Part 3: The Renaissance -- Sixteenth Century

THOMAS MORE. The History of King Richard III. [1513]

Now then, bye and bye, as it were for anger not for covetise, the Protector [Richard] sent into the house of Shore's wife (for her husband dwelled not with her) and spoiled her of all that ever she had, above the value of two or three thousand marks, and sent her body to prison. And when he had a while laid unto her for the manner's sake, that she went abroad to bewitch him, and that she was of counsel with the Lord Chamberlain to destroy him; in conclusion when that no color could fasten upon these matters, then he laid heinously to her charge that thing that herself could not deny, that all the world wist was true, and that natheless every many laughed at to hear it then so suddenly so highly taken, that she was naught of her body. And for this cause (as a goodly continent prince clean and faultless of himself sent out of heaven into this vicious world for the amendment of men's manners) he caused the Bishop of Lincoln to put her to open penance, going before the cross in procession upon a Sunday with a taper in her hand. In which she went in countenance and pace demure, so womanly, and albeit she were out of all array save her kirtle only, yet went she so fair and lovely, namely while the wondering of the people cast a comely rud in her cheeks (of which she before had most miss) that her great shame won her much praise among those that were more amorous of her body than curious of her soul. And many good folk also that hated her living and glad were to see sin corrected, yet pitied they more her penance than rejoiced therein when they considered that the Protector procured it, more of a corrupt intent than any virtuous affection. . . .

Whereupon soon after, that is to wit, on the Friday, the thirteenth day of June, many lords assembled in the Tower and there sat in council, devising the honourable solemnity of the king's coronation, of which the time appointed then so near approached that the pageants and subtleties were in making day and night at Westminster, and much victual killed therefor that afterward was cast away. These lords so sitting together commoning of this matter, the protector came in among them, first about nine of the clock, saluting them courteously, and excusing himself that he had been from them so long, saying merrily that he had been asleep that day. And after a little talking with them, he said unto the Bishop of Ely: "My lord, you have very good strawberries at your garden in Holborn; I require you, let us have a mess of them."

"Gladly, my lord," quod he, "would God I had some better thing as ready to your pleasure as that." And therewith in all the haste he sent his servant for a mess of strawberries. The protector set the lords fast in commoning, and thereupon, praying them to spare him for a little while, departed thence.

And soon, after one hour, between ten and eleven, he returned into the chamber among them, knitting the brows, frowning and frothing and gnawing on his lips, and so sat him down in his place, all the lords much dismayed and sore marvelling of this manner of sudden change, and what thing should him ail. Then when he had sitten still awhile, thus he began: "What were they worthy to have that compass and imagine the destruction of me, being so near of blood unto the king and protector of his royal person and his realm?"

At this question all the lords sat sore astonied, musing much by whom this question should be meant, of which every man wist himself clear. Then the lord chamberlain, as he that for the love between them thought he might be boldest with him, answered and said that they were worthy to be punished as heinous traitors, whatsoever they were. And all the other affirmed the same.

"That is," quod he, "yonder sorceress, my brother's wife, and other with her"--meaning the queen.

At these words, many of the other lords were greatly abashed that favoured her. But the Lord Hastings was in his mind better content that it was moved by her than any other whom he loved better, albeit his heart somewhat grudged that he was not afore made of counsel in this matter, as he was of the taking of her kindred and of their putting to death, which were by his assent before devised to be beheaded at Pomfret this selfsame day, in which he was not ware that it was by other devised that himself should the same day be beheaded at London.

Then said the protector: "Ye shall all see in what wise that sorceress and that other witch of her counsel, Shore's wife, with their affinity, have by their sorcery and witchcraft wasted my body." And therewith he plucked up his doublet sleeve to his elbow upon his left arm, where he showed a werish, withered arm and small (as it was never other). And thereupon every man's mind sore misgave them, well perceiving that this matter was but a quarrel, for well they wist that the queen was too wise to go about any such folly. And also, if she would, yet would she, of all folk, least make Shore's wife of counsel, whom of all women she most hated, as that concubine whom the king, her husband, had most loved. And also no man was there present but well knew that his arm was ever such since his birth.

Nevertheless the lord chamberlain (which fro the death of King Edward kept Shore's wife, on whom he somewhat doted in the king's life, saving, as it is said, he that while forbare her of reverence toward his king, or else of a certain fidelity to his friend) answered and said: "Certainly, my lord, if they have so heinously done, they be worthy heinous punishment."

