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LETTER TO DR. JOHN RAINOLDS OF JULY 31, 1592
HEREAS in the beginninge of your late letter, or rather treatyse to me, Mr. D. Rainoldes, you wryte that you are much to thanke me for my letters, and Tragydie, it is as muche, at the most, as they deserved; but that you add, you are so to doe the more, for enlarginge the answere to Momus, for yours, and others askinge, why thinges by him obiected weare not answered, I ame rather the more to thanke you, for your takinge it in so good parte. Howbeit, I would be very sorrye that the comparyson, which, in the behalfe of others, you drawe from owre Savioure, should houlde against me: for he indeed when he was smytten, might trulye saye, if I have spoken evill, beare witness of the evill; but if well, why doeste thou smyte me? because he undoubtedlye had sayde nothing but reason, and therfore was most vniustly smytten. But for my obiections agaynst owre Playes, attrybuted to Momus, no man can rightely say to me, if owre reasons be naught, discouer theire naughtiness; if good, why doe you Mome us? For firste, the obiections, in owre case, and agynst vs, are most vntrwe, and I hope no man lyvinge shall soundely prove the contrarye: next, there is no man smytten by me (muche lesse you, or any of yours) but only Momus, whoe can never iustly in such sorte chalenge me, nor any man for hym. As for They, and Vs, I assure you I doe not knowe whome you meane by them nor very well what. For when I wrote vnto you that I had enlarged the answere to Momus, because I understood that you and others shoulde aske, why thos things weare not answered that weare obiected, by others I did not meane suche as I perceyve by you there are, which should mislike owre Playes, but others of my frendes, that, heering the obiections, towlde me that they could have wisshed they had byn then answered, leste any shoulde thinke thay had byn vttered in good erneste, or leste thay should seeme to some to carry a greater shewe of truthe than thay cowlde well answere at the first sight. For till I vnderstoode it by you, and by a Preacher of late, I did never thinke that eythere you, or any other in the Vniversitye, had abetted Momus his obiections, or that owre Playes had byn so muche disliked. If I had knowne it, I coulde easely have spared so thankeles a labor, to saye no more. But I hope it seemethe not so to evrye bodye, that also are not evyre bodye.
2. But whatsoever other men had cause to thinke, you had no iust occasion to suspected your selfe touched therein by me; no not for thos twoe inducements which you cheefely alleage to prove your coniecture. For whereas you write that you did prove Theater-sightes and Stage-playes as hurtfull and pernicious many yeeres agoe, and this yeere, before the Playes, had wrytten to a good frende of owres, thos reasons which I make Momus use agynst them, and therefor that you had cause to thinke you were charged, noted, and stayned under the name of Momus. To the first I answere, first I never red that which you wrote longe agoe in your Preface to your Theses against Playes. I may be ashamed perhapps so to excuse my selfe; but yet the acknowledgement of this blame dothe make my testimonye in this case of more validitye. If I coulde otherwise have defended myn innocencye heerein, I woulde have avoyded this confession. Then, if I had red it when I was a very yunge man, and so careles of suche thinges, I might have forgotten it ere this, being wrytten so many yeerse sinse. Lastly I should have taken it as spoken against Histriones, and not agaiynst Schollares. And in deed for that I ever have hearde (as I confesse I have hearde) of your mynd that way, I ever vnderstoode it in that meaninge. As for your late letter to owre good frende, he never shewde it me, or towlde me the contents therof. To this daye I hever hearde of it, till longe after. Nay talkinge with him of you, touchinge suche thinges, he towlde me that he had invyted you to the Playes, but you most gently answered that you never vsed to cumm to suche thinges, and therfor nowe would also abstayne, not betrayinge to me anye inklinge of suche your dislike, but muche commendinge to me your grave, wise, and gentle carriage of your selfe therein, and in all other matters. Which as I acknowledged with hym, so to saye the truthe, I was very glad you did refuse to comm, for no greater cause. Not that in suche a matter I ought to attribute more to the pryvate opinion of one or a few men (thoughe to yours, as muche as to any ones) then to the common judgment of many others, but because I would offende neyther a fewe, or any one man, specialye in such a trifle, as I take this to be. Besyde all this, it is most manifest that the devyse of Momus was conceyved and penned longe before the sendinge of that your letter, as many, and amonge others, owre good frende you mention can testifye it, for I showde it hym a monthe before. Hethertoe I trust appeeres no iust cause in me why any man, and specialy you, should thinke that vnder the name of Momus you weare taxed in particular.
3. And to speak coram Deo, my meaninge only was, if I had any meaninge or purpose at all, partely to move delight in the audytorye with the noveltye of the invention and the purpose, being nowe foreweryed and tyred of the tediusnes of the Tragedye, partely to obiect thos things agaynst owre selves, by owre selves, which might abate all suspition of any littell vayne glory or selfe pleasinge in vs, when thay should vnderstand that owre dooings displeased no man more than owre owne selves, and so by this meanes, as it weare with a slight, to shifte of all occasion of others ill speakinge, when we had prevented them with an ill <speaking> as mought be before. Howsoever it was, I assure you I never had any serius thought of it, but esteemed it as a iest to serve a turne, littell thinkinge it should or coulde be so taken, suche was my singlenes and symplycytye. And therefore I did not greatly care what I made hym to saye, as thinkinge any suche thinge became Momus well inoughe. Whom notwithstandinge I brought not in, so much in that sense that Aristotle speaketh of, as a reproover of the best and perfitest woorkes, of the most wise and skillfull (for I never tooke eyther owre selves, or owre Playes, to be suche), but, as we commonly take hym, as a carper, and a pincher of all thinges that are done with any opinion of well doinge. Summ things that he obiected, I willingly confesse weare trwe, as thos that did concerne owre owne want of skill in suche matters; summ, and the most part, weare false, as the applyinge of all thos reproches to vs, which are truly spoken agaynst Histriones. Of which reproches, if I should be examyned vpon myn othe, wheare I harde them, and of whome, I must needes saye I harde them I knowe not wheare nor of whome; but they were arrepta ex triviis, rascall reproaches, the wordes in Latyn naturaly sownde not so hardely. Howe wordes are to be taken in charetye, you knowe better then I; in lawe and reason they are ever with this rule to be interpreted: Ab omnibus traditum est, in quacumque materia, etiamsi poenam irroget, eatenus verba generaliter capi, quatenus sermonis proprietas ferre potest, nisi aliam loquentis mensem coniiciamus. Primus autem intellectus proprietatus, est sua unicuiusque rei appellatio. Nowe, arrepta ex triviis does not most properly and principally signifye Rascall reproches, and no man can iustly coniecture that my meaninge was to vse any honest man with so ill termes, when I meant no man at all. For of all other affections, spite and mallyce weare no counselors to that devyse, to the notinge of you, or any man ells. So that thoughe I knowe the wordes may be so properly translated, yet not to my mynde so properly, that is not so gentlye as I meant them.
4. But that I had no purpose by Momus syde to wound you, according to the lawe of charyttye, vpon my former protestation to you, you doe most gladly creditt me, as you write; and so trulye you mean, and I hartely thank you for it. For it was the greatest thinge that I desyred to prove vnto you, as a matter that I ought to thinke, if I woulde retayne the reputation of an honest man, shoulde neerly touche me; which beeing cleered, as bothe in my conscience and in your good mynde it is, I feare not any thinge ells greately in all this cause. For whereas you goe forwarde to prove by your Case of Sempronius and Seius, by a sayinge of Tullie’s agaynst the gouernours of armyes in his time, and by myn owne wordes Ad Zoilum and Ad Criticum, that thoughe I had no suche particular intent, yet in the generalytye the censure lighted upon you. Though I am hartelye sorry that it should so vnhappelye fall owte, yet all that may I grante withowte offense, I trust. For the mayne matter is not whether you had occasion to thinke your selfe to be touched in the generalytye or no, being of that opinion you are; but whether the opinion be iustifiable or no: you thinke yea, I think nay. If I say utri creditis? the cause weare lost playnly on my syde.
