, to li­bertie; from vertue to pleasure; from [Page] God, to Mammon, let nothing be ac­ceptable in your eyes, that is not ho­ly; nor sweete in your eares that is not heauenly; so shall you preuent the scourge by repentance, that is cōming towarde you; and fill vp the gulfe, that the Diuell by playes hath digged to swallowe you.

The 3 Action.

SUch ought to be the li­berty of speach in eue­ry well gouerned com­monweale, that nei­ther vertue might lacke an open friende, nor vice an enemy, & happy no doubt were wee in Engeland; if as vertue is ne­uer commended in cloudes, so vice might bee touchte in the open Sun­shine. But we are so generally giuen to flatter our selues [...] and Parasites so ready to couer our faultes, that bée­cause we loue our deformities wee de­fend them, and had rather excuse them, [Page] then shake them off. This makes ma­ny writers willinger to praise some, without deserte, than to rebuke any, vpon iuste occasion, for, to commend men vnworthely, is taken for curtesie; to dispraise though ius [...]ly, is thought for the most parte a poynte of enuy. Neuerthelesse sithince tongues are gi­uen vnto vs to speake, and eares vn­to euery man to heare, that the one might teach, ye other be ready to receiue good Counsell, and receiuing it, prac­tise the same in life: according to the measure of those giftes that God hath giuen mee, I will speake somewhat farther against Playes, requesting my countrymen to open their eares as they do their bottles, and shake out the dust of contentiō that lyes within for corrupting good liquour when they haue it.

And because wordes many times are as fruitelesse as addle egges, when conception is weake and without life.

If any bée so captious as for the ex­ercise of his witte to holde me Playe, and prepare him selfe to encounter [Page] me in any one of mine actions or in all, I must callenge the lawes of the tennis co [...]rt at his handes, that is to take whatsoeuer I s [...]nd him, right; and returne it to, faire aboue the line. Whatsoeuer he be that looketh narrowly into our Stage Playes, or considereth how, and which ways they are represented, shall finde more filthines in them, thē Players dreame off. The Law of God very straight­ly forbids men to put on womēs gar­ments, garments are set downe for signes distinctiue betwene s [...]xe & [...]exe, to take vnto vs those garments that are manifest signes of another [...]xe, is to falsifie, forge, and adulterate, con­trarie to the expresse rule of the word [...] of God. Which forbiddeth it by threat­ning a curse vnto the same.

Exod.All that do so are abhomination v [...] ­the Lord, which way I b [...]s [...]ch you shall they bée excused, that put on, not the apparrell onely, but the gate, the gestures, the voyce, the passions of a woman? All which like the wrea­thinges, and windinge of a snake, are flexible to catch, before they speed; [Page] and binde vppe cordes when they haue possession.Obiection. Some there are that thinke this commaundement of God to be restrayned to them, that goe abroade in womens attyre and vse it for iugglinge, to shaddowe a­dulterie.

These interpreters like vnto nar­rowe mouthed vessels,Answe [...]e. will receyue nothing without losse, except it bee slenderly powred in a [...]cordinge to the straightnes of theire owne makinge. These men must vnderstande, that, that can beare noe excuse, which God condemneth, such is the integritie, vniformitie, and simplicitie of trueth yt it is euer like it selfe, it neuer carri­eth two faces in one hoode, that thinge is no where, nor a [...] any time lawfull by the word of God which is not euer, and euery where lawfull.

Though the heathen Philosophers which knew not the trueth, because they were ignorant in God the fountaine of trueth accor [...]ing to theire owne fācies held one thing to be some­time good, & sometimes [...]il: yet will not God be mocked wt Philosophers [Page] dreames. Whatsoeuer he simply pro­nounceth, euill, can neuer be conditio­nally good and lawfull. I trust they will not haue God which is ye Author of all wisdome, al learning, all artes, to be ruder in setting downe to his peo­ple the precepts of life, then Philoso­phers are to giue to their scholers ye precepts of arte. They study in teaching of theire auditours, to write generally and vniuersally, and shall God in his tables be tyed to specifications, parti­cularities, and exceptions? no, no, the same God that saith thou shalt not co­uet thy neighbours wife, saith thou shalt in no place, & at no time couet her; he y forbibiddeth thée to steale, cōman­deth that thou neuer steale; and he that chargeth thée not to put on womens garments, chargeth thée in no place, and neuer to put thē on. Neuertheles we will wade somewhat further in this point, and sée whether by ye Philo­sophers them selues it may be suffred. I trust they wil graunt me that euery lye is sinne, for the deuill is the father of all lyes,Matthew. [...]ico. [...]. cap. 7. as oft as euer he lyeth, he speaketh of his owne. Aristotle in the [Page] thickest fogge of his ignorance concer­ning God, pronounceth a lye to bee naught of it selfe, and to be fled. Let vs therefore consider what a lye is, a lye is,Aqui part. Theolo. 2. Q. C X art. [...] Actus cadens super indebi­tam materiam, an acte executed where it ought not. This acte is di­scerned by outward signes, euery man must show him selfe outwardly to be such as in deed he is. Outward signes consist eyther in words or gestures, to declare our selues by wordes or by gestures to be otherwise then we are, is an act executed where it should not, therefore a lye.

The profe is euident, the consequēt is necessarie, that in Stage Playes for a boy to put one the attyre, the ge­sture, the passions of a woman; [...]or a meane person to take vpon him the ti­tle of a Prince with counterfeit porte, and traine, is by outwarde signes to shewe them selues otherwise then they are, and so with in the compasse of a lye, which by Aristotles iudgement is naught of it selfe and to be fledde.Obiect. Some other there are that take grea­ter occasion of stumbling at Gregory [Page] Naziancen, Bucchanan, & such like, than euer those famous men did offer. It cannot bée denied that Gregory Naziancen one of the fathers of the Church, wrote a Playe of Christe; Bucchanan wrote an other of Iohn Baptist, to what ende? To be Plaid vpon Stages? neither Players nor their friendes are able to proue it.

