1583: The ‘horrible vice of pestiferous dancing’

Writing in his 1583 book The Anatomy of Abuses, the notorious Puritan moralist Philip Stubbes devotes an entire chapter to the “Horrible Vice of Pestiferous Dancing”. According to Stubbes, dancing is:

“…an introduction to whoredom, a preparative to wantonness, a provocation to uncleanness, and an entreaty to all kinds of lewdness… What clipping, what culling, what kissing and bussing, what smooching and flabbering of one another, what filthy groping and unclean handling is not practised everywhere in these dancings?”

Stubbes does offer a solution, however. Dancing is permissible but only if it takes place between:

“…men by themselves and women by themselves.”

Source: Philip Stubbes, The Anatomy of Abuses, 1583. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2016. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.