"What!" quod the protector. "Thou servest me, I ween, with 'ifs' and with 'ands.' I tell thee they have so done, and that I will make good on thy body, traitor."

And therewith, as in a great anger, he clapped his fist upon the board a great rap. At which token given, and in come there rushing men in harness, as many as the chamber might hold. And anon the protector said to the Lord Hastings: "I arrest thee, traitor."

"What me, my lord?" quod he.

"Yea, thee, traitor," quod the protector.

And another let fly at the Lord Stanley, which shrunk at the stroke and fell under the table, or else his head had been cleft to the teeth, for as shortly as he shrank, yet ran the blood about his ears. Then were they all quickly bestowed in divers chambers except the lord chamberlain, whom the protector bade speed and shrive him apace; "for by Saint Paul," quod he, "I will not to dinner till I see thy head off." It booted him not to ask why, but heavily he took a priest and made a short shrift, for a longer would not be suffered; the protector made so much haste to dinner, which he might not go to till this were done, for saving of his oath. So was he brought forth into the green beside the chapel within the Tower, and his head laid down upon a long log of timber, and there stricken off, and afterward his body with the head interred at Windsor beside the body of King Edward, whose both souls our Lord pardon. [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]

SIR THOMAS ELYOT. The Book Named the Governor. 1531.

Bk 1. ch. 1. The signification of a public weal, and why it is called in Latin respublica.

A public weal is in sundry wise defined by philosophers, but knowing by experience that the often repetition of anything of grave or sad importance will be tedious to the readers of this work, who perchance for the more part have not been trained in learning containing semblable matter, I have compiled one definition out of many, in as compendious form as my poor wit can devise, trusting that in those few words the true signification of a public weal shall evidently appear to them whom reason can satisfy.

A public weal is a body living, compact or made of sundry estates and degrees of men, which is disposed by the order of equity and governed by the rule and moderation of reason. In the Latin tongue it is called "respublica," of the which the word "res" hath divers significations, and doth not only betoken that that is called a thing, which is distinct from a person, but also signifieth estate, condition, substance, and profit. In our old vulgar, profit is called "weal." And it is called a wealthy country wherein is all thing that is profitable. And he is a wealthy man that is rich in money and substance. "Public" (as Varro saith) is derived of "people," which in Latin is called "populus," wherefore it seemeth that men have been long abused in calling "rempublicam" a commune weale. And they which do suppose it so to be called for that, that every thing should be to all men in common, without discrepance of any estate or condition, be thereto moved more by sensuality than by any good reason or inclination to humanity. And that shall soon appear unto them that will be satisfied either with authority or with natural order and example.

First, the proper and true signification of the words public and common, which be borrowed of the Latin tongue for the insufficiency of our own language, shall sufficiently declare the blindness of them which have hitherto holden and maintained the said opinions. As I have said, public took his beginning of people, which in Latin is "populus," in which word is contained all the inhabitants of a realm or city, of what estate or condition so ever they be. [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]

ROGER ASCHAM. Toxophilus. 1545.

To see the wind, with a man his eyes, it is unpossible, the nature of it is so fine, and subtle, yet this experience of the wind had I once myself, and that was in the great snow that fell four years ago: I rode in the highway betwixt Topcliffe-upon- Swale, and Berowe Bridge, the way being somewhat trodden afore, by wayfaring men. The fields on both sides were plain and lay almost yard deep with snow, the night afore had been a little frost, so that the snow was hard and crusted above. That morning the sun shone bright and clear, the wind was whistling aloft, and sharp according to the time of the year. The snow in the highway lay loose and trodden with horse feet: so as the wind blew, it took the loose snow with it, and made it so slide upon the snow in the field which was hard and crusted by reason of the frost overnight, that thereby I might see very well, the whole nature of the wind as it blew that day. And I had a great delight and pleasure to mark it, which maketh me now far better to remember it. Sometime the wind would be not past two yards broad, and so it would carry the snow as far as I could see. Another time the snow would blow over half the field at once. Sometime the snow would tumble softly, by and by it would fly wonderful fast. And this I perceived also that the wind goeth by streams and not whole together. For I should see one stream within a score on me, then the space of two score no snow would stir, but after so much quantity of ground, another stream of snow at the same very time should be carried likewise, but not equally. For the one would stand still when the other flew apace, and so continue sometime swiftlier, sometime slowlier, sometime broader, sometime narrower, as far as I could see. Nor it flew not straight, but sometime it crooked this way sometime that way, and sometime it ran about in a compass. And sometime the snow would be lift clean from the ground into the air, and by and by it would be all clapped to the ground as though there had been no wind at all, straightway it would rise and fly again.