How thē? As the beginning of poe­trie in the bookes of Moses, Aunswere. & Dauid, was to sett downe good matter in nū ­bers, that the sweetenesse of the one might cause the other to continue, and to bee the déeper imprinted in the mindes of men: So Naziancen and Bucchanan perceiuing the corruption of the Gentiles, to avoyde that which is euill, and yet keepe that which is good, according to the true vse of Poe­trie, penned these bookes in numbers with interloquutions dialoguewise, as Plato and Tullie did their Philoso­phy, to be reade, not be played. For Naziancen detesting the corrup­tion of the Corpus Christi Playes that were set out by the Papis [...]es, and inueighing against thē, thought it bet­ter [Page] to write the passion of Christ in nū bers him s [...]lfe, that all such as delight in numerositie of speach might reade it, not beholde it vpon the Stage, where some base fellowe that [...]laide Christe, should bring the person of Christ into contempt.

So Bucchananus wrote his playe of Iohn Baptist for the kinge of Scots to reade, that beholding therein, the practise of Parasits in Herods court, The Tyranny of Herod powred out vpon the messenger of the Lord, & the punishment that followed: He might learne to gouerne his owne house, and beware what entrea [...]e he giues to the Prophettes of God.

If it shoulde bee Plaied, one must learne to trippe it like [...] Lady in t [...]e finest fashion, another [...]st haue time to whet his minde vnto tyranny that he may giue l [...]e to the picture hee present [...]th, whereby they l [...]a [...] to counterfeit, and so to sinne. There­fore whatsoeuer such playes as con­teine good matter, are [...] out [...], may be [...] profite, but cannot be playd, wit [...]out i [...] ma [...]ifest brea [...]h of [Page] Gods cōmaundement.Obiection. Let the Au­thor of the playe of playes & pastimes, take heede how he reasō ye actiō, pronū ­tiation, agility of body are ye good gifts of God.Answere Ergo plaies cōsisting of these cannot be euill. The argument is faul­ty, and followes not, for so might the Adulterer defend himselfe: the pricke of desire is naturally giuen vnto man by God, all sortes of apparell are his bles­sings, Ergo to couet another mās wife, to put on the apparell of a womā can­not be euill. Notwithstanding the one hath so little substance to vtter it selfe, the other so fewe sinewes in it, to giue it strength, that neither of both is to be allowe [...] Action, pronuntiatiō, apparel, agility, musicke, seuerally considered are the good blessings of God, nothing hurtfull of their owne nature, yet be­ing boūd vp together in a bundle, to set out the pompe, the plaies, the inuētiōs of the Diuell, it is abhominable in the sight of God, & not to be suffred among Christiās, Euery streame hath a taste of the spring from whence it flowes, sweete or sower; euery branch is par­taker of the quality of the ti [...]e wheron [Page] it grewe, hote or cold; and euery play to ye worldes end, if it be presented vp on the Stage, shall carry that brand on his backe to make him knowne, which the deuil clapt on, at the first be­ginning, that is, idolatrie. The Godly can neuer like of that which in a dia­meter is opposit to the crosse of Christ, whosoeuer is in the way of God behol­deth no vanity, the perfect way of God is Christ, and shall we that professe ye name of Christ be [...]old this vanitie? The preparation of Stages, appar­rell, & such like as setteth out our plaies in shewes of pompe & state, is it that we wonder and gaze at, by Tullie it is flouted and laught to scorne, ye state­lynes of the preparation drownes ye delight which the matter affords, ther­fore he doubteth not but Marius could very willingly absent himselfe from it, what delight (saith he) hath the sight at 600. mules in Clytemnestra;Epist. ad Maur. or 3000. cuppes in the Troian horse, or varietie of footemen & horsmen in some skirmish, those things yt made ye cōmon people wonder, would ha [...] broght n [...] [...]elight at al to thée. Macrinꝰ succeding [Page] Antonius in the Romane empyre, & being at Antioche, gaue him selfe daily to beholding Playes, for which hee grewe into contempte among all his friendes,Lib. [...]. and is noted of infamy by Herodian.

The waste of expences in these spec­tacles that scarce last like shooes of browne paper, the pulling on, and this study to prancke vp thēselues to please our eies, was longe agoe cōdemned by the heathē Cato, whose opiniō is regi­stred to be this, that such carefulnes of our bodies, is a carelesnes of our ver­tues. Shall Tullie, Herodian, Cato condemne this glittering, this pompe, this diligēce in setting foorth of plaies, for vanity, for wantonnes, for negli­gence of honesty: and shall wee that [...]ūte of the law, of the Prophets, of ye gospel, of God himselfe, so looke, so gaze, so gape vpō plaies, that as men yt stare on the head of Maedusa & are turned to stones, wee freeze vnto yse in our owne follies? If the liues and exam­ples of these heathēs haue no force to moue vs, whose wisedome when wee consider it, was so great, that they [Page] coulde not bee deceiued in so plaine a case; whose vertu [...]s so notable, yt they despised these vnsemely gaudes which ye skumme of all people haue in admira­tion; whose gouernment so politique, that riot and excesse was seuerely pu­nished; yet let the commaundements of our God which are autentike; let the care of our soules that shall be iudged; let the thr [...]atnings of him that detesteth hipocrisie, pompe and vani­tie, so strike our heartes, that we tremble & shi [...]er at the remembrāce of folly past, & gather vp our wittes vnto amending. Haue we sinned with the Gentiles in representinge of theire Playes? let vs learne with true Chri­stians to abolish them, it is incident to euery man to fall, proper to the gracelesse to continue it, carry no saile against the winde, chaunge of course is a safe [...]hade vnto the penitent.