5. But because you assure me in your treatyse that you mislike nothing in intytylinge Momus to thos reasons which I make hym to vse, nor in myn answere to them, if I can prove this to be vnsownde, and my defence to be good, I will trye what I can doe to shewe that the truthe in this controversye belongethe rather to my answere, than to the reasons fathered on Momus. Wherin I ame affected as if I weare advocate to a fayre mayden suspected and accused of incontinencye, whoe had gevne in wordes and gesture, as in strictnes of severetye that mought be construed, some small shewe of lightnes, but whome notwithstandinge I weare fully perswaded to be in deede very honest; evne so I fare in this cause, whearin not one, but twoe fayre maydens, Tragoedia and Comoedia, are not only greevusly suspected, but vehemently and eloquently accused, not by everye common Orator, but by C. Cassius or M. Cato, of dissolute lyfe and manners, and may perhapps, I confesse, somtyme have gevne some littell suspition therof, being straytely examyned, but yet are suche as by whome in my conscience I doe verely thinke no suche thinges can well be prooved, as farr as we can be charged to be answerable for their acquayntance, vsage, and conversation amongst vs, which in all my defence I desyre still to be vnderstoode. Wherfor, not of a desyre to contende, specially with you, quis talia demens Audeat, aut tecum malit contendere bello?, but vpon libertye gevne me by you, eyther to vse your advise, or gentlye to imparte to you, I will not say, quid rectius, but what I thinke, as you have followed my order, note so I will followe youres; praying you to expecte no other answere at my handes then I am necessarylye inforced vnto, that is to the strenchninge and illustratinge of my former answears, and no furder maytenance of the whole cause.
6. First, thefor, whereas you deny me that the Praetor dothe not distinguisshe, as I doe, betweene thos that doe prodire in scenam quaestus causa, and not quaestus causa, but rather in expresse wordes saythe the contrarye, qui in scenam prodierit infamis est, it is very trwe, and I knewe that very well before, but because Vlpian ad edictum Praetoris dothe so expownde the Praetor, as it weare ex aequitate Praetoria and ex rsponsis prudentum Pegasi et Nervae filii, I thought it was as good lawe, and better verse, to say, Famosus ergo est quisquis in scenam exiit? Praetor negabit, seeinge the meaninge of the Praetor, and so the Praetor hym selfe, is taken to denye it, as to say Vlpianus or Pegasus et Nerva filius negabunt. That Vlpian dothe approve the distinction of Pegasus and Nerva, it is evident; for if he had disliked it, or not allowed it, thoughe he alleged theire authoritye, yet he woulde in expresse wordes have refused it, as in many places of the Ciuill Texte the like appeereth. That Pegasus and Nerua doe so distinguisshe it is manifest; because otherwise Vlpian showlde repeate the Praetors Edict in vayne, and not interprete it, which he professethe to doe. Besyde that Glossa communis, Baldus Petrus de Castro, and all that I have seene vpon this lawe doe do vnderstand this latter parte therof. Lastely, in this very Title De his qui notantur, in the same places therof, In certamen descendere, and In scenam prodire, doem as they sawe in owre lawem ambulare aequiis passibus. But it is most evident that qui descendit in certamen depugnaturus cum bestiis dentatis, ac feris, virtutis ostendendae, non mercedis causa, non est notatus: ergo qui prodit in scenam pronuntiandi gratia, sine praemio aut questu, non est notatus. And the reason of the favorable parte of the distinction may well, me thinkes, be gathered owte of the lawe which is C. de spectaculis I.1 in fine, li. xi. Neyther dothe Dionysius Gothofredus, whom you alleage, deny this distinction, but rather prove that Pegasus and Nerva filius doe so distinguisshe in excepting agaynst the latter member, in his note, Immo et qui sine quaestu, who, to admytt your perhaps, that he is a man more learned than Pegasus and Nerva filius, the authors of this distinction, together with Vlpian, in not disallowing it, approvinge the same (which notwithstandinge for some reasons I can not yet thinke to be soe), yet surely he is not of so greate authorytye as the Texte it selfe, whatsoever any man may esteeme his learninge to be. And yet in some sense his shorte but quick note, Immo et qui sine quaestu, hurteth not vs at all. For if he meanethe therby to taxe Laberius, Lentulus, Nero, and suche like, that did exercere histrionaiam, thoughe gratuitam, his exception is most trwe, and it makethe not agaynst vs or owre owne Texte. For this lawe releevethe them that came in Scenam, to doe theire common wealthe honor, theire citizens honest pleasure and delyte, and theire Godds devowte servyce, with owte rewarde; not them that did so only to satisfye theire dissolute and lewde humors, as Lentulus, Nero and others did, whose examples can not be applyed agaynst them, or us, as shall be heerafter shewed, but Gotofrede in deede fowndethe his sharpe note upon a sayinge of S. Austin, Omnes enim scenici probosi, and of Livye, et tribu movere soliti, bothe which, it is playne, are to be vnderstood agaynst Histriones. And so their authorytyes serve not to interprete owre Texte, wherof they could neaver dreame, and Gothofrede dothe gloze agaynst a manifest lawe, withowte gyvinge anye reason of his so dooinge.
7. Wheras therfore you inferr by this distinction of quaestus causa, and sine quaestu, that a man might likewise conclude, that sithe by the Scripture a woman takinge monye for prostitutinge her bodye to men is infamous; therfor she is not so that dothe it freely, muche lesse that givethe monye to have her lovers cumpanye, whom yet the Scripture countethe most infamous of all, I vtterly denye that any suche consequence may be framed therbye. For it is not simplye able to cumm vpon the Stage because the lawe allowethe it in some case, that is, when it is doone sine quaestu, but it is a thinge absolutely wicked for a woman to prostitute her selve eyther freely or for rewarde, thoughe more wicked also for rewarde. Nowe you assume that the one is as greevus a sin as theother, or at the leste is absolutely a sin; which is the state of owre cause, and therfore you must prove it, for we can in no wise grante it to you. Wherfor you must evicte that it is simplye a vyle sin., in any case, and namely in owres, for any, thoughe freely, prodire in scenam, as it is for a woman freely to prostitute her bodye. And then I confesse that of my distinction so an absurde an argument may be deduced, descendere in certamen and prodire in scenam quaestus causa infamant: ergo descendere in certamen et prodire in scenam sine quaestu non infamant is a good consequence, because the lawe so distinguishethe. But to say A woman prostitutinge her body to men for monye is infamous; ergo she is not that dothe it freelye, is a wrong and a wicked consequution, for the reason before alleaged. Therfore the answere that I made to Momusses first cheefe obiection standethe good and fyrme, because the lawe led me by the hande vnto it, and if I had byn to answere in this question in owre Acte, the same being obiected, if I should not so have answered, I showlde have byn thought never to have looked upon the lawe whence my question was taken. I thought it not meete to enlarge myn answre furder then Momus did inforce his objection; but as he only proposed the lawe, so I only gave that answere which the lawe in the same texte affoorded me, as one that sees no cause to dislike it, lesse dares dispute agaynst it, and hathe lesse authorytye to abolysshe it.