And that which was the most marvel of all, at one time two drifts of snow flew, the one out of the west into the east, the other out of the north into the east: And I saw two winds by reason of the snow the one cross over the other, as it had been two highways. And again I should hear the wind blow in the air, when nothing was stirred at the ground. And when all was still where I rode, not very far from me the snow would be lifted wonderfully. This experience made me more marvel at the nature of the wind than it made me cunning in the knowledge of the wind: but yet thereby I learned perfectly that it is no marvel at all though men in a wind lose their length in shooting, seeing so many ways the wind is so variable in blowing. [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]

EDWARD HALL. The Union of the two noble and illustre famelies of Lancastre and Yorke. 1548.

The 25th year: After that the King's Highness had addressed his gracious letters to the mayor and commonalty of the city, signifying to them that his pleasure was to solemnize and celebrate the coronation of his most dear and well-beloved wife, Queen Anne, at Westminster, the Whitsunday next ensuing, willing them to make preparation as well to fetch Her Grace from Greenwich to the Tower by water as to see the city ordered and garnished with pageants in places accustomed, for the honour of her Grace. When she should be conveyed from the Tower to Westminster, there was a common council called, and commandment was given to the Haberdashers (of which craft the mayor, Sir Stephen Pecock, then was) that they should prepare a barge for the bachelors, with a wafter and a foist garnished with banners and streamers likewise as they use to do when the mayor is presented at Westminster on the morrow after Simon and Jude. Also all the other crafts were commanded to prepare barges and to garnish them not alonely with their banners accustomed, but also to deck them with targets by the sides of the barges, and to set up all such seemly banners and bannerettes as they had in their halls or could get, meet to furnish their said barges, and every barge to have minstrelsy, according to which commandments great preparation was made for all things necessary for such a noble triumph. [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]


What an abominable sin against God and man rebellion is, and how dreadfully the wrath of God is kindled and inflamed against all rebels, and what horrible plagues, punishments, and deaths, and finally, eternal damnation, doth hang over their heads: as how, on the contrary part, good and obedient subjects are in God's favour, and be partakers of peace, quietness, and security, with other God's manifold blessings in this world, and by his mercies through our Saviour Christ, of life everlasting also in the world to come. How horrible a sin against God and man rebellion is, cannot posibly be expressed according unto the greatness thereof. For he that nameth rebellion, nameth not a singular or one only sin, as is theft, robbery, murder, and such like; but he nameth the whole puddle and sink of all sins against god and man, against his prince, his country, his countrymen, his parents, his children, his kinsfolks, his friends, and against all men universally; all sins, I say, against God and all men heaped together, nameth he, that nameth rebellion. For concerning the offence of God's majesty, who seeth not that rebellion riseth first by contempt of God and of his holy ordinances and laws, wherein he so straitly commandeth obedience, forbiddeth disobedience and rebellion? And besides the dishonour done by rebels unto God's holy name, by their breaking of the oath made to their prince, with the attestation of God's name, and calling of his Majesty to witness, who heareth not the horrible oaths and blasphemies of God's holy name, that are used daily amongst rebels, that is either amongst them, or heareth the truth of their behaviour? Who knoweth not that rebels do not only themselves leave all works necessary to be done upon work days undone, whiles they accomplish their abominable work of rebellion, and to compel others that would gladly be well occupied, to do the same; but also how rebels do not only leave the Sabbath day of the Lord unsanctified, the temple and church of the Lord unresorted unto, but also do by their works of wickedness most horribly profane and pollute the Sabbath day, serving Satan, and, by doing of his work, making it the devil's day instead of the Lord's day? Besides that, they compel good men, that would gladly serve the Lord, assembling in his temple and church upon his day, as becometh the Lord's servants, to assemble and meet armed in the field, to resist the fury of such rebels. Yea, and many rebels, lest they should leave any part of God's commandments in the first table of his law unbroken, or any sin against God undone, do make rebellion for the maintenance of their images, and idols, and of their idolatry committed, or to be committed by them; and, in despite of God, cut and tear in sunder his holy word, and tread it under their feet, as of late ye know was done. . . . [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]

Hugh Latimer. Sermon on the Plowers. 1548.

