In Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare rehearses a standard moral lesson against luxury, showing it to cause Antony’s radical self-forgetting, while also countering it to reimagine Antony’s “decline” in terms of radical self-realization. The maneuver required audiences to consider the possibility that the idea of luxury might resonate beyond its moral discourses; that luxury might play a role in society that extended beyond laying waste to masculine virtue and honor. At the same time, however, that society was one from which Britain, in its romanitas as much as in its Christianity, remained alienated. Indeed, as the nation was reshaped by urbanization around the turn of the seventeenth century, the moralization of luxury seemed to strengthen rather than falter. Contemporary cultural and literary texts reveal widespread anxiety about this transformation, often treating luxury metaphorically as infectious disease, and plague as its divine and purgative punishment.1 In some ways it is as if the bower of bliss materializes as early modern London and its temptations to self-abandon were realized in the city’s sprawling parts – its suburbs, public theaters, alehouses and brothels. Puritan commentators and preachers responded to the threat with characteristic zeal, targeting what they perceived to be the infectious “luxury and riot” of the age as symptomatic of large-scale moral decline. Popular pamphleteers, meanwhile, were quick to locate those excesses spatially and symbolically in the rapidly expanding city, or else – as is obviously the case with the pamphlet war against public theater – in particular areas of the city.2