8. But you in a manner admittynge that Pegasus and Nerva filius, in addynge quaestus causa, intended my conclusion, yet not stayinge there, you goe abowte to overthrowe theire creditts, partly by opposinge and preferring Dionysius Gothofredus to them, a lawyer also, as you say, perhapps more learned then thaye, who hathe made this note theron, Immo et qui sine quaestu, moved thervnto by a sayinge in S. Austin and Livye; partely by the best interpretor of lawes, that is, the custome and the practyze of the Romans, whoe thought that free Players also weare infamous, which you prove also owte of S. Austin, growndinge hym selfe upon Tullye, by Livye, Cornelius Tacitus, and Iuvenall; partlye, and lastly, by the examples of them, whoe weare accownted infamous, for playinge, thoughe freely, as Laberius, Lentulus, certain Roman needy Sqyres, and Nero hym selfe, whom by the opynion of all honest men you prove to have byn branded with a perpetuall note of infamye for so dooinge. Gotofrede I have allredye answered as it weare by the waye, by whome the rest of your authorityes also, and all your examples, may receyve their trwe, through shorte, answere. For first I denye that the Romans ever iudged omnes scenicos infames., because Playes weare somtyme, as in a common plague, instituted ad placandos Deos, and weare provided by greate Officers of the common treasure; and so they are referred ad religionem et devotionem. Somtyme they weare sett owt at he pryvat cost of them that stood to the people for great Offices, or generally for the honor and sollace of the cytye; and so thay are referred to magnificence, for magnicentia is a goodly vertue, et versatur circa sumptus amplos, non turpes aut infames, because it is a vertwe, but circa quacunquem in rem publicam honestae laudis studio conferuntur, amonge the which Aristole reckonethe ludos splendide facere. Neyther is it to be thought that Aesopus and Roscius, beinge bothe men of that fame, favor, wealthe, and entyre famyliarytye with the best and wisest in their tymes, were reputed infamous persons. What should I speake of so many Circi, Theatra, Amphitheatra, buylded by the greatest and bravest Romans, with so huge charge and sumptuousness? Which thoughe thay weare wonce vpon fowle abuses, or some occasion, as you write, overthrowne by the Romans them selves, yet evne thos playes, for which they weare abolished, weare ex eo genere, of whom they might have sayde (as C. Tacitus dothe of Astrologers) quod in civitate nostra et vetabitur semper, et retinebitur. Howseover, I can not thinke that eyther thay woulde have suffered suche thinges to be donne at all, if they had iudged them ill, or to be performed by infamous personns, beinge matters of that state and magnificence, and, as they thought, of that devotion and necessytye. It weare not hard for me to heape vp many things to this purpose, but my desyre is no furder to approve theire iudgment heerin, then servethe for the necessarye defence of oure selves and oure dooinges. Next I denye that we are to be termed scenici or histriones for cumminge on the Stage once in a yeere, or twoe yeere, sevne, ten, or somtyme twentye yeeres. As he is not a wrastler, that sometyme to prove his strenchthe tyrieth for a fall or twoe; nor he a fencer, that sometyme takethe up the cudgells to play a vennye; nor he a danser, that sometyme leadethe the measures or dansethe a galliarde; nor he minstrell or a ffidler, that sometyme playethe on an instrument before manye, as I have often seene all thes donne by gentyllmen, withoute the leste suspition of discredit or dishonestye. And yet if a man shoulde doe thes thinges vsually and in evry place, I think he might be noted to be a wrastler, a ffencer, a danser, and a ffidler. Besyde, we differ from them in the manner of owre playinge, in the ende, effectes, and other circumstances, as in the examination of your examples shall appeere, the which as you have alleaged to illustrate your authorytyes, as beeinge the men whom they properly speake agaynst; so if I shewe that we are not to be likened to them, neyther your authorytyes nor your examples shall towche vs. First therfor I saye, we differ from the alltogether in the manner bothe of setting owte Playes and of acting them. Thay did with excessyve charge; we thriftely, warely, and allmost beggerly; they acted theire Playes in an other sorte than we doe, or can, or well knowe howe; but so exquisytly and carefully that we may seeme, compared with them eyther for skill or diligence, rather recitare, which you doe not dislike, than agere. Bowthe which differences, in their furniture and action, I could easily prove vnto you, but that I knowe you nowe them a greate deale better than I, and I desyre to be hsorte. Next, we are vnlike them in the ende and effects of Playinge, for they came vpon the stage neyther of a devowte mynd toward their false Godds, nor of a magnificent towardes the peeple (for eyter of thes had byn then in them thought commendable), but of a lewd, vast, dissolute, wicked, impudent, prodigall, monstrous humor, wherof no dowte ensued greate corruption of manners in them selves, to say nothing heere of the behowlders. We contrarywise doe it to recreate owre owre selves, owre House, and the better part of the Universitye, with some learned Poême or other, to practyse owre owne style eyther in prose or verse; to be well acquaynted with Seneca or Plautus; honestly to embowlden owre yuth; to trye their voyces, and confirme their memoryes; to frame their speech; to conform them to convenient action; to trye what mettell is in everye one, and of what disposition they are of; whereby never any one amongst vs, that I know, was made the worse, many have byn much the better. as I dare report me to all the Vniversitye, of whom some of them have lefte vs suche domesticall examples and preceptes of well speakinge, as if many that dislike suche exercises, and others, and owre selves, had followed, so many solecismes in vtterance shoulde not be committed so often as there are. Lastly, we differ from them in many other circumstances, as namely thay frequented the Stage; we doe it seldome, somtyme not in seavene, ten, or twentye yeers; they on the publick theater, no of the Citye only, but of the whole worlde; we in a pryvate house, and to a fewe men of vnderstandinge; they weare men growne, one of them three score yeers oulde, knightes, of noble houses, patricii, and one of them Emperour of the worlde; in vs, beinge yunge men, boyes, poore Schollers, all thes thinges are quyte contrarye. Therfore, to cumm to particular comparison as you doe, who ever would resemble owre Melantho with your Laureolus? e The one represented by an ingenuus boye, and for her lewdnes imagined to be hanged within, the other acted by Lentulus, a man noblye descended, expressinge perhapps openly one the Stage the deformytye of the same punishement. What likenes is there between owre yonge men, puttinge on the persouns of Antonous and the rest of Penelopes wooers, and between gentyllmen of the noble race of Fabius, in their owne persons, not so much cowneterfettinge others, as expressinge their owne scurrilytyes? Such as owre Antinous, and the rest of hte woers, can not iustly be charged with; no not owre Irus, or Vlysses. For thoughe Iuvenal thought it dishonorable and shamfull, as he well might, that noble men shoulde take blowes and whirrytts openly, and that the peeple should rather have pittyed then liked such behaviour in their nobylytie, yet he thought so rather in respect of the auctors, beeingee such as they weare, that is, noble men (as it appeereth by the whole drifte of this Satyr, alleaged by you so muche, which is not agaynst Playes, for them he nowhere, that I knowe, reprehendethe, but to shewe that trwe nobylytie is to be esteemed by the vertues of the mynde, and not by bludd, or ancyent howses) then for any other thing, specialy if it weare no wurse then is represented in owre Iris or Vylsses. For neyther would Iuuenal hym selfe, if he weare alyve, reprehend eyther the speeches thay vse, nor the devyse of bringing them in so meane and beggerlye, because both are Homer’s; neither is their any suche thinge in their partes that may make vs base or ridiculus or scurryle, for representinge them. Vnhappy Vlysses, to whome as it was fatall ever to be in troble in his life, so is he more hardly dealt withall after his deathe, that his person may not honestly be resembled withowte note of infamye to the Actor. Which if I had knowne, howeoever he returned in Ithacam, he shoulde never have cumme in scenam by my means. Agayne, what resemblance is there betweene owre Hippodamia only singinge, Eurymachus only sayinge, Phemius bothe singinge and sayinge, all three represented by such as they weare, and betweene Nero, playing menn’s, weemen’s, and minstrells partes vpon the Stage in Rome? Lett us therfor consider breefely the force of your arguinge. Many noble men, and Nero hym selfe, weare infamous for playinge, thoughe freely, menn’s and weemen’s partes, and specialye Nero for singinge like a fidler on the Stage:ergo Schollers and the Students of Chritchurche are to be noted with a marke of infamye for playinge, thoughe gratis, such partes as thay did in Vylisse Reduce; and namely the Master of owre Choristers for playinge Phemius; notwithstanding for his honesty, modesty, and good voyce, he is as worthy to be delyvered from infamye, as Phemius hym selfe is fayned to be saved from deathe for his excellent skill in Musicke, to say nothinge of the rest. I dare not denye this argument, because it is yours. I referr it to the charytable iudgment of my betters. In the meane tyme, I thinke it was a fowle shame for noble men and Nero to playe: but to playe noble men or Nero it is no shame for vs. As he sayethe in the Comedye, Duo cum iidem faciunt, saepe ut possis dicere. Hoc licet impunere facere huic, illi non licet. Non quod dissimilis sit res, sed quod qui facit. And therfore I did iustly conclude agaynst Momus, and better than Nero coulde, Quis hic rogavit sportulam, vel quis dedit? Cui non patebant sponte sine lucro fores? Wherfor imagining M. Cato to be the accuser in this cause, I may fittly saye vnto hym, thoughe in wordes somwhat altered, as Tullye dothe in an other matter, Tolle mihi e causa nomen Catonis, remove ac praetermitte authoritatem. Congredere mecum criminbus ipsis, quid accusas? Cato, quid affers in iudicium? Quid arguis? Histrionam accusas; non defendo, sed famam, pudorem, atque innocentam. Histrioniam vero ipsam, vel tecum accusabo, si voles.
