If this tended to check their use for a time, the subsequent
Spanish connection with the court of England renewed an
acquaintance with cards and a love for them. The marriage of
Prince Arthur with the Infanta Catherine of Arragon, brought on
an intimacy between the two nations, which probably increased
card-playing in England,--it being a diversion to which the
Spaniards were extremely addicted at that period.
Cards were certainly much in use, and all ideas concerning them
very familiar to the minds of the English, during the reign of
Henry VIII., as may be inferred from a remarkable sermon of the
good bishop Latimer. This sermon was preached in St Edward's
church, Cambridge, on the Sunday before Christmas day, 1527, and
in this discourse he may be said to have 'dealt' out an
exposition of the precepts of Christianity according to the terms
of card-playing. 'Now ye have heard what is meant by this "first
card," and how you ought to "play" with it, I purpose again to
"deal" unto you "another card almost of the same suit,"
be of so nigh affinity that one cannot be well "played" without
the other, &c.' 'It seems,' says Fuller, 'that he suited his
sermon rather to the TIME--being about Christmas, when cards were
much used--than to the text, which was the Baptist's question to
our Lord--"Who art thou?"--taking thereby occasion to conform his
discourse to the "playing at cards," making the "heart triumph."'