The Fourth Action.

IT hath beene an aun­cient pollicie in ye field, to geue the enemi [...] grownde, for some ad­uantage, and by coun­terfeyting a timerous kinde of flight, to droppe downe the cariage, as mony, prouision, and victu­all by the way, that the Souldiers might stay theire pursute, and fall to ryfling. Whereby both they that were chased, haue recouered them selues, and they that were conquerers haue lost all, suddenly discomfited with newe supplye among all the stum­bling blockes that our enemy the de­uill hath cast in our way for foylinge him vtterly.

It may easely be gathered by the end of Playes, that Comedies and Tra­gedies are the fittest deuises he could strew behind him, to stoppe vs of pas­sage, and breake our order. Not that he meaneth to take his heeles, but to kill vs by subtiltie when we straggle. [Page] What bringeth disorder more then sinne? that playes are set out for a sin­full delight, may be gathered partly, by Maenander, partly by Terence, partly by ye manner of pēning in these dayes, partly by the obiect of playes. By Maenander because Viues affir­meth that he perceyuing the Mace­dons wholy giuen ouer to loue,Comment. in August. lib. 2. and wantonnesse, wrote Commedies of loue, to féede their humor.Prolog. in Andria [...]. Pop [...] vtp [...] [...]c [...]: q as fe [...]ss [...] [...] [...]. By Terence because he confesseth of him selfe, that al that he sought was but to close with the common people. By the man­ner of penning in these dayes, because the Poets send theire verses to the Stage vpon such féete as continually are rowled vp in rime at the fingers endes, which is plaucible to the barba­rous, and carrieth a stinge into the [...]ares of the common people. By the obiect, because Tragedies and Com­medies stirre vp affections, and af­fe [...]ions are naturally planted in that [...]rt of the minde that is common to vs with brute beastes.

He that trauelleth to aduance the worst part of the minde, is like vnto [Page] him, that in gouernement of Cities [...] giues all the authoritie to the worste men, which being well weighed, is to betraye the Citie, and the best men, into the handes of the wicked. But the Poetes that write playes, and they that present them vpon the Stage, studie to make [...]ur affections ouer­flow, whereby they draw the bridle from that parte of the mind, that sh [...]uld euer be curbed, from runnings [...] heade: which is manifest treason to our soules, and deliuereth them cap­tiue to the deuill. The Author of the playe of playes, spreading out his battel to hemme me in, is driuen to take so large a cō ­passe, that his array is the thinner, and therefore the easier, to be broken.Obiection. T [...]e s [...]stence of the [...]lay of pl [...]yes wri [...] ­ [...]en in theire owne [...]fence. He tyeth Life and Delight so fast toge­ther, that if Delight be restrained, Life presently perisheth; there, zeale perceyuing Delight to be embraced, of Life, puttes a [...]nafle in his mouth, to keepe him vnder, Delight beinge bridled, Zeale leadeth life through a wildernesse of lothsomenesse, where [Page] Glutte scarreth them all, chasinge both Zeale and Delight from Life, and with the clubbe of amasednesse strikes such a pegge into the heads of Life, that he falles downe [...]or dead vpon the Stage.

Life beinge thus fainte, and ouer­trauailed, destitute of his guyde, rob­bed of Delight, is readie to giue vp­the Ghost, in the same place, then en­tereth Recreation, which with mu­sicke and singing rockes Life a sleepe to recouer his strength.

By this meanes Tediousnesse is driuen from Life, and the temte is drawne out of his heade, which the clubbe of amasednes left be­hinde.

