Internet Shakespeare Editions



Beggar. Jan van der Vliet.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Not all feared the poor and unemployed, however.

As the graphic on this page shows, there were those who saw beggars and wounded soldiers as subjects for compassion. (Another picture of a beggar.)

The Bible, especially in the story of Dives and Lazarus, made it clear that charity for the poor was a basic Christian duty. The parable of the rich man Dives and the poor man Lazarus is found in Luke 16: 19-31. Lazarus, poor and full of sores, was at Dives' gate waiting to be fed from the crumbs from his table. After each died, Lazarus was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom, while Dives suffered in Hell.

There were times, however, when poverty led to actual rebellion, such as the Midlands Uprising of 1607.