Histriomastix is the name of a book written in 1663 by William Prynne, a Puritan barrister, against plays, masks, dancing, etc. It is a thick quarto of 1006 pages, and abounds with learning and curious quotations. The author of this work was arraigned before the Star Chamber Feb. 7, 1663, on account of passages which, it was alleged, reflected on the religious conduct of the royal house. But the fact was that the author condemned, and that justly, the levity and voluptuousness of the court, and the encouragement which even some of the prelates gave to its licentiousness. Prynne was sentenced" to have his book burned by the hands of the common hangman, to be put from the bar, and to be forever incapable of his profession, to be turned out of the society of Lincoln's Inn, to be degraded at Oxford, to stand in the pillory at Westminster and Cheapside, to lose both his ears, one in each place, to pay a fine of £5000, and to suffer perpetual imprisonment." But more remarkable than this, if possible, was the violent speech of an English earl (Dorset) on this occasion. "I declare you (Prynne) to be a schism maker in the Church, a. sedition sower in the commonwealth, a wolf in sheep's clothing; in a word, omnium malorum nequissimus," continuing in this strain, and closing thus: "I would have him branded in the forehead, slit in the nose, and have his ears chopped off." Neal, Hist. of the Puritans, 1, 316, 317; Wood, Athenae Oxon. 2, 315; Granger, Biog. Hist. 2, 230; Carwithen, History of the Church of England, 2, 78-80. (J. H.W.)

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