At last Recreation setteth vp the Gentleman vpon his feete, De­light is restored to him againe, and such kinde of sportes for cull [...]ces are brought in to nourishe him, as none but Delight must ap­plye to his stomache. Then [...]ime beinge made for the benefite [Page] of Life, and Life being allowed to fol­lowe his appetite, amongst all man­ner of pastimes, Life chooseth Com­medies, for his Delight, partly be­cause Commedies are neither char­gable [...]o ye beholders purse, nor painful to his body; partly [...] because he may sit out of the raine to veiwe the same, when many other pastimes are hin­derd by wether. Zeale is no more ad­mitted to Life before he be somewhat pinchte in the wa [...]t, to auoyde extremi­tie, and being not in the end simply called Zeale but Moderate Zeale a fewe conditions are prescribed to Co­medies, that the matter be purged, deformities blazed, sinne rebuked, ho­nest mirth intermingled, and fitte time for the hearing of the same appointed, Moderate Zeale is cōtented to suffer them, who ioyneth with delight to di­rect life againe, after which he triūphes ouer Death & is crowned with eterni­tie. These bugges are fitter to feare babes thē to moue men. Neuertheles this is the substance of that which is brought for pla [...]es, this is the piller of theire credit. Al other men y subscribe [Page] not this but inueigh against them, by writing in bookes; or by tongue in Pulpits; do but crow as he tearmeth it, and speake against Commedies for [...]lacke of learning S. Siprian, S. Chriso­stome, S. Ambrose, S. Augustine, I­sodorus, Tertullian fathers of the Church most excellently learned, coū ­sels as the third of Carthage the Sy­nod of Laodicea, and such like, that condemned plaies, and ye skilfullt De­uines at this day in England which are compelled in Sermons to crye out against them, were now to be set to ye schole againe, if the mouth of this plai­maker, were any iust measure of their knowledge.Answere [...] Sithince al their force cō ­sis [...]eth in this pointe of Life & Delight I wil take ye more paine to ouerthrow it, and so conquere ye rest without schir­mish, like to ye Romanes who méeting the whole power of Carthage vpon ye sea, & foyling it ther, thought it super­fluous to procéed any further, or bring the Ramme to the walles, when Car­thage was drowned in ye deepe. And as the Romans thought y after Car­thage was ouercome, no coūtry was [Page] ashamed to be subdued. So I trust y when I haue beaten theire captaine to the earth, by force of argumēt, none of them all wil disdaine to be taken, or to crie out with testimony of good con­science, greate is the trueth, & it doth preuaile. Though it please not him to distinguish betwene delight, & del [...]ght, yet for the better vnderstanding both of that which is spoken in defence of plaies, and of that which by me shalbe brought against them, you must con­sider yt there are two sortes of delight,Aqui. par. 1. Q. 31. Art. 5. the one belonging to ye bodie, the other to the minde, that, is carnall, this spiri­tuall. Carnall delight is the rest o [...] sen­suall appetite in the thing desired whē it is felt. If this be not gouerned by ye rule of Gods word, we are presently caried beyond our selues, therefore ought we to followe the counsell of S. Paule, which exhorteth vs earnestly to suppresse the same.Colos. 3.5. Spiritual delight is the operation of vertue consisting in a meditation of the life to come purcha­sed to vs by the bloode of Christ, & re­ueiled for our comforte in the word of God. A notable blessinge is [Page] pronounced on him whose delight is in the lawe of the Lord,Psal 1. and the Pro­phet him selfe voweth solemnely to God,Psal. [...] 19. that he wil talke of his comman­dements, walke in his wayes, and de­light in his statutes. By the whole di­scourse it may be gathered, that the delight belonging to the bodie, is it, which this gentlemā requireth as phi­sicke against the troubles and vexati­ations of this [...]se, which bewrayeth him to be sowste in that errour, that A­ristotle reproueth in his Ethickes. Lib. 7. Cap. 14. For if the delight of this life, be to be sought as a remedi [...] against the sor­rous of t [...]e same, excesse of delight must [...]e graunted to excesse of sorowe, as [...]x [...]sse of thirst, requireth excesse of drinke, excesse of hunger, excesse of meate; excesse of griefe, exc [...]sse of pleasure: but excesse of delight in this life is not to be sought, for feare of sursette; there­fore to cure the anguishe of this life with such kinde of pleasures as life pursues, is to measure the remedie by [...]re owne appetite, which in d [...]d i [...] nothing els, but either to rece u [...] [Page] that, that our sicke stomacke des [...]reth, when it cannot iudge; as to eat chalke in the greene sicknes; in an ague pil­chers; or as they that in some kinde of leprosie drinke poyson, which is alto­gether hurtful to good complexions, yet worketh it accidentally some ease in them. Being once shipped in this part of Philosophie he is carried too farr [...] beyond his skill.

For in making sorowe an enemie to delight without distinctiō, it is easy, to finde where the shooe wringes him, and that want of learning which hé [...] imputeth to other, may very well be attributed to himselfe.

I graunt that sorowe and delight are contrarie, yet may a contrarie sometimes be the cause of his contra­rie. As Rheubart, which all the Phi­sitians confesse to be hote, yet doe-they finde it to coole in the hottest fe­uers, when it sweepes away choler, that causeth heate.

An [...]. phisic [...].Though contraries of theire owne nature be vtter enemies, yet acci­dentally the one may begete the other, so delight many ti [...]es may spring, [Page] [...]f sorrowe, which is to be takē two di­ [...]ers waies as it is in act,Aqui part. Theolog. 1. q. 32. art, 4. or as it is re­mēbred: sorrow as it is in acte, may bring foorth delight, whē it makes vs to thinke of the thinge we loue, such was the delight of the Apostles when they were whipte, they departed from the Counsell with greate ioye,Act. 5.4. to see thē ­selues accounted woorthy to suffer for the name of Christe.

Sorrowe as it is remembred when it is paste, considering with our selues that wee were in trouble and escaped it, is also a cause of delight,Virg. so AEneas comforteth his souldiers in the middest of their sorrowes, putting them in minde, that the remembrance thereof, woulde turne to delight another daye. Therfore vnder colour of an absolute conflict betwéene sorrow & delight, to shake off the yoake of s [...]uerer discipline which zeale bringeth in to gouerne life, is to iuggle vnder boarde, a secundum quid ad simplicit [...]r, which Logicians doe knowe is so greate a faulte in dispu­ting, as deserues to bee puni [...]hed in their yongest scholers. By forcing vp­on life a certaine necessity of carnall [Page] delyght, to set vp his Comedies, h [...]e wrappeth himsel [...]e in many inconueni­ences. For it hindreth the course of reason, it whets vs to wantonnes, it no­risheth imperfections, and argueth a corruption in our maners, it hindreth the vse of reason three sundry wayes:Aqu. part. 1. qu. 14. First, it wi [...]hdraweth the minde from better studies, the minde like a stringe, being let downe, and pitcht, beneath h [...]s naturall compasse, to this key of carnall delight, which wee reape by Comedies, is very sore maynied and robbed of Souerainetie if delight be [...]g [...]ea [...]e. Next by reason of a contrariety wh [...]n it exceedes, thus Aristotle draw­ing out a streight line of the office of prudence,th. 6. cap. 5. maketh it consist in giuing good counsell, to liue well; in which place hee counteth temperance, the Nurse; exceeding deligh, ye corrupter of prudence. But Comedyes ma [...]e our delight exceede, for at thē many times wee laugh so extreemely, that stri­uing to bridle our selues, wee cannot; therfore Plato af [...]irmeth ye great laughter breedeth a great change,de Rep. & ye old prouerbe peraduenture rose of this, much laughter is ye cognisāce of a soole: wher [...] [Page] such excesse of laughter b [...]rsteth out yt we cannot holde it, ther [...] is no tempe­rance, for the time; where no tēperāce is, ther is no wiseome, nor vse of reasō; when we shew our s [...]lues voide b [...]th of reason, and wisedome, what are we then to be thought but fooles?

