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" Howsoever these things are in men s depraved judgments and affections. 
yet Truth which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, 
which is the love-making or wooing of it, and the belief of truth, which is the 
enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature." BACON. 

"The Jesuit reasons thus : if the scriptures should be read by the people in 
the vulgar tongue, then new versions should be made in every age, because 
languages are changed every age. But this would be impossible, because there 
would be a lack of persons fit to make the versions ; and, if it were possible, 
it would be absurd that the versions should be so often changed. Therefore 
the scriptures ought not to be read in the vernacular tongue. 

" I answer, this argument is ridiculous. For, in the first place, it is false 
that languages change every age ; since the primary tongues, the Hebrew. 
Greek, and Latin, have not undergone such frequent alterations. Secondly, 
there is never in Christian churches a lack of some sufficient interpreters, able 
to translate the scriptures and render their genuine meaning in the vulgar 
tongue. Thirdly, no inconvenience will follow if interpretations or versions of 
scripture, when they have become obsolete and ceased to be easily intelligible. 
be afterwards changed and corrected." WHITAKEH, 1588. 

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VOL. I. 



rit/ht* rexeri t d. 

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THE following pages have been written to tell the 
story of the English Bible, and it is a story of singular 
interest to all who speak the English tongue. No 
pains have been spared to present the narrative in its 
truth, and to disentangle it from conflicting statements 
and traditional errors. 

Many thanks are due to those who have gone before 
me. Mr. Lewis, in his " Complete History of the 
several Translations of the Holy Bible and New Testa 
ment into English," published in 1731, pointed the 
way. Yet, so little interest was the public supposed 
to feel in such a work, that his first edition consisted 
only of 140 copies in folio ; and the presentiment was 
verified, for the sale was so very slow that the second 
edition, in octavo, did not appear till eight years after 
wards. His book has many merits ; its defects may 
be ascribed to the scantier knowledge of his time ; but 
its blunders have led some noted historians far astray. 
Other writings on the same special theme, as those of 


Johnson, Newcome, Whittaker, Walter, Conant, and 
the " Brief Account " prefixed to Bagster s " Hexapla," 
though they are of varying value, are not without 
their use. 

But the publication of Christopher Anderson s 
Annals of the English Bible/ in 1845, formed an 
epoch; for the work was the fruit of independent in 
vestigation, and its author brought to light some new 
facts about Tyndale, and discovered some unsuspected 
editions of his New Testament. Mr. Anderson s 
original purpose had been to compile a biography of 
the martyred translator, and had that purpose not 
been partially abandoned, or rather supplemented, his 
volumes might have possessed more compactness and 
symmetry. His Annals," however, are wholly ex 
ternal in character, for he never attempts to give any 
critical estimate of Tyndale s version, either of its 
English style, its fidelity to the original Greek, or its 
nearer or remoter relation to Luther and the Vulgate. 
The work, indeed, grew under his hand to a great size, 
for it is filled to overflowing Avith extraneous or col 
lateral matter, and every page might have been printed 
in three parallel columns, headed in succession " His 
tory of the EnglisrrNation," "History of the English 
Church/" " History of the English Bible." Now and 
then the good man is swayed by prejudice, as when he 
avers that, from principle, Tyndale would not, and did 
not, translate any portion of the Apocrypha, though 
the evidence to the contrary w r as lying before his eyes, 



in the "Epistles" for Church Service, taken from 
Esther, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus, attached to his 
famous revised edition of 1534. So jealous was he for 
Tyndale s fame and honour that he studiously, and on 
every occasion, depreciates Coverdale, who, though he 
was not endowed with Tyndale s high nobility of 
nature, yet possessed eminent qualities, and did a 
good secondary work when no one else thought of 
attempting it. I have endeavoured to weigh the 
merits of each translator, or company of translators, 
with open impartiality. 

Special and grateful reference cannot but be made 
to Canon Westcott s very able, accurate, and scholarly 
" General View of the History of the English Bible," 
1868 ; to Prebendary Scrivener s careful and thorough 
11 Introduction " to the Quarto Paragraph Bible, Cam 
bridge, 1873 ; to some papers too few and too brief- 
by Dr. Moulton in the "Bible Educator"; and to 
several volumes of minute and patient labour, in the 
form of elaborate collations and fac-simile reproduc 
tion, by the esteemed and obliging Mr. Francis Fry, 
of Bristol. 

I have tried to trace the English Bible down from 
Anglo-Saxon times, and have added a very few re 
marks on the changes which passed over the old 
language in those distant centuries. "Wycliffe has 

o o 

been often portrayed as a Reformer, but, as it was 
more to my purpose, I have sketched him as a 
Translator, divined his motives, and thrown into 


relief the fresh and graphic English of his wonderful 
version. The reader will find brief biographies of 
the men who engaged, at different periods, in the 
Avork of translation a work sometimes perilous, and 
always very responsible ; and that work is candidly 
judged in itself, as well as in its connection with 
previous, and its influence upon subsequent, versions. 
The introduction into Scotland of the various edi 
tions, and their effect on that kingdom, have not 
been overlooked. Considerable space is devoted to 
our present Bible, usually, though not with strict 
accuracy, called " The Authorized Version," and I 
have entered into some points of its history as a 
printed volume after its publication in 1611. 

The old spelling is given where it is characteristic; 
and as the book is not meant for scholars only, but 
also for persons of ordinary education and intelligence, 
Latin and Greek terms are, for the most part, printed 
at the bottom of the pages. Errors are unavoidable 
in such a multifarious work, but it is hoped that 
none of them are unpardonable. No verses are 
marked in Tyndale, Coverdale, and the Great Bible, 
and the attempt to facilitate reference by numbering 
them according to the Authorized Version may have 
led to some discrepancies. 

In fine, some chapters in the concluding portion of 
the second volume discuss the subject of Revision, 
showing that there is a general necessity for it, and 
that no one needs either to be startled by it, or to be 


suspicious about its results ; for through successive 
revisions our Bible has come to be what it is, as a 
faithful and popular translation. May the rich and 
suggestive History that has wreathed itself round our 
Book of books stir up a profounder thankfulness to 
the Giver of all good, and may its own truths live in 
the hearts of all who read it ! 

L tender my best thanks to my friend the Rev. 
William Young, Parkhead, for looking over the 
sheets, and especially for compiling the accurate and 
complete Index. 

GLASGOW, March, 1876. 



Old Versions of the Scriptures in Keltic Dialects of Britain in Anglo-Saxon 
The English Tongue Saxon Element. First Period Csedmon Guthlac 
Ylclhelni Bede King Alfred Anglo-Saxon Glosses ^Elfric. Second 
Period The Normans Introduction of French Two Languages Ascend 
ancy of English Effects of the Norman Conquest upon the English Tongue 
Translations into Early English The Ormulum Schorham and 
Hampole Gospels and Psalms first selected for Translation Popularity of 
the Psalter Anglo-Saxon and Old English in Scotland, . Page 3 



.Reasons why Men should have the Word of God in their own Tongue Time 
and Place of Wycliffe s Birth Academic Life Preferred to Eectory of 
Lutterworth His Doctrines condemned Death from Paralysis Literary 
Works Three Epochs in his Life, ..... 37 


Various Influences which led Wycliffe to translate the Scriptures Papal Rapacity 
The Great Schism Degeneracy of Mendicant Orders Alarming Con 
dition of the State and the Church -The Black Death Wat Tyler s 
Revolt Not connected with Wycliffe s Teachings Wycliffe no Demagogue 
Polemical Tractates An English Bible the Nation s Need His Purity of 
Character His Aim in translating the Scriptures The First Translator 
of the Entire Bible into English Trevisa s Claims Groundless Assertions 
of More and others His Eulogy, ..... 44 



Wycliffe s Personal Work in the Translation Nicholas de Hereford -The 
Continuator Purvey His Prologue and Revision Spread of Education 
English of "\Vycliffe Still easily read Obsolete Terms Similar Terms 
which still survive in Scotch Slight Change of Spelling gives Modern 
Aspect to many of his Words, ..... G-t 


Rapid Diffusion of Wycliffe s Bible Great Interest of Surviving Copies 
Hostility to Wycliffe s Bible His Writings and his Bones condemned to 
the Flames Persecution of his Followers The Term " Lollard " Act de 
Heretico Comburendo Passed at the Instigation of Archbishop Arundel 
Fires of Smithfield Execution of Lord Cobham The Arundel Constitu 
tions The Commons address the King on the Wealth of the Church 
War with France Stealthy Reading of the Bible Cost of a Bible A 
Crime to possess a Copy Nefarious Means of Detection Attachment of 
Wyclifntes to Scripture The " Bible Readers " Influence of Wycliffe 
had not ceased when that of Tyndale began Translations in Scotland 
The Old Scottish Tongue 7i> 


Wycliffe s Bible only a Version from a Version Knowledge of Greek in 
Britain Early Teachers of Greek Influence of the Knowledge of Greek 
upon the Study of the Scriptures Invention of Printing Gutenberg 
Caxton, ........ 101 


Date and Place of Tyndale s Birth disputed Goes to College at an Early Age 
Early Devotion to the Scriptures Excellence of his Character May have 
studied under Erasmus at Cambridge Was Tyndale ordained ? Tutor in 
the House of Sir John Walsh His Translation of the Enchiridion of 
Erasmus Railed at by the Clergy Leaves the Family of Sir John Walsh 
Asks Admission into the Household of Tunstall Humphrey Mumnouth s 
Kindness to him His Manner of Life in London The Value of Money 
then The Title " Sir " as given to Tyndale, . . 107 


Tyndale leaves England Takes up his Residence at Hamburg Not a Lutheran 
His Work different from that of Luther Did he visit Wittemberg ? 


Connection with Luther Knowledge of German Leaves Hamburg for 
Cologne Flight to Worms Printing of Octavo and Quarto Editions of his 
New Testament, . . . 120 


Tyndale s Noble and Disinterested Motives Sacrifices Modesty Scholarship 
Sole Translator -Friar Roye Grammars and Lexicons within his Reach 
Greek Testament of Erasmus Tyndale translated directly from the 
Greek, 133 


Relation of Tyndale s New Testament to German Version of Luther Alleged 
Germanisms merely Old English Did not translate from the Vulgate 
Blunders of Macknight and others on this point Tyndale s Untrammelled 
Use of the Vulgate -It suggests many Renderings to him Defects of the 
Version Neglect of Connecting Particles Occasionally Paraphrastic 
Quaint and Homely Renderings Happy and Pithy Phrases Fuller s 
Eulogy Archaic Forms and Irregular Spelling Tyndale s Volumes de 
spatched to England, ...... 143 


Date of the Arrival of Tyndale s New Testaments in England Reasons against 
date assigned by Anderson and others Testimony of Cochlseus Activity 
of Garret Cottysford Henry s Letter to Luther Seizure of Garret at 
Oxford Trial of Prior Barnes Necton s Confession Circulation of the 
New Testament, ....... 161 


Fierce Opposition to the New Testament by Men in authority Position of 
Wolsey Tunstall s Manifesto Archbishop Warham s Mandate Bishop 
Nikke s Letter Third Edition of New Testament issued at Antwerp 
Conveyed to England along with Cargoes of Wheat Secret Circulation 
Detection and Arrests Efforts to check the Torrent at its Source in 
Antwerp Copies of New Testament collected and burned Harman 
Racket s Zeal gets him into Trouble Herman Rinck of Cologne 
Treaty of Cambray Tunstall outwitted by Packington George Constan 
tino More s Perplexity Bishop Nikke s Despair Another Condemnation 
of the New Testament Prohibitions and Burnings of New Testament 
ineffectual Charged by Tunstall with more than Two Thousand 
Errors, . . . . . . . .171 



Critical Vituperation of More Tyndale s Answer The two Men did not 
understand each, other More s Anomalous Character His Zeal against 
Heretics His Outrageous Railing His Opinion with regard to Transla 
tions His Criticism of Tyndale s English His Confession of Defeat, 187 


Tyndale s whole Nature filled with his Work Rebuts Objections against an 
English Translation Prior Buckenham s Reply to Latimer Tyndale joined 
by Fryth at Marburg Translates the Pentateuch and Jonah His Ex 
positions Bilney s Martyrdom How Tyndale acquired his Knowledge of 
Hebrew Translated directly from the Hebrew Token of his Love of 
Hebrew Study Proofs of his Knowledge of Hebrew Quaint and Homely 
Renderings in his Pentateuch, ..... 200 


Tyndale takes up his Final Abode at Antwerp Fryth wins the Crown of 
Martyrdom Tyndale s Desire to improve his Translation of Xew Testa 
ment George Joye s Edition -Tyndale s Revised Translation Warns 
against Joye s Production Joye s Duplicity His Apology His Account 
of the Spurious Editions-^Joye s Change of the Word "Resurrection" into 
"Life after this" Joye rebuts the Charge of Covetousness His Am 
bition and Spite Xot privy to the Plan for apprehending Tyndale 
Titles and Prologues of Tyndale s Second Edition His Protestation 
The Revision thorough Collation of the Two Editions Terms changed 
in course of Successive Editions Harman released from Prison Tyn 
dale presents Queen Anne with Copy of his Revised Edition Tyn 
dale s Third Edition Collation Edition of 1535 marked by Peculiar 
Spelling, . . . . . . . .216 


Vaughan s Interviews with Tyndale Tyndale s Manner of Life at Antwerp 
Sir T. Elyot undertakes the Task of seizing Tyndale Thomas Poyntz 
Philips and Donne win Tyndale s Confidence and betray him His Im 
prisonment in Castle of Vilvorde Vain Efforts of Poyntz and Tibold to 
procure his Release Tyndale s Xew Testament printed in England 
Crumwell writes twice in his Favour Touching Letter of Tyndale to 
Marquis of Bergen-op-Zoom His Trial His Martyrdom and Last Words 
Tyndale s Independence of Wycliffe, .... 235 



Tyndale s New Testaments find their way into Scotland Patrick Hamilton 
Letter of Ales to James V. Henry Forrest of Linlithgow condemned 
and burned, ........ 245 



Comparison of the Characters of Tyndale and Coverdale Coverdale s Birth 
and Early History Patronage of Crunrwell Connection with Barnes 
Influence on Thomas Topley Association with Tyndale In Obscurity 
Decision of Council at Westminster, in regard to Question of Authorized 
Bible Latimer s Letter to the King Convocation of 1534 Cranmer s 
Project Bishop Gardyner s Part in the Work Coverdale s Translation 
steals as a Stranger into the Country Time eventful Title-page, Dedica 
tion, and Prologue Preface to the Apocrypha Probably printed by 
Froschover, of Zurich All Divinity Lectures shall be on the Scriptures, 251 


Change in Title from Queen Anne to Queen Jane Coverdale not self-moved, 
but urged by Others, to the Work of Translation Fronde s Error in 
representing the King as originating the Version Coverdale the One 
Workman Errors of Whittaker, Blunt, arid Others Coverdale s Views 
on Translation His Version taken from German and Latin " Used Five 
Sundry Interpreters " Error in Title-page of "Bagster s Second Modern 
Edition" of Coverdale Blunders of Whittaker Ginsburg s Remarks 
Coverdale s Old Testament based chiefly on Zurich Bible, . . 272 


Coverdale s Notes Whence Derived Examples in Detail Collation of some 
Verses of Genesis as found in Tyndale and Coverdale Coverdale s New 
Testament Based on Tyndale s, with many Variations Renderings of 
Coverdale retained in Authorized Version, .... 286 


Quaint and Antique Renderings in Coverdale Obsolete Terms Coverdale 
always musical New Editions The Diglott Coverdale s Bible printed 
at Zlirich, published in London, ..... 298 




This Bible a Compilation Title-page and Dedication The Compiler John 
Hogers Thomas Matthews an Assumed Name Personal History of 
Ilogers Quits England for Antwerp Intimacy with Tyiidale Marriage 
Origination of the Volume not known Grafton and AVhitechurch assume 
the burden of Printing Inaccurate Statements in regard to this Bible by 
Grafton and Others, . . 309 


Matthew s Bible made up of the Translations of Tyiidale and Coverdale 
Respective Parts of each Mr. Fry s Collation The First Authorized 
Version, ........ 319 


The Work of Rogers not merely Mechanical Prefatory Matter Rogers did 
not attempt a thorough Revision Differences between Coverdale and 
Matthew Notes at the Ends of the Chapters Anti-Papal Notes, . 320 


Cranmer s Connection with Matthew s Bible His Letters to Crumwell 
Royal Proclamation Peculiar Decision and Boldness implied in licensing 
Matthew s Bible at such a time The Dedication Graftou s Fortune 
embarked in the Enterprise His Fear of Rival Editions The Age of 
Hand-Bibles not yet come, ...... 335 


Revised Edition of Matthew s Bible Richard Taverner Dedication His 
Scholarship Changes made by him Other Editions of Matthew s Bible 
Rogers returns to England Obtains Preferment Re-establishment of 
Popery under Mary Rogers a Prisoner in his own House Sent to 
Newgate Examined before the Privy Council Condemned along with 
Hooper His Martyrdom His Descendants Marbeck s Concordance 
Marbeck condemned, but not executed "Servant" altered into 
" Knave," ........ 343 



Coverdale chosen by Crumwell to revise Matthew s Bible Errors of Hume and 
Others in regard to Origin of this Revision Printed at Paris Coverdale 
and Grafton Bonner s Intercourse with them The Work forbidden, and 
the Printer cited before the Inquisitor-General Finished in London 
The Title Holbein s Frontispiece Apology for Want of Notes Cover- 
dale s Pliancy Crumwell s Injunction for the Circulation of the Bible 
Collation of Tyndale and Great Bible Latin Version of Erasmus consulted 
for New Testament Miinster and Pagninus for Old Testament Collation 
of Second and Twenty-third Psalms Attempts of Clergy to frustrate 
Crumwell s Proclamation The Bible welcomed by the People, . 355 


Cranmer s Interest in a New Edition of the Bible His Letter to Crumwell 
Royal Patent Fulke s Story Coverdale Editor of the Second Great Bible 
as well as of the First Cranmer s Prologue Title William Barlow, 372 


Changes in Edition of 1540 mainly suggested by Miinster s Latin Version 
Examples Collation Successive Editions of Great Bible The Authorized 
Bible Examples of its Inferiority as a Translation Period of Stormy 
Transition Scenes at Bible Readings Demand for an English Bible the 
Political Cry of the Age Heresy and Treason Crumwell s Fall First 
Edition bearing the Names of Tunstall and Heath Anthony Marler 
Royal Proclamation ordering all Churches to provide themselves with a 
Bible of the Largest Volume Royal Warrant for Price of Bibles, 370 


Bonner s Injunction in favour of Bible Circulation Abuses Reaction 
Proposed Revision in the interest of Ecclesiastical Intolerance Gardyner s 
List of Latin Words to be retained Cranmer defeats Gardyner s Schemes 
Reading of the Bible to be placed under legal restraint Various Abuses 
Cruel and Absurd Restrictions Martyrdom of Anne Askew "The 
Supplication of the Poor Commons," .... 400 



Enmity of Ecclesiastics in Scotland to English Bible Beaton s List of 
Intended Victims Trial of Thomas Forrest, Vicar of Dollar, and others 
Lord Maxwell s Motion Chancellor Dunbar s Dissent Every Man free 
to read the Scriptures in his own Tongue Regent s Proclamation Work 
of Murder recommenced George Wishart, . . 41!- 


Accession of Edward VI.- Kemoval of all Restrictions on Bible Heading- 
Opposition to English Bible in various Parts of the Country Insurrection 
in Devonshire Sir John Cheke s Translation Numeroiis Editions of the 
Bible in the Reign of Edward Cranmer and the Burning of Joan of Kent 
Accession of Mary Gardyner and Bonner Character of Gardyner 
Heath The Bible even in Effigy not to be endured now Nor any Frag 
ment or Text Bonner s wrathful Mandate Numbers who perished during 
Mary s Reign Proclamation against Reading and Importation of Scriptures 
John Rogers the first to die under Mary Cranmer, Ridley, Hooper, and 
Others follow Life of Coverdale after Publication of Great Bible Sum 
moned before Mary s Council and made a Prisoner at large Macalpine and 
Coverdale Danish King s Letters in favour of Coverdale His Release 
and Departure to Denmark Gardyner s Death Persecution carried on by 
Bonner and Pole Coverdale returns Home after Accession of Elizabeth 
Public Merits not rewarded The Living of St. Magnus His Poverty 
Death Character Unjustly disparaged by Anderson His Epitaph, 420 


Page 77, line 10 from top, for "we also," read "we have also." 
193, ,, 5 for "picquant," read "piquant." 
215, ,, 3 from bottom, for " Deutoronomos," read "Deuteroiiomos." 
298, ,, 9 from top, for "Judges x," read " Judges ix." 
380, note 5, for " nos," read " vos." 

385, line 9 from top, for "a mothre [putting a garment]," read "a moth [fretting 


VOL. T. 

<dffor it is not tntwh abone one hunbreth jjearc ago, sens scripture 
hath not bcne accnsiomcb to be rebbe in the iralgar tongc toithin this 
wahnc, anb mang hnnowb jieares before that, it teas transJateb anb rebbf 
in the cSaxcnes ionge, tohgch at that t^mt teas onrc mothers tongc, 
tohercof there remagneth get bibers eopges, founbe latclg in olbe Jlbbeis 
of soch antique maners xjf turitgnge anb speaking that feiue men note 
ben abk to reabe anb nnberstonbc them. 

Cranmer s Preface to Great Bible, 1540. 


Christianity is first introduced into a country, there 
is ever, on the part of those who accept it from oral teaching, 
a strong craving to possess its written Kecords in their own 
tongue. According to several of the Early Fathers, a similar 
desire had been felt and gratified in Britain on its reception 
of the Gospel, 1 though Latin was well understood by the 
educated classes during the period of Roman supremacy, and 
was also the language of the earliest Western translation of the 
Bible. But while copies of the Scriptures, as Gildas records, 
were burned in the streets of British towns during the perse 
cution under Diocletian, no fragments of any old version in 
the Keltic dialects of England or Scotland have been preserved. 2 
After the legions were called away, bands of fierce warriors, 
Jutes, Saxons, and Angles, from the shores of the Eider, the 
Elbe, the Weser, and the Baltic, crossing the sea at various 
times, invaded and occupied the country, dispossessed the 
natives, and swept away civilization and Christianity. This 
barbarian dominion had lasted several dark and dismal years, 
when the mission of Augustine led to the conversion of Ethelbert, 
king and Bretwalda, in A.D. 597. The result was that the 
public services of religion were gradually organized among the 
pagan 3 settlers; the Keltic tribes which had been driven into 

1 Chrysostomi Opera, vol. Ill, 3 The poem of Beowulf had its 
p. 86. Ed. Benedict. Parisiis, 1837. origin among the pagan Saxons. 

2 Opera, English Trans., Giles, Edited by Kemble, London, 1837. 
p. 10. London, 1844. 


"Wales, Ireland, and the Hebrides, having preserved no little of 
their earlier ecclesiastical institutions. 1 

While the Catholic Church had its grand and impressive 
service, it was early and often felt desirable to attempt a trans 
lation of the Latin Bible into the speech of common life. 
Such a translation might be sometimes a solitary experiment, 
or it might proceed from a generous wish to bring those who 
did not understand Latin face to face with the divine truth 
vailed in it. The Psalms, the Ten Commandments, and the 
Lord s Prayer were in this way, and from time to time, ren 
dered into the mother tongue, and those fragments appear to 
have been cherished as monastic treasures, or carefully kept as 
literary curiosities. Theodore of Tarsus, seventh Archbishop 
of Canterbury, on his first visitation, enjoined parents to see 
that " their children were taught to say the Creed and 
the Lord s Prayer in the vulgar tongue." 2 In the same spirit 
Bede writes to Egbert who had been recently raised to the 
primacy of York, exhorting him to cause the Lord s Prayer 
and the Creed to be turned into Anglo-Saxon for the use of 
the priesthood, as well as of the laity, 3 and he appeals to his 
own example, for he had prepared such a translation for native 
teachers, ignorant of Latin. Aidan, the meek and pious 
Scottish Bishop of Lindisfarne (A.D. 635), who, according to 
Bede, " had a zeal of God " not quite according to knowledge, 
since he kept Easter according to the custom of his own 
country, employed all his associates, whether monks or laymen, 
in reading the Scriptures or in learning psalms. 4 The state- 

1 So few Keltic words have beeii wedding form was no doubt in 
preserved, that they give no appro- Anglo-Saxon, and its hearty sound 
ciable colouring to our language, ex- and simple sterling substance are 
cept in names of localities, of which preserved in the English ritual to 
a considerable number survive, the present day." Lappenberg s 
Morley s English Writers, vol. I, History of England under the 
Pt. I, p. 163. Anglo-Saxons, vol. I, p. 202. 

2 Hook s Archbishops of Canter- Thorpe s Trans., London, 1845 
bury, Vol. I, p. 150. London, 1860. Palgrave s England and Normandy, 

3 Opera, vol. I, p. 14. Ed. vol. II, p. cxxxvi. 

Giles. " Even the mass itself was 4 Bede, Works, vol. II, p. 276. 
not entirely read in Latin. The Ed. Giles, London, 1843. 


ment seems to imply the existence and use of oral or written 
Northumbrian versions. Ussher records of Edfrid, of Lindis- 
farne (A.D. 710), that he translated most of the books of 
Scripture into Anglo-Saxon ; * but the tradition lacks proof. 
Aldhelm, of Sherborne, in his treatise De Laudibus Virgini- 
tatis, praises some nuns for their earnest and continuous 
study of the Scriptures ; and his eulogy seems to suggest that 
the sacred sisters possessed some portions of the Bible in their 
Anglo-Saxon or birth tongue. 2 The reading of Scripture was 
in those earlier times regarded as harmless, at least it was not 
frowned upon as perilous, for there was no popular restlessness 
under the established faith. Most of the older fragmentary 
Bibles have perished in the lapse of centuries, and in the 
destruction of the religious houses, when valuable libraries 
were dispersed as waste paper, or sold as fuel. The use of 
books, it is evident, must have been confined very much to 
the clergy, and the possession of them to the more wealthy 
and cultured of the laity. These early versions had no imme 
diate bearing on the later English translations of the Bible, and 
therefore a history of them in merest outline only is sketched 
in the following pages ; but as some readers may be interested 
in a brief account of the changes which at sundry times have 
passed over the old Saxon tongue, moulding in various ways 
the language of Qedmon and Alfred into that of Wycliffe and 
Tyndale, a very few remarks on these successive alterations 
have been given all tending to prove that the first so-called 
Anglo-Saxon translation was as truly an English Bible as is 
the present Authorized Version of 1611. 3 

Now, the common and convenient epithet Anglo-Saxon, as 
applied to these native translations, though it may be rather 
apt to mislead, easily explains itself: its first part indicating 
those invaders who took possession of the country, and called 
it, after themselves, Engla-land, England ; and the second part 

1 Usslier, Works, vol. XII, p. 3 Research among Anglo-Saxon 

282. Ed. Elrington, Dublin, 1847- MSS. on the part of patient and 

64. skilled collators is yet greatly needed 

a Opera, p. 2. Ed. Giles, Oxon. to give us their history, and a critical 

1 844. estimate of their age and value. 



yet surviving in the names of separate provinces or kingdoms 
as Essex, Wessex, and Sussex. While there was only one 
settlement of Jutes, there were three settlements of Saxons, and 
four of Angles ; and the Angles and the Saxons, from proximity 
of territory, were soon regarded as one people. Though the 
compound name is found in some old charters, the people called 
themselves and their tongue English. 1 This Anglo-Saxon- 
tongue was therefore our English tongue in its earlier and 
rougher form ; and what Alfred called English 3 has continued 
to be spoken in our land by successive generations for fourteen 
hundred years, and still lives in the power, character, and 
beauty of our modern language gifts which have come to us 
by natural inheritance. Perhaps not much more than a fifth 
of its original vocabulary has fallen out of use, and though 
many changes have passed over it since the Norman conquest, 
it is yet read and relished in our present Bibles. In many 
sections of Scripture only about one word in forty is not Anglo- 
Saxon. Thus in Gen. xlii, 21-29, there are, with the exception 

1 Turner, History of the Anglo- 
Saxons, vol. I, p. 298, Bede 
speaks of five languages as spoken in 
the island ; but two, if not three, of 
those referred to are merely dialects. 

2 The term, according to Lappen- 
berg, occurs first in Paul Waruefrid 
(cap. vi, p. 15) " Ceodaldus rex 
Auglorum-Saxouum/ See History 
of the Anglo-Saxons, vol. I, p. 97, 
&c., Thorpe s Translation, and Free 
man s Norman Conquest, vol. I, p. 
529. London. Ine, who began to 
reign A.D. 700, at the beginning of his 
laws is called King of the West 
Saxons, but in the Code itself his 
subjects are named Englisc, English, 
as opposed to Wealhas or Welshmen, 
this term meaning foreigners or the 
ancient British. Saxon and Norman 
are not opposed as national epithets, 
and even at the period of the Conquest 
the terms are French and English, 

and sometimes Normans and Eng 
lish. Angli was the common Latin 
name, though the people did not call 
themselves Angles, or their tongue 
Anglian, and even the Latin name 
is " English " in slight disguise. An- 
glorum is the epithet used in the 
title of Bede s History, in the desig 
nation of the first Christiau king, on 
the great seals of the Confessor and 
the Conqueror, while on the Bayeux 
tapestry Harold is called Dux 

3 In the preface to his translation 
of Gregory s Pastoralis Eegula, he 
uses several times the term Euglisc 
to denote his own language, and says 
that the name of Gregory s book is 
in Latin Pastoralis, and in English 
en Englisc hirde-boc, herdmau s book. 
Alfred s Welsh biographer Asser 
calls it Saxon, as do still the Kelts 
both in England and Scotland. 


of the proper names, only seven words which are not native ; 
in the Parable of the Sower, Matt, xiii, 3-9, there are, out of 10G 
words employed, only three foreign ones ; in John i, 1-10, only 
one Latin verb occurs ; and in John xi, 27-46, there are not 
more than four or five non-English terms, with the same excep 
tion of proper names. 

Some grammatical peculiarities of this Old English may be 
briefly noted, and many of them yet survive with more or less 
distinctness, as the names of objects of sense, of domestic rela 
tions, and of things of common life. If English word-books 
proper contain 38,000 words, then about five-eighths are Saxon, 
and the same average is true of the 10,000 terms in continual 
literary use. But in the 5,000 words of common living speech 
the small connective words which occur so frequently are Saxon, 
and the proportion is therefore greatly more than is to be found 
in dead dictionaries. 1 

This ancestral tongue had two forms for the two sounds 
of th. 2 It spelled its relative with an initial and vocal h. 
Its monosyllabic particles are immortal such as its articles, 
pronouns, auxiliary verbs, prepositions, and conjunctions. It 
had its seed within itself, and by simple inner changes, some 
times not unlike those of the Semitic dialects, it expressed new 
and varying shades of meaning, as may be still seen in our 
so-called defective and irregular verbs. 3 Its noun had its 

1 Thommerel, Recherches sur la like may be said of words into the 

fusion du Franco-Normand et de composition of which enter re-, com-, 

1 Anglosaxon. Paris, 1841. Thorn- con-, inter-, sub-, ex-, &c. The old 

merel found in Richardson s and tongue has lost its power of expansion 

Webster s English Dictionaries and self-development, and the new 

42,684 words, only 13,334 of them words assumed into it are nearly all 

being of native origin, and 29,354 of classic birth. In Milton s stock 

from a foreign source. But English of 8 ; 000 words there are, as might 

dictionaries now contain an immense be expected, more than 5,000 of 

variety of technical terms, relating foreign origin, but in an actual and 

to trade, science, and art. In such ordinary page of his poetry there are 

collections, too, compound terms 80 per cent, of Saxon words, 

swell the list. Words compounded 2 As " thin " and " thine." 

with the non-English particle "dis-" 3 As in float, fleet; stud, steed; sop, 

amount in Webster to 1,334, and the sup; sing, song; wake, woke. 


regular case-endings, which differed according to the gender of 
the word, and as the nominative ended in a vowel or a con 
sonant ; l and plurals were formed by the addition of -as, -is, -s, 
-n, -er, or by an internal vowel change. 2 Nouns often ended in 
syllables now represented by -hood, -head, -ship, -dom; diminu 
tives in -ing, -kin -ock, -let ; and gender was often marked by a 
different termination, as the feminine ending -ster or -in. 3 Verbs 
were usually conjugated by strong preterites, which have an 
expressive force not found in the more recent and effeminate 
suffix of -ed ; and they had both a common and a gerundial 
infinitive. 4 The third person singular indicative and the 
plural indicative also ended in -th, &c. 5 Numerous adverbs 
were formed from adjectives by the addition of "lie (-ly)," some 
were taken from verbs and nouns, and many are original 
monosyllables. Adjectives often ended in -ful, -less, -er. Many 
nouns were also used as adjectives, often with the addition of 
a syllable ; and many verbs are also nouns, sometimes unaltered, 
and sometimes with the added syllable -an, or -ian. The Anglo- 
Saxon verb had no future form, and we now use the auxiliaries 
" shall " and " will " " shall " being originally an expression of 
duty, and " will " of desire or purpose. In this way an Anglo- 
Saxon sentence was as firmly knitted together by the gender 
and cases of nouns and adjectives, and by the tenses and moods 
of verbs, as one in modern German. Compound words G are 

1 The genitive in -s is still pre- the phrases, " apt to teach," " I need 

served in the s "of our possessive money for to go." 

case, and in such words as twice, 5 Another verbal plural in -en is 

thrice, whose, towards ; that in -an often found in Shakespeare, espe- 

r -n in mine, thine; and the dative cially in the folio. Of this old form, 

plural in -om lives in seldom, whom, which had begun to disappear after 

tfcc. the time of "Wycliffe, Ben Jonson 

- One form is found in the common says, " I am persuaded that the 

English plural, and the others in lack thereof will be found a great 

such words as oxen, hosen, kine, blemish to our tongue." 

child-er-eu, geese, feet. 6 Some of these are very signifi- 

3 Darling, lambkin, hillock, ham- cant Rhetoric being flyt-crceft, the 
let, spinster, foster (foodster), vixen, art of flytiug ; Grammar, sta}f- 
carlin. crreft, the, art of letters ; Music, 

4 Ending in -enue or -anne, being son-craft, the art of sound ; Arith- 
a dative with " to " prefixed, as in metic, rim-craft, the art of numbers, 


numerous, expressive, and self-evident in meaning, and usually 
they are not hybrids. More especially in the Anglo-Saxon 
Gospels, we have Godspel, good news, the gospel ; reste-dreg, 
day of rest, or Sabbath ; domes-dseg, domesday ; big-spel, 
parable ; tungel-witegan, star knowers, the magi ; stoop-cild, 
step-child, or orphan (John xiv, 18) ; sunder-halgan, separate 
holy, the Pharisees ; bocere, bookman, or scribe ; leorning- 
cnicht, a disciple ; wseter-seocman, one having dropsy; hun- 
dredes ealdor-man, a centurion ; geriht-wisian, to justify ; 
manfulle and synfulle, publicans and sinners. As was to be 
expected, Latin terms found their way from the Vulgate into 
the Anglo-Saxon New Testament, as sacerd, biscop, calic, 
martyr, &c. 


The earliest specimen of an effort to unseal the sacred volume 
is not a translation, but a paraphrastic poem, and it shows at 
least a willingness to present to the unlearned the truths and 
facts of Scripture. The poet did not feel that the sacred 
narrative suffered any degradation from being told in the 
familiar syllables of the hearth and the field. Towards the 
close of the seventh century, and in the time of St. Hilda, 
Caedmon, 1 originally a cow-herd, and afterwards a monk of 
Streaneshalch, 2 composed a metrical history of the Creation and 
the Exodus, the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension 
of the Saviour, the gift of the Spirit, and the solemn realities 

folk-land being public land, and as, -citizen, -prisoners, -servant, 
boc-land, land in private possession, -soldier ; and words compounded 
Agen-bite is remorse, as " Agen- with sheep sheep-master, sheep- 
bite of Inwit," remorse of conscience, cote, &c. 

the name of Dan Michel s well l Edited by Junius (Francis 

known poem in the southern or Duyou), 1655 ; Thorpe, 1832; Grein, 

Kentish dialect. Hunger-bitten sur- Gottingeu, 1857 ; and Bouterwek, 

vives in the Authorized Version (Job Elberfeld, 1849. 

xviii, 12), as also do hand-breadth, 2 Now known by its Danish name 

hand-weapon, hand- writing, handy- of Whitby. If not a cowherd, he had 

work, a form found in Milton s " star occasional charge of jumenta during 

ypointing pyramid " ; child-bear- night, 
ing; words compounded with fellow, 


of Eternity. Sonic sentences are rendered with considerable 
accuracy, and the poem shows the force and style of the current 
tongue of the period a tongue somewhat rude but robust, 
like a wall built of rugged, unhewn stones, fresh from the 
quarry. As Csedmon could not himself translate, he only 
versified, with occasional felicity and glow, what others inter 
preted for him. Bcde 1 speaks of his songs as composed with 
much sweetness and humility, and affirms that he was divinely 
helped, so that, having received the gift of poetry in a dream, 
he could never afterwards tune his cithard to any secular 
mirth. 2 The brethren taught him sacred history which, after 
meditation, he put into verses sometimes of Miltonic gran 
deur, and in turn made his teachers his hearers. Though 
Csedmon s poems are loose in their structure as being the 
rhythmic paraphrase of an oral version, and though they, 
in the course of transmission, have been altered and injured 
both in alliteration and sense, they are to be commended in 
their purpose, for they sprang from an earnest desire to impart 
sacred knowledge in a popular and memorable form. 

About the same time a version of the Psalms is supposed 
to have been made by Guthlac, 3 the earliest Saxon anchoret at 
Croyland. This version, or a similar one, is preserved between 
the lines of a very old Roman psalter, the MS. itself appar- 
ently written in Italy, and being as some suppose one of the 
books which Gregory sent to Augustine, Archbishop of Can 
terbury. This opinion is so far confirmed by the fact that 
while the Gallican psalter was used in the other parts of the 
island, the Roman psalter was read and sung in the Primate s 
own Cathedral. 4 Aldhelm, allied to the royal blood, born in 

1 Bede wrote about sixty years still preserved among the Cottoniau 
after Coedmon s death. See Bouter- MSS., and was edited, in 1843, for 
wek, De Cedmone poeta Anglo- the Surtees Society by J. Stevenson, 
Saxonum, &c. Elberfeld, 1845. "Anglo-Saxon and early English 

2 Quasi mundum animal runiin- Psalter;" the volume also contains an 
ando Bedaj opera, vol. Ill, p. early Northumbrian version. An 
116. Ed. Giles, London, 1843. Anglo-Saxon version of the life of 

3 Died A.D. 714. Guthlac was edited from a MS. in 
4 Baber, preface to "VVycliffe, p. the Cottonian collection, by E. II. 

Iviii. This venerable document is Goodwin, London, 1848. 

INT.] BEDE. 11 

Wessex, and one of the earliest erudite clergy, first abbot of 
Malmsbury, and then Bishop of Sherborne, produced another 
Anglo-Saxon version of the Psalms about the year TOG. This 
version has been identified with one found in the Royal 
Library at Paris at the beginning of this century. The first 
fifty psalms are in prose, and the rest in verse; but the whole 
translation, however, can scarcely be Aldhelm s. 1 Aldhelm had 
studied under the Abbot Adrian who had come over to 
England with Archbishop Theodore. Though he wrote so much 
in Latin, he was fond of his native tongue; and we are told on 
the authority of King Alfred, that when he was at Malmsbury, 
he composed songs in it, and sang them as a minstrel on a 
bridge frequented by the people, that they might, while they 
enjoyed his ballads, be inclined to listen as he introduced 
spiritual themes. 

About a quarter of a century after this period the venerable 
Bede of Jarrow was engaged in the work of translation. The 
region in which this monastery was situated is now planted 
with a forest of furnaces, throwing out fire and smoke, and 
soiled with unsightly mounds of cinders and igneous refuse, 
while the din of heavy hammers is ever resounding, as great 
iron vessels are built in succession, by swart and busy myriads. 
But in Bede s time it was quiet, lone, and thinly peopled, and 
the Tyne ran through miles of solitary and monotonous moor 
land, with occasional patches of trees on its banks. Amidst 
his numerous literary toils his History, Commentaries, and 
Controversial Tracts Bede found time for rendering portions 
of the Scriptures into his mother tongue, and he had great 
delight in the occupation. While he appears to have had only 
some slight acquaintance with Hebrew, 2 he knew Greek, and 

1 Edited by Thorpe, Liber Psalm- siastical History, in A.D. 731. Ill 
orum, versio autiqua Latina, cum his Tract De Arte Metrica he shows 
paraphrasi Anglo-Saxonica, &c. acquaintance with a metrical peculi- 
Oxon. 1S35. arity of Homer, saying that it is to 

2 The Tract, " De Interpretatione be used sparingly, that in Virgil it 
Nominum Hebraicorum," is not in- occurs non rarissimum, apud Ho- 
cluded in his own list of his thirty- merum nou frequentissimum. Opera, 
eight works appended to his Eccle- vol. VI, p. 6. Ed. Giles. 


he had in his possession a Greek Codex of the Acts, to the 
readings of which he frequently refers in his Review 1 of his 
Commentary on that book. According to some of his biogra 
phers, Bede translated the whole Scripture; but the assertion 
is devoid of authority. There is, however, no doubt that he 
translated the Gospel of John, and that as the concluding 
verses were rendered by him he expired. The fourth Gospel 
in its pathos and subjectivity, its rich theology and profound 
spiritual experience, must have had a special charm for the 
holy and susceptible soul of Bede. His last task had been an 
English version of some extracts from Isidore, but the transla 
tion of the Gospel of John filled all his closing moments. It 
had been his study and delight, his spirit was in loving fellow 
ship with Him whom it enshrines, and as he finished its trans 
lation he pillowed his dying head on the Lord s bosom and fell 
asleep. 2 The translator was revered in long subsequent times; 
and Purvey, the reviser of Wycliffe s version, looks back to him 
as a bright example and leader. 3 

During the next century the great and good King Alfred, as 
he surveyed and lamented the ravages of the Danish invasion, 
says, in the preface to his translation of the Pastoral of Pope 
Gregory, " I thought how I saw, before it was all spoiled 
and burned, how the churches were filled with treasures of 
books, and also with a great multitude of God s servants ; yet 
they reaped very little fruit of these books, because they could 

1 Liber Iletractationis iu Acta Archbishop Theodore. It was pub- 

Apostolorum. Opera, vol. XII, p. lished by Hearne in 1715, ami more 

!)6. Ed. Giles. Mill in his Prolego- recently by Tischendorf, Monumeuta 

mena to his New Testament, p. 99, Sacra Inedita, vol. IX, Appendix. 
1022-26, collects some of the install- - Died 27th May, 735 A.D., at 

ces of agreement, and his conclusion the age of fifty-nine. The story of 

is that Bede s MS. was either the his end is told in a vivid letter of his 

Laudian Codex, aut ej-us plane gemcl- pupil Cuthbert to his fellow-scholar 

lum. AVoide, in his Notitia Codicis Cutluvin. 

Alexaudrim, p. 156, &c., has adduced ;i " Bede translated the Bible, and 

above thirty additional examples in expounded much in Saxon, that was 

proof. This Latin-Greek codex, now English or common language of this 

in the Bodleian Library, was pro- land at his time." Preface, 
bably brought into the country by 


understand nothing of them, as they were not written in their 
own native tongue. Few persons south of the Humber could 
understand the service in English, or translate Latin into 
English. I think there were not many beyond the Humber, . . . 
and none to the south of the Thames, when I began to reign." 
Religious life had nearly died out ; but it revived under him, 
and his patriotic valour kept his kingdom from relapsing into 
Pagan darkness and savagism through the inroads of the 
Danes, who were characteristically called the " heathen men," 
as wild followers of Odin, as Hengist and Horsa, and the 
early Saxon invaders. Alfred intimates also that he some 
times rendered word for word, and sometimes meaning for 
meaning. 1 To create a native literature, and infuse a taste for 
it, he translated many treatises as the histories of Orosius 
and Bede, Boethius de Consolatione, and some of Augustine s 
Soliloquies ; and crowned his labours by prefixing to his 
body of laws a translation of the Decalogue called "Alfred s 
Dooms," with portions of the three following chapters of 
Exodus, abridged and so altered that the fourth command 
ment reads, " for in six days Christ wrought the heavens and 
the earth." The extent of his Biblical labours has been 
greatly exaggerated ; and Spelman, on the authority of Arch 
bishop Parker, asserts that Alfred translated the New Testa 
ment, and some portion of the Old. At the time of his death 
(A.D. 901) he was engaged on a version of the Psalms ; but the 
work was left incomplete. There lives, however, his patriotic 
wish that all the free-born youth of his kingdom should 
employ themselves on nothing till they were able to read well 
the English Scriptures. Such is at least the familiar form of 
quotation ; but the last words, Englisc ge-writ anedan," most 
probably mean simply, to read English writing, as indeed the 
context so plainly implies. 2 

Besides fragmentary versions of Scripture, glosses were also 

1 "Hwilum word be worde, hwilum "Obedience of a Christian Man," 

andgit of andgite." Preface to his says vaguely that " King Athelstane, 

translation of the " Pastoral," from exhorted by the bishops, caused the 

the copy sent to Bishop Wulfsige. Holy Scripture to be translated iuto- 

Tyndale, in the preface to the English." Foxe repeats the state- 


in common use, the Latin text being accompanied by an in 
terlinear vernacular translation. 1 One of these Evangelisteria, 
beautifully written, exists among the Cotton MSS. of the 
British Museum (Nero, D, iv) sometimes called the Durham 
Book, as it belonged to the Dean and Chapter of Durham ; and 
sometimes the Cuthbert Gospels, as the MS. is supposed to 
have been used by St. Cuthbert. It was adorned with gold, 
pictures, and precious jewels by Bishop Ethelwald and Bell- 
frith the anchoret, and it had quite a romantic history. The 
Latin of these four Gospels was written by Eadfrith, Bishop of 
Lindisfarne, about A.D. G80, and the Anglo-Saxon gloss was 
added by Aldred, a priest of Holy Isle, between the years 946 
and 968, who calls himself " indignissimus et miserrimus." In 
the Bodleian Library there is another similar MS., of probably 
the same period the Rushworth Gloss or Gospels, so named 
after its donor, the well known author of the voluminous 
" Historical Collections," relating to the period of the Common 
wealth. 2 The book was written by an Irish scribe, MacRegol, 
and the interlinear version was inserted in the ninth or tenth 
century, the authors of it presenting their claim on those who 

ment ; but there is nothing to justi- 1865 the three last edited by G. 

fy it. Waring. Four Saxon translations 

1 Glossing was a very common of the Gospel of St. Matthew were 
practice at that period. The pro- printed side by side in one volume, 
cess was applied, not only to the begun by Mr. Kemble and, after 
Scriptures, but to other books, as his death, finished by Mr. Hard- 
Prosper, Prudentius, Sedulius, Dun- wicke, Cambridge, 1858. One text 
stan s "Rule for English Monks, &c. is from a MS. in Corpus Christi 
The gloss was neither a free nor College, the second text is from the 
yet a literal translation, but the Hatton MS. in the Bodleian, the 
interlinear insertion of the verua- third is the interlinear Lindisfarne 
cular, word against word of the gloss, and the fourth is the Kush- 
original, so that the order of the worth version without its Latin 
former was really irrespective of text. The Gospel of St. Mark was 
idiom and usage. published by the Eev. Walter Skeat, 

"The Gospels have been pub- M.A., Cambridge, J871, with an 

lished by the Surtees Society St. introduction of great interest and 

Matthew, in 1854, under the care of utility. Various readings are also 

J. Stevenson ; St. Mark, in 1861 ; given. 
St. Luke, in 1863; and St. John, in 


use it, to be remembered by them in prayer. " Farmen pres 
byter thas boc thus gleosede " this book thus glossed ; and the 
book ends with a prayer, " he that of mine profiteth, pray he 
for Owun that this book glossed, and Farmen, the priest at 
Harewood, who has now written the book." MacRegol also 
adds a prayer for himself. The Rushworth St. Matthew, 
which is not in the proper Northumbrian dialect, is rather 
an independent translation than a copied gloss ; but the other 
three Gospels, with short exceptions, are transcripts of the 
Durham Book. Glosses of a similar nature were made on 
the Psalter : one of them, probably of the ninth century, was 
published by the younger Spelman in 1640. There are in 
existence other manuscript glosses, and their number shows 
that this form of presenting vernacular Scripture must have 
been a favourite labour of Biblical scribes and scholars ; but 
such bilingual versions could not from their nature have had a 
very wide circulation. Among the forms of penance enjoined 
by St, Dunstan upon the unworthy King Edgar, is an in 
junction that he was to be at the expense of transcribing 
copies of the Holy Scriptures, and transmitting them to 
churches in various parts of the kingdom for the instruction of 
the people. 

^Elfric, Abbot of Peterborough in 1004, and Archbishop of 
York 1 in 1023, translated large portions of Scripture, the 
greater part of the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Kings, Esther, 
Job, Judith, and Maccabees. yElfric translated with a 
patriotic purpose, and English is the name which he usually 

1 According to many authorities, Grammarian was the Primate of 
not to be confounded with ^Elfric, York ; and he was replied to at 
Archbishop of Canterbury, who died length by Mores in a volume edited 
in 1005; but the settlement of this by Thorkelin, London, 1789. Leland 
personal question is not in our made three ^Elfrics, but Ussher 
province. William of Malmsbury united them into one. See also 
and Matthew Paris got into con- Norman s preface to his edition of 
fusion about the JElfrics, and Le- the Anglo-Saxon version of the 
land, Bale, Parker, Ussher, and Hexameron of St. Basil, 2nd Ed., 
Spelman have taken part in the London, 1849 ; and Hook s Arch- 
discussion. Henry Wharton (An- bishops of Canterbury, vol. I, p. 
glia Sacra, p. 125) held that the 439. 




gives to his native speech. 1 Of his version of Joshua he says, 
" This book I turned into English for Ealdorman Ethehvard, a 
book that a prince might study in times of invasion and turbu 
lence." Of Judith he records, "Englished according to my 
skill, for your example, that you may also defend your 
country by force of arms against the outrage of foreign hosts." 
These translations are marked by abridgment and omissions. 2 
Thus the Anclo-Saxon Church had native versions and 

1 The versions of Moses, Joshua, 
Judges, Kings, and Esther were 
published, under the title of Hepta- 
teuchus, by Thwaites, Oxford, 1698. 
./Elfric also composed a brief account 
of the Old and New Testament ; 
published by W. L Isle, in 1623; 
and eighty of his Homilies have been 
published, under the editorial care 
of B. Thorpe, by a society which 
takes /Elfric s name. 

From a MS. belonging to Arch 
bishop Parker, which is still pre 
served in the Bodleian Library, 
were published, under the editorial 
care of John Foxe, " The Gospels 
of the fower Evangelistes translated 
in the Olde Saxon s tyme out of 
Latin into the vulgare^toung of the 
Saxons." London, 1571, printed by 
John Daye. The volume is printed 
in the same type as ^Elfric s sermon 
on Easter-day, which was the first 
Anglo-Saxon book that issued from 
the English press, 1567. The Anglo- 
Saxon of the Gospels fills about two- 
thirdsof thepage,and the other third 
is occupied with the correspondent 
verses of the Bishops Bible, which is 
now and then changed into harmony 
with the earlier version. It was 
dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, and 
" given into her own hands by her 
Father Foxe." Marshall conjectures 

that this book contained Bede s ver 
sion of St. John s Gospel. An edi 
tion, based on that of 1571, was pub 
lished by Juuius the Younger and 
Marshall, London, 1638; and then in 
a more correct form, along with the 
Gothic version, Dordrecht, 1665; and 
Amsterdam, 1684. A small and 
useful edition of the Gospels ap 
peared in 1842, edited by B. Thorpe, 
London and Oxford. 

2 A very accurate and complete 
edition of the Gospels was published, 
under the care of Bosworth and 
Waring, in 1865. It contains in 
parallel columns the Gothic version 
of Ulphilas, the first version of 
Wycliffe, and the first of Tyndale, 
1526. For the Anglo-Saxon great 
pains were bestowed on a collation 
of the best MSS. In connection with 
this Polyglott may be commended 
Helfensteiirs Comparative Grammar 
of the Teutonic Languages, Mac- 
millan & Co., 1870. Loth s Etymolo- 
gische Augelscechsisch - englische 
Grammatik, Elberfeld, 1870. 
March s Comparative Grammar of 
the Anglo-Saxon Language, &c., 
New York, 1871. Stratmann s 
Dictionary of Old English, Krefeld, 
1867. Bosworth s Origin of English, 
&c., London, 1847. 


glosses, though not in wide diffusion; but the wreck only of 
such treasures has come down to us. Many copies must have 
perished in the Danish invasion ; and afterwards, through the 
neglect and contempt of the Norman nobility and ecclesiastics, 
Saxon manuscripts were often tossed aside as old and useless. 1 
We have no proof that the ability to read had been generally 
acquired by the masses and these extant volumes and all 
others which they represent "what are they among so many?" 
But the men who translated Scripture into English syllables 
for Englishmen, felt that in this patriotic labour so far from 
unhallowing it, they were only giving it the greater glory of 
adaptation and living power, and they are to be honoured as 
national benefactors. 

In a word, these Anglo-Saxon manuscripts 2 were all of 
necessity translated from the Latin ; the era of Greek scholar 
ship lay still in a remote futurity. The Latin version existed 
in two different forms the familiar Vulgate, as partly revised 
and partly translated by Jerome, and the prior old version, 
often named the Vetus Itala, which is found in the Latin of 
the Codex Bezse D of the Gospels and Acts; 3 in the Codex 
Palatinus recently edited by Tischendorf 4 ; and on the left- 
hand page of Blanchini s Evangeliarium Quadruplex. From 
this Ante-Hieronymian version some of the Anglo-Saxon ren 
derings were taken. It is followed where the Vulgate differs 
from it, in Matt, xxiii, 14, a verse being omitted which the Vul 
gate has; and Matt, xx, 28, the old Latin having an addition 
of some verses chiefly taken from Luke xiv, 7-10. On the 
other hand, the Anglo-Saxon version often agrees, not with 
the Clementine text, but with the best readings of the Vulgate 
as preserved in the Codex Amiatinus. 

1 Thus in Wanley s Introduction to to the Anglo-Saxon versions in con- 

a catalogue made in A.D. 1248, of nection with textual criticism. 

Saxon books in the library at Glas- 3 This Codex, presented to Cam- 

tonbuiy, this entry appears duo bridge by Beza, was edited by Dr. 

Anglica, vetusta et inutilia. Scrivener, in 1864. 

a Both Mill and Tischendorf refer 4 Lipsise, 1847. 

VOL. I. 



Scandinavian pirates had ravaged the northern shores of 
France for several years, when Jarl Oscar, in May, 841, sailed 
up the Seine and plundered Rouen. The same process was 
repeated by the sea king Regnar Lodbrog and his lawless 
followers within a brief period. These successes brought another 
band which in 87G, under Rolf or Duke Rollo, 1 a Norwegian rover, 
conquered and took possession of Neustria, which at length was 
formally ceded in 912 to the victorious invaders by Charles the 
Simple. The descendants of these Northmen or Normans soon 
came to speak the tongue of the people among whom they 
dwelt, for the warriors took native wives, who were not pure 
Kelts, but had a large admixture of Roman and Frankish 
blood. The children naturally used the speech of their 
mothers. Scandinavian manners and dress were abandoned as 
well as the Scandinavian tongue, so that, a few years after the 
death of Duke Rollo, William (Longsword), the second duke, was 
obliged to send his son to Bayeux 2 to learn Danish, as the 
Langue Romane 3 was almost the only dialect spoken in his 
capital city of Rouen. At the council of Mouson-sur-Meuse in 
995, the Bishop of Verdun spoke in French. When, under the 
seventh Duke William, the illegitimate son of Robert the 
Devil, these Normans invaded England scarcely two centuries 
after their settlement in France, they brought with them their 
new language. 

