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Home > Early Dance Texts > A Dialogue Agaynst Light, Lewde, and Lascivious Dauncing

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A Dialogue Agaynst Light, Lewde, and Lascivious Dauncing

-- my transcription, with modernised ƒ/s and expanded letters when obvious, of the reprint of the Bodleian copy published by Guizer Press and printed in Yorkshire, England by the Scolar Press Limited, 1973. The original type in "The Epistle" and headings is quite similar to the Times New Roman I have used here. The main text, however, uses a much older type font for the Minister, which does not have an HTML equivalent.

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A
Dialogue agaynst
light, lewde, and la-
sciuious dauncing: wher-
in are refuted all those rea-
sons, which the com-
mon people vse to
bring in defence
thereof.

Compiled and made by
Christopher Fetherston.

Eccle.9.4.
Use not the companie of a wo-
man, that is a singer and a
dauncer, least thou be intrap-
ped in her snares.

Imprinted at Lon-
don, by Thomas Dawson.
1582.

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To the right woorship-
full M. D. Lewyn, do-
ctor of the ciuil Lawes, one of the
Queenes Maiesties high comissioners,

and Chauncellour to the reuerent fa-
ther in God, Iohn Bishop of Roche-
ster: Christopher Fetherston,
wisheth long life, happie
dayes, and eternall
felicitie.


I
F wee enquire of the
times of old (right wor-
shipfull) and seeke out
what hath been done in
the daies which are pas-
sed: If we goe through
that sacred volume,
wherein are contayned, the statutes of the
most highest, and the glad tidings of our sal-
uation, and diligently noate the histories
therein contayned: if we reade the auncient
histories wherein are recorded the factes of
our forefathers, & those things which haue
happened heretofore: wee shall playnely see

and

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The Epistle
Dedicatorie.
& perceiue, that they haue alwayes had some
cloak in readiness to couer cue their most ab-
hominable sin, to that end it might appeare ---
to men, to be no sin at all. When as our great
Grandfather Adam had transgressed the Law,
which God had giuen him, & violated the
commandement of his creator, by eating the
forbidden fruit: being asked why he did so, he
could quickly couer the matter with a figge
leafe, & say that it was [he woman which thou
gauest me, which gaue it me to eate, where
he hath no other to lay the blame vpon, but vpon
God himself. When Cain, that murtherer, had
slaine his brother Abell, being asked of God
where his brother was, hee coulde answere
God very disdainfully, & say, numquid ego sum
-ustos fratris mei? am I the keeper of my bro-
ther: When as the Israelites would comit i-
dolatrie, they said they would haue gods to
go before them into Canaan, for they knew
not what was become of that Moses which
brought them forth of the land of Egypt, where
they cloaked their sin with zeale. When A-
hab would haue Naboaths vineyard, the pos[-]
session of his fathers, it was because he would
make a garden of earbes therof. When as that
cursed Iesabel (whose life was lewd, & death
shamful) did goe about to haue Naboth sto-
ned to death, shee did cast this couering vpon
her pretence, & said, he had spoken against god,
& against the king. When as Saul had trans-
gressed the commaundement of God, in not
killing the Amelekyts, & all that was theirs:
he excused his fact with his good intent, and
said, he saued the best of the sheepe & of the
oxen to offer in sacrifice vnto the Lord. The
Iewes would put Christ to death, because he
had transgressed their law, by making him-
selfe a king, Caesar being yet aliue. And Ste-
phan was stoned forsooth, because hee spake
blasphemie when he spake the truth. Out of
which examples we see that thing euidently
proued, whereof I haue spoken before. Now
if we come nigher home, & take a full view
of those times which are now, we shal plain-
ly see that the men of these dayes are not behind
their auncestors in these things, for they can
bring a thinne skin ouer their festered sore,
that it may seeme to be hole, when it is no-
thing so. The vserer can say for him self, that
it is lawful for a man to make the most of his
own. The couetous man draweth this vaile ouer his sinne, it is good sauing a penny a-
gainsst a wet day, & he whose teath doth go
before his handes: shall neuer be worth one
halfpenny.

