I just ordered my own copy of English Literature in the 16th Century by C.S. Lewis, but just to whet my appetite and yours, I found these quotes on the Puritans here and copied them for our mutual enjoyment:
The fierce young don, the learned lady, the courtier with intellectual leanings, were likely to be Calvinists. When hard rocks of Predestination outcrop in the flowery of the Arcadia or the Faerie Queen, we are apt to think them anomalous, but we are wrong. The Calvinism is as modish as the shepherds and goddesses (C.S. Lewis, English Literature in the 16th Century, p. 43).
To be sure, there are standards by which the early Protestants could be called ‘puritanical’; they held adultery, fornication, and perversion for deadly sins. But then so did the Pope. If that is puritanism, all Christendom was then puritanical together. So far as there was any difference about sexual morality, the Old Religion was the more austere. The exaltation of virginity is a Roman, that of marriage, a Protestant, trait (C.S. Lewis, English Literature in the 16th Century, p. 35).
But there is no understanding the period of the Reformation in England until we have grasped the fact that the quarrel between the Puritans and the Papists was not primarily a quarrel between rigorism and indulgence, and that, in so far as it was, the rigorism was on the Roman side. On many questions, and specially in their view of the marriage bed, the Puritans were the indulgent party; if we may without disrespect so use the name of a great Roman Catholic, a great writer, and a great man, they were much more Chestertonian than their adversaries (C.S. Lewis, Selected Literary Essays, p. 116).
Relief and buoyancy are the characteristic notes . . . It follows that nearly every association which now clings to the word puritan has to be eliminated when we are thinking of the early Protestants. Whatever they were, they were not sour, gloomy, or severe; nor did their enemies bring any such charge against them . . . For More, a Protestant was one ‘dronke of the new must of lewd lightnes of minde and vayne gladness of harte’ . . . Protestantism was not too grim, but too glad, to be true . . . Protestants are not ascetics but sensualists (C.S. Lewis, English Literature in the 16th Century, p. 34).
We can hardly help calling them “Puritanism” and “humanism”, but neither word meant the same as it does in modern America. By purity the Elizabethan Puritan meant not chastity but ‘pure’ theology and, still more, ‘pure’ church discipline. That is, he wanted an all-powerful Prebyterian Church, a church stronger than the state, set up in England, on the model of Calvin’s church at Geneva. Knox in Scotland loudly demanded, and at least one English Puritan hinted, that this should be done by armed revolution. Calvin, the great successful doctrinaire who had actually set up the ‘new order’, was the man who had dazzled them all. We must picture these Puritans as the very opposite of those who bear that name today: as young, fierce, progressive intellectuals, very fashionable and up-to-date. They were not teetotallers; bishops, not beer, were their special aversion (C.S. Lewis, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (On Edmund Spenser), pp. 121-122).