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“All is but Hinnying Sophistry”: The Role of Puritan Logic in Bartholomew Fair

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2021

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Summary

In 1671 in The Present State of Russia in a Letter to a Friend at London, Samuel Collins included the following somewhat surprising anecdote:

Now that I am discoursing of the Russian Church, it will not be amiss to relate a sad Tragical story, which was acted in the time of our English Resident, who it seems had a Monkey… . But we come now to the Catastrophe of his mirth. Being not content to act a merry part in Foro, he begins ludere cum Sacris, and goes into a | Ch urch hard by the English House, where he crept in and tumbled down their Gods … one morning early Pug came in at a window, and began with St. Nicholas and the rest of the Gods and Goddesses in order, as they stood in his way; down he throws Dagon and the wares of Rimnon as zealously as if he had been bred up in new England

Presently the Pope goes to the Patriarch, and complains most bitterly against a Nincheen (or Stranger) living in the English house, for throwing down many of their Gods, breaking their Lamps, pulling off their Jewels and Chains of Pearl wherewith they were | adorn’d and lastly for prophaning the holy place. Hereupon an order was sent to search and examine the Embassadors house; all his Retinue was brought forth. No, it was none of them, but a little Ninicheen; so the young children were brought out, and by chance the Monkey came jumping in with the Children: O that is the Nincheen, quoth the Pope, apprehend him, which was done accordingly, and the Patriarch finding out the folly, was asham’d, and sent away the Priest with disgrace for a Fool. But however, poor Pug (to pacifie the angry Gods) was deliver’d over to the secular power, who chastisd him so severely that he dyed upon it.

At first glance this narrative might seem worlds away from both logic and Jonson's Bartholomew Fair.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2015

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