But French was not introduced into the island by the 
conquerors ; for, in fact, French influence had been at work in 

1 Or Eou, as in "Wace s poem, in the south of France the form 

Roman de Eou. Rolf (Hwrolf) fol- known as the Provenjal or Langue- 

lowed the example of his old ally d Oc, and that in the north became 

Guthrun, whom he had helped to Langue-d Oyl, the progenitor of 

ravage the English coast, and was modern French; Oc and Oyl (oui) 

baptized. being the different ways of making 

8 Dudo de St. Quentin, lib. iii, affirmation. Useful information on 

p. 112. Bayeux and its territory, the Romance languages will be found 

the Bessin, had enjoyed at least a in Essays on their " Origin and For- 

double infusion of Teutonic blood, mation " by Sir George Cornwall 

3 This Langue Romaiie assumed Lewis, London, 1862, 2nd edition. 


England for a considerable time. Cnut, 1 the Danish king, had 
married the widow of ^Ethelred, Emma, the " gem of the Nor 
mans"; and children were often sent out of England to be 
educated in French monasteries. Edward, the last king of the 
old line, was the son of a Norman princess, and cousin of Duke 
William who put forward a claim to the throne of England, 
based on his childless kinsman s promise. Called to the throne 
as an Atheling, or a descendant of the royal house of Cerdic, at 
the death of Harthacnut, third and last of the Danish kings, 
the Confessor, who had been educated in Normandy, brought 
the French language into his court, and surrounded himself 
with Norman ecclesiastics and officers. Important fortresses 
on the Welsh borders were occupied by foreign soldiers, and, 
under royal encouragement, many Normans had planted them 
selves in the cities as merchants. Robert of Jumiege held 
the primacy of Canterbury ; and a faction of the king s French 
favourites was able, in 1051, to drive Godwin, the great Earl 
of the West Saxons, out of the kingdom for a time. 

The defeat of Harold, on the hill of Senlac behind Hastings, 
introduced a great and terrible revolution. In the general 
confiscation, the English secular clergy and not a few mitred 
dignitaries were gradually set aside ; the domains of the higher 
classes were abruptly torn from the most of them, the others being 
forced to hold their property by a new tenure as vassals, nay, 
some of them became socagers, or sank into villeins. 2 The 
more daring spirits rose in revolt like Hereward, adventurous 
bands wandered as far as Constantinople and entered the 
famous Varangian guards, and a fraction of the more reckless, of 
whom Robin Hood is the popular representative, fled in a 
spirit of wild revenge to the shelter of the forests, and lived as 
outlaws and robbers. 

It was natural for the victorious Norman nobility and their 
retainers to cherish their own dialect and disparage that of the 
humbled and beaten islanders. Lanfranc, who had been trans- 

1 Latinized into Canutus by Pope ! History of the Norman Kings 

Paschal II, who could not pro- of England, by Thomas Cobbe, Bar- 

nouuce the thick Scandinavian rister of the Inner Temple, &c., p. 43, 

monosyllable. London, 1869. 


lated to Canterbury, scorned the native saints ; and, under him, 
the Abbot Paul threw down the tombs of his English predeces 
sors in the abbey of St. Albans. But, while French influence 
so proudly predominated at the court, in towns, and wherever 
the Norman grandees in the church, the state, and the army 
had sway, the people clung to their own speech. The situation 
favoured the success of this popular conservatism. The lower 
classes, serfs, herdsmen, tillers of the earth, " hewers of wood 
and drawers of water," suffered little by the Conquest. What 
befell them was simply a change of masters. They lived on the 
soil as in former times, and were contented to speak the tongue 
which their fathers had spoken before them. Besides, the 
conquerors were only a small minority, originally an army of 
sixty thousand now dispersed among two millions, so that they 
could not colonize the country, or mingle largely with the 
native race. Many of the victorious strangers coveted compar 
ative isolation by fortifying themselves in castles eleven 
hundred of which were built in the reign of Stephen. The 
government was, in fact, a military occupation, which had 
displaced the nobility and gentry introduced a new dynasty 
and a foreign aristocracy. The immediate result was that two 
languages were spoken side by side, French and English, the 
former by the governing faction, and the latter by the masses 
of the people, thousands of whom could have little personal 
intercourse with the knights and barons of the Conqueror. 1 
There occurred in this way the phenomenon described by Robert 
of Gloucester in his metrical Chronicle, belonging to the latter 
half of the thirteenth century "The Normans spoke French and 
taught it to their children, and the high men of the land did 
the same, whereas, low men held to English and their natural 
speech yet ; it is advantageous to know both." 2 Trevisa, in 
his translation of Higden s Polychronicon, 3 laments that against 

1 Palgrave s Rise aud Progress of 3 Vol. II, p. 9, Eolls edition. See 
the English Commonwealth, vol. I, introduction to the Eolls edition of 
j). 56. King William, immediately Higdeu. Ed. Churchhill Babing- 
after the Conquest, gave an English ton, B.D., F.L.S., &c., Cambridge, 
charter to the city of London. vol. I, London, 1865. Eariulph 

2 Hearne s edition, p. 364. Higden was a Benedictine monk of 


the manners and usage of all other nations, children at school 
had to leave their own tongue, and "construe lessons and 
thinges in French," ever since the Normans came first into 
England ; and that " uplandish people " who would be gentle 
men, were making great efforts to master French. 

There is no proof whatever of the common accusation that 
William forbade the use of English 1 to the people, though he 
enacted that French should be spoken in seats of learning. 
On the other hand, he tried to master English himself, but at 
the age of forty-three he found the task too hard and irksome 
for him. 2 His purpose was to understand the causes brought 
before him for judgment, and these must have been presented 
in English. What was impossible to the father was apparently 
achieved in part by two of his sons. William Rufus gained the 
help of a portion of his subjects against some Norman rebels in 
the midst of them, by addressing to them some pithy English 
words. Henry I (Beauclerc), the Conqueror s youngest son. 
seems to have been taught Englishes he was born in the country, 
and got the education of an English prince, the son of a crowned 
king; and he was sometimes left in England when his father 
and brothers went to Normandy. He is said to have translated 
^Esop s Fables 3 into English. But French was the tongue of 

St. Werburgh s Abbey, Chester. The greatest and best part of our lan- 

Polychronicon is a universal history, guage." History, vol. I, p. 259. 

brought down to the year 1342. London, 1825. See also Henry, 

But the manuscripts somewhat vary History, vol. VI, p. 319, London, 

as to the date of termination. 1814. 

1 Palgrave s England and Nor- 2 Odericus Vitalis (Ecclesiast. 
mandy, vol. Ill, p. 627. Thus Hist., lib. iv, cap. 7) gives, as the 
Thorpe asserts that "William and his cause of his failure, durior aetas et 
fawning courtiers tried in vain to tumultus multimodarum occupation- 
thrust their French into the mouths urn. 

of the English people." Analecta 3 The authority for the statement 

Saxonica, Preface, p. 5. Hume is Mary of France, who translated 

writes that William had even enter- the English Fables into French 
tained the difficult project of totally De Griu en Latin le turna 
abolishing the English language, Li rois Henris, qui moult 1 ama, 
but adds, what his own style con- Le translata puis en Engleiz. 

tradicts, " that the mixture of Freeman s Norman Conquest, vol. 

French introduced by William is the IV, p. 792. 


the court and the aristocracy, and the medium of intercourse in 
universities. There was also a close connection with the con 
tinent for many reigns. 1 Kings of England married French 
wives. Stephen wedded a daughter of the Court of Boulogne ; 
Maud, Stephen s rival, chose a Plantagenet, Earl of Anjou; 
Henry the Second espoused Eleanor of Aquitaine, the divorced 
wife of Louis the Seventh, and by her obtained large posses 
sions, in addition to Touraine and Anjou, which he held from 
his father. ~ Richard the First married a daughter of the king 
of Navarre; John, a daughter of the Count of Angouleme; and 
Henry the Third, a daughter of the Count of Provence. The 
second wife of Edward the First was a sister of the King of 
France ; and Edward s son married Isabella, daughter of the 
French monarch. A single sentence of English is ascribed to 
Richard I ; his chancellor, however, avers that he was wholly 
ignorant of the island torgue; he was, in fact, a true Provei^al 

But there had been an incipient coalition of races going on 
for a considerable time even while distinction of language 
remained. The author of the " Dialogue on the Exchequer " 
who mentions that he began this work in A.D. 1177, and asserts 
that he had seen Chief Justice Robert, Earl of Leicester, in 
11G8, and conversed with Robert of Blois, Bishop of Win 
chester, who died in 1171 records of his own knowledge, 
" already by English and Normans cohabiting and taking 
wives from each other, the nations are so thoroughly mixed 
that at this day it can hardly be discovered (I speak of the 
children) which is of England and which is of Norman race, 
excepting those who are bound to the soil, and who are called 

1 Henry married Edith, the and his use of English speech, was 

daughter of the Scottish Queen sneered at by the Normans as Gaffer 

Margaret, the sister of the Atheliug Goodrich, his queen being called 

Edgar, her name being changed into Cummer Godgifu. 

Matilda. She had been trained by - " It was not the Englishman who 

her English mother in the palatial reigned over Anjou, but the Ange- 

Abbey of Dunfermline, and was vine who reigned over England." 

loved as the "good" Queen Maud. Freeeman s Historical Essays, p. 

The king, from his English likings 194. 


villeins." 1 In Magna Charta no mention is made of different 
races, the nation is regarded as a homogeneous unity, and 
this 149 years after the conquest. In the reign of King 
John, Normandy, which had been held for four centuries 
by the House of Rolf the Ganger, was lost, and one result 
was that this island became more and more a home to the 
Normans, and French became more and more of a foreign 
tongue to them. English had not only survived, but was 
spreading itself through the upper classes. Norman children 
could not be kept from learning it; and the higher ranks, being 
a minority, felt the necessity of acquiring it. 2 By the end of the 
thirteenth century English seems to have become the mother 
tongue of the aristocracy ; their children being taught French 
as a foreign language, and as an accomplishment befitting their 

Thus all the while the English tongue had preserved itself, 
and even asserted its national pre-eminence. Of this wondrous 
vitality there was a remarkable proof and example when, in 
1258, Henry III, in the forty-second year of his reign, issued 
in the form of letters patent a Proclamation in French and 
English, 3 the first language for the nobility and the second for 
the body of the people. This is the first specimen of popular 
English since the Conquest; and the "folk" must have felt that 
such appeal to them in their own tongue betokened the dawn 
ing of a new era. 

Mandeville in his preface to his Travels, published in 1356, 
says that he wrote his book first in Latin which he rendered 
into French, and then translated it "out of Frensche into 
Englysch, that every man of my nacion may understond it." 
In 1362 an Act of Parliament, itself written in French, 
ordained that all pleadings in courts of law should be in 

1 This work, Dialogus de Scac- de Billesworth, compiled a treatise 

cario, has been ascribed to Gervase for teaching French to the children 

of Tilbury, and to Richard, Bishop of the nobility, the French text of the 

of London. work being accompanied with an 

* Preface to Wright s edition of interlinear English gloss. 

the Chronicle of Pierre de Laugtoft, 3 Edited by Alex. J. Ellis, Philo- 

p. xxvii. A knight, named Walter logical Society. Asher & Co., London. 


English, as suitors no longer knew French. In the same year 
the first king s speech was delivered to the representatives of 
the people in English; but the first statutes recorded and printed 
in English are those of Richard III, though they were entered 
on the Rolls of Parliament in French. 1 Pierre de Langtoft 
wrote his Chronicle 2 in French ; but in a brief space he appears 
as Peter Langtoft in Brunne s English Translation. Edward 
III commonly used French, but in 1346 he rebuked "such as 
would wish to blot out the English tongue " ; and in 1349 he 
appeared at a tournament with an English legend on his shield. 
Froissart notes as singular the knowledge of French possessed 
by his grandson, Richard II, who spoke to the rebels under 
Wat Tyler in their birth tongue, and easily pacified them. 
Gower, who wrote the last work in Frencli of any importance 
Speculum Meditantis virtually apologizes for writing in that 
tongue ; and in his preface to his English poem, written at the 
request of King Richard the Confessio Amantis 3 though he 
styles himself a " borel clerke," he professes to set an example 
by writing in " oure Englisshe." Trevisa, 4 in 1387, remarking 
on the change that had taken place in the relative position of 
the two languages, says, in his own quaint way, " that the old 
custom had been reversed in a great measure through the 
effort of John Cornwaile, maister of gramer," so that now, "in 
the year of our Lord 1385, in all the gramer scholes of England 
children leave th Frensch and construeth and learneth English " 
the advantage being that pupils make speedy progress, and 

1 Rymer mentions an English lish, and finished his translation, as 
statute of 1368, and there is an he intimates himself, on Thursday, 
English contract connected with the the 18th of April, 1387. It was 
Convent of Whitby of 1343. written at the request of Lord 

2 See Preface to Wright s edition Berkeley, and dedicated to him in 
of the Chronicle of Pierre de Lang- an epistle beginning thus " I, John 
toft. Trevisa, your prieste and bedeman, 

3 Printed by Caxton, 1493, and obedyent and buxom, to worke your 
edited by Pauli, London, 1857. wylle." It was printed by Caxton 

4 Trevisa, a native of Cornwall, in 1482, but "he somewhat chaunged 
and fellow of Queen s College, Ox- the rude and Old Englysch." Tre- 
ford, translated Higden s Poly- visa s name will occur again in the 
chronicon out of Latin into Eng- next chapter. 


the disadvantage being that ignorance of French becomes a 
great bar to travel in foreign countries. But French itself 
had suffered by its transplantation into England, and Chaucer 
ridicules the French learned by young ladies at school. 1 The 

same poet also counsels, "Let clerkes endyten in Latyn and 

Frenchmen in their French also endyte theyr quaint termes, for 
it is kyndly to theyr mouths, and let us show our fantasyes in 
such wordes as we learneden of our dames tonge." 

Though the language was still the old English tongue, it 
came out of all this turmoil and conflict wondrously trans 
figured. It once had a homogeneous vocabulary, but foreign 
words had now crept into it; and it had a synthetic structure, 
but its precise and self-adjusting syntax had passed out of use. 
It was, however, touched in structure before its substance was 
added to. In the proclamation of Henry III, already referred 
to, there are but two foreign words terms of rank or office 
Duke and Marshall. In the 5,700 lines of the two texts of 
Layamon s Brut, though it was translated from French and Latin, 
there are not more than a hundred words of Latin or Norman 
origin. Out of 2,300 words of the Ormulum, not more than sixty 
are foreign, and of these, ten are from Latin and not one 
from Norman. In Mandeville s Prologue of 1,200 words, only 
130 are of Latin origin, and thirty of them are new. Several 
words of his coinage have kept their place. 2 In many of the 
authors of the thirteenth century the new words do not 
amount to more than five per cent. According to Coleridge s 
Glossarial Index, the entire stock of words in literary use in 
the same century amounted to 8,000, and only about 1,000 
of them are of Latin or Romance origin. About Chaucer s 
period, English began to receive many additions to its stock. 3 

1 And French she spake full fayre cover, faithful, inspiration, obstacle, 
and fetisly, quantity, temporal, testament, sub- 
After the scole of Stratford atte jection. 

Bow, 3 The Danes had neither an ac- 

For French of Paris was to her knowledgecl grammar nor any litera- 

unknowe. ture, aud there was an antipathy in 

J As abstain, abundant, cause, Norse or Danish to final syllables 

calculate, contrary, convenient, dis- employed to mark cases and conju- 


But English is not in the strict sense a composite language, 
nor is it the mere result of the fusion of Saxon or Norman ; 
for its grammar in its essential elements is Saxon, modified 
in many ways and simplified, all its auxiliary verbs and 
its particles, " the bolts, pins, and hinges," being of native origin. 
But what is first apparent after the Norman Conquest is not so 
much the introduction of new terms as the destruction of the 
numerous inflectional terminations of the older Saxon tongue, 
a change which might to some extent have passed over it in 
course of time though the Conquest had never taken place. A 
similar change was at that period passing over the other 
dialects of Germanic stock; for such disintegration is inherent 
in language and was becoming apparent before the year 1066. 
Price, 1 Guest, 2 Hallam and others make this innate tendency the 
sole cause of the linguistic revolution in England. The state 
ment is as extreme as the other theory, which supposes that 
the Norman Conquest, merely by the inbringing of another 
dialect, effected the decomposition of the older tongue. But 
the Norman Conquest wrought in this way : it broke up that 
form of civilization to which the Anglo-Saxon speech belonged 
as its creation and representative. The social changes were 
extreme and irresistible, and they swept the upper ranks into 
universal ruin. 3 Books could have no charms for the churls 

gations. This influence had been 2 English Rhythms, vol. II, p. 

felt during three reigns, and the 105. See also Murray s History of 

Danelagh comprised the larger por- European Languages. Craik s His- 

tion of Mercia, Northumberland, and tory of English Literature, &c., vol. 

East Anglia. The reader will find I, p. 150. Yet Icelandic has re- 

admirable lists of native and foreign mained unchanged for seven cen- 

terms in the "Historical Outlines of turies. 

English Accidence," pp. 35 and 377, 3 Ordericus Vitalis, lib. iv, p. 

by Richard Morris, LL.D., London, 323. Thierry s History of the Nor- 

1873. Dr. Morris shows that for- man conquest, Vol. I, p. 193, 

eign terms are more numerous than Bohn. Twenty years after the 

they are sometimes alleged to be, Conquest, when William in 1086, 

there being in the Ancren Riwle, summoned his great council at Salis- 

428, and in Robert of Gloucester s bury, there was not one English 

Chronicle, 570. earl, and only one English bishop, 

1 Preface to Warton s History of to respond to the summons. The 

English Poetry, pp. 85, 86, &c. ecclesiastics were more rancorous in 


and villeins who were thrust unceremoniously under a foreign 
yoke. Many of the best born ladies became the prey "par 
marriage/ or "par amours," of the lowest of the Bastard s 
followers. "Ignoble grooms did as they pleased with the 
noblest women, and left them nothing but to weep and wish 
for death." l 

This sweeping territorial revolution broke the spirit of the 
people, chilled free thought and culture, destroyed all impulse 
to write in the native tongue and all pride in preserving its 
purity. The result of this abrupt and violent cessation of 
Anglo-Saxon literature 2 was, that the language, left to itself as 
simply a spoken language, began to alter and work itself free 
from its more exact grammatical intricacies. Probably the 
people never spoke the older tongue as it was written in 
books ; and their freer speech, unchecked by any literary 
models or contrasts, and in the absence or displacement of 
the educated thanes or gentry, came to be at length the 
prevailing tongue. Normans and Saxons were of necessity 
obliged to make themselves understood to one another, and 
both were naturally content to use a few words of the other s 
vocabulary without any great regard to the grammar on 
either side. Prior to the Conquest care had been taken in 
literary composition of terminations indicating gender and 
case, number and tense, and of other minute and elaborate 

their hostility than the soldiers, being put in possession of over 800 

Stigand was deposed from the prim- in nineteen counties, and another 

acy to make way for Lanfranc, who having nearly 500 in seventeen 

is said also to have seized many counties; and hundreds were pos- 

copies of the Scripture and corrected sessed by other favourites all lands 

them with his own hand, on the pre- of the nation, both of tenants in 

tence that the Saxon scribes had capite and their sub-tenants, being 

corrupted them. at the same time vested ia William 

1 As a specimen of the displace- as supreme Over-Lord, 

meiit of native proprietors, it may 2 The Saxon Chronicle itself ceased 

be mentioned that 60,000 knights about a century after the Conquest, 

fees were established by the Con- 1154. Edited by Edmund Gibson, 

queror, that the crown lands were A.B., e Collegio Reginse, Oxonii, 

made up of more than 1,400 manors, 1692 ; and more recently by B. 

one of the Conqueror s brothers Thorpe, Eolls edition. 


peculiarities ; but such niceties were so embarrassing in con 
versation, that they soon came to be slipped over and finally 
put aside. So that what happened to the Greek language 
after the fall of Constantinople, and to the Latin after the 
overthrow of the Empire, happened in a similar way to the 
tongue of the Saxon races in these islands after Duke 
William s invasion. 1 

In the times after the Conquest the article se, seo, thset, 
with its five cases, lost the first two forms, and finally 
passed into the simple indeclinable definite article. The 
conventional genders and the declensions of nouns faded 
away; the cases, with the exception of the - s of the geni 
tive, sank out of view; relations were expressed by pre 
positions; and the "-e" that marked the dative became 
first silent, as in Wycliffe, and then was dropped. When 
the earlier terminations were all merged in -e, person, case, 
number, and tense soon ceased to be individually represented. 
Adjectives lost all distinction of number, gender, and case; 
the interrogative and relative, retaining only a genitive and 
accusative, became the same in singular and plural ; whereas 
the demonstratives " this " and " that," while they preserved a 
plural form, lost all difference of case. The plural endings in 
-a, -e, -en, save in a few words, were superseded by the Norman 
termination "-s." Adjectives which, as in modern German, had 
declensions and grammatical genders, passed through the same 
changes as the nouns. The dual of the pronoun grew obsolete > 
and " heo," feminine of " he," was altered into " she." Many 
strong preterites became weak ; conjugations were formed by 
means of auxiliaries ; the infinitive, which had ended in -an or 
-en, first losing the -n, prefixed "to," and latterly "for to" ; the 
third person singular, being still found in the "-eth " of the old 

1 Some of the gradual changes from indolence, as man has an 
may be seen by comparing the second "instinctive disposition to seek re- 
column of Skeat s Anglo-Saxon Mark lief from" the effort to articulate, 
with the earlier text in the one by its or to do it with the least possible 
side. See also his Preface, p. xxvii. trouble. Language and the Study 
Prof. Whitney justly remarks that of Language, p. 195, New York, 
such vocal changes proceed usually 1872. 


and the Biblical English, while "-ath " of the plural, which 
Norman lips " could not frame to pronounce," disappeared, and 
-en for a while took its place. The participle was no longer 
declined. Participial and infinitival endings were confounded, 
and the gerundial infinitive crumbled away. Both modes of 
comparison have however been preserved the Anglo-Saxon by 
"-er," "-est," and an imitation of Norman by " more " and 
" most." The Norman preposition "de" with the genitive was 
not adopted, the Anglo-Saxon "of" was accepted, and the - s 
was also retained. One regrets that the plural "-en " of verbs 
has been lost, and indeed Spenser was unable to preserve it. 
One is sorry too that -s, with its hissing sound, should so often 
occur; for it has superseded not only the -eth of the third 
person singular, but also the old plural termination of nouns 
and verbs, while at the same time there are many words ending 
in -ess. In Anglo-Saxon the plural of masculine nouns only 
ended in -s; but, with few exceptions, all plurals in French were 
so formed, and the terminations passed into English. 1 Special 
feminine forms, like -ster (spinster), have come to end in -ess, 
or are retained as exceptional. 2 

Such is a brief and imperfect sketch of the gradual altera 
tions which passed over the old Anglo-Saxon during two 
centuries and a half, when our modern English was "in 
making." Though the process lopped off many branchlets and 
twigs, it left the living trunk which soon renewed its youth, 
and putting forth fresh vigour and beauty, formed a national 

1 In Jeremy Taylor s famous image have " to " prefixed, weak tenses are 

of the lark, there are eleven sibilants introduced, " a " is used as an article, 

in the first thirty-one words. genders and inflections are not care- 

3 The Priest Layamon s Brut or fully observed, -en supersedes -on in 

Chronicle of Britain, written before the plural of verbs. Similar tran- 

A.D. 1200, is a translation of the sitional style is found, with some 

Norman Wace s Brut, and was variations, in Havelok, and in Piers 

edited by Sir Frederick Madden, Ploughman, the Ancren Piiwle 

London, 1847. It is in the dialect (Anchoresses Rule), edited by Mor- 

of North Worcestershire, and marks ton, 1853, and a later poem, the 

a period of transition when the Harrowing (harrying) of Hell. See 

written language had been loosened Dr. Angus s Handbook of the English 

by the spoken tongue. Infinitives Tongue, London, 1869. 


tongue in which Wycliffe was able at length to give an 
English Bible to the English people. In fine, it was surely 
natural that the early English tongue, in spite of exotic 
additions and changes in spelling and structure, should cling 
to an Englishman throughout his national history, and that to 
it should belong the terms which tell what he sees above him 
and around him, in fruits, flowers, and seasons, which describe 
his own physical organs and his inner emotions, the weapons he 
wields, the tools he handles, the products of his handy work, and 
the animals about him in pasture and tillage, and which name 
the close and familiar relations of life, his heart and his home, 
and his surroundings from birth to death. 

In this old tongue, which some in its first shape have called 
Anglo-Norman or early English, we have a Psalter in prose, 
with the Canticles of the Church, before the year 1200, and a 
prose translation of a large portion of the Bible before 1360. 
Among these early translations one is distinguished as the 
Ormulum, 1 after its author Orm or Ormin, a canon of the 
Order of St. Augustine, and is probably of northern origin. 
He dedicates 2 to his brother his poem, which is a versified 
paraphrase of the Gospels and Acts in the style of Latin tetra 
meter iambics, and consists of 20,000 lines. Though it is a 


specimen of the tongue of the time of Henry II, the older 
case endings have almost disappeared. About his orthography 
the author is very careful, and forewarns all transcribers to 
maintain literal accuracy, as if he had felt that the English of 
his day needed a special and intelligent guardianship, that 
amidst growing changes it might not degenerate. A similar 

1 The author himself intimates, Ice hafe wemid inntill Ennglissh, 
" This book is named Ormulum, Goddspelless hallghe lore. 

for that Orm it wrought (made)." I have turned into English 
The Ormulum was edited from Gospel s holy lore. 

MSS. in the Bodleian, with a glos- He spells with a single consonant 

sary and notes, by Robert Meadows after a vowel which has its name 

White, D.D. Two vols., Oxford, sound, but doubles the consonant 

1852. after a vowel otherwise pronounced, 

2 In the dedication to his brother, as we similarly do in such forms as 
he says tale, tall, mute, dull. 


work " Story of Genesis and Exodus " is preserved in the 
library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge ; l and in the 
Bodleian at Oxford is a long poem called Salus Animi (Sowle- 
hele), soul-health, a diffuse paraphrastic version of Scripture. 
There is also a Psalter in verse, dated at the conclusion of 
the thirteenth century, which is fairly translated, and is 
characterized by its expressive simplicity ; and as six copies 
are still extant, it must have enjoyed some circulation. 
There exists a prose translation of the Psalms into this old 
English, by William de Schorham, 2 who in 1320 became vicar 
of Chart-Sutton, in Kent. The Latin and English are verse 
for verse, and the version in the southern dialect is remarkably 
good. 3 A manuscript of a Psalter of the fourteenth century, 
giving the name of John Hyde as its owner, and lying in the 
Library of Trinity College, Dublin, appears to be a revised 
edition of Schorham. Numerous copies, either fragmentary or 
complete, exist of another version, in the northern dialect, of 
the Psalms, made by Richard Rolle, Chantry priest of Hampole, 
near Doncaster, and often called the Hermit of Hampole. He 
seems to have been a recluse of the Order of St. Augustine, and 
he died in 1349 in the odour of sanctity. According to Baber, 
" his life was devotion, and his amusement study." Having 
written a Latin commentary on the Psalms, he afterwards 
translated them into English with an English commentary. 
The existing manuscripts vary much the commentary in some 
is very short, and in others is of undue length ; but the preface 
is the same in all. The shorter commentary probably repre 
sents the original form, and the number of the existing copies 
and the frequent revisions show that the work must have had a 
considerable circulation. The spelling and language have been 
retouched from time to time. Prefixed to a copy in the 
Bodleian Library are some verses of a later age, which describe 
the origin of the work, and this MS. is probably of the period 
of Henry VI. The writer asserts that the version was made at 

1 Edited by Eichard Morris, Lon- 3 He adopts in the 1st verse of 

don, 1865. Psalm i, the reading or gloss judicio 

a Forshall and Madden s Introduc- fcdsitatia instead of cathedra pes- 

tion to "VVycliffe, p. iii. tilentice. 


the request of Dame Margaret Kirkby, and that the original 
copy was still kept in the nunnery, chained to Hampole s tomb, 
but adds 

" Copyed has this Sauter been, of yvil men of Lollardry. 
And aftimvards hit has bene sene ympyd in with eresy." 

Hampole thus describes his own procedure : " In this werke I 
seke no strange ynglys, but lightest and communest, and swilk 
is most like unto the Latyne, so that thai that knowes noght 
the Latyne be the ynglys may come to many Latin wordis. 
In the translacion I feloghe the letter als-mekille as I 
may, &c." 

It was very natural that the Gospels should be so often 
selected for translation and for glossing, and indeed the very 
name of the Saviour as Hselend (Healer) must have come home 
with a thrill to many souls, on which the stately Latin terms 
could make no impression ; for the Healer had delivered from 
all maladies, had revealed the Divine Fatherhood, and lifted 
the burden from broken hearts, binding up their wounds, and 
filling them with power and life. But the favourite portion 
of Scripture first selected for translation in these times as in 
all times, was the Psalms, and one can scarcely wonder at the 
preference ; for this Hebrew anthology contains hymns of 
earnest aspiration, thanksgiving, and self-communing, in which 
the devout spirit finds a second self. The melody of the 
Psalmist has many moods, but the song is ever the genuine 
outburst of his heart, and the reader is lured into living sym 
pathy with it nay, as it throbs underneath the page, he is 
brought into immediate fellowship with the singer, and not 
with his shadow. For himself, in his various changes, is 
embodied in his Psalms, whether he sinks in deep contrition 
or soars away in spiritual rapture, whether he extols mercy or 
sinks into awe before judgment, or whether he lays his sword 
and sceptre at the foot of the Throne in offer of suit and 
service or in acknowledgment that the kingdom and the victory 
are alike from God. The Psalter is the poetry of the spiritual 
life ; its beauty, power, and freshness never fail, for it does not 
consist of abstract and impersonal effusions, or of objective 


theological dogmas. Difference of age and country at once 
fades away. In the sorrows of this representative bard many 
a soul has seen its own, and has felt the load lightened by its 
share in his recorded consolations ; while his loftier strains so 
glide in to the " merry heart " that it sings them without any 
sense of strangeness, without any consciousness of formal 
appropriation. Therefore the Psalms have always been very 
cherished companions, not simply because they are a body of 
divine truth bearing on man s highest interests, but because 
they come home to human experiences and tenderly touch 
them on so many points, because they are not only the true 
elements of public worship, but may also be murmured in 
earnest soliloquy as the spirit in confidence and joyousness 
lifts itself to God. Many of these lyrics also bear a national 
character, and, in those old days of constant battle and 
frequent disaster, they must often have inspired courage, 
hope, and renewed trust in Him who is King of all people, 
and the Lord of armies. Though they sometimes present 
in mournful tones the wanton desolation brought in by a 
foreign foe, they at the same time pour comfort into the 
ear of the forlorn daughter of Zion, covered with sackcloth 
and sitting in the dust. So that their peculiar adaptation 
to the numerous national changes and adversities of these 
early periods was often felt; and they must have revived 
many saintly, and cheered many patriotic mourners. 

We know not how far Anglo-Saxon or Old English literature, 
common or Biblical, spread into Scotland. In 547, Ida estab 
lished himself with a band of Angles in Northumberland, or 
rather in the old British province of Bernicia of which Barn- 
borough was the capital. This territory of Bernicia soon 
extended through the country between the Tweed and the 
Forth which was then called the " Scots water," Scotland 
proper lying to the north of it. One of the kings gave his 
name to a town and castle lying at the northern extremity of 
his dominion Edwin-burgh Edinburgh. About the middle 
of the tenth century the Lothians were formally given over to 
Kenneth by Edgar and his Witan on condition that the 
inhabitants should be allowed their laws, language, and 

VOL. I. c 



customs. As Anglo-Saxon literature was earnestly cultivated 
in the north of England which possessed the nourishing- 
monasteries of Jarrow, Wearmouth, and Hexham, and as the 
Christianity of Northumberland had a close connection with 
lona, it is more than probable that some copies of Scripture 
would find their way across the border, and in that language 
svliich has kept its hold on the Lowlands, and yet survives so 
fully in the people s tongue. Norman settlers formed also in 
the course of time a distinct and important element of the 
Scottish population. 1 The changes that passed over the Anglo- 
Saxon tongue in England must have been felt also in Scotland ; 
but no specimen survives save in the popular dialect. 2 The 
King of Scots sometimes reigned over all the inhabitants, but 
the Scots proper, and their tongue, the Gaelic, is yet far from 
extinct/ 5 

name and language with them. In 
the time of James VI, the islanders 
of the Hebrides are called Irishmen 
in an Act of Parliament of 1593, and 
in an Act of the General Assembly 
of the Kirk, 1717, Gaelic is called 
Irish, the commoner form being 

3 So that the words of the old 
Latin hymn of Bothe, Archbishop of 
York (1476), are still true to some 

" In cuuctis plauis Anglorum 

lingua choruscat, 
Ast in moutanis barbara Scota 

1 The king s writs, about the time 
of William the Lion, were addressed 
to Franks and Angles, Scots and 
Galwegiaus. A coin of William of 
Scotland, in 1105, bears ou it a 
French inscription. Alexander III, 
in 1249, took the coronation oath in 
Latin and in French. Wallace, 
Bruce, Comyu, Baliol, and the 
Stewarts, were of Norman lineage. 

" Interesting information may be 
found in Murray s " Dialect of the 
Southern Counties of Scotland/ 
Transactions of the Philological 
Society, 1870, part II, London, 
1873. The Scots came originally 
from Ireland, and brought their 


Then from the dawn it seemed there came, but faint, 

As from beyond the limit of the world, 

Like the last echo born of a great cry, 

Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice 

Around a king returning from his wars. 

Thereat once more he moved about, and clomb 

E en to the highest he could climb, and saw, 

Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand, 

Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the king 

Down that long water opening on the deep 

Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go 

From less to less and vanish into light, 

And the New Sun rose, bringing the Xew Year. 


is surely every reason why all men should have 
the Word of God in their own tongue so as not to be wholly 
dependent on oral instruction. For the Bible contains not 
only the seminal truths of theology and those higher doctrines 
which find fitting expression in service and worship, but it 
takes up the relations, duties, and trials of social and public 
life. It has a loving edict for the parent, and another for 
the child. It offers a word to the master, with a reciprocal 
word to the servant ; and it contains a directory for the hearth 
and household. It breathes promises of special tenderness 
to the widow and orphan, and presents indescribable comfort 
and hope to the bereaved. It dwells on patience and humility, 
condescension and self-denial, disinterested love and unwearied 
beneficence, as charactei-istic graces. Buyer and seller are in 
cluded in its equitable precepts ; tilling, sowing, and reaping 
find a place among its allusions ; and even the animals yoked 
to labour are not forgotten in its pervading kindness. It 
sanctions the sword of the magistrate, and enjoins the " quiet 
and peaceable " life of the citizen. The wages of the soldier, 
the hire of the workman, the thirst and weariness of the 
traveller, the care of the poor and the stranger, are not beneath 
its notice. The maiden is wedded with its blessing, and the 
grave is closed under its comforting assurances. In hallowing 
the " life that now is," it shows the pathway to " that which is 
to come." In the entire range of literature, no book is so fre 
quently quoted or referred to. The text of no ancient author 
has summoned into operation such an amount of labour ; 
and it has furnished occasion for the most masterly examples 


of criticism and comment. The fathers of the first centuries 
expounded it, and the divines of the middle ages refined 
upon its statements. It whetted the penetration of Abelard, 
and exercised the keenness and subtlety of Aquinas. It gave 
life to the revival of letters, and Dante and Petrarch revelled 
in its imagery. Our New Testament has inspired the English 
muse with her loftiest strains. It does effective service in 
many of the dialogues of Shakespeare ; its beams gladdened 
Milton in his darkness, and cheered the soul of Cowper in 
his sadness. Among the Christian classics it opened up 
spheres of thought and research to Ussher, Jewel, and Lard- 
ner; it charged the fulness of Hooker, barbed the point of 
Baxter, gave colours to the palette and sweep to the pencil of 
Bunyan, and enriched the fragrant fancy of Taylor. 

The Bible is thus a people s book, overshadowing with its 
authority individuals, households, churches, and kingdoms ; 
including in its jurisdiction persons of every rank, age, and 
calling, from birth to death ; telling all men what to believe, 
what to obey, arid how to suffer ; developing a nation s 
wealth in its truest form, and fostering liberty and fraternity 
in their only genuine merit and meaning. The people of 
this country were naturally very glad to have such a volume 
in their common speech ; and when they got any fragment 
of it they cherished it with reverential fondness, and in days 
when it was forbidden to have it or read it, they secreted 
it with jealous care, and in a quiet hour took it from its con 
cealment and stealthily pondered over it. No wonder that so 
many men and women suffered all penalties rather than give 
it up or confess that it was criminal to have the Psalter or 
Gospels in their " own tongue wherein they were born." The 
man therefore who first gave such a gift in its integrity to his 
people deserves to be " held in everlasting remembrance." 

The year and place of the birth of John of Wycliff e cannot 
be definitely ascertained, but his territorial surname was 
probably taken from the parish of his birth, in the vicinity 
of Richmond, Yorkshire. 1 There were several persons who 

1 The various accounts of the date and the incidents of his career, may 
and locality of the Reformer s birth, be found in the various chapters of 


bore it : a William de Wycliffe, one of the fellows of Balliol, 
where John was Master; and in 1363, William de Wycliffe was 
presented by a John de Wycliffe to the rectory of Wycliffe-on- 
Tees. The time of his birth also can only be conjectured. 
Probably it was before A.D. 1324. Nor do we know when ho 
entered the University of Oxford, though he is said to have 
been enrolled in Queen s College in the very year of its founda 
tion. But this date of 1340, commonly assigned as the 
commencement of his academic life, has no tangible ground of 
support. It is certain, however, that he was Master of 
Balliol in 1361. On the 4th of May of the same year, he was 
presented by his College to the rectory of Fylingham, in 
Lincolnshire, and shortly afterwards he went to reside on his 
living. The common assertion that he was, in December, 1365, 
appointed Warden of Canterbury Hall, by Archbishop Islip 
its founder, rests on insufficient evidence, for the chronicles are 
silent about it. No contemporary mentions it but Wodeford, 
and Professor Shirley has at least shaken the validity of his 
testimony. 1 Besides, the Reformer was Doctor by 1366 ; 
but in 1365 the Master of Canterbury Hall is simply 
called Master of Arts in his deed of appointment. Three 
years afterwards he is styled Bachelor of Divinity ; while the 
Reformer had been a Doctor of several years standing at that 
period. The wardenship of Canterbury Hall, and the fellow 
ship of Merton College, may therefore belong to another John 
Wycliffe, or Whyteclyve, Vicar of Mayfield. Islip, according 
to Archbishop Parker, intended to invest his hall with the 

his life, as written by Lewis, Lou- spelt iu several ways, the commoner 

don, 1720; Gilpin, Do., 1766; forms being Wiclif and Wyclif. 

Vaughan, Do., 1828, 1831 ; and : Introduction to his edition of the 

in a Monograph, 1853; Le Bas, Fasciculi Zizauiorum Magistri Jo- 

1832 ; Baber in his Preface to his hannis Wiclif cum tritico, ascribed 

edition of the New Testament, 1810; to Thomas Netter of Walden, pub- 

and Lechler s Johannes von Wiclif, lished under the direction of the 

Leipzig, 1873. Interesting iuforma- Master of the Eolls, London, 1858. 

tion on these and other points may There are also able articles on Wy- 

be found in Forshall and Madden s cliffism by Lewald and Lechler, in 

edition of the Wycliffite Versions. Neidner s Zeitschrift, 1846-47-53. 
Oxford, 1850. The name itself is 


patronage of Mayfield ; and from Mayfield the deed of appoint 
ment to the wardenship is dated. 1 Prior to 1367 Wycliffe had 
become one of the royal chaplains to Edward III, and in 
November, 1368, he exchanged his first living of Fylingham 
for that of Ludgershall in Buckinghamshire, being presented to 
it by Sir John Pavely, Prior of the Knights Hospitallers of St. 
John. In 1374 he was preferred by the king to the rectory 
of Lutterworth, and in this parish he laboured till his death. 
He was also, on the 6th of November, 1375, confirmed by the 
crown in the prebend of Aust in the collegiate church of 
"Westbury ; but in the same month he resigned the appointment. 
It would seem that at several periods in 1363-4, 1374-5, and 
1380, Wycliffe rented rooms in Queen s College, and that he 
often preached before the University. He was never, in the 
modern sense, a professor of divinity, though the statement has 
been often made ; but as the degree of Doctor conferred the 
privilege of lecturing, the title in Latin being Sacrce Theologian 
Professor, he certainly availed himself of his academic position 
in the first theological school of Europe to expound and en 
force his views. The "word of the Lord was as a fire in his 
bones," and he "could not refrain." His terseness and earnest 
ness were irresistible ; his power and popularity produced 
abundant fruit. Any detailed account of his doctrines, or of 
the various charges and prosecutions to which they led, is not 
necessary to our present purpose. His firm and avowed 
resistance to the Romish usurpation, to its tyrannous policy, 
its crooked diplomacy, and its unscriptural theology, so edged 
and animated his sermons, speeches, and publications, both in 
Latin and English, that he could not be overlooked ; for he 
had not spoken in honeyed words or in whispered rebuke, 
and his honest, patriotic wrath had boiled over in racy and 
unsparing denunciation. Though he was a realist, he had 
ventured to impugn the central tenet of transubstantiation, 
affirming that the body of the Lord is spiritually or sacra- 

1 On this point of the wardeuship Wycliffes, Dean Milman remained in 

the evidence is not perfectly satisfac- doubt, but Dr. Vaughan held with- 

factory. Dean Hook accepts at once out hesitation to the common opinion. 

Professor Shirley s theory of two Monograph, c. iii, pp. 42-63. 




mentally present, though the elements of bread and wine remain 
unchanged. At length, after being arraigned several times, his 
doctrines were formally condemned, and the Reformer, who had 
experienced the fickleness of princes, for his patron, John of 
Gaunt, 1 had deserted him in the crisis, felt it necessary to 
withdraw finally from Oxford to his parish of Lutterworth, 
where he spent the last two years of his life. Though, accord 
ing to Dr. Gascoigne, 2 his health had already been broken by 
incipient paralysis, his literary industry was still incessant, 
and many of his works, including his noted Trialogus, were 
published during this interval. But his fertile brain sunk at 
length under the intense and continuous pressure. On the 
29th of December, 1384, as he was officiating at mass, he 
was struck with palsy, and he died on the last day of the 
year. 3 

The literary works of "Wycliffe the longer ones in Latin 
which spoke to the educated mind of Europe, and the shorter 
ones in English are very numerous ; and Professor Shirley s 

1 At his trial in St. Paul s, before 
Courtenay, then Bishop of London, 
he was befriended, with some bra 
vado, by John of Gaunt, and the 
Earl Marshal Lord Percy, the 
father of Hotspur. The further 
procedure of another trial at 
Lambeth was forbidden by Sir 
Lewis Clifford, in name of the 
Dowager Princess of Wales, grand 
daughter of Edward I, and now 
widow of the Black Prince and 
mother of the reigning king. Her 
first husband had been the Earl of 
Kent, and the eldest brother of 
Courteuay had married her sister. 
Courtenay himself was the fourth 
son of the Earl of Devon, his 
mother, Margaret de Bohun, also 
being a grand-daughter of Ed 
ward I. 

2 Cotton MSS., Otho 14, British 

Museum. He had declined on ac 
count of physical debility to obey a 
summons from Urban VI to appear 
at Rome. 

3 " In the ninth yere of this kyng, 
John Wiclif, the orgon of the devel, 
the enmy of the Cherch, the confu 
sion of men, the ydol of heresie, the 
meroure of ypocrisie. the norischer 
of scisme, be the rithful dome of 
God, was smefc with a horibil 
paralsie threwoute his body." "Wal- 
siugham, Hist. Angl., p. 119, ed. 
by Henry F. Eiley, Rolls ed. Ac 
cording to Capgrave, this "rightful 
doom of God " was very visible, for 
he was smitten on the day of St. 
Thomas (Becket), and he died on 
that of St. Silvester, and both saints 
he had treated with unbelieving 
scorn. Chronicle, p. 240, edited by 
H. C. Hingeston, Rolls ed., 1858. 


catalogue, of more than sixty octavo pages, does not contain 
nearly the whole of them. There are many copies in the 
British Museum, in the University Libraries of Oxford, Cam 
bridge, and Dublin, in the library of Lambeth Palace, in 
the Chapter Library at Prague, and very many in the 
Imperial Library of Vienna. Many productions have been 
wrongly ascribed to him ; and the genuineness of what is called 
his first work, " The Last Age of the Church," is liable to very 
grave suspicions. The extreme form in which he expressed 
some of his opinions might tend to mislead the unwary, who 
might not trace his own fences, or follow out his own distinc 
tions. Though he was the most popular writer in Europe, ho 
was often obliged to explain himself. " Many lewd opinions 
or misconceptions were fathered upon him," while men like 
Melanchthon misunderstood both his politics and his theology. 1 
But our immediate concern is not with Wycliffe s general 
works, nor with the harmony of his views, nor the consistency 
of his own acting with his avowed opinions. These things 
belong to a history of the period. Collier, Milner, Lewis, Le 
Bas, Lingard, Gilpin, Massingberd, Vaughan, and Lechler will 
be found to differ widely in their estimate of the Reformer s 
deeds and doctrines. 

Three epochs may be noted in Wycliffe s life : the first 
during which he published logical, physical, and philosophical 
treatises. The second is marked by his works as a reformer, 
given more to destruction than re-organization. The third 
is distinguished by productions specially polemical ; and, 
indeed, in the preface to the " De Dominio Divino " he indi 
cates his intention of devoting the rest of his time and labour 
to theology. Professor Shirley says, "This preface seems to 
me the true epoch of the beginning of the English Reforma 
tion," Wycliffe translated many verses and clauses for his 

1 Luther refers to him as spitzigen tion, and insinuates that " it is not 

Wycleff; and after admitting Inspexi to be wondered at that he who 

]Yiylcphum ta?ifrji,Melaiichthon ac- maintained that tithes were mere 

cuses him of not believing or alms " should be accused of support- 

holdiug the righteousness of faith, ing Tyler and Straw. Church Hist., 

Miluer virtually accepts the accusa- vol. v, pp. 120-130. 


"English 1 Tracts"; and such renderings made by him for an 
immediate end differ often from his formal translation. Others, 
to serve a similar purpose, must have done the same trans 
lated for themselves. Thus Chaucer, in his "Parson s Tale," 
rendered for himself; and the majority of more than ninety of 
his quotations bear no resemblance to Wycliffe s version, though 
a few have the unavoidable similitude of two versions of the 
same easy Latin. 

1 It is one of the charges of Poly- he wrote English ones also. "Com- 
dore Vergil against him that, not mentarios patria lingua couscriptos 
content with writing Latin tracts, fecit." Hist. Anglios, lib. 19. 


TYTYCLIFFE na( j a l wavs valued Scripture far above tradition 
and ecclesiastical authority. He had been in alliance with 
it during all his public career, as he had found in it the basis of 
his arguments and the edge and power of his rebukes. He had 
written several works on the Gospels, and he had expounded 
other sections of the New Testament, especially the Apocalypse, 
a book which sounded like a trumpet peal in those days of 
plague, when Death on the pale horse seemed to be careering 
through the land. His prelections, sermons, and tracts had 
ever brought him into connection with Scripture, which he 
as we have just said translated on quoting it. At length, 
from these perpetual fractional renderings, there naturally rose 
up before his mind the project of preparing a full translation, 
and if the project were challenged, he had but to reply, Why 
should not every man s guide be in every man s hand ? Before 
1378, he does not distinctly dwell on the duty of giving to 
his age an English Bible, but after that year there are in his 
writings allusions which imply that the idea was growing to 
be a fixed and familiar one. About the period of his retire 
ment from Oxford in 1381, the enterprise involving issues so 
momentous had been begun, the portions translated being put 
into immediate circulation. A review of his past services, with 
their difficulties, dangers, and obstacles ; a survey of the civil 
and ecclesiastical condition of the country ; and a prophetic 
anticipation of the benefits to be derived from an unfettered 
national Bible, strengthened him in his purpose, and enabled 
him to carry it through before his death. The mind of 
Wycliffe was thus drawn by many concurrent influences to 


the work of translation ; and his translated Scriptures met, 
and were intended to meet, the great want of his time. 1 

And, first, several forms of agitation and conflict were tending 
to unsettle old traditional opinions and beliefs, and many 
inquirers were longing for the possession of the written Verity 
in the language of their own day. For the age of Wycliffe 
was one of great excitement ; and the papal supremacy as a 
foreign usurpation had begun to encounter stout resistance. 
From the days of the weak King John, and during the long 
reign of his son, Henry III, whom Dante has put into 
his purgatory as an idiot or simpleton, the Popes had 
been trafficking largely in English benefices. Strangers 
held rich livings and did no duty, as they were either 
ignorant of the language or were absentees, so that, besides 
the payment of Peter s pence, large sums were sent abroad 
to papal courtiers and dependents, who plundered the country 
with unwearying and unsatisfied rapacity. In wantonness of 
power, Pope Innocent IV had commanded Grosseteste, 2 Bishop 
of Lincoln, to induct his nephew, Di Lavagna, into one of 
his canonries, "any statute of the church notwithstanding." 
Pope Honorius asked a living to be given to a man who was 
deacon of Thessalonica, and insisted that two prebends in 
every cathedral should be held in perpetuity by his nominees. 
The deanery of Salisbury was held by the Cardinal of St. 
Prassede, that of Lichfield by the Cardinal of St. Sabina, and 
that of York by the Cardinal of St. Angelo, as if " God had given 
his sheep not to be pastured, but to be shaven and shorn." 
These are but samples of the papal love of gold and power, 
taken from a return presented to the crown of benefices held 
by aliens. But, in 1366, Edward III and his parliament 
had refused to pay the Italian Pontiff, Urban V, the annual 

1 It is notable that at this time Grosseteste s Epistolse, p. 432, Rolls 
various attempts toward a transla- ed. His friend, Adani de Marisco, 
tion were made by different parties, praises the letter as " powerful, 
Forshall & Madden s preface, pp. fearless, prudent, and eloquent"; but 
xi-xiv. the Pope, on receiving it, stormed at 

2 The letter of the Pope, making the writer of it .as insane surdus et 
the request, and Grosseteste s "bitter absurdus. Ibid., p. Ixxx. 

pistle " of refusal may be seen in 


tribute, which had not been sent to Rome for a considerable 
period. The arrears had now swelled to a large amount, 1 and 
the Reformer, as one of the royal chaplains, supported the refusal 
in A terse and telling tract, written under the form of a report of 
a parliamentary debate. 2 There had been also the seventy 
years captivity from 1305 to 137G from Clement V to 
Gregory XI, and there ensued, in 1378, the great schism one 
Pope at Rome and the other at Avignon, tossing curses at each 
other; 3 the boast of one living head and vicar disappearing 
in storm and recrimination. The mitred rivals preached 
crusades against one another, and prepared to decide by an 
appeal to arms which was the true representative of the 
Prince of Peace. In defence of the claims of the Pope at 
Rome, Spencer the warlike bishop of Norwich, 4 actually sailed 
with an army across the Channel, and massacred the population 
of Gravelines, so that "not even an infant remained alive." 
Four thousand Flemings were also murdered at Dunkirk. In 
dulgences were promised to all that joined his ranks, and to 
all who contributed to the expense of the expedition, which 
miserably failed. Wycliffe took up such a public scandal, 
saying, "Antichrist puts many thousand lives in danger for 

1 That the Pope derived from Eiig- in Foxe, II, p. 587, London, 
land every year a sum five times 1837. 

larger than the royal revenue, may 3 England held by Urban, the Pope 

be inferred from the address of the at Rome ; and, of course, Scotland 

" good parliament " in 1376, the de- held by his rival Clement, at Avig- 

cisions of that parliament having non. 

been guided by " Lord Edward the 4 Eymer, Fcedera, VII, 41. Speii- 

Prince, who gave them his conn- cer, or le Despencer, figures among 

sel and aid effectually." Longman s the illustrious Henrys in Capgrave s 

History of Edward III, vol. II, p. volume. He first tasted blood at 

249. On the rapacity of the Cardinal the time of Wat Tyler s uprising, 

of St. Prassede, when he was 011 a He had " the zeal of Phinehas," and, 

special embassy in England, see Mil- having seized three depredators 

man, vol. VIII, p. 184. Higden and Sceth, Trunch,aud Cubith he, with- 

Fabyan ascribe the rapid spread of out any trial, had them executed, 

Wycliffe s opinions to the schism confessos fecit decollari. Jek Lit- 

which the English parliament called ster, a ringleader, shared the same 

" damnable." fate. De Illust. Henricis, p. 171, 

2 The document may be found Rolls ed. 


his own wretched life. Why, is he not a fiend stained foul 
with homicide who, though a priest, fights in such a cause ? " 

The Pope, in spite of English law, was still disposing of 
ecclesiastical preferments in England; and WyclifFe was sent 
in 1375, on a royal commission to meet the papal nuncio at 
Bruges the other delegates being the Earl of Salisbury, Sucl- 
bury, Bishop of London, and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. 1 
After long deliberation a compromise, or rather a suspension 
of hostilities, was agreed to ; but the statutes of Provisors and 
Prsemunire, to the violation of which penalties increasing in 
severity had from time to time been annexed, still remained in 

Now, the freedom of the church, the kingdom, and the 
individual conscience from all foreign control was a first prin 
ciple in WyclifFe s patriotism ; and he felt that the possession 
and study of Scripture formed the truest charter and safeguard 
of national and ecclesiastical independence. Therefore he re 
solved to put the English Bible into the hands of the English 
people ; and its rapid circulation showed that many good and 
true spirits were ready to give it cordial welcome. 

At the same time the Mendicant Orders which had been estab 
lished to repress evils, that neither church nor cloister seemed 
able to cope with, had fallen into gross degeneracy. They had 
become so numerous and so violent as to draw upon them the 
reprobation of the working clergy, whom they were supplant 
ing by their easier and cheaper terms of confession and penance ; 
and the University of Oxford had risen in rage against them, 
for they had striven hard to monopolize the education of young 
men ; 2 and endeavoured to maintain an independent and 
separate jurisdiction which infringed or superseded the statutes. 
They had so thwarted and opposed the academic authorities, 

1 The Exchequer accounts show and that this included the expenses 

that Wycliffe was absent from the of the journey. 

country less than two months 2 Of these four Orders the Domini- 
from 27th July to 14th September cans or Blackfriars came to England 
that he was paid at the rate of in 1212, the Franciscans or Grey- 
twenty shillings a day; that the friars in 1224, the Carmelites or 
total money paid him was 52, 2s. 3d., Whitefriars in 1250, and the Augus- 
a considerable sum in present value, tines in 1252. 


that the number of students had dwindled down to 0,000 ; 
while according to Wood, 1 there had been 30,000 in the days of 
Henry III. Parents alarmed at the risk to which their sons 
were exposed, refused to send them to college. Convoca 
tion had been obliged to pass an Act, declaring that no youth 
should be admitted into the Order of Friars under eighteen 
years of age. Wycliffe on behalf of his AJma Mater, threw 
himself into the contest with such skill, learning, and energy as 
to confound his antagonists. But over and above his own 
assaults, and the satirical scourgings of Chaucer and Langland, 2 
Wycliffe felt that the most effectual exposure of these cunning 
and covetous itinerants and " pardoners " lay in presenting to 
the people, in their own tongue, the life and acts of our blessed 
Lord and His Apostles the true patterns of all evangelical 
labour and self-denial. 