Last of all it is a blocke in the way of reason, because it locketh vp ye powres of the minde from doing their [...]uetie, & like a kinde of drunkennes, maketh vs stagger, very vnfit, either to speake; or to walke as we shoulde in our vocati­on. It wh [...]ts vs to wantō [...]cs: because it breedeth a hunger, & thirst, after pleasure [...] For whē the thing which our ap­petite enioyeth cānot bee receiued all at once, but by succession, or change, we gape after more, as hee ye hearing one halfe of a sentence, & delighteth in that, is very desirous to haue the rest. So in [...] delight beeing moued with varietie of shewes, of euentes, of musicke, the longer we gaze, the mo [...]e we craue, yea so forcible they are, yt af­terwards being but thought vpō, they make vs seeke for the like an other time. It nourisheth imperfections, [Page] so long as it settes our heartes vpo [...] thinges that are transitorie, vaine and shall perish in the twinckling of an eye, it argueth a corruption in our manners, because it is the windowe by which we looke into the secret cor­ners of the soule, it is the very line [...] and lead, whereby our disposition is measured to bee roughe or smooth [...] streight or crooked, lawefull or vnlaw­full, right or wrong. How shall wee knowe a man to be good, or euill, but by the goodnes or naughtines of his will? His will appeareth by the ende thereof, that is counted the end where­in it resteth, and the rest of our will, is the delight that wee reape in the thing we holde to be good.

Thus we pronounce all them to bée vertuous, whome we see to delight in the workes of vertue; them to be wic­ked, whome we finde to reioyce in the works of wickednes. For as that is e­uill which rebelleth against reason and the lawes of God, so is that delight to be iudged euil that is fixed in the same, and the man likewise euill that so deli­teth. Therfore I may well say the de­light [Page] which springeth of Comedies (wherby superiority is giuen to affect [...] ons and so rebellion raysed against reason, the lawes of God are brokē which bid vs come out and departe from the doctrine of the Diuell) so marketh the corruption of our maners in our fore­he [...]ddes, that euery one that hath iudg­mente may poynte it out [...]

But to leaue ouer curi [...]u [...]y to des­cant vpon this plainesonge of life and delight, either by Aquinas, or by A­ristotle or by Philosophie her self. I ex­horte you wt Paule to beware lest any man spoyle you through Philosophy [...] and vaine deceite,Collo [...] [...] after the traditions of men, and after the iudiments of the worlde, and not after Christ. And s [...] ­thince we are commanded by the same Apostle, as we haue receiued Christ, so to walke in him, let vs bring the triall of our cause to the touch of Gods worde, and examine by that, what the life and delight of a Christian ought to be, then shall you sée my generall proposition verie strongly confirmed, that Plaies are not to bee suffered in a Christian commonweale. Paule com­mandeth [Page] the Phillippians to reioyc [...] in the Lord,C [...]p. 4. ver. 4. not for a day nor a wéeke, nor a moneth, nor a yeare, but euer: the reason is added, that their modesty might bee knowne, and why should their modesty be knowne? because the Lorde is at hand: by whiche Particle the delight of this life is beatē downe. Christe giuing vs to vnderstand the danger of these delights wherein wée laugh with the worlde, pronounceth a woe vpon them,Luk. 6.25. wo bee to you that laugh nowe, for ye shall wéepe and la­ment.

It behooueth a Christian so to de­light, and reioyce nowe, that he maye reioyce & delight at the last daye, [...] Pe [...] 4.25. which ioye is accomplished by this that wee are partakers of the crosse of Christe. Howe farre this delight is different from Comedies, is easie to bee seene with halfe an eye, and if Peets haue no surer gyrthes to their sa [...]dle thē life and delight, it will be no trouble to vn­horse them, for a Christian knoweth how to delight in death. [...]ertul. de Spec Large is the groūd I might trauace in this behalfe, yet for breuities sake I will passe it o­uer, [Page] and shewe you she life of a Chri­stian as I promised We are taught by Paule that Christ is our life,Collos. [...]. and that our life is layde vpp with Christe in God: therefore by the way of comparison, as Christ died, and after ascended vp to heauen, so he per­suadeth [...]s to dye, that is to mortifie this [...]lesh with the delights thereof, and to seeke after those thinges that are a­boue, where Christ our life is. The end of the death of Christ was,2. Cor. 5.15. that we which liue in this worlde, should not liue to our selues, but vnto him; heere is all prerogatiue taken from vs, wee are nowe no longer our owne men, for if by the benefite of him wee liue, our life must be his and not our own. Our life is not his, excepte wee crucifie the flesh, with the affections and concu­piscences of the same, wee crucifie not the affections of our flesh, when we [...]e­sorte vnto playes to stirre them vpp, therefore running to playes wee liue to our selues, and not to Christe, when we liue to our selues, it is no li [...]e.

Yet the Authour of the Playe of Playes and Pastimes thinkes hee [Page] hath plowed such surrowes on my backe, as will neuer bee filled vp a­gaine, because Comedis norish delight, and delight should neuer be taken frō life.