 

The

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The Epistle
Dedicatorie.
The fornicator hath gone to schoole with
the Papistes, and there hath he learned this
lesson, Simplex fornicatto non est adulte-
rium,
that single fornication is not adul-
terie, and this is his last refuge, when hee
can say no more for himselfe, The Drunkard
can say that he is a good fellow, and suche
are to be well thought on. The lasciuious
Dauncer hath all those colours which in
this Dialogue are recited, and many more
then these, to paynt his dauncing withall,
that it may seeme to be golde, whereas it is
but copper, that it may seeme good, where-
as it is euill, and that it may seeme an
honest recreation, whereas it is inhonest, &
of all those which will seeme to be honest,
vtterly to be abhorred. And now (right wor-
shipfull) as it hath been the custome of all
those holy men (which liued in those dayes
when those former sinnes were committed)
to pul away those copwebs wherewith they couered their sinns, that they might appeare
as they were in deede: so it behooueth
those which liue in these daies, to pluck away
the visurs from the faces of their vices whi-
che raigne in these dayes. thich thing I
haue gone about to do (with what diligence
I cold) in the last vice which I repeated whi-
che was lasciuious dauncing, sithens it hath
pleased God heretofore, and euen nowe of
late, to stirre vp those which haue sufficient-
ly refuted whatsoeuer could haue been saide
in defence of these other vices. And though
I may seem to some to haue enterpriced this
thing more rashly then wisely, and more im-
pudently then prudently, sithens there are a
great many which might better haue taken
this same in hand: yet the causes which mo-
ued me hereunto were such, that I thought
I had better take this thing vpon me (though
I should doe it but simplie), then to let it a-
lone, least when all men do straine curtesie,
it shoulde be left vndone. It is not onely the
common sort of people which doeth render
these reasons for dauncing: but it is euen
some of those which carry some credite, and
are of great countenaunce, which vuse to ov-
iect as followeth. So that it is to be feared,
least lasciuious dauncing in time bee taken
for a vertue, where as in deede it is but a
vice, as it is nowe a dayes vied. And nowe
(right worshipfull) the especial causes which
moued mee to dedicate this my simple Dia-

haue

logue

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The Epistle
Dedicatorie.
logue vnto your worship, are two in num-
ber. The first was this, because I ment here-
by (not in any case teaching you your duty)
to certifie you (in whose hande it is to re-
forme this and suche like vices in these our
dioces) howe commonly this lewde pastime
is vsed vpon the Sabboath day, and againe,
howe the ministers of Gods worde are con-
temned, because they woulde debarre
the youth from dauncing, so that it is to bee
doubted, that vnlesse speedie reformation be
had, they shall vtterly be set at nought. To
whom shall the seruant, who hath espied
weedes in the fieldes complayne, if not to
the maister whose the fielde is: And whom
shold I rather certify of this thing then you,
who hath authoritie to plucke vp suche
weeds by the rootes. The last cause, but not
the least, which enforced mee to offer vnto
you the first fruites of my labours, was, be-
cause you are he at whose handes I haue re-
ceiued as much as I haue desired, but more
than I haue deserued. So that I thought my
selfe bound by duetie not onely to doe this,
but also to praye vnto God vncessantlye for
your worship, whom I beseech long to pre-
serue you in life and health, and also to en-

you with such graces, as shall bee necessarie
for your calling, to the which God, together
with his sonne Christ, and the holy Ghost,
be all prayse, glorie, and honour, nowe and
for euer. Amen.

 

Yours in the Lord alwaies
Christopher Fetherston.

 

<geometric design>

dew you

logue

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Dedicatorie.

To the Christian rea-
der. C. F. wisheth grace,
mercie, and peace, from God
the father, & from our Lord

Iesus Christ.
 