Again, the ominous and alarming condition of both the state 
and church must have filled Wycliffe with profound anxiety. 
At one period of Edward s splendid reign, three foreign sovereigns 
did him homage. The king of France and the king of Scotland 
had been carried to London as prisoners, and the king of Cyprus 
was imploring help. Cressy had been fought in 1346, and the 
imperial crown had, in 1347, been offered to him. Commerce 
had nourished, while conquests had been gained. But the 
glory of the earlier part of his reign had passed into eclipse. 
His allies forsook him, and there were great military reverses 

1 The statement is made by " Langland s Vision of Piers 

Armachanus (Richard Fitzralph of Plowman (1362) was edited by 

Armagh, the Primate) and by Skeat for the Early English Text 

Gascon, once Chancellor of Oxford, Society, London, 1867. Another 

who referred for its truth to the poem by a different author, and 

"rolls of the Old Chancellors." In somewhat later date (1394), Piers 

his exposui-e of the Friars, Wycliffe Plowman s Crede, flagellates the 

had been preceded by Fitzralph, religious orders with still greater 

who delivered an " Apology " against severity. Edited also by Skeat for 

them to the Pope at Avignon, 1352, the Early English Text Society, 

alluded to by Wycliffe in his London, 1867. See also William 

Trial ogus, and he preached also in Langland, a grammatical treatise, 

London on the subject. Died at by Emil Bernard, Bonn, 1874. 
Avk non in 13GO. 


in France. He had been saluted by his people and by " all 
countries " as king of the sea ; but his navy, which had achieved 
such renown off the Sluys in 1340,andoff Winchelseain 1350, had 
perished. There were also growing complaints of domestic 
confusion ; the Black Prince, the hope of the nation, had died in 
137G; and the king, sinking into premature dotage, had 
become the victim of a rapacious and shameless concubine. 
Patriotic men felt sad misgivings, and were alarmed for the 
stability of the realm amidst the animosity of contending 
factions, for the Duke of Lancaster was filled with rancorous 
and all but unaccountable enmity to William of Wykeham. 
The hierarchy were engaged in statecraft and diplomacy, and 
the wealth and splendour of churchmen had passed into a 
proverb. The relation of the peasants to the land had grown 
wholly unsettled, the industrial classes were being pressed 
down into pauperism, and new social laws, worse than the 
statute of " Labourers," were sharply grinding the " faces of the 
poor," and subjecting not only the peasants, but " artificers 
and people of mysteries " to annoying restrictions as to work 
and wages. The downtrodden masses had found an exponent 
in Langland s " Vision of Piers the Plowman." The poet 
was very loyal himself, but his verses told the peasant s sense 
of many wrongs in the peasant s own tongue, gave voice to 
the thoughts of myriads writhing under misrule, and com 
bined their fragmentary utterances into one prolonged 
denunciation. 1 

The Black Death or pestilence, which had appeared first at 
Dorchester in 1348, and swept over the country during the 
next year and a half, had returned in 13G1, 1369, and 137o. The 
first outbreak of the epidemic had carried off half of the popula 
tion, two millions and a half out of five millions, the mortality, 
being greatest among the poor or lower orders, or, as the record 
of the king and council calls them, " workmen and servants." 
While land at once fell in value, labour rose in price, and 

1 Langland, a secular priest, of Reformer s honesty and boldness, 
the West of England, belonged to and the ring of Caedmon s allitera- 
n period somewhat earlier than tive metres is often felt in his 
Wycliffe, but he was filled with the verses. 

VOL. I. D 


the numerous efforts of the legislature to neutralize this 
inevitable result were fruitless, for no power can repeal the 
divine law which regulates supply and demand. Wages were 
in this way thrown into disorder, and capital and labour came 
into collision. In defiance of feudal law, labourers left their lord s 
soil and took refuge in the towns ; many of the serfs detached 
from the land became paupers, and there was a great increase of 
" valiant beggars and vagabonds." Serfdom was everywhere, 
the " villeins regardant " passing to a new owner, like the trees 
on the estate, and villeins "in gross" being liable to be sold off 
the property like the cattle reared upon it. 1 Discontent and 
poverty so naturally created, at once and fiercely traced them 
selves to misgovernment and class legislation. In 1377, the 
last year of the reign of Edward III, a poll-tax of fourpence 
had been exacted from all persons, both males and females, 
above fourteen years of age ; and in 1379 another similar tax 
had been imposed with a scheme of graduation. But the last 
grievance of a third poll tax, mercilessly enforced, led, in 1380, 
to a terrible uprising, headed by Wat Tyler. 2 If " oppression 
makes a wise man mad," it cannot but infuriate such as have 
no pretension to the possession of wisdom, or of any acquaintance 
with political economy. Struggling for freedom, these rebels 
blundered into communism, and advocated the abolition of 
social ranks and distinctions, so that those above them should be 
cast down by force to their own low level. 3 After the revolt had 
been quenched, the executions or legal murders of the poor 
fugitives ordered by Chief Justice Tressylian, in various parts 
of the country, amounted to 1,500. 4 As the causes of the 

1 Act 12 Richard II, c. 4, seized by them, and barbarously 
complains that servants will not murdered. 

work " without outrageous and ex- 3 A good account of the causes of 

cessive hire." See Pashley on the revolt will be found in Cartwright s 

Pauperism, p. 163 ; Eden s State of Life of Gustave Bergenroth, Edin- 

the Poor, vol. I, p. 42. burgh, 1870 ; also in Creasy s History 

2 Archbishop Sudbury, who, as of England, vol. II, chap. iv. 
Chancellor, had carried the obnoxi- 4 Under Lord Chancellor Arundel, 
ous tax through Parliament, and Tressylian himself was, on a charge 
who had scornfully called the in- of treason, hanged at Tyburn in 
surgents "shoeless ribalds," was 1388. 

ii.] WAT TYLEfi S REVOLT. 51 

insurrection had been deeply seated and long felt, and the 
movement was so widely spread, it was not easily or at once 
suppressed. The serpent in its agony had turned round and 
bitten the heel that was heavily treading on its neck. After 
the convulsion, Parliament resolved that it would not liberate 
the villeins, even though the refusal should lead to its own 
destruction ; and it sanctioned the king s revocation of all the 
promises which he had solemnly made to the victors during 
their brief hour of supremacy. 

But there is no proof that Wycliffe s teaching, or his Bible, was 
connected with the tumult, though the accusation has been 
often made against him, as by Harpsfeld (Alanus Copus 1 ) 
and by Lingard. 2 The charge was repeated down to the time 
of Tyndale. 3 "They said it in Wycliffe s times, and the hypocrites 
say now likewise, that God s word causeth insurrection." The 
judges who tried the rebels never blamed Wycliffe ; his 
patron, the Duke of Lancaster, was the object of popular 
vengeance. His palace was burned, and when the insurgents 
swore fidelity to the sovereign, they took an oath against 
accepting any king whose name was John, referring to John of 
Gaunt who was suspected of aspiring to the crown. 4 Wycliffe s 
bitter opponents Walsingham and Knighton are silent on the 
point, though they were anxious to heap all kinds of accusa 
tions on his head. Walsingham ascribes the revolt to the 
Mendicant orders, to the guilt of the prelates in not persecuting 
the new heresy, to the bad lives and atheistical principles of 
the lords and their tyranny over the commonalty, and to the 
general depravity of the people. Nay, he says that a leader of 
the rebels admitted that the object of their attempt to over 
throw the hierarchy was to establish the Mendicant orders in 
their room ; and certainly Jack Straw, one of the foremost 

1 Fuller s Church History, vol. I, 4 The birth name of Eobert III 
p. 454. of Scotland was John, and it had 

2 History, vol. Ill, p. 143. to be changed on his accession. 

3 Preface to the Exposition of St. John Baliol, John of England, and 
John, p. 225, Parker Society John of France were not easily 
edition ; Forshall and Madden, forgotten. 

preface to Wycliffe, p. 15. 


demagogues, made such a confession before his execution. 1 
With such a project certainly Wycliffe could have no 
sympathy. John Ball, the priest orator among the insurgents, 
is stigmatized by Knighton as "the forerunner of Wycliffe," 
thus absolving the latter from all participation, direct or indirect, 
in the revolt. 2 Wycliffe in fact, as being a royal chaplain, " stand 
ing on a peculiar footing" with the crown, and from his 
relationship to John of Gaunt, belonged to the very class 
against which the malcontents had risen ; and any resort to 
arms in order to redress wrongs, the Reformer steadily discour 
aged. The " moral Gower," s who was both a Kentish squire 
and a beneficed layman, has, in his poem Vox Clamantis* 
depicted, both simply and in allegory, the character of the ring 
leaders and of the mob, but he makes no allusion to Wycliffe, 
and yet he exposes the vices of the clergy with earnest 
severity. He thus photographs Ball 

" Ball was the preacher, the prophet, the teaclier, 

Inspired by a spirit of bell, 
And every fool was advanced in his school, 
To be taught as the devil thought well." 

Froissart, in his minute history of the insurrection, does 
not associate Wycliffe with it in any way, the chief motive 
ascribed by him to the armed mob being the plunder of 
the wealthy, and the destruction of all muniments and 

1 The attainder of Jack Straw, the Duke of Lancaster, the head of 
the priest of the men of Essex," the four orders of Mendicants com- 
aud of Wat Tyler, John Hancach, and plains of Hereford and others, as not 
Robert Phipp, may "be found in 3 only stirring up the insurrection, but 
Eot. Parl. 175, 1385., as laying the blame of it on those 

2 Veluti Christus Johannem bap- orders themselves." Walden, p. 292, 
tistam. Kiiightoirs Hist. Angl. ed. Shirley. 

Script., torn. II, p. 2644. AValden 3 Gower died in 1408, an old and 

describes the "Wycliffite heresy as blind man, in the religious house of 

fomenting dissensions everywhere, St. Mary Overies, Southwark. 

but does not charge it with being 4 Edited by H. 0. Coxe, M.A., 

the cause of the uprising, though London, 1850, for the Roxburgh 

from its spread the clergy feai ed for Society, 
a future insurrection. In a letter to 


charters which might prove their vassalage. 1 There had 
also been several upheavings of a similar kind on the 
Continent, and these, in the French Chronicler s opinion, 
encouraged and provoked the outbreak. 2 Fabyan, too, in his 
" Chronicles of England," makes no mention of WyclifFe in con 
nection with the Kentish explosion. The Commons, in answer 
to the King s address commanding inquiry into the causes of 
the recent troubles, boldly say, after a long enumeration of 
abuses, " To speak the truth, these injuries lately done to the 
poorer commons, more than ever they suffered before, caused 
them to rise and commit the mischief done in the late riots." 
After dwelling on the great hardships inflicted on the 
commons, such as subsidies, tallages, and the oppressive prac 
tices of the royal purveyors, they added that justice had been 
so badly administered that "right and law had come to nothing. 
Thus those who had made prolonged official inquiry into the 
origin of the outbreak assign sufficient causes for it in these 
memorable words, but they never allege that Wycliffe s Bible, 
or Tracts, or " preachers," had any hand in it. In fact, Wycliffe s 
followers were not found among the villeins and serfs, but 
rather among the tradesmen in towns, 3 and among the middle 
classes. He said himself that fully a third of the clergy agreed 
with him in their hearts, and Knighton complains that " of 
every two persons you met in the street, one was a Lollard." 
In the document issued the year after the outbreak by the 
archbishop to Peter Stokes the Carmelite, detailing the errors 
of "Wycliffe, which had been condemned by a synod, there is no 
allusion to the insurgents or to any connection of Wycliffe with 
them. Heresies alone are recorded, and these are vaguely said 
to threaten " to subvert and enervate the peace of the king- 

1 Chronicles, vol. I, p. 041, Lon- floated over many territories, had 
don, 1812. not yet been unfurled. 

2 Thirteen hundred revolted Swiss 3 Among the tradesmen mentioned 
peasants had with marvellous skill as "Wycliflites in a proclamation of 
and valour broken the Austrian 20th May are goldsmiths, plumbers, 
power at the memorable battle of fleshers, weavers, coopers, hosiers, 
Morgarten in 1315, but the terrible houeymougers, and fl etchers or arrow 
banner of ihefiundsc/tuh, which soon makers. Eymer, Fcedera, IX, 129. 


dom." In fact, Wycliffe s influence was seriously injured by 
the rebellion, and it interrupted for a time his great work. 
But he himself was no demagogue, for, like Occam, he 
maintained that the civil power must ever be supreme. John 
Ball admitted in his last confession that he had been a disciple 
of Wycliffe for two years; but he had been imprisoned on 
several previous occasions for heretical turbulence by the 
ecclesiastical authorities, and he had been under Archbishop 
Langham s censure as far back as 1366, a period long before 
the " poor priests " were heard of. He made frequent use of the 
imagery and characters of Piers the Plowman ; but he does 
not seem at any time to have quoted Wycliffe or his books his 
favourite and suggestive text being the familiar couplet 

" When Adam dalve, and Eve span, 
Who was then the gentleman 1 " 

Wycliffe s theory about God as the Lord Paramount is only a 
feudal paraphrase of the old saying, " The earth is the Lord s, 
and the fulness thereof," and his oft quoted sentiment that 
dominion is founded on grace has no more political heresy in 
it than our common formula, " Victoria, by the grace of God, 
Queen of Great Britain." But his ideal dominion founded on 
grace yielded to the actual, for he inculcated passive obedience 
on the part of Christians to the powers that be, even " though 
they be wicked and ungodly," and this he advocated so extra 
vagantly that his enemies represented him as teaching that 
"God ought to obey the devil" quod Deus obcdire debct diabolo. 
His disciple Huss held a similar view. He launched vehement 
invective against ecclesiastics holding lands and offices of state, 
as against William of Wykeham, whom he characterized as one 
of " those who were wise in building castles." l But while he 

1 There was certainly good ground of twenty-two, were priests in pos- 

for complaint, since at one time, session of benefices. It was the 

about 1367, from the Lord Chan- characteristic policy of the Duke of 

cellor down to the Master of the Lancaster s party, to which Wycliffe 

Wardrobe and Inspector of Build- belonged, to have such churchmen 

ings, all the higher officers in the superseded by laymen. Little more 

court of Edward III, to the number than a century ago, the Duke of 


argued that temporal property should not be protected by 
spiritual thunder, he was no leveller, and his poor priests were 
on]y a provisional measure, though they exhibited somewhat of 
the compactness and elasticity of an ecclesiastical order. 1 

Though Wycliffe had no personal nor secondary connec 
tion with the outbreak, he must have been greatly distressed 
by the grievous confusion reigning around him. His numerous 
polemical tractates discussed the important themes and ques 
tions of the day, and by a wide and speedy circulation they 
must have excited no small interest, and though they passed 
round only in manuscript, they awakened public thought. 
Their popularity was enhanced by their clear and incisive style ; 
and though they are composed in the rudeness of an unformed 
language, they still charm modern readers by their quaint rus 
ticity, their vigorous antithesis, and their rugged symmetry of 
hearty utterance. But while these publications aimed at and 
pleaded for the extinction of various forms of injustice and 
outrage, there was still needed the introduction of a remedial 
power mightier by far than "the words of man s wisdom," in order 
to restore harmony, and raise up and shield " the poor and him, 
that hath no helper." And thus the unsettledness of the period 
with its bitter strifes, the rooted enmity of class against class, 2 

York, second son of George III, well-known tract, " Why poor priests 

was in his infancy made Bishop of have no benefices." The " poor 

Osnaburgh, the first Saxon diocese priests, clad in russet, with staff in 

founded by Charlemagne. hand, scoured the country, and 

1 One is almost tempted to imagine preached " daily in churches and 

that the order of poor priests in some church-yards, and at markets and 

way suggested the strange misreu- fairs, "to great congregations." Ano- 

deriug in both versions of Matt, xi, ther mistranslation is sometimes said 

5, "pore men ben taken toprechynge to be polemical in aim, 1 Peter iv, 

of the gospel" the note in the first 12, " Nyle ye go in pilgrimage in 

version being " ben madd helpers of fervour " ; but the fault lies with the 

the gospel." At the same time there Latin translation, which Wycliffe 

occurs in one of his sermons another gives literally. 

mistranslation, " pore men ben 3 A straw may show the force and 

preisid of God." Select Works of direction of the current. Seven years, 

John Wycliffe, vol. I, p. 71, ed. at least, after Lord Mayor Wai worth 

Arnold, Oxford, 1869. Some light had killed Wat Tyler, the common 

is cast on the subject in Wycliffe s Council enacted " Dogs are not to 


the hardheartedness of statesmen, and the ambitious factions of 
churchmen with their worldliness and intrigues, impressed 
Wycliffe with the indelible conviction that all ranks needed to 
know and study the Divine Word in the tongue intelligible to 
them. For it was the inspired record of a religion which, if fully 
believed and acted out, sets its brightest jewel in the crown, and 
guards the purity of the ermine breathes a just and generous 
spirit into legislation gives nobility to the meanest, and the 
best of graces to the highest presents every one with an aim 
worthy of his nature sanctifies every pursuit as a " calling " in 
which he may " abide with God " sends a cheering influence 
through all the relations of life lifts the fallen and relieves the 


needy visits the " fatherless and widows in their affliction " 
opens up a widening circle of spiritual brotherhood, arid blends 
earth with heaven. And under this inspiration he became the 
translator qf the " lively oracles," which lost none of their life by 
being told in the homely words of the nation. 

Still further, though Wycliffe was one of the quaternion of 
great schoolmen, and takes rank with Bradwardine, Occam, and 
Duns Scotus, yet the conceptions which he had formed of a true 
theology led him to undertake a translation of Scripture. The 
scholastic divines had indeed built up an intricate theology with 
logic and metaphysics, with distinctions of marvellous subtlety 
and arguments of surpassing ingenuity and ability; but the Word 
of God was allowed to fall into abeyance, and was not taken as 
of common consent to be the ultimate standard of appeal. 1 
Some polemics rested their opinions solely on ecclesiastical 
canons, as does Walden, who avows " The decrees of bishops 
in the Church are of greater authority and dignity than is the 
authority of Scripture." Wycliffe also complains that " Scrip 
ture has many impugners who extol the power of the Pope 
above it so much as to warrant the inference that he may take 

wander about the city, the dogs of the first sentence of his prologue, lac 

the gentry excepted." Liber Albus, parvulis, " milk for babes. Opera, 

p. 452, ed. Eiley. vol. i, p. 458, ed. Migne, Paris, 1841. 
1 The Sumina, or compendium, of " Walden, Doct. Tri., 1st Lib., c. 

Thomas Aquinas, consisting of 1150 xxi. Vaughan s Wycliffe, vol. ii, p. 

folio pages, is called by its author in 49. 


away one of its books and add a new one." So that, as an 
ardent lover of the truth, he longed that the people should 
know the highest style of all truth as contained in the Word 
of God, and that Word no longer hidden in a dead and foreign 
language. He " rolled the stone from the well s mouth " that 
all might approach and drink of the living fountain, since the 
popular systems of divinity, furnishing only an intellectual 
discipline, and reaching not to the depths of the inner nature, 
were only as " cisterns, broken cisterns," at which the thirsty 
soul could not satisfy itself. 

WyclifFe had one special qualification of a translator ; for he 
was so pure in heart and life himself, that his worst enemies, such 
as Netter de Walden, Wodeford, Knighton, and Walsingham, 
never uttered a whisper against his character. Arundel him 
self said, on Thorpe s trial, " Wickliffe, your author, was a great 
clerk; many men held him a perfect liver." 1 His continuons 
opponent, Kyningham, confessor to the Duke of Lancaster, wrote 
a series of tracts against Wycliffe Ingressus, Acta, Deter- 
minationes in which he complains of his personalities and of 
his books, but he does not assail his life. He was even re 
ported to be " a ruly man, and an innocent in his living." The 
worst said of him, as by Anthony Wood, was, that he became a 
reformer from " nothing else " than spite at the Pope s treat 
ment of him in connection with the wardenship of Canterbury 
Hall ; but the assertion cannot be borne out, as the warden was 
probably another person of the same name. It was also in 
sinuated by Walden, and the insinuation was repeated down 
to the days of Polydore Vergil, that his zeal against the ruling 
ecclesiastics arose from his disappointment at not receiving 
the see of Worcester ; but it is easy to suggest and propagate 
such stories. Knighton admits that he was generally an 
eminent theologian, and that he was unequalled in the art 
of scholastic disputation. Though the hostile epithets bestowed 
upon him are wide and wild, and are sometimes thrown up in 
ludicrous accumulation, they touch not his personal repute. 
Walsingham calls him by a poor pun, " Wickedbelief." 
Walden, at the Cobham trial, named him the " mid-day 
1 Select Works of Bishop Bale, p. 81, Parker Society Ed. 


devil"; 1 and another, quoted by Fuller, styles him "the first 
unclean beast that ever passed through Oxenford. " Pecock s 
simple reference is " one clerk ; but verily to say, one heretic." 
According to the testimony of his contemporaries, he loved the 
divine law, and walked by its light. To the one volume he 
ever turned as the book of sole and supreme authority ; his 
instructions and invectives were alike based upon it. To him it 
was the rule and standard of faith ; and he maintained that no 
conclusion should be accepted that could not be proved out of it 
for he held that the authority of the Bible was independent of 
all other authority. He felt, too, that it was an awful function 
to translate Scripture so that the true sense might be kept; and 
he exhorted expositors to dwell as critics on the text, and as 
grammarians on the letter, with all dependence on the Primary 
Teacher, lest they should impose a meaning not intended by the 
Divine Giver of revelation. But he was conscious, at the 
same time, that his labour was feeble and isolated, so long as 
those whose welfare he studied were not in possession them 
selves of the Book. His own use of quotations, and his brief 
comments on parts of Holy Writ, had been only opening up 
a single fountain, and he longed that every one should so 
possess the blessing that, in his earnest acceptance of it, it 
might "be in him a well of water springing up into ever 
lasting life." 3 Fully aware was he, in his own words, "that 
the gospil writuii is not to be worschipid," that the possession 
of vernacular Scripture could not of itself secure spiritual 
blessing, that there was no saving charm in the familiar sounds 
and syllables, and that there was ever need of divine grace 
to make men wise unto salvation. The changes of all kinds 

1 Thomas Xetter of \Valden, that General for England, and Confessor 

is Saffron Waldeu, in Essex, author to Henry V. Died 1430. 

of the Fasciculus Zizaniorum, and " Fuller s short note is " O the 

numerous treatises against the Lol- wit." 

lards, was one of the most accom- 3 The opinions of some contempor- 

plished polemics of his day. Born aries on the necessity and benefit of 

about 1380, disputed at Oxford translations of Scripture may be 

against "Wycliffism, provincial of the found in Forshall and Madden s 

Carmelites in 1414, a member of the preface, p. xiv. 
Council of Constance, Inquisitor- 


which he coveted could only be brought about by profound 
and popular impression, and that impression could be most 
easily and speedily deepened and diffused by the circulation of 
an English Bible. "All secular men," he said, " ought to know 
the faith ; so it is to be taught them, in whatever language is best 
known to them." " Christ and his Apostles converted the world 
by making known the truths of Scripture in a form familiar to 
them." " Honest men are bound to declare the doctrine which 
they hold, not only in Latin, but in the vulgar tongue, that the 
truth may be more plainly and more fully known." " Chris 
tian men and women, old and young, should study first in the 
New Testament, should cleave to the study of it; and no simple 
man of wit, no man of small knowledge, should be afraid to 
study immeasurably in the sacred text." He wished especially 
for a full and literal translation; and he accuses the friars of 
" docking and clipping the Word of God, and tattering it by 
their rime." " The sacred Scriptures" he held to "be the pro 
perty of the people, and one which no party should be allowed 
to wrest from them." Therefore, to move the English mind 
there must be an English Bible, a gift to the men of his own 
time, and a rich inheritance to all following centuries; and, 
such being his conviction, an English Bible was soon provided 
by him and his devoted assistants. 

It may now be admitted that Wycliffe was the first to trans 
late into English the entire Bible. According to the "Com 
pendious Old Treatise," 1 fragments of vernacular versions had 
been in circulation, like the Ten Commandments and the Creed, 
that formed portions of a book " drawn into English under 
Thoresby, Archbishop of York (1348-56), by a worshipful 
clerk, named Gattrick, who sent them in small pagines to the 
common people to learn and know it, and of which many copies 
yet be in England." It is also told in the same tract, written 
about 1450, that a man of London, whose name was Wyring, 
had a Bible in English, of northern speech, which seemed to be 

1 Its purpose is to show that we in his first edition, 1563 ; by Arber, 

ought to have the Scriptures in Eng- in 1871; and lithographed in fac- 

lysshe. Printed by Hans Luft, at simile by Mr. Fry of Bristol. 
Marburg, 1530 ; reprinted by Foxe, 


two hundred years old ; the allusion being probably to ^Elfric s 
Pentateuch. Trevisa, to whom reference has been made 
already, is said to have translated the Scriptures into English. 
But Caxton is the only authority, and the assertion is first 
made in an off-hand way by him in his " Prohemye " to his 
edition of the Polychronicon "at the request of Lord Berkeley, 
Trevisa translated the said book, the Bible, and Bartholomseus 
de Proprietatibus Rerum." 1 Bale simply repeats Caxton, without 
any additional evidence; 2 and he supposed, apparently, that the 
epistle prefixed to the Polychronicon, beginning with " ego, 
Johannes Trevisa, sacerdos," was the dedication of a Bible 
rendered in Anglicum idioma. Finally, Ussher 3 inserts the 
statement of Bale, and Wharton copied Ussher, 4 ascribing the 
revised version of Wycliffe to John Trevisa. The tradition sur 
vived till 1611, and King James s translators, referring to early 
versions of the Scriptures, say, in their preface, " much about that 
time, even in our King Richard dayes, John Trevisa translated 
them into English." But these statements are not to be 
accepted, for, while many of Tre visa s translations survive, we 
have no fragment or specimen of an English Bible. The belief 
probably arose from the circumstance that Trevisa was vicar 
of the parish of Berkeley, and chaplain to the fourth Lord 
Berkeley, and that on the roof and walls of the private chapel 
in the castle are inscribed verses from the Apocalypse in Latin 
and Norman-French. This work is commonly ascribed to the 
chaplain; 5 but the opinion that he translated the Scripture 
has no palpable basis. Arundel, at the time Archbishop of 

1 Printed by "Wyiikyu. de "Worde 5 In proof of this belief, reference 
in 1494. has been made to the Dialogue be- 

2 Script. Illustr., p. 518, Basil, 1557. tween a Lord and a Clerk, printed 
Trevisa was a favourite with Bale, as also by Caxton, in which the former 
he was toward the monks rigidus ac says, as if noting something memor- 
tnordax. able, " also thou notest where the 

3 Hist. Dogrnat., p. 34G. Opera Apocalips is wryten in the walles and 
vol. xii. Dublin. roof of a chappel, both in Latyn and 

4 Auctar., p. 348. Fuller calls the in Frensche." The letters are now 
.second or revised Wycliffite trans- nearly obliterated. Lewis Hist., 

ation Trevisa s masterpiece. Church p. 50. Fuller gives the story out of 
Hist., and vol. I, p. 468. Bale. Church History, vol. i, p. 468. 


York, in his funeral sermon, preached at Westminster, 3rd 
August, 1394, for Anne of Bohemia, the "good queen" of 
Richard II, extols her for her study of the Gospels in English, 
" though she was a stranger" ; these Gospels being sanctioned 
by the primate himself, who had examined them, and found 
them to be "good and true." But he intimates nothing as to 
their age, origin, or literary characteristics, and they may have 
been one or other of the two Wycliffite versions, which had 
been some years in circulation. The Constitutions of Arundel, 
enacted at Oxford in 1408, prohibited all translations, "such as 
that lately set forth in Wycliffe s time, or since, if they have 
not the approval of the bishop of the diocese, or of a provincial 
council." Whatever the canonist Lyndwood 1 might infer, two 
Bibles only are mentioned Wycliffe s own version, in his 
own time, and the version " since," or after his death, viz., the 
revision made by Purvey. Sir Thomas More, 2 writing about 
] 530, affirms that " the whole Bible was, long before Wycliffe s 
days, by virtuous and well-learned men, translated into the 
English tongue; and by good and godly people, with devotion 

and soberness, well and reverently read For as for 

old translations, before Wycliffe s time, they remain lawful and 
be in some folks hands. Myself have seen and can show you 
Bibles, fair and old, which have been known and seen by the 
bishop of the diocese, and left in layman s hands and woman s, 
to such as he knew for good and catholic folk, that used it in 
much soberness and devotion." It is, however, to be borne in 
mind that these striking statements were made by More in 
artful depreciation of the versions of Wycliffe and Tyndale; 
that his language is as vague as it is boastful, for he was " in a 
strait " since he was trying to show that translation in general 

1 Lyndwood, bishop of St. David s, one could have placed great confi- 
made a digest of the Constitutions of deuce in Trevisa as a translator ; he 
fourteen Archbishops of Canterbury, complains of the difficulty of Hig- 
from Langton down to Chichele ; den s very easy Latin, and examples 
printed at Paris, 1505, at the expense of odd mistakes made by him are 
of William Brettou, a merchant of given in Babington s preface to the 
London. Eoils edition. 

2 Dyalogues, p. 138, &c., 1530. No 


was not forbidden, with the exception of these two versions, and 
yet these were the only ones in existence in early English. He 
gives us no means of testing his accuracy by any references to 
the style, history, and locality of such Bibles; and no volumes 
corresponding to his description have come down to us. 1 To one 
like More, writing more than a hundred years after, the Wycliffite 
translations might appear to be a venerable relic of an earlier 
time, preserved and read by devout Christians. Cranmer, in his 
preface to the Great Bible of 1540, vindicates the reading of the 
English Bible by alleging the more ancient custom which had 
been interrupted not " much above a hundred years ago " by 
the Arimdelian Constitutions, and says that the Bible was trans 
lated into the " Saxon s tongue, at that time our mother tongue, 
which few men are now able to read and understand ; and that 
when this older tongue became obsolete, Scripture was again 
translated into newer language, whereof many copies remain, 
and be daily found " the Wycliffite versions being referred to. 
Foxe affirms that " before John Wycliffe was born the whole 
body of the Scripture by sundry men was translated into our 
country tongue." But there is no proof whatever that any 
" whole " Anglo-Saxon Bible ever existed, and the martyrologist 
presents neither proof nor sample. Other inexact statements 
have been made on the subject. Ussher repeats the assertion of 
Thomas James about a manuscript Bible in the English tongue, 
which long preceded Wycliffe s translation, and assigns it to 
1290 ; but Wharton corrects the mistake in his Auctarium. 
In a word, the enemies of Wyclifte s Bible regarded it and 
branded it as an attempt of unexampled audacity, and its 
friends, like the Bohemian Huss, 2 extolled it as an unpre 
cedented gift to the English nation. When the Lollards were 
assailed by ecclesiastics who denounced the version, had there 
been any earlier example they would have appealed to it 

1 There is the metrical story of - Wycliffe s writings, carried to 

Genesis and Exodus, probably of Bohemia, produced wide and deep 

date 1250; but this "song," as its impression. The marriage of Richard 

author styled it, could not be called II to the sister of the Bohemian 

a translation. Edited by Morris, sovereign had no small influence in 

London, 1865. fostering such tendencies. 

ii.] HIS EULOGY. 63 

in self-vindication. The prologue to the second or revised 
translation, while it refers to older Anglo-Saxon Scriptures, ex 
presses the belief that no translation had been published in the 
language of its own time, and censures the " falseness and neg 
ligence of clerks " for not having provided an English Bible 
for English men. Wycliffe therefore enjoys the priority, and to 
him may be applied, in the words of his own version, what is 
said of the son of Onias " As the dai sterre in the myddes 
of a cloude, and as a ful moone schyneth in hise daies, and 
as the sunne schynynge, so he schynecle in the temple of 


greater part of the translation of the New Testament is 
apparently Wycliffe s personal work, and it may have been 
finished by 1381. There were in circulation also separate 
books, one Gospel or two Gospels, the Epistles of Paul in 
whole or in part, the Apocalypse, the Epistle of James, 
the Ten Commandments, and the Sermon on the Mount. 
Nicholas de Hereford translated the earlier portion of the 
Old Testament from Genesis to Baruch iii, 20, and the re 
mainder is ascribed to Wycliffe. The work of Hereford, 
two manuscripts of which are preserved in the Bodleian 
Library, stops after the two first words of the verse, 
Baruch iii, 20, l for he was suddenly summoned before a 
synod of preaching friars in 1382, and at an adjourned 
meeting held at Canterbury, on the 1st day of July, he 
was excommunicated. Of these two interesting and valuable 
manuscripts, the one is a copy, with a note ascribing it to 
Hereford, and the other is apparently the original work of 
the translator, the process of translation being visible in the 
changes made; a portion of a word being sometimes erased 
before it was fully written. Later hands have corrected it, and 
several of these revisers may be traced. On appealing to the 
Pope, Hereford was sent to Rome, and, after trial, was im 
prisoned ; but he contrived to effect his escape, although he 
does not seem to have returned to England during the life of 

1 The 19th verse ends with " place begins with " The yunge." . . . 
of hem risen/ and the 20th verse 


Wycliffe. 1 There are variations, however, in the part usually as 
signed to him, as from the beginning to the end of 2 Chronicles 
the active participle usually ends in yngc, but afterwards in ende. 
The MSS., however, in the Bodleian Library have been corrected 
by a contemporary copyist. Between Hereford s part and the 
other sections of Scripture there are characteristic differences. 
As a rule, he has no textual glosses, while the continuator ad 
mits nine in the very next chapter ; but some in the MSS. are 
the additions of transcribers. Hereford renders so literally as to 
keep the order of the original, and preserve uniformity of 
translation ; but the continuator absolves himself at once from 
such strictness. For Hereford s "Mawmet," (Mahomet) he prefers 
" idol"; and Hereford never employs " damsel " or "wenche," so 
common in the later books, and in the New Testament. " Se- 
cundum is uniformly rendered "after," and vultusloy "cheer" : 
but these renderings are not followed beyond Baruch. Here 
ford, by the close copying of his text, introduced several Latin- 
isms, as, "and him seen," et viso eo, but such forms occur also 
in Wycliffe s own portion. He renders ridebatur " it was 
seen," viso somnio " a seen vision " ; and he thus expresses the 
accusative before the infinitive, " I dreamed us to binden 
sheaves." But we have also in other parts of the older ver 
sion such phrases in close keeping to the Latin as " the hand 
of her taken" (Mark i, 31) ; " the knee folden" (i, 40) ; "yet him 
speaking" (v, 35) ; " the Saboth made" (vi, 2) ; "A manqueller 
sent" (vi, 27) ; all in literal reproduction of the ablative 

1 Hereford, Vice-Chancellor of At length, in advanced years, and 
Oxford, was among the party a perhaps ill at ease in his mind, he 
superior scholar, and though he entered the Carthusian Monastery 
shrank from martyrdom, he endured of St. Anne, Mother of the Virgin, 
great suffering along with Purvey in at Coventry, and there died. Eep- 
Saltwood Castle. He not only re- ingdon, another associate of Wycliffe. 
canted, but in 1393 sat in judgment on also submitted, and as a reward of his 
a famous Lollard, Walter Brute. In conformity became, in 1405, Bishop 
1391 he had got from the Crown let- of Lincoln. Being a persecutor of 
tersprotectinghim from trouble on ac- those who held his old opinions, la- 
count of his earlier views. He became rose in 1408 to be a Cardinal. Folk- 
Chancellor of the Cathedral of Here- stone Williams Lives of the English 
ford in 1394, and Treasurer in 1397 Cardinals, vol. 1 1, p. 30, London, 



absolute. We have also such other Latinisms as " to make a 
soul safe" (Mark iii, 4) ; " saw noise" (v, 38). Hereford also 
retains several Anglo-Saxon idioms, omits the " s " as the sign of 
the possessive case, employs " be " in a future sense, keeps the old 
feminine termination in -ster, but he has the ending in -inge 
for the earlier -eime with "to" prefixed. Nay, so very sharp is 
the contrast between him and his successor, that while the 
participial termination ende is found after 2 Chronicles and 
up to Baruch iii, 19, " goende doun to hell," it is immediately 
changed into -ing and -ynge, as in verse 26, " wityinge 
bataile." Wycliffe s rendering had also been very close, so close 
as often to be almost a counterpart. Thus, in the first 
five chapters of John we have such extreme litcralness as 
(i, 5) derkn esses ; (G) to whom the name was John ; (13) 
bloodis; (14) dwellid in us; (21) what therefore? (26) the 
myddil man of you stood ; (45) whom Moses wroot in the lawo ; 
(46) some good thing be ? (ii, 3) wyne failinge ; (22) from dead 
men ; (24) beeleved not himself to; (iii, 18) believeth in to him ; 
(29) joyeth in joy ; (33) hath markid; (34) forsooth not to mesure; 
(iv, 8) should buy metis ; (11) neither thou hast ; (21) wominan 
believe thou to me, for ; (23) forwhi and the father seeketh ; 
(26) I am; (45) some little king; (47) bigan to die ; (51) came 
agens him ; (52) had him better ; (v, 2) little gatis ; (5) having 
eight and thritty years in his sicknesse ; (28) all men that ben in 
buriels ; (41) I take not clereness of men. 

The translation therefore was soon found to be imperfect, for 
it wanted self-consistence, and its various parts needed to be 
brought into harmony of style. A careful revision was accord 
ingly at once commenced, but Wycliffe had died before it was 
brought to a conclusion, probably about 1388-1390. This edition 
bears the marks of a very thorough work, which was carried 
through by Purvey, the curate, and intimate friend of Wycliffe 
and a leader of the Lollards. According to Knyghton, 1 Purvey 
boarded with Wycliffe, and thus "drunk more plentifully of 
his instructions, and to his dying day he followed his master/ 
He was a native of Lathebury, near Olney, Buckinghamshire. 
After Wvcliffe s death, he removed to Bristol, and preached so 

V i. 

1 De Event. Angliae Coll., 2GGO. 


zealously as to provoke the resentment of the Bishop of Wor 
cester. He was at length apprehended; but terrified by the 
fate of Sautre, he openly recanted at Paul s Cross in 1400, and 
immediately afterwards he was promoted by Archbishop 
Arundel to the vicarage of Hythe which he resigned in 
1403. He was confined a second time by Archbishop 
Chichele in 1421, was alive in 1427, and perhaps he died 
in prison. After giving in his prologue l an abstract of 
the books of the Bible, and dwelling on the spiritual benefit 
to be got from reading it, and defending in a variety of ways 
the right of the people to have it translated for them, Purvey 
proceeds to describe his own method of procedure : " For these 
resons and othere, with comune charite to saue all men in oure 
rewme, whiche God wole haue sauid, a symple creature hath 
translatid the bible out of Latyn into English. First, this 
symple creature hadde myche trauaile, with diuerse felawis and 
helperis, to gedere manie elde biblis, and othere doctouris, and 
comune glosis, and to make oo Latyn bible sumdel trewe ; and 
thanne to studie of the newe, the texte with the glose, and 
othere doctouris, as he mighte gete, and speciali Lire on the elde 

testament, that helpide ful myche in this werk 

First, it is to knowe, that the best translating is out of Latyn, 
into English, to translate after the sentence, and not oneli 
after the wordis, so that the sentence be as opin, either 

openere in English as in Latyn In translating 

into English, many resolucions moun make the sentence open, 2 
as an ablatif case absolute may be resoluid in these thre 
wordis, with couenable verbe, the while, for, if, as gramariens 
seyn ; as thus, the maistir redinye, I stonde, may be resoluid 

thus, ivhile the maistir redith, I stonde Also a 

participle of a present tens, either preterit, of actif vois, either 

1 The prologue was printed in not,parrot-like,spoken his own words, 

1 536 with the title " the door of and lost yourself in a Latin echo, 

Holy Scripture," and in 1550 as the rendering him precisely verbatim, 

"Pathway to perfect knowledge/ &c. as if tied to his tongue." Letter in 

8 Nigh three hundred years after- preface to English Translation of the 

wards, a scholar thus wrote to Lodge, Works of Seneca, second ed., Lou- 

the translator of Seneca, "Ye have don, 1620. 


passif, may be resoluid into a verbe of the same tens, and a 
coniunccioun copulatif, as this, dicens, that is, seiynge, mai be 
resoluid thus, and seith, either that seith ; and this wole, in 
manic placis, make the sentence open, where to Englisshe it 
aftir the worde, wolde be derk and doubtful. Also a relatif 
mai be resoluid into his antecedent with a coniunccioun 

copulatif, as thus, which renneth, and he renneth 

Also whanne rightful construccioun is lettid bi relacion, I 
resolue it openli, thus, where this reesoun, Dominum forbid- 
abunt adversarij ejus, should be Englisshid thus bi the lettre, 
the Lorde his aducrsaries shiden drede, I Englishe it thus 
bi resolucioun, the aduersaries of the Lord shiden drede him. 
At the begynnyiig, I purposide, with Goddis helpe, to make 
the sentence as trewe and open as it is in Latyn ; and I 
preie for charite and for comoun profyt of cristene soulis, that 
if ony wiys man fynde ony defaute of the truthe of translacioun, 
lette him sette in the trewe sentence and opin holi writ, but 
loke that he examyne truli his Latyn bible, for no doute, he 
shal fynde ful manye biblis in Latyn ful false, if he loke manie, 
nameli newe ; and the comune Latyn biblis hau more nede to 
be correctid, as manie as I liaue seen in my lif, than hath the 
English bible late translated ; and where the Ebru, by witnesse 
of Jerome, of Lire, and other expositouris discordith from our 
Latyn biblis, I haue set in the margyn, bi manor of a glose, 
what the Ebru hath, and how it is vnderstondun in the same 
place ; and I dide this most in the Sauter, that of all oure bokis 
discordith most fro Ebru. But in translating of wordis equiuok, 
that is, that hath manie significacions vnder oo lettre, mai lightli 

be pereil Therefore a translatour hath greet nede 

to studie wcl the sentence, both before and aftir, and loke that 
equiuok wordis acorde with the sentence, and he hath nede 
lyue a clene lif, and be ful deuout in preiers, and haue not his 
wit ocupied about worldli thingis, that the Holi Spiryt, autour 
of wisdom, and kunnyng, and truthe, dresse him in his werk, 

and suffre him not to erre God graunte to us alle 

grace to kunne wel and kepe wel holi write, and suffer ioiefulli 
sum peyne for it at the last." 

Nicholas de Lyra, mentioned in Purvey s prologue, and to 


whom Luther also was greatly indebted, was of Jewish blood, and 
had his surname from the place of his birth. His Postillse, or 
brief comments on the Bible, are often quoted in the Wycliffite 
versions. Lyra is not used by Hereford in the earlier portion 
of the Old Testament which he translated ; but " Lire here " 
occurs frequently, and " Lyra " is often referred to, both in 
regard to text and version, the references being more frequent 
in some books than in others. The glossa ordinaria so often 
cited is the compilation of Walafrid Strabo ; and another, the 
compilation of Anselm, a deacon of the church of Laon, is 
quoted as the " gloss interlineary." But these notes are very 
unequally distributed, and a few of the Fathers also are 
sometimes appealed to. 

Purvey s manuscript is preserved in the library of the Dublin 
University. 1 Forshall and Madden give many illustrations of 
his critical selection of a Latin text, of idiomatic renderings as 
opposed to too literal ones, of the resolution of the very frequent 
ablative absolute, and of the present or preterite participle by 
the use of a conjunction, of the repetition of a word for the 
sake of perspicuity, of the changes demanded by difference of 
idiom, and of the varying meanings assigned to the Latin 
particles. Purvey has made many changes on the first version. 
The word " forsooth," representing the Latin " autem," occurs 
perpetually forty times in the first chapter of Matthew ; but 
Purvey does not employ it at all. 

The second version was, for a long period, not carefully dis 
tinguished from the first, though Henry Wharton had correctly 
noted them, and the New Testament was printed as Wycliffe s 
own version by Lewis in 1731, by Baber in 1810, and in the 
first column of Bagster s English Hexapla. The New Testa 
ment proper of Wycliffe was published by Lea Wilson in 1848, 
by Bosworth and Waring in 18G5, and at an earlier period 
the Song of Solomon had been edited by Adam Clarke, in the 
third volume of his Commentary. At length the entire original 
version and revision appeared in four magnificent quartos, by 
Forshall and Madden, Oxford, 1850 the fruit of twenty-two 

1 An account of an unfinished revi- Forshall and Madden s edition of 
ion of Purvey may be found iu Wycliffe, p. xxxi. 


years labour, and an appropriate honour to Wycliffe s Uni 
versity. Thus the Wycliffite translations kept their written form 
for nigh five hundred years. Froude, indeed, says that, " before 
the Reformation two versions existed of the Bible in English 
one was Wycliffe s, another based on Wycliffe s, but tinted 
more strongly with the peculiar opinions of the Lollards, fol 
lowed at the beginning of the fifteenth century. 1 But the 
second version has no deeper Lollard tint than the first which 
it revises, removing Anglo-Saxon archaisms with many Latin- 
isms, and giving a more English aspect to the entire translation. 
The second version must, to a large extent, have superseded 
the first; and Bishop Pecock, in his " Represser of the overmuch 
blaming of the Clergy," a book written about 1449 avowedly 
against Wycliffe s followers, always uses it in his quotations. 2 
There have been preserved at least one hundred and 
seventy copies, all of them written before 1430, and they 
were carefully examined and collated by Forshall and 

One characteristic of Wycliffe s epoch was the spread of 
education, and in his own period several colleges had been 
founded Exeter, Oriel, Queen s, and New College, at Ox 
ford ; and Gonville, Trinity Hall, and Corpus Christi at Cam 
bridge. We have referred to the effect produced in course of 
time by the Norman invasion and other causes, on the older 
Anglo-Saxon speech. The two races had been at length perfectly 
united under Edward III, and new mental activity in 
stinctively developed a new outgrowth of expression, filled 
with life and /reshness, and bearing the dew of its youth upon 
it. One consequence was a double stock of words, Saxon and 
Norman, so that we possess not a few of that class which are 
commonly termed synonyms, of which the Anglo-Saxon had 
almost none. 3 While the older tongue keeps its place in our 

1 History of England, vol. iii, p. 3 Yet ^Elfric, in his grammar, 
77, fourth edition. managed to translate into Anglo- 

2 Examples may be seen in the Saxon such Latin terms as actio, 
Represser, vol. I, i, p. 470, &c., ed. passio, modus, accidentia, conjugatio, 
Churchill Babington, B.D., London, &c., with many other abstract and 
1860. technical words. 


monosyllables, as well as in words denoting objects of 
sense and relations of domestic and common life, general 
or abstract terms came from the Latin, and evidently 
through the Norman when the original spelling is changed. 
The English kept the predominance, and the Norman fell into a 
subordinate place. In the conferences that followed the battle 
of Agincourt, it was ordered by the conqueror that docu 
ments should be written in Latin, as his ambassadors did not 
know French ; and writing to the Company of Brewers in Lon 
don, he assures them that " the English tongue hath in modern 
days begun to be honorably enlarged and adorned for the better 
understanding of the people, and that the common idiom is to 
be exercised in writing." Chaucer, Gower, Mandeville, Trevisa, 
and Langland were virtually contemporaries. It is very wonder 
ful, and it shows Chaucer s acuteness of philological instinct, that 
not more than a hundred of his Romance terms have fallen into 
disuse, though a great many more of his Anglo-Saxon words 
have perished. He introduced such words as advantage, person, 
glory, divine, disciples, confound, return, reasonable, renown, 
vain, victory, &c., and through him and Wycliffe the Midland 
dialect became standard English. This national language was in 
Wycliffe s time greatly advanced in growth, having " the blade, 
the ear, and the corn in the ear," though not in maturity. His 
English is racy, homely, familiar, and picturesque, the lan 
guage of his own age, but far simpler and more intelligible than 
that of Chaucer. Wycliffe translated for the people, not for 
the aristocracy ; for the nation, and not for its more educated 
nobility. The tongue in currency around him was therefore 
the fitting vehicle, every-day language for every-day use. 
His translation is really better in style, more lucid and idio 
matic, less tortuous and laboured, than his own original 
writings, in which he expresses freely, frankly, and vehemently 
his readiest thoughts when he was writing in his own name in 
defence of truth, or was inveighing against error, venerable 
through age or fortified by authority. The quotations in his 
homilies and tracts agree neither with the first nor the second 
version. But as a translator he was on his guard in rendering 
the divine volume into the people s speech, for he was virtually 


speaking to the people in the name of the Blessed One. 1 His 
version has a grandeur unaffected by its quaintness, its famili 
arity of tone does not in any way derogate from its dignity. 
Though the stiffness of the Latin text often shines through, 
the Bible is remarkably free from many of the affectations 
which abound in contemporary writers. It keeps the old 
spelling of him and her for the more modern them and 
their, and restricts th to the third person singular of verbs, 
and does not employ it in the plural or in the impera 
tive. The participle that had ended in -ende is formed 
by -ing, the prefix y- is used in connection with the past 
participle, the plural of verbs terminates in -en, ye and you are 
not used as singulars, and the possessive your has an objective 
sense, as in the phrase " your fear and your dread," for the fear 
of you and the dread of you. Either " is often a disjunctive, 
" that ben in erthis, either that ben in heauenis." " Will not " 
is expressed often, as in Chaucer, by nyl, nold, nolden. The 
verb is is used for yes, as if " is " affirmed the fact, as in James 
v, 12, "forsothe be your is, is, nay, nay." The marks of 
punctuation make up for the loss of the earlier inflexions, 
for they are necessary when the cases have only one form ; 
and some of the persons of the verb are undistinguished 
by terminations. A synthetic sentence is independent ; for 
principal and secondary clauses, wrought out into a long and 
complicated paragraph, have their meaning and connection 
determined by the syntax. But the sense, by means of the 
points or stops, becomes at once apparent to the eye, without 
minute analysis, and is not suspended till you come to the last 
word governing many terms before it. In an uninnected 
sentence, the meaning depends on the order of the words ; and 
that order, as the grammatical terminations fell into disuse, 
required nice arrangement. 

One is surprised to see how, when Wycliffe s work is 
modernized in spelling, it so closely resembles subsequent trans 
lations in the general aspect of the version, in the flow and 

1 It is strange that Foxe, in his great work, the translation of the 
long and multifarious history of Bible a work which sowed the 
Wycliffe, gives no account of his seeds of the greater Reformation. 


position of the words, in the distinctive terms and connecting 
particles, in the rhythm of its clauses and the mould of its 
sentences. Several of its phrases must have passed early into 
the language, especially those which from their currency had 
acquired a kind of proverbial power, such as " strait gate," and 
"narrow way" (Matt, vii, 14), "beam and mote" (v, 3), and 
being adopted by Tyndale, they have kept their place " unto 
this present." Through these translations the rich and beauti 
ful old English was sanctified for all time, and with many minor 
variations, not a few of them traceable to the Greek original, it 
reappears in its essential and characteristic features in the 
independent translation of Tyndale, which again is so largely 
retained and embedded in the Authorized Version. 

Wycliffe is easily read, though not a few of his words 
are obsolete. His theological nomenclature, part of which 
he had learned from Bradwardine, has not been changed 
to any great extent, and many of the terms, explained 
in the margin of the MSS. as if needing explanation, are 
now part of the language, while the explanatory terms 
have themselves disappeared. Such are yvil-fame ex 
plained by schenship, libel by litel-boke, unquieted by 
diseased. In other cases both the original text and the ex 
planation are still in use, as affection, explained by love, 
benignity by goodwill, detractors by open bakbyters, alive by 
quick. Some renderings are prompted or moulded by the 
current phrases or customs of his century. The clause 2 Tim. ii, 
4, " no man that wareth entangieth himself," he gives as " no 
man that holdeth knighthood to God inwlappith him silfe," the 
feudal form of the idea ; 2 Kings xv, 20, "and Menahem 
exacted the money of Israel," he renders, "and Menahem 
settled the tallage of silver on Israel," tallage being a common 
term in those days; 1 Peter ii, 13, "be ye suget . . . 
other to the king, other to dukis ; Matt, xxvii, 27, " token 
Jhesu in the moot hall," a word that came down from remote 
times. In the same verse the second version has " knights of 
the justice," and similarly in Luke ii, 2, " Cyrys justice of Syrie," 
the official title being familiar in England ; Judges xx, 28, 
" provost of the house stood before it (the ark) in those days." 


Presbyter he renders by " priest," its contracted form, seniors by 
" eldre men," and Levite by " deken " (deacon) in Luke x, 32. 
Pontius Pilate is Pilate of Pounce, then a common form of 
surname ; and he is called meire (mayor) in the first version 
and justice " in the second, Matt, xxvii, 2. 

It is really amazing that so little of WyclifFe s language 
has passed away, though many foreign terms torn from his Latin 
text and thrust into his version never took root. Some of these 
are apert ; balistis, balistse ; calue, bald ; cardue, thistle ; 
castel, town ; capret, a wild goat ; cenefectorie, tent-making ; 
cocco, coccus, scarlet ; cirogrille, choirogrillus, hedgehog ; 
colirie, eyesalve ; cofin, cophinus, a basket ; cultre, knife ; 
cubicularies, chamberlains ; diversory, an inn ; exces, in the 
sense of ecstacy ; faculty, in the sense of goods, or means and 
substance ; figarde, pygargus, a roebuck ; gemmarye, a jeweller ; 
galban, gum ; gemels, twins ; jument, jumentum, beast of 
burden ; lacert, a lizard ; lare, larus, a sea-gull ; maal, 
a fir ; margarite, a pearl ; nablis, nablum, musical instru 
ments ; plaag, plaga, side ; proterve, froward ; platan, a plane 
tree ; pursirioun, porphyrio, a cormorant ; sambuke, sam- 
buka, a musical instrument ; sellis, sella, chairs ; symulacre, 
idol; spelonk or spelunk, a cave; stater, a piece of money; 
symfonie, a musical instrument ; sanguyns, blood-coloured ; scra- 
broun, hornet; stable, inn (Luke x, 34); strucioun, an ostrich ; 
sendcl, sindon, a linen cloth ; sudarie, napkin ; universite, 
world (James iii, 6); veer, spring; volatil, a bird. Comfort 
is used by him in its literal Latin sense, " And he com 
forted him (the idol) with nailes " " fastenede him " in the 
second version (Isai. xli, 7) ; and in both versions, Philip. 
iv, 13, "I may alle thingis in him that comforteth," 
that is strengthened! me. Not a few of his other 
Latin terms have perished in the struggle for existence 
as jecturing, compunct, corumpe, collation (conference), 
off encioun, defencioun, conspiracioun, coniectynge, repugne, 
recompensacioun, dignacioun, federed (bound by covenant.) 
Many of his native or Saxon words have also died 
out. The following verbs have an active sense which has 


long since passed away from us : Afear, agast, alarge, 


bitake (to deliver up), childen, crooken, drunkne, feren, gilten 
(to sin), honesten, leechen (to heal), lette, longen, meeken, nak- 
enen, nakyn, nighen, noyen, pungeden, richeth, sacren, softeth, 
sorowen, stithie (to forge), trumpe. Many other like vocables 
have not come down to us, as abie, to endure ; agregge, to 
make heavy ; biclippe, to embrace ; bihete, to promise ; buffere, 
one that stutters ; clepe, to call ; culver, a dove, found in 
Spencer; dome, doom, to judge ; echen, to add ; eren, to plough 
(earing in the Authorized Version) ; rich, to enrich ; frote, to 
rub ; gab, to lie ; gnaste, to creak ; grucchen, to murmur ; 
heelden, to pour ; herie, to praise ; such a phrase as " Takest 
thou no kepe ? " (Luke x, 40). These words have also long 
ceased to be used : Knowleche, to confess ; lesid, gleaned ; 
oker, to lend on interest ; gnappe, to struggle ; schende, to 
confound ; stie, to go lip ; unknowe ; alblasters, crossbowmen ; 
buxum 1 , obedient ; bruk, a locust ; comelying, a stranger ; 
customableness, custom ; crasyng, a cleft ; ferr-floun, a fugitive ; 
feerly, suddenly ; fardel, burden, which occurs in Shakespeare ; 
dwelstere, a female dweller ; fraiel, a basket of figs ; gelding, a 
eunuch ; 2 gilteris, sinners ; galoun of water, pitcher of water ; 
grisful, grisly; genderers, parents; hatesum, hateful; cheer, 
countenance (" the cheer of the Lord is upon them," Pet. iii, 12); 
layner, a garter; leche, a physician (Luke viii, 43, "which 
hadde spendid all her catel in to lechis " ) ; lovesum ; leep, 
a basket ; leasing, lying (occurs in the Authorized Version) ; 
lewd, unlearned (the old contrast being lerid and lewid, 
learned and unlearned) ; manquellere, a murderer ; manassis, 
threatenings ; mesel, a leper ; menie, household ; mynde, a 
memorial ; more, for elder ; nappen, to slumber Ps. cxx, 4, 

1 In a form of abjuration, 1395, called the gelding " and Philip and 
the promise is, I will be buxum to the gelding went down into the 
" the law of Holy Church." water." The literary curiosity was 

2 Evelyn notes in his Diary, llth one or other of the Wycliffite ver- 
July, 1654, that, when at Oxford, sions, for both have that rendering 
Barlow, "the bibliothecarius of Tyndale in his first edition had 
the Bodleian Library," showed him " gelded man," but preferred cham- 
among the MSS. an old English berlain in his second edition. 
Bible, wherein the eunuch men- Eunuch came in with the Genevan 
tioned to be baptised by Philip is version. 


