The Nipping or Snipping of Abuses

Bernard Capp

in The World of John Taylor the Water-Poet 1578–1653

Published in print October 1994 | ISBN: 9780198203759
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191675959 | DOI:
The Nipping or Snipping of Abuses

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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The identity John Taylor fashioned for himself was multi-faceted. He was at once poet, entertainer, social critic, and preacher. Ranging widely over the social and religious issues of his age, he offered a medley of polemic, ridicule, exhortation, and praise. This chapter reconstructs his view of the world and assesses his role as a commentator. Taylor's temperament and outlook were deeply conservative. He held a traditional view of the social order, in which the estate possessed clearly defined functions and responsibilities. He devoted most of his social criticism to the landed classes. When he did turn to urban abuses, his targets were mostly traditional figures, such as usurers and corrupt lawyers. Despite his vehement language, he was also careful not to overstep the mark. He disarmed any potential critics by frankly confessing his own personal failings.

Keywords: social critic; poet; The Complaint of Christmas; social order; landed classes

Chapter.  10113 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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