9. In myn answere to the place of Deuteronomye, you say my Antecedent is naught beinge wayde in the skales of the Sanctuarye; and the consequution wurse, beeinge caled to the tryall of the touchestone of Logick. The Antecedent in deede is myne, but the consequution is not. For in my answere I doe not thus argue: it is lawfull in suche and suche cases to putt on weemens rayment, ergo it is lawful to doe it in Playes, but thus, ergo it is not simply vnlawfull so to doe. And so may consequution in Logick standethe good. The Antecedent also you denye me, because you prove the place of Deuteronomye to belonge to the lawe Morall and not Ceremoniall. I pray you give me leave to propose my contrarye dowte. The Moral law, as you truly saye, is the lawe of love and charytye, to the whiche whersoever the Ceremonial lawe is repugnant, there it gyvethe place to the Moral. The Moral lawe therfor is never contrary to love and charytye in commandinge or forbiddinge any things. But the place of Deuteronomye, being taken strictly, absolutely and in the rigor of the letter, may somtymes hinder the actions of love and charytye, both towardes owre selves and others, as in thos cases which bothe you and I propose: ergo in that strictnes it belongeth rather to the lawe Ceremonial, thoughe the equyte therof pertaynethe to the lawe Moral, and so it is perpetually and simplye to be observed. For I confesse vnto you that I doe not thinke that it is an abomynation in the sight of God for a yonge man eyther in iest in his privye chamber to putt on his wyves petticote, or in ernest to clad hym selfe in her apparrell for the safegarde of his goods, his owne lyfe by could or sworde, his wives and childrens, his fathers and mothers, no not for the saftye of his cuntry, or the defence of the glorye of God. Neyther dothe it therfor followe that men and weemen may indefferently weare eche others apparell. For simplye, or in cases specifyde, to putt on weemens rayment, is not ordinaryly, vsually, and withowte Christian, and naturall modesty, or distinction of sexe, to weare such apparell.
10. My twoe examples of Alexander the son of Amyntas, and of Achilles the sonne of Thetis, howsoever you may well drawe evill consequutions from their whole actions, yet in the circumstance that I applye them for, thay are alleaged to good purpose. For Alexanders fact is commended as proceedinge from a most noble and a trwe heroicall mynd, and because it was better that the Persian Embassadours weare slayne, then that hte chastityes of so many great Ladyes should so dishonorably be eyther overthrowne, or so muche as assayled. And Thetis might well hyde her sonne Achilles in a maydens apparell in respect of motherly love and pittye, which she was to beare her sonne, knowinge as she did that he should be slayne in that journye to Troy, whether he was requested to accumpany the other Grecian Lordes. And yet it followethe not, neyther doe I like it shoulde, that therfor eyther Alexanders bowlde deed should be drawne to the iustifyinge of such thinges as you deduce owt of it, nor that by the example of Achilles, a man for feare of deathe should use Vettienus his shiftes to stay at home, when his cuntrye hathe neede of his servyce in lawfull warrs, nor that a yunge gentilman, that is in love, may put on a maydens rayment, as Charea did the Eunuche’s for his Pamphila’s sake. Clodius defyled Caesars wife by that means, and therfor I condemne his facte. Achilles so deflowred Deidamia, and I doe not approve hym therin; but I say it was not his mothers intent that he should be so clad to doe such a deede, and he was likely to doe as muche in his owne likenes any where ells; and yet his mother, of only intent to save his life (for so that end only I propose to example), might lawfully use the pollycye she did, and he in that case might lawfully obaye her. Neither dothe his owne speeche in your discourse of hym, nor Chirons, nor the wordes of Calchas prove the contrarye, for his owne wordes rather argue the haughty currage of his noble mynd, as fearinge lest it showlde be cownted cowardyce in hym, then repell his kynde mothers drifte; and bothe Chiron and Calchas had a furder reache then their wordes owtwardly importe, especially Calchas; for he, and perhapps bothe, knwe that Troy could not be destroyed till Achilles was fownde owte; and therfor more in regarde of suche a consequence, then for any thing ells, Calchas so vehemently cryethe owte, O scelus, en fluxas veniunt in pectora vestes. Scinde puer, scinde, et timidae ne crede parenti. Notwithstandinge, I doe thinke it dishonorable for a noble man not only in wooman’s apparrell, but any way ells to hyde hym selfe to the savinge of his life, when his cuntrye standethe in need of his helpe; thoughe Amphiaraus and Vlysse did not better but for a great Lady to hyde her only yunge sonne in a maydens apparrell to save his life, which otherwise he is sure to loose; the common wealthe standinge in no neede of hym, as we may imagin suche a one, and thoughe it falethe owte otherwise in examyninge my example, yet in that respecte only I vsed it; I doe not think but she may well doe it. And yet I did not vse this example as a storye, as you note (so to terme it with me), for I cowld never thinke otherwise of it then as of a fable. Neyther can thes my wordes, id quod crebra testari potest historia, imply any suche meaninge in me. For I vsed thos wordes in respect of the sondrye storyes that might be brought to this ende, not for any historycall truthe in the example. Which I the rather vsed, because I thought it was best knowne, and thoughe it weare a fable, yet it had a resemblance of that which might be trwe, which was inoughe for my purpose. And in deede, if I had thought that thes twoe examples should not have byn taken in my meaninge, that is, only in that circumstance for the which I alleaged them, I cowlde have vsed many trwe storyes of bothe sexes, to the which no exceptions could have byn taken.
11. Wherfor my twoe examples, beinge taken as thay ought to be, and in that vnderstandinge, that I applyed them for, this consequution rightly followethe, Non ergo iuveni est grande simpliciter nefas, Mollem puellam induere. Which proposition I assuminge to be trwe (as I thinke it is most trwe), I strayte fell to the expowndinge of the place in Deuteronomye thus: Non ergo vestis faeminea iuveni est scelus, Sed prava mens, libido, malitia, ac dolus, Nec habitus ullus, sed animus turpem facit, that is, that the only puttinge on of weemens rayment is not wicked, but the lewde ende to deceyve, the rather therby, and the more safely to be in the cumpany of weemin to bringe som bad purpose abowte; or of an effemynate mynd to suffer his heare to growe longe; or to fryzell it, or in speeche, colour, gate, gesture, and behaviour to become womanishe; or ordynaryly so to converse amonge men and weemen agaynst the course of all naturall and cyvill regards, it is an abomynation to the Lorde. Others doe expownde the place thus: that a man shall not putt on the ornaments of a woman, nor a woman the armour of a man, and that this lawe was opposed agaynst the superstition of the Gentylls, amonge whome in the sacrificies of Venus men clad them selves like weemen with distaff and spindell, and such like, and weemen in the sacrifices of Mars put them selves in armour, and therfor Abomynation in the Scriptures, say thay, is commonly taken for idolatrye, for somethinge belonginge to the idolatyre. All the devynes that ever I talked with of this matter affireme the trwe meaninge of that place to be contayned in thes senses rehearsed. Wherfor, though I grant that, as you prove (admittinge that in case of necessytye a man may clad hym selfe in a womans habbitt) he may not therfor doe ill in iest, and in a meryment; yet I answere that we are not offendinge aganyst the trwe vnderstandinge of the Text, because we doe not so of any ill intent, or any suche mynd, or that any suche effecte hathe followed in vs thereof, or may in deede be sayde at all to weare weemens apparell, because wearinge implyes a custome, and a common vse of so dooeinge, whereas we doe it for an howre or twoe, or three, to represent an others person, by one that is openly knowne to be as he is in deed; it is not ill in vs to doe so, thoughe it be both in myrthe and to delyte: and therfore all that parte of your discourse wherein you inforce