" ho (God) shall not nappe, ne slepeii" ; nol, head or neck ; peis, 
weight ; porail, the common people ; ripynge, harvest ; shame- 
fast, which was originally in the Authorized Version (1 Tim. ii, 
9), and ought to have been kept ; schrewid, depraved ; scheltrun, 
an army ; sothsaw, a proverb ; sumdel, partly ; scrippe, wallet ; 
shewers, mirrors ; sparlyvers, calves of the leg ; therf, un 
leavened ; thirs or thrisse, a fabulous beast ; toukere, a fuller ; 
welsum, prosperous ; unsad, unstable. 

But a great number of similar words still survive in Scotch 
so nearly allied to the Platt-Deutsch and northern English, 
though they have ceased to occur in ordinary English. 
Attercop, a spider ; axtre, for axletree ; baili (Luke xvi, 1), 
bailie being still the name of a magistrate in a Scotch borough ; 
big, to build, " auld clay biggin " (Burns) ; beel, suppuration ; 
bylyve, forthwith ; biiie, (in Scotland to contribute money for 
drink) ; birr, force, rush ; brokskin, badgerskin, brok being 
the common name for the animal ; brunston, brimstone ; chopin, 
denoting a measure, a word in daily use ; dicht, to prepare, 
applied to the winnowing of grain ; draf, well known to keepers 
of cattle and dairies in Scotland ; egge, to edge or push on ; 
fell for skin, " between the fell and the flesh " ; gowling, howl 
ing ; grene for gin, the poacher sets a girn ; hyne, a labourer 
hind, a common name for farm servants in Berwickshire ; 
croket-rigged, hunchback, shoulders and back being called in old 
Scotch riggin ; cod for pod, " to fill his wame with the coddis 
the hoggis did ete " (Luke xv, 16) ; keetling, a whelp, the Scotch 
familiar word for kitten ; kouthly, kouthy, very intimate ; rue, 
to repent ; segge, sedge ; stithie, anvil, pronounced often study ; 
smekede, smoked ; sowel, sowens, a kind of gruel made from the 
finer flour of oats ; tollbooth, prison ; puddock, frog ; edwite, to 
upbraid (wite in Scotch signifies blame ; the original title of 
Pecock s book is " Represser of the overwyting of the Clergy"); 
lout (pronounced loot), to stoop ; hooled, having the hull or 
shell taken off; snapere, to stumble; sour-doug, leaven, applied 
in some parts of Scotland to buttermilk ; sowk, suck Acts 
xiii, 1, " Manaen that was the sowk}mge feere of Eroud " 
(Herod) ; sparplyd, sparpled, scattered ; stike, stick, to pierce ; 
tungy, tonguy, talkative ; toun, a common name for farm 


buildings (Luke xiv, 18, "I have bought a toun"); trows, 
artificial conduit to serve a mill-wheel ; to wauke, to full, so 
waukmill ; wod, mad ; yett, gate ; yowl, to howl ; tak tent, tak 
heed (Acts xx, 28) ; wook, week, but now nearly out of use ; 
sled, sledge ; slidery, from slide, used for slippery ; and speels, 
meaning chips or splinters. The distinction of genders is well 
sustained, and both terminations are used, -ster and -ess (issa 
in mediaeval Latin) ; spouse, spousess ; purpuresse, applied to 
Lydia in Acts xvi; cousyness, a female cousin; discipless; 
daunstere, or daunceress ; sleestere and sleeresse, a female 
murderer; syngster and syngeress, devouress, servauntess, 
lecheresse, synneresse, thralesse, weileresse, a female wailer ; 
chesister, cheseresse, a female chooser ; leperesse, a female 
dancer. The feminine termination -ster was beginning, how 
ever, to yield, so that sometimes it represents the masculine 
also. The first version has webstres in a general sense, 
(1 Kings, xvii, 7), and spinster yet survives, but songster is 
feminine in Ben Johnson ; songster-ess being a double feminine. 
We also richess, richessis in the plural ; almesse, almessis. 
Some adjectives of material have not been retained. We 
still possess, however, golden, brazen, wooden, flaxen, woolen, 
but Wycliffe has silvern, reeden, treen, stonen, hairen, bricken, 
horn en, &c. 

Wycliffe had great wealth of compound words, though very 
many have not survived. His prefixes are above-, after- 
(which he couples with forty different w r ords), again- (Titus iii. 6, 
" bi waischyng of agen bigetyng and agen newying of the 
Hooli Goost"), at-, alto-, before- (which he couples with thirty- 
two different words), bi-, dis-, en-, even-, ever-, for-, fore-, ful-, 
in-, mel-, mis-, o-, if-, on-, over-, out-, through-, to-, un-, 
under-, up-, with-. There was the less difficulty in translating 
when words could be so easily coined, and compounds were of 
the genius of the Saxon language. If a distinctive word for 
things having life could not be found, then soul-havers was at 
hand ; if helm meant a warlike headpiece, then steer-staff might 
be used for the instrument that guides a ship ; erthe-movynge 
is an earthquake. 

And yet a slight change of spelling gives many of Wycliffe s 


words a modern aspect abaished, abashed ; aish, ashes ; 
abregge, abridge; abite, habit; axe, ask; brid, bird; brisse, 
bruise ; breste, burst ; bigge, buy ; bocherie, shambles ; boyschel, 
bushel; bottler, butler ; brenne, burn ; caitiff, captive ; coryour, 
currier ; coz, kiss ; drede, dread ; fait, fauld, folded ; gree, degree ; 
hole, whole ; carkeis, carcass ; hoxe, hough ; ligge, lie ; parfyt, 
perfect ; pistil, epistle ; raied, arrayed ; rede, read ; scrowis, 
scrolls ; suget, subject ; snybbe, snub, reprove; sorwe, sorrow ; 
spitele, hospital ; treede, tread ; weilen, to wail; wilden, to weild; 
wlaten, to loathe; yuel, evil; wrethen, wreath ; "tweye minutis," 
" two mites," the second word being only the contraction of the 
former (Mark xii, 42). Not many years ago when the experi 
ment of reading Wycliffe s translation aloud was tried in York 
shire, there was hardly a word or an expression which seemed 
at all peculiar. 1 

1 The statement is given in the 1856, and is said to rest cm the 
Christian Anuotator, vol. Ill, p. 58, authority of Dr. Tregelles. 


Bible in the " modir tongue " must have been speedily 
diffused, at first in fragments copied and carried through 
the country by Wycliffe s poor priests, and many other agents. 
Without such a circulation the first version could not have 
made the impression ascribed to it before the Reformer s death, 
and it could only have been completed shortly before that 
event. Among these poor priests Swinderby was noted for 
preaching any where and at any time; his pulpit on one 
occasion being set between two millstones. Those preachers 
also, according to Knyghton, or pseudo-Knyghton, maintained 
stoutly that they were true evangelists, because they possessed 
" the Gospel " or English Bible. The manuscripts remaining are, 
of course, only a very small remnant, and most of them seem to 
have been written within forty years of its publication, or 
between 1420 and 1450. The handsome appearance of many 
of them shows that the wealthier classes appreciated them, and 
that the scribes who bestowed such time and skill on them felt 
assured of disposing of their labour at a good remuneration. 
There was a great demand, and a corresponding supply. 
Among Wycliffe s followers there were not a few knights and 
" soldiers, with dukes and earls," the strenuous supporters and 
defenders of the new sect, according to Knyghton, and that 
sect, "like suckers growing out of the root of a tree, filled every 
place within the compass of the land," and brought over to it 
" the greater part of the people." " Both men and women," he 
adds, on turning Wycliffites, "became too eloquent and too 
much for other people by word of mouth, and they all ex 
pressed profound respect for Goddis law " or the English Bible" 


Therefore there were copies not only in folio and quarto for the 
higher classes, but there were copies also of a smaller size ; and, 
indeed, nearly all of those extant are of this last kind, meant 
not for a place of honour in a library, but for individual daily 
consultation. But it need not surprise us that so few MSS. 
have come down to our time. Many must have perished from 
use, others were destroyed in a season of panic, or injured by 
the means taken to conceal or preserve them, and not a few 
were burned, as the most unscrupulous measures were taken 
to suppress the version. 

Many of these written Bibles are of great interest from the 
persons who had them, and the dates, curious notes, and 
references found in them. Lewis refers to a copy of the New 
Testament in Emmanuel College, Cambridge, which has on a 
spare leaf at the end "Finished 1382, this copy taken 1397." 
There is one in the library of Cambridge University, written 
about 1430, which, along with some personal allusions, has a 
note amidst rich ornamentation " The true copy of a prologe 
which John Wickliffe wrote to this Bible, which he translated 
into English about two hundred years past; that was in the 
tyme of Kinge Edwarde the Thyrd, as may justly be gathered 
of the mention that is had of him in divers ancient cronicles, 
Anno Domini 1550." Upon the second of two inserted leaves 
of vellum is printed in large capitals of gold, Edoverdus Sextus ; 
this Bible may have belonged to the young king who died in 
1553. In the library of Westminster Abbey there is another 
copy, written about 1450, given by the Duchess of Richmond 
to Henry, Earl of Arundel, and by him, in September, 1576, to 
Richard Wiclif. Another MS. in the old library of the British 
Museum, in two volumes, is very neatly and carefully written, 
probably before 1420; it has also been diligently gone over 
by another and nearly contemporary reviser, and is the second 
text of the edition so well printed by Forshall and Madden. 
A copy, belonging to Mr. Bannister, of the Inner Temple, has 
on the first page, in an old hand of the fifteenth century, an in 
scription showing that probably it belonged to the Duke ot 
Gloucester, Richard the Third. Another is also said to have 
belonged to Duke Humphrey, another to Henry VI, who gave 


it to the Charterhouse, another to Henry VII, and one was 
also given by her chaplain to Queen Elizabeth as a birth-clay 
present. In the Wardrobe Accounts of Edward IV, there are 
entries for binding his Titus Livius, his Froissart, his Josephus, 
and his Bible. 

Wycliffe s work as a translator brought upon him special 
hostility, for the idea of an English Bible filled the clergy with 
alarm and indignation. He knew, as he tells us, that the priests 
declared it to be " heresy to speak of the Holy Scriptures in 
English," and he adds in his Wicket that " such a charge is a 

O O 

condemnation of the Holy Ghost, who first gave the Scriptures 
in tongues to the Apostles of Christ, to speak that word in all 
languages that were ordained of God under heaven." He boldly 
dared to say of Courtenay, self-named " Chief Inquisitor," that 
the episcopal prosecution of some of his followers had its 
origin in this " because God s law was written in English to 
lewd men " " He pursueth a certain priest because he writeth 
to men in English," the allusion being probably to Hereford. 
Knyghton, the able and well-known canon of Leicester, thus 
delivers himself: "This Master John Wycliffe translated it 
out of the Latin into the Anglican, not the Angelic tongue, and 
thus laid it more open to the laity and to women who could 
read, than it had formerly been to the most learned of the 
clergy even to those of them that had the best understanding. 
And in this way the Gospel pearl is cast abroad, and trodden 
under foot of swine ; that which was before precious both to 
clergy and laity is rendered as it were the common jest of 
both. The jewel of the Church is turned into the common 
sport of the people, and what was hitherto the principal 
gift of the clergy and divines is made for ever common to 
the laity." 

Sudbury and Courtenay, the two highest ecclesiastics, who 
were from their position obliged to take action against Wycliffe, 
had not the smallest pretensions to scholarship or to a know 
ledge of theology. Nor had Arundel, 1 who had been so instru- 

1 To create a vacancy in Canter- St. Andrews, a transference which 

bury, Pope Boniface IX pitched he indignantly repudiated. He has 

Arundel into the Scottish see of however, a peculiar connection with 

VOL. I. F 


mental in dethroning one king and netting up another in his 
room, any higher qualification ; but he could lose his temper, 
and say to Thorpe, " a poor priest," when under examination, 
" By God, I shall set upon thy shins a pair of pearls, that 
thou shalt be glad to change the voice." He had presented to 
the Pope a list of 2G7 errors and heresies out of the writings of 
the Reformer; and he had sunk so low in his ecclesiastical 
enmities as to present a request that his holiness would order 
Wycliffe s body to be exhumed, taken out of consecrated ground 
and buried in a dunghill. The Pope, however, declined to 
command this posthumous degradation. But the Council 
of Constance, which burned Huss and Jerome, met in 
1415, and condemned both the writings and the bones of 
Wycliffe to the flames; and in 1428, fourteen years after 
Arundel s death, the decree was carried out in the primacy 
of Chichele, and under Bishop Richard Flemmyng of Lin 
coln, in earlier days himself, like his predecessor in the 
same see, a keen Wycliffite. His remains were solemnly 
"ungraved," and, in the oft-quoted words of Fuller, "they 
took what was left of his bones, and burned them to ashes, 
and cast them into the Swift, a neighbouring brook running 
hard by. Thus this brook hath conveyed his ashes into 
Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, they 

Scotland. His family, named Alan, France, and in the infirmity of the 
came over with the Conqueror in French alphabet. In 1405 Henry 
1066. Of the first Alan s two sons, IV kidnapped the Prince of Scot- 
Walter Fitzallan, the second sou, land, afterwards James I, and 
wandered north into Scotland, and Arundel might have recognized in 
purchased of the Scottish king the the prisoner so long kept in captivity 
hereditary office of High Steward, a " nineteenth" Scotch cousin. Lord 
One of his descendants, the sixth of Campbell (Lives of the Chancellors, 
the family who had held the office, vol X, p. 312, 4th edition) commits 
wedded Marjory, only child of a strange blunder when he assigns 
Kobert Bruce by his first marriage, Archbishop Arundel s chancellorship 
and their only child Eobert, High to the Wars of the Eoses; for the 
Steward and Regent, succeeding first of the thirteen battles was 
his uncle, David II, in 1370, became fought in May, 1455, and Arundel 
Eobert II, the first of the Steward died in February, 1414. Arundel, 
or Stewart dynasty, the popular five times Chancellor, could have 
form Stuart having its origin in little leisure to study theology. 


into the main ocean. And thus the ashes of "Wycliffe are the 
emblem of his doctrine, which now is dispersed all the world 

The posthumous indignity done to Wycliffe was paralleled 
in 1538, when, by a writ Quo Warranto, Becket was formally 
summoned, and, after he had been discanonized, his shrine was 
profaned and demolished, and its costly ornaments of gold 
and precious stones were removed. Not only so, but the bones 
of the Saint, which had attracted myriads of devotees for so 
many years, were plucked from their resting-place, burned to 
ashes, and scattered to the four winds of heaven. This deed of 
spoliation gave a greater shock to Europe than the execution 
of Fisher and More. 

But while Wycliffe, who seems to have expected martyrdom, 
escaped himself so marvellously from the grasp of his enemies, 
persecution of uncommon severity fell upon his followers, who 
had waxed so formidable from their possession of an English 
Bible. He had said in his lifetime, " The friars pursue priests, 
for they reprove their sins as God bids, to brenne them and the 
Gospel of Christ written in English to most learning of our 
nation." 1 Purvey had also divined coming peril, and in the 
conclusion of his Prologue had prayed that " God would grant us 
all grace to have well and keep well Holy Writ, and to suffer joy 
fully some pain for it at the last." In 1387 he, Hereford, and 
Ashton were forbidden to preach in his diocese by the Bishop 
of Worcester. Commissions were issued on the 30th March 
and 16th April, 1388, to seize the writings of Wycliffe and 
Hereford, and they were repeated several times in that and the 
following year. In 1391 a bill was brought into Parliament to 
forbid the circulation of the English Scriptures ; but it was 
rejected through the influence of the Duke of Lancaster, who 
answered " right sharply, we will not be the refuse of all other 
nations ; for since they have God s law, which is the law of our 
belief, in their own language, we will have ours in English 
whoever say nay. And this he affirmed with a great oath. * 
Knyghton, in an account of Archbishop Courtenay s visita- 

1 Treatise against the Order of Friars, cap. 36. 


tion of Leicester in 1392, describes a man called William 
Smith as compelled to do penance in the market-place, and to 
deliver up English copies of the Gospels and Epistles which he 
had written, and the culprit confessed that for eight years he 
had diligently employed himself in such transcriptions. 

Various conjectures have been made with regard to the 
origin of the term Lollard, so familiarly given to Wycliffe s 
followers. Some suppose it to have been derived from Walter 
Lollard, who was burned at Cologne in the fourteenth century. 
Others derive it from lollen or lullen, to sing with a low 
voice. 1 From the title of Netter do Walden s book (Fasciculi 
Zizaniorum), it would seem that in England it was supposed to 
come from lollium, tares, as opposed to the true wheat ; and 
Knyghton describes Wycliffe as mingling tares with wheat in 
his sermons. A similar allusion occurs in a Bull of Gregory XI, 
sent to Oxford, lamenting that by Wycliffe tares were allowed 
to spring up among the wheat. The doctrines themselves are 
also called Lollards. Gower, an anti-Lollard, and Chaucer, a 
sympathizer, also seem to refer to this origin of the term. The 
name had already been applied to the Bcghards of the Nether 
lands, to the Cellites of Antwerp, and to the brethren of the 
"" Free Spirit." In Piers the Ploughman s Crede, it is said of 
Wycliffe s opponents that they " overal lollede him," accused 
him of lollino- a loller meaning a sluggard ; and in the 

o o oo * 

Complaint of the Ploughman the term loller is given to the 

Arguments against Lollardism and the turning of the 
Bible into the mother tongue were quite legitimate as a free 
expression of opinion, and works and fragments of works 
against translation are still in existence. John of Bromyard 
(a small town in Herefordshire), a theologian of Cambridge, and 
a Doctor of Laws, was noted about 1 390 as a resolute opponent 
of Wycliffe and his views. Capgrave, Knyghton, Wodeford, 
Walden, and Walsingham, all of them able and learned divines, 
threw themselves into the great controversy with characteristic 
keenness and power. Reginald Pecock, Bishop of Chichester, in 
his "Represser" (1449), presents a very able and strange combina- 
1 Dn Gauge, sub voce. 


tion of what now would be called rationalism and ultramon- 
tanism. Those whom he defended so gallantly against the Bible 
men, met in Council, Archbishop Bourchier and Bishop Wayn- 
flete being present, and not only spurned him as a heretic, but 
condemned him to degradation and confinement; and to the 
end of his life he was a prisoner in the Abbey of Thorny in 
Cambridgeshire, ink and paper being denied him. His rational 
ism was provoked, and so far justified, by the application of 
Scripture on the part of the Lollards to uses which it was 
neither fitted nor intended to serve ; and he analyzes and con 
demns the three " Trowings " of the " pulpit bawlers " on these 
points. His ultramontane leanings are modified, however, by 
his repudiation of " fire, sword, and hangment " as means of 
conversion, and by the avowal of his intense desire, that 
" Scripture were lerned of the comon people in their modir 

If some of the Lollards cherished extreme political views, or 
propounded socialist notions, it is strange that in the legislative 
measures taken against them, they are stigmatized, not as 
traitors and anarchists, but as religious heretics. The Act de 
Heretico Combureiido (2 Henry IV, cap. 15), passed in 1401, 
speaks of " divers false and perverse people of a new sect ; they 
make unlawful conventicles, they hold and exercise schools, 
and make and write books." The books must have included 
the English Bible, from which the innovators drew their 
courage and strength ; but it seems to be classed with other 
productions, as if it had been profane to call an English version 
by the same appellation as would be conferred on the Latin 
Vulgate. The allusion in the statute to civil riots and discon 
tent is only secondary and subordinate. By this Act, the lives 
of the subjects were put under the control of the bishops, who 
got power to fine and imprison all heretics, and all possessors 
of heretical books, while obstinate and lapsed heretics were 
handed over to the sheriff, to be burned at once, " in a high 
place before the people, that they might take salutary 
warning." The Act bears the title " The Orthodoxy of the 
Faith of the Church of England asserted, and provision made 
against oppugners of the same, with the punishment of 


hereticks." J The church was now dominant, and the civil power 
was bound to execute without hesitation or loss of time the 
bishop s sentence. Offenders were at once thrust beyond the 
protection of the common law, and the prelates were forced 
to have prisons of their own. A similar law had been made in 
Germany in 1244 by Frederick II ; but Louis would not permit 
its enactment in France. The common belief asserted by Foxe, 
Burnet, and Collier, that the Act de Heretico Comburendo 
was an entire novelty in the law of England, does not seem to 
rest on good foundation. The Act itself presupposes the 
existence of its penalty, and only ordains that it be inflicted 
uberius et celerius, " more fully and more swiftly." The earlier 
civil law of England, it would seem, had sometimes taken cog 
nizance of heresy as a crime. Bale notes, from a London 
Chronicle, that an Albigensian was burned in London in 1210. 2 
Bracton 3 tells of a deacon burned at Oxford in 1223, for having 
gone over to Judaism from love of a Jewess, and getting himself 
"circumcided." And in his laws of England, a treatise written 
about the end of the reign of Henry III, he mentions burning 
as the punishment of heresy. It is stated in the Chronicle 
of Meaux, 4 that in 1303 fifty men and eight women were 
burned in England. In Piers the Ploughman s Crede, the friars 
are accused of executing heretics, " First to brenne the bodyo 
in a bale of fire." But such an old law had long been obsolete, 
and no death Avarrant would have been issued on a mere ecclesi 
astical sentence. 

Though such penalties may have been inflicted on heretics 
at an early time, the punishment was only occasional, and the 
civil law intervened; but, now, a simple decree of a bishop 
sufficed to send a man to the stake, and the accusation of 
heresy became sufficiently elastic to bring within it a consider 
able variety of offenders. 5 " The Commons petitioned for a 
mitigation of the terms of the Act, but the royal reply was, 

1 Coram populo in eminent! loco. 4 Bond s edition, vol. ii, p. 323. 
The Act did not remain a dead 5 Coke, Institutes, pt. iii. Coke 
letter. maintains " that the man who has 

2 Cent. Ixiii, c. C5. the soul s leprosy, being convicted of 

3 De Legibus Anglite, folio, 124. heresy, should be cut off." 


that the law should be made more severe. 1 This statute was ap 
parently passed by Parliament at the instigation of the clergy, led 
by Archbishop Arundel, who had a special claim on the Sovereign, 
for he had been, as much from motives of a personal as of a 
patriotic nature, a chief adviser and actor in deposing the weak 
and capricious Richard II, and securing the throne to Henry 
IV. He was, besides, a near relation by blood of the king, his 
mother being the daughter of Henry Plantagenet, Earl of Lan 
caster. Feeling his infirmity of title, and his obligation to 
his cousin the primate and to the church, the king, in the first 
year of his reign, announced to the clergy his determination to 
support them against any threatened aggression, and to co-operate 
with them in the extirpation of heresy. In the second year of 
his reign, Sautre, priest of St. Osyth, London, 2 was sent to the 
stake, and Bradbee, an uneducated tailor, but " really a great 
man," as Dean Hook calls him, was roasted in a barrel, a 
portion of the process being endured in the presence of the 
Prince of Wales, soon to be Henry V. Occleve, an orthodox 
and frigid poet 3 (born about 1370), sings of this terrible martyr 
dom, but with no sympathy for the poor sufferer. Another minor 
bard, Lydgate, ordained priest in 1397, and patronized by 
Henry V, though he lived in the midst of the Lollard agita 
tion, does not seem to have committed himself in any way. 
Thirty of the more prominent Lollards were put to death 
at various times, and without mercy Then followed, on 
Christmas, 1417, the terrible execution of Oldcastle, Lord 
Cobham, 4 " a person," in the language of Lord Brougham, 

1 See remarks of Lord Brougham a Bill to confiscate the revenues of 
on this statute in his " England and the church, which, after some cal- 
France under the House of Lancas- culations, goes on to say that, over 
ter." London, 1861. and above the said sum of 322,000 

2 The church, situated on the north marks, the result of appropriation, 
side of St. Pancras Lane, was burned several houses of religion possessed 
at the great fire, and the parish was as many temporalities as might 
united to that of St. Stephen Wai- suffice 15,000 priests, every priest 
brook. to be allowed for his stipend seven 

3 De Kegimiue Priucipum, Intro- marks a year. Hook s Archbishops, 
duction. vol. IV, p. 489. 

4 Cobham had, in 1410, introduced 


"of extraordinary virtue and high rank, a knight greatly 
distinguished in the wars, a gentleman of unsullied re 
putation for honour, the head of an ancient house, and by 
right of marriage a peer of the realm/ l His enthusiasm may 
have led himself or incited his followers to some political indis 
cretions. His was a death of savage cruelty, for he was hung 
in chains as a traitor, in order to be burned at the same time 
as a heretic. Horace Walpole says of him that, " his virtue 
made him a reformer, and his valour made him a martyr." 
There were other executions under this disgraceful Act, 
of which little record has come down to us ; for W T C find 
Henry V restoring forfeited property to the widows of 
four persons, who had been martyred before his accession. 

The clergy were devotedly loyal to their protector. When , 
after the accession of Henry IV, an insurrection in favour of 
Richard had been put down at Cirencester, and the 
head of one of its promoters, the Earl of Salisbury, a noted 
Lollard, was carried into London in triumph, the procession 
was met by eighteen bishops, and thirty-two mitred abbots in 
full robes, and chanting Te Deurn. By a statute of the fifth 
year of Richard II (5 Rich. II, cap. 5), confirmed by another 
of the second of Henry V (2 Henry V, cap. 7), it was 
ordained to be part of the oath administered to a sheriff on 
his acceptance of office, that he should " seek and suppress the 
errors and heresies commonly called Lolleries." This portion of 
the oath continued in use till Sir Edward Coke objected to it, 
when he was, in 1G26, by a court intrigue to keep him out 
of Parliament, appointed Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, his 
defence being that it was an oath to suppress the Established 
Church, as Lollard was only another name for Protestant. 

Yet what Parliament might not venture to do, was done in 
its own way by a Convocation which met at Oxford, in July, 
1408, and Arundel was its moving spirit. But the opposition 

1 Shakespeare had used his name a martyr, and this is not the man. 
in Henry IV, First Part, " my old A line of limping metre in the last 
lad of the Castle," but afterwards, passage of Act ii, Sc. 3, is the re 
in the epilogue to the Second Part, suit of the change of name from 
he made apology " Oldcastle died Oldcastle to Falstaff. 


was so strong, that the Constitutions were not promulgated till 
after another Convocation, held at St. Paul s, in January of the 
following year. The new English Bible was directly struck at 
in the seventh Constitution, to which passage reference has 
already been made : " We therefore decree and ordain that no 
man shall, hereafter, by his own authority, translate any text 
of the Scripture into English, or any other tongue, by way of a 
book, libel, or treatise, now lately set forth in the time of John 
Wyckliff, or since, or hereafter to be set forth, in part or in whole, 
privily or apertly, upon pain of greater excommunication, until 
the said translation be allowed by the ordinary of the place, or, 
if the case so require, by the ^council provincial." l Some 
authors have tried to apologize, on political grounds, for this 
audacious suppression of an English Bible by the English 
clergy ; but the " Constitution " itself, resting solely on ecclesi 
astical bases, assigns no reason of the kind. 2 Sir Thomas More, 
at a later period, records that Caxton did not print Wycliffe s 
translation because Arundel s statute would bring him under 
penalty for issuing an English Bible. 3 

In 1404 and 1407, the Commons, who certainly were not all 
Lollards, addressed the king on the enormous wealth of the 
church; for half the land of England belonged to it and to the 
religious houses : but he at once forbade them to discuss such 
matters. In the second parliament of Henry V, in 1414, the 
legislature joined in asking for harder measures against the 
Lollards, perhaps on account of political opinions. After a sus 
pected rising of the Lollards, a law was passed, declaring that 
all who read the Scriptures in the mother tongue should " forfeit 
land, catel, lif, and goods, from theyr heyres for ever." But there 
was also in this parliament a revival of the desire to secure for 
the revenue of the state some portion of the exorbitant property 

1 Wilkin s Concilia, vol. Ill, p. - The Bishop of Worcester, in 1387, 

317. There had been an earlier told his clergy that the Lollards were 

canon passed at the Council of followers of Mahomet. Wilkiu s 

Thoulouse, iu 1229, forbidding the Concilia, vol. Ill, p. 202. 

possession of the Scriptures to the 3 Crouica de Event. Angliae, torn 

laity, and strictly forbidding trans- II, London, 1652, p. 2044. 


of the church. This desire was apparently cherished by many 
loyal and patriotic churchmen; and, according to a common report 
which Shakespeare has immortalized, Archbishop Chichele 
stirred up the king to undertake at once the threatened 
invasion of France, and in this way to draw the attention of 
the people away from schemes of ecclesiastical reform. The 
poet makes Chichele say to the Bishop of Ely : 

" That self same bill is urged 

That, in the eleventh year of the last king s reign, 
Was like, and had, indeed, against us passed, 
But that the scrambling and unquiet time 
Did push it out of further question. 

If it pass against us, 
We lose the better half of our possessions." 

The statement as given by Halle, Holinshed, Fabyan, and 
others, that the clergy suggested the war, and argued the king 
into compliance, may perhaps be regarded as an exaggeration; 
but they fanned the flame, if they did not kindle it. This war, 
which was in unison with the late king s policy, was utterly 
unjust; for the claim of Edward III devolved on the Earl of 
March, his lineal heir, and not on the usurping house of 
Lancaster. Every one knows that the campaign created the 
greatest enthusiasm, for the wonderful battle of Agincourt 
threw unsurpassed glory round the English hero a glory that 
sometimes dazzles those who have little sympathy with the 
claims or conquests of Henry V. 

The English Bible, circulated, expounded, quoted, and applied, 
filled the ecclesiastics with terror. To have it, or to be accused 
of having it, put a man, by law, into extreme jeopardy. But 
the word of the Lord Avas not thrown away or lost. Those 
who felt it to be their enlightenment and comfort cherished it 
with intense veneration. The danger which they incurred in 
keeping it only enhanced its value, for there was a possible 
martyrdom behind it ; and there might have been embossed on 
its boards the effigy of a stake and a chain, a fire and a victim. 
The great majority of the Wycliffite Scriptures still preserved 
were written after the ban of Arundel and his Convocation had 


been issued. Those who read the forbidden volume must have 
felt the proverb verified in its richest and truest sense, "Stolen 
waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." Many 
did suffer for owning a Bible in their spoken tongue. Foxe 1 
gives numerous instances of persecution in various dioceses. 
Some persons were imprisoned, and others were burned. In 
1519, six men and a woman perished at the stake at Coventry, 
for teaching their children the Lord s Prayer and the Ten 
Commandments in English. The point of the charge against 
the " examinates," or accused persons, was uniformly not the 
possession of a Bible, but of an English Bible, or " book of the 
New Law in English." An unintelligible Latin volume of 
Scripture was felt to be harmless in the hands of the people, 
though, indeed, William Butler, 2 a Franciscan adversary of 
"Wycliffe, hesitates not to say, " The prelates ought not to allow 
that any person should read the Scripture translated into Latin 
at pleasure." 3 There was a great desire that children should 
not be taught the Lord s Prayer or the Beatitudes in English. 
Some of the people had not the whole New Testament, but 
only the Gospels or a few of the Epistles. The forbidden book 
was often read by night, and those who had not been them 
selves educated listened with eagerness to the reading of others; 
but to read it, and to hear it read, were alike forbidden. Copies 
of the New Testament were also borrowed from hand to hand 
through a wide circle, and poor people gathered their pennies 
and formed copartneries for the purchase of the sacred volume. 
Those who could afford it gave five marks for the coveted 
manuscript (about 40 sterling), and others in their penury gave 

1 Iu vols. IV and V. Seeley, Lon- ment was published, says, " I fear 
don. two things I fear that the study of 

2 Vaughan s Wycliffe, vol. II, p. Hebrew will promote Judaism, and 
50. Latin Bibles were so scarce that the study of philology will re- 
that Fitzralph, primate of Armagh, vive paganism." There was some 
complained to Pope Innocent that ground for the fears of Erasmus, for 
four of his chaplains, on going to it was said of some of the Italian 
Oxford, could not find a Bible. scholars, who had become classic 

3 More than a century afterwards, pagans, that they had a chauut, 
Erasmus, in 1516, the year in which " Come, let us sing a new song unto 
his first edition of Greek New Testa- Pope Sixtus." 


gladly for a few leaves of St. Peter and St. Paul a load of hay. 
Nicholas Bui ward, of the diocese of Norwich, was charged " that 
he hath a New Testament which he bought in London for four 
marks and fourty pence." John Colins and his wife were 
brought up for buying a Bible of Stacey for twenty shillings. 
In 1429 the price of a Bible was 2, IGs. 8d. a great price, 
and probably more than twelve times that sum in our current 
money ; but fragments in separate books would be proportion 
ately cheaper. Some committed portions to memory, that they 
might recite them to relatives and friends. Thus Alice Colins 
was commonly sent for to the meetings, " to recite unto them the 
Ten Commandments and the Epistles of Peter and James." 
" Understandest thou what thou readest?" was a challenge 
wholly fruitless to many ; but they enjoyed the benediction, 
" Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of 
this prophecy." In 1429 Marjory Backster was indicted 
because she asked her maid Joan to "come and hear her 
husband read the law of Christ out of a book he was wont 
to read by night." Richard Hun, committed to the Lollard s 
Tower in 1514, was found dead in his cell, there being 
strong suspicions that he had been murdered. His indict 
ment before his death bore that he " had in his keeping 
divers English books prohibited and damned by the law, 
as the Apocalypse in English, and Epistles and Gospels 
in English." One of the " new articles " brought against 
him after his death was " that he defendeth the trans 
lation of the Bible and of the Holy Scripture into English." 
Between 1518 and 1521, such cases are recorded as Richard 
Collins, accused of having a book of Luke and of Paul ; William 
Pope, of having a book of Paul and a book of small Epistles ; 
Stacey, brickmaker, Coleman Street, of having a book of the 
Apocalypse ; Thomas Colins, of having a book of Paul and ot 
James in English ; and John Ledishall, of Hungerford, 
reading the Bible at Burford upon Holyrood day ; and John 
Heron of having " a book of the exposition of the Gospels fairly 
written in English." 

The means employed to discover the readers and possessors 
of Scripture were truly execrable in character. Friends and 


relations were put on oath, and bound to say what they knew 
of their own kindred. The privacy of the household was 
violated through this espionage; and husband and wife, 
parent and child, were sworn against one another. The ties 
of blood were wronged, and the confidence of friendship was 
turned into a snare in this secret service. Universal sus 
picion must have been created ; no one could tell who his 
accuser might be, for the friend to whom he had read of 
Christ s betrayal might soon be tempted to act the part ol 
Judas towards himself, and for some paltry consideration sell 
his life to the ecclesiastical powers. There are numerous ex 
amples. Robert Colins " detected " or informed against Richard 
Colins of Girge, for that Richard did read unto him the Ten 
Commandments, and taught him the Epistle of James ; John 
Hakker detected Thomas Vincent for giving him the Gospel 
of St. Matthew in English ; John Steventon detected Alice 
Colins for teaching the Ten Commandments and the first 
chapter of St. John in English ; Thomas Colins informed against 
his " own natural father," because his father had taught him 
the Ten Commandments ; Robert Pope informed against his 
wife, his son, and his father, the paternal crime being that 
his parent had listened to the reading of the Gospel of 
Matthew. Many from experience must have become so cunning 
as to escape detection, and others may have secured immunity 
by an organized system of vigilant sentinels, and private tokens 
and watchwords. On being seized many abjured. In 1519 
Roger Parker of Hitchenden said to John Phip, that "for 
burning his books he was foul to blame, for they were worth 
a hundred marks. To whom John answered, that he had 
rather burn his books than that his books should burn 
him." On one occasion, at Amersham, in 1506, the daughter 
of the martyr William Tylsworth was "compelled with her 
own hands to set fire to her dear father." Foxe intimates 
that when he wrote the story, there were persons alive who 
had witnessed such a refinement of cruelty. When John 
Scrivener was burned, his children were forced to light the fire 
that consumed him. 

The attachment of the Wycliffites to Scripture was notorious 


all through the previous century, and from their first existence. 
An old satirical song complains of Lord Cobham 

" Hit is unkyndly for a knight, 
That should a kinges castel kepe, 
To bahhle the Bibel day and night." 

Their earlier purity of conversation is brought out by Chaucer 
in his Canterbury Tales. The host adjures the parson, "for 
Goddes bones," to tell a story in his turn ; but the parson s 
surprise at the sinful oath at once marked him out as a Lollard 
" I smell a Loller in the wind." To prevent him from talking 
Gospel, the shipman struck in, " He shall no Gospel giossen 
here, nor preach, or he might springen cockle in our cleane 
corn," an allusion to lolia (tares). The parson s tale, however, 
is in character, being a long sermon filled with quotations 
from Scripture, the Latin clauses being rendered by the poet 

The knowledge of divine truth, received by the reading of the 
Scriptures, was transmitted by a succession of pious men for 
more than a century after Wycliffe s death. There was a 
revival of spiritual life, and the dim mists of the morning were 
passing away at the rising of the sun. Readers of the manu 
script Bible were numerous in London, where they had several 
places of meeting ; and they abounded also in the counties of 
Lincoln, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Buckingham, and Hereford. 
The Gospels, especially that of Matthew, the Beatitudes, the 
Apocalypse, and very frequently the Epistle of James, are 
mentioned in the informations and indictments. In 1528, 
John Tyball, of Steeple Bumstead, confessed to having part of 
Paul s Epistles after the old translation. John Pykas, in 1529, 
acknowledged that he had a manuscript of the Bible, and that 
he had been studying it since 1512. About 1520 and 1521, 
more than five hundred men and women were arrested in the 
one diocese of Lincoln, under Bishop Longland ; and there was 
persecution from 1509 to 1517 under Fitzjames, Bishop of 
London. Ammonius, the Latin secretary of Henry VIII, writes 
in grim humour to Erasmus, in 1511, that so many heretics 
had been burned under Bishop Fitzjames that in and around 


London fuel had become scarce and dear. 1 In 1529, John 
Tewksbury, citizen and leather merchant, on examination 
before Bishop Tunstall, deponed that he had been studying the 
Scripture for seventeen years, and had a copy of the " Bible 
written." These Bible readers called themselves " brothers " or 
" sisters " in Christ, and at an early period they took the name 
of "just-fast men," " known men," and " known women." The 
title was based, according to Reginald Pecock, on Wycliffe s. 
unhappy misrendering of the last clause of 1 Corinthians xiv, 
38, " If eny man uuknowith he schal be unknown," Pecock s 
explanation being that they understood the clause to mean 
that if a man did not know the New Testament, he should be 
unrecognized of God " for to be eny of hise." In talking of a 
third party, one would ask, " Is he a known man ? " that is, Is 
he one of the party characterized by their reading of the 
written New Testament ? But such stealth and secrecy were 
forced upon them " the Word of the Lord was precious in those 
days, there was no open vision," and the time was yet distant 
when the circulation and reading of Scripture should be without 
bar or proscription, when there should be an Authorized Version. 
In consequence of the spirit of earnest inquiry which was shed 
abroad, the tyranny of the spiritualty was seen to be more 
glaringly in antagonism with inspired teaching. 

In fine, there is no doubt that " this dear old English Bible " 
kept alive the knowledge of divine truth for many years. The 
influence of Wycliffe had not ceased when that of Tynclale 
began, for in 1529, and in the fierce proclamation of that year 
against heretical books Tyndale s Testament occupying the 
first place on the list all civil officers are enjoined at the same 
time to "destroy all heresies and errors commonly called 
Lollardies." Wycliffe s followers were therefore still of such 
note and influence as to obtain a place in this royal document. 
Even so far on as 1538, Lambert the martyr, in reply to one of the 
articles preferred against him, admitted, " I did once see a book 
of the New Testament, which was not written in my estimation 
this hundred years, and in my mind right well translated after 
the example of that which is read in the Church in Latin." 

1 Epist., cxxvii. 


Vernacular translations of Scripture were usually found in 
connection with the reformed doctrines, and Scotland was no 
exception. In 1408, John Resby, a follower of Wycliffe, who 
had strayed down to the North, was arrested and tried under 
the Regency of Albany, and, being convicted of forty heresies, 
was burned at Perth. The Abbot of Inchcolm, as continuator 
of Fordun s Chronicle, tells the story, and he laments that 
the books of Wycliffe are possessed by several Lollards in 
Scotland, and kept with profound and " devlish " secrecy. 
The same chronicler relates that, in 1431, Paul Craws or Crawar, 
a Bohemian Wycliffite, was convicted and burned at St. Andrews. 
Such had been the increase of Lollardy, and such the dread of 
it, that the Scottish Parliament, meeting at Perth, in the reign 
of James I, passed on the 12th of March, 1424-5, an "Act of 
Heretickis and Lollardis." " Item, Anentis Heretickis and 
Lollardis, that ilk Bischop sail ger inquyr be the Inquisicione 
of Heresy, quhar ony sik beis fundyne, ande that thai be 
punyst as Laive of Haly Kirk requiris ; Ande, gif it misteris 
(if there be need) that secular power be callyt tharto in 
suppowale and helping of Haly Kirk." l An inquisitor 
had also been appointed, the first who held the office 
being Laurence of Lindores, Abbot of Scone, in 1411, and the 
first Professor of Law in the newly established University 
of St. Andrews. It was enacted by this University in 1416 
that all who commenced Master of Arts should solemnly 
swear to resist the Lollards. At an earlier period, in 1390, a 
Scottish book was written against the disciples of Wycliffe. 
In 1494, Robert Blackadder, Bishop of Glasgow, and first Arch 
bishop, " delated " some thirty individuals of good family 
squires with considerable property principally from Kyle, the 
central district of Ayrshire ; and Lollards of Kyle became their 
common designation. Being convicted by the ecclesiastical courts 
of thirty-four heresies, they were sent up to the civil authorities, 
but they declined to interfere. One of the culprits, Campbell 
of Cessnock, had a priest at home " who read the Bible to them 
in their vernacular." Campbell, feeling himself in danger, 
appealed to the king, and his wife made an eloquent defence. 
1 Acta Purl. Scotiae, vol. II, p. 7. 


James IV at once acquitted the whole party, and, as Knox adds, 
" the greatest part of the accusation was turned to lawchter." 

There is little doubt that Wycliffe s version was in quiet 
circulation in several parts of the northern country. Its 
language was quite intelligible in those days to Scottish readers, 
for it was virtually their own. Those who could read Fordun s 
Scoti-Chronicori, Archdeacon Barbour s Bruce, or Blind Harry s 
Wallace ; or the Oryginal Cronykil of Wyntoun, Prior of 
St. Serf, or the King s Quhair of James Prince of Scotland, 
could easily read Wycliffe. Barbour calls his own language 
" English " ; and one of his contemporaries thanks Chaucer for 
improving " our tongue." Barbour has -and often for the ter 
mination of the participle, though he uses also -ing. He is in 
some things more modern than Chaucer, for he has they, their, 
them, while the English poet keeps the older forms of the pro 
nouns. These works were written in a dialect that reached 
from the Trent and Humber through Lothian and the East of 
Scotland to the Moray Firth, and it is the language of the 
Cursor Mundi, of Hampole and of his " Pricke of Conscience." 

In a volume of English Metrical Homilies of the fourteenth 
century, edited by Mr. Small from manuscript (Edin., 1862), the 
style is a quarter of a century earlier than Wycliffe, and there 
are several allusions to the right of the people to have and 
read the Bible in English 

" For al men can noht, I wis, 
Understand Latin and Frankis." 

The language of these Homilies is the Dano-Saxon of the 
North of England, the same as the earlier literary language 
of Scotland. The translation of Virgil by Gawaine Douglas, 1 
Bishop of Dunkeld, is called by L Isle, the Anglo-Saxon gram 
marian, " Virgil Scottished " ; but the poet Dunbar describes 
the noble translator soon after his death as being " in our 
English rhetoric the rose." 

An account of the examination of William Thorpe, " the poor 

1 The poet was the third son of his patron saint that no son of his 
old grim " Bell the Cat," fourth but Gawaine could write a line. 
Earl of Angus, who used to thank 

VOL. I. G 


priest," before Archbishop Arundel, at the Castle of Saltwood, 
in 1407, was written by himself, and afterwards published with 
an advertisement to the reader by Tyndale, who intimates that 
he had modernized the older style " for our southern men," 
adding, however, " I intend hereafter, with the help of God, to 
put it forth in his old English (the English of Wycliffe s period) 
which shall well serve, I doubt not, both for the northern and 
the faithful brethren in Scotland. 1 " Don Petro de Puebla, 
Spanish ambassador at Holyrood, in the reign of James IV, 
says, in a dispatch, his (the king s) " Scottish language differs 
from English as Arragonese from Castilian." 

1 Two Scottish bards of the period bar, calls him " Lamp Lollardorum," 

quarrelled, and one of them, a and also " Judas, Jow, Juglour, 

younger son of Lord Kennedy, in Lollard La wreat." Duubar s Poems, 

his "Flyting" with the poet Dun- vol. II, p. 85, &c. 

The lines quoted near the top of p. 94 are from Wright s " Political 
Songs, from Edward II to Henry VI," p. 244. The Lives and Acts of 
Tyler, Ball, and Oldcastle are illustrated with some fulness in Maurice s 
"English Popular Leaders of the Middle Ages," vol. II, London, 18*75. 


The altitude of some tall crag 
That is the eagle s birthplace, or some peak 
Familiar with forgotten years, that shows 
Gnarled, as with the silence of the thought, 
Upon its bleak and visionary sides, 
The history of many a winter storm, 
Or obscure record of the path of fire. 

There the sun himself, 
At the calm close of summer s longest day, 
Rests his substantial orb ; between these heights, 
And on the top of either pinnacle, 
More keenly than elsewhere in night s blue vault, 
Sparkle the stars, as of their station proud. 


only Bible of the English people had been for a century 
and upwards the written translation of Wycliffe and 
Purvey. The Lollards, as a distinct party in the realm, had 
fallen from a conspicuous position, but " the word of the Lord 
endureth for ever," and in many homes their Book must have 
been a light, and in many hearts the hidden spring of comfort 
and power. The Wycliffe Bible was, however, only a version 
from a version, yet, as Latin was the language of the church, a 
translation from the Vulgate was made from a recognized 
source, and the correctness of any rendering could, therefore, be 
easily ascertained. And why should not a plain rustic or a 
tradesman have his English Bible, and be put into the same 
position as a gentleman of education who can read and 
understand the Latin one ? Any attempt to translate from 
a Greek original at that period, had it been practicable, might 
have led to confusion and misunderstanding; for ignorance 
would have branded such a book as heretical and misleading, if 
it was found to differ in any way from the ecclesiastical text. 
The common people could not have appreciated these varia 
tions, and such prejudices would have been created against the 
new version as the priesthood could easily foster and spread. 
Yet the translation of the Latin Scriptures had been a first 
step to something higher, an intermediate gift to the nation. 
The effect had been like the first touch of the Blessed Hand 
upon its vision " it saw men as trees walking ; " and when at 
length the second touch passed over it, it looked up, and then 
it " saw every man clearly." 

As early as the seventh century some knowledge of Greek 


must have been diffused in the island, through the influence of 
Archbishop Theodore of Tarsus, 1 who brought with him some 
Greek manuscripts; and such scholarship might be feebly 
preserved for a period in a few monastic establishments. 
Petrarch had received a slight initiation into Greek from 
Barlaam, but he could not read Homer without a Latin gloss, 
and Boccaccio supplied him with such a guide in 13G1. Both 
Alcuin and Bede understood Greek; and it was taught from 
about the year 1395 by Emmanuel Chrysoloras, in Venice, 
Milan, Florence, and Genoa. Alexander V, chosen Pope in 
1409, and a Greek by birth, patronized the revived study of his 
mother tongue. A few scholars had some acquaintance with 
it, such as Roger Bacon, John of Basingstoke, Archdeacon of 
Leicester, and Grosseteste, one of the most illustrious men of 
his age, who influenced English thought and literature in a re 
markable degree, and advocated translations of Scripture, though 
he set his seal to two worthless spurious productions, the Testa 
ment of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the works of Dionysius the 
Areopagite. Another eminent scholar, Richard Aungervylle or 
De Bury tutor to Edward III, then Bishop of Durham and for a 
few months Chancellor of England, has left us his Philobiblon, 
a species of autobiography, in which, while showing the many 
means eagerly employed by him to add to his library, he 
deplores the common ignorance of Greek, and intimates that 
he had taken care that all "our scholars should possess" a 
Greek as well as a Hebrew grammar. But Greek was really 
unknown for a century afterwards, or until the period of what 
is commonly called the revival of letters ; the nearer causes 
of that resuscitation being the fall of Constantinople in 1453, 
and the flight of learned Greeks into Europe, when live boats 
laden with them and their literary treasures crossed over to 
Italy. Among those exiles, Argyropylus and Chalcondyles, 
Andronicus Callistus and Constantino Lascaris occupy an 
honoured place. The early disputes excited by the renewed 
study of Plato, under the influence of Ficini and others, indi 
cate the spreading love and acquirement of Greek. Greek 
chairs were founded in the universities, and filled by enthusi- 

1 See page 4. 


astic teachers. In 1472, George Hermonymus, a Spartan, 
settled in Paris, and became the Greek teacher of Budreus 
and Reuchlin ; and Gregory Typhernas also taught in the 
same city. Vitellius, an Italian, taught Greek at Oxford, 
having Grocyn as one of his pupils. Croke followed Erasmus, 
in 1522, as Greek professor at Cambridge. Calphurnius was 
first Greek teacher in Wolsey s new college, his successor being 
Lupset, who had been tutor to the cardinal s son commonly 
known by the name of Dr. Wynter. 1 

Grocyn, a Wykamist, eulogized by Erasmus as his " patron 
and preceptor," and in whom he admired a "universal compass" 
of learning, had, in 1491, begun to teach Greek at Oxford, after 
having been for some time in Italy. Colet, on returning from 
Italy to the same university in 1496, commenced a series of 
lectures on St. Paul s Epistles, though he had not yet taken 
deacon s orders. He was the sole survivor of a family of twenty- 
one brothers arid sisters, and heir to a fortune left by his father, 
who had been Lord Mayor of London, and he yet lives in his 
noble foundation of St. Paul s School. 2 When Dean of St. Paul s, 
he was suspected of being a reformer, and persecuted by his 
diocesan, Bishop Fitzjames, who had been chaplain to Edward 
IV, and Lord High Almoner to Henry VII. Tyndale mentions 
it as a well-known fact, that Fitzjames would have made Dean 
Colet a heretic for translating the paternoster into English, had 

1 Tanner, Bale, and Leland give us Charles V bought one hundred 

incidental notices of a few Greek Greek books, and that Francis I 

scholars, as Adam Estou, a Bene- hired a Greek secretary, while 

dictine of Norwich, who died at Matthias Corvinus purchased an 

Rome, 1397 ; John Bates, a Carmel- immense quantity of MSS. from 

ite of York, 1429 ; Flemmyng, Greek fugitives, his librarian at 

Dean of Lincoln, 1450 ; William Buda being Bartholomew Frontiuus, 

Gray, Bishop of Ely, 1454 ; John who had been a professor of Greek 

Phrea, of Bristol (died 1464) ; Wil- at Florence. 

Ham Sellynge, of All Souls, Oxford, 2 Two of Colet s works, the Hier- 
who studied Greek in Italy, and archies of Dionysius, and Lectures 
who, as Prior of Christ s Church, on Romans, have been recently pub- 
Canterbury (1460), enriched its lished, appropriately edited by T. 
library with many MSS. ; and H. Lupton, M.A., Surmaster of 
Lebrix, a professor at Alcala, 1490. St. Paul s School, London, 1869. 
It may be added that, in 1472, 1873. 


not Archbishop Warham shielded him. Linacre had enjoyed, 
along with the children of Lorenzo del Medici, the instruction 
of Politian and Chalcondyles, and having taken the degree of 
M.D. at Padua, he became court physician to Henry VIII, and in 
1518 he founded the Royal College of Physicians, being also its 
first president. Erasmus eulogizes his acuteness, depth, and ac 
curacy. Lilly, whom More calls "his most dear companion," was 
another of the revivers of Greek learning. He had studied five 
years at Rhodes, and was the first to teach Greek in the metro 
polis. He was chosen the first Master of Colet s School of St. 
Paul s, and his Grammar, published in 1513, has dictated Latin 
formulae to many successive generations. William Latimer, 
Fellow of All Souls, in 1480 went and studied at Padua, and 
on his return taught Greek at Oxford. He was appointed 
tutor to Reginald Pole, to whom he owed his preferments 
in the church. Erasmus describes him as a " true divine, and 
noted for his integrity." Thomas More, afterwards the famous 
chancellor, belonged to the same eager band. In 1498, Erasmus 
came to Oxford with a recommendation to Father Charnock 
from the Prior and Canons of St. Genevieve, in Paris, and was 
at once welcomed into the College of St. Mary the Virgin. The 
thin, pale stranger did not know a word of English ; but the 
object of his toil and travail was to obtain or perfect a know 
ledge of Greek. 

Greek literature was thus studied with special keenness and 
assiduity, and the Scriptures began to be examined without 
regard to dry and worn-out forms. Cambridge was not 
behind Oxford ; and the witty, vagrant, and laborious Erasmus, 
on a subsequent visit to England, held for some few years its 
chair of Greek, and, through the influence of Fisher, Chancellor 
of the University, was appointed Lady Margaret s Professor 
of Divinity. The kindness of his patron Archbishop Warham 
Erasmus heartily repaid by a dedication to him of the Works 
of St. Jerome, and a long and elaborate eulogy in a note to 
1 Thess. i, 7. This intense enthusiasm for the study of the 
old tongue of Hellas, created and exemplified by those early 
and devoted scholars, made it possible that the next translation 
of the New Testament should be from the original Greek : and 


there was one ardent soul among them, but unrecognized by 
them, that was quietly and unconsciously disciplining itself for 
such a momentous enterprise. 

