's Calendar’ he was certainly a Puritan, and probably so by conviction rather than from any social influences or thought of personal interests.
There is a verse, it is true, in the second of the two detached cantos of ‘Mutability,’
Like that ungracious crew which feigns demurest grace,
which is supposed to glance at the straiter religionists, and from which it has been inferred that he drew away from them as he grew older.
It is very likely that years and widened experience of men may have produced in him their natural result of tolerant wisdom which revolts at the hasty destructiveness of inconsiderate zeal.
But with the more generous side of Puritanism I think he sympathized to the last.
His rebukes of clerical worldliness are in the Puritan
tone, and as severe a one as any is in ‘Mother Hubberd
's Tale,’ published in 1591.1
There is an iconoclastic relish in his account of Sir Guyon's demolishing the Bower of Bliss
that makes us think he would not have regretted the plundered abbeys as perhaps Shakespeare
did when he speaks of the winter woods as ‘bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang’:
But all those pleasant bowers and palace brave
Guyon broke down with rigor pitiless,
Ne ought their goodly workmanship might save
Them from the tempest of his wrathfulness,
But that their bliss he turned to balefulness;