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“I lie and dream of your full Mermaid wine."-Beaumont.

UNEXPURGATED EDITION

LONDON:

VIZETELLY & CO., 42, CATHERINE STREET, STRAND.

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“What things have we seen
Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been
So nimble, and so full of subtle flame,
As if that every one from whence they came
Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,
And had resolved to live a fool the rest
Of his dull life.”

Master Francis Beaumont to Ben Jonson.

“ Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavein ?"

Keals,

LONDON :

J. S. YIRTUE AND CO., LIMITED, PRINTERS, CITY ROAD.

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N the history of English literature

there is no period when license in thought and action is more open and unrestrained than that which immediately followed up

on the Restoration of Charles II. to the throne. It was inevitable that the intolerant severity of Puritanism, when the influences that created it ceased to exist, should be succeeded by a reaction which erred in the other extreme. When it was a sin to read plays, to act plays, or after any fashion to patronise the theatre, it became only a question of time and opportunity for suppressed and irritated human nature to give vent to its feelings with a freedom all the more uncontrolled from the injustice that had so long repressed it. Had it not been for the immoral bondage of Puritanism the immoral emancipation of the Restoration would never have been ushered in.

Action and re-action are influences as domi

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