Almost contemporaneous with the introduction of Greek 
learning, was the invention of printing, a mechanical craft, 
born to minister to intellectual power, at a time when its 
assistance was specially needed. For the European mind 
was waking up from the sleep of ages, and new ideas eager 
for dissemination could not wait the slow, expensive, and 
uncertain quill of the " brief-men." l The press, with its speed 
of impression and power of multiplication, fitted into the epoch , 
and gave to thought not only a permanent form, but immediate 
and wide diffusion. An author became a living centre to an 
immense circle of readers, and his words flew among them with 
rapidity and ease. The manufacture of vulgar material into 
paper had been no less astonishing ; and a rag trodden in the 
wintry mire of the streets might be so transformed as to bear 
upon it a divine message, or become a portion of that Book 
" the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations." 

Gutenberg, 2 or Gensfleisch, had made some experiments in 
printing with movable metallic types prior to 1439 ; after 
some delay and loss of money, Fust, a goldsmith of Mentz, 
was taken into his confidence, and, by his own genius and his 
partner s financial help, the Latin Bible was printed towards 
the close of 1455, in two folios of 1282 pages. 3 The world 

1 The wages of a copyist may be to read one page. Bentley s Cor- 

learned from one of the Paston respondence, p. 501, London, 1842. 
Letters, W. Ebesham sends in his 2 He took his mother s name, his 

bill in 1468 : " twopence a leaf " father s being Gensfleisch ; and the 

for prose, or in our money about two inscription on Thorwaldseu s statue 

shillings, and a "penny a leaf," or one of him in Mentz names him 

shilling, for verses of thirty lines in Gensfleisch de Gutenberg, 
a page ; ornamented letters, or "rub- 3 Called often the Mazarin Bible, 

risshing " in colour, being charged a copy being discovered by De Bure 

in addition. But the scribes were in the Cardinal s library. A copy 

not always well rewarded. Bentley on vellum, sold in 1827, brought 

gave Wetstein only .50 for collating only 504 ; another, sold at the sale 

a manuscript of some size, and Wet- of the Perkins library in 1874, 

stein tells that it took him two hours realized 3,400. 


was all the while wholly ignorant of the strange occupation 
which had lodged itself in the midst of it. The swift and con 
tinuous issue of uniform copies, and the eagerness to sell for sixty 
crowns what the penmen would have charged four hundred for, 
led to accusations of magic, and suspicions of confederacy with 
the powers of evil. The first printers were willing to foster 
the impression that their pages were still inscribed by 
hand ; but honest Caxton revealed the truth in the preface to 
his first publication. " It is not written with pen and ink 
as other books, but emprynted." A second edition of the 
Bible, by Fust and Schoeffer, appeared in 1462, and there had 
been two editions of a Psalter in 1457 and in 1459. When one 
looks at the form of the letters, 1 " the strength of the paper, and 
the lustre of the ink " in these earliest volumes, he is inclined to 
conclude that printing has for the last four centuries made 
little improvement, save in quickness and cheapness, and that 
the art was perfect at its birth, like Athene springing at once 
in full armour from the brain of Zeus. The sack of Mentz 
in 1462 scattered the skilled workmen, so that the new power 
soon leapt out of its secrecy, was welcomed in Italy, and 
established in Rome by Sweynheym and Pannartz, under Pope 
Paul II. The press at Rome sent out in a few years more than 
twelve thousand volumes in twenty-eight editions. The art 
was carried to Paris in 14G9 ; but not to Scotland till 1507- 
About 1474, Caxton, who had learned the mystery abroad, set 
up a press at Westminster, and he had some noted successors, 
Wynkyn de Worde, Pynson, and Rastell. Through Holland, 
Germany, and France, the recent invention at once proved a 
power betokening yet mightier results. Another era had 
dawned, and in the revival of letters, and in the employment of 
the press, due preparation was made for setting forth the Bible 
in its own tongues and in translations, and for putting such 
texts and versions into immediate dispersion over all lands. 

1 The common form of letter so employed in the Roman capital, 
familiar to us, is called the Roman Italic letters being first used in 
character, from a fount of types Venice. 


A MONO the youths attracted to Cambridge, probably by 
the fame of Erasmus, there was one who had been for 
some years at Oxford, a busy learner, whose studies and attain 
ments in Greek were soon to be directed through life and death 
to the noblest of works William Tyndale. Though William 
Tyndale has reared for himself an imperishable monument 
in our English Bible, the place and date of his birth are 
alike uncertain. On such points he is himself very reticent 
in his writings, perhaps from the fear of bringing others 
into suspicion and trouble. It has been for a century and 
a half the opinion of biographers that he was born at Hunt s 
Court, North Nibley, in the hundred of Berkeley, Gloucester 
shire ; and in honour of that belief a handsome column has 
been erected to his memory on Nibley Knoll, a beautiful 
eminence in the Cotswold Range. But it is now believed 
that, though the Tyndales of Hunt s Court l might be relations 
of the martyr, they were not in possession of that property 
till after his death. Thomas Tyndale and Alice Hunt, of 
Hunt s Court, had a son named William, and Christopher 
Anderson and others have fixed on him as the Translator; 
but this William was alive in 1542, while the other was put to 
death at Vilvorde in loSG. Mr. Demaus 2 has lately discovered 
in the State Paper Office a letter from Stokesley, Bishop of 
London to Thomas Crumwell, which throws some light on the 

1 There had also been Tyndales or river lands which formed part of 

who were farmers at Milksham the manor of Hurst. 

Court, in the adjoining parish of - "William Tyndale, a biography," 

Stinchcombe, and there was a Richard quite a model in brevity, clearness, 

Tyndale, who held some reclaimed and research. 


question. The purport of the bishop s epistle is to ask a grant 
of a farm to one of his servants, and in pressing his suit he 
characterizes a rival suppliant in these significant words 
" He that sueth unto you hath a kinsman called Edward Tyndale 
(brother to Tyndale the arch-heretic), and under-receiver of the 
lordship of Berkeley, which may and daily doth promote his 
kinsfolk to the king s farms." The Marquis of Berkeley, who 
died in 1492, left his estates to Henry VII, and Edward Tyndale 
collected the royal rents, having been nominated to the office 
by letters patent in 1519. The "Receiver" 1 got also a grant 
of the lease of the manor of Slymbridge in 1529, and this was 
probably at an earlier time the scene of both his own and his 
brother s birth, for the family had held some portions of it from 
the reign of Richard III. These statements, however, are in 
conflict with the pedigrees concocted for the translator ; but 
Stokesley, who had himself been rector of Slymbridge in 1509, 
could scarcely be in error, and his precise assertion must be in 
the meantime regarded as conclusive evidence on the point. 
Foxe is therefore to be credited, when, because he had not or 
could not get more definite information, he notes, " Touching 
the birth and parentage of that blessed martyr of Christ, he 
was born on the borders of Wales." The surname would 
indicate that the family originally came from the north of 
England. There were Lords of Tyndale at an early period ; 
and Adam de Tyndale held a barony under King John. Some 
of the branches are supposed to have dropped their name from 
being involved in the Wars of the Roses, and to have adopted 
the more plebeian appellation of Kitchens, Hutchens, or 
Hochens. On the title-page of his first avowed publication, 
the name is " William Tyndale, otherwise called Hichens." The 
name Hitchin occurs in Doomsday Book, County of Hertford. 
But this story about the reason of change of the name is said 
not to be older than the period of Charles II. According to the 
genealogy given at some length by Anderson and Offor, 2 there 
had been a Baron de Tyndale of Langley Hall, and from the 

1 Annals of the English Bible, - Life prefixed to his reprint 
vol. I, p. 16, tfcc. London, "William of the New Testament, London, 
Pickering, 1845. 183G. 


second son of the last baron several families, including that of 
the translator, had sprung. But many points in this genealogy 
are not at all satisfactory, or beyond dispute. Offor is not to 
be implicitly followed, and Anderson s hero-worship lulled him 
into credulity. Both of them relied on some statements made 
b} 7 Oade Koberts, who was collaterally descended from the 
Tyndales of Hunt s Court. l 

As Tyndale was some years younger than Sir Thomas More, 
who, according to the best account, was born in 1478 (the year 
then running to Lady day, March 25th), his birth may be 
placed in 1484 or 1485, a century after Wycliffe s death. He 
was sent to college at an early age, " brought up from a child 
in the University of Oxford." According to Wood, he was 
" trained in grammar, logic, and philosophy in the Mary Mag 
dalene s Hall," founded by Bishop Waynflete in 1448, and 
commonly called " Grammar Hall," from the prominence given 
in it to classical learning, under the tuition of Grocyn, Latimer, 
and Linacre. His course was of some length " by long con 
tinuance he grew up and increased in the knowledge of tongues 
.and other liberal arts." 

But the Bible had already attracted his love and labour. 
His proficiency was seen not only in common and secular 
studies, but " specially in knowledge of the Scriptures, where- 
unto his mind was singularly addicted, insomuch that he read 
privily to certain students and fellows of Magdalene College 2 
some parcel of divinity, instructing them in the knowledge and 
truth of the Scriptures." His character was in harmony with 
his pursuits, " his manners and conversation were such that all 
who knew him respected and esteemed him to be a man of 
most virtuous disposition and life unspotted." According to 
Foxe, " he proceeded in degrees of the schools at Oxford " ; but 
Wood writes, " whether he took a degree doth not appear in 
our registers." The retort of Sir Thomas More is usually sup 
posed to imply that Tyndale had graduated. In showing that 

1 British Museum, Additional tory of the College. Magdalene 
MSS., 9,458. Hall was a sort of preparatory school 

2 A portrait of Tyndale, with a in connection with the larger foun- 
Latin inscription, hangs in the Refec- dation of Magdalene College. 


" grace " has various meanings, Tyndale adds in illustration, 
" In universities many ungracious graces there be gotten"; and 
More answers with a bitter sneer, " He should have made it 
more plain and better perceived, if he had said, as for example, 
where his own grace was there granted to be Master of Arts." 
But such an invective is not positive testimony. There is no 
ground, however, for supposing that he was expelled from the 
University on account of holding any novel doctrines ; though 
perhaps he may have incurred some suspicion, as Colet had 
done by his uuscholastic lectures, for Foxe relates, " increasing 
more and more in learning, and spying his time, he removed 
thence to the University of Cambridge, whence he made his 
abode for a certain space," being now " further ripened in the 
knowledge of God s Word." Erasmus was at Cambridge from 
1509 to 1514, and Tyndale may have resolved to study under 
the most famed scholar of the age. 

No record of Tyndale s ordination has been preserved. There 
is, however, a legend that he was ordained priest to the Nun 
nery of Lambley on the western border of Northumberland ; 
but according to Warham s register, this Tyndale, who was 
ordained in St. Bartholomew, Smithfield, on the llth March, 
1502-3, belonged to the diocese of Carlisle, and in that year 
William Tyndale had not reached the requisite age for orders. 
Another fiction about him is that, in 1508, he entered as a friar 
into the Monastery of the Observants at Greenwich. On the 
title-page of a small folio book named " Sermones de Herolt " 
(1495), in the library of the Cathedral of St. Paul s, the Eev. 
R. H. Barham found the inscription, " Charitably pray for the 
soul of John Tyndale, who gave this book to the Monastery of 
Greenwich on the day that brother William his son made his 
profession, in the year 1508." But the inscription does not 
help to any identification, and Tyndale s own words, sometimes 
adduced as collateral proof of the statement, have been mis 
understood. In the preface to the " Wicked Mammon," he 
relates that one William Roye had been with him, and that a 
year after his departure came over "Jerome, a brother of 
Greenwich also " " also," that is, as well as Roye. The two 
men both belonged to the reformed order of Franciscan friars, 


and the adverb " also " l is in no way intended to include 
Tyndale himself, as indeed the context plainly determines. 
Besides, to lay aside the cowl was a misdemeanour never to be 
forgotten or forgiven, but not one of Tyndale s adversaries ever 
taunts him with such unpardonable violation of his vows. 
While More calls Luther, QEcolampadius, Roye, and Jerome 
either friars or apostates, he names him simply Tyndale, or 
Sir William, or Hitchins. Ridley also, in writing in 1527 to 
Archbishop Warham s chaplain, speaks with discrimination of 
Mr. W. Tyndale and Friar William Roye ; and in a list of 
names written on the last leaf of a copy of the Pope s Bull of 
1520 against Luther, inserted in Tunstall s Register of 1530, 
there occur, " Willimus Tyndall ; Willimus Roy, apostata; Ricus 
Brightwell (Fryth) " ; the odious epithet being given only to 
the perjured friar. The story, therefore, that Tyndale had been 
a monk, which is found in Offor, 2 and repeated from him by 
Blunt, 3 Dabney, 4 and the author of the " Introduction to 
Bagster s English Hexapla," is completely disproved. 

On leaving Cambridge, Tyndale resorted to one Master 
Walsh, a knight of Gloucestershire, "and was there school 
master to his children." We can only conjecture why, probably 
in 1521, Tyndale left Cambridge, and why, in his prime, he 
became tutor in a rural mansion to children so very young, the 
eldest of them, born in 1516, being only six years of age. 
Perhaps he had met with some disappointment, or his con 
victions, based on the teachings of Scripture, had prevented 
him from seeking preferment in the church, or aspiring to any 
position of honour and usefulness in his university. Writing in 
1531, he refers to certain ecclesiastical omens which he had 
been marking "above this dozen years"; his observations had, 

1 The most of the brief phrases 2 Life, p 8. 

within inverted commas found in 3 A plain account of the English 
these pages are fromFoxe,v, 114, &c. ; Bible, p. 31, London, 1870. The 
and it may be added that his first "Account" is a reprint of the tenth 
edition, consisting so much of original chapter of his " Reformation of the 
documents in the words of contem- Church of England." 
poraries, is greatly fresher and more 4 Preface to Tyndale s New Testa- 
graphic than the subsequent issues, ment, Audover and New York, 1837. 


therefore, commenced during his academic residence. Sir 
John Walsh, who had been knighted as the king s champion 
at the coronation of Henry VIII, lived at Little Sodbury 
Manor, a few miles from Tyndale s birthplace. "He kept 
a good ordinarie commonly at his table," and Tyndale met 
there many ecclesiastics of the West of England, "abbots, deans, 
archdeacons, with divers other doctors, and great beneficed 
men." When his conversation with these guests incidentally 
grew into disputes, his standard of appeal was the "Book," 
with which he was well acquainted, and which had been, in 
fact, the study of his life. Sir John and his lady who was 
" stout and wise," were tempted to tell him on one occasion 
that, since so many divines with wealthy livings did not hold 
his views, it was surely not to be expected that he, so poor and 
dependent, was to be listened to with implicit credence. His 
reply to such an argument which weighed learning by social 
position and emolument was his translation of the Enchiridion 
Militis Christian! of Erasmus, 1 a treatise which gave him new 
favour in the eyes of his patrons who were greatly edified by 
it. This handbook, or " pocket dagger of the Christian soldier," 
written in 1501, teaches that Christianity does not consist in 
the reception of scholastic dogmas, or in the observance of 
ceremonies, but in yielding suit and service to the Saviour- 
king, and in carrying on continuous warfare against all that is 
evil in one s own heart, or in the world around him. 2 His own 
earlier ecclesiastical beliefs had certainly been shaken, though 
none of Luther s books could at this time have come into his 
hands. In these free and unguarded discussions referred to, he 
was creating a character for himself; and prejudices against him 
soon ripened into open hostility. According to Fuller, the 
dignified clergy at length preferred to forbear Master Walsh s 
good cheer, rather than have his " sour sauce therewith." 
" Unlearned priests," as Tyndale himself calls them, " being 
rude and ignorant, and having seen no more of Latin than that 

1 It was published in an abridged will be found in Drummond s Eras- 
form by Coverdale, and is included mus, vol. I, p. 113, London, 1873. 
in the Parker Society edition of his - Erasmus explains Enchiridion by 
Works, p. 489. An account of it pugiuuculus. 


only they read in their portesses and missales," flocked together 
to the ale house, "which is their preaching place," and there 
raged and railed at him. Such accusations were soon carried to 
the spiritual authorities. Giulio del Medici, the Bishop of Wor 
cester, afterwards Pope Clement VII, dwelt in his own sunny 
land, and when Tyndale appeared, in answer to his summons 
before Dr. Parker, the diocesan chancellor, he was " reviled and 
rated as though he had been a dog." 1 Sir Thomas More 
afterward says of him, " that before he went abroad he 
savoured so shrewdly that he was once or twice examined 
of heresy." 2 

The tutor was in this way stigmatized by enemies who, 
making up in vituperation what they wanted in argument, 
called him " a heretic in sophistry, a heretic in logic, and a 
heretic in divinity." All this persecution on the part of men 
without scholarship or literary culture must have fretted him, 
while it showed him his true mission, and gradually tended to 
crystallize his floating ideas into the great and firm purpose of 
his life the translation of Scripture. In a brief autobiography 
contained in his preface to the " Five Books of Moses," 
Tyndale throws the impulse and resolve to be a translator 
back to this epoch. He observed that " the sense of the divine 
Word was obscured by expositions clean contrary unto the 
process, order, and meaning of the text which thing only 

1 The vehemence of Parker got grace of exhumation. Parker dug 
him some years afterwards into ex- up and burned the heretic s bones, 
pensive trouble. William Tracy, without waiting for a writ required 
Esquire of Todcliugton, Glouces- by the statute de Heretico Com- 
tershire, had, in his will of date burendo. For this illegal proceeding 
October, 1530, left on purpose no against his father s dead body, Rich- 
money for masses or prayers "to ard Tracy at once sued Chancellor 
help " his soul, as he trusted in the Parker, who was fined ,300, or 
merits of the one Mediator, Jesus about .4,500 at present value. 
Christ. The Convocation of 1531, Tyndale s tract on Tracy s Testament 
alarmed at the circulation of this will be found in his Works, vol. III. 
testamentary deed, declared him p. 271, Parker Society edition, 
excommunicated, and this sentence, 2 Dialogue, book iv, chap. 17. 
according to Decret. Greg. lib. i, Works, p. 283, London, 1557. 
tit. xxxviii, c. 12, entailed the dis- 

VOL. I. H 


moved me to translate the New Testament. Because I had 
perceived by experience how that it was impossible to 
establish the lay-people in any truth, except the Scripture 
were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue, that 
they might see the process, order, and meaning of the text." 1 
That this chief end was now steadily in his view is disclosed 
by his own words. In a controversy with a " certain divine 
recounted for a learned man," who in a burst of indignation 
had retorted, " It were better to be without God s law than 
the Pope s," Tyndale replied, "I defy the Pope and all his 
laws," and avowed that, " if God spared his life, ere many years 
he would cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more 
of the Scriptures than the Pope did." And he kept his word, 
his translation being so terse and simple that all who could 
read it might understand it. Some, commenting on this 
utterance, style Tyndale " a young dreamer." But he was no 
youth, for he was in "the mid-time of his days," and the dream 
was a waking one one of those visions that grow " realities to 
earnest men"; and are like those of Joseph, that so soon trans 
lated themselves into fact. He may have made some experi 
ments some tentative translations about this time, and he 
longed now for some peaceful retreat to begin and carry on his 
self-imposed task. Such was his simplicity of soul that, in reply 
to various invectives against his boldness, ambition, and love 

O r * 

of notoriety, he quietly answered on one occasion, "He was 
contented that they should bring him into any county in all 
England, giving him ten pounds to live with, and binding 
him to no more but to teach children, and to preach." 2 Being 
so " turmoiled in the country," he was at length obliged to 
leave the family of Sir John Walsh, who, he foresaw, would not 
be able " to keep him out of the hands of the spiritualty," and 
he came for refuge to the metropolis in the end of the summer, 
or in the autumn, of 1523. 

After preaching for some time at St. Dunstan s in the West, 

1 Works, vol. I, p. 393. Parker various parts, as at Bristol, " iu the 

Society edition. common place called St. Austin s 

" It may be noted that Tyndale Green." 
often preached at this time in 


he asked for admission into the household of Cuthbert Tun- 
stall, who had become Bishop of London in 1522, of whose 
learning and love of learned men he had heard, and whom Eras 
mus "praiseth exceedingly." The praise referred to belongs, 
however, to a subsequent period. Tunstall is mentioned in the 
preface to the fourth edition of the New Testament, but not 
with exceeding praise. As his recommendation to his Lord 
ship, he sent him an English version of an oration of Isocrates. 1 
The specimen was presented through Sir Harry Guildford, 
the royal comptroller, and a commendatory letter was also 
transmitted through " one William Hebilthwayte, a man of 
mine old acquaintance." " If I might," he wrote some years 
afterwards, " come into the Bishop of London s service, thought 
I, I were happy." But he was disappointed, the answer of 
the bishop being that his house was full, and the applicant was 
advised, if not encouraged, to seek what he wanted somewhere 
else in London. Tyndale was, according to his own account 
of himself, " evil-favoured in this world, and without grace in 
the sight of men, speechless and rude, dull and slow-witted"; 2 
and probably, from his awkward rusticity, he made no impression 
on my Lord of London, whom his disappointed visitor pour- 
trays as a " still Saturn that seldom speaketh, but walketh 
up and down all day musing, a ducking hypocrite, made to 
dissemble." These acid words indicate that the bishop had re 
ceived him with cold politeness, listened to him in silence, and 
dismissed him with scant courtesy. Tunstall s haughty 
taciturnity probably so froze him that he did not venture to 
hint at his project of translating the New Testament. Had he 
intimated such a purpose, the bishop would have given him an 
answer which he must have put on record. His own conclu 
sion is, " God saw that I was beguiled, and that counsel was 
not the nearest way to my purpose ; and therefore he gave me 
no favour in my Lord s sight." No new patron turned up to 

3 A handsome edition of Isocrates edition was published by Aldus at 

had been published at Milan in Venice in 1513. JSTeither of these 

1493, bearing witness to the edi- texts has the accompaniment of a 

torial taste and scholarship of Latin translation. 

Demetrius Chalcondyles. Another - Letter to Fryth in 1532 cr 1533. 


forward his views, but Humphrey Munmouth, merchant, 
showed him no little kindness, having been attracted to him 
by the style and earnestness of his sermons, and he then took 
up his abode with this " Gaius," his host. As Munmouth dealt 
in cloths, he had commercial transactions with the manu 
facturers of Gloucestershire, among whom would in all likeli 
hood, be some of Tyndale s relations. Munmouth was the 
benefactor of many other reformers, such as Fryth ; and it is 
most probable that at this time Tyndale made the acquaintance 
of one so "like minded," who became so dear to him, and 
preceded him in martyrdom. For Fryth had not come to 
Cambridge before Tyndale left it, and he was arrested with 
others at Oxford in 1528. 

A year s residence in London taught Tyndale many painful 
lessons, and he traced the divine hand and purpose in his 
disappointments. The pomp and power of ecclesiastical 
dignitaries, their blindness and their security, their disrelish 
of evangelical truth and their malignant opposition to the 
circulation of the Scriptures even in Greek ; their dread of 
change, and their stern suspicions of all who might ripen into 
reformers, saddened him and brought him to " understand at 
the last, not only that there was no room in my Lord of 
London s palace to translate the New Testament; but also, 
that there was no place to do it in all England, as experience 
doth now (1530) openly declare." He must have observed 
many indications of a darkening period of conflict. Fox, 
Bishop of Winchester, had, in 1516, instituted Corpus Christi 
College at Oxford, and given it teachers both of Latin and 
Greek. Wolsey, "a scholar, and a ripe and good one, had also, 
in 1519, founded a Greek professorship at Oxford, and another of 
Rhetoric and Latin. The occupants of these chairs were violently 
assailed ; but the king interposed and ordered that " the study 
of the Scriptures in the original languages," should not only be 
permitted for the future, but received as a regular branch of 
academical study. Such incidents showed an incipient 
appreciation of the study of the original Scriptures, and it was 
not too profound a vaticination to foresee that the next step after 
the possession and study of the Greek New Testament, must 


naturally be the translation of it as a national necessity. 
Tyndale had likewise seen the effects of the Greek New Testa 
ment at Cambridge, its saving power on some, and its hardening 
effect on others ; indeed, one of the colleges had forbidden the 
entrance of the book within its walls, " by horse or by boat, by 
wheels or on foot," and Erasmus himself had been openly 
opposed by Lee and by Standish. 1 Tyndale could forecast, 
from such commotions, what the result would be at no distant 
date, and could divine that the authorities in the church would 
rise from warning to formal inhibition, and from it to persecu 
tion and capital punishment. 

The path which Providence had marked out for Tyndale 
was not one of bustle, remonstrance, or agitation. His work 
needed quiet and leisure, prolonged and undisturbed study. 
His manner of life in London was honestly told a few years 
later by Munmouth, in self-defence before the Privy Council, 
in May, 1528. He was formally accused of giving money to 
Tyndale when he was abroad, of contributing pecuniary help 
to the translation of the New Testament, and of having his 
version and some heretical books in his possession. His house 
had been searched, and himself examined and sent to the 
Tower on the 14th of May. Four days after his imprisonment, 
the " poor prisoner " sent a memorial to Wolsey and the Council 
praying for liberation. This memorial describes in simple 
terms the manner of Tyndale s life, while he stayed with this 
kind protector. " I took him into my house half a year ; and 
there he lived as a good priest, as methought. He studied most 
part of the day and of the night at his book ; and he would eat 
but sodden meat, by his goodwill; and drink but single small beer. 
I never saw him wear linen about him, in the time he was with 

1 See, on the Novum Instrumen- Both men adored the Vulgate, and 
turn of Erasmus, Seebohm s Oxford many of their contemporaries be 
lief ormers of 1498, London, 180 7, p. lieved in the inspiration of Jerome. 
365. Lee asserted that he had dis- Stnnica was patriotically indignant 
covered 300 errors in it, and that Erasmus had dared to spell his 
Standish was horrified beyond native country ^-n-avia in Horn, xv, 
measure at the substitution of 28, not lo-Travta, robbing the haughty 
sermo for verbum in John i, 1. kingdom of a letter. 


me. I did promise him ten pounds sterling to pray for my 
father and mother, their souls, and all Christian souls. I did 
pay it him when he made his exchange to Hamborough. 
Afterward he got of some other men, ten pounds sterling 
more, the which he left with me. And within a year after, 
he sent for his ten pounds to me from Hamborough, and 
thither I sent it him by one Hans Collenbeke. And since I 
have never sent him the value of one penny, nor never will. 
I have given more exhibitions 1 to scholars in my days than 
to that priest. The foresaid sir William left me an English 
book, called Enchiridion. 2 Also, I had a little treatise that the 
priest sent me, when he sent for his money. When I heard my 
lord of London preach at St. Paul s Cross, that sir William 
Tyndale had translated the New Testament into English, and was 
naughtily translated, that was the first time that ever I sus 
pected or knew any evil of him." 

Ten pounds was then probably equal in value to 150 
of present currency. An acre of land was at this period 
about eightpence in annual value, and the average price 
of wheat was six and eightpence a quarter, while beef 
or pork was a halfpenny, and mutton three farthings a 
pound. In 1525, a pair of hose cost two and fourpence, and a 
pair of shoes one and fourpence. Latimer s father had a farm 
of three or four pounds by the year. A penny a day as a 
labourer s wages, therefore, represents considerably more than a 
shilling at the present time. 3 By Act of Parliament under 
Henry V, "the wages of a parish priest had been fixed at 
5, 6s. 8d. a year, and the statute remained in force in the reign 
of Henry VIII. Bradford the martyr writes in 1549, "My 
fellowship here (Pembroke Hall) is worth seven pounds a year. 
. . . Thus you see what a good Lord God is to me." 4 The 
salary of Udal, as head-master of Eton, was ten pounds a year ; 
and ten pounds a year was all that Tyndale himself asked for 
support in teaching and preaching. 

It need not create surprise that in the declaration of 
Munmouth the poor scholar is usually called Sir William. 

1 Small pensions or stipends. 3 Fronde s History, vol. i, p. 21, &c. 

- See p. 112. 4 "\Yorks, p. xviii, Parker Society. 


" Sir," representing the Latin Dominus, does not seem to 
have been given, at least originally, to all priests. It 
was not an academic title, but was conferred at first 
on persons in orders who had taken a Bachelor s degree. 
Those who had proceeded to M.A. were called Master, Magister. 1 
" Sir " is often the title given to domestic chaplains, probably 
because many of this class, from poverty or other causes, had 
left the university without taking the Master s degree. As a 
complimentary title it may have been given at length on a. 
wider scale ; but Masters and Doctors would repudiate it, as 
they had the right to a more distinctive appellation. 2 The 
familiar apellation of Sir William would, therefore, seem to 
imply that Tyndale had not become Master of Arts. 

1 There are lists of Scottish clergy, Master Garret ; with Master Clark : 
as in Knox s History and other old Sir Fryth, Sir Dyot and Anthony 
documents, in which occurs the title Dalaber, of Albans Hall, the last being 
" Sir," along with Magister, Fra- a secular scholar. Fryth had taken 
ter, and Doctor. Knox himself is B. A. at Cambridge, prior to his trans- 
called Sir John Knox, as he had lation to Oxford, but Garret, curate to 
not a Master s degree. In Bishop the rector of Honey Lane, London. 
L.agland s letter to "Wolsey about wore his Master s hood when he 
the spread of heresy at Oxford and carried his faggot from St. Mary s 
the introduction into the University to Cardinal College, 
of Tyndale s translation, there is 2 See p. 109. 
this list given of ringleaders, " with 


"YVTHAT Tyndale could not enjoy in England his eager 
spirit hoped to find abroad. He left London, probably 
in May, 1524, certainly not in January, as Anderson thinks, for 
at that season the navigation of the Elbe is impeded by the ice. 
His expatriation was forced upon him ; residence at home was 
incompatible with the duty which he had laid upon himself. 
Some seven years after, in 1531, he appealed to Vaughan, a 
candid correspondent of Crumwell and King Henry, in feeling 
words, which the envoy repeated to His Majesty : " If for my 
pains therein taken; if for my poverty; if for mine exile from 
my native land, and bitter absence from my friends ; if for my 
hunger, my thirst, and my cold, and the danger with which I 
am everywhere compassed, and finally, if for innumerable other 
hard and sharp fightings which I endure." 1 . . . He did 
not become a Stoic, soured at his country and longing for 
revenge. He was no fanatic ever weaving plots and com 
binations to secure his return; no splenetic fugitive bewailing 
his fate in bitterness of soul, or venting his wrath in puny 
diatribes or malignant satires. He felt all the privations of an 
exile from a land " loved and longed for ; " but, having counted 
the cost, and made his choice, he patiently and heroically 
suffered scorn, poverty, sudden flights, with other nameless 
evils, that he might finish his work. If the faces of kindred 
and friends sometimes haunted him, and the voice of a mother 
or sister fell like a soft and distant echo on his ear, if at such a 
Aveary moment he was tempted to look back, his hand never left 
the plough which always traced a deep and straight furrow. 
Cotton MSS., Titus, B. i. 


Tyndale took up his residence in Hamburg, a solitary and 
unknown foreigner, and set about his great undertaking. It 
is impossible to say whether he had made much progress in it 
previously to his departure, but the months of study, " most 
part of the day and of the night," at his book, which he spent 
under Munmouth s roof were very probably devoted to trans 
lation, for he had come to London burning with strong desire to 
do this " one thing." He was not allowed to do it in the 
bishop s palace, as he had so fondly anticipated, but he must 
have begun it in the house of the cloth merchant, in the parish 
of All Hallows, Barking. The brief time that elapsed between 
his arrival on the Continent and the completion of the printed 
New Testament, in a version so admirable and with not more 
marks of haste upon it, prove that he must have carried some 
portion of prepared material with him from England. But the 
fragment, containing a small section of the New Testament, 
which Offor refers to as having the initials W. T., and the date 
1502, has been declared by Mr. Fry of Bristol to be a forgery, 
on evidence which Canon Westcott affirms to be " absolutely 
conclusive." This fragment (Luke vii, 36-50) may be found at 
p. 9 of Offer s Life of Tyndale, prefixed to his reprint of the 
first edition. It is a translation from the Greek; but there 
was at that time no printed Greek Testament, the first edition 
of Erasmus not being published till 1516. Besides, it is simply 
Tyndale s own version of 1526 very slightly altered, and yet 
preserving all his peculiar turns. 

How long Tyndale remained at Hamburg cannot be made 
out. But it was an opinion early held, and often repeated, 
that on leaving Hamburg he went to consult Luther, and that 
he commenced, if he did not complete, his translation at 
Wittemberg. The assertion, in its first half, is supported by 
such names as Cochlseus and Sir Thomas More, taken for 
granted by Foxe, repeated by Bishop Marsh, 1 by Offor, Froude, 2 
Demaus, 3 and many others. It has been as keenly denied on 
the other hand by not a few biographers and critics. 

1 Lectures on the Criticism aud In- 2 History, vol. Ill, p. 78. 
terpretation of the Bible, p. 13. Lon- 3 Life of Tyridale, p. 93. 
don, 1838. 


The discussion of this point ought, however, to be prefaced 
by one preliminary remark. It was a mistake of no common 
magnitude to associate the name and work of Tyndale with 
the name and work of Luther. The mistake, however, can be 
easily explained, as it was common at the time to call all men 
Lutherans who showed any leaning towards reformation. The 
great Reformer had so stamped an image of himself upon 
the Teutonic movement, that similar tendencies in other lands 
were vaguely named after him. Sir Thomas More, King 
Henry, Lee, and Cochlseus, regarded Tyndale as a promoter of 
Lutheranism, and his Testament was loosely spoken of as a 
translation of Luther s German version. The title page of 
Sir Thomas More s Dialogue reads, " Touching the pestilent 
sect of Luther and Tyndale." But it is against all evidence 
to call Tyndale Lutheran 1 , or to aver that his purpose was 
to promote Lutheranism in his own country. He was no 
sectarian, was never a Lutheran himself, was never allied to 
Luther as colleague or instrument, and nothing was farther 
from his thoughts than to found a sect and identify his own 
name with it. His " Notes " show that he had long been 
opposed to the papal pretension of supremacy, and to the 
papal errors and superstitions ; but he never laboured to form 
or organize any protesting party. To give an English Bible 
to the English race from the original text was his life-labour ; 
and he first sent it abroad without his name; for he was willing 
to remain an unrecognized benefactor, to be hidden " in a cleft 

O * 

of the rock " as the divine glory passed by and settled at length 
over his beloved fatherland. The English envoy, Vaughan, 
justifying himself to Crumwell who thought that he was 
favouring the Translator, avows " that he was neither Lutheran 
nor Tyndalian " the only place in the mass of correspondence 
where the latter epithet occurs. 2 His own disclaimer to 
ward the end of his life, is very touching and solemn : 

1 Yet the epithet clung to him to be directed " Teg an heeren 

through his life, and in the bill Willeme Tindalus priestere gevangen 

of expenses incurred for his ex- Lutraien." 

ecution, the process by the pro- 2 Cotton MSS., Galba, B. x, 

cureur-general of Brabant is said p. 21, &c. 


"Moreover, I take God, which alone seeth the heart, to re 
cord to my conscience, beseeching Him that my part be not 
in the blood of Christ, if I wrote, of all that I have written, 
throughout all my books, ought of an evil purpose of envy 
or malice to any man, or to sfcir up any false doctrine or 
opinion in the Church of Christ ; or to be author of any sect ; 
or to draw disciples after me ; or that I would be esteemed, or 
had in price above the least child that is born ; save only of 
pity and compassion, I had, and yet have, on the blindness of 
my brethren, and to bring them into the knowledge of Christ ; 
and to make every one of them, if it were possible, as perfect as 
an angel of heaven ; and to weed out all that is not planted of 
our heavenly Father ; and to bring down all that lifteth itself 
against the knowledge of the salvation that is in the blood of 
Christ." 1 

Tyndale s work was very different from Luther s. The one 
was mighty by tongue and pen, for he was a man of war, of 
downright blows, unwearied in assault, leonine in courage, 
often in a rage against opponents, and dealing out to them 
unmeasured scorn and vituperation. The more scholarly 
Melancthon would have shrunk from such battles ; but what 
ever his hand found to do, Luther did with a mighty and 
demonstrative earnestness. Tyndale, on the other hand, 
carried out his tranquil toil in his study and on the one book 
of divine truth which he sent forth " turned into the vulgar 
speech," to be " known and read of all men." If he did not 
enter the lists a joyous champion like Luther, he released a 
still mightier power when he despatched across the " silver 
streak of sea" the English Bible, that the people might see 
and read the simple, plain, and profitable Book of Truth. 
The visit to Wittemberg ought, therefore, to be dissociated 
from all imputations of Lutheranism and all tendencies 
toward it. 

That Tyndale really travelled to Wittemberg may at the 
same time be argued from the following considerations. The 
visit is not a recent invention, or a mere conjecture of later 
times. All his contemporaries, friends as well as foes, affirm 

1 " Protestation " to his revised edition of the New Testament of 1534. 


that he went to confer with Luther. Foxe asserts that " he 
took his journey into Germany and into Saxony, where he 
had conference with Luther and other learned men in these 
quarters." l The martyrologist delivers the statement without 
the least hesitation, and was suspicious of nothing in it deroga 
tory to Tyndale s fame as a reformer, or to his originality as a 
translator. Cochlseus, whose name will soon occur again, speaks 
of him and Koye as two English apostates who had been some 
time at Wittemberg, and who at the moment were printing 
the New Testament in Cologne. Cochlseus was himself on the 
spot, and with his prying nimbleness and industry he could 
scarcely be mistaken. He had not, indeed, seen the volume 
which was then at press, and could only form a conjecture as 
to its nature, but that conjecture was based on the temporary 
sojourn of Tyndale in Luther s city. 2 One of the charges pre 
ferred in 1528 against Munmouth, Tyndale s benefactor, was 
that " with his knowledge, William Hutchin otherwise called 
Tyndale, and Friar Roye, or either of them, went into Almayne 
to Luther, there to learn his sect ; " and Munmouth in his reply 
does not deny the accusation, or plead any ignorance of the 
journey to Wittemberg. Sir Thomas More affirms that Tyndale, 
though he " dissembled " here, yet as soon as he left England, 
" gat him to Luther straight " ; that at the time of his transla 
tion of the New Testament, " Tyndale was with Luther at 
Wittemberg, and the confederacy between him and Luther was 
well known." 3 The assertion was wrong in so far as it assumes 
that Tyndale translated at Wittemberg, and " set forth certain 
glosses on the margin, framed for the setting forth of the un 
gracious sect " ; but to show that the assertion was no guess of 
his own, he adds, " as touching the confederacy between Luther 
and him, it is a thing well known by such as been taken and 
convicted here of heresy." 4 So that the belief was current 
among all who had known or had heard of Tyndale s wan- 

1 Acts and Monuments, vol. IV, 3 Dialogue, Book III, c. 8, p. 221. 

p. 119, London, 1838. Do., Book IV, c. 17, p. 283. Works, 

2 De Actis et Scriptis M. Lutheri, London, 1557. 

p. 132 Duo Angli apostatce qui 4 Answer to More, p. 147. Works, 

aliquamdiu fuerant Wittembergcc. vol. Ill, Parker Society ed. 


derings. More, indeed, had his own end to serve in dwelling 
so pointedly on the report; but if it could have been denied, or 
if the evidence had been contradictory, his purpose would have 
miscarried. Tyndale in his answer replies only to the charge 
of " confederacy " " When he says Tyndale was confederate 
with Luther, that is not truth." He thus denies the alleged 
confederacy alone, and the denial, after six years residence on 
the continent, would have been still more decided if he had, or 
could have, declared that he had never seen Luther, or had 
been in his company. Such a form of denial would have been 
very natural and conclusive if he had been warranted to adopt 
it. The selection of only one point in the accusation, and the 
curtness of the answer, would lead us to infer that Tyndale had 
been with Luther, though certainly he was never in concert 
with him. More accepted Tyndale s disavowal of the confeder 
acy, for he drops the charge, while he still repeats the assertion 
that " Tyndale hath been with Luther, . . . therefore I must 
needs mistrust him." l Such was also the interpretation of Foxe, 
who edited the work where Tyndale s denial occurs, and yet 
inserts in his biography of the translator the statement which 
we have already quoted. Anderson, however, so misquotes 
Tyndale s denial as to make it decisive of the controversy. 
First he writes it correctly : " Tyndale was confederate with 
Luther that is not truth," but he gives it an ingenious twist 
on the next page, thus : " Tyndale was with Luther that is 
not truth," assigning to Tyndale a declaration which he never 
wrote, and took special care not to write. He so identified 
confederacy and visit, that he seems unconsciously to have 
made the alteration. 2 The rumour had also spread into France. 
Lee, the king s almoner (and afterwards, in succession to 
Wolsey, Archbishop of York), who was on a journey to Spain, 

1 Confutation, Works, p. 419. Bible, p. x) is wrong in saying that 

2 The writer knew Mr. Anderson he was " a minister at Glasgow." 
somewhat in his older days, about His residence was in Edinburgh, 
the period of the publication of his where he ministered ably and ear- 
" Annals," when he was overflow- nestly to a congregation of " the 
ing with Tyndale. Archdeacon most straitest sect " of Baptists. 
Cotton (Preface to Editions of the 


wrote from Bordeaux a letter to His Majesty on 2nd December, 
1525, in which he imparts this information, "Please it your 
Highness to understand that I am certainly informed, as I 
passed in this country, that an Englishman, your subject, at 
the solicitation and instance of Luther, with whom he is, hath 
translated the New Testament into English, and within few 
days intendeth to arrive with the same imprinted in England." l 
The king himself also repeats the statement in his letter to his 
subjects, " Luther fell on device with one or two lewd persons 
born in this our realm, for the translating of the New Testament 
into English." 5 Dr. Robert Ridley, Bishop Tunstall s chaplain, 
in a letter written 24th February, to Henry Golde, Archbishop 
Warham s nephew and chaplain, unfolds a similar story : 
" As concerning this common and vulgar translation of the New 
Testament into English, done by Mr. William Hichyns, other 
wise called Mr. William Tyndale, and Friar William Roye, 
manifest Lutheran hereticks and apostates, as doth openly 
appear by their daily company and familiarity with Luther 
and his disciples. . . ." 3 Paul Freherus also asserts the visit to 
Luther, but erroneously includes Fryth in it. 4 Finally, the 
supposition that Tyndale remained any long period in Ham 
burg is rendered less likely on the ground that this city 
had no printing press at the time, or for some years after 
wards. Such a fact puts an end to the supposition of 
Anderson and others, that during his sojourn in Hamburg 
Tyndale " printed Matthew and Mark by themselves." Surely 
it is not at all probable that Tyndale would tarry for a year in 
a town where his fixed purpose to issue an English New Tes 
tament, could not be carried out. 5 But the assertion of Green 
that Tyndale, at Luther s instance, translated at Wittemberg 
the Gospels and Epistles G is unwarranted conjecture, wholly 

1 Cotton MSS., Vespasian, C. Ill, 4 In his "Theatrum Virorum Eru- 
fol. 211. ditione Clarorum," p. 10!), 1688. 

2 The king s letter is printed in 5 On this point compare " Mait- 
Herbert s edition of Ames s Typo- laud s Reformation in England," 
graphical Antiquities, p. 297, Lon- p. 371, &c., London, 1849. 

don, 1785. 6 History of the English People; 

3 Cotton MSS., Cleopat.E.V.,p. 362. p. 342, London, 1874. 


opposed to known facts and dates. Nor did Tyndale, as he 
goes on to say, after Froude, " establish a press at Antwerp, 
where he was soon busy with his versions of the Scriptures." 
For there is only one version the first edition of 1526, and 
the second of 15 34. Nor was Tyndale even in Antwerp at the 
time of the visitation of Cardinal College in 1528, for he 
published at Marburg, in October of that year, the "Obedience 
of a Christian Man." 

Arguments against the visit to "Wittemberg are of no great 
moment. It has, for instance, been alleged that Luther s 
occupation at the time would have made a visit from Tyndale 
undesirable, if not impossible. But though Luther was hotly 
engaged in the fierce sacramentarian war, and was rabidly 
thundering against his antagonists, his jovial nature gave 
welcome to all strangers who might seek his presence his 
heart and home were open to them. Besides, though we do 
not know from Tyndale himself what his opinions on the 
sacrament were at that period, Sir Thomas More affirms more 
than once that at first he did adopt views akin to those of 
Luther, and the affirmation was not contradicted. Nay, 
according to More, Tyndale converted Barnes from the 
"Zuinglian heresy"; and Luther would, on that account, have 
cordially congratulated the English pilgrim. Tyndale, in 
writing to the young martyr Fryth during his imprisonment, 
calmly cautions him about a point disputed so keenly " of the 
presence of Christ s body in the Sacrament, meddle as little 
as you can." 

But the great objection to any interview between Tyndale 
and Luther is the suspicion which it is thought to cast on his 
independence as a translator, and it has even been maintained 
against all evidence that he did not understand German. 
Cochlseus, indeed, mentions incidentally, that he had learned it 
at Wittemberg. That he knew it can admit of no doubt to 
any one who examines the fragment of St. Matthew, the 
only fragment left of his first quarto edition ; for of the ninety- 
two glosses on the margin, more than a half are from Luther s 
New Testament, forty-one only being his own. He has also 
introduced into the prologue at least one-half of Luther s 


preface, and added but four original notes. Besides, the 
prologue to Romans published by him in 1526 is, to a 
large extent, a free translation of Luther s. In reply to the 
indisputable assertion that Tyndale in these instances trans 
lated from the German, it has been contended that Luther s 
preface to Eomans had already been rendered into Latin in 1523, 
by Justus Jonas, and that therefore Tyndale used this Latin 
text. But if any one will collate the German and Latin with 
the English version, he will find that Tyndale had both forms 
before him, and that while he rendered from the Latin chiefly, 
he took from the German what phrases struck him as being 
more pointed, or better suited in their fulness to his immediate 
purpose. It is true that, "within a year" after his departure 
from England, Tyndale is found in Hamburg, whence, through 
a merchant of the Steelyard, 1 he sent for his ten pounds, and 
thither Munmouth transmitted it to him. But the intervening 
months leave ample space for a journey to Wittemberg and a 
return to the seaport, where he could so readily get the money 
in order to begin printing at Cologne in the autumn. 

Tyndale left Hamburg for Cologne probably in the summer 
of 1525, and was accompanied by his amanuensis, Roye, who 
had joined him some months before. In this city he put to 
press the New Testament in quarto, with marginal glosses, 
Peter Quentel being the printer. Quentel was connected in 
business with Byrckman, and the Byrckmans had bookshops 
both in Paris and in London. Tyndale s original intention 
was to print six thousand copies ; but for fear of any mischance, 
and not from present or anticipated want of funds, he con- 

1 The Steelyard (the name still products was exported. The name 

survives) was a German Guildhall is said to have been derived from a 

(aula Teuton icorum), and was gran ted court or yard where steel had been 

by royal letters patent in 1260. sold at an earlier period. Fifteen 

It was situated in the parish of All thousand Flemings were settled in 

Hallows, near London Bridge, and London, and were jealously watched 

was well protected by its massive by the ecclesiastics. Five merchants 

walls, the "Easterling" merchants of the Steelyard, suspected of being 

congregating there being from the Lollards, did penance at St. Paul s 

ITanse towns and Ehineland, to when Barnes abjured, 
which so large a portion of English 

vii.] FLIGHT TO WOK MS. 129 

tented himself in the meantime with three thousand. The mis 
chance, however, did happen, and in a way quite unlooked for. 
Cochlseus, a keen and busy enemy of the Reformation, was 
at the time an exile in Cologne, and he found out and put a 
sudden end to Tyndale s secret enterprise. He tells his own 
story with a quaint and wondrous simplicity. 1 From the 
boast and babbling of the printers about the great change 
soon to take place in England, he learned something of the 
work which was proceeding in silent mystery. But as he 
could neither see nor converse with the two Englishmen, 
" learned in languages and fluent," and so shrewdly sus 
pected by him, he plied some of the workmen with wine 
in his own lod^in^s. as he does not hesitate to avow, and 

O O 

he learned from them, over their cups, that three thousand 
copies of this " Lutheran New Testament," in quarto, were at 
press, and that ten sheets were printed, or as far as the letter 
K, in ordine quaternionum ; that English merchants were to 
bear the expense, and swiftly and safely convey the books to 
England, before king or cardinal could be aware of the im 
portation. Cochlreus, in his alarm and amazement at a 
conspiracy " worse than that of the two eunuchs against 
Ahasuerus," consulted Herman Rinck, a patrician, then applied 
to the authorities who made full inquiry, and found that the 
information laid before them was correct, there being " great 
abundance of paper to complete the edition." On appeal to 
the senate, the printer was interdicted ; but the " two English 
apostates," snatching away with them the quarto sheets already 
printed, fled by ship up the Rhine to Worms, where the 

1 Johann Dobneck, or Jodocus 1533 ; and again iu his Scopa, or 

Cochkeus (the last Latin name re- reply to Sir Richard Morysin, 

presenting the meaning of Weiidel- Leipzig, March, 1539. In his Com- 

stein, the place of his birth, near mentaria de Actis et Scriptis M. 

Nuremberg), has told the story three Lutheri, 1549, the fullest account is 

times first in a letter to James V given. In this book, written twenty- 

of Scotland, in a controversy with four years after the event, he refers 

Alexander Ales on the question, distinctly to the intoxication of the 

An expediat laicis, legere Novi printers " postqnam mero incalu- 

Testamenti libros lingua vernacula, issent " p. 134. 
vi Idus Junij that is 10th June, 

VOL. I. I 


people " were under the full rage of Lutheranism." l At 
Worms, probably in October, printing was resumed ; an octavo 
edition, without glosses, was also put to press and finished, and 
the quarto edition was completed, three thousand copies of 
each being thrown off. A small portion of the quarto has been 
recovered, and it contains, with the prologue, twenty-one 
chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, or rather it stops with 
Matthew xxii, 12. This fragment, consisting of sixty-two 
pages or thirty-one leaves, does not contain as far as K ; but if 
the signatures had been worked off as far as I, a considerable 
portion of Luke must have been printed, and Tyndale and 
Roye must have carried off with them to Worms twenty-seven 
thousand sheets. The fragment was discovered in 183G, by 
Mr. Rodd, an antiquarian bookseller in London, and is now 
in the Grenville Library, British Museum. It has been 
carefully photo-lithographed by Mr. Arber, and an excellent 
preface is prefixed. 2 The identification of the press was 
made by a collation of the form of letter and other technical 
minutite, with works known to be printed by Quentel. An 
initial y, and a woodcut which, the New Testament being 
abruptly stopped, was afterwards pared down to fit the page 
of another publication, a Commentary on St. Matthew, by 
Rupert, a former abbot of Deutz in the twelfth century, being 
among the chief means of identification. The quarto was 
probably finished, and the octavo wholly printed, by Schoeffer 
(son of the first printer at Mentz), who, on account of his 
Protestantism, had been obliged to leave his native city. A 
comparison of some books issued by Schceffer proves that 
he also printed the New Testament, as its type, size of sheet, 
number of lines, and watermark in the paper are the same as 
in the other volumes issued from his press. 3 Proofs of this 
nature cannot be adduced for the quarto, as the only part 
preserved was printed at Cologne. It is strange that the 
place where these Testaments were printed is asserted to be 
Antwerp by Ames Herbert, Panzer, Burnet, Froude, Hal- 

1 In the pithy words of Cochkeus, 3 See Mr. Fry s Introduction to 
" Ubiplcbs plena furore lutherizabat ." his facsimile of Tyndale s .New Tes- 

2 London, 1871. tameut, pp. 8, 9. 


lam, Marsh, Eussell, and Smiles ; by Johnson and Newcome ; 
while Macknight and Whittaker give the alternative of Ham 
burg or Antwerp, and Blunt proposes Cologne, where a 
small portion only of the quarto had left the press. Cochlseus 
had already warned the king, Wolsey, and the Bishop of 
Rochester to watch all the ports, in order to prevent the intro 
duction of "that most pernicious merchandise " ; l and Tyndale, 
who could not be aware of what the spy had written, but, 
probably suspecting that some communication would be sent 
to England, proceeded at once with the octavo, that it might 
find its way without attracting to itself special attention 
and suspicion. He himself seems to give the priority of 
printing to the octavo "When I had translated the New 
Testament, and added a pistle unto the latter end," the 
reference being to this edition. In the same " Pistle or 
address to the Reder," at the end of the volume, he says 
" I beseche that the rudeness off the worke at the fyrst tyme 
offende them not." The text of the quarto was apparentl}* 
somewhat revised before it was reprinted in the octavo form. 
For though there are not many variations, perhaps not more 
than fifty between the two issues, the majority of the readings 
peculiar to the octavo are found in Tyndale s subsequent 
editions. The eye of the translator was vigilant; in the 
quarto, Matthew xx, 23, the text is " to give you " ; but 
"you," which originated in the Vulgate, is omitted rightly 
in the octavo. Of the octavo only two copies survive, one 
perfect but without the title page, in the Baptist Theological 
Library, Bristol, of which Mr. Fry has published so correct 
and beautiful a facsimile. The other, which is imperfect, is 
in the Library of St. Paul s Cathedral. 

It would seem that there were also separate editions of 
Matthew and Mark. Ridley, in a letter already quoted from, 
speaks of " Matthew and Mark in the first print." 2 The re 
ference is not precise : as the " first print " with the " commen 
taries and annotation," might refer to the quarto. Foxe seems 
to point to an edition of Matthew by itself. On April 28, 
John Tyball, on examination before Tunstall, confessed to 

1 Merx ilia perniciosissima. 2 Cottou MSS., Cleopatra, E. V, p. 362 


having the " New Testament in English, and the Gospel of 
Matthew and Mark in English," a which he had of John Pykas, 
of Colchester. The translation of Matthew and Mark, which 
would form a small thin volume, has been supposed with some 
plausibility to have been the little treatise that Tyndale 
conveyed to Munmouth, when he sent for his promised 
" exhibition." That such a section did exist is highly 
probable, and it may have been printed as a first experiment 
at Wittemberg. But the fragment of the quarto has no 
connection with this earlier issue ; for its Prologue refers to all 
the books of the New Testament as following it, and there is 
.a catalogue of them. 