This argument cuts like a Leden­haule knife where (as they say in common speach) if one poure on stéele with a ladell,Obiect [...] an other comes and wipes it of with a fether. [...]seb. Neuer­thelesse heere it maye bee that my friendes of the vniuersityes will accus [...] me of that ausleryty, which was vsed by some of the Godly long agoe, who perceiuing men in all thinges natural­ly to passe the boundes of modesty, and beeing desirous to lay some strong kinde of playster to this olde soare, al­lowed men to vse the blessinges of God, but for necessities sake, prescri­bing them nothing, but that whiche was necessarie: thus were they inioy­ned to abstain frō al maner of things, that might be spared. Which in déede is a harder yoake then the worde of God doth lay vpon vs: For after this rate, we should haue no more then one c [...]ate to our backes, nor the vse of ma­ny [Page] creatures which God hath ordeined for the seruice of man. Many thinges there are that the handes of God hath bestowed vpon vs not onely for neces­sitie, but for delight, as apparell, meates, flowers, metalles, and such like.

Apparell as well for comelines, as to keepe off the iniury of the ayre. Meats, aswell for delight, as for nutriment; otherwise had the prophet neuer recko­ned it vp amonge the benefits of God [...] that hee giueth vs wine to make our heartes glad,Psal. 104. 16. and oyle to make vs a chearefull countenance. The singuler beautie and sweetenes of flowers, the varietie of colours wherein one thing excelles another, had beene bestowed in vayne, if the Maiesty of God had not as well regarded our delight, as relie­ued our neede. This I take to bee the foundation wherupon the Authour of the Play of Playes buildeth his stron­gest reason, which is this, because wee haue eares to heare, eyes to sée, and so foo [...]th, Comedies presenting delight to both, are not so rashly to bee condem­ned. To whome I answere,Answers that the [Page] creatures of God may be vsed both fo [...] necessity, and for delight, so farre foorth as they are referred to that ende, for which they were made.

God hath bestowed apparell, foode [...] flowers, Treasure, as golde, siluer, pearle, bewetifull and rich stones, as Diamoundes, Saphi [...]es, Rubies, Car­buncles, Turkies, Chrysolittes; bee­sides them, Yuorie, [...]ett, and marble [...] of these blessings some are both necessa­ry and delightsome, some are only de­lightsome; nothing necessary: but to what end? That we might vse thē well, & by these trāsitorie benefits be led as it were by te hand, to a cōsideratiō of thos [...] benefits that are layde vp for vs in the life to come. We are placed as Pil­grimes in ye flesh by which as by a [...] ­ney we must come to our own home,Cor [...] [...]. therefor passing by the earth, and by the flesh it is our due [...]y (as trauelers) to be carefull to vse the earth, and the flesh [...] and the blessings of both, so [...]that they may further,Cor. 7 not hinder the course w [...] take in hande.

Whereupon Paule exhorteth vs to vse this world [...], as though [...] we [...] [Page] vsed it not, by which counsell of his, all affections, all thoughtes, all delights, that may clappe any leade to our heeles, or drawe vs aside when wee shoulde runne forwardes still, vntill wee bee crowned, are cutte away. Now are we thankefull to God, how lift we vp our mindes to meditate on the life to come, howe vse we these blessings, as helpes in the way we haue to trace, whē they are riottously wasted vpon Comedies, which drawe vs all backe to a sinfull delight? howe vse wee the worlde as though wee vsed it not, when our stu­dies are so fixed vpon the worlde? how mightely Playes pull vs backe from our trauell, hath beene already decla­red by many strong reasons drawen from the foure causes of the same, ther­fore to holde them tollerable because they delight, is a reason altogether rude, and mishapen, hauing neither head, to bring it in, nor [...]oote [...] to bea [...] it vp. But as many which show [...]i [...]g vp lustely in their youth, bew [...]a [...]e the greenene [...]e of their yeeres, by the rawenesse of their manners, and of the wiser sorte, are counted for boyes [Page] though they looke like mē: so I trust y all that haue iudgemēt will measure ye reasons of li [...]e, & delight, rather by the substance, that is within; then by the outward shew howsoeuer they meūt, or brag it out.

Enter euery one into your selues, and whensoeuer you heare that playe againe, or any man els in priuate con­ference commend Playes, consider not, so much what is spoken to colour them, as what may bee spoken to con­founde them. It is shame, to frequent playes, impudency to defende them; it is dangerous to fall in the enemies hande, present death to be prysoners to the Diuell; it is sinne in the Gentiles to set out Playes, in Christians it is a presumptuous sinne, because we see better wayes and take the worse, we knowe their corruption, and al­lowe them. All this hath beene suffici­ently proued by anciente writers, and dayly reuealed by learned Preachers, yet will not my countrymē leaue their Playes, because Playes are the nou­rishers of delight; wherein I perceiue they are like to the snake, cut of their head, they whiske with the tayle.

The 5 Action.

