Puritan euphemisms

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Oct 25 13:39:29 UTC 2012

At 10/24/2012 08:26 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>Darby's play (or perhaps playlet) was acted in Folkes Tavern in non-Puritan
>Pungoteague, Va., on Aug. 27, 1665.
>He and two actors were arrested for it,
>but they were eventually acquitted.

If they had tried that in Pongapoag, Mass., that year, they might
have been executed.  No, just hyperbole.  Acting wasn't a capital
crime (although certain words could be, such as blasphemy or idolatry).

>Even before motion pictures,
>a Virginia document of 1612 classed "Players" with "Papists" as "the scum &
>dregs of the earth."

I had thought the Virginians were more cavalier.  Apparently not,
under Dale's Code.  If Players were cast with Papists, I would
suppose performing was a capital crime in Virginia.

>Nothing more of Darby's play is known.

Not surprising,  In 1665 probably the only printing press was in
Massachusetts.  And William Berkeley was governor of Virginia then --
he who wrote, five years later, "I thank God, there are no free
schools nor printing; for learning has brought disobedience, and
heresy ... and printing has divulged them, and libels against the
best government. God keep us from both."


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