1 Harleiau MSS., p. 421. 


rpYNDALE entered on the momentous and responsible work 
of translation from noble and disinterested motives. With 
characteristic self-abnegation he does not obtrude himself in 
his first preface, 1 but simply says, " The causes that moved me 
to translate, I thought better that others should imagine than 
that I should rehearse them." So conscious was he of his 
integrity, that he fondly hoped to prepare an English New 
Testament in the palace of the Bishop of London as one of his 
chaplains. He had thought of the task when he was a 
domestic tutor, and had then spoken with prophetic rapture of 
the result. In his preface to the five books of Moses, he 
argues with earnestness the necessity of a translation, and 
shows the baseless objections brought against his own. " When 
I had translated the New Testament, I added an epistle unto 
the latter end, in which I desired them that were learned to 
amend, if ought were amiss. But our malicious and wily 
hypocrites say, some of them, that it is impossible to translate 
the Scripture in English ; some, that it is not lawful for the 
lay people to have it in their mother tongue ; some, that it 
would make them all heretics ; as it would, no doubt, from 
many things which they of long time have falsely taught, and 
that is the whole cause why they forbid it, though they other 
cloaks pretend; and some, or rather every one, say that it 
would make them rise against the king, whom they themselves 
(unto their damnation) never yet obeyed." . . . As for 
my translation, in which they affirm unto the lay 

1 Reprinted separately, with some Pathway into the Holy Scrip- 
variations, under the title, " A ture." 


people (as I have heard say) to be I wot not how many thou 
sand heresies, so that it cannot be mended or correct ; they have 
yet taken so great pain to examine it, and to compare it unto 
that they would fain have it, and to their own imaginations and 
juggling terms, and to have somewhat to rail at, and under that 
cloak to blaspheme the truth ; that they might with as little 
labour (as I suppose) have translated the most part of the 

His exile and his continuous self-denial were endured for 
this special and glorious end the preparation of a New 
Testament in the island tongue. He was forced to go abroad, 
to scorn privation, danger, and solitude, that he might 
translate ; but he did not forget his country, for it he toiled and 
suffered. He protested to Vaughan, the English envoy, in 
1531 : "Again, may his grace, being a Christian prince, be so 
unkind to God, which hath commanded His word to be spread 
throughout the world, to give more faith to wicked persuasions 
of men, which, presuming above God s wisdom, and contrary to 
that which Christ expressly commandeth in His Testament, dare 
say that it is not lawful for the people to have the same in a 
tongue that they understand; because the purity thereof 
should open men s eyes to see their wickedness ? Is there more 
danger in the king s subjects than in the subjects of all other 
princes, which in. every one of their tongues have the same, 
under privilege of their sufferance ? As I now am, very death 
were more pleasant to me than life, considering man s nature 
to be such as can bear no truth." 1 Not only was he governed 
by the highest of impulses, but he carried out his task with 
perfect honesty. In a letter to Fryth, " his dearly beloved 
brother Jacob," written in 1533, he devoutly and solemnly 
appeals to God as the witness of his entire conscientiousness : 
" For I call God to record against the day we shall appeal- 
before our Lord Jesus Christ, to give a reckoning of our doings, 
that I never altered one syllable of God s word against my 
conscience, nor would this day, if all that is in the earth, 
whether it be pleasure, honour, or riches, might be given me. 
Moreover, I take God to record to my conscience, that I desire 
1 Cotton MSS., Titus, B. 1, p. 67, British Museum. 


of God to myself, in this world, no more than that without which 
I cannot keep his laws." 1 Fiyth, in his Reply to More, 
expresses perfect harmony of view : " Tyndale, I trust, liveth 
well content with such a poor apostle s life as God gave His Son 
Christ and His faithful ministers in this world, which is not 
sure of so many mites as ye be of pounds ; although, I am 
sure that, for his learning and judgment of Scripture, he were 
more worthy to be promoted than all the bishops in England." 
After quoting a portion of the stirring letter to himself, he 
then adds : " Judge, Christian reader, whether these words be 
not spoken of a faithful, clear, and innocent heart. And as for 
his behaviour, it is such that T am sure no man can reprove him 
of any sin; howbeit, no man is innocent before God which 
beholdeth the heart." And he had already delivered an 
eloquent and bold protest : " This hath been offered you, is 
offered, and shall be offered. Grant that the Word of God I 
mean the text of Scripture may go abroad in our English 
tongue, as other nations have it in their tongues, and my 
brother William Tyndale and I have done, and will promise 
you to write no more." 2 With the modesty of a true scholar, 
and that humility which so befits a translator of the divine 
volume, Tyndale s appeal in the first preface is, "exhorting 
instantly, and beseeching those that are better seen in the 
tongues than I, and that have better gifts of grace to interpret 
the sense of Scripture and the meaning of the spirit than I, 
to consider and ponder my labour, and that in the spirit of 
meekness ; and if they perceive in any places that I have not 
attained the very sense of the tongue or meaning of the Scrip 
ture, or have not given the right English word, that they put to 
their hands to amend it, remembering that so is their duty to 
do. He was conscious of the imperfections of his work " many 
things are lacking which are required," and bespeaks 
indulgence, on account of " very necessitie and combrance (God 
is recorde) above strength, which I will not rehearse, lest we 
should seem to boast ourselves " ; referring not only to his 
anxious and incessant literary toil as a translator, but to his 

1 Foxe, vol. V, 153. vol. Ill, p. 344, 339, ed. Russell, 

* Works of Tyudale and Fryth, London, 1831. 


abrupt flight with the printed sheets from Cologne, and the 
hurried press work at Worms. 

To this ingenuous purity of purpose was united rare scholarly 
ability, and the English New Testament is conclusive proof of 
the competence of the workman. Wycliffe was able, a hundred 
and fifty years earlier, to render only from the Vulgate, the book 
of the church, and the work sufficed for a time ; but Tyndale 
translated at once from the inspired Greek original, and his 
learning was quite equal to the task. He had studied both at 
Oxford and Cambridge during the revival of Greek scholarship, 
and he had translated an oration of Isocrates so well, at least 
in his own opinion, that he carried it to London with him as 
a proof of his proficiency, to be laid before Tunstall, no mean 
judge. Few priests in his day possessed such knowledge of 
Greek ; very many, " twenty thousand of them, and not so few," 
could not translate the simplest clause in the Lord s Prayer ; but 
he had enjoyed signal advantages. Sir Thomas More himself 
witnesses of him, " that before he went over the sea, he was 
taken for a man of sober and honest living, studious and well 
learned in Scripture, and looked and preached holily ; .... that 
before he fell into these phrenzies he was taken for full prettily 
learned." 1 Tyndale speaks freely and familiarly of various 
languages, and thus addresses More, " until at the last the lay 
people had lost the meaning of the ceremonies ; and the prelates 
the understanding of the plain text, and of the Greek, Latin, 
and especially of the Hebrew. . . . Remember ye not how, 
within this thirty years and far less, and yet dureth to this 
day, the old barking curs, Dun s disciples, raged in every pulpit 
against Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and what sorrow the school 
masters that taught the true Latin had with them ? " 2 

He confidently appeals to Sir Thomas More himself on 
points of scholarship : " These things be even so Master More 
himself knoweth, for he understandeth the Greek, and knew 

1 Dialogue, book iv, chap. 17, visitations of Bishop Hooper, that 
Works, p. 283. many of the clergy could not tell 

2 Answer to More, p. 75 ; Works, who was the author of the Lord s 
vol. Ill, Parker Society edition. Prayer, or where it was to be 
It would seem from one of the found. 


them long ere I." More never questions his scholarship, and he 
virtually denies the " Supper of the Lord " to be Tyndale s on 
account of its lack of learning. When George Joye, who had 
touched him to the quick by editing and altering his transla 
tion, was challenged for his unworthy procedure, he at once 
measured himself by Tyndale s great erudition, and admitting 
it, while he dares and defies it, cried, "I am not afraid to 
answer Tyndale in this matter for all his high learning in 
Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, &C." 1 A famous contemporary, 
Herman von dem Busche, who was a stranger at the time, and 
a casual visitor at Worms, bears a similar testimony, which is 
recorded in the Diary of Georgius Spalatinus, under date the 
day after St. Laurence Day that is, llth August, 1526. 
Busche told Spalatinus 2 that Tyndale had edited six thousand 
English Testaments, and that he was so versed in seven 
different languages Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, 
Britannic, and French that whichever he spoke you would 
suppose it was his mother-tongue. 3 As he had been some 
time in Germany his knowledge of German, seen in his use of 
Luther for the prologue to the quarto Testament, is apparently 
taken for granted ; and as it was the tongue daily spoken by 
him, it is naturally omitted in the enumeration. That this 
report is exaggerated 4 is very probable, but Busche was not a 
man easily imposed upon. He was the friend of Reuchlin, 
and one of the three authors of the trenchant Epistolfe 
Obscurorum Virorum. 5 In a word, Tyndale s reply to Sir 
Thomas More, in vindication of certain terms adopted by him 
into his version, is sufficient proof that he was well equipped 
for the blessed labour which he had taken in hand after 
reviewing its perils, and to carry out which he had left country 
and kindred. His ability to translate from the Greek text can, 
after such testimonies, scarcely be questioned with propriety. 

1 George Joye s work will be cle- centenis millibus aeris, which Busche 
scribed in a subsequent page. declared the English people to be 

2 Schelhorn s Amcenitates Liter- willing to pay for six thousand 
arise, vol. IV, p. 431. copies of the English Testament. 

3 In ea nntum putes. 5 Sir William Hamilton s Discus- 

4 There is an exaggeration in the sions, &c., p. 226. 


Not only was he the translator, but he was the sole trans 
lator. He had no literary assistance in his work, no pioneer 
and no guide ; no one to follow and no one to help him. 
Though he might have had a copy of Wycliffe, it could be of 
little or no service to him. In the Epilogue to the first edition, 
he speaks thus : " Them that are learned Christianly I beseech, 
forasmuch as I am sure, and my conscience beareth me record, 
that of a pure intent, singly and faithfully I have interpreted 
it, as far forth as God gave me the gift of knowledge and 
understanding, that the rudeness of the work now at the first 
time offend them not ; but that they consider how that I had 
no man to counterfeit, 1 neither was helped with English of 
any that had interpreted the same or such like thing in the 
Scripture beforetime. . . . Count it as a thing not having 
his full shape, but as it were born before his time, even as a 
thing begun rather than finished. In time to come (if God 
have appointed us thereunto), we will give it his full shape, 
and put out, if ought be added superfluously, and add to, if 
ought be overseen through negligence, and will enforce to bring 
to compendiousness that which is now translated at the length, 
and to give light where it is required, and to seek in certain 
places more proper English, and with a table to expound the 
words which are not commonly used." . . . No one, after such 
a clear statement, can doubt that the translation belongs to 
him as the one workman, or that he first constructed the 
pattern which so many have followed both in spirit and letter. 

But various assistants have been assigned to Tyndale in the 
execution of his great work. Strype hazards the baseless 
assertion that Tyndale was assisted by Joye and Constantine, 2 
and the opinion is repeated by Cooper that Constantine 
assisted Tyndale and Joye. 3 The two Englishmen described 
by Cochlreus as being so busy at Cologne, Walter concludes 
" must have been Tyndale and Fryth." 4 Froude asserts 

1 Counterfeit here means to Ye brethren did counterfaite the 

imitate, as often in his New Testa- congregations of God, &c. 

ment, 1st Cor. iv, 16, to counter- 2 Memorials, vol. I, p. 82. 

feit me ; Eph. v, 1, Be ye counter- 3 Atheure Cantab., vol. I, p. 205. 

feters of God ; 1 Thess. i, 6, and 4 Letter to Bishop Marsh, p. 143. 
ye counterfaited us ; 1 Thess. ii, 14, 

vin.] FRIAR ROYE. 139 

" that Joye joined Tyndal at Antwerp, and shared his great 
work with him." 1 But the first New Testament was not 
printed at Antwerp, and Joye did not leave England till after 
its publication ; for he printed at " Straszburge " the reason 
of his recent flight in a small book : " The letters whyche 
Johan Ashwell, pryour of Newnham Abbey besydes Bedforde, 
sente secretly to the Byshope of Lyncolne, in the yeare of our 
Lorde MDXXVII, wherein the sayde pryour accused George 
Joye, that tyine being felowe of Peter College in Cambridge, of 
fower opinyons, with the answere of the sayde George unto 
the same opiiwons." Lord Herbert also speaks carelessly, 
of " the Scriptures as having been translated into English by 
Tindal, Joy, and others." 2 Holinshed and Baker use similar 
language in their Chronicles. Johnston and Newcome, two 
professed historians of the English Bible, give Fryth to 
Tyndale for his helper, and Fuller calls Fryth the " Baruch to 
this Jeremy." This erroneous opinion is accepted by Le Long, 
Crutwell, Lewis, and Dean Hook, 3 and by Offor and Dabney 
in their formal biographies of the Translator. But Fryth, who 
had been a student at Cambridge, and was brought by Wolsey 
to his new college at Oxford as one of its canons, did not 
leave England till long after the New Testament was issued, 
as he fled from persecution at Oxford in 1528. 

Tyndale, however, had an assistant, Friar Roye, but he was 
only a corrector of proofs and a collator of texts. His light char 
acter and his propensity to weave satirical verses were a sore 
grievance to the translator, who was burdened with the grave 
responsibility of his work, and anxious not to give any public 
provocation which might hinder its reception or blight its 
usefulness. His own account of Roye is at once stern and 
amusing, as he gives it in the " Preface to the Wicked 
Mammon," than which, according to Sir Thomas More, " there 
never was made a more foolish, frantic book" : " While I 
abode 4 a faithful companion, which now hath taken another 

1 History, vol. II, p. 31. 3 Lives of the Archbishops, vol. 

2 History of Heury VIII, p. 469 II, p. 139, new series. 

(A. Murray, London). 4 Abode that is, waited for, as iii 

Acts, xx, 23. 


voyage upon him, to preach Christ where, I suppose, he was 
never yet preached (God, which put it in his heart hither to 
go, send His Spirit hither with him, comfort him, and bring 
his purpose to good effect), one William Roye, a man some 
what crafty, when he cometh unto new acquaintance, and 
before he be thorough known and namely, when all is spent 
came unto me, and offered his help. As long as he had no 
money somewhat I could rule him ; but as soon as he had 
gotten him money, he became like himself again. I suffered 
all things till that was ended, which I could not do alone with 
out one, both to write and to help me to compare the texts 
together. When that was ended, I took my leave and bade 
him farewell for our two lives, and (as men say) a day longer. 
After we were departed, he went and gat him new friends ; 
which thing to do he passeth all that ever I knew. And 
there, when he had stored him money, he gat him to Argentine, 
where he professeth wonderful faculties, and maketh boast of 
no small things. A year after that, and now twelve months 
before the printing of this work, came one Jerome, a brother 
of Greenwich also. 1 Which Jerome I warned of Roye s bold 
ness, and exhorted him to beware of him, and to walk quietly 
and with all patience, and long-suffering, according as we have 
Christ and his apostles for an example. 

" Nevertheless, when he was come to Argentine (Strasburg), 
William Roye (whose tongue is able not only to make fools 
stark mad, but also to deceive the wisest that is, at the first 
sight and acquaintance) gat him to him and set him a- work to 
make rhymes, while he himself translated a dialogue out of 
Latin into English, in whose prologue he promiseth more a 
great deal than I fear me he will ever pay." 2 Tyndale was 

1 The brother so referred to is bold aud savage onslaught made 
unknown. upon him, and Cochlosus comes in 

2 The allusion is to the " proper also for his share 
Dyalogue," tfcc., and to the Satire, " One called Coclaye, 
" Eede me and be nott wrothe." A littell pratys foolyshe poade, 
Wolsey, " the red man," " the vile More veuemous than any toade." 
butcher s sonne," must have been p. 43, Arber s reprint, 1871. A copy 
provoked beyond measure by the was found by Lord Arthur Hervey, 


most anxious to free his work from all degrading associations, 
that it might go forth in its own unsullied might and grandeur. 
His unqualified disclaimer was the more necessary, for Sir 
Thomas More was inclined at first to impute the authorship of 
the offensive verses to the translator. 

Few helps in the shape of grammars and lexicons were 
within his reach. But some works of the kind had already ap 
peared, as the Greek Grammar of Lascaris, at Milan, in 1476 ; 
Craston s Greek Dictionary, in 1478 ; and his Grammar, in 1497. 
The Dictionarium Grrecum from the press of Aldus, issued 
in 1497, and in 1499 the Lexicon of Suidas had been published 
at Milan. Aleander s Lexicon Gneco-Latinum came out at 
Paris in 1512; and in 1513 Aldus had printed the Institu- 
tiones Grammatical of Budreus. 

The publication of the Greek New Testament by Erasmus 
formed a great epoch in the history of Western Christendom. 
He laid the literary world under immense obligations to him 
by his editions of so many Greek and Latin classics, but his 
New Testament was a gift of incalculable value to the church. 
He unsealed the Book of Life, and brought numerous readers 
face to face with the divine volume. Though he had but few 
manuscripts, and was even obliged to translate some verses 
in the last chapter of the Apocalypse from the Latin text of 
the Vulgate, he did a work which, with al] its defects, brought 
revival to true Biblical theology, and kindled a pure and living 
flame which " many waters cannot quench, neither can many 
floods drown." His humorous and satirical Tractates, like 
his Adages and Colloquies, could not of themselves have pro 
duced the profound and necessary changes which were essential 
to a national Reformation in creed and service. He may have 
been timid, neutral and indifferent as regards the Lutheran 
Revolution ; his theological writings may not probe the depth 
of man s spiritual experience and struggles, and, unlike the 
utterances of a man in deep and earnest thought on the 

Bishop of Bath and Wells, in 1862, An original copy of the translation 

bound up in an old volume. It was of the Dyalogue, bound up with the 

also printed by AVhittingham, Chis- Satire, has been recently discovered 

wick Press, 1845, but not published, in the Imperial Library of Vienna. 


momentous issue, they may have about them the frosty elegance 
of a chill intellectual discussion ; but any alleged shortcomings 
and inconsistencies as a reformer cannot detract from his un 
speakable merit as a first editor of the Gospels and Epistles in 
their original tongue, nor lessen the value of that folio which, 
under his care, issued from the press of Eroben at Basle in 

As the version so clearly demonstrates, Tyndale translated 
directly from the Greek text, using the second and the third edi 
tions of Erasmus, published in 1519 and 1522. He admitted the 
famous passage in 1 John v, 7 about the "three witnesses," which 
occurs first in the third edition of Erasmus the two previous 
editions of 151G and 1519 omitting it. Tyndale occasionally 
agrees with the second edition of Erasmus in preference to the 
first, as in Rom. xii, 11, where, like Luther, he has "applye 
yourselves to the tyme," instead of "serving the Lord," 1 and so 
in his second edition, and in the Great Bible. It was altered 
first in the Genevan version. The fourth edition (1527) he 
does not seem to have consulted at all. Erasmus had in his 
second edition changed "ye kill" into "ye envy" in James iv, 2, 
but he corrected it in his third edition. Tyndale, however, took 
it from the second edition, and kept it without amendment in 
his revised issue ; and, like a vile weed which cannot be 
uprooted, it is found in all the subsequent English versions, 
in Coverdale, Matthew, the Great Bible, the Genevan, and the 
Bishops , but it was rightly changed in the Authorized Version. 2 
Tyndale omits in his first edition, without authority, a clause 
in John xiv, 3, " and if I go and prepare a place for you." No 
reading adopted by Tyndale betrays any acquaintance with the 
Complutensian Polyglott. 

Erasmus having wpiy in his first written by a drowsy scribe scriptor 

edition, but Katpw in his second. dormitaus ; the Vulgate, however, 

2 In his first edition Erasmus spoke having occiditis. 
of (/jovei ere, " ye kill," as being 


"DUT the two points to which attention may be called are the 
relation of Tyndale s New Testament on the one hand to the 
German Version of Luther, and its relation on the other hand to 
the Latin Vulgate. It was his duty to use both helps, and he did 
so. Yet though he carefully and continuously consulted them, 
he was quite independent in his treatment of them. In direct 
contradiction of Tyndale s own affirmation that he rendered from 
the Greek, and of the palpable evidence afforded by the transla 
tion itself, it has been asserted that he simply rendered Luther s 
Testament into English. 1 The story had a natural origin in 
these early days, when every religious novelty was branded as 
Lutheran ; but it has been often repeated since. Le Long, the 
learned bibliographer, calls the first edition " The New Testa 
ment in English from the German of Martin Luther." The 
assertion is baseless, though between Luther and Tyndale there 
are many points of similarity. The order of the books of the 
New Testament which Tyndale adopted is not that of 
Erasmus, whose Greek text he translated, but that of Luther, 
though he never mentions the Reformer s name. Thus, 

1 Luther s first intimation of his King Henry. There had been earlier 
purpose to translate the New Testa- versions, but their circulation had 
ment is in a letter to Lange in 1521, been small. Luther s translation at 
and on January of the following once laid hold of the people being 
year he wrote to Amsdorf, " I will what Hegel calls it in his Philosophy 
translate the Bible, though I have of History, " a people s book, a fun- 
undertaken a burden too great for dameutal work for their instruction." 
my strength ; " " a very necessary It was published anonymously, and 
work," as he calls it in his reply to without date. 


too, the Epistle of James is put next to Jude, and that to the 
Hebrews next to the Third Epistle of John, first by Luther and 
then by Tyndale. He also follows Luther in making the last 
three verses of the fourth chapter of Hebrews the commence 
ment of the fifth chapter. Many of Tyndale s notes in the 
first quarto are, as we have seen, translations more or less free 
of those of Luther. At the close of the long prologue to 
Matthew, he introduces Luther s opinion on the comparative 
value of the writings of the New Testament ; but what Luther 
says about the Epistle of James is omitted, for he had called 
it "a downright strawy epistle," geyen sie, "in contrast with 
them " the other epistles. Luther had no prologues to the 
Gospels, while Tyndale has them, though he gives none to the 
Acts and the Apocalypse. The other prologues rest on Luther s, 
especially those to 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philip - 
pians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 2 Timothy, Titus, and the Epistles 
of John. But the treatment of the appropriated matter is by 
no means slavish. The prologue to 1 Corinthians omits many 
allusions to passing events which the German leader introduced, 
and that to Philemon keeps out Luther s allegory, which is 
strained and unscriptural in its doctrine ; for it says, " Christ 
overcame the Father with love and meekness," and thus tends 
to ignore that eternal and spontaneous love in which the Father 
gave His Son as Redeemer. The prologue to Hebrews controverts 
Luther on the apostolic authority of the Epistle, and tries to 
show that his objections are grounded on " misconceptions of 
the passages adduced," while it leaves the authorship undeter 
mined " a man may doubt of the author, yet why should it 
not be authority, and taken for Holy Scripture?" The prologue 
to James is also directed against Luther, and maintains that 


though its canonical authority has been impugned, or " at the 
beginning refused of holy men," as its purport was misunder 
stood, " yet, as it is agreeable to all the rest of Scripture, why 
should it not be authority, and taken for Holy Scripture ?" An 
explanation is added of the paragraph concerning faith and 
works. The prologue to Jude also vindicates its claim to a place 
in the canon, " though it seems to be drawn out of the Second 
Epistle of Peter, and thereto allegeth Scripture nowhere found," 


and these are Luther s two main objections to it. In his pro 
logue to Romans, Tyndale made a scholarly and wise use of 
Luther s, both in its German and Latin forms. 

One peculiar! ty of Tyndale s Old English is sometimes adduced 
to show how dependent he was on Luther. The peculiarity so 
taken hold of is the position, after the verb, of the personal 
pronoun as a nominative, Matthew xiii, 13, Therefore speak I : 
Luke ii, 29, Now lettest thou ; similarly in 1 Corinthians vii, 
12, To the remnaunt speake I ; 17, So orden I ; ix, 22, Be 
came I as weake ; 1 John i, 3, Declare we unto you ; and it 
is to be marked that the idiom is still retained from Tyndale in 
all these places in the Authorized Version. Bishop Marsh, in 
trying to prove that " Tyndale s translation was taken at least 
in part from Luther s" lays undue stress on these examples of 
what he calls " Germanisms," or direct imitations of German 
diction. 1 But this order is common in all the old English writers 
of that age in Sir Thomas More, and often in Tyndale s 
own prose. Besides, there are many places in which Tyn 
dale has the idiom where Luther has it not ; as in 1 Cor. 
ix, 26; xii, 31 ; 2 Cor. vii, 13; xi, 24; 1 Thess. ii, 13 ; Heb. 
v, 8 ; James i, 18. The old form in all these seven verses is 
still preserved in the Authorized Version, and is opposed to the 
rendering of Luther who in them places the nominative before 
the verb. Tyndale has another singularity, for he sometimes 
omits the nominative of the first person altogether, as in Gala- 
tians i, 10, seke nowe, for seek I now; and in 2 Cor. xii, 10, 
there is the same absence of the pronoun, "have delectation," 
" I " being left out. 

But while Tyndale did not merely " do into English " the 
German of Luther, he always translated with Luther s version 
before him, and many phrases are shaped or suggested by it. 
While such renderings as " Goddes love " (Romans viii, 35), " lest 
ye fall into hypocrisy " (James v, 12), 2 " the worlde knoweth you 

1 Lectures on the Criticism and VTTU Kpi<riv. The wrong rendering is 
Interpretation of the Bible, p. 518, found also in Tyndale s second 
London, 1838. edition, of course in Coverdale, and 

2 Stephens had inserted et s before in the great Bible ; but it was cor- 
VfoKpurtv } the true reading being rected in the Genevan and in the 

VOL. I. K 


nott " (1 John iii, 1), are in Luther, they are also the correct 
translation by Tyndale of the Greek text of Erasmus. Tyn- 
dale s rendering "toward our Lord Jesus" (Acts xx, 21), is 
also according to Erasmus, a reading which Luther did not 
adopt, as he preferred the Vulgate. The following are examples 
of the influence of Luther on Tyndale s version : 

Matthew i, 1, this is the boke; Matthew ii, 18, on the 
hilles was a voyce herde ; Matthew xviii, 19, the word 
Jesus " is omitted ; Matthew xxi, 43, shalbe geven to the 
gentyles ; John xix, 17, the place off deed menns sculles ; 
Acts xxviii, 2, the people off the countre ; but in translating 
the term in 1 Cor. xiv, 11, Tyndale forsook Luther s tamer 
rendering, and accepts " alient," and " barbarous " in Colos- 
sians iii, 11 ; Acts xxviii, 16, under captayne, chefe captayne 
Romans i, 14, to the grekes, and to them which are no 
grekes ; Romans ii, 5, harde herte that cannot repent ; 
Romans xi, 13, I will magnify myn office, where the Vulgate 
agrees with Luther; 1 Cor. i, 25, Godly folysshnes, 11,14, 
the natural man; 2 Cor. v, 11, we fare fayre with men; 
2 Cor. vi, 12, ye vexe youre selves off a true meanynge; Eph. 
iii, 15, which is father over all thatt ys called father in heven 
and in erth ; Colossians iii, 16, and spretuall songes which 
have favour with them ; 1 Tim. i, 7, doctours in the scripture ; 
Rev. xi, 2, the quyre which is within the temple ; Rev. xxii, 
14, their power may be in the tree off lyfe. 

But while the assertion that Tyndale only turns Luther into 
English is utterly erroneous, it has been alleged, on the other 
hand, that he translated at once and solely from the Vulgate, 
and not from the Greek text. Thus, Hallam states in a 
colourless note : " It has been a matter of dispute whether it 
(the New Testament) were made from the original language or 
from the Vulgate." l Macknio-ht, however, affirms without 

O O * 

hesitation that Tyndale translated from the Vulgate, and that, 
as the subsequent English editions are but revisions of his 
work, our Authorized Version rests in this way ultimately on 

Eheiins, which could not avoid the 1 Constitutional History of Eng- 
accurate rendering of ut non sub land, vol. I, p. 83, note. 
judicio dccidatis. 


the Latin Bible. He cites Hollybushe s version, and wholly 
mistakes Coverdale s connection with it, his statement being 
" the version which Coverdale allowed Hollybushe to print, was 
the one which he had published in his Bible ; consequently, it 
was Tyndale s translation." The assertion consists of an inex 
cusable series of blunders. Coverdale, in 1538, had published, 
for reasons assigned by him, the Latin New Testament, with 
a literal English translation of it on the same page ; and Mac- 
knight, in speaking of it, falls into some extraordinary errors. 1 
He blunders first, in taking this professed English version of the 
Vulgate, made for a purpose, to be the New Testament which 
Coverdale had already published in his Bible ; but the Scottish 
critic had never handled the volumes, or even looked into them, 
for a few moments collation must have convinced him that the 
version in the Diglott is not that of the earlier Bible. A cur 
sory glance at both the versions would have flashed the reality 
upon him, and taught him that only in supreme carelessness 
could any one identify, for a moment, Coverdale s translation 
of the Vulgate with his earlier New Testament. By a second 
blunder, he leaps to the conclusion that the New Testa 
ment of Coverdale s Bible is Tyndale s translation ; for though 
it does base itself on Tyndale s revised edition of 1534-, it 
is yet a distinct version. The same grievous error has been 
repeated more recently in a Serial of some pretensions: "We 
have only to add that the real origin of what is commonly 
called the Authorized English version, explains in a moment 
the cause of so many defects. It is primarily and essentially 
the translation of a translation. Wycliffe, who first rendered 
the Scriptures into English, was unacquainted with Greek or 
Hebrew, and translated from the Latin Vulgate, so that his 
work bore more of its imperfections and errors, as well as those 
of his own judgment in the execution of his work. Succeeding 
versions (such as those of Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthews, 
Hollybusche, Cranmer, Taverner, the Geneva, the Bishops , and, 
lastly, that of the translators nominated by King James in 
1604-11) were only superficial attempts to revise the original 
work of Wycliffe, instead of beginning at the beginning, 
1 A new Literal Translation of the Epistles, &c., London, 1821. 


with the original Hebrew and Greek texts." l It is aston 
ishing and sad to find such singular charges made at 
the present day. Not to speak of the subsequent versions at 
this point, it may be replied that he is surely a bold man 
who thus ventures to give the lie to William Tyndale, for he 
.affirms that he translated from the Greek text without the 
assistance of any predecessor, and his work bears out his 
veracity. Let any one compare it with Wycliffe s version or 
the Rheims version, both taken from the Latin, and he will 
soon see the entire and scholarly independence of Tyndale. 
There needs no other proof. Similar perverse statements are 
adopted by Granville Penn, who boldly throws out the crude 
opinion that "in 152G, Tyndale published his revision of the 
English or Wycliffe New Testament at Antwerp or Hamburg." - 
The book was printed certainly at neither of these places. 
The proofs of Latin influence and origin adduced by him are 
the words Testament, sacrament, altar, sacrifice, Calvary, Diana, 
Mercury, and masters for teachers; but the introduction of some 
of these proper names is easily explained from the long use 
of the Vulgate in the Western Church. He also instances 
"" virtue " in Mark v, 30, Luke vi, 19, viii, 46, as taken from 
Wycliffe. Wycliffe certainly in those places used " virtue " in 
no moral sense, but as meaning a secret healing power ; but the 
word is found with that signification in old writers, and the 
phrase in all parts of the country is still in use, as in the 
common question, " Is there any virtue in that drug ? " Not 
only was the Latin term naturalized at a very early period, as 
denoting valour, but the adjective also as meaning salutiferous, 
as in Shakespeare, "Whose liquor hath this virtuous property;" 3 
"Like the bee culling from every flower the virtuous sweets." 4 
Another example brought forward by him is the clause 
" dispersed among the Gentiles," John vii, 35, where it is said 
Gentiles comes from the Latin gentium. But what, then, shall 
be said of such places as Romans, ii, 9 and 10, where Tyndale 

1 Biblical Notes and Queries, p. 3 Midsummer Night s Dream, act 
195. Edinburgh, 1871. iii, scene 2. 

2 Annotations on the Book of the 4 King Henry IV, second part, 
New Covenant, p. 6, London, 1837. act iv, scene 4. 


has " Gentile " though the Vulgate has " Greek " in both 
]>laces ? 

To show Tyndale s untrammelled use and treatment of the 
Vulgate, let us take some places where there are peculiar 
readings. Luke ii, 14, in the Vulgate, " men of goodwill," but 
Tyndale has, "and unto men rejoicing," the common Greek 
reading ; Mark xi, 26, and the clause Luke xvii, 36, " Two 
men shall be in the field," are both omitted by Tyndale, 
though they are found in the Vulgate. The Vulgate has a 
clause in Luke xvi, 21, rendered by the Rheims translators, 
" and no man did give him," 1 but Tyndale ignores it, though 
Wycliffe accepted it. In Matt, vi, 1 the Vulgate has jus- 
titia/m, " righteousness," but Tyndale has " alms," and in vi, 
11, the Latin has supersubstantialem, but Tyndale gives 
" our daily bread." Like the Vulgate, he omits the doxology 
to the Lord s Prayer, and the Complutensian Polyglott also 
omits it; but he inserted it in his revised edition of 1534, 
In Luke ii, 18, the Vulgate has "and concerning these 
things," 2 but Tyndale follows the Greek text, " wondered 
at those things." In Matt, xviii, 8, Tyndale follows the 
Vulgate, and translates "cut him off"; but the singular is 
also the reading of Erasmus. 3 In the same chapter, verse 29, 
" at his feet " is wanting in Tyndale, and the corresponding 
Latin phrase is not found in the Vulgate ; but the Greek is also 
wanting in Erasmus of 1522, from which Tyndale usually trans 
lated. In Matthew xix, 20, " from my youth," was accepted by 
Tyndale as it was adopted by Erasmus. In Matt, xxiii, 1, 
" Rabbi" the second time is rejected by the Vulgate and by Tyn 
dale, but it is not found in Erasmus. In Matt, xxv, 2, the epithet 
" foolish " stands in the first clause and " wise " in the second, 
as in the Vulgate, but the same order is also in the text of 
Erasmus. In Acts ii, 30, the words " according to the flesh 
Christ," of the Received Text are omitted, as in the Vulgate ; 
but they are also absent in Erasmus, and the omission is 
correct. In such cases as these it cannot be asserted that Tyn- 

1 Et nemo illi dabat. sion represents avrd in Beza and 

- Et de his. Stephens. 

3 " Them " of the Authorized Ver- 


dale followed the Vulgate, as his version corresponds to the 
reading of the Greek text of Erasmus. In Acts vii, 60, Tyndale 
does not accept " in domino " of the Vulgate, but gives simply, 
as in the Greek, " he fell a slepe." He has not followed sacra- 
mentum (Eph. v, 32), for he renders " this is a grete secrete." 
" Malefactours," (Luke xxiii, 39) is from the Greek, the Latin 
having "thieves. l^Tim. iii, 16, the Vulgate has quod, "which," 
but Tyndale has " God." Though he occasionally refuses the 
Vulgate, still he often prefers it, as in Matthew xxiv, 
1, where pestilence is placed before hunger, that order 
not being found in Erasmus or in any early Greek 
edition. 1 If he has accepted the Vulgate in the rendering 
"blindness " in Eph. iv, 18, he had not taken it in John x, 16, 
for he translates not " one folde," 2 but " one flocke." Fold 
came in with the great Bible in 1539, the Bishops kept it, and 
even both Genevan versions have "shepefolde." In Jude 12, 
"spots," instead of the proper rendering "rocks," is from the 
Vulgate, and Tyndale was followed by all his successors. 
" Jesus " is omitted in Matt, i, 18, after the Vulgate ; but it is 
inserted in the edition of 1534. 

But, while Tyndale does not implicitly follow the Vulgate, it 
suggested many renderings to him, and was continually before 
nim : 

Matt, iv, 5, pinnacle of the temple ; Mark v, 34, be whole 
off thy plage, as also in Rev. xxii, 18 ; 3 Mark xii, 44, they 
all putt in of their supernuite ; Luke ii, 13, a multitude 
of hevenly sowdiers ; ix, 62, and loketh back is apte to the 
kyngdom of god ; xi, 13, Howe moche more shall your father 
celestiall geve a good sprete ; xii, 20, this night will they fetch 
awaye thy soul again from thee the Greek verb being plural, 
and " again " suggested by " repetunt " ; 45, my master wyll 
differe his commynge ; xvi, 22, 23, buried in hell ; xxiii, 39, 

1 " Pestilentite " is not found in 2 The Vulgate has " ovile," but the 
the old Latin of the Codex Pala- old Latin has" grex," the Greek being- 
tin^, nor in the Latin of the Codex Trot /iv^ Luther having rightly "eine 
Beza. Critical editions now reject Heerde und ein Hirte." 
it also from the Greek on good :i But the Greek itself has here 
authority. -Aryyas iu this place. 


the one of the malefactoures which hanged ray led on hym, 
" malefactors/ being rendered " evil-doers " in a previous verse : 
John i, 5, comprehened ; ix, 22, for the iewes had conspyred a 
allredy ; xii, 26, Yf eny man mynistre vnto me ; xiv, 
2, In my father s house are many mansions ; xviii, 38, I 
fynde in him no cause at all ; Acts viii, 2, dressed Steven : 
Rom. ii, 9, tribulation and anguish ; vii, 8, wrought in me. 
.... concupiscence ; 1 Cor. xii, 23, which we think least honest, 
honest in the Latin sense of honourable; Galatians ii, 11. 
was worthy to be blamed ; iii, 10, are vnder malediccion, 
but in verse 13 the noun is rendered curse ; Eph. vi, 14, gyrcl 
about with veritie ; Coloss. i, 13, translated ; 2 Thess. iii, 6, 
every brother that walketh inordinately ; 1 Tim. vi, 17, that 
they be not exceedynge wys ; Hebrews ii, 1, lest we be 
spilt ; iii, 14, so that we kepe sure vnto the end the begynninge 
of the substance ; vii, 24, hath an everlasting presthood ; ix, 21, 
all the ministrynge vessels ; xii, 1, let us run unto the battayle 
that is set before us ; followed in Coverdale, the great Bible, 
and the Bishops . The earlier editions of the Authorized 
Version have " unto the race " ; the present reading, " run the 
race," appeared first in the Genevan. 1 1 Peter ii, 1, the 
Vulgate is followed closely ; Rev. xviii, 14, and the apples 
that thy soil lusted after ; xxii, 2, was there the wode of lyfe. 
Though Erasmus adopted in Rev. xii, 1, the reading " burning " 
in their forehead, in the first, second, and third editions, 
Tyndale did not adopt it, but chose the Vulgate. 3 

One characteristic defect of the version is its continuous 
omission of the connecting Greek particles. The Se is very 
often neglected, and even yap and KCU are also frequently passed 
over. Thus <5e is omitted throughout the genealogy in the first 
chapter of Matthew, ovv is omitted in verse 17, yap in verse 18, 
and 8e in verses 20, 21, 22, 23. In the second chapter yap is 
neglected in verse 2, and of the omission of Se it supplies 
similar examples. Se is omitted five times in Matthew iii, verse 
3, in 4 twice, and in 10, 15 ; ydp is omitted in verse 2 and 3 : 

1 Beza " stadium decurranms." - Kcuo/^vor. 3 Scriptum. 


has no place in verse 11. Indeed every chapter of the New 
Testament is marked by this uniform neglect. 

Occasionally in the version, as might be expected in such an 
adventurous and untried attempt, there are incorrect renderings. 
The following are samples : 

Matthew i, 18, hys mother Mary was maryed to Joseph ; ID, 
Joseph being a perfect man; ii, 12, in their slepe, and also in 
22 j 1 21, sought the chyldes deeth ; xiii, 8, some fifty-fold; 19, 
the evyll man ; xix, 28, in the second generacion ; xxi, 43, 
geven to the gentyles. 

Mark iv, 8, forty-fold ; 21, under a busshel, or vnder the 

Luke i, 3, the goode Theophilus. 

John i, 1, God was that worde ; v, 2, by the slaughter housse 
a pole. 

Acts xiii, 42, bitwene the saboth dayes; xvii, 18, a tydynges 
brynger off newe devyls; xix, 37, robbers off churches ; xx, 21, 
faith tawarde our lorde Jesu ; xxvii, 9, alsoo that we had over- 
longe fasted ; xxviii, 28, consolacioun of God. 

Romans xii, 19, give roume unto the wrath of God. 

1 Corinthians xiv, 29, two atonce, or thre atonce. 

Galatians iv, 5, we thorowe eleccion; 9, the weake and 
bedgarly cerimones ; 25, and bordreth apon the citie ; v, 5, 
iustified by the sprete which commeth of fayth. 

Ephesians i, 4, chosen us in him throwe love; iv, 18, blindness 
of their hertes (after Luther and the Vulgate); v, 19, spirituall 
songes which have favour with them. 

Philippians ii, 8, was found in his aparell as a man ; iii, 2, 
Beware of dissencion "the concision." 

Colossians ii, 18, in the humbleness of angels; among the 
errours " at the end of the volume it is said, " rede humblenes 
and holynes of angels " ; 23, chosen holynes and humblenes 
(Luther misunderstood). 

1 Thessalonians v, 22, abstayne from all suspicious thynge. 

2 Thessalonians i, 10, beleved even the same day that we 
preched it. 

1 Timothy iii, 2, honestly aparelled; 6, "a yonge man, 
1 Tyndule omits iii somnis, v. 1 9. 


instead of " a novice ; " v, 4, to ruele their owne houses 

2 Timothy iv, 1, at his appearing in his kingdom different 
both from Luther and the Vulgate. 

Titus ii, 3, that they be in soche rayrnent as be commeth 

1 John v, 21, Babes kepe yourselves from ymages. 

Hebrews vi, 11, the encreace of the fayth ; vii, 20, And for 
this cause itt is a better hope, that it was not promysed without 
an othe ; vii, 24, an everlastynge presthode ; ix, 1, iustifynges 
and servynges off God and worldly holynes ; xi, 3, That by the 
means of thynges whych apeare, thynges whych are invisyble 
myghte be knowen ; xii, 7, God offereth him selfe unto you as 
unto sonnes ; xii, 11, no manner learnynge seemeth to be 

James i, 27, visit the frendlesse ; iii, 7, are meked and tamed. 

Revelation vi, 8, beholde a grene horse ; vii, 14, made their 
garmentes large and made them whyte ; xii, G, M and xxvj is 
evidently a misprint, and the number is given correctly in 
xi, 3. In Rev. iv, 6, &c., there was admitted the unfortunate 
" bestes " which has survived through all revisions. 

Tyndale, ever anxious to give the sense, did not scruple to 
fill up what he regarded as an ellipse ; and he has paraphrases 
which, as they interpret rather than translate, weaken the 
sense and blunt the incisiveness of his style. Interpolations 
are sometimes introduced. 

Matthew iii, 8, belongynge to repentaunce ; vii, 6, and the 
other turn again ; viii, 4, commaunded to be offred ; 26, en- 
dewed with lytell faithe; xii, 20, flaxe that begynneth to 
burne ; 46, stode without the dores ; xxiii, 15, to brynge one 
in to your belefe, (to make one proselyte). 

Mark i, 24, that holy man promysed of god ; xii, 36, David 
hym silfe inspyred with the holy goost sayd. 

Luke xv, 2, He receaveth to his company synners ; xxiv, 47, 
the begynnynge must be at Jerusalem. 

John i, 14, And that worde was made flesshe ; iii, 5, boren of 
water and of the sprete (the preposition not being repeated, 
and there being no article to either noun) ; xix, 14, Hitt was 


the saboth even which falleth in the ester fest ; ix, 3, nor yet 
his father and mother. 

Acts vii, 60, For they wote not what they do ; viii, 27, a 
man of etheopia which was gelded ; ix, 28, had his conversa- 
cion with them att Jerusalem ; x, 1, a captaine of the 
soudyers of Ytaly ; 14, God forbyd, lorde ; 18, And he 
called out won, and axed whether Simon, which was 
also called Peter, were lodged there ; xvi, 16, her master and 
mastres (and so in the second edition, in Coverdale, and in the 
Great Bible the correction being made in the Genevan) ; xvii, 
11, these were the noblest among them off Thessalonia; in the 
Great Bible, "noblest of birth." 

Romans i, 4, sence the tyme that Jesus Christ oure Lorde 
rose againe ; ii, 18, and hast experience of good and bad ; v, 5, 
be cause the love that God hath vnto us is sheed ; vi, 19, I 
wyll speake grossly ; vii, 6, in an newe conversacion of the 
sprete ; viii, 23, and loke for the deliveraunce of oure bodies ; 
26, gronynges which cannot be expressed with tonge ; x, 3, 
riglitwesnes which is of value before God ; xii, 11, let not that 
busynes which ye have in honde be tedious to you ; xiii, 11, 
I mean the season how that it is tyme ; xiv, 1, nott in dis- 
putynge and troublynge his conscience ; xiv, 20, Destroye not 
the work off God for a lytell meates sake. 

1 Corinthians i, 12, I holde of Paul. 

2 Corinthians v, 21, thatt we by his meanes shoulde be that 
rightwesnes which before God is alowed ; xii, 7, there was 
geven unto me of God vnquyetnes of the flesshe. 

Ephesians i, 17, and open to you the knowledge of hym 
silfe ; iv, 12, that the sainctes might have all thynges necessary 
to work and minister with all. 

1 Thessalonians ii, 10, that noman coulde blame us ; 2 Thess. 
ii, 14, " the glory that eommeth of oure Lorde Jesu Christ." 

1 Timothy vi, 5, superfluous disputynges in scolus (schools) ; 
6, Godlines is great ryches, yf a man be content with that he 

Titus i, 7, a bisshoppe must be soche as no man can 
complayne on ; iii, 14, goode workes as farforth as nede 


1 John iv, 1, whether they be of God or no. 

1 Peter i, 13, the grace that is brought vnto you in that 
Jesus Christ is opened; iv, 11, Yf eny man speake let him 
talke as thoughe he speake the wordes of God. 

2 Peter ii, 16, The tame and dom beast. 

Hebrews vi, 1, the doctryne pertaynynge to the begynnynge 
of a Christen man ; xi, 19, as an ensample of the resurrection ; 
xi, 31, receaved the spyes to lodgynge peasably; xii, 16, solde 
his right that belonged unto him in that he was the eldest 

James i, 17, with whom is no variablenes, nether is he 
chaunged vnto darknes ; v, 17, Helias was a man in daunger to 
tribulacion, as we are (in the edition of 1534, "mortal even as 
we are") ; " under infirmities as we are," Great Bible. 

Revelation xvii, 3, I sawe a woman sytt apon a rose colored 

Tyndale has sometimes a peculiar homeliness, as when he 
uses familiar terms, and especially those of the English 
Kalendar, or of ecclesiastical nomenclature. 

Matthew xxvi, 2, ye knowe that after two dayes shalbe 
ester ; 30, And when they had sayd grace ; xxvii, 62, the next 
daye that foloweth good frydaye. 

1 Corinthians xvi, 8, I will tarry att Ephesus vntill Witson- 

Revelation i, 10, 1 was in the sprete on a sondaye. 

This translation of Matthew xxvii, 41, " Likewise also the 
prelates mocking him," looks like a side-glance at home, but 
was changed in his next revised edition. Acts xiii, 15, after 
the lecture (reading of the law), ... if ye have eny sermone 
to exhort the people, say on ; Acts xiv, 13, " brought oxen 
and garlondes vnto the churche porche " ; 1 Peter v, 3, lordes 
over the parisshes. 

There occur other quaint terms. Acts xvi, 35, the officers 
sent the ministers sayinge, lett theose men goo ; xvii, 34, 
Dionisius a senatour; Hebrews xii, 16, which for one breakfast 
solde his right ; 1 Timothy iii, 16, without nay great is that 
mystery of godliness ; Mark xii, 2, he sent to the tennauntes a 
servaunt ; Luke xx, 9, lett it forth to fermers ; Luke vi, 29, 


him that taketh awaye thy goune ; 1 Peter i, 5, unto helth, 
which health is prepared ; Luke xvi, G, Take thy bill. 1 

But there are also remarkably good renderings which have 
not been preserved. 

Matt, xiii, ] 9, 20, 22, he that was sown. 

Mark i, 19, dressynge their nettes; ii, 22, olde vesselles ; vi, 
14, therfore myracles worke in hym. 

Luke ii, 52, increased in wisdom and age ; vii, 28, lesse in the 
kyngdom of God; xvi, 21, to be refresshed with the cronies ; xxii, 
44, droppes of blood tricklynge doune to the grounde. 

John ii, 3, when the wyne fayled ; iii, 3, except that a man 
be boren a newe ; viii, 4, even as the dede was a doing. 

Acts ii, 23, by the hondes of vnrightewes persones. 

1 Thessalonians iv, 14, them also which slepe by Jesus, and so 
in Coverdale " in Jesus " being introduced by the Genevan. 

2 Thessalonians ii, 8, shalle destroye with the aparence of 
his commynge. 

1 Timothy ii, 8, I will therefore that the men praye, the 
article being wrongly dropped in Coverdale, and in the 
Authorized Version "the men," in contrast with "the 

Hebrews xi, 13, the promises . . . and saluted them "em 
braced them" in the Authorized Version. 

Many of Tyndale s translations are very happy, and even 
where they are not exact they are specimens of pithy, idiomatic 
English. Indeed, the whole version is perspicuous and easily 
understood, few of its words are obsolete or uncommon not 
more perhaps than ten in every hundred verses ; probably in 
all considerably under four hundred. Many of his words and 
phrases have been preserved, but many have been toned down, 
the rich colouring having been bleached out of them, and others 
have passed away in the subsequent revisions. 

Matthew iv, 10, avoyd Satan ; 24, divers diseases and 
gripinges; vi, 7, bable not moche; viii, 18, to go over the water; 

1 Wycliffe in verse 6 has " obliga- verse 7, also after the Vulgate. The 
cioun " in the first version, but Eheims version follows Tyndale, 
" caucion " in the second after the while the Genevan employs " writ- 
Vulgate ; but both have " lettris " in ing " in both verses. 


x, 9, nor brasse yn youre gerdels ; xiii, 27, goode seede in 
thy closse ; 33, hyd in thre peckes off meele ; 52, every 
scrybe which is cominge vnto the kyngdom of heven ; xiv, 14, 
his herte dyde melt vppon them ; 20, gaddered vp of the 
gobbetes ; xv, 27, the whelppes eate of the crommes ; xvii, 17, 
O generacioun, faythles and croked; 27, thou shalt fynd a 
piece of twelve pens ; xxi, 24, if ye asoyle me ; xxiv, 12, iniquite 
shall have the vpper honde ; xxv, 43, I was herbroulesse ; xxvi, 
17, to eate the ester lambe ; xxvii, 3, thirty plattes off sylver ; 
11, and the debite axed him. 

Mark v, 13, the heerd starteled ; 35, why diseasest thou 
the master ; vi, 27, sent the hangman ; 36, go in to the tonnes 
and bye them breed ; 40, sat doune here arowe and there 
arowe ; 53, and drue up vnto the haven ; vii, 4, wasshinge 
of cuppes and cruses; viii, 19, howe many baskettes of the 
levinges of broken meate toke ye up ? 29, thou arte very 
Christ; xiv, 51, cloothed in linnen apon the bare; 65, arede 
vnto vs ; 66, won off the wenches off the hyest preste. 

Luke ii, 3, his awne shyre toune ; vi, 4, halowed breed ; 
vii, 2, the servaunt . . . whom he made moche of; viii, 42, she laye 
a dyinge; x, 34, brought hym to a commen hostry; xi, 46, 
yourselves touche not the packes ; xiv, 18, I have bought a 
ferme ; xv, 8, what woman havynge ten grotes ; 16, filled his 
bely with the coddes that the swyne ate ; x xxii, 1, the feaste 
of swete bread drue nye, whych is called ester. 

John i, 30, for he was yer then I ; ii, 7, fylled them vp to the 
harde brym ; ix, 18, the iewes did not beleve off the felowe ; 
xviii, 3, with lanterns and fyerbrondes ; xix, 2, the soudiers 
woiide a croune of thornes. 

Acts iv, 11, the stone cast a syde ; xii, 18, there was not 
lytell a doo amonge the soudiers ; xix, 12, napkyns or partlettes ; 
xxi, 24, do cost on them ; xxvii, 39, they spied a certayne reache 
with a banke ; xxviii, 7, had a lordshippe. 

Romans vii, 3, she couple her silfe with another; xiii, 7, 

1 He uses the phrase "fed her with them but the shales and husks of 

shales and cods " in his Exposition of men " : Shakespeare, Henry V, act 

the Sermon on the Mount shales iv, scene 2. 
meaning shells or husks. " Leaving 


Geve to every man his duetie ; xii, 2, but be ye chaunged in 
youre shape by the renuynge of your wittis. 

1 Corinthians ii, 10, searcheth the bottom of goddes secretes ; 
iv, 9, My thynketh that god hath showed us ; v, 7, that ye 
maye be newe do we as ye are swete breed; vi, 10, nether 
pillers shall inherit still found in the word pillage ; vii, 34, 
The single woman; ix, 13, have their fyndynge of the temple ? 
22, In all thynge I fassioned my silfe to all; xiv, 1, Labour 
for love. 

2 Corinthians ii, 17, For we are not as many are, which 
choppe and chaunge l with the worde of god ; x, 10, his speache 
whomly; xii, 16, Did I pill you? 20, lest there be founde 
amonge you lawynge. 

Ephesians ii, 14, that was a stoppe bitwene vs ; v, 19, playinge 
to the lorde. 

Philippians i, 8, 1 longe after you all from the very herte rote 
in Jesus Christ ; 23, I desyre to be lowsed, and to be with 

Colossians ii, 1, as many as have not sene my parson in the 
flesshe ; iii, 21, Fathers rate not your children. 

1 Thessalonians iv, 15 and 16, we shall live . . . shall not 
come yerre they which sleep. 

2 Thessalonians i, 3, every one of you swymmeth in love ; ii, 
6, might be vttered at his tyme, that is, detected, as often in 
Tyndale s works, and also in Foxe, as denoting the act of an 

1 Timothy i, 2, Vnto Timothe hys naturall 2 sonne ; ii, 9, 
lykwyse also the wemen that they arraye them selves in maneiiy 
aparell with shamfastness ; iii, 2, harberous ; iv, 7, cast awaye 
vngostly and olde wy ves fables ; v, 4, fyrst to ruele their owne 
houses godly ; vi, 4, but wasteth his braynes about questions ; 
vi, 20, avoyde vngostly vanities of voyces. 

Titus ii, 5, chast, huswyfly, good. 

1 This phrase is used by him in natural affection " who cloeth o;it 
the Parable of the "Wicked Mam- of pure love that he doeth." But the 
mon. Greek adjective denotes genuine, 

2 The epithet occm s in the " Path- Timothy being a true spiritual 
way " to denote a child that has true child. 


2 Peter ii, 13, they make a mockyng stoke feastynge 

1 John ii, 16, the prydde of gooddess. 

Hebrews viii, 1, this is the pyth, x, 34, toke a worth the 
spolynge off youre goodes ; xi, 12, of one, and of one which was 
as good as dead. 

James i, 1, which are scattered here and there. 

The translation, as a first and individual effort, is wonderful 
in many points of view. Tyndale had few appliances in the 
shape of grammars and lexicons; 1 but he devoted himself to his 
daily work with singular earnestness and assiduity. He often 
keeps the proper translation of the aorist, where succeeding 
translators have given it the sense of the perfect. The English 
is racy Saxon, and much of it, sometimes clause after clause, 
with no change save in spelling, is yet preserved in our common 
version. It has a noble unaffected simplicity, and the ring of 
genuine English idiom. It is more definite and concise than the 
current style of his day, and even of his own polemical writings. 
He may run that reads, and he that reads may understand, and 
the typical " ploughboy " may gather the sense so given in his 
own tongue. The eulogy of Fuller is not overdrawn: "What 
he undertook was to be admired as glorious; what he performed 
to be commended as profitable ; wherein he failed, is to be 
excused as pardonable, and to be scored on the account rather 
of that age, than of the author himself." 2 

There are, of course, numerous archaic forms, and the spelling 
also is very irregular, many of the proper names in the first chap 
ter of Matthew not beginning with a capital letter, especially in 
the quarto, and, indeed, there is an utter want of uniformity in 
the spelling of the octavo also. We have, it, hit, hyt ; of, and 
off; go, and goo ; so, and soo ; one, and woon ; te, and the ; 
other and wother ; brydde, for bird ; hoot coles ; wholy 
goost, fec. T is generally used for the more modern i, and 
dd for the more modern th. There occur also, whithersumever, 
rightwesness, leugh hym to scorn ; rot, for rost ; sheet, for shut ; 
nowth for nought; fayght, for faith ; littel wones ; yerbis; axe, 
for ask. Syllables are separated that ought to be united, and 
1 See p. 141. 2 Church History of Britain, vol. II, p. 90. 


united that should be kept apart ; and even monosyllables are 
divided at the end of a line. Proper names sometimes begin 
with small letters, and common nouns with capitals, presenting 
such anomalies as these " iewry and galile, and samary " 
(Acts ix, 31); Athens, Corinthum (1 Cor. xviii, 1); "better to 
Mary then to bourne" (1 Cor. vii, 9), " noo rotes; goo awaye." 
There is at the end of the volume a list of " errours comitted in 
the prentynge." The list contains seventy instances ; some 
of them are mere misprints from the similarity of the angular 
letters, others are corrections, as then for them, had for 
hath, straythie for straightly. But some of the errors noted in 
the table do not exist, and others are not quoted correctly. 