by many authorytyes that there must be a distinction in apparell twixt men and weemen pertaynethe not to me: for how coulde I think otherwise? For this my verse, Nec habitus ullus, sed animus turpem facit, was not to fetche abowte my hidden conclusion, or delyver a rule that it is no dishonesty for a man in all places to weare whatsoever apparell he will, if his mynd be chast, as you say; but served as a parte of that interpretation of the place whereof I spake before. And so the verse is as trwe for the matter as it is for the forme: for no apparell simply defylethe the body, though the manner of wearinge it may. The manner consistethe in the circumstances of person, tyme, place, stuffe, fasshion, and suche like, which are of that force, that they make the selfe same actions, in the selfe same man, good and evill, as for a Preacher at servyce tyme in his Churche, to walke vp and downe in his dublet and hose, with a coloured hatt on his head and a brooche in it, weare a great folly, thoughe he were never so godly, and yet at home, in his secret chamber, he might withowte offence doe all thes thinges. In like sorte, for a boye to pray in the Churche openly, with a caule or a frenche-hoode on his head, as you write, thoughe his mynd weare never so chaste, it weare a great fault. But it followethe not that therfor it is so for a boy or yonge man to come on the Stage with a cawle or a frenchehood on his head. As for my Epiphonema, it is not eger, as you terme it; neyther did it isswe from the bitter fowntayn of cursed speakinge. But I vsed it only in a iest to Momus, as we commonly doe the owld sayinge, to the which I alluded, maledicata glossa quae corrumpit textum. I thanke God I doe not vse to curse any man; and therfore I assure you, I had no other meaninge in it then I speake of. Wheras you say that at least you coulde have wisshed myn answere had byn milder, if not in regarde of a younger preacher, whoe did so expound that Texte in a godly Sermon before my book was printed &c. I answere that I only replyed to Momus his arguments, withowte any implyinge of the Preacher, whom I esteeme to be a good man, a good scholler, and a good preacher, notwithstandinge if not in respecte of me, never offendynge hym in worde or deed, vpon whome all the audyence knew his sharpe reprehension cheefly lighted; yet in respecte of owre whole house, so longe after the thinges weare past and allmost forgotten, hym selfe beinge but a younge man, and so for authorytye or iudgement but as his equalls are, and so, in so dowtfull a matter, might be decyved, me thinkes he might and shuld have done well to have spared so greevus a speeche, vttered so publickly, which if it shoulde come to dwe tryall he could not iustifie. To whom nowe also I say nothinge but this, that I must pray hym to pardon me, if yet I can not see any sownde reason why he, or any Fellowe of Queens College, or of any other house, to goe no higher, shoulde thinke his iudgment ought to be a peremptorye rule and sentence from the which there should lye no furder appeale for all but the Students of Christchurche. That you add, and yet I shoulde have byn more mylde in consideration of S. Cyprian, of a Councell, and other worthy men whose learned writinges doe glosse that Texte in that sorte, I answer, that with all humblenes I reverence theire autorytyes, and I trust I shall not seeme to any man to wronge them if I followe the opinion of others, bothe very godly and excellently learned, whoe doe interprete that Texte otherwise than he or thay doe, specialy in a case that touchethe me so neere, wherin I am to defend my selfe and many my good frendes from the reproche of open infamye. I well wote it littell becommeth me to saye, da veniam, Cypriane, but yet I ame perswaded that S. Cyprian is a godly man, like a mighty streame, carried with a vehement and a perfett hatred agaynst the detestable abuses of the heathen spectacles of his tyme, <and> may be thought, withowte wronge to hym, rather to have taken whatsoever he mett withall that might seeme to have any shewe against them, than that the place of Deuteronomye, in his proper and naturall sense, is so to be vnderstood. Lastly that you aske, blue what manner of glosse is myne, which deducethe owte of the generall affirmatyve a particular negative? I say that, though the proposition be generall affirmatyve, All men are abomynation that putt on womans apparell, yet because it receyvethe lymytation, both in the trwe interpretation, whereon I stande, and in all thos cases of necessytye mentioned before, this proposition is also trwe, which is a particular negatyve, Some men are not abomynation that putt on weemens rayment. It is true that whoe forbiddethe the generall, will not have the speciall practised; and every special is suspended, when the generall is suspended; but thes rules are to be vnderstoode of those Generalls that absolutely commande and necessarylye comprehende their Specials sub potestate sua, not thos Generalls which must as it weare endure controllment and suffer exceptions to restrayne their power; which exceptions, thoughe thay must allwayes be de natura generis, yet are thay not sub vi et potestate geneis. For generall propositions, bothe in Divinitye and Lawe, doe vsually admytt particular acceptations and lymytations quae derogant generalitati, of which sorte this proposition which we have in hand is; as there are many moe of like nature which I coulde alleage to illustrat these rules, but that thay are playne to you, and I ame weary allready and have a greate way yet to goe, and feare that you are starke tyred with my tedious discourse.
12. Seeinge therfore that , as I take it, it is not proved vngodly for a boy or a yuthe to putt on womanly rayment in owre case, it followethe that it is the lesse vnlawfull for suche a one also to imitate womanly speeche and behaviour, howe hardly so ever you thinke good to terme it. Neyther dothe my glosse vpon the Texte allowe the contrary, as you wryte, for thes verses of mine, Distincta sexum forma distinctum decet. Virile non est faeminae mores sequi, &c. are also part of my exposition of the Texte which is in controversye, and carrye no other sense then I have spoken of before. For thoughe different behaviore becummethe different sexes, and it beseemethe not men to followe weemens manners in the common course of lyfe, to the pervertinge of the lawe of nature, honesty, and cumlynes, or for any evill purpose, yet a boy, by way of representation only, may not indecently imytate maydenly or womanly demeanure. For as of all that tracte of your discourse concerning the danger of wanton dansinge, of kissing bewtifull boyes, of amatorye embracinges, and effectuall expressinge of love panges, wherby bothe the spectators in behowldinge, and the actors in the meditation of suche thinges, are corrupted, all which you prove by sondry examples and authorytyes; it is more learnedly and eloquently handled then iustly applyed agaynst vs. It is easy for you or any man of learninge to wryte or speake copiously and truly agaynst the bad effectes of Stageplayes in generall; but in owre cause it is rather to be considered how trwly and charitably suche thinges may be applyed agynst us than howe eloquently thay may be enforced. All truthe in deede agrees with truthe. But evry truthe proves not evrye truth. For what proportion is there betweene thos thinges which you enlarge in your Maior and thos things which in particular applicaiton agaynst vs are vsed in your Minor? At first, owre younge men dansed only twoe solleme measures, withowte any lyter galliarde or other danse, only for a decorum, to note therby vnto the audidorye what revelinge thay weare to imagin the wooers vsed within, and yet truly, if I might have over-ruled the matter, evne that littell also had byn lefte owte, because I feared lest it shoulde be ill taken, thoughe I thought there was no ill in the thinge, as I now perceyve my feare was not vayne. But what are the leading or treadinge of twoe Measures to the incommodytyes of dansing which you insinuate? What Herode could be inflamed? What Propertius ravished? What flame of lust kindled therby in menns hartes? What woundes of love imprinted? Whose sense coulde be moved, or affections delyted more then ought to be, or may honestly be? What enemyes of chastetye made by this sight? What sronge or constant harte