« VorigeDoorgaan »
* Archibald Armestrang.
England (that I can heare of), that we should weare nothing else, but what is worne there ! I should rather thinke, that (although the late inhabitants thereof be verie laudable, for the firmenes of their profession,) the wearing of such apparaile should renue the remembrance of our losses, dishonor, and repulse there, and should rather cause us to avoide the same (except wee rejoyce in publishing our own shame & vanitie). But this is not extraordinarylie to be wondred at, for wee are so disfigured by phantasticall and strange fashions, that wee can scarce know him to daie, with whome wee were acquainted yesterdaie. Some (you shall see in the very middest of winter) weare their dublette (cutt and slashed) in such sortàhat they are of as small force to preserve (& kepe in) naturall heate, or hould out raine, as if one were altogether naked; others weare long side-breeches, woo descende from the waist to the ancles, as though they were to act Tarletons part in a plaie; and others (laudo ciros istos) scorning the deformitie of paistboordbellyed dublette, side-slopps, & the like, have attained (and almost brought home againe) the verie true habite of naturall simplicitie and true idiots, covering their whole bulke, a capite ad talos, from heade to heeles, won long side-coates, such as was the noble" Archie's, our late Sovereignes Jester (save that his was of velvett, and theirs are of cloth). Nay, they are so prettylie and exactly adorned will cotton linings, that if they had sutable caps, and belles correspondent, they might freely (for their outsides) go currant amongst the honest number of cockescombes and fooles; but if any should impose upon us such apish and strange fashions, wee should esteeme our selves verie miserable. Howsoever (I would not be misunderstood), I do not altogether reprehend the use (but the vanitie and inconstancie) of our strange attires. Wee are in the aforenoone, in this suite; in the afternoone, in another; and at night, in the third; and padventure all thre are of severall fashions. Thus (for the most pt) wee waist our wealth, tyme, and best thoughtes, (which should be employed upon nedefull and holie affaires,) in consulting upon newfanglenes, vanities, and fopperies. But lett us passe from the men (I would to God we had no worse faults then vanitie in clothes!) and looke upon our women; it may be, that they’l make amende for the imperfections of men. No, no, (believe it) they are worse imployed, more disguised, and transcend men (in vanities of this sort), as farre as the brightnes of the sunne excedes a little starre. For peradventure you shall scarce finde twenty men in this whole kingdome, weh use painting, perfuming, pouldering, nightmasks (to holde up their mustachioes, &c.), or the like effeminate fooleries; but many (yea, very many) women use all these, painting of faces, lippes, neckes, breasts, &c. false haire, false teeth, false hearts, and false every thing. And when one of our ladyes or gentlewomen (of the vainer sort) walke abroad, or to the church, oh in what pompe & state, and how demurely they passe alonges A man (w" had never sene them ere then) would thinke they were ladies of the fairie (as in some respecte many of them are), or comedians, readie to act the pt of beautifull Lais, the Corinthian 5. in the holy church. Verylie, it is worth the sight of a hundred puppett plaies to view but some of our spruce & fantastique gentlewomen of the lowest ranke. I must confesse they are pinched for silkes, velvetts, cloth of gold, &c. because their meanes denay the use of them; but it would make one to admire (if he note but seriouslie), how excellentlie they are painted, pfumed, hung won railes, ribbons, laces, feathers, bracelette, and a whole pedlers shop of other toyes, trinkette and gewgawes. There is (now I thinke) very few men of understanding who will approve of these things. But if this were the worst, I should thinke all were reasonable well. A man or woman may have a sanctified heart, albeit their apparaile be a litle out of square; but alas ! it is to be feared (w" one would thinke impossible), that these externall ragges are better then their inner sides, and that (although their bodies are decked, and their gestures adapted & framed to appeare amiable onely to their husbande, yet) they are not onely vainglorious of worldlie applause, but also desirous (and CAMD. SOC. - : E
delighted) to captivate mens affections won their beauties, and drowne the small sparkes & remnante of vertue, won are left in them. Yet (as I wrote before), farre be it from mee to wronge them in the least respect, or to conclude against their whole sex for the errors of a few. Some (I grant) use their apparaile for ostenta&n, to intrap their spectatore, and (like so many Lamiaes) to consume them in bodie & estate; but others (who shine as much in all virtues, as the others are clouded ordarkened over wth vices) in the excercises and demonstraôns of their inward graces & high discents, weare such ornaments, as do rightlie become them; and these I will honor alwaies, as being by their due deserts most worthie, and most noble, and doubling every vertue by their religious behaviour and incomparable decencie. The conclusion wo"I woulde inferre from hence is, that every degree of men ought to be like themselves: English men & women ought to be distinguished from other nations; the French should be like themselves; the Spanyards like themselves; noble men & women like themselves; ecclesiasticall men & women like themselves; & all other degrees & rankes of people like themselves; that the outward apparaile might plainely distinguish (and manifest) the degree of the wearer. But for every poore gentlewoman of twenty markes (or curates wife of ten poundé) a yeare, to goe in their jingle jangles and trinketts like so many ladies, is a thing so undecent, that I cannot overpasse it won silence. And (for mine owne part) I am so farre from approving of any forraine habite, that I hold the English man ptlie dishonoured, which shroudes his bodie in the fashion of any other nation then his owne; seing that our owne countrey & countreymen are equall (and not inferiour) to any nation or people of the world, if our inward pietie be correspondent to the outward pfection of our bodies. And thus (as Almightie God, and my small learning, observačón, and experience) hath enabled mee, I have briefely related some of those things, which I conceive to be amisse in the estate of my countrie; humblie referring the consideračán and reformaćn thereof to yo" good Worps wise.dome & care, and praying yor good Worp to grant your favourable pardon of the simplicities, mistakings, and errore wo". I have committed in this whole Discourse. In hope and expectačán of which (yor Worps) great clemencie, rendring infinite thankes and praises to Almightie God, for his great mercies shewed upon us, in sparing us so fatherly, & affording (not onely the use of earthly blessings, but also) a blessed tyme of repentance to us; and beseeching also his Almightie Matie to plant in our hearts an unfained love of true holynes, & detestaðn of all sinnes & wickednes, and that it will please Him to blesse and Pserve our noble King, gracious Queene, the Lorde spirituall & temporall, this whole kingdome, and the inhabitants thereof, from the craftes, powers, & pollicies of all sinister enemies, I humbly take leave, & rest. Dec. 26° 1629.