I told you in my first sermon, honourable audience, that I purposed to declare unto you two things: the one, what seed should be sown in God's field, in god's plowland; and the other, who should be the sowers, that is to say, what doctrine is to be taught in Christ's church and congregation, and what men should be the teachers and preachers of it. The first part I have told you in the three sermons past, in which I have assayed to set forth my plow, to prove what I could do. . . .

For preaching of the gospel is one of god's plow works, and the preacher is one of God's plowmen. Ye may not be offended with my similitude in that I compare preaching to the labor and work of plowing and the preacher to a plowman; ye may not be offended with this my similitude, for I have been slandered of some persons for such things. It hath been said of me, "Oh, Latimer! nay, as for him I will never believe him while I live nor never trust him, for he likened Our Blessed Lady to a saffron bag." Where indeed I never used that similitude. But it was, as I have said unto you before now, according to that which Peter saw before in the spirit of prophecy and said that they should come afterward men "per quos via veritatis maledictis afficeretur." There should come fellows "by whom the way of truth should be ill spoken of and slandered" (II Peter 2:2). But in case I had used this similitude, it had not been to be reproved but might have been without reproach. For I might have said thus: as the safron bag that hath been full of saffron or hath had saffron in it doth ever after savour and smell of the sweet saffron that it contained, so Our Blessed Lady, which conceived and bare Christ in her womb, did ever after resemble the manners and virtues of that precious babe which she bare. And what had Our Blessed Lady been the worse for this or what dishonour was this to Our Blessed Lady?

But as preachers must be ware and circumspect that they give not any just occasion to be slandered and ill spoken of by the hearers, so must not the auditors be offended without cause. For heaven is in the gospel likened to a mustard seed; it is compared also to a piece of leaven; as Christ saith, that at the last day He will come like a thief. And what dishonour is this to God or what derogation is this to heaven? Ye may not then, I say, be offended with my similitude, forbecause I liken preaching to a plowman's labour and a prelate to a plowman. [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]

[THOMAS CRAMNER's] Book of Common Prayer. 1549

[From the Communion: this optional passage is used in case the priest finds the people "negligent to come to the holy communion." Readers interested in poetry may wish to compare it with George Herbert's famous poem "Love III"--which is arguably derived from this passage.]

Dearly beloved brethren, on -- I intend, by God's grace, to celebrate the Lord's Supper: unto which, in God's behalf, I bid you all that are here present; and beseech you, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, that ye will not refuse to come thereto, being so lovingly called and bidden by God himself. Ye know how grievous and unkind a thing it is, when a man hath prepared a rich feast, decked his table with all kinds of provision, so that there lacketh nothing but the guests to sit down; and yet they who are called (without any cause) most unthankfully refuse to come. Which of you in such a case would not be moved? Who would not think a great injury and wrong done him? Wherefore, most dearly beloved in Christ, take ye good heed, lest ye, withdrawing yourselves from this holy supper, provoke god's indignation against you. It is an easy matter for a man to say, I will not communicate, because I am otherwise hindered with worldly business. But such excuses are not so easily accepted and allowed before God. If any man say, I am a grievous sinner, and therefore am afraid to come: wherefore then do ye not repent and amend? When God calleth you, are ye not ashamed to say ye will not come? When ye should return to god, will ye excuse yourselves, and say ye are not ready? Consider earnestly with yourselves how little such feigned excuses will avail before God. They that refused the feast in the Gospel, because they had bought a farm, or would try their yokes of oxen, or because they were married, were not so excused, but counted unworthy of the heavenly feast. I, for my part, shall be ready; and, according to mine Office, I bid you in the name of God, I call you in Christ's behalf, I exhort you, as ye love your own salvation, that ye will be partakers of this holy Communion. And as the Son of God did vouchsafe to yield up his soul by death upon the Cross for your salvation; so it is your duty to receive the Communion, in remembrance of the sacrifice of his death, as he himself hath commanded: which if ye shall neglect to do, consider with yourselves how great injury ye do unto god, and sore punishment hangeth over your heads for the same; when ye wilfully abstain from the Lord's Table, and separate from your brethren, who come to feed on the banquet of that most heavenly food. These things if ye earnestly consider, ye will by God's grace return to a better mind; for the obtaining whereof we shall not cease to make our humble petitions unto Almighty God our heavenly Father. [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]

THOMAS WILSON. The Art of Rhetorique. 1560 [1553]

