Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/94

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

forty heathen philosophers into the bargain, that stage-plays, besides being sinful and heathenish, were "intolerable mischiefs to churches, to republics, to the manners, minds, and souls of men." Little as we think so now, this opinion, which was afterwards also Defoe's, was not without justification in those days. But Prynne's crusade did not stop at theatres; and Heylin's account reveals the feeling of contemporaries: "Neither the hospitality of the gentry in the time of Christmas, nor the music in cathedrals and the chapels royal, nor the pomps and gallantries of the Court, nor the Queen's harmless recreations, nor the King's solacing himself sometimes in masques and dances could escape the venom of his pen." "He seemed to breathe nothing but disgrace to the nation, infamy to the Church, reproaches to the Court, dishonour to the Queen." For his remarks against female actors were thought to be aimed at Henrietta Maria, though the pastoral in which she took part was posterior by six weeks to the publication of the book![1] The four

  1. Whitelock's Memorials of Charles I., 1822. Laud is represented as mainly instrumental in the conduct of the whole of this nefarious proceeding, especially in procuring the sentence in the Star Chamber.