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presumption, that they feared not to prophane the Sabbaoth, to defile the Lord's daie, to scoffe at his word, and to stage his wrath. But when the King of kings sawe his scepter broken, his crowne trode vnder feete of the vngodlie, his roabes rent, naye the glorie of his Sonné darkened with the head of this monstrous Beast, he stretched out his mightie arme, and with the rod of his Iustice brused the bones of them that prophaned his Sabbaoth, defiled his sacred daye and scoffed at his holie word. Then Justice pulled off hir vaile and with a cleare foresight (beholding the same) so ordained it that these monsters dare no longer roare on the Sabaoth of the Lorde.”
Elliot. Here also is evidence of the abolition of stage-playes on Sundays, in the year 1587.
Bourne. There can be no doubt of that fact: the last paragraph, as appears by a marginal note, alludes to the melancholy accident that happened at Paris Garden in 1583, of which we have spoken already Morton. Where is the account of the mask ?
Bourne. There is no regular detail of it beyond the names of the maskers, nor are any of the speeches inserted: the description is only general: Two addresses by Fastus and Luxuria on the arrival of the maskers at their palace, Konoppsap, from the dominion of Belzebub, are given ; but one of them, the welcome spoken by the lady, you will find quite sufficient, or more than sufficient: she says, “ My, Lorde and espoused husband Fastus (you inhabitants of ye infernal world) hath alreadie showne you by the zeale of his louing hart, the simpathy of whose minde consisteth in my selfe, that whatsoeuer he shall seeme to allowe of duety and loue I beare him, besides the favor I owe vnto you, confirmeth the same in me, so farre then wherein the power or duetifull seruice of a sillye woman consisteth or may offer requitall, let it be expected; for duety wylls so much, and your curtesie commandes no lesse : you are therefore hartily welcome to our Castle of Κοιλοφρεαρ.”
Elliot. There is certainly nothing at all remarkable in that.'
BOURNE. Perhaps not, but in several respects this tract differs from the usual strain of laborious and dull invective, in which pieces with the same object were usually written, overburdened with quotations from the Scriptures and the Fathers. Of this the work of Dr. Rainoldes, to which we shall come presently, is a tedious example. · Elliot. Have you any thing more to offer us from Rankin—any thing a little better than the last extract, I mean?
BOURNE. There is a passage regarding the general condition of England, and in praise of Queen Elizabeth and her government, that I might read if you had patience; but the author of this “Mirror
of Monsters” only speaks very generally on these topics.
Morton. You mentioned just now the coupling of plays and bear-baiting by the puritanical writers, but I recollect that they even go further : Stubbes especially denounces May-games as one of the same “ pomps of the Devil.”
BOURNE. And so the puritans continued to do even down to the Restoration. This small tract by Thomas Hall, “ B. D. and Pastor of King's Norton," who abused John Webster the player as the writer of Academiarum Examen, is a violent and singular attack upon May-games in the year 1660.
Elliot. You call it violent and singular : the violence, I suppose, arises out of the author's zeal, but in what does the singularity consist?
BOURNE. In the manner in which the subject is handled : the title is not a little remarkable--it is called “ Funebria Flore, the downefall of MayGames. Wherein is set forth the rudeness, prophaneness, stealing, drinking, fighting, dancing," &c. “ contempt of God and godly Magistrats, Ministers and People, which oppose the Rascality and rout in this their open prophaneness and Heathenish Customs," and a great deal more of the same kind of abuse, some of it much too coarse to be extracted.
Morton. That remark applies, more or less, to nearly all the publications I have seen against the theatre: the authors are never at all scrupulous in
using the most offensive terms they could discover or invent.
BOURNE. Hall merits the same censure, but we will pass over that part of his pamphlet, observing, by the way, that he bitterly complains “ that even in Cheapside it self the rude rabble had set vp this Ensign of prophaneness and had put the Lord Mayor to the trouble of seeing it pulled down."
Elliot. Cheapside was then little better than an open market-place. I suppose the reverend author considers a May-game as a sort of idolatrous worship of a pole.
BOURNE. You have guessed rightly; but the most ludicrous part of his attack, is a mock trial of the heathen patroness of these sports, under the title of “ the Inditement of Flora,"in which this “Floralian harlot” is regularly arraigned, and a jury impannelled for her trial. Morton. A monstrous absurdity.
BOURNE. Yet detailed with the utmost gravity and solemnity, as if it were the formal proceeding of a constituted court. You shall see: it begins thus—The clerk says,
“ Flora-hold vp thy hand :
“ Thou art indited by the name of Flora of the City of Rome, in the County of Babylon, for that thou contrary to the peace of our Soveraign Lord, his Crown and Dignity, hast brought in a pack of practical Fanaticks viz, Ignorants, Atheists, Papists,. Drunkards, Swearers, Swash-bucklers, Maid-marrions, Morrice-Dancers, Maskers, Mummers, Maypole-stealers, Health-drinkers, together with a rascalian rout of Fidlers, Fools, Fighters, Gamesters, Whore-masters, Lewd-men, Light-women, Con temners of Magistracy, Affronters of Ministery, rebellious to Masters, disobedient to Parents, misspenders of time, abusers of the creature.”
EĽliot. What says the poor prisoner at the bar to this accusation—does she plead guilty or not guilty?
BOURNE. The following colloquy occurs between Flora and the judge.
Judge. What sayest thou, guilty or not guilty?
Judg. He is thy Patron and Protector, and so unfit to be a Judge in this case.
Pris. Then I appeal to the Prelates, and Lord Bishops, my Lord.
Judg. This is but a tiffany put off, &c.
Pris. Then I appeal to the rout and rabble of the world. i Judg. These are thy followers and thy favourites, and so unfit to be Judges in their own case. * Pris. My Lord if there be no remedy, I am content to bee tried by a Jury.