Of Composition

When wee have learned usuall and accustomable words to set forth our meaning, we ought to joyne them together in apt order, that the eare maie delite in hearing the harmonie. I knowe some Englishmen that in this point have such a gift in the English, as fewe Latin hath the like, and therefore delite the wise and learned so much with their pleasaunt composition: that many rejoyce when they may heare such, and thinke much learning is got when they may talk with them. Composition therfore is an apt joyning together of wordes in such order, that neither the eare shall espie any jerre, nor yet any man shalbe dulled with overlong drawing out of a sentence, nor yet much confounded with mangling of causes such as are needlesse, being heaped together without reason, and used without number. For by such meanes the hearers will be forced to forget full ofte, what was sayd first, before the sentence bee halfe ended: or els be blinded with confounding of many things together. Some againe will be so short, and in such curtall their sentences, that they had neede to make a commentary immediately of their meaning, or els the most that heare them shalbe forced to keepe counsaill.

Some will speake oracles, that a man can not tell which way to take them, some will bee so fine and so poeticall withall, that to their seeming there shall not stande one haire a misse, and yet every body els shall thinke them meeter for a ladies chamber, then for an earnest matter in any open assemblie.

Some will rove so much and bable so farre without order, that a man would thinke they had a great love to heare them selves speake.

Some repeate one worde so often, that if such wordes could be eaten, and chopt in so oft as they are uttered out, they would choke the widest throte in al England. As thus. If a man knew what a mans life were, no man for any mans sake woulde kill any man, but one man would rather helpe an other man, considering man is borne for man to helpe man, and not to hate man. What man would not be choked, if he chopt al these men at once into his mouth, and never dronke after it? Some use overmuch repetition of some one letter, as pitifull povertie praieth for a penie, but puffed presumption passeth not a point, pampering his panch with pestilent pleasure, procuring his passeport to poste it to hell pit, there to bee punished with paines perpetuall. Some will so set their words, that they must be faine to gape after every word spoken, ending one word with a vowell, and beginning the next with an other, which undoubtedly maketh the talke to seeme most unpleasaunt. As thus. Equitie assuredly every injurie avoideth. . . .

Some will tell one thing twentie times, nowe in, nowe out, and when a man would thinke they had almost ended, they are ready to beginne againe as fresh as ever they were. Such vaine repetitions declare both want of witte, and lacke of learning. Some are so homely in all their doings, and so grosse for their invention, that they use altogether one maner of trade, and seeke no varietie to eschue tediousnesse.

Some burden their talke with needlesse copie, and will seem plentifull when they should be short. An other is so curious and so fine of his tongue, that he can not tell in all the world what to speake. Every sentence seemeth common, and every worde generally used, is thought to be foolish in his wise judgement. Some use so many interpositions, both in their talke and in their writing, that they make their sayings as darke as hell. Thus when faltes be knowne they may be avoyded: and vertue the sooner may take place, when vice is foreseen and eschued as evill. [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]

JOHN LYLY. Euphues. 1579.

This young gallant, of more wit than wealth, and yet of more wealth than wisdom, seeing himself inferior to none in pleasant conceits, thought himself superior to all in honest conditions, insomuch that he thought himself so apt to all things that he gave himself almost to nothing; but practising of those things commonly which are incident to these sharp wits: fine phrases, smooth guips, merry taunts, using jesting without mean and abusing mirth without measure. As, therefore, the sweetest rose hath his prickle, the finest velvet his brack, the fairest flour his bran, so the sharpest wit hath his wanton will, and the holiest head his wicked way. And true it is that some men write and most men believe that, in all perfect shapes, a blemish bringeth rather a liking every way to the eyes than a loathing any way to the mind. Venus had her mole in her cheek, which made her more amiable; Helen her scar in her chin, which Paris called cos amoris, the whetstone of love; Aristipppus his wart; Lycurgus his wen. So likewise, in the disposition of the mind, either virtue is overshadowed with some vice, or vice overcast with some virtue. Alexander valiant in war, yet given to wine. Tully eloquent in his glosses, yet vainglorious. Solomon wise, yet too, too wanton. David holy, but yet an homicide. None more witty than Euphues, yet at the first none more wicked. The freshest colours soonest fade, the teenest razor soonest turneth his edge, the finest cloth is soonest eaten with moths, and the cambric sooner stained than the coarse canvas: which appeared well in this Euphues, whose wit, being like wax, apt to receive any impression, and bearing the head in his own hand, either to use the rein or the spur, disdaining counsel, leaving his country, loathing his old acquaintance, thought either by wit to obtain some conquest, or by shame to abide some conflict; who, preferring fancy before friends and his present humour before honour to come, laid reason in water, being too salt for his taste, and followed unbridled affection, most pleasant for his tooth. When parents have more care how to leave their children wealthy than wise and are more desirous to have them maintain the name than the nature of a gentleman; when they put gold into the hands of youth, where they should put a rod under the girdle; when, instead of awe, they make them past grace and leave them rich executors of goods and poor executors of godliness; then is it no marvel that the son, being left rich by his father's will, become reckless by his own will. [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]

