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the principles he had espoused. Edward VI. was induced to employ his pen in the same cause, and doubtless thought himself better employed than in s scribbling controversial ribaldry," as Walpole styles it', when he furnished, what one of his eulogists terms, “a most elegant comedy, the Whore of Babylon 6.”
" It is of all things (says Burke) the most instructive, to see not only the reflection of manners and characters at several periods, but the modes of making their reflection, and the manner of adapting it at those periods to the taste and disposition of mankind. The stage indeed may be considered as the republic of active Literature, and its history as the history of that state.” Under these impressions the Editor has committed two of these singular productions to the press; in the hope also, that although they may appear offensive to the taste of the present age, no apologies are requisite for giving a limited circulation to compositions so curious, and, in many respects, so interesting. He offers them as relics of the literature and amusements of our ancestors; and when we regard the spirit in which they were written, and the reverence with which they were viewed, suspicion of intentional profaneness or indelicacy cannot attach to the pen from which they proceeded. " Such spectacles,” says an
“A brefe Comedy or Enterlude concernynge the Temptacyon of our Lord and Saver Jesus Christ, by Sathan in the desart," 1538. A copy of this rare piece is in the possession of Mr. Douce.
“A Comedy concerning the three Laws of Nature, Moses, and Christ, &c. 1538." .“ Two of Bale's Plays, God's Promises,” and “ John the Baptist," “ were acted by young men at the Market Cross at Kilkenny, on a Sunday, in the year 1552.” (Vide Trans. Royal Irish Acad. ii. part 2. page 83.) The first, by his own account, was performed “ with Organe-plainges and Songes very aptely."
s Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, i. 23. (edit. 1759.) . 6 Holland's Heroologia, p. 27.
elegant and lamented writer”, “indicate the simplicity, rather than the libertinism, of the age in which they were exhibited. The distinction between modesty of thought and decency, which resides in the expression, is a modern refinement; a compromise between chastity and seduction, which stipulates not the exclusion, but only the disguise of licentiousness; and may, perhaps, be a proof of a purer taste, but is no evidence of a very severe and rigid morality.”
JAMES HEYWOOD MARKLAND. Temple, 1818.
7 Mr. G. Ellis. Vide Preface to Way's Fabliaux, xxxvi. edit. 1815.
END OF VOL. III.
C. Baldwin, Printer, New Bridge-street, London,