Tyndale s life had been an anticipation of Goethe s utterance, 
"lofty heights must be ascended by winding paths." The enter 
prise which he had purposed at Little Sodbury, 1 and which he 
had dreamed of carrying out in London, was commenced at 
Cologne, and being suddenly interrupted there, was brought to 
a successful conclusion at Worms. All difficulties had been at 
length surmounted, and the volumes on being finished at press, 
were at once safely and secretly despatched to England. The 
ships that brought the Testaments to this country are unknown, 
as well as the ports from which they sailed, and the ports at 
which they delivered their unsuspected cargo. Nor are we 
acquainted with the means first employed to convey the books 
from the vessels, and throw them into circulation. But the dis 
tribution, once begun, went on swiftly; "the little hidden 
leaven " soon began to leaven "the whole lump." 

1 Camden, referring to Tyndale s Testament." Britannia, vol. I, p. 
sojourn at Little Sodbury, quietly 276, ed. Gough, London, 1789. 
adds, " and here translated the New 


precious volumes may have arrived in England in the 
spring or early summer of 1526, and any more definite 
assertion is only conjecture, even though the reckoning were 
made by the Old Style, which carried the end of the year to the 
last week of March. Many statements on this debated point 
want precision. Foxe mentions vaguely that Garret brought 
Tyndale s New Testament to Oxford about the year of our Lord 
1526 ; but forgetful of what he had stated, he affirms in another 
place, that Tyndale first translated the New Testament " for 
the profit of the simple vulgar people" about A.D. 1527. l 
Joye is as indeterminate as Foxe, for, referring, at the end of 
1534 or beginning of 1535, to the octavo, he says: "Thou 
shalt know that Tyndale, about eight or nine years ago, trans 
lated and printed the New Testament, without calendar or 
concordances." 2 But the date assigned by Christopher Ander 
son, D Aubigne, and others, either the close of 1525, or the 
very beginning of 1526, cannot be sustained, for the following 
reasons : 

First, There is no ground for doubting the testimony of Coch- 
IJBUS who was himself present, and made minute personal 
inquiries. The insurrection of the peasants, which broke out 
in Swabia on the 19th of July, 1524, and had extended to 
Frankfort by the middle of 1525, had driven him, a dean of 
the "Church of the Blessed Virgin" in that city, first to 
Mentz, and then to Cologne, where he abode for a time in 
busy seclusion. Tyndale had also come to the same city in 
the summer of 1525, and as both he and the fugitive dignitary 

1 Vol. V, p. 421, p. 119. - Apologia, fol. civ. 

VOL. I. L 


were employing the same printers, Cochlseus incidentally made 
the discovery about the mysterious volumes at press. Now, 
that discovery, as he asserts, was made soon after the despatch 
of Luther s letter to King Henry VIII, and it was dated 1st 
September, 1525. The printing had therefore begun some 
time before that period, 1 and consequently it must have been 
far on in September, or in October, when Tyiidale fled away 
with the sheets to Worms, to avoid the frustration of his 
labour. Though the utmost expedition possible at that early 
time had been used, several months must have been consumed 
in the printing of the octavo and the completing of the quarto. 
In all likelihood the books could scarcely be ready for expor 
tation before March or April. Cochlceus affords yet another 
test. In his letter to James Y of Scotland, dated 8th June, 
1533, he boasts that, eight years before, he had interrupted the 
printing of the New Testament at Cologne, and thus points to 
the summer or autumn of 1525. 

Second, The supposition that the New Testaments had arrived 
in January, 1526, does not allow sufficient time for the activity 
of Garret and other distributors. Garret must have been busy 
for a period in London, before he went down to Oxford, where 
he sold the books to "divers scholars," and "remained a while." 
But his industry had come to light; and search being made for 
him in the capital, his journey to Oxford was discovered, and 
measures were at once taken to arrest him in the University. 
This record of labour and travel on the part of Garret, and of 
information received and acted on by Wolsey and Tunstall, 
necessitates an interval of more than three weeks all that 
Anderson s theory really allows. Besides, the volumes had 
been so long in Oxford, before the capture of Garret, that 
through the study of them there had been formed, prior to 
that event, "a tender and lately born little flock," so 
organized that its members called one another " brethren." 
These results could not have been produced in the single 
month of January ; and it was in February that the search 
was instituted, though not in February, 1526. 

Third, It was not till the metropolis had been explored in 
1 Sheets had been printed as far as the letter K. See page 129. 


vain for Garret, that instructions were sent from Wolsey to 
seize him at Oxford. These orders were formally addressed, 
through Higden, Dean of Cardinal College, to Cottysford as 
commissary of the University, and he at once obeyed them. 
But Cottysford could not act as commissary or vice-chancellor 
in February, 152G, for he was not sworn into office till the 
7th of December, 1527. 1 The commissary easily caught Garret, 
and confined him in his own chamber ; but when he went out 
to " evensong," the prisoner " put back the bar of the lock 
with his finger " and escaped. He was, however, soon seized 
near Bristol, through the agency of a chapman of that city, the 
father-in-law of Cole the university proctor; and Cole had 
given secret notice to Garret and other friends of the intended 

Fourth, Henry sent first a Latin letter in reply to that of 
Luther, which he had received on the 20th of March, 152G, 
after which letter written and sent him, the king translated 
it into English, of an especial favour toward his subjects." In 
the preface to the English letter he refers to the New Testa 
ment as being in the country, and calls immediate attention 
to many corruptions of the holy text, as " certain prefaces and 
other pestilent glosses in the margin" of the quarto. The Latin 
epistle was, however, not despatched till late in the year, 
and on 30th November, 1526, Sir John Wallop apparently 
acknowledges to Wolsey the receipt of it "two packets 
of Luther s matters." 2 Immediately on its translation the 
English letter was printed by R. Pynson, finished on the 2nd 
December, 1526. 3 The king s criticism of the New Testa 
ment, and the avowal of his purpose that, on consultation with 
Wolsey, and other reverend fathers of the spiritualty, "the 
said untrue translation should be burned," imply that the 
Testaments had come somewhat recently into the country, and 
that they had been widely dispersed. 

Fifth, Anderson s argument implies the extraordinary sup 
position, that King Henry answered Luther s epistle on the 

1 Le Neve s Fasti, vol. Ill, p. 475, 3 A copy of this letter is in the 
ed. Duffus Hardy. Bodleian Library, and it is also 

* State Papers, vol. I, p. 173. printed in Herbert s Ames, p. 297. 


very day on which he received it ; for in allusion to Luther s 
letter, and the day of its reception, he exclaims, " Here, then, 
was Tyndale s quarto New Testament with glosses denounced 
as early as 20th March, 1526." The history of the royal letter, 
given in the previous sentences, disposes at once of the conjec 
ture. Nor could the New Testaments be burned, as he asserts, 
on the llth of February, 1526, for the reason already given, 
that they could not by that time have reached the English 
shores, and still less could Garret have received them, and begun 
to distribute them so early as January. Tyndale, in his 
" Obedience of a Christian Man," and in a personal attack on 
Bishop Fisher whose sermon he is reviewing, says, for the 
sake of "a like argument, Rochester and his holy brethren 
have burned Christ s testament." But does Tyndale here 
mean by " Christ s testament " his own translation \ Does he 
ever call it by such a name ? The word "testament" does 
not occur at all in the epilogue to the octavo, though in 
the prologue to the quarto he often mentions the " New Tes 
tament." ! 

Sixth, The authorities being roused by reports of New Tes 
taments in individual and domestic use, resolved upon a vigor 
ous and simultaneous search after the terrible book in the 
capital and in the universities. Anderson, and those who 
accept his premises, lay no small stress on this process as a 
proof of the early advent of the version, and date it in February, 
1526, when the volumes could not by any possibility have 
arrived. Such inquisitorial and stealthy work certainly shows 
that the books had been for some considerable time in circula 
tion ; but the search dated by Anderson in 1526 could not 
have taken place at Oxford at that time : for, 1st, as has been 
shown in a previous paragraph, Dr. Cottysford, rector of 
Lincoln College, who was concerned in the transaction, and 
who acted under instructions sent from Wolsey to him as com 
missary or vice-chancellor of Oxford, was not officially 
installed till the 7th of December, 1527. 2nd, Dr. London, 
warden of New College, in writing to Longland, Bishop of 

1 Anderson gets point to his in- thus, have burned Christ s Testa- 
terpretation by printing the clause mcnt. 


Lincoln, as Oxford then belonged to that diocese, intimated 
that the commissary had revealed " the matter " of Garret s 
arrest and escape to him, "on this Monday the vigil of St. 
Matthias." But in 1526, St. Matthias day fell on a Saturday, 
its vigil therefore being on the previous Friday, while in 
1528 it fell on a Tuesday, so that its vigil was on the day 
indicated a Monday. 3rd, in another letter written two days 
later, that is, on the 26th of February, Dr. London asserts that 
"this unhappy Mr. Garret had been at Oxford last Easter 
distributing books," and adds, " I fear Mr. Clark was his caller to 
Oxford." Now, to one writing in February, "last Easter" must 
be Easter of the previous year, or, in Anderson s baseless opinion, 
that of 1525. But the chronology breaks down at once, for 
Clark 1 himself was not incorporated at Oxford till October 5th, 
1525, and could not therefore some months before have invited 
Garret to the university. The Easter referred to must therefore 
have been that beginning on April 21st, 1527. 4th, Bishop 
Longland, in conveying the information about Garret to Wolsey, 
writes on "Ash Wednesday," which in 1526 was the 14th of 
February, or before St. Matthias day, that is really before the 
date of the letter, in consequence of the receipt of which he 
was sending his epistle ; but in 1528, Ash Wednesday happened 
two days after St. Matthias day, 2 or on February 26th or 27th. 
5th, Dalaber, indeed, in his interesting and touching story of 
Garret s capture, dates the occurrence in 1526 or thereabouts. 
But he wrote from memory more than thirty years afterwards, 
in 1562, and he corrects his own mistake when he thus notes 
the period, " Master Ball, of Merton College, and Master Cole, 
of Magdalene College, being proctors in the month of February." 
Now Ball became proctor only on the 10th of April, and there 
fore could not have acted in the preceding February ; and as 

1 Clark was oue of those students on that day in the Church of Eome. 

imprisoned in the cellar under Car- The discussion as to the proper day 

dinal College, and he died shortly of its observance in leap year, and 

afterwards. its connection with the old Julian 

a St. Matthias day falls on the year, may be seen in Wheatley s 

24th of February, but in leap year " Common Prayer,"p. 248, Bohn sedi- 

on the 25th ; and it is still observed tion, and also in Demaus and Arber. 


Cole became proctor on the 7th of May, 1527, and held the 
appointment till April, 1528, he was senior proctor at the time 
when the seizure of Garret created such academic sensation. l 
Gth, Tyndale himself verifies the same conclusion in the words 
employed by him in his " Preface to the Parable of the Wicked 
Mammon," printed by Hans Luft at Marburg. He intimates 
in reference to Roye, " I could not do alone, without one both 
to write and to help me to compare the texts together. When 
that was done, I took my leave of him for our two lives." Roye 
accordingly did not linger after being so summarily shaken off, 
but left at once. In this book, the printing of which was 
finished 8th May, 1528, Tyndale goes on to speak of a visit of 
Jerome, " a brother of Greenwich also," as taking place " a year 
after," that is a year after Roye s departure, and " now twelve 
months before the printing of this work." The translator 
himself thus clearly places Roye s dismissal and the completion 
of the New Testament about April or May, 1526. Foxe gives 
the date of the " Wicked Mammon " in his reprint of Tyndale s 
Works as 1527, and he has been followed by Tanner, Lewis, 
Wood, and Walter. But the colophon of the book itself has 
the date 1528 ; and Anderson, whose chronology is so sadly 
disturbed by this fact, imagines that there must have been a 
first edition issued at Worms, somewhat strangely, in the very 
same month and day of the previous year. Lastly, other evidence 
from the episcopal registers on this point seems also conclusive. 
It is true that John Pykas, a baker of Colchester, whose 
witness has already been cited on another point, confessed 
before Tunstall on the 7th of March, 1528, that "about two 
years last past, he bought of a Lombard of London a New Tes 
tament, and paid for it four shillings, which New Testament he 
kept, and read through many times." But as he does not say 

1 Anthony Dalaber himself com- and bore his faggot along with 
municated the first part of the story others, a great fire being made on 
to Foxe, but it was left unfinished the top of Carfax, and each of the 
by his death in 1562, the martyrolo- accused persons as he passed it 
gist gathering " the residue from threw a book into the flames. Gar- 
ancient and credible persons." Gar- ret suffered bravely some years af- 
ret, on being condemned, abjured, terwards. 


two years and more, he probably means within the period, and 
his mental calculation may have been somewhat confused, for 
he was under examination by a stern and powerful judge. But 
though the term " about " gives vagueness to his calculation, 
it does not contradict our arguments. The confession of 
Tyball also leads back to an early part of 1526, and that 
of Munmouth is similar. Necton, on examination in 1528, 
deponed that "about a yere and a half agon, he fell in ac 
quaintance with Vicar Constantine here in London. Which 
showed this respondent first, that the said Mr. Fyshe had 
New Testaments to sell; and caused this respondent to by 
some of the said New Testaments of Mr. Fyshe." 1 All these 
lines of proof seem to determine that the time when the 
volumes arrived in England was in the early part of the 
summer of 1526. 

The circulation was carried on by hidden and unexpected 
agencies, and Testaments were freely disposed of in most un 
likely places. Prior Barnes, who on Christmas eve, 24th Decem 
ber, 1525, had from the pulpit of St. Edward s Church, Cambridge, 
inveighed against Wolsey s "golden shoes, pole axes, pillars, 
golden cushions, crosses, and red gloves," was seized, brought to 
London, and "by persuasions mighty in the sight of reason and 
foolish flesh," he had been induced to recant. On the llth 
February, 1526, he was led out to do penance in presence of 
the " Cardinal, clothed in purple like a bloody antichrist, with 
six and thirty abbots, mitred priors, and bishops." Fisher, 
Bishop of Rochester, preached, and great basketfuls of books, not 
called English Testaments " were standing before them within 
the rails, which were commanded, after the great fire was made 
before the Rood of Northen, there to be burned." 2 Wolsey might, 
in Tyndale s phrase, be " the falsest and vainest cardinal that 
ever was," despotic and cruel as a ruler, and unscrupulous as a 
diplomatist, plotting with all craft and assiduity for the occu 
pancy of St. Peter s chair, and he might be concerned in the 
burning of books, but he never burned human beings. He 
said, indeed, to Barnes, " Abjure or be burnt," and the friar 

1 The depositions are given in ed. Oxford, 1822. 
Strype s Memorials, vol. I, p. 113, 3 Foxe, vol. V, p. 418. 


accepted the first alternative. Whatever hand he might have 
in sending to the block the Duke of Buckingham, High Con 
stable of England, and a descendant of Edward III, he did not 
of his own act doom any one to the flames for difference of 
religious opinion. The stake resumed its fatal prominence 
under his philosophic successor, Sir Thomas More. If we are 
to believe the articles of impeachment, Wolsey s private cha 
racter was not immaculate, and his celibacy was only in name. 
He was so absorbed in foreign politics, that affairs at home 
became only of secondary interest to him. The Reformation 
which he coveted, or Avhich would have been sanctioned by 
Sir Thomas More, his friends, and his coadjutors, would have 
been superficial at best the sewing of a piece of new cloth 
on the old garment. 

Barnes, on his recantation, had been sent to the Fleet, but 
was afterwards made a prisoner at large in the Augustine 
Monastery in London, and in this retreat he carried on the 
forbidden work of trafficking in New Testaments was a 
resetter and seller of this perilous contraband. Thus John 
Tyball of Steeple Bumstead, to whom previous allusion has 
been made, deponed on April 28th, 1528, "That at Mychael- 
masse last past was twelve monethe this respondent and 
Thomas Hilles came to London to Frear Barons, then 
being at the Freers Augustines (Austin Friars) in London, 
to buy a New Testament in English. . . . That the sayd 
Thomas Hilles and this respondent shewyd the Freer Barons 
of certayne old bookes that they had ; as of four Evangelists, 
and certayne epistles of Peter and Poule in Englishe (that 
is of the Wycliffite version). Which bookes the sayd Frear 
dyd little regard, and made a twyte of it, and sayd, a poynt 
for them, for they be not to be regarded toward the new 
printed Testament in Englishe; for it is of more cleaner 
Englishe. And then the sayd Frear Barons delyvered to them 
the sayd New Testament in Englishe ; for which they payd 
three shillings and two pence, and desyred them, that they 
wold kepe it close. And after the delyverance of the sayd 
New Testament to them, the Frear Barons dyd lyken the New 
Testament in Latin to a cymball tynnklyng and brasse sownd- 


yng," expressions in perfect keeping with his usual style of 
speech. 1 

Portions of Necton s confession reveal the ingenuity 
and resolution of the " New Testamenters." He deponed 
that " he sold fy ve of the said New Testaments to Sir William 
Furboshare, synging man, in Stowmarket, in Suffolk, for 
seven or eight grotes a pece. Also, two of the same New 
Testaments in Bury St. Edmonds ; that is to say, to Raynold 
Wodelesse, one; and Thomas Horfan, another, for the same 

" Furthermore, Vicar Constantine, at dy vers tymes, had of 
this respondent about fifteen or sixteen of the New Testaments 
of the biggest. And this respondent saith, that the sayd Vicar 
Constantine dyvers tymes bowght of him certayne of the sayd 
New Testaments. Also, he sold Sir Richard Bay fell two New 
Testaments unbound, about Cristmas last; for the which he 
paid three shillings and four pence. . . . That he sold five 
or six of the said New Testaments to diverse persons of the cite 
of London, whose namys or dwellyng places he doth not 
remember. . . . That since Easter last, he bowght of 
Gefrray (Lolme) Usher of Saynt Antonyes, with whom he hath 
byn aqueynted by the space of an yere, or thereabout (by 
reason he was Mr. Forman, the person of Hony Lane his 
servant, and for that this respondent did moche resort to 
the said persons sermons) eighteen New Testaments in English 
of the smal volume. . . . That about Cristmas last, 
there came a Duche man, beyng now in the Flete, which 
wold have sold this respondent two or three hundreth 
of the said New Testaments in English, which this 
respondent did not buy ; but sent him to Mr. Fyshe to buy 
them; and said to the Duche man, Looke what Mr. Fyshe 
doth, I wil do the same." - Of course, many persons 
engaged in the work of distribution, managed to keep them 
selves out of sight and escaped detection, as they moved 
in secret " paths which the vulture s eye had not seen." 

Simon Fyshe, of Gray s Inn, and George Harman, of 
Antwerp, had a busy hand in the labour. The former of 

1 Strype s Memorials, pt. II, p. 54. 2 Strype s Memorials, pt. II, p. 63. 


these zealous men had issued a tract, called " the Supplicacion 
of the Beggars," l addressed to the king. It was a small 
tract of eight pages, and was given to his Majesty, and 
scattered on Candlemas day through the streets ; and its 
burden was a disclosure of the reasons "why the Monks 
and Friars, Pardoners and Sumners, will not let the New 
Testament go abroad in your mother-tongue." The excitement 
was growing, and the enemies and friends of an English trans 
lation were fast fronting each other, and taking up a decided 
position. But the wood was yet growing green in the fields 
that was again to supply faggots for the fires of Smithfield. 

1 The year is uncertain, but it was issued in the earlier portion 

Move s reply, the " Supplicacion of that year, as the Tract of Fyshe 

of Souls," was written before he is said to have been published " of 

was Lord Chancellor, or before late." 
October, 1529 ; perhaps, therefore, 


A S the importation of the New Testament was a clandestine 
and dangerous traffic, there is no distinct record of it. 
The common people received it gladly; but it encountered 
fierce opposition from men in authority, clergy, statesmen, law 
yers, and scholars. It was deemed an exponent and defence 
of Lutheranism, and, therefore, was spurned away. Many 
were scared out of their reason by it, as if there had lighted 
among them a shell charged with explosive missiles. We cannot 
tell in what way the authorities were first made aware of the 
audacious presence of the Book in the midst of them ; but the 
distribution could not be long hidden from the keen and 
sharp eyes of suspicious ecclesiastics. Our only information 
on the point is from the "railing rhymes " of Friar Roye, with 
whom the translator had been so displeased. The satire 
reveals that Standish, Bishop of St. Asaph s, 1 who " played the 
part of Judas," was the first who brought the report to Wolsey, 
" the man in the redde cappe," who spake the words of Pilate 
and answered that he found "no fault" therein. Tunstall 
(Caiaphas) and the other bishops overruled the Cardinal 
to an adverse decision, so that he gave judgment against 
the hated translation, and ordered that it should be burned 
wherever it was found. This reluctance ascribed to Wolsey 
may apparently be believed. The forty-third article in the 
long list of charges presented against him at his fall, alleges 
that the said Lord Cardinal hath been the "impeacher and 

1 The name of his diocese was Grseculus iste, calls him episcopus" 
often contracted into St. Asse ; and a sancto Asino. 
Erasmus, whom he stigmatized as 


disturber of due and direct correction of heresies." When 
Lutheran opinions had been growing at Cambridge, and a 
visitation of the University was demanded in 1523 by some 
of the bishops, Wolsey expressly inhibited it, though Bishop 
Long-land who was the king s confessor, had urged him to a 
decided prosecution of " heretics and destruction of Lutheran 
books." When he had selected for his magnificent foundation 
of Christ Church a few students from Cambridge, he did not 
cancel their appointment, though some of them were suspected 
of Lutheran leanings. When Latimer was brought before 
him at York House, and had given an account of a sermon 
which had offended the Bishop of Ely, Wolsey said to him, 
" You shall have my license, and shall preach it unto his beard 
let him say what he will." Wolsey s license sufficed for all 
England. To the king s chagrin, he openly disagreed with 
many parts of his book against Luther the book that gained 
him the title of Defender of the Faith. He had refused to 
act on a papal bull of June 19, 1520, because he had no power 
to burn Lutheran books ; and the Pope, in reply, told him, 
that not the books but the authors should be burned. For 
his great educational deeds and designs, he had suppressed 
forty-two religious houses. Indeed, he had contrived to 
gather in to himself, against all law, extraordinary revenues. 
For not only was he Archbishop of York, in succession to 
Cardinal Bainbridge ; but the " king-cardinal " drew at the 
same time the incomes of the dioceses of Durham and 
Winchester, farmed the bishoprics of Bath, Worcester, and 
Hereford, and held the Abbey of St. Alban s in commendam. 
He had also an annuity from the French king of 12,000 livres, 
and from the Pope and the Emperor a yearly pension of 7,500 
ducats. The first began to be paid him in 1518, and the 
second in 1526. "Unsatisfied in getting which was a sin, yet 
in bestowing he was most princely." In obtaining academic 
funds from the dissolution of religious houses, Wolsey had been 
preceded by Chichele and Waynflete. But his arrogance had 
grown apace. Giustiniani, the Venetian ambassador, records, 1 
that when he came to England, Wolsey was accustomed to 
1 Despatches, vol. II, p. 314. 


say, "The king will do so and so;" afterwards his words 
were, " We will do so and so ; " and finally, " I shall do so 
and so." 

Tunstall, soon after the consultation referred to, preached at 
St. Paul s, and denounced the New Testament as containing 
two thousand errors; 1 Tyndale s simple reply being, "They have 
now so narrowly looked on my translation, that there is not so 
much as one i therein, if it lack a tittle over his head, but they 
have noted it, and numbered it unto the ignorant people 
for an heresy." The volume so denounced was then publicly 
thrown into the fire, and the burning of it was known at Rome 
by the 21st of November. At that date Cardinal Campeggio 
wrote to Wolsey a letter of congratulation : " We lately heard, 
to his Majesty s great praise and glory, that he had most justly 
caused to be burned a copy of the Holy Bible which had been 
mistranslated into the common tongue. . . . Assured ly, no 
burnt offering could be more pleasing to Almighty God." 2 On 
Wednesday, 24th October, Tunstall, " by the duty of our 
pastoral office," issued a prohibition, a copy of which was sent 
to the four Archdeacons of Middlesex, Essex, Colchester, and 
London. The prohibition somewhat bluntly aims at " many 
children of iniquity, maintainers of Luther s sect, that have 
craftily translated the New Testament into our English 
tongue ... of which translation there are many books im 
printed, some with glosses, and some without, containing in 
the English tongue that most deadly and most pernicious 
poison dispersed through all our diocese of London in great 
numbers." 3 Within thirty days these books were to be 
delivered up to his vicar-general, Geoffrey Wharton, under 
penalty of excommunication and incurring the suspicion of 
heresy. Eleven days afterwards, on the 3rd November, 
Archbishop Warham issued a mandate, in similar terms, to 

Lambert, who was burned in sermon "on the hideous errors in it 

1538, in reply to the twenty-sixth that I, and not only I, but likewise 

article of his indictment, which many others, think verily to be 

questioned him about " scriptures in none." Foxe, vol. V, p. 213. 

the mother language," says, among 2 CottonMSS.,Vitellius,B.viii,164. 

other things, that he heard Tunstall s 3 Foxe, vol. IV, p. 666. 


Voysey, Bishop of Exeter, the document being meant for 
his entire province. 1 The translator was at this time un 
known, for the version was published anonymously ; but 
early next year Tyndale s connection with it was no secret, 
as may be seen in Ridley s letter, on page 12G. Warham also 
bought up a good many copies of both editions at an expense 
of nearly a thousand pounds sterling; and doubtless such copies 
were speedily and effectually destroyed. To defray the cost of 
these large purchases, the Primate sent a circular to his 
suffragans, asking pecuniary contributions. Bishop Nikke 2 
of Norwich, in reply, promises, in a letter of 14th June, 
1527, to send ten marks, about 100 in present currency, and 
nearly a tenth part of the whole outlay. Some of the blind 
old bishop s words may be quoted : " In right humble manner 
I commend me unto your good lordship, doing the same to 
understand that I lately received your letters, dated, at your 
manor of Lambeth, the 2Gth day of the month of May, by 
which I do perceive that your Grace hath lately gotten into 
your hands all the books of the New Testament translated 
into English and printed beyond the sea, as well those 
with the glosses joined unto them as the other without the 
glosses . . . Surely, in mine opinion, you have done them a 
gracious and blessed deed, and God, I doubt not, shall highly 
reward you therefor . . . your humble obediencer and bonds 
man." 3 

The circulation of such a novelty as an English New 
Testament created a demand, and that demand was speedily 
supplied. The press which Tyndale himself had employed 
was at rest, but the work was done by other printers. T$y 
the end of 1520 a third edition of the New Testament, in 
small volume, was issued at Antwerp by Christopher of End- 
hoven, who was arrested in consequence of his adventure. 
There had been, in 1527, an alarming scarcity of corn in Eng 
land " on account of the great rain which fell in the sowing- 
time," and in the crisis " the gentle merchants of the Stilyard " 
brought in provisions from abroad, " so that wheat was better 

1 Wilkin s Concilia, vol. Ill, p. 706. 3 Cotton MSS., Vitellius, B. ix, fol. 

2 Often, or usually, spelled Nix. 117, b., British Museum. 


cheap in the capital than in England all over." l But as there 
was another and contemporaneous famine in the land, those 
vessels carried also a more precious cargo than "the bread 
which perisheth." 

About the end of 1527, or beginning of 1528, the agency by 
which the circulation had been so successfully carried out 
was at last detected. Bilney had been examined at the end of 
the year, and probably hints incautiously dropped by some 
witnesses during the trial may have led to the discovery. 
Arrests were made in London. The University of Oxford 
was searched and "Wolsey s own college, St. Frideswide s or 
Cardinal College, was found to be deeply infected. Several 
students escaped, and others were incarcerated in a deep cell 
under the college, used for storing salt fish, and some of them 
died from the effects of this unhealthy imprisonment and food. 
Nor was Bishop Tunstall idle after his return from Spain, and 
many people guilty of possessing an English Bible were carried 
before him. " Old Father Hacket, being hard set upon, made 
a discovery of a great many of his friends and followers," to 
the number of forty, who " dwelt chiefly in London ; " 2 and 
other criminated persons, being entangled in the queries put 
to them, gave information in spite of themselves. Another class 
in terror revealed everything, and at once brought friends 
and relatives into immediate peril. Sebastian Harris, 
curate of the parish church of Kensington, was brought up, 
and confessed that " he had the New Testament in the 
vulgar tongue, translated by William Hochen, priest, and 
friar Roye." He was sentenced not to approach the city for 
four years nearer than two miles. Rodolph Bradford, fellow of 
King s College, Cambridge, carried New Testaments to Read 
ing, " with a godly desire to disperse them," and he was after 
wards imprisoned for two years as the penalty of his work. 3 
Forman, rector of All Hallows, Honey Lane (Garret being his 
curate), and Jeffray Lolme, usher in St. Anthony s School, were 
trusted and successful agents in the secret and dangerous 
toil of sowing the divine seed " the word of God." 

1 Halle s Chronicle, p. 736, Lon- 2 Strype, vol. I, pt. 1, p. 114. 
don, 1809. 3 He died chaplain to Bishop Latimer. 


Numerous persons were taken up for having, selling, or 
reading the printed English Testament. Tunstall and 
Wharton his vicar-general, with their spies, had been very 
dexterous and successful, and the bishop wrote on the 15th 
March, 1528, to Wolsey, that he was obliged to commit a 
man to the Fleet, as his own prisons were so full. 

But, as the New Testaments came from abroad, it was 
deemed advisable not only to check the torrent, but to arrest 
it at its source. Royal letters were accordingly sent to the 
Princess Margaret, the Emperor s representative in the Low 
Countries, to the Governor of the "English House" at Antwerp, 
and to Hacket also, the English envoy, urging and empower 
ing him to get possession of the books. He came at once 
from Mechlin to Antwerp to do the work ; but the task was 
one of great difficulty. He was "forward in the business, 
made no small diligence ; ... it is very necessary 
and time to be done, before the end of this Barrow 1 market. 
But the first beginning and execution must be done in the 
town of Antwerp, which is the fountain of such things, and 
herewith all other places will take an example. And if 
it has happened that your Grace had not received some 
other books of the translation, as I have sent you here 
before now, at all adventures, I send you this inclosed, one 
of such like as has been imprinted in the said town of 
Antwerp ; of the which be arrested, in the Justice s hands 
nigh a three hundred abiding sentence." 2 Racket s first 
demand was "that the imprimer of the said book, named 
Christopher of Endhoven, ought to be banished out of all 
the Emperor s lands and countries, and that the third part 
of all his goods should be confiscated in the Emperor s hands, 
and all the foresaid English books burnt in the fire, according to 
the Emperor s last mandment upon such like heresies." But the 
Lords of Antwerp, bound by their own laws and usages, would 
not interfere to inflict such a punishment, and Endhoven was 
released. Hacket next proposed to buy up the whole stock 

1 Bergen-op-Zoom. 4th January, 1527, Cotton MSS., 

2 Letter from Mechlin to Brian Galba, B. ix, fol. 37. 
Take, one of the king s secretaries, 


of volumes, and despatch it to England, as those in possession 
of Endhoven could not be touched by law ; but all that could 
be found in Antwerp or Barrow were collected and burned, as 
he informs Wolsey on the 20th of February, 1520 "three 
books " being specially referred to and these are plainly three 
editions of Tyndale, copies of which had been sent to him 
from England for identification. 

That there was an eager and incessant demand in England 
for the New Testament came to be well known, and the 
demand stimulated a growing supply, in spite of the hazards 
attending such merchandize. During Endhoven s arrest, as the 
envoy had hinted, an additional issue of the New Testament, 
" in a greater letter," was brought out by another printer in 
Antwerp, and copies of both editions were imported in the 
corn ships. Thus, in 1528, John Ruremond, a Dutchman, 
was abjured for "causing fifteen hundred of Tyn dale s New 
Testament to be printed in Antwerp, and for bringing five 
hundred of them into England." According to George Joye, 
of both editions five thousand copies were printed; but 
the last edition had "no corrector of the press." Hacket 
writes in alarm to Wolsey, on the 23rd of May, " Some new 
printers of the town of Antwerp have brought to be sold 
to this Barrow market diverse English books, entitled the New 
Testament, ... of which I have found twenty-four in one 
man s hand. ... I trust shortly to see them burned. . . . 
I hear say that there has been at the last Frankfort market 
more than two thousand such like English books." The En 
voy in his zeal had also visited Ghent, Bruges, Brussels, and 
Louvain, and did what he could to collect and send to the 
fire the copies prepared for his native island. At length, 
as a more effectual remedy, it was resolved not only to watch 
and stop the presses on the Continent, but, if possible, to capture 
the translator himself, and his associates. Wolsey, in June, 
1528, corresponded on the subject with Hacket, and asked 
that means should be taken to have five men (three 1 of them 

1 The three men were apparently ander Barclay, the translator and en- 
Eoye,Tyudale,audHarman. Einck s larger of Brandt s Navis Stultifeni 
letter to Wolsey mentions also Alex- the Ship of Fools. 

VOL. I. M 


especially) arrested, and that the Lady Mary, the regent, should 
be induced to send them to England for trial. The scheme 
failed; the law of the empire allowed the extradition of a 
traitor, but not of a heretic. Search, however, was made for 
the delinquents, and Harman only could be found. On the 
14th of July, Hacket notified Wolsey of Harman s appre 
hension. It was a bold stroke on the part of a foreign 
power to imprison an English merchant. The petition of 
Harman for release in July, 1528, tells his story: "Richard 
Harman, being in prison for having sold New Testaments to 
English merchants, having been sent to him out of Germany, 
does plead for himself, that he and his wife might be let out on 
sufficient bail, to recover his debts upon the breaking up of the 
fair." But he was not released till the 26th February, 1529. 
In the meantime, Wolsey was not to be baffled, and letters came 
from England charging Harman with treason; but the Princess 
and Council wished to know the special treason before they 
would act. Hacket hoped that Harman s " purse would suffer 
long penance," but he was soon alarmed at the report of 
Harman s declaration that his imprisonment had cost him 
2,000 guilders, and that he confidently trusted to recover 
damages. Time passed on, and Harman, getting out of prison, 
had Hacket arrested by the Amant ; but his privilege as 
ambassador was successfully pleaded, and he was allowed to 
depart to Brussels, and thus was happily out of Antwerp 
before Tyndale came to reside in it. Wolsey did not like to be 
defeated ; Friar West of Greenwich was taken into the plot ; 
and a special appeal, dated Hampton Court Palace, on the 5th 
of August, was made to Herman Rinck of Cologne. Rinck s 
answer, October, 1528, shows the sort of work expected of him, 
and he had pride and pleasure in doing it, his reply being : 
" With the utmost diligence I shall also take care as to the 
aforesaid Roye and Hutchin, . . . both as to apprehend 
ing them and observing what places they frequent." He had 
already said that they had not been seen at Frankfort since 
Easter, and the market after Lent, and it is not known 
whither they are gone, or whether they are alive or dead." 
But Tyndale s place of abode could not be discovered, for 


he had left Worms and gone to Marburg. Rinck, however, 
adds that his industry had been to some extent rewarded : " I 
gained over the consuls at Frankfort by gifts and presents, so 
that I might scrape together and heap together ... all 
the books from every quarter. But these books (unless I had 
found them out and interposed) would have been inclosed and 
concealed in paper, packed in ten bundles covered over with 
flax (or linen) ; they would in time, craftily and without sus 
picion, have been transmitted by sea into Scotland and 
England as to the same place, and would have been sold as 
merely clean paper; but I think that very few or none of those 
carried away have been discovered." 1 Scott, the printer of 
Strasburg, was arrested also; but the book which he had 
published was Roye s Satire, with which Tyndale had no 
connection. The clever satirist had, with the plausibility 
which Tyndale ascribes to him, talked the printer over 
to execute the work, though he had no funds to defray the 

At the Treaty of Cambray in 1529, when Tunstall, More, 
and Hacket were the English representatives, it was agreed 
that while mercantile traffic between the Low Countries and 
England was to continue, " no one was to print or sell any 
Lutheran books on either side." Tunstall came home by 
way of Antwerp, and his exploit there has been recorded by 
Halle, the old Chronicler : " Here it is to be remembered one 
Augustine Packington, a merchant and mercer of London, the 
same time was in Antwerp, where the bishop then was ; and 
this Packington was a man who highly favoured Tyndale, but 
to the bishop shewed the contrary. The bishop, desirous to 
have his purpose brought to pass, communed of the New Tes 
taments, and how gladly he would buy them. Packington, 
hearing him say so, said My Lord, if it be your pleasure, I 
can in this matter do more, I dare say, than most of the mer 
chants of England that are here, for I know the Dutchmen and 
strangers that have bought them of Tyndale, and have them 
here to sell ; so that if it be your lordship s pleasure to pay for 

1 Cotton MSS., Vitellius, B. xxi, fol. 43, British Museum. 


them, for otherwise I cannot come by them, but I must disburse 
money for them, I will then assure you to have every book of 
them that is here imprinted, and is here unsold. The bishop, 
thinking he had God by the toe, when indeed he had, as after 
he thought, the devil by the fist, said, Gentle Mr. Packington, 
do your diligence and get them ; and with all my heart I will 
pay for them whatsoever they cost you, for the books are 
erroneous and nought, and I intend surely to destroy them all, 
and to burn them at Paul s Cross. Augustine Packington 
came to William Tyndale and said, William, I know that thou 
art a poor man, and hast a heap of New Testaments and books 
by thee, for the which thou hast endangered thy friends and 
beggared thyself; and I have now gotten thee a merchant, 
which with ready money shall despatch thee of all that thou 
hast, if you think it profitable to yourself Who is the mer 
chant ? said Tyndale. The Bishop of London, said Packing- 
ton. O, that is because he will burn them, said Tyndale. 
1 Yea, marry, quoth Packington. I am the gladder, quoth 
Tyndale, for these two benefits shall come thereof I shall get 
money to bring myself out of debt, and the whole world will 
cry out against the burning of God s Word ; and the overplus 
of the money that shall remain with me shall make me more 
studious to correct the said New Testament, and so newly to 
imprint the same once again, and I trust the second will much 
better like you than ever did the first. So forward went the 
bargain, the bishop had the books, Packington had the thanks, 
and Tyndale had the money." 1 The sequel of the story is as 
amusing : " After this Tyndale corrected the same New Testa 
ments again, and caused them to be newly imprinted, so that 
they came thick and threefold over into England. . . The 
bishop sent for Packington again, and asked how the Testa 
ments were still so abundant, and Packington replied, It will 
never be better so long as they have the letters and the stamps. 
Therefore it were better for your lordship to buy the stamps 
too. In short space after, it fortuned that George Constantino 
was apprehended by Sir Thomas More, who was then Chancellor 

1 The story is also told in Foxe, Acts and Monuments, vol. IV, p. G70. 


of England, suspected of certain heresies. During the time 
that he was in the custody of Master More, after divers com 
munications, amongst other things Master More asked of him, 
saying, Constantino, l I would have thee to be plain with me 
in one thing that I will ask, and I promise thee I will show 
thee favour in all other things whereof thou art accused. There 
is beyond the sea, Tyndale, Joye, and a great many of you ; I 
know they cannot live without help. There are some that 
help and succour them with money ; and thou being one of 
them, hadst thy part thereof, and therefore knowest from 
whence it came. I pray thee, tell me who be they that help 
them thus ? My lord, quoth Constantine, I will tell thee 
truly ; it is the Bishop of London that hath holpen us, for he 
hath bestowed among us a great deal of money, upon New 
Testaments, to burn them ; and that hath been, and yet is, our 
only succour and comfort. Now, by my troth, quoth More, 
I think even the same, for so much I told the bishop before 
he went about it. 2 The story is 110 doubt true in its essential 
features ; but the implied simplicity of Tunstall can scarcely be 
accepted. Nor was the poverty of Tyndale so great as the 
anecdote supposes. He was poor in that he had no settled 
income, but his own personal expenditure was small, and he 
never wanted money for his work. Some kind friends must 
have invested large funds in his first enterprise. The six 
thousand copies of the two first editions of the New Testament 

1 In 1531, Constantine not only 2 Halle s Chronicle, p. 762." Lon- 
f ailed in courage before Sir Thomas don, 1809. A brother of Packiug- 
More, but, in More s own words, ton, and one of the burgesses in 
" uttered and disclosed divers of his Parliament for the city of London, 
companions, . . . devised how these as he was going out on a foggy 
devilish books which himself and morning to a neighbouring church 
others of his fellows had bought to attend early service, was shot 
and shipped, might come to the dead in the street. Inceut, Dean 
bishop s hands to be burnt. And, of St. Paul s, confessed on his 
therefore, he showed me the ship- death-bed that he had " hired an 
man s name that had them, and the Italian for sixty crowns or there- 
marks of the fardels by which I have abouts to do the feat." Foxe, vol. V 
since his escape received them." p. 250. 
More s Works, p. 347, ed. 1557. 


printed by him were sold for about two shillings a piece, 1 and 
must therefore have cost about six hundred pounds, represent 
ing nine thousand pound in present value. In Antwerp, at a 
later period, he went about bestowing charities on the 
poor and sick. 

More was evidently perplexed to account for the great 
expense incurred in bringing so many New Testaments into 
the country, and in supporting abroad " a few ungracious folks 
that Hed out of the realm . . . that nought had here and 
nought carried hence, and are yet sustained and supported with 
money. . . . Which books, albeit that they can neither be 
printed there without great cost, nor here sold without great 
adventure and peril, yet cease they not to print there, and send 
them hither by whole vats full at once. And in some places, 
looking for no price, cast them abroad by night ; labour, travel 
cost, charge, and peril involved." - But he could not forbear 
a sneering allusion to such books, " of every sort of them, 
some be brought into this realme, and kept in hucker-mucker, 
by some shrewd masters, that kepe them for no good." 3 The 
Lord Chancellor did not realize the priceless value which 
many good people put upon the Gospels and Epistles in 
their native tongue, and he might have known that to 
many brave and enthusiastic spirits there was a strange 
fascination in the very peril involved in a work which, 
pure and blessed as it was, might load their limbs with 
iron, or send them to the stake. The first two editions 
had long since gone to England, and the books bought for the 
fire must have been the Dutch reprints. There is some proba 
bility that Tyndale about this period saw an edition through 
the press without revising it, but he seems to have put into it 
the epilogue to the Epistle to the Romans, which had been 
published separately, and to have sent copies to his younger 

1 Hilles deponed that lie had sold demn me hugger-mugger." Letters 
a Testament for three shillings. 231, Parker ed. Hamlet, act 4, 

2 Preface to Confutation. scene 5. See Wheatley s Diction- 

3 Hucker-mucker means clan- ary of Reduplicated Words, sub voce, 
destiuely or in secret. Thus Phil- London, 1866. 

pot says " I fear they will con- 


brother John in London. Bayfield, whom Stokesley at his 
trial knocked down with his crozier, and who was ultimately 
burned at Newgate, was accused of having a copy of the New 
Testament containing a prologue to the Romans, and such a 
prologue does not seem to characterize the earlier Antwerp 

After Wolsey had bidden "a long farewell to all his 
greatness," and had been succeeded by Sir Thomas More, a 
fierce proclamation was issued at the end of the year 
1529, by royal authority, against all heretical teachers, and 
against importers, sellers, authors, possessors, and distribu 
tors of heretical books. Among the twenty-four books 
mentioned, Tyndale s New Testament occupies the first 
place, a preeminence to which it was entitled for its own 
sake, though the terror of its enemies lifted it to such 
honour. All are invited to become spies, and give infor 
mation. The ecclesiastics only had interfered up to this 
time ; now the bishops and the civil authorities were allied 
as inquisitors. 

But the printing of the New Testament was still going 
on as a matter of common trade ; Jewish capital had been 
invested in it ; sale and export were now matters of com 
mercial calculation and profit, so that, apart from Tyndale s 
personal cognizance and supervision, three editions probably 
were printed at Antwerp in 1529 and 1530. The circulation 
of these Scriptures, in spite of all opposition, was widening in 
England, and Bishop Nikke, who had given so liberally for buy 
ing up copies at an earlier period, complained, in 1530, that the 
suppression of them was beyond his ability, and the confession 
was wrung from him, " it passeth my power, or any spiritual 
man, now to do it," one reason alleged by him being " that 
the people believe it to be the king s pleasure that the New 
Testament in English should go forth, and that men should 
have it and read it." He goes on to utter the melancholy 
misgiving, if " they," the readers of the New Testament in 
English, " continue any time, they shall undo us all. . . 
I hear of no clerk that hath come out lately of that 
College (Gonville and Caius), but savoureth of the frying 


pan, 1 though he speak never so holily." 2 The phrase 
first employed in one clause of the doleful letter had 
been " the saide boks," but it was erased and the more special 
words inserted, " the New Testamente in iuglesshe," for 
it, the record of Love Incarnate, was the real object of dread 
and hostility. The same year, on the 24th May, the more 
important members of the hierarchy met Warham, Tunstall, 
and Gardyner with Sir Thomas More, and " with the king s 
highness being present," and issued another condemnation of 
the New Testament "corrupted by William Tyndale," and 
ordered that it was to be " repelled, rejected, and put away." 
This meeting was called by the king on account of the pressure 
of public opinion, since divers and many of his subjects were 
" thinking that it were to all men not only expedient, 
but also necessary, to have in the English tongue both the 
New Testament and the Old " ; but the decision was that " it 
is not necessary for the said Scripture to be in the English 
tongue, and in the hands of the common people." Yet popular 
desire, as it could not be repressed, was humoured, for it was 
proclaimed that " his Highness intended to provide, that the 
Holy Scriptures shall be by great, learned, and catholic persons 
translated into the English tongue, if it shall then seem to 
his Grace convenient to be." 

About the same period, Tunstall, now Bishop of Durham, 
fulfilling the threatening which he had uttered at Antwerp, 
openly burned all the New Testaments which he had bought 
or seized, in St. Paul s Churchyard, 3 Stokesley being then in 
Italy. This fire was meant as a public demonstration and 
warning ; but, as Burnet remarks, the people called it " a 
burning of the Word of God." The destruction at this time, 
as well as before and after it, must have been great. As 
we have already said, of the quarto edition only a fragment 

1 The cant term seems to have pan." Works, p. 387, Parker Society 

been a common one. West, Bishop edition. 

of Ely, thus menaced Latimer on 2 Cotton MSS., Cleopatra E. V., 

his change of view, " I perceive that fol. 360. 

you smell somewhat of the pan." :i Halle s Chronicle, p. 771. 
Coverdale speaks of " the Pelagian s 


remains; of the octavo, two copies, one of them imperfect, 
survive ; and of the other three editions printed at Antwerp, 
one by Endhoven, and two by Ruremond, not a single 
specimen has been distinctly identified. But the people had 
now some fuller understanding of the character and worth of 
an English version ; what had been valued by a few, had 
come to be appreciated by multitudes. The rabid destruction 
of the Scriptures only raised suspicions against the clerical 
burners, and diffused an intense desire to possess a book at the 
circulation and study of which the spiritualty were so greatly 
alarmed. Prohibitions against possessing and reading the 
New Testament were not obeyed in many cases. In 1529, 
Mafelde, precentor of the Benedictine Friars at Rochester, was 
proceeded against for keeping an English Testament, contrary 
to the injunctions 

Proclamations and burnings were a coarse and vulgar ex 
pedient for the suppression of a book which claimed a re 
ception as an honest and learned effort to give the Scriptures 
in an intelligible form to the English nation. To destroy the 
volume was only a rough way of checking its circulation by 
putting it out of existence. But, as the producing power was 
not injured, and copies could still be rapidly multiplied, and 
secretly imported and sent through the country, something 
better than the application of fire was thought of, and a 
critical condemnation of the version was resorted to. Tunstall 
had already declared that there were more than two thousand 
errors in the volume. Ridley, 1 in a letter, of which use has 
been made more than once, had also taken the same ground 
reprobating the doctrine of the " Notes," finding fault with a 
few renderings, branding the omission of such terms as charity, 
penance, priest, and church, and adding, " Show ye the people 
that if any be of so proud and stubborn stomach, that 
he will believe that there is no fault or error except it be 
declared to him that he may see it, let him come hither 
to my lord, who hath profoundly examined all, and he shall 
hear and see errors, except that he be blind and have no 

1 Ridley was uncle to the famous frayed the expense of his educn- 
martyr of the same name, and de- tion. 


eyes." 1 Tunstall s copy must have borne these numerous 
marks on its margin. But statements of this nature were 
too vague to make any impression, and they were doubt 
less ascribed to ecclesiastical prejudice and intolerance. At 
the same time the man who pronounces these last cen 
sures absolves himself from any intimate acquaintance with 
the condemned volume, when he coolly concludes : " I have 
none of these books, but only remember what things I read 
in the prefaces and annotations." One sentence in this letter. 
has a peculiar interest, as from it one might almost guess 
the title of the New Testament, for Ridley pronounces it 
heretical since it says " that it is prent as it was written 
by the Evangelistes " . . . . ; and the title page of Joye s 
wretched revision is somewhat similar. 

1 Cotton MSS., Cleopatra, E. V, p. 362. 


rpHE New Testament had therefore now to suffer the critical 
vituperation of Sir Thomas More. Any one acquainted 
with his classical tastes and acquirements, his love of erudition 
and of scholars, would have anticipated from him a hearty 
welcome for Tyndale s masterly production. Surely a befitting 
eulogy might have been expected from so proficient a Greek 
student who had greeted in an eloquent Latin epigram the ap 
pearance of the Original Text of Erasmus in 1516, and from 
so accomplished an English writer as the historian of Richard 
III ; from one who could so well appreciate the correctness of 
the translation, and who, while he admired the boldness and 
novelty, could make all allowance for the difficulties, of a first 
undertaking. More was fond of theology ; and in St. Lawrence 
Church, Old Jewry, he had in early life lectured with great 
popularity on Augustine s De Civitate Dei. Bishop Tunstall 
shrank himself from the task of attacking Tyndale, but laid it 
on the learned and eloquent statesman, then Chancellor of the 
Duchy of Lancaster. As a preliminary step, he formally 
licensed him, on the 7th of March, 1528, to " read the works 
of the heretics," in order that he might confute them, for 
" he could play the Demosthenes both in our native tongue 
and in Latin." More, with wonderful speed, produced a 
volume in the form of a Dialogue 1 between the author 

1 A Dialogue of Sir Thomas diverse matters . . . with many 

More, knyghte, one of the Couii- other things touching the pestilent 

saill of our Soveraine Lorde the secte of Luther and Tyudale, by the 

King and chaucellour of hys Duchy t one bygone (begun) in Saxony, and 

of Lancaster, wherein be treatyd by the t other labored to be brought 


and a messenger that a friend had sent to consult him about 
current events, such as the recent burning of the New 
Testament. The Dialogue was published in June, 1529, and 
on the 25th October of the same year he became Lord 
Chancellor of England. In his ingenious and eloquent 
arguments on behalf of the Popish Church we are 
not here interested, nor with Tyndale s lucid and vigorous 
replies on these points. More, however, does not display 
that familiarity with patristic and mediaeval learning 
which was possessed by many divines and scholars of his age. 
The Answer of Tyiidale, put to press in 1531, was printed, 
according to Joye, at Amsterdam, under the supervision of 
Fry th. More was said to have " the best knack of any man 
in Europe at calling bad names in good Latin " ; but his 
Latin occasionally suffers from the impetuosity of his in 
vective. 1 Now, however, to produce popular impressions, he 
wrote against Tyndale in English. 

More roundly declares that no man who knew the character 
of these New Testaments could complain of their being 
burned, their proper name being not " the New Testament, 
but Tyndale s Testament, for it had been corrupted and 
changed to a clean contrary thing." " Over a thousand texts 
by tale " had been wrongly and falsely translated, and it was 
so hopelessly bad that it could not be amended, for ili was such 
a mass of errors that to study to find out one error were " to 
study where to find water in the sea." A new translation 
could alone suffice, " for it is as easy to weave a new web of 
cloth as to sew up every hole in a net." To one who had 
been obliged to leave his native land, that he might be a 
translator, and who had honestly given to the work, " to 
him very painful," all his erudition and so many laborious 
and solitary days, a charge so sweeping and merciless as 
that of Sir Thomas More must have been " as a sword in 
his bones/ wounding his tenderest sensibilities. Who could 
bear to be told so bluntly, and taunted so haughtily, that 

into England. Emprented iii Lon- 3 As in his Responsio ad Convicia 
don at the sygne of the Meremayd, M. Lutheri, 1523. 
iit Powlys gate, MVCXXIX. 


he had come so lamentably short of his great aim ? Had 
his prayers and toils, his love of God s Word and its free 
circulation, been all for nought, and were they to end "in 
vanity and vexation of spirit " ? Tyndale s soul was there 
fore stirred from its depths, and he answered not only with 
no small asperity and keen personal retort, but sometimes 
descended to employ terms unworthy of his high voca 
tion. He had been for years away from all softening 
associations of kindred or friends, forlorn and isolated among 
strangers, while his opponent was living in lettered ease and 
affluence, endowed with high power, and riding in the " second 
chariot " after the king. More had led the Commons in their 
refusal of money to Henry VII, on the occasion of the mar 
riage of his eldest daughter Margaret to James IV of Scotland, 
and had fallen under the royal displeasure so deeply, that, as 
his anticipated success in life seemed to be suddenly clouded 
he thought of leaving the country. He might have recalled 
his own bitter feelings, as he contemplated a foreign sojourn, and 
ascribed them in an intensified form to Tyndale who had been 
expatriated for so many lonely years. His reply to More is 
always shrewd, straightforward, scholarly, and without 
evasion, vigorously and with success defending every point 
on which his version is assaulted. 

More s enormous charge so vehemently made, dwindles 
at length into the alleged mistranslation of some six words 
congregation, elder, love, favour, knowledge, repentance, 
instead of church, priest, charity, grace, confession, penance. 
Three of these terms priest, charity, church are specially 
referred to, " and every one of them is more than thrice 
three times repeated and rehearsed in the book." Tyndale 
easily gives good reason for some of these changes, because 
the older terms carried wrong associations with them. Seniors 
was not, however, a happy rendering, and Tyndale at once 
allows it " it is no very good English. Howbeit, I spied 
my fault at once, long ere Master More told it me, and have 
mended it in all the works which I since made, and called it an 
elder. " His defence of the rendering " love " is, " Verily 
charity is no known English in that sense which Agape 


requireth." This rendering " love " was adduced, during a 
debate in the Scottish Parliament of 1543, as an objection to 
the free circulation of Scripture. It may be added, as to the 
word " congregation," that More s friend, Erasmus, in his Latin 
version, uses congregatio a great many times as in Acts 
ii, 47; v, 11; vii, 38; xi, 26; xv, 22 ; Horn, xvi, 5; 1 Cor. 
i, 1; xiv, 4, 33; Coloss. iv, 16, &c., the Vulgate having ec- 
clesia in all these places. At the same time More had certainly 
the right to ask Tyndale why on his avowed principles he had 
not also changed "bishop" into overseer, and "deacon" into ser 
vant, and "baptism" into washing "as when a woman washes 
a buck of clothes." The Anglo-Saxon Version had used native 
terms in such places. More justly finds fault with the render 
ing of John i, 1, Tyndale s version being " In the beginning was 
that worde, and that word was with God, and God was that 
word," the scholarly Chancellor remarking that "the Greek 
article should have its proper sense, and that the subjectum 
and prcedicatum in the last clause should be carefully distin 

The two men did not understand one another. More had 
no conception of the learning, the loyalty, the simple-hearted 
ness, and self-denial of Tyndale ; and if Tyndale had known 
More s uprightness and grandeur of character, he would never 
have suspected him of writing for lucre, or for "mere favour 
of the Church of Rome." The rumour ran that five thousand 
pounds were raised as a reward, and that when Tunstall 
and other bishops went to present the purse, More, with 
many thanks, declined to receive it, and, with all their 
importunity, they could not "fist him with a penny of it. 
His children were mentioned ; but his reply was, " Not so ; 
I should rather see it all in the Thames than I or mine 
should have the worth of one penny thereof." More s own 
account is, "I had not a grey groat given me since I wrote 
my Dialogues ... in good faith, I will not say nay, but that, 
in reward of my goodwill and my labour against these heretics, 
some good and honourable men of the clergy have given me 
much more than ever I did or could deserve. But I dare take 
God and them also to record, that I did not take one penny 


thereof, but as I plainly told them, I would rather have cast 
their money into the Thames than take it." l Tyndale had a 
strange and unfounded notion that the retirement of Wolsey 
and the elevation of More were only a little dramatic scene, 
without any reality a change got up to please the people 
offended by the Cardinal, and, the end being served, the actors 
would return to their former position. 