QUEEN ELIZABETH. To the Troops at Tilbury. 1588

My loving people: We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes for fear of treachery. But I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear! I have always so behaved myself that under god I have placed my chief strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects. And therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport; but being resolved in the midst of the heat of the battle to live or die among you all; to lay down for my God and for my Kingdom and for my people my honour and my blood even in the dust.

I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.

I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you on the word of a prince they shall be duly paid you.

In the meantime, my lieutenant-general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my god, of my kingdoms, and of my people. [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]

THOMAS NASHE. Pierce Penniless His Supplication to the Devil. 1592.

To this effect the policy of plays is very necessary, howsoever some shallow-brained censurers (not the deepest searchers into the secrets of government) mightily oppugn them. For whereas the afternoon being the idlest time of the day, wherein men that are their own masters (as gentlemen of the court, the Inns of Court, and the number of captains and soldiers about London) do wholly bestow themselves upon pleasure, and that pleasure they divide (how virtuously, it skills not) either into gaming, following of harlots, drinking, or seeing a play; is it not then better (since of four extremes all the world cannot keep them but they will choose one) that they should betake themselves to the least, which is plays? Nay, what if I prove plays to be no extreme, but a rare exercise of virtue? First, for the subject of them, for the most part it is borrowed out of our English chronicles, wherein our forefathers' valiant acts (that have line long buried in rusty brass and worm-eaten books) are revived, and they themselves raised from the grave of oblivion, and brought to plead their aged honours in open presence; than which, what can be a sharper reproof to these degenerate effeminate days of ours? . . . .

In plays, all coosonages, all cunning drifts overgilded with outward holiness, all stratagems of war, all the cankerworms that breed on the rust of peace, are most lively anatomized; they show the ill success of treason, the fall of hasty climbers, the wretched end of usurpers, the misery of civil dissension, and how just God is evermore in punishing of murther. And to prove every one of these allegations could I propound the circumstances of this play and that play, if I meant to handle this theme otherwise than obiter. What should I say more? They are sour pills of reprehension wrapped up in sweet words. Whereas some petitioners of the counsail against them object they corrupt the youth of the city and withdraw prentices from their work, they heartily wish they might be troubled with none of their youth nor their prentices; for some of them (I mean the ruder handicrafts' servants) never come abroad but they are in danger of undoing; and as for corrupting them when they come, that's false; for no play they have encourageth any man to tumults or rebellion, but lays before such the halter and the gallows; or praiseth or approveth pride, lust, whoredom, prodigality, or drunkenness, but beats them down utterly. As for the hindrance of trades and traders of the city by them, that is an article foisted in by the vintners, alewives, and victualers, who surmise if there were no plays they should have all the company that resort to them lie bowzing and beer-bathing in their houses every afternoon. Nor so, nor so, good brother bottle-ale, for there are other places besides where money can bestow itself; the sign of the smock will wipe your mouth clean; and yet I have heard ye have made her a tenant to your taphouses. But what shall he do that hath spent himself? Where shall he haunt? Faith, when dice, lust, and drunkeness, and all, have dealt upon him, if there be never a play for him to go to for his penny, he sits melancholy in his chamber, devising upon felony or treason and how he may best exalt himself by mischief. [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]

RICHARD HOOKER. The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. 1590s.