vanquished, nay what reede shaken therby? What so muche as flaxe or towe sett on fire? As for the danger of kissinge of bewtifull boyes, I knowe not howe this suspition shoulde reache to vs. For it is vntrwe, whoesoever towlde you so, that owre Eurymachus did kisse owre Melantho. I have enquyred of the partyes them selves whether any suche action was vsed by them, and they constantly denye it; sure I ame no suche thinge was taught. If you coniecture there was kissinge because Melantho spake this verse, Furtiva nullus oscula Eurymachus dabit, you may perhapps therby dislike my discretion for makinge a younge paynym Ladye so to bewayle her shamfull deathe (thoughe I can not thinke yet howe I shoulde mende it), yet therby no kissinge can be proved agaynst vs, but that rather that thinge only in wordes was expressed, which was thought decent for suche a one as she was, and in her case, to vtter. We hartely pray you, Sir, to make a great difference betweene vs and Nero with his Sporus, or Heliogabalus with hym selfe, or the Cananytes, Iwes [Jews], Corinthians, or them that cause their pages to weare longe heare like weemen, or Critobolus kissinge the fayre sonne of Alcibiades, or any suche doggs. We hartely abhorr them, and if I coulde suspecte any suche thinge to growe by owre Playes, I woulde be the first that should hate them and detest my selfe for gyvinge such occasion. You say owte of Quintilian nimium est quod intelligitur, and I may say nimium est quod dicitur. We thanke God owre youthe doe not practyse suche thinges, thay thinke not of them, thay knowe them not. Neyther can any man lyvinge, the rather for owre Playes, charge any one of vs with the leste suspition of any suche abomynation. I have byn often moved by owre Playes to laughter, and sometyme to teares, but I can not accuse eyther my selfe or any other of any such beastly thought styrred vp by them, and therfore we shuld most vncharytably be wronged if owre puttinge on of womanly rayment, or imytating of suche gesture, should eyther directly or indirectly be referred to the commandement, Thou shalte not commit adulterye. And yet if owre Eurymachus had kissed owre Melantho, thoughe Socrates had stood by (and I would Socrates had stood by), he would perhapps have sayde he had done amysse, but not so dangerously as Critobulus did, because he might evydently perceyve that no suche poyson of incontinencye could be instilled therby. As for the danger to the spectators in heeringe and seeinge thinges lyvely expressed, and to the actors in the ernest meditation and studye to represent them, I grant that bad effectes doe fall owte in thos Playes agaynst the which suche arguments are iustly to be amplifyde; but there is no suche myscheefe to be feared to ensewe in owres, wherin for owre penninge we are base and meane as you see; and specialy for womanly behaviour, we weare so careless that when of owre actors shuld have made a Conge like a woman, he made a legg like a man. In summ, owre spectators could not gretely charge owre actors with any such diligence in medytation and care to imprynt any passions, and so neyther of them coulde receyve any hurt therby. No not the nwe Nymphe in Hippolytus, whom you so much note, was any wittye wanton, or any so dangerous a woman, as that she brought fewell inoughe to heate a harte of yse or snowe. The poore wenche, I perceyve, hathe byn hardely reported of to you, and worse a greate deale then she served, as you and the worlde shall one day see. In whose person the devyse was partly to sett owte the constant chastetye, or rather virgynitye, of Hippolytus, whoe neyther with honest love made to hym in the woods, nor with vnhonest attempts in the cyttye, could be overcomme; partly to expresse the affection of honest, lawfull, vertuous, marriagemeaninge love. For no other did she profer, and therfor me thinkes he is not, vnharde, to be reproched with the brode name of bawderye, wherof there is no one syllable in worde or sense to be founde in all her speeches. Erasmus in that epistell wherin he sheweth the generall vse of his Colloquia, defendethe them to be voyde of scurrylytye and obscenytye, wherwith, amonge other things, thay weare charged. And yet that Colloquye which he entytlethe Proci et Puellae is all together of this argument, lyvely to expresse, as it weare in an image or picture, the affections of honest wooinge, to speake of nothing in other places. Si res honesta est matrimonium, sayeth he, et procum honestum est, quid facias istis ingeniis tetricis, et ab omnibus Gratiis alienis, quibus impudicum videtur, quicquid amicum est ac festivum? This he thought, beinge nowe an owlde man and, I thinke, a trwe bachiler. Not unlike my ansere to Momus, Qui turpe laetum, ludicrum petulans vocat. Neyther doe I see what evill affections could be stirred up by owre playes, but rather good, for in Vlysse Reduce, whoe did not love the fidelyte of Eumaeus and Philoetius towardes their Master; and hate the contrary in Melanthius? Whoe was not moved to compassion to see Vlysses a great Lorde dryvne so hardly as that he was fayne too be a begger in his owne house? Whoe did not wisshe hym well, and all ill to the wooers, and thinke them wortheley slayne, for their bluddye purpose agaynst Telemachus and other dissolute behaviour, not so muche expressed on the Stage as imagined to be done within? Whoe did not admyre the constancye of Penelope, and disprayse the lytenes, and bad nature in Melantho, and thinke her justly hanged for it? Whoe did not prayse the patience, wisdome, and secrecye of Vlysses and Telemachus his sonne? Lastly whoe was not glad to see Vlysses restored to his wife and his goods, and his mortall enemyes overthrowne and punished? In Riuales, what Cato might not be delyted to see the fonde behaviour of cuntrye wooinge, expressed by cyvill men, or the vanytye of a bragginge soldier? By the spectacle of the drunken mariners, if there were any drunkard there, why might he not the rather detest drunkennes, by seeing the deformytye of drunken actions represented? Possible it was not that any man should be provoked to drunkenes therby. The Lacedaemonians are commended for causinge their slaves, being drunke in deed, to be brought before their children, that thay, seeinge the beastly vsage of suche men, myght the more lothe that vyce; but we, much better expressing the same intent, not with drunken, but with sober men, counterfettinge suche vnseemly manners, are the lesse therfor to be reprehended. In Hippolytus, what younge man did not wisshe hym selfe to be as chast as Hippolytus, if he weare not so allready? Whoe did not detest the love of Phaedra? Whoe did not approve the grave counsayle of the Nurse to her in secrett? Or who coulde be the worse for her wooinge Hippolytus, in so generall termes? The drift wherof, if it had byn to procure an honest honorable marriage, as it was covertly to allure hym to inceste, he might very well have listned to it. Whoe wisshethe not that Theseus had not byn so credulus? Whoe was not sorrye for the crwell deathe of Hippolytus? Thes and suche like weare the passions that weare, or might be, moved in owre Playes, withowte hurte, at the leste, to any man, as in other Tragedyes; whoe dothe not hate the furye of Medea, the revenge of Atreus, the treason of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, and the cruelty of Nero? Contraryewise, whoe doth not pittye the rage and the death of Hercules, the calamytie of Hecuba and her children, the infortunate valure of Oedipus, the murder of Agamemnon, the bannishment of Octavia, and such like? And yet no man is to be reproched for eyther affection. Wherfor as the younge men of owre house are suche in deede as I commended them for, so for me, or for any thinge donne on the Stage, by the grace of God thay may so remayne and continwe, and I hope shall ever be so reputed. And to shutt upp this poynte, as your Athenian boye was a wanton for pricking owt quayles eyes withowte cause, yet me thinkes the sentence of the Areopagitae was toe harde and cruell, to iudge hym worthy of deathe for it; so thoughe evne owre Playes may perhapps of a wantonnes have, is it weare, pricked owte quayles eyes, that is, may have offended in some small maner, yet in my conscience I thinke it a bitter doome to condemne them therfor to hatefull infamye, a thinge to all honest myndes more intolerable then deathe it selfe.
