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uttereth plainly what is taught by him, and what is learned by you, saying, Englese Italianato, e un Diabolo incarnato : that is to say, “ You remain men in shape and fashion, but become devils in life and condition.”
If some do not well understand what is an Englishman Italianated, I will plainly tell him: “ He that by living, and travelling in Italy, bringeth home into England, out of Italy, the religion, the learning, the policy, the experience, the manners of Italy.” That is to say, for religion, papistry, or worse; for learning, less commonly than they carried out with them; for policy, a factious heart, a discoursing head, a mind to meddle in all men's matters; for experience, plenty of new mischiefs never known in England before; for manners, variety of vanities, and change of filthy lying.
These be the enchantments of Circe, brought out of Italy, to mar men's manners in England; much by example of ill life, but more by precepts of fond books, of late translated out of Italian into English, sold in every shop in London; commended by honest titles, the sooner to corrupt honest manners; dedi. cated over boldly to virtuous and honourable personages, the easilier to beguile simple and innocent wits. It is pity that those which have authority and charge to allow and disallow books to be printed, be no more circumspect herein than they are. Ten
sermons at Paul's cross do not so much good for moving men to true doctrine, as one of those books do harm, with enticing men to ill living. Yea, I say farther, those books tend not so much to corrupt honest living, as they do to subvert true religion. Mo papists be made by your merry books of Italy, than by your earnest books of Louyain.
Where will inclineth to goodness, the mind is bent to troth: where will is carried from goodness to vanity, the mind is soon drawn from troth to false opinion. And so the readiest way to entangle the mind with false doctrine, is first to intice the will to wanton living. Therefore, when the busy and open papists abroad, could not, by their contentious books, turn men in England fast enough from troth and right judgment in doctrine, then the subtle and secret papists at home procured bawdy books to be translated out of the Italian tongue, whereby over many young wills and wits allured to wantonness, do now boldly contemn all severe books that sound to honesty and godliness.
And yet ten La Morte d'Arthuros do not the tenth part so much harm, as one of these books made in Italy, and translated in England. They open, not fond and common ways to vice, but such subtle, cunning, new, and divers shifts, to carry young wills to vanity, and young wits to mischief, to teach old bawds new school points, as the simple
head of an Englishman is not able to invent, not never was heard of in England before, yea, when papistry overflowed all. Suffer these books to be read, and they shall soon displace all books of godly learning. For they carrying the will to vanity, and marring good manners, shall easily corrupt the mind with ill opinions, and false judgment in doctrine, first to think ill of all true religion, and at last to think nothing of God himself: one special point that is to be learnt in Italy and Italian books. And that which is most to be lamented, and therefore more needful to be looked to, there be moe of these ungracious books set out in print within these few months than have been seen in England many score years before. And because our Englishmen made Italians cannot hurt but certain persons, and in certain places, therefore these Italian books are made English, to bring mischief enough openly and boldly, to all states; great and mean, young and old, every where.
Then they have in more reverence the triumphs of Petrarch, than the Genesis of Moses; they make more account of Tully's Offices, than of St. Paul's Epistles; of a tale in Boccace, than a story of the Bible. Then they count as fables, the holy mysteries of christian religion. They make Christ and his Gospel only serve civil policy. Then neither religion cometh amiss to them. In time they be
promotors of both openly; in place, again, mockers of both privily, as I wrote once in a rude rhyme:
Now new, now old, now both, now neither ; To serve the world's course, they care not with whether. For where they dare, in company where they like, they boldly laugh to scorn both protestant and papist. They care for no scripture; they make no count of general councils; they contemn the consent of the church; they pass for no doctors; they mock the pope ; they rail on Luther; they allow neither side; they like none, but only themselves. The mark they shoot at, the end they look for, the heaven they desire, is only their own present pleasure, and private profit; whereby they plainly declare of whose school, of whạt religion they be; that is,
Epicures in living and acou in doctrine.” This last word is no more unknown now to plain Englishmen, than the person was unknown some time in England, until some Englishmen took pains to fetch that devilish opinion out of Italy. These men thus Italianated abroad, cannot abide our godly Italian church at home; they be not of that parish; they Þe not of that fellowship; they like not that preacher; they hear not his sermons, except sometimes for company; they come thither to hear the Italian tongue naturally spoken, not to hear God's doctrine truly preached.
And yet these men, in matters of divinity, openly
pretend a great knowledge, and have privately to themselves a very compendious understanding of all; which nevertheless they will utter, when and where they list: and that is this : All the mysteries of Moses, the whole law and ceremonies, the psalms and prophets, Christ and his gospel, God and the devil, heaven and hell, faith, conscience, sin, death, and all, they shortly wrap up, they quickly expound, with this one half verse of Horace;
de Credat Judæus Apelia. Yet though in Italy they may freely be of no religion, as they are in England in very deed too; nevertheless, returning home into England, they must countenance the profession of the one or the other, howsoever inwardly they laugh to scorn both. And though for their private matters, they can follow, fawn, and flatter noble personages, contrary to them in all respects; yet commonly they ally themselves with the worst papists, to whom they be wedded and do well agree together in three proper opinions; in open contempt of God's word, in a secret security of sin, and in a bloody desire to have all taken away by sword or burning, that be not of their faction. They that do read with an indifferent judgment Pighius and Machiavel, two indifferent patriarchs of these two religions, do kncw full well that I say true.
Qur Italians bring home with them other faults