1.3.2 And as it cometh to pass in a kingdom rightly ordered, that after a law is once published, it presently takes effect far and wide, all states framing themselves thereunto; even so let us think it fareth in the natural course of the world: since the time that God did first proclaim the edicts of his law upon it, heaven and earth have hearkened unto his voice, and their labour hath been to his will: He "made a law for the rain"; He gave his "decree unto the sea, that the waters should not pass his commandment." Now if nature should intermit her course, and leave altogether though it were but for a while the observation of her own laws; if those principal and mother elements of the world, whereof all things in this lower world are made, should lose the qualities which now they have; if the frame of that heavenly arch erected over our heads should loosen and dissolve itself; if celestial spheres should forget their wonted motions, and by irregular volubility turn themselves any way as it might happen; if the prince of the lights of heaven, which now as a giant doth run his unwearied course, should as it were through a languishing faintness begin to stand and to rest himself; if the moon should wander from her beaten way, the times and seasons of the year blend themselves by disordered and confused mixture, the winds breathe out their last gasp, the clouds yield no rain, the earth be defeated of heavenly influence, the fruits of the earth pine away as children at the withered breasts of their mother no longer able to yield them relief; what would become of man himself, whom these things now do all serve? See we not plainly that obedience of creatures unto the laws of nature is the stay of the whole world?

4.14.1 Laws, as all other things human, are many times full of imperfection; and that which is supposed behoveful unto men, proveth oftentimes most pernicious. The wisdom which is learned by tract of time, findeth the laws that have been in former ages established, needful in later to be abrogated. Besides, that which sometime is expedient doth not always so continue: and the number of needless laws unabolished doth weaken the force of them that are necessary. But true withal it is, that alteration though it be from worse to better hath in it inconveniences, and those weighty; unless it be in such laws as have been made upon special occasions, which occasions ceasing, laws of that kind do abrogate themselves. But when we abrogate a law as being ill made, the whole cause for which it was made still remaining, do we not herein revoke our very own deed, and upbraid ourselves with folly, yea, all that were makers of it with oversight and with error? Further, if it be a law which the custom and continual practice of many ages or years hath confirmed in the minds of men, to alter it must needs be troublesome and scandalous. It amazeth them, it causeth them to stand in doubt whether any thing be in itself by nature either good or evil, and not all things rather such as men at this or that time agree to account of them, when they behold even those things disproved, disannuled, rejected, which use had made in a manner natural. What have we to induce men unto the willing obedience and observation of laws, but the weight of so many men's judgement as have with deliberate advice assented thereunto; the weight of that long experience, which the world hath had thereof with consent and good liking? So that to change any such law must needs with the common sort impair and weaken the force of those grounds, whereby all laws are made effectual.

[2] Notwithstanding we do not deny alteration of laws to be sometimes a thing necessary; as when they are unnatural, or impious, or otherwise hurtful unto the public community of men, and against that good for which human societies were instituted. . . . Not to stay longer therefore in speech concerning this point, we will conclude, that as the change of such laws as have been specified is necessary, so the evidence that they are such must be great. If we have neither voice from heaven that so pronounceth them, neither sentence of men grounded upon such manifest and clear proof, that they in whose hands it is to alter them may likewise infallibly even in heart and conscience judge them so; upon necessity to urge alteration is to trouble and disturb the world without necessity. As for arbitrary alterations, when laws in themselves not simply bad or unmeet are changed for better and more expedient; if the benefit of that which is newly better devised be but small, sith the custom of easiness to alter and change is so evil, no doubt but to bear a tolerable sore is better than to venture on a dangerous remedy.

8.1.2 We hold, that seeing there is not any man of the Church of England but the same man is also a member of the commonwealth; nor any man a member of the commonwealth, which is not also of the Church of England; therefore as in a figure triangular the base doth differ from the sides thereof and yet one and the selfsame line is both a base and also a side; a side simply, a base if it chance to be the bottom and underlie the rest; so, albeit properties and actions of one kind do cause the name of a commonwealth, qualities and functions of another sort the name of a Church to be given unto a multitude, yet one and the selfsame multitude may in such sort be both, and is so with us, that no person appertaining to the one can be denied to be also of the other. Contrariwise, unless they against us should hold, that the Church and the commonwealth are two, both distinct and separate societies, of which two, the one comprehendeth always persons not belonging to the other; that which they do they could not conclude out of the difference between the Church and the commonwealth; namely, that bishops may not meddle with the affairs of the commonwealth, because they are governors of another corporation, which is the church; nor kings with making laws for the Church, because they have government not of this corporation, but of another divided from it, the commonwealth; and the walls of separation between these two must for ever be upheld. They hold the necessity of personal separation, which clean excludeth the power of one man's dealing in both; we of natural, which doth not hinder but that one and the same person may in both bear a principal sway. [Transcription by John F. Tinkler.]