 

not a litle encourage me, to publishe this
poore peece of woorke of mine (which is so
simple that it is scant worthie to appeare in
print) and also I am the more bolde to let it
show the face, because I hope that the good
and godly will gratefully accept the same, if
it be but onely because it is some testimo-
nie of my good will which I beare towardes
them. The seely shepheard hauing no better
stuffe, presented vnto a famous prince a grea-
sie bottle full of fayre water: the poore far-
mer hauing no greater store, gaue vnto a
rich Citizen his lande lorde, a fewe apples,
and poore Conon, presented vnto the king,
a seely roote in token of his good will. All
which did thankefully accept these simple
gyftes, nothing respecting the giftes, but the
good will of the giuer. Whose examples,
hoping the godly will followe, in receiuing
this simple gift of mine, I pray instantly vnto
the Lorde God almightie, that it woulde
please his diuine maiesty, to finish that good
worke which hee hath begun in them, and
that he will dayly increase in them that hun-
ger and thirst, which they haue after righte-
ousnes, so shall they be sure to be satisfied in
the life to come, with the fruition of those


A
S Iron fornaces, doe not at
the first blowing send out the
greatest, nor yet the soun-
dest sowes of Iron, yet those
which are then cast, are not
cast away: As out of the fi-
nest fountayne of water, there doeth not at
the first issue out the greatest aboundaunce
of water, yet men doe not refuse, but rather
chuse the same, if it be but onely (quia noua
delectant
) because they are delighted in no-
uelties: so (gentle reader) authours do not
at the first publishe eyther in quantitie the
biggest, or in qualitie the best bookes: and
yet are not they ashamed to put forth these
their first labours, sithens nisi per principia
ad summum peruenire non possunt
, they can
not come vnto perfection but by certayne
beginnings. Which thing being so, doeth

not

ioyes

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The Epistle

ioyes which all those shall haue which loue
Christ and his comming. Which ioyes the
Lorde God graunt vnto vs all, for his cer-
cies sake.    Amen.

<geometric design>

 

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A Dialogue against
dauncing: wherin are re-
futed all those reasons which the
common people of the countrey

vse to bring in the defence of
dauncing.

Compiled by Christopher Fetherston.

Iuuenis.
Minister.

Iuuenis.

 

Minister.


G
O D giue you
good morrow
good maister
Vicar.
   And you the
like good Iuue-
nis: and as I doe desire him to giue you
a good morrowe, so I beseeche him to
graunt that you may ____ this whole
day in such exercise, as may tende to the
setting foorth of his glorie, the mo-
--- of this common wealth, and the health
of your owne soule.

Iu.

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A confutation of
Lasciuious dauncing.
   Iu.     I thanke you most heartily sir
for your gentle wish, but I pray so sir
how fare all our friendes in Vbique (the
broadest parishe as I suppose in Ail-
gua)?
   Min.   They enioy the health of the
bodie, and I coulde wishe, they were as-
well endewed, with the health of the soule.
   Iu.     I am glad to heare, that they
be in bodily health, for truely I stoode
somwhat in dout least all thinges had
not gone well amongst you, because I
see you walke so soberly in these goodly
greene fieldes, which are not only plea-
sant to the eye, but do also send out such
a fragrant smell from those sweet flowres
wherewith they are adorned, that mee
thinke they should cause you rather to
laugh then weepe, & make you rather
sing then procure your sorrowe.
   Min.   It is so in deede, yet the plea-
sure whiche I doe here take doeth not so
much augment my solace as other things
do encrease my sorrow, neither can chose
sightes whiche I nowe see with the eyes
of my body, so much make me merrie as
those things which I nowe beholde with
the eyes of my minde doe cause me to
mourne.
   Iu.     I pray you sir (if I may beeso
bould as to aske you) what thinges bee
those which do so turne your solace in-
to sorroes.
   Min.   Upon condition you will resolue
me the like question I do grant to tel youe.
   Iu.     I will, if your question shal seeme
resonable.
   Min.   The first then of all these is
this. When as I doe consider with my-
selfe, with what great good giftes the
Lorde God almightie, hath endued man,
and especially, howe he hath giuen vnto
him a Pilote most prudent, to gouerne
him vppon the surging seas of this mor-
tall life, which is euen reas--, howe hee
hath giuen vnto him all thinges whiche
are necessarie for this present life, how he
hath made him lower then the Angels
to crown him iwth maiestie and honour,
how he hath giuen his only sonne Christ
Jesus to die for man, that man might bee
deliuered from eternal death & destructi-
on, howe he hath suffered him to be set at
naught, to the ende man myght bee

the

bought

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A confutation of
Lasciuious dauncing.