I Thinke you maru [...]ile why so many famous men in both vniuersi­ties, haue made open outcries of the incon­ueniences bredde by playes, none of thē by printing haue taken the paines to write any full dis­couery against thē, I especially, which neither in age, wisedme, nor authority may be compared to them, with lesse learning, and more presumption, hau [...] taken the charge vpon my selfe. They hold this opiniō yt playes are not to be suffred in a Christian commonweale, but they do not throughly prosecute the same, because that finding the eares of their hearers stopte with the deafe ad­ [...]er, they beginne to shake the dust frō their shooes against them, and followe the coūsell of God him selfe, which bid­deth them throwe no pearles to swine. The thing they condeme, because it is euill; they beginne to bee mute be­cause men are obstinate in opinions. [Page] What then? am I the boldest in all th cōpany? no. Am I more zealous thē yt rest? God forbid I should rob any, of those titles of vertue yt they possesse, or challēge yt to my selfe, which is due to them. What is the reason thē yt I dare set in my foote before the rest? Because that if any of thē shoulde write againste playes, that occupy your pulpits with learned sermons, whose knowledge & authoryty heerein is great. If I say, they shoulde speake but one worde a­gainst ye sléepines of Magistrats which in this case is necessary to bee touchte, they shall séeme streight to swerue from the texte, to speake without booke, and to vtter a great deale more then needs. But I, though my speach bee some­what more free then theirs, shalbe ex­cused for wante of iudgement [...] Sith I am rawe; or for childish aspiring, sith I am yonge. Beside this, hauing once already writtē against playes, which no mā that euer wrote plaies, did, but one, wh [...] hath chāged his coppy, and turne [...] himself l [...]ke ye dog to his vomite, to play [...] againe. And being falsly accused my [...]elf [...] to do ye like, it is needfull for me to write [Page] againe. These things wt indifferēcy cō ­sideres, will persuade the reasonable, y I haue takē this enterprise vpō me, not only withou [...] any malepart oue [...]hardi­nes, but of necessity, because my experi­ence hath taught as much as any, and made me able to say little lesse thē any. Therfore as I haue already discouered y corruptiō of playes by y corruptiō of t [...]eir causes, The Efficiēt, the Matter, t [...]e Forme, the end, so will I cōclude ye Effects yt this poyson works amōg vs. The diuel is not ignorāt how mightely these outward spectacles effeminate, & sof [...]ē ye hearts of mē, vice is learned wt beholding, sēse is tickled, desire pricked, & those impressions of mind are secretly cōueyed ouer to ye gazers, which ye plai­ers do coūterfeit on ye stage. As long as we know our selues to be flesh, behol­ding those exāples in Theat [...]rs yt are incidēt to flesh, wee are taught by other mēs exāples how to fall. And they that came honest to a play, may depart infected. Lactātius douteth whether any corruptiō can be greater, thē yt which is da [...] ly bred by plaies, because ye expressing of vice by imitation,Lib. 6. cap. brings vs by the [Page] shadow, to the substance of the sams. Whereupon hes affirmeth them necessary to bee banished, least wickednes be learned, or with the custome of plea­sure, by little and little we forget God. What force there is in the gestures of Players, may bee gathered by the Tale of Bacchus, [...]y [...]apoe and Ariadne, whiche Xenophon reporteth to bee Played at a banquette, by a Syracu­sian and his boy, and his dauncing Trull. In came the Syracusian not vnlike to Prologue of our Playes, discoursing the argumente of the fa­ble, then entred Ariadne, gorgeously attyred like a Bride, and sate in the presence of them all, after came Bac­chus dauncing to the Pipe, Ariadne perceiuing him [...] though shee neither rose to meete him, nor stirred from the place to welcome him, yet she shew­ed by her gesture that shee sate vpon thornes.

When Bacchus beh [...]ld her, expres­sing in his daunce the passions of loue, he placed him selfe somewhat néere to her, and embraced her, she with an a­morous kind of feare and strangenes, as though shee woulde thruste him [Page] away with the litle finger, and pull him againe with both her handes, somewhat timorously, and doubtful­ly entertained him.

At this the beholders beganne to shoute, when Bacchus rose vp, ten­derly listing Ariadne from her seat [...], no small store of curtesie passing be­twene them, the beholders rose vp, e­uery man stoode on tippe toe, and see­med to houer ouer the praye, when they sware, the company sware, when they departed to bedde; the company presently was set on fire, they that were married posted home to theire wiues; they that were single, vowed very solemly, to be wedded. As the stinge of Phalangion spreadeth her poyson through euery vaine, when no hurt is seene; so amorous gesture, strikes to the heart when no skinne is raced. Therefore Cupid is painted with bowe and arrowes, because it is the propertie of lust to wound alooffe. Which being welll weighed, Sainte Cyprian had verie good cause to com­pl [...]ne, that players are spots to our manners,Epist. lib. 2. [...]. [...].ad Dona [...] nouri [...]hers of vice, and cor­rupters [Page] of al things by their gestures. The godly Father knowing the pra­ctise of playing to be so euil, [...]pist: lib: [...]. [...]p. 10 ad Eucrati­ [...]m. and the in­conueniences so monst [...]ous that gr [...]w thereby [...] thinkes the maiestie of God to be stayned, y honour of his Church defaced, when players are admitted to the table of the Lord. Neither was this the opinion of Saint Cyprian a­lone,Concil: Arela­ [...]c [...]s: 2.20. but of the whole assembly of lear­ned fathers in the councell held vnder Constantius the emperor.

Greate is the hardnes of our heartes when, neither fathers, nor counsels [...] nor God himselfe strikes vs with any shame of that, which euery good man is ashamed to remember. Mine eyes throughly behold the manner of The­aters, when I wrote playes my selfe, & found them to be the very markets of bawdry, where choise wtout shame hath bene as fr [...]e, as it is for your money in the royall exchaung, to take a short stocke, or a longe, a falling bād, or a french ru [...]e. The first building of Theaters was to rauish the Sabi­nes, and y they were continued in whordome euer after, Ouide con­ [...]esseth [Page] in these wordes. Scilicet ex illo solēnia more Theatra núc quo (que) Art. amand. formosis insidiosa manēt