13. In your answere to my defense of owre not mysspending tyme aboute Playes, I must needes saye, you spare us not a whitt. If you had but sayde that owre plays are toyes, vnnecessarye, vayn, or suche like, it had byn no more perhapps then in strictnes trwe. Because unum modo necessariusm, and he that had tryde all thinges of his owne wise experience pronouncethe, Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas, yea evne learninge, and widome, and all thinges ells, excepte the feare of God, which endurethe for ever. And I have harde a godly and a learned preacher, whome you knowe, in the pulpitt affirme that owre declamations, oppositions, suppositions, and suche scholasticall exercises, are no better than vayne thinges. But to compare owre Playes to the wickednes of a foole committed in pastyme, to a madd man’s castinge of fyrebrandes, arrowes, and mortall thinges, as you doe before, or to the hauntinge of a dycinge house, or taverne, or stwes, as in this place, or to a schollers playinge at stooleball amonge wenches, at mumchance, at Mawe with idell lost companions, at Trunkes in Guile-halls, dansynge aboute Maypoles, riflinge in ale-houses, carrowsinge in taverns, stealinge of deere, or robbing of orchardes, as afterwards, I say to compare owre Playes to no better then these thinges, it exceedethe the cumpasse of any tolerable resemblance. I cowlde have wisht that suche comparisons had byn forborne, if not for the Playes them selves (thoughe also thay ought for the Playes them selves, beinge things that savor of some witt, learninge, and iudgment, approved vnto vs by long continwance, recommended by owre cheefest governers, and donne in a learned, grave, worshipfull, and somtyme honorable presence, with suche convenient sollemnytye, honest preparation, ingenuous expectation, dwe regarde, modest reverence, silent attention, and the generall, as it weare, simmitrye and seemly carriage in them), yet in respecte of the actors, and owre whole House; of the spectators that sawe them and hartely approved them, to whome it weare a foule shame but to stand by as lookers on of thinges of suche nature; and lastly, of those reverend, famous, and excellent men, for life, and learninge, and their places in the Churche of God, bothe of owre house, and otherwise of the Vniuersitye, that have byn, and nowe are lyvinge, with vs and abrode, whoe have byn not only wryters of suche thinges them selves, but also actors, and to this daye doe thinke well of them, to whom it weare a greate reproche at any tyme to have byn acquaynted with thinges of so vyle and base qualytye, and muche more still to allowe of them. Wheras I sayde that there was no more tyme spent vpon owre Playes then was convenient, you reply that It may be there was, evene some tyme that shoulde have byn spent in heeringe Sermons, the very day that my Vlysses Reduce came vopon the Stage. . It may be there was not; and for any thinge that can be proved , or for any thinge that any man needed to be hindered from Sermons that daye for my Vlusses, it was not so in deed. Sure I ame, that the gentelman that playd Vlysses, was at Sermon, and divers others of the actors, as if neede were thay could prove, perhapps the rather to avoyde suche a scandall. If any were awaye, thay might have other cause so to doe, thoughe (the more the pittye) it is no vnusuall thinge for many other students, as well as owres, sometyme to mysse a sermon, and it may be that some of them that mysliked owre Playes weare not there them selves; it may be the same Sonday night they were wurse occupyed then owre actors were; it may be, preventinge vs, playing Momus parte in good earnest, which we afterwards did but for pastyme. And yet that accusation touchethe my poore vnfortunate Vlysses only, not the other twoe. that saying of S. Cyprian agaynst a Stageplayer, of Phaedia hym selfe to Parmino, can not be iustly vsed agaynst vs. For he shoulde doe vs grete contymelye that should thinke, or saye, that eyther we are maisters not of teachinge but of spillinge children, or that bothe tyme and owre younge men weare cast awaye all together by thos exercises. But it is no marvayle that you implye so ill a conceyte of them, if you dowte that, as I answered Momus, owre actors can shewe greater frute of their tyme well spent, than any that it bredd vp in Momusses discipline can. For you pray God that they maye, as dowting it is not soe. Thay coulde doe littell, if they coulde not doe so muche, and a great deale more, and better, whensoever thay shall be tryde. For what is the discipline of Momus but the schoole of carpinge, nippinge, depravinge, and reprehendinge of evrye good thinge? Of all other thinges, I thought you woulde not, or coulde not, have taken any exceptions to that speeche of myne. For what dothe Momusses disciplyne touche you (from the which, I ame perswaded, you are free as any man lyvinge) or any other your frendes, whome you meane by We, thay, Vs? And I marvayle that vnder thos termes you shoulde defende others agaynst me, whom I knowe not, in this case, whoe thay are; neyther, whosoever they are, have I willingly hurte them. But surely owre younge men shall the lesse esteeme the censure or the disciplyne of Momus, because thay are instructed and perswaded that neyther S. Cyprian nor the holy Ghost in your places alleaged, beinge rightly vnderstoode, doe importe owre Playes to have any affinytye at all with the strumpetts discipline mentioned in the Proverbes. Whereas you write, meaninge me, You demande whether we dare dispyse learned Poetrye, I did not demande of you, or them, or any man but Momus, any suche question, if I may be beleeved, as I see no cause why I shoulde not. For I was as sure that you or any learned man did not despyse it, as I was certain that Momus did. An tu poesin despicere doctam audeas? I sayd not An vos, but An tu, and I meant it no otherwise then I sayde it. Your difference between agere and recitare I coulde not well be ignorant of before, but because agere would not stande so well in that playce of my verse as recitare dothe, and for that the worde is vsed in Quintilian not only de scripto, but also memoriter recitare, and the lawe vsethe the worde pronunciandi for agendi causa. I knowenot yet whether in a generall acceptation of the latter I might not vse the wordes indifferently, bothe in my verse and in my Title. But as Horrace and Perseus doe bitterly scoffe also at recitatores, and the lawe in the generalytye of the terme noteth also with infamye them qui pronunciandi, that is properly, recitandi causa, in scenam prodeunt; so the Vniuersitye woulde have thought it a more absurde thinge to have hearde me, or any other, openly readinge my Vlysses to them, than to have seene it acted, as it was.
14. Finally, bothe you and I agree that relaxation from studyes is necessary in a good scholler, bothe for bodye and mynde, and yet did I not conclude, as you makethe, that therfor all recreations are honest. For I never thought any suche thinge, but as my simple assertion that there is a needfull tyme for sportes, dothe not therfor prove the lawfullness of owre Playes, which before I presumed to be lawfull, so your incomparable and harde comparisons doe lesse argue their vnlawfullness. And heere, amonge other vnfitt recreations besyde Playes, you vse many wordes agaynst dansinge, thought it be but as weare by the waye. All which place dothe touche vs no neerer than I have shewed before. For myn owne parte, I never dansed, nor ever coulde, and yet I can not denye but I love to see honest dansinge. To omytt Homer’s iudgment therof, an excellent observer of decorum in all thinges; that learned Knight Sir Thomas Eliote amonge other thinges that he wrytethe in a booke of his, which I have seene, in the prayse of dansinge, I remember, he comparethe the man treadinge the measure to Fortitude, and the woman on his hande to Temperance. And to speake my mynde playnly, and I trust withowte offense, I thinke (all circumstances observed, which I ame not nowe to sett downe, because the state of this question is not principally in hande) dansinge may be most honestly vsed of the meaner sorte, and most honorablye of the greatest, as I have often seene it donne, me thought, with that honor, regarde, reverence, modesty, cumlynes, and honest delyte, the number of the footinge marvyluslye well expressinge, answeringe, and as it weare actinge the measure and meaninge of the musick, together with the healthe and activytye of bodye followinge therof, that I see no cause in reason, charytye, or Christian libertye, why suche dansinge shoulde simply be condemned, thoughe also I doe not thinke it is a meete recreation for schollers, commonly to be vsed. But be it as it may (for what I have to doe to defend it?), yet to applye either the dansinge of thos noble Romans whom Nero inforced to danse so publickly, or Samsons dansinge among the Philistines, or the note of Arius Montanus against owre dansinge only of twoe sober measures, is a comparison withowte all measure.
15. Like to it is the bringinge in of your example of the Prodigall sonne, to elude my defense of owre charge bestowed on owre Playes. For what simylitude is there, or can there be, betweene hym, that in suche a sorte, as he did, spent all, and brought hym selfe to the extremest mystery, and betweene owre expence? Or howe could he so well have vsed my wordes agaynst any man, that had reprehended hym for his ryott, as thay weare ysed against Momusses vnreasonable carpinge? The mony bestowde on owre Playes was not to add wastfullnes to wantonnes, but to procure honest recreation with convenient expence. Surely if the Prodigall sonne had byn as moderatt, and as thriftye, in his spendinge at his boorde, as we weare in owre Playes, he might well inoughe have sayde to any niggarde that shoulde have vnwisely fownde falte with hym, as much as you make hym to saye, not with the note of a prodigall, but with the commendation of an ingenuous and a liberall disposition.