bought, howe hee hath suffered him to
be payned that man might bee gayned,
how he hath suffered him to be scourged,
that by his stripes man might bee healed,
howe he hath suffered him to be accused,
that man might bee deliuered from the
curse: so often doeth it make mee sobbe
and sigh, to see howe ungratefully man
---- behaue himselfe towardes so kinde
a father. Agayne, when as I come nigher
home, and looke rounde about me in this
our Countrey of Ailgna, and doe well
waigh with my selfe with what blessings
the Lorde hath endewed vs aboue all o-
ther nations, and howe wee by our lewde
and wicked liues doe more dishonor him,
almost, then any nation vnder the sunne:

     It maketh me to burst out into bitter
teares, and to bewayle our great vn-
thankfulnesse. What nation vnder the
heauens hath casted of those blessinges
whereof wee haue had great abundance,
or vnto what countrey in all the world
hath the Lorde been so fauourable, as vn-
to this of ours:
     The heauens are not made vnto vs
as --asse, nor the earth is not vnto vs as
Iron: but the cloudes droppe fatnesse and

the earth yeeldeth her encrease, and
yet beholde more blessings then these.
     Our oxen are strong to labour, and
our sheepe bring foorth thousandes, and
tenne thousandes, and yet beholde more
blessings then these. There be no lea-
ding into captiuitie, neyther any com-
playning in our streetes, and yet beholde
more blessings then these. Wee haue
a prudent Princes, a gracious Queene,
a godly Judith, a chast Sulanna(?), a ver-
tuous Hester, a discreete Debora, which
these foure and twentie yeeres hath iud-
ged Israel with equitie and right, and
yet beholde more blessings then these ---.
We haue sage Senatours which take
counsell at the worde of the Lorde in all
their interprises, and do nothing without
the warrantize thereof, and yet beholde
more blessings then these. The Lorde
himselfe is our defence, and the God of
Jacob is our protectour, and yet beholde
more blessings then these. We are but
an handefull in respecte of all other na-
tions, and yet all other nations stande in
awe of vs, because we are in safety vnder
the shadowe of the winges of the Lorde.

and

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A confutation of
Lasciuious dauncing.
and in _________ the- most highest -- that
not miscarrie, and yet beholde mo-e -lo-
--gs then these: Wee neede not to go
------------ie---alem wich _a-a the queene of
the-- ----- -eme the wisedome of --
London ---- we ---- at home with -- gre--
those offage Salomone, prudent Pro-
phetes, Preach-
the eyes of my minde doe cause me to
mourne.
   Iu.     I pray you sir (if I may beeso
bould as to aske you) what thinges bee
those which do so turne your solace in-
to sorroes.
   Min.   Upon condition you will resolue
me the like question I do grant to tel youe.
   Iu.     I will, if your question shal seeme
resonable.
   Min.   The first then of all these is
this. When as I doe consider with my-
selfe, with what great good giftes the
Lorde God almightie, hath endued man,
and especially, howe he hath giuen vnto
him a Pilote most prudent, to gouerne
him vppon the surging seas of this mor-
tall life, which is euen reas--, howe hee
hath giuen vnto him all thinges whiche
are necessarie for this present life, how he
hath made him lower then the Angels
to crown him iwth maiestie and honour,
how he hath giuen his only sonne Christ
Jesus to die for man, that man might bee
deliuered from eternal death & destructi-
on, howe he hath suffered him to be set at
naught, to the ende man myght bee

ed,

bought

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