As at the first, so nowe, Theaters are snares vnto faire women. And as I tould you long agoe in my school [...] of abuse, our Theaters, & play houses in London, are as full of secrete adul­terie as they were in Rome. In Rome it was the fashion of wanton yonge men, to place them selues as nigh as they could to the curtesans, to present them pomgranates, to play with their garments, and waite on them home, when the sport was done. In the play­houses at London, it is the fashion of youthes to go first into the parde, and to carry t [...]eire [...]ye through euery gal­lery, thē like vnto rauens whe [...]e they spye the carion thither they [...]ye, and press [...] as ne [...]e to ye farrest a [...] they can. In stead of pō [...]granates they giue thē pippines, they dally wt their garments to passe ye time, they minister talke vpō [...]l occasions, & eyther bring thē home to theire houses on small acquaintāce, or [...]ip into tauerns whē y plaies are dō [...]. He thinketh best of his painted sheath, [Page] & taketh himselfe for a iolly fellow, y is noted of most, to be busyest wt women in all such [...]laces. This open corrup­tion is a pricke in the eyes of them that see it, and a thorne in the sides of the godly, when they heare it. This is a poyson to beholders, and a nurseris of idelnesse to the Players.

Most of the Players haue bene ey­ther men of occupations, which they haue forsaken to lyue by playing, or common minstrels, or trayned vp from theire childehoode to this abho­minable exercise & haue now no other way to gete theire liuinge. A common weale is likened to the body, whose heade is the prince, in the bodie: if any part be idle, by participation the damage redoundeth to the whole, if any refuse to doe theire duetie, though they be base, as the guttes, the gall, the bladder, howe daungerous it is both to the bodie, and to the heade, euerie man is able to coniecture.

We are commaunded by God to a­bide in the same calling wheirein we were called, which is our ordinary vocation in a commonweale. This [Page] is the standing, which as faithfull soul­diers we ought to kepe, till the Lord himselfe do call vs from it. Be we neuer so base or meane in the sight of men, yet k [...]eping our standing, liuing in our vocation, doing our duetie, we haue this comforte, that God is our captaine, God is our guide, it is giuen vs of God, yéelding our selues obedi­ent to him, we can not but glister in his sight.

If we grudge at the wisedome of our maker, and disdaine the calling [...] he hath placed vs in, aspyring some­what higher then we shoulde, as in the body; when the feete woulde be [...] armes, the armes would be eyes; the guttes would be veines, the veines would be nerues; the muscles would be flesh, the flesh would be spirit, this confusion of order weakens the head: So in a commonweale, if priuat men be suffered to forsake theire calling be­cause they desire to walke gentleman like in sattine & veluet, wt a buckler at theire heeles, proportion is so broken, vnitie dissolued, harmony con [...]ūded, y the whole body must be dismembred [Page] and the prince or the heade can not c [...]u [...]e but sicken. Wherefore I hope ye wise will accompt it necessarie, that such as haue lefte theire occupations, eythe [...] be turned to the same againe, or cut of from the body as putrified mē ­bers for infe [...]ing the [...]est. Let them that haue no occupation at all, aske God forgiuenes for the time so euill spent, and apply them selues spéedely to liue within the compasse of a com­mon weale. Let them not looke to liue by playes, the litle thrift that fol­loweth theire greate gaine, is a mani­ [...]st token that God hath cursed it, that which is gotten ouer the deuils [...]acke, is, spēt vnder his belly; it c [...]mes running, and departes flying with th [...] winges of an Egle in the aire. I haue showed you loui [...]g countrymen ye cor­ruptiō & incōueniences of your pla [...]es, as the s [...]lendernes of my learnings would affor [...]e, being pulde from ye v­niuers [...]tie before I was [...]i [...]e, & withe­red in ye countrie for want of saap [...]: if you prefer y opinion of Lodge or any such like be [...]ore ye infallabe testimo [...]y of your own [...] senses, if I which for the [Page] loue I beare to your soules, & the du [...] ­tie that I owe vnto my God, haue plainly declared what I reade by stu­dy, or finde by practise, concerning plaies, not as a picte Orator that with g [...]eatest skill; but as a welwiller, y wt smallest ieoperdie might speake my mind; If your preachers wh [...]se lear­ning's wonderful; zeale, vnspeakable; if ye auncient fathers of ye church, which haue lookte very narrowly into the cause & in anguish of heart set downe theire iudgement; if the counsels of fa­thers which are not the Oracles of a­ny one man but debated substantially by the heades of many, if the word of God, which is the finger yt pointes you out the way, which is the trumpete yt giueth y surest soūd, which is ye square, vnto which you must be fashioned, which is the w [...]itten voyce of the God of Israell challenginge credit of it selfe, may not perswade [...]ou to leaue your plaies, the succese of my labour wil be leane, & ye hope of your amē [...]ment ster­ [...]ed to death: but if you be such as I take you for, glad to be taught, vnwil­ling to perish, louers of the Gospel, [Page] haters of libertie, champions in earth for the right of Christ, callēgers to the deuill and all his workes, no spirit of sleepe shall be muffle your eyes, no fat of sel [...]e will, or ignorance shall couer your heartes, no parasite shall flatter you, in your sinne, no Lodge, no playmaker, no Epicu [...]e, no A [...]heiste, shall make you to surfette with these delightes.

Playes are the inuentions of the deuil, the offrings of Idolatrie, the pompe of worldlinges, the blossomes of vanitie, the roote of Apostacy, the foode of iniquitie, ryot, and adulterie. detest them. Players are masters of vice, teachers of wantonnesse, spurres to impuritie, the Sonnes of idlenesse, so longe as they liue in this order, loath them. God is mercifull, his winges are spred to receyue you if you come betimes, God is iust, h [...]s bow is bent & his arrowe drawen, to sē [...] you a plague, if you stay [...] too longe.


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