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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VI. The Drama to 1642, Part Two.

XIV. The Puritan Attack upon the Stage

§ 4. Attitude of the Civic Authorities in London

The puritan forces advanced against the London stage in three lines: preachers, pamphleteers and civic authorities. In the nature of the case, it is impossible to do more than indicate here the incessant denunciation of the stage from the pulpits, and especially from the famous rostrum at Paul’s cross. The work of the preachers was to sound the note for battle and to urge the godly forward in the war; but, save for one or two sermons which have found their way into print, few traces of their contribution to the controversy have come down to our day. With the pamphleteer it was different; his weapon was the book, and the book has a tendency to endure. It will be well, however, to defer our consideration of this aspect of the campaign until we have examined the efforts of the corporation of London to drive players out of the city; for, in its opening phases at any rate, the literary attack was of secondary importance as compared with the administrative. Indeed, to some extent, it seems to have been prompted and controlled by the lord mayor himself.