16. Wheras it is replyde to Momus obiectinge that the monye had byn better bestowed on the poore, that for any charge we weare at, nemo propterea minus fovebit inopes, absque eo nemo magis levabit, you thinke it weakely mett with. Why so? Because, say you, Nero peraduenture was eyther less able, or less willinge, to helpe the poore, by reason of fyve or sixe thousdande powndes spent for a Plaudite. What Nero’s ryotts weare that way, I can not iustly accownte; likely it is, thay weare very excessyve, that he would gyve so muche mony, as you speake of, to Captayns of bandes, only to crye excellent, excellent, besyde the rest of his charge in settinge his Playes owte. But if Nero cowlde have as well spared suche huge summs of money which he spent that way often, as our House, with the cumpanye in it and belonginge to it (thanked be God) can, ons in many yeers, thirtye poundes, Nero showlde have byn wronged greatly, beinge an Emperour, to have byn noted of wastfullnes, and if ever he had any suche good mynde, he mought never the lesse have releeved the poore. And therefore, ad quid ista perditio est, here? Mala, Mome, vox est servethe a turne well inoughe agaynst Momus. For thoughe I knowe there is an infinyte difference betweene owres and the action agaynst the which it was hypocritically first vsed, yet I thinke it may also be applyed agaynst eyther the nigardise or the hypocrisye of any Momus that shall condemne all expence as cast awaye, that is somtyme moderattley bestowed vpon honest sportes and pastymes, and not vpon the poore. A man may feast, and yet remember the affliction of Josephe toe, and monye may be spent on Playes, evne thirtye powndes, and yett the poore releeved, and no man the lesse liberall for them, or the more, if thay had not byn at all. For thoughe no coste coulde be so well bestowed as that was vpon owre Savioure, yet it followeth not that therfor no cost is at any tyme to be imployed vpon lawfull recreations such as owre Playes weare, whatsoever is rather obiected then proved to the contrarye. All paynym and heathen iudgment I have answered in the defence of my first reason. As for the Fathers and Cowncells, being rightly vnderstoode, their forces are not bent agaynst vs. S. Cyprian most eloquently and godly inveyethe agaynst the abuses of the Tragicke buskin in his tyme, so he dothe also in the same place agaynst the evles of warr, of Iudgement seates, of Iudges, of Aduocates, of gowlde and riches. Shall we therfor conclude there should be no warr, or trybunalls, no Iudges, no advocates, no goulde, no riches, and likewise no Tragicke buskin in any sorte? No dowte the Fathers, as holy men of God, bothe in their Councells and in their bookes have decreed and written many zelous and most godly thinges agaynst the theatrycall sightes of their tymes, but distinguishhe the tymes, the places, the qualytyes of the sightes and actors, and the vse, from the abuse, and it is evident, by that which is sayde before, that we and owre Playes are not reproched by them. And therfor I have not done the Vniuersitye wronge in producinge the iudgment therfor, to the approovinge of owre Playes. For thoughe, as you write, there weare some which weare not present, because thay disallowed them, some disallowed them that weare present, yet, bothe thes putt together, if the greater parte may denomynate the whole, which did with their hartye applause approve them, I might withowte wronge, I ame sure, to the bodye of the Vniuersitye, demand of Momus, academiae tu iudicia nihili facis? , which question, I saye agayne, I asked not you, nor any man elsse, whome you meane by Vs, but Momus only, the offendinge of whome I see no reason why we, or any, should greatly esteeeme of, or regarde. For my selfe, I may trulye saye that I never requested any man to owre Playes, neyther did I neede; thay would cumme without biddinge, or sendinge for, more and faster then somtyme we would willingely thay shoulde have donne, muche lesse needed thay to be pressed to them with great importunytye. I beshrowe them that did byd suche ghestes, whose roomthes had byn better then their cumpanyes. For of all men, I woulde thay that dislike Playes had not byn at owres; at leste, I woulde thay had byn more truly, and more charitably, for dansinge, kissinge, and other demeanour, reported to you of them, with such a mynde as I will forbeare to speake of. If you had byn present your selfe, I ame to farr perswarded of your Candor, wisdome, and gentill nature, that you would not have condemned them of suche thinges as infamous, howsoever in your iudgment you might deeme them otherwise very defectyve, as we did and doe. As for the opynion of the learned, grave friende you meane, I knowe howe farr he did sumwhat dislike some commicall action, in my heeringe, which is not heere to be repeaeted, but I ame sure that bothe before and after he much commended them to me, and furthered them with his advyse, purse, and paynes, and would be sorrye that any speeche of his should be, by mistakinge, alleaged agaynst vs, whome he lovethe, as we love and reverence hym.
17. Muche lesse have I done you, or any other, iniurye by entwytinge you, as setting nothing by their iudgment, who dissent from you, and approve our Playes, and so offendinge agaynst the rule of charytye, when rather I shoulde have thought that you dissented from them, as Austin died from Cyprian, whose iudgment notwithstandinge he reuerenced, and made accownte of. For first, I did not vse this verse, academiae tu iudica nihili facis? to entwite any sorte of men. Next, I did not thinke, till I harde of the Preacher and recyved your letter, that there had byn so many as to make vp a number in this Vniuersitye, of whome owre Playes weare so misliked, as nowe I perceyve there are, and yett but a number only. And to this daye, of my knowledge, I can not name any man that is of your opinion besyde you twoe; so little curious ame I in sownding other menns pryvatt thoughtes, as one whoe, in thos thinges, this only ende proposed, if not sine invidia laudem invenire, as he saythe in the Comedye, yet to procure, I trust, honest contentment to my selfe and to my frendes, advorsus nemini. Lastly I doe with all lowlynes of mynde revernces yours, or any other godly learned manns iudgment, and doe rather mislike myne owne when it differethe from such an on’s, then entwyte hym for dissentinge from myne. As for your sayinge owte of St Paule to them that are not of your opinion heerin, thay may saye the same to you and others, if you be otherwyse mynded, God shall revele the same evne to you. Neyther can they take otherwise then in goode parte that you preferr before them the iudgement of the Churche, in so many Councells and Fathers. But thay thinke that thay have libertye, as well in this as in many other thinges, to interprete the voyce of the Churche, in the Councells and Fathers, accordinge to that good measure of the Spyritt which thay also have receyved. For your furder saying to me, and proposinge vnto me this verse (Ecclesiae tu iudica nihil facis?), wheron you pray God I may think religiouslye, wisely, and fruitfullye, I hartely thanke you for it. I trust I shall never despyse the iudgement of the Churche, wherof, I hope, I ame a member and a sonne, thoughe an vntowarde on. For next beleeving in <God>, I most constantly beleeve sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, as beinge perswaded that he can not have God to his Father that refusethe the Churche for his mother. I weare very impudent, if I woulde take vpon me to advyse you; but yet lett me be bowlde to repeate some of thos wordes that Tullye doth to Cato. Ego tuum consilium propter singulare animi mei de tua virtute iudicium vituperare non audeo; et ego te verissime dixerim peccare nihil, neque ulla in re vir melior esse huiusmodi, ut corrigendus potius quam leniter inflectendus esse videare; non quod tu vir melior esses, nec temperantior, nec iustior (neque enim esse potes), sed paulo ad lenitatem propensior. Which mynde in you I ame so farr from dislikinge, that I rather admyre it; and much the rather because I ame fully perswarded you are suche a one in deede as Tullye saythe that M. Aelius Tubero was, vita sevrus, et congruens cum ea disciplina quam colebat.
18. And thus have I also answered your wrytinge; not so muche to patronage Playes, which I can forbeare, and thinke of them as thay are (for what have I to doe with them, more then an other?) as to defende owre House, my selfe, and many honest towardely younge men my frendes, whom for good causes I hartely love, from open infamye. Wherwith, it not a littell greevethe me, and them, that thay shoulde in pryvate, but much more in publicke, be charged to the generall reproche of owre House, and to the particular contumely of dyvers in their persons with many, if so harde a censure shoulde be by men of note enforced and perswaded. For your care to approve your iudgement, and goodwill to me, as I humbly thanke you, so I ame very sorry that by any occasion of myne you weare so far trobled amydst your greate busines, your goodwill I doe and ever will most gladly embrace; and your iudgment toe, in this cause so farr as you wryte in the generall agaynst Histriones; prayinge you to pardon me if, as I verely thinke for good causes, I can not agree with you in the particular applycation agaynst vs. Which you may the rather doe, because you are not the worse for your opynion thoughe it be false, but we are no lesse than infamous if it be trwe. If I have greatly erred in any thinge, I shall better be performed by pryvatt conference, then with any your furder replye in wrytinge. Which I preay you therfor to forbeare, as also because I knowe you have, and I ought to have, some thinge ells to doe, then to troble owre selves, specially you and your better studyes, with a matter of this nature and moment. And so, prayinge God to blysse you with constancy of mynde and healthe of body, to goe forward in your godly and learned labours, I most hartely recommend you to his grace and favor. At Christchurche the laste of Julye 1592.
Your very lovinge frende,