Sir Thomas More was a man of great breadth of intellect 
and of high mental culture; yet, when the Church was in 
question, his geniality of nature forsook him, "an evil spirit 
troubled him," and he could act and write in a style of 
gross and vulgar fanaticism. He was truly an anomaly. 
He had been all but seduced into the "idle celibacy" of 
the Charterhouse ; but his intimacy with Colet and other 
friends saved him from such a fate, and he became with 
them a reformer. Yet this man, of proverbial humour and 
hilarity, wore a hair shirt 2 next his skin, and flagellated him 
self with a whip of knotted cords, " especially every Fridai and 
great Saincts eves, and the fouer tymes of Ember Weeke." 
His dwelling was the abode of peace ; his loving nature filled 
it with sunshine. It was not merely, according to Erasmus, 
like " the Academy of Plato," it was " a school of the Christian 
religion." More was fond of showing the animal pets of his 
children ; and in Holbein s charming picture of his household, 
the monkey 3 is seen lying in the folds of Dame Alice s 4 dress, 
and the domestic fool also appears in the group. But with 
all this overflowing kindliness of nature, he could say of poor 
men as honest as himself, " that there should have been more 
burned by a great many than there have been within the seven 
years last past, the lack whereof, I fear me, will make more to 
be burned within this seven year next coming." He main- 

1 Apology, Works, p. 867, ed. 1557. 3 Erasmus had already immortal- 

2 The hair shirt, given by him to ized the monkey, as he had seen it sly - 
his daughter Margaret a short time ly and effectually defending a rabbit 
before his execution, is said to be hutch from the attacks of a weasel, 
still preserved in the convent of 4 His second wife, whom, accor- 
Spilsburg, in the neighbourhood of ding to Erasmus, he styled ncc belfa 
Blandf ord. nee puella. 


tained in the case of Barnes, that he should have been burned, 
notwithstanding the king s safe-conduct; and in the case of 
Bilney, that the curt process should have been, Burn him 
to-day and try him to-morrow. The hands which had never 
been polluted by a bribe were, during his last months of 
office, stained with blood. Vindicating in his " Utopia," 
which apparently represents his own original beliefs, the 
doctrine of toleration "for as man cannot make himself 
believe anything he pleases, no violence should be used to 
correct him " he yet could have persons seized, scourged, and 
consumed to ashes, because of difference of religious opinions. 
He judged it, in his imaginary commonwealth, to be " foolish 
and indecent to threaten and terrify another for the pur 
pose of making him believe what did not appear to him 
to be true," and he wished that " the world were all agreed 
to put all violence and compulsion away on all sides ;" but he 
could go and see Bainham of the Middle Temple racked 
in the Tower his crime being that he thought Tyndale s New 
Testament to be " utterly good," and the poor prisoner was at 
various times mercilessly whipped and tortured. 1 He had no 
difficulty in trying to force the conscience of other men ; but 
rather than violate his own he willingly laid his head upon 
the block. All the while he was devoutly conscientious, and 
thought that he was doing God service in the repression of error, 
even to stripes and death ; for, to any one who regards tolera 
tion as "soul-murder," the extirpation of heretics must be a 
paramount duty. His earlier theory was flung aside, and he 
sank, in some respects, to the level of his age. But he denies 
the story, afterwards told by Foxe and Burnet, that he 
had a tree in his garden called the Tree of Troth, to which 
he tied heretics that he might scourge them. He admits, 

1 Bainham had married the widow these first, I say it is lawful for 

of Simon Fyshe, author of " The every man and woman to have God s 

Supplication of Beggars," to which Book in their mother tongue." . . . 

More had replied by, "The Supplica- He called the Chancellor his "accuser 

tion of Souls in Purgatory." In his and judge," and his last words were 

address at the stake, 30th April, 1532, "The Lord forgive Sir Thomas 

he said, " The articles I die for be More." 


however, that he had ordered castigation to a young servant, 
who had been venting gross sacramentarian error taught him 
by George Joye, and that he had caused such things to be done 
by the officers of the Marshalsea to some classes of heretical 
offenders. He acknowledges, too, in his own picquant way, that 
heretics were very loath to fall into his hands, and he wonders 
at their reluctance, "for they were burnt none the sooner." In 
the administration of justice he was honest beyond suspicion, 
and laboured to conclude all actions within a reasonable period ; 
nay, " the poorer and meaner the suppliant was, the more 
affably would he speak unto him, and the more heartily he 
would hearken to his cause and despatch him." 1 But not only 
did he administer the law against religious offenders with 
special zealousness, he also, as first judge under the crown, 
ordered or allowed the statutes against heretics to be so 
illegally stretched or disregarded, as to be the means of in 
flicting wanton outrage on helpless sufferers. 2 But lighter 
punishments were sometimes inflicted. When John Tyndale 
was arrested on the charge of corresponding with his brother, 
sending money to him, and receiving and selling the version, 
not only were he and Thomas Patmore, a London draper, very 
heavily fined, but the facetious Lord Chancellor of England 
sentenced them to be exhibited for a laughing-stock at the 
standard in Cheapside, on horseback with their faces to the 
animals tails, and their cloaks garnished with copies of the 
forbidden Testament. 3 He had composed a Latin poem 

1 Life by his great-grandson Ores- not appear so singular in those days, 
sacre More (p. 182), who, however, for Lord Ellesmere, more than half 
makes the mistake of calling his a century afterwards, in the reign of 
ancestor the first lay chancellor. James I, when a " Replication," ex- 

2 The despatch sent to the English tending to six score sheets, and 
ambassadorat Paris, givingan account which might have been contained in 
of More s execution, uses language of sixteen, was brought before him, 
vehement exaggeration to cover the ordered that the parchment should 
weakness of its argument, " they have a hole cut in the middle of it, 
were well worthy, if they had a and in this way be put over the head 
thousand lives, to have suffered ten of the attorney who framed it, that 
times a more terrible death." it might hang over his shoulders 

3 This form of punishment might with the written side outward, and 
VOL. I. N 


in high praise of the new sovereign, Henry VIII, on 
his accession ; but he soon came to know the character 
of his royal master, for, speaking to his son-in-law 
Roper of the singular favour with which the king 
regarded him, he added, " Howbeit, son Roper, I may tell 
thee that I have no cause to be proud thereof; for if my 
head would win him a castle in France, it should not fail to 
go;" and it did go on the 6th of July, 1535. 

He had enjoyed the witty and erudite conversation of 
Erasmus ; and even when he held the Great Seal, he was so 
humble that he was wont to put on a surplice and sing 
among the choristers in his parish church of Chelsea. Yet 
his elevated and noble nature could stoop to use this lan 
guage : " Our Saviour will say to Tyndale, Thou art accursed, 
Tyndale, the son of the devil, for neither flesh nor blood hath 
taught thee these heresies, but thine own father, the devil that 
is in hell." Or again, in another style : " Judge, Christian 
reader, whether it be possible that he be any better than a beast, 
out of whose brutish, beastly mouth coineth such a filthy foam 
of blasphemies against Christ s holy ceremonies." More had a 
profound admiration for Pico della Mirandola, whose Life he 
had translated, with portions of his Works, in 1510; and it 
would have been well if he had remembered one of the Italian 
prince s sayings, Englished by himself : "Take no heed what 
many men do, but do what thing the very law of nature, 
what thing very reason, what thing our Lord himself showeth 
thee to be done." He eulogizes Savonarola as " a preacher, 
as well in cunning as in holiness of living most famous," even 
though he had been excommunicated by the Pope, and at 
length hanged and burned as a heretic ; and might not he 
have allowed that others who opposed the Papacy were as 
honest and upright as the Florentine reformer? But, in his 
own words, " he had been troublesome to heretics," and, as he 
writes, in explanation of his self-made epitaph, to Erasmus, he 
had done it " with ambition." l More, however, stands in- 

that he, so ornamented, should be l Quod in epitaphio profiteer, me 
led round the various courts of West- hrereticis esse molestum, hoc aiu- 
minster Hall. bitiose feci. 


finitely higher than some of his successors than Audley, so 
obedient a minister in Henry s worst crimes ; than Wriothesley, 
who, when Ann Askew was tortured, put his own hand to the 
rack to increase the lady s agony ; or than Rich, whose " infamy" 
is chronicled by Lord Campbell. 1 In his preface to his Confuta 
tion, adverting stoically to various sufferers, he stigmatizes 
Hitton 2 as " a new saint of Tyndale canonization," but " the 
devil s stinking martyr, &c. ; and when he refers to Tewksbury, 
a London tradesman, who had been arraigned before him in his 
own house at Chelsea, and sent by him and the Bishop of 
London to the fire, he declares that the martyr " owed all his 
heretical opinions to Tyndale s ungracious books, for which 
the poor wretch now lyeth in hell, and crieth out on him ; 
and Tyndale, if he do not amend in time, he is like to find 
him, when they come together, a hot firebrand burning in his 
back. . . . The marvel is, Tyndale denieth purgatory except 
he intend to go to hell." Though his abuse of his opponents 
be so rabid, he contrives, like a clever lawyer, to fix on them 
a charge of railing : " To match them therein I neyther canne 
thoughe I woulde, neyther wyll I though I coulde, for in rayling 
standeth all their revel ; with their railing all their roste meate 
is basted, ail their potte seasoned, all their pye meate spiced, 
all their manchetes, and all their wafers, and all their 
ypocrase made." 3 But, having washed his hands, and taken 
this protest, he could style Tyndale "one of the hellhounds 
which the devil hath in his kennel" "a devilish dronkeii 
soul." Tyndale had called the writings of Aquinas " draff," 
and for this sin More describes him as " this drowsy drudge, 
who hath drunken so deep into the devil s dregs, that he may 
hap ... to fall into the mashing fat, and turn himself 

1 Lives of the Chancellors, vol. II, had been across the seas, and brought 
p. 143. An interesting interpretation back two New Testaments. After 
of the side glances in the Utopia, at trial he was sentenced to the stake 
things and customs in England, may by Archbishop Warham, and he 
be found in Brewer s Letters and was burned in February, 1529. 
Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, Foxe, vol. VIII, Appendix. 

vol II, pt. 1, p. cclxvii, London, 1864. 3 Apology, Works, p. 866, ed. 

2 Hitton, " an honest, poor man," 1557. 


into draff, as the hogs shall feed upon and fill their bellies 
thereof." l 

On the other hand, Tyndale falls as low as, with poor wit, to 
call Wolsey " Wolfslee " . a wily wolf and a raging sea," and 
More "Master Mock"; and he sometimes approaches the Chan 
cellor s rhetoric, as when he says of him, "Yet for all that, covet- 
ousness blinded the eyes of that gleering fox more and more, 
and hardened his heart against the truth with the confidence 
of his painted poetry, babbling eloquence, and juggling argu 
ments of subtile sophistry, grounded on his unwritten verities, 
as true and authentic as his story of Utopia." And he speaks 
of Popish ceremonies in a style so stark and naked that it 
must have shocked Catholics into antipathy and horror. 
Lord Herbert calls him a witty but violent, and sometimes 
railing disputant. 2 But to Tyndale s honour be it recorded, 
that when he comes to the tenth chapter of the second book 
of More s Dialogue a tale of very gross indecency his single 
reply is, that " the chapter is meet for the author and his 
worshipful doctrine." 

On the abstract question of translations of Scripture, Sir 
Thomas More writes calmly, like one who had looked up to 
Colet "with filial reverence," and admits that he would not 
deny it to the people, even though it might be abused. But 
the translation which he would allow must be a new one, 
made through a division of labour, by " sure, good, catholic, 
and well-learned men, and allowed by the ordinaries. It is 
not to be given to such as do not profit." Nor should the 
people have the entire Scripture ; each, however, may secure a 
part at the selection of the bishop. But these notions, put 
forth in the Dialogue, are much narrowed in the Confutation 
and Apology ; and he at length affirms that men may have all 
necessary knowledge, though the " corpse and body of the 
Scripture " be not translated into their mother tongue. He 
would not, however, object to a translation "if the men 
were amended, and the time meet therefor." When he 
declares that he knows of a version made before Wycliffe s 

1 Confutation, Works, p. 679. - England under Henry VIII, p. 

591, London, 1870. 


time, 1 Tyndale tartly replies, "What may not M. More say, by 
authority of his poetry ? There is a lawful translation that no 
man knoweth, which is as much as no lawful translation. Why 
might not the bishops show which were that lawful transla 
tion, and let it be printed? Nay, if that had been obtained 
of them with large money, it had been printed, ye may be 
sure, long ere this. But, sir, answer me hereunto ; how hap- 
peneth it that ye defenders translate not one yourselves, to 
cease the murmur of the people, and put to your own glosses, 
to prevent heretics ? Ye would, no doubt, have done it long 
since, if ye could have made your glosses agree with the text 
in every place." 

When More explained the relation of the bishops to ver 
sions of Scripture to be, not that the Scripture shall not be 
in English, but that no man may translate it by his own 
authority, or read it, until they had approved it, Tyndale 
answered, with suggestive brevity, " If no translation shall be 
had until they give license, or till they approve it, it shall 
never be had. And so it is all one, in effect, to say there shall 
be none at all in English." Tyndale was specially roused if 
any statement bore on his veracity his character being still 
more precious to him than his literary and Biblical work. 
More had averred that Tyndale, on being "opposed of his 
doctrine ere he went over sea, said and sware that he meant 
no harm." Tyndale responds with deep solemnity and ear 
nest abruptness, " He sware not ; nor was there any man that 
required an oath of him." 

More has a criticism of ferocious playfulness 2 on Tyndale s 
English. He objects to the translation of John i, 21, "Art 
thou a prophet? And he answered, No." "Tyndale," says he, 
" by the Greek tongue, perceiving the article, saw well enough 
that he should not have translated it into the English, Art 

1 See p. 61. of which have been thus traus- 

2 More had auother friend of the lated, 

same name to whom he had lent "O Tyndale, there was once a time, 

money, and whom the loan had a pleasant time of old, 

alienated. He composed a few Before thou cam st a borrowing, 

Latin lines on this debtor, the first before I lent thee gold," <kc. 


thou a prophet ? but, Art thou that prophet ? to wit, the great 
prophet of whom Moses prophesied." And he adds, " I would 
here note by the way, that Tyndale here translateth no for nay, 
for it is a trifle and mistaking of the English word ; saving 
that ye should see that he which in two so plain English 
words, and so common as is nay and no, cannot tell when 
he should take the tone, and when the tother, is not for 
translating into English a man very meet. For the use of 
these two words in answering to a question is this : Nay an- 
swereth the question framed in the affirmative, as, for example, 
if a man should ask Tyndale himself, Is an heretic meet to 
translate holy Scripture into English ? So, to this question, if 
he will answer true English, he must answer nay, and not no, 
But if the question be asked him thus : Lo, is not an heretic 
meet to translate holy Scripture into English ? To this ques 
tion, lo, if he will answer true English, he must answer no. 
and not nay. And a like difference is there between these 
two adverbs, yea and yes. For if the question be framed unto 
Tyndale by the affirmative in this fashion : If an heretic 
falsely translate the New Testament into English, to make his 
false heresies seem the Word of God, be his book worthy to be 
burned ? To this question, asked in this wise, if he will 
answer true English, he must answer yea, and not yes. But 
now, if the question be asked him thus by the negative : If 
an heretic falsely translate the New Testament into English, 
to make his false heresies seem the word of God, be not his 
books well worthy to be burned ? To this question, in this 
fashion framed, if he will answer true English, he may not 
answer yea, but he must answer yes ; and say, Yes, marry, be 
they, both the translation and the translator, and all that will 
hold with them." l 

Tyndale s reply to the " Dialogue " brought out, in 1532 
More s " Confutation," which grew at length into five hundred 
folio pages. His " Apology " was written afterwards, in 
1533, in which he attacked a book called the "Pacifier," 

1 Works, p. 448, 1557. It is odd the first clause, explaining the dif- 
that in the editions of More s Works fereuce. 
1532, and 1.357, nay is printed no in 


published by a lawyer, Christopher Saintgerman. 1 In it he 
reverts to the old subject of quarrel ; and is obliged to admit 
that " men thought his Confutation overlong, and therefore 
tedious to read," while they did not appreciate the point of his 
arguments, and did not like the sharp, bitter abuse which he 
had poured upon the translator. This was a sad confession on 
the part of a champion who had vowed, " I shall leave Tyndale 
never a dark corner to creep into, able to hide his head in." 
In fact, More s continuation of the controversy proves that he 
regarded his first efforts as unsuccessful. What man could do 
to write down the first English New Testament, he had done 
with a will ; but the translation was not " wounded unto 
death." Joye s account of the various editions which had in 
the mean-time been poured into the country will be found on 
a subsequent page. 

1 More also published the " De- another work of Christopher Saint- 
bellation of Salem and Byzance," german. This gentleman s mother 
in reply to "Salem and Byzance," was named Anne Tyndale. 


rpYNDALE S whole nature was filled with his work, and 
overmastered by it. It was his meat, for he lived by it, 
and it was to him " the wine that maketh glad the heart of 
man." His mind was ever ruminating on it dwelling on the 
benefits of it, or refuting the arguments usually paraded 
against it. The necessity of an English Bible was his domi 
nant idea, which, like Aaron s rod, swallowed up every rival. 
After doing and daring so much for it himself, his counsel 
to Fryth, in 1532, was, "ever thrust in, that the Scriptures 
may be in the mother tongue, and learning set up in the 

This expression of an intense desire for the furtherance of 
sound learning was not peculiar to Tyndale it had been always 
associated with intelligent plans of ecclesiastical reformation. 
Wycliffe s times bore witness to the truth of the statement in 
a very remarkable form. Even when his followers fell away, 
and were rewarded by high preferment for their recantation, 
their love of learning did not always die in their apostasy. 
Richard Flemmyng, Bishop of Lincoln, under whose episcopal 
mandate the Reformer s bones were dug up and burned, founded 
Lincoln College, at Oxford, in 1428. William of Wykeham 
knew the strength of Wycliffism, and he founded New College 
in 1379 ; Waynfiete, who had similar experience, founded Mag 
dalene Hall and Magdalene College. Chichele, who had felt 
that the biblical power of the Lollards could be matched only 
by similar skill and training, founded All Souls in 1436 ; 
Wolsey, who coveted some amount of reform, founded Christ 
Church ; Bishop Foxe, in a similar spirit, founded Corpus 


Christ! in 1516 ; and Chancellor Auclley, who, though he 
carried the " Act of the Six Articles/ was always suspected 
of a secret sympathy with the reformers, was the chief estab- 
lisher of St. Mary Magdalene College, Cambridge. Literature 
ought ever to be the handmaid of theology, and culture of the 
highest form is a fitting qualification for the study of Scripture. 
Many who were hostile to the open study of the Bible were 
consistently prejudiced against liberal academic tuition light 
was not " sweet " to them, nor was it for them " a pleasant 
thing to behold the sun," unless he were curtained with a 
thick cloud. 

The current objections to an English translation of the 
Scriptures Tyndale rebuts, with singular vigour, in the preface 
to the " Obedience of a Christian Man " ..." God gave the 
children of Israel a law, by the hand of Moses, in their mother 
tongue ; and all the prophets wrote in their mother tongue ; 
and all the psalms were in the mother tongue. And there was 
Christ, but figured and described in ceremonies, in riddles, and 
parables, and in dark prophecies. What is the cause that we 
may not have the Old Testament, with the New also, which is 
the light of the Old, and wherein is openly declared before the 
eyes, that which there was darkly prophesied ? I can imagine 
no cause verily, except it be that we should not see the work 
of antichrist and juggling of hypocrites. ... If the said 
Scripture were in the mother tongue, they will say, Then 
would the lay people understand it, every man after his own 
ways. Wherefore serveth the curate, but to teach him the 
right way ? Wherefore were the holy days made, but that 
the people should come and learn ? But, alas ! the curates 
themselves (for the most part) wot no more what the New or 
the Old Testament meaneth than do the Turks ; neither know 
they of any more than that they read at mass and evensong, 
which yet they understand not ; neither care they, but even 
to mumble up so much every day as the pie and popinjay 
speak. . . . Nay, say they, the Scripture is so hard that thou 
couldst never understand it but by the doctors. That is, I 
must measure the mete-yard by the cloth. There be twenty 
cloths, of divers lengths and of divers breadths ; how shall I 


be sure of the length of a mete-yard by them ? I suppose, 
rather, I must be first sure of the length of the mete-yard, and 
thereby measure and judge of the cloths. Ye drive them 
from God s Word, and will let no man come thereto until 
he have been two years master of art. First, they nosel 
them in sophistry. . . . And then corrupt they their 
judgments with apparent arguments, and with alleging unto 
them texts of logic, of natural philautia, of metaphysic, 
and moral philosophy, and all manner of books of Aristotle, 
and all manner of doctors which they never yet saw. More 
over, one holdeth this, another that. . . . Yet they permit 
and suffer you to read Robin Hood, and Bevis of Hampton, 
Hercules, Hector and Troilus, with a thousand histories and 
fables of love and wantonness, and of ribaldry as filthy as 
heart can think, to corrupt the minds of youth withal, 
clean contrary to the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles." 
While he describes in these graphic clauses the perverse custom 
of his own age, Tyndale wrote it as if in prophetic anticipation of 
the damage which philosophy has so often brought upon theo 
logy when the Word of God has been so construed as to be 


pressed into accordance with some favourite system. Certain 
metaphysical views of the divine nature and government, and 
of man s intellectual and spiritual constitution, have lodged 
themselves in all creeds and confessions. While the mind may 
be braced by every form of mental discipline, and all spheres of 
scholarship may be entered and ransacked, to the advantage of 
true theology ; the Bible is still a popular book, designed for 
universal study. To instruct men it does not employ the 
tongue of angels. It is written in a style which is meant to 
be comprehended by the simple inquirer, that its truths may 
be accepted by the honest and good heart. Divines are not to 
impose a sense, they are only to educe it. But in those days 
Aristotelianism held high sway, and the Stagyrite supplied the 
key to the meaning of St. Paul ; while at an earlier time Plato 
had been enthroned as supreme exegete. Plain men, who had 
no acquaintance with the current terms of academic thought 
and logic, were supposed to be in no small peril if they were 
brought into contact with Scripture, for their use of it would 


certainly be the abuse of it, as the following anecdote illus 
trates. In 1529, when Latimer, in St. Edward s Church at 
Cambridge, advocated, in his two famous sermons " on the Card," 
the translation and universal reading of the Scriptures, 
Prior Buckenham soon replied, in another discourse on "Christ 
mas Dice," in the following style: "Thus," he asked, with a 
smile of triumph, " where Scripture saith, No man that layeth 
his hand to the plough, and looketh back, is meet for the king 
dom of God, will not the ploughman, when he readeth these 
words, be apt forthwith to cease from his plough, and then 
where will be the sowing and harvest ? Likewise, also, 
whereas the baker readeth, A little leaven leaveneth the 
whole lump, will he not forthwith be too sparing in the use 
of leaven, to the great injury of our health ? And so, also, 
when the simple man reads the words, If thine eye offend 
thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee, incontinent he will 
pluck out his eyes, and so the whole realm will be full of 
blind men, to the great decay of the nation, and the manifest 
loss of the king s grace. And thus, by reading of Holy Scrip 
tures, will the whole kingdom come in confusion." 1 When a 
preacher so shrewd as this prior could bring himself to utter 
these grotesque and silly absurdities, with a solemn coun 
tenance, in the pulpit, the "beginning of the end" had come, 
and the triumph of the English Bible was close at hand. 

The volumes of the New Testament being finished and sent 
away, Tyndale had left Worms and gone to the quaint old 
town of Marburg, in the valley of the Lahn, where he was 
soon afterwards joined by Fryth, who had escaped from 
England. Tyndale s heart was " filled with his company." 
What a tale he had to tell of the work in the mother-land, 
in the capital, and in the two universities, of alarm and 
persecution on the one side, and of momentary faint-heart- 
edness on the other, for Barnes had set an example too readily 
followed. Fryth had been degraded, imprisoned, and forced 
to flee, on a charge of reading the English New Testament, 
for the translation of which Tyndale had been for four years 
and upwards " a fugitive and a vagabond." " But none of 
1 Demaus, Life of Latimer, p. 77. 


these things moved " Tyndale to swerve from his purpose, and 
he did not count his " life dear nnto him, that he might finish 
his course." Living " in a strange land, among a people that 
as well varied from his manners as their persons to him were 
unknown," his experience was that of the early apostles 
" perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, 
cast down but not destroyed." His own rendering of Gala- 
tians vi, 9, must often have suggested itself as a motto for 
himself and his fellow- wanderer, " Let us do good, and let us 
not faint : for when the tyme is come, we shall repe without 
werynes." Unwearied and undaunted, he resolved to persevere, 
and to translate also the Old Testament. The quiet of the 
little town favoured his project, and its university, which 
as the first Protestant one, had been founded by Philip, 
Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, gave him the free society of 
learned men, while the press of Hans Luft was a ready and 
unfettered power. During his sojourn at Marburg he pub 
lished the " Parable of the Wicked Mammon " his first pub 
lication with his name formally prefixed. " The Obedience of a 
Christian Man," and the " Practice of Prelates," soon followed. 
Whatever the value of these writings "for the time then 
present," and in vindication of his position and work, it is 
to be regretted that he did not give his whole time to the 
nobler and more enduring work of translation. The trans 
lation of the Old Testament was carried on to the end of 
the Pentateuch, and printed. The circumstantial story of 
his shipwreck on the voyage to Hamburg to have it printed, 
of the loss of the manuscript, and his subsequent assistance 
from Coverdale, cannot be fully accepted. The story will be 
again referred to; but it may be noted that Coverdale and 
Foxe, who reports the incident, were contemporary ministers 
in London for about ten years. The five Books were circulated 
separately as they came from the press, and the whole Penta 
teuch appeared in 1530, the Book of Genesis being dated the 
17th of January, " Emprented at Marlborough, in the land 
of Hesse, by me, Hans Luft, the yere of oure Lord, 
the xvn dayes of Januarii." Only one perfect copy survives, 
and is in the Grenville Library of the British Museum. In 


the Bodleian there is a perfect copy of Genesis. Genesis and 
Numbers are in black letter, with thirty-one lines in a page ; 
Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy in Eoman letter, with 
twenty-eight lines in a page. But it is still probable, in spite 
of such differences, which cannot be accounted for, that all the 
books came from the same press, as the ornamental title pages, 
the form, the wire-lines and watermarks in the paper are the 
same. A re-issue was published in 1534, with " Genesis new 
corrected and amended," and the other books were bound up 
with it into one volume. There is a general introduction, and 
each book has a special preface. A list, or table, of the more 
difficult words is appended to Genesis, Exodus, and Deutero 
nomy, and there were also marginal glosses. Tyndale, striving 
to make everything clear and distinct, gives the Books a com 
mon name, and one also taken from the Vulgate as " the third 
Book of Moses, called Leviticus ; " " the fourth Book of Moses, 
called Numerys " Luther having simply " the third of Moses," 
and Matthew has " the thyrde Boke of the Kynges after the 
reckoning of the Latinists, which after the Hebrewes is called 
the fyrste of the Kynges." Mr. Demaus makes it probable 
that, with the money w r hich Tyndale got for his books from 
Packington, he bought from Vostermann the "woodcuts" 
which had been employed in a Dutch Bible of 1528, and which 
now appeared in the English Pentateuch, or, more correctly, in 
the Book of Exodus, as illustrations of the tabernacle and its 
furniture. The translation was denounced in May, 1530, and 
during the currency of that year, the translator himself, in his 
" Practice of Prelates," makes familiar reference to it. Tyndale 
published also a separate translation of Jonah in 1531, and it 
was denounced by Bishop Stokesley, on the 3rd December of 
the same year, as "Jonas in English." Sir Thomas More, in 
his " Confutation " of Tyndale s Answer, says in his own 
spirit of magnificent contempt, " Then we have Jonas 
made out by Tyndale, a book that whoso delighteth therein, 
shall stand in peril that Jonas was never so swallowed up by 
the whale, as by the delight of that book a man s soul may be 
swallowed up by the devil, that he shall never have the grace 
to get out again." Foxe and Bale refer to it, and it occurs also 


in a catalogue of prohibited volumes in 1542. But the trans 
lation not being reprinted soon disappeared, and it was so 
utterly unknown that some even doubted of its existence. The 
famous prologue to Jonah was re-issued several times, as in the 
Bibles of 1549 and 1551 ; but the translation was not inserted 
by Matthew or Kogers in his Bible of 1537, though he used 
Tyndale s printed Pentateuch, and his version up to the end 
of Second Chronicles which the martyr had left in manuscript. 
The prologue is also found in the usual collected editions of 
Tyndale s works. Professor Walter even argues against the 
existence of the translation, chiefly because it is not found in 
Matthew s Bible, while Cotton and Anderson rightly insist that 
it must have followed the Prologue. The translation was at 
length found as accidentally as had been the fragment of the 
quarto New Testament. Lord Arthur Hervey, Bishop of 
Bath and Wells, discovered it in the library at Irkworth in 
the autumn of 1861, as part of a book which had been for two 
centuries in the possession of his family. The Prologue is a 
long polemical treatise against prevailing errors, and in defence 
of the free and literal interpretation of Scripture. It abounds 
likewise in solemn warnings, for the fate of England was 
thought to be mirrored in the fate of Nineveh. Prologue and 
translation were apparently printed at Antwerp, by Martin 
Emperowr who also printed the Kevised New Testament in 
1534. The Prologue is prefaced thus: " The Prophete Jonas, 
with an introduction before, teaching ye to understand him 
and the right use of all the Scriptures," and at its commence 
ment is the usual address, " W. T. unto the Christen Reader." 
The translation is thus introduced: " The storie of the prophete 
Jonas." The translation, along with Coverdale s version, has 
been very accurately reproduced by Mr. Fry of Bristol, and one 
may easily compare them. 1 Tyndale s revision of the New 
Testament must have been postponed, and his continuation of 
the version of the Old Testament must have been suspended by 
the publication of his Exposition of the Epistles of John, and by 
his Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount. The Commentary 
on the First Epistle of John is strongly polemical and keen in 
1 The Prophet Jonas, &c. London, 18G3. 


tone ; but he says truly, " We restore the Scripture unto her 
right understanding from your glosses." We cannot but regret 
that he occupied so large a portion of 1531-2 on this work. 
He felt, however, that more was wanted than a " translation 
into the vulgar and common tongue ; we must also bring the 
true key to understand it by." 

A very few sentences of intrusive digression may be forgiven 
at this point. During this period the fires of martyrdom had 
been kindled in England. He whom Latimer so fondly called 
"his own son in the faith, Bilney, little Bilney, that 
blessed martyr of God," had some time before borne his 
faggot in a moment of weakness. But he soon revived, and 
resolved in the spirit of the Master to "go up to Jeru 
salem." Having given " to an anchoress " of the episcopal 
city of Bishop Nikke, a copy of Tyndale s New Testament a 
book which had been to himself as the lion s marrow that nursed 
the heroes of antique story he was arrested, degraded, and 
burned, August 19, 1531, in the Lollard s pit, a hollow place 
near the gate of Norwich. Richard Bayfield, when a monk 
at Bury, had read the English New Testament, and left his 
monastery. He was " beneficial to Master Tyndale and Master 
Fryth, for he brought substance with him, and was their own 
hand, and sold all their works." He had been dealt with in 
1528, and had abjured ; but, on relapsing, he was sentenced by 
Stokesley to the stake, the sentence containing a list of the 
books in which he had been trading. He was burned at New 
gate, 28th November, 1531. 

It was natural that Tyndale, when he had completed an 
English translation of the Christian Scriptures, should turn his 
attention to the translation of the Jewish Scriptures. To trans 
late them was in eveiy way a more formidable task to him than 
his earlier work a task which he must often have surveyed on 
all sides as he made up his mind slowly and carefully to 
attempt it. The difficulty of mastering a new and peculiar 
language did not deter him, and though Hebrew Grammars 
bristled with barbarous and repulsive technicalities, his 
courage triumphed. Knowing that "the Law and the Prophets " 
were the natural introduction to the New Covenant, he longed 


to present them to his people in English speech ; their prolonged 
and joyous utterances being, that a Divine Deliverer should 
appear, and His appearance "in the fulness of the time," with His 
words and deeds, being the great facts recorded by Evangelists 
and expounded by Apostles. Greek had, at an earlier period, 
engaged his attention and study, its immortal harmonies had 
held him in thrall, and now, though the fervour of youth may 
have subsided, he must have felt a special fascination in the 
voices and symbols of the old Semitic seers ; in the curt and 
co-ordinate clauses of the Mosaic legislation; in the rhythm 
a.nd spiritual beauty of the Psalms ; and in the magnificent 
imagery and varied music of Isaiah, and the other members 
of the inspired brotherhood. As his preface to Jonah indicates, 
Tyndale thought also that many of the racy and unsparing 
denunciations of the Hebrew "men of God," were applicable to 
England, especially those sections of the Minor Prophets which 
expounded ethics and polity, which held up popular failings to 
scorn and censure, which battled against reigning iniquities in 
rulers and priests, and which always connected sin with penalty, 
and national degeneracy with national disaster. 

In an early century there had been some desire to educate 
the clergy in Hebrew. At a general council held, under 
Clement V, at Vienna in 1310, it was provided that Hebrew 
should be taught in Paris, Oxford, and other universities. Ten 
years afterwards, at a synod convened at Lambeth under Arch 
bishop Reynold in 1320, it was ordained that there should be a 
Hebrew lectureship at Oxford, the lectureship being endowed 
by the tax of a farthing in the pound on all the livings in the 
province of Canterbury. The first lecturer appointed was John 
of Bristol, a converted Jew. But the measure seems to have 
soon collapsed. Two centuries afterwards, in 1524, Robert 
Wakefield, a friend of Reuchlin, and who had occupied a chair 
at Tubingen, was sent down by the king to teach the ancient 
language at Cambridge. Tyndale, therefore, who had left the 
university before this period, could not have acquired Hebrew at 
home, but must have learned it from Jews in some of the con 
tinental towns in which he sojourned. There were in Worms 
many Jews whose tuition Tyndale probably enjoyed, and such 


earnestness, vigour, and power of application as characterized 
him could not fail to be crowned with speedy success. The 
Hebrew Bible had been published in separate parts during 
several years ; but an entire Hebrew Bible appeared at Soncino 
in 1488, and another at Brescia, 1494. This last was the edition 
used by Luther in his German translation, and his copy is still 
preserved in the royal library at Berlin. Bomberg s Hebrew 
Bible had been published in 1518 ; the great Rabbinical Bible 
in 1519 and 1525. But Tyndale could have had few helps. 
The Hebrew Grammar of Conrad Pellican, the first that 
appeared, was published in 1503 ; Reuchlin s Dictionary 
followed in 1506 ; and Mlinster s Grammar in 1525. The 
Latin translation of the Hebrew Bible, by Pagninus, was 
published at Lyons in 1528, the result of twenty-five years 
labour, and his Thesaurus Linguse Sanctae in 1529. The Com- 
plutensian Polyglott, 1517-20, contained both a Hebrew Gram 
mar and Lectionary. 1 

As Tyndale translated the New Testament from the original 
Greek, so his version of the Pentateuch was taken im 
mediately from the original Hebrew. This statement, as 
in the former case, has been called in question. Fuller s 
thoughtless words are, " I presume he rendered the Old 
Testament of the Latin, his best friends not entitling him 
to any skill at all in Hebrew." 2 His skill in Hebrew, however, 
was considerable ; but Fuller took no pains to inquire into the 
matter at all ; neither did Johnson, who ventures to say, 
" Probably, Tyndale rendered the Old Testament out of Latin, 
having little or no skill at all in Hebrew." 3 Macknight 
hazards the assertion, " It is generally believed that Tyndale 
did not understand Hebrew, but he of course understood the 
Latin Vulgate, and he was likewise acquainted with 
German." * Bishop Marsh writes doubtfully, but with a 

1 Das Studium des Hebraischen 3 Historical Account of the several 
Sprache in Deutschland vom Ende English Translations of the Bible, in 
des xv bis zur Mitte des xvi Jahr- Bishop Watson s Theological Tracts, 
hunderts, Breslau, 1870. vol. Ill, p. 70. 

2 Church History, vol. II, p. 89, 4 Preface to Translation of the 
London, 1837. Epistles, p. 14. 

VOL. I. O 


lurking adverse bias, "What knowledge Tyndale had 
of Hebrew is unknown," and more distinctly, "These 
translations he made, according to Johnson, not from the 
Hebrew, but from the Latin Vulgate, or as the Popish writers 
affirm, from Luther s German translation." 1 Surely Bishop 
Marsh did not need to rest his decision on any opinion 
published by Anthony Johnson. Hallam is more cautious " It 
has been controverted of late years, whether he were 
acquainted or not with Hebrew." 2 Others like Archbishop 
Newcome, 3 and Bishop Grey, 4 have advanced similar statements. 
On the other hand, the declaration of Buschius need not be 
repeated in favour of Tyndale s scholarship, nor the admission 
of George Joye. 5 Tyndale s own solemn avowal, in the Preface 
to the Five Books of Moses, is, that he made his translation from 
the Hebrew original : " Notwithstanding yet I submit this book 
and all other that I have either made or translated, or shall in 
time to come (if it be God s will that I shall further labour 
in his harvest) unto all them that submit themselves unto the 
Word of God, to be corrected of them ; yea, and moreover to be 
disallowed and also burnt, if it seem worthy, when they 
have examined it with the Hebrew, so that they first put 
forth of their own translating another that is more correct." 
In a variety of ways, Tyndale indicates his knowledge 
of Hebrew, never, indeed, boastfully, but rather incidentally 
as the subject happened to turn up. He gives a critical 
and comparative estimate in the preface to the " Obedience 
of a Christian Man " : " The properties of the Hebrew 
tongue agreeth a thousand times more with the English, 
than with the Latin. The manner of speaking is both 
one ; so that in a thousand places thou needest not but 
to translate it into English word for word ; when thou 
must seek a compass in the Latin, and yet shall have much 
work to translate it well-favouredly, so that it have some grace 

1 Lectures on the Criticism and 3 Historical View, p. 25, Dublin, 

Interpretation of the Bible. Appen- 1792. 

dix, p. 520. 4 Key to the Old Testament, p. 18, 

* Literature of Europe, vol. I, London, 1842. 

p. 379. 5 See Page 137. 


and sweetness, sense and pure understanding with it in the 
Latin, and as it hath in the Hebrew. A thousand parts better 
may it be translated into the English than into the Latin." 
More distinct is his utterance in the prologue to Matthew : 
" If aught seemed changed, or not altogether agreeing with the 
Greek, let the finder of the fault consider the Hebrew phrase, or 
manner of speech, left in the Greek words ; whose preterperfect 
tense and present tense are oft both one, and the future tense 
is the optative mood also, and the future tense oft the imperative 
mood in the active voice, and in the passive ever. Likewise, 
person for person, number for number, and interrogation for 
a conditional, and such like, is with the Hebrew a common 

A melancholy token of Tyndale s love of Hebrew learning 
remains to be added. M. Galesloot has discovered, in the 
Archives of the Council of Brabant, a letter written by Tyndale 
during his imprisonment. In this letter, among other touching 
requests, he says in pathetic earnestness : . . . "I wish also his 
permission to have a candle in the evening, for it is wearisome 
to sit alone in the dark. But above all, I entreat and beseech 
your clemency to be urgent with the Procureur, that he may 
kindly permit me to have my Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Grammar, 
and Hebrew Dictionary, that I may spend my time with that 
study. And in return, may you obtain your dearest wish, 
provided always it be consistent with the salvation of your 
soul." 1 

There is besides abundant evidence open to every one that 
Tyndale s version of the Pentateuch rests on the original 
Hebrew. He acted wisely in using all the helps within his 
reach, such as the Vulgate, and the translation of Luther. 
There are about fifty Hebrew words explained by him in his 
various writings. A large number of them occurs in his 
" Treatise on the Sacraments," where he shows that " the Jews 
are wont ever to name the memorial and sign of things with 
the very name of the thing signified," and he explains in 
reference to the " sign," " so are such ceremonies named in 
Hebrew." In some cases he translates literally, as " Ebenezer " 
1 Demaus, Tyudale, p. 476. 


a " help stone," 1 Sam. vii, 12 ; in Num. vi, he renders 
Nazarite by " absteyner," in allusion to the meaning which he 
ascribed to the original term, and the translation is neither 
after the Luther nor the Vulgate. He renders a clause in 
Deuteronomy vi, 7, " and whet them on thy children," following 
Luther, a metaphor so strong as to be recommended only by its 
being a literal translation, and it is put into our present margin. 
Tyndale gives the meaning of Peniel, Mahanaim, El elohe, 
Israel ; explains Pharisee as separated ; Caleb, as perfect, applied 
to a sacrifice ; Pesach, as a passing-by ; and Hormah, as destruc 
tion. Many words occur in his formal list appended to Genesis, 
Exodus, and Deuteronomy. His explanations show some 
familiarity with the language, and his very mistakes prove 
decidedly that he judged for himself, and was not a servile 
follower either of the German Reformer or of the Latin 

The first word is Abrech (Gen. xli, 43), 1 which he explains as 
" tender father," or, as some will, " bow the knee," and our 
Authorized Version gives, along with the Hebrew term, 
the first in the margin and the second in the text. Probably 
the word is Egyptian ; but if it be one word, then " bow 
the knee " might be taken, and the alternative might be 
"tender king." Now, Tyndale could not get his translation 
from Luther, who gives the erroneous explanation, " der ist des 
Landes Vater," nor from the Septuagint, which omits the term 
and gives "and there heralded before him a herald." He has also 
improved on the Vulgate 2 by showing that he took the Hebrew 
term for an imperative. 

Our translators follow Tyndale in many places where 
he kept close to the original, as indeed he generally does. 
In Genesis xli, 3, " and stood " 3 is the literal rendering, 
which the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Luther forsake. In 
verse 6, the literal version is " blighted " or " withered up by 
the east wind." Tyndale has " blasted with the wind " ; our 
version "the east wind." The Septuagint, Vulgate, and 
Luther are not so precise, and Luther has simply " versengete," 

i ut omnes coram eo genuflecterent. 


singed. He renders Sartabaim (Genesis xxxvii, 36) "chefe 
marshall," and thus justifies his rendering : " In Hebrew he is 
called Sartabaim, as thou wouldest say, Lord of the slaughter 
men. And though that tabaim be taken for cooks in many 
places (for the cooks did slay the beasts themselves in those 
days), yet it may be taken for them that put men to execu 
tion also " and our present margin embodies the explanation. 
In his Exposition of Matthew he says, " concerning this word 
repentance, or (as they used) penance, the Hebrew hath in 
the Old Testament generally (sob) l turn, or be converted ; for 
which the translation that we take for St. Jerome s hath most 
part converti, to turn, to be converted, and sometimes agere 
posnitentiam. And the very sense and signification both of 
the Hebrew and also of the Greek word is, to be converted, to 
turn to God with all the heart, to know his will, and to live 
according to his laws." 

Zaphnath-Paanea, 2 Genesis xli, 45, " Words of Egypt (as I 
suppose), and as much as to say, a man to whom secret things 
be opened, or an expounder of secret things, as some interpret 
it." Now, the Septuagint does not translate the word, but 
only transfers it. The Yulgate and Luther give a different 
explanation. The phrase is probably a native one (lingua 
^Egyptiaca, Vulgate) ; Brugsch renders it, " prince of the life of 
the world " ; but Tyndale explains it according to supposed 
Hebrew analogy. 

In expounding Jehovah Nissi, Exodus xvii, 15, which is 
rendered " the Lord my banner," he adopts another root and 
gives it as "the Lord is he that exalteth me," 3 the ren 
dering suggested by the Vulgate ; Luther leaves the words 
untranslated. Belial he explains as " he that hath cast 
the yoke of God off his neck," a derivation found after 
wards in Miinster, and mentioned by Buxtorf. He always, 
whether rightly or wrongly, selects for himself a Hebrew 
root in explaining such names as Avim, Ernim, Enache, Zam- 
zummim, &c. 

Tyndale is believed to have carried on his work beyond the 

i aw 2 raps nap* a Exaltatio mea. 


Pentateuch, and to have translated the historical books to the 
end of Second Chronicles, and it is supposed that this version 
formed part of the Bible that went by the name of Matthew. 1 
In 2 Samuel i, 18, he renders, " And David sang thys song of 
mournyng over Saul, and over Jonathan hys sonne, and bade to 
teache the children of Israel the staves thereof"; in our version, 
" He bade them teach the children of Israel the use of the bow." 
The supplemented prosaic words in italics destroy the sense, as 
the next clause shows, " behold it is written in the book of 
Jasher." The real meaning is that the elegy was named the 
Bow ; he taught them the Bow-song. Tyndale assigned to 
the noun 2 a root meaning " to collect," and thus got the sense 
of staves or stanzas, lighting nearly on the real signification by 
a false etymological conjecture. In the "Obedience of a 
Christian Man," he says that in Hebrew cohen 3 is " a minister 
or officer," rightly giving it a meaning broader than priest. 
Taking Horim from a wrong root meaning " white," he gives 
it the sense of noble, whereas it denotes cave-dwellers, as its 
proper etymon indicates. Though the philology in such cases 
is erroneous, it shows Tyndale s independent handling of the 
Hebrew, as when he says, somewhat fancifully, "First, 
Mammon is a Hebrew word and signifieth riches or temporal 
goods ; and namely, all superfluity, and all that is above 
necessity, and that which is required unto our necessary uses, 
wherewith a man may help another, without undoing or 
hurting himself; for liamon, in Hebrew speech, signifies a 
multitude, or abundance, or many ; and there hence cometh 
mahamon or mammon, abundance, or plenteousness of goods 
or riches." In his rendering, in his Exposition of John 
i, 1, " the word " or " the things," he wrongly imagines, 
like many since his time, that the term might bear as 
many meanings as are ascribed to its Hebrew equivalent 

These instances may not prove profound Hebrew scholar 
ship, but they indicate familiarity with the language, and 
they show original or personal investigation in the treat- 

1 This tradition will be vindicated 2 ^j?. 
under Matthew s Bible. :i l l b 

xiii.] HIS PENTATEUCH. 215 

merit of it. He was too earnest and honest a man to 
simulate the possession of what he had not; but his asser 
tions on points of Hebrew philology are unequivocal, and 
he well knew that his statements and translations would 
challenge sharp and unfriendly criticism. His translation 
of the five books of Moses speaks for itself, for it is clear 
and simple like the Hebrew which he admired, though occa 
sionally, as in Genesis iv, 3, a meaning is rather wrested 
than evolved from the words. 

In fine, the reader may be interested in a brief selection of 
quaint and homely renderings. Gen. vi, 4, there were tyrants 
in the world in those dayes ; xxxix, 2, and he (Joseph) was a 
luckye fellowe ; Exod. xxii, 28, thou shalt not rayle upon the 
goddes ; xxviii, 4, a brestlap ephod, a tunycle, a strayte cote ; 
30, and Aaron shall bear the ensample of the children of 
Israel upon his herte; 40, an albe of bysse; Lev. vii, 7, 
dressed upon the gredyren; Deut. xxviii, 5, thyne aulmery and 
thy store ; xxxii, 17, they offered unto felde Devels and not to 
God ; xxxiv, 7, his eye was not dymme nor his chekes abated ; 
Judges v, 22, then they mailed the horsses legges that their 
myghtye coursers lefte praunsynge ; viii, 53, and all to brake 
his brayne panne ; xi, 35, thou hast made me stoupe, and arte 
one of them that trouble me ; 2 Sam. xiii, 18, she had a kirtell 
of diverse coloures ; xxii, 39, I wasted them, and so clouted 
them that they could not aryse ; 1 Kings xx, 13, the men of 
the shires, &c. 

The proclamation of 1529 denounced "the chapters of Moses 
called Genesis, and the chapters of Moses called Deutoronomos." 
In Offor s MSS. in the British Museum there is a collation of 
Tyndale s Pentateuch with that of Taverner s edition of 1539. 


T UTHER and Zuingli met at Marburg on the 30th September, 
1529, in melancholy and fruitless conflict, but Tyndale 
does not seem to have been on the scene. He took up his final 
abode in Antwerp some time in 1531, probably at the beginning 
of the year, or perhaps towards the end of the previous year. 
The horizon was now beginning to darken around him, the 
clouds were thickening, and star after star was disappearing in 
the gloom. Fryth, called indifferently by Cranmer " one 
Fryth," and contemptuously styled by More "young father 
Fryth," had won the crown of martyrdom. He had slipped 
over from the Continent on a previous occasion, and returned 
again ; but on his coming to England in the summer of 1532. 
he was seized, condemned, degraded, and sent to the stake. 
More had resigned the Great Seal on the 16th of May, and 
Cranmer had held the primacy for a few months. But 
Long] and, Stokesley, and Gardyner his old college tutor, 
examined him, the first of the three pronounced sentence, and 
he " went to the fire " on the 4th of July, 1533, being at the time 
under thirty years of age. While he was in prison, he bravely 
defended his opinions, and his writings are said to have en 
lightened Cranmer, and to have converted Rastall the printer, 
brother-in-law of Sir Thomas More. The last sentence of the 
" Order " of the communion service in the Book of Common 
Prayer is from Fryth. Tyndale s exile by the death of Fryth 
became drearier, but his spirit wavered not in toil. He had, as 
he foreboded, the sentence of death in himself, but he 
improved the brief respite still to work. " As poor," he was 
" making many rich," even those in his fatherland, of whom he 


might truthfully say, " Ye are in our hearts, to die and live 
with you." He had long felt the defects of his first edition 
of the New Testament ; and had said in the preface, " In time to 
come (if God hath appointed us thereunto) we will give it his 
full shape, and put out, if ought be added superfluously, and 
add to, if ought be overseen through negligence, . . . and 
will endeavour ourselves, as it were, to seethe it better, 
and to make it more apt for the weake stomakes." Several 
years had passed away and the promised work had not 
been done. In the meantime, however, several thousands 
of copies from foreign presses had been put into immediate 
circulation in England. 

There occurred now a peculiar episode in Tyndale s history. 
George Joye, l a scholar and fellow of Peter-House, Cam 
bridge, was now a refugee and " companion in tribulation," 
for he had fled to the Continent to save his life. He had 
already been attempting a translation from the Latin text, and 
had published a Psalter at Strasburg in 1530, the Prophet 
Isaiah 2 in 1531, and Jeremiah in 1534. At Antwerp he 
brought out in an evil hour an edition of Tyndale s New 
Testament, correcting it from the Vulgate. 3 The title is 
"The New Testament as it was written and caused to be 
written by them which herde yt, whom also our Saueowre 
Christ Jesus commaunded that they shulde preache it 
unto al creatures." The colophon, which Tyndale in his 
Vindication singles out, and gives at length, is, " Here 
endeth the New Testament diligently oversene, and corrected, 
and prynted now agayn at Antwerpe, by me wydowe of 
Christoffel of Endhoven. In the year of our Lorde 
M.ccccc & xxxiui in August." The matter was kept very 
secret, and Tyndale, though he was living in Antwerp, does 
not seem to have been aware of the manoeuvre. 

1 More in the preface to his Con- 3 A copy is in the Grenville Lib- 

f utation calls him Joy " the priest, rary, British Museum. It has no 

that is wedded now." notes, heads of chapters, or pro- 

1 Joye describes his version of logues ; the printing is fair, but the 

Isaiah as " Isaye speakinge playne spelling is bad. 


Tyndale was now left alone, and in his sad solitude had been 
busy revising his translation, which was published in November, 
and imprinted at Antwerp by Martin Emperowr. 1 The title 
indicates its nature and suggests its necessity, " The New 
Testament dylygently corrected and compared with the Greek." 
Tyndale in his "address yet once more to the Christian 
Reader," warns with solemn severity against Joye s pro 
duction. " Thou shalt understand, most dear reader, when 
I had taken in hand to look over the New Testament 
again, and to compare it with the Greek, and to mend 
whatsoever I could find amiss, and had almost finished the 
labour, George Joye secretly took in hand to correct it also, 
by what occasion his conscience knoweth, and prevented me, in 
so much that his correction was printed in great number, ere 
mine began. When it was spied and word brought me, though 
it seemed to divers others that George Joye had not used the 
office of an honest man, seeing he knew that I was correcting 
it myself, neither did walk after the rules of the love and 
softness which Christ and His disciples teach us, how that we 
should do nothing of strife to move debate, or of vainglory, or 
of covetousness ; yet I took the thing in worth, as I have done 
divers other in time past, as one that have more experience of 
the nature and disposition of that man s complexion, and sup 
posed that a little spice of covetousness and vainglory (two 
blind guides) had been the only cause that moved him so to do ; 
about which things I strive with no man, and so followed after 
and corrected forth, and caused this to be printed without 
surmise or looking on his correction." That his work should 
be tampered with in any way by a careless or unscholarly 
editor, and the trick studiously concealed from him all the 
while, must have deeply wounded him. To have wantonly 
touched and retouched a common treatise without authority 
was wrong; but it was an act of no common daring so to 
handle the translation which Tyndale regarded as the labour 
and crown of his life, on which also rested his critical repute 
and his means of blessing the English people. Joye s know 
ledge that Tyndale was diligently working at a revision, was 
1 Sometimes spelled Lempereur. 

xtv.] JO YES DUPLICITY. 219 

an aggravation of the offence, for in such a case " he used not 
the office of an honest man." " When the printing of mine 
was almost finished, one brought me a copy and showed me so 
many places in such wise altered that I was astonied, and 
wondered not a little what fury had driven him to make such 
change, and to call it a diligent correction." Joye did not 
affix Tyndale s name to the reprint, though the book was 
really his with some changes, none of any value or suggested 
by the original, but only inserted to eke out the sense by 
unneeded and clumsy supplements. Many of these alterations 
are, as he confesses, from the Vulgate, and he aimed at " giving 
many words the pure and native signification." The result 
of his effort is a poor, marred, and diluted version. Tyndale 
argues that Joye should have put his own name to the book, 
" as it was not expedient for the edifying of the unity of the faith 
of Christ that whosoever will, shall, by his own authority, take 
another man s translation and put out and in and change at 
pleasure, and call it a correction." Joye, in his own account, 
distinguishes between the greater and the minor correc 
tions ; in his own phrase, he had " mended a few certain 
doubtful and dark places," though, at the same time, he 
avows, "I have made many changes." Nay, he had the 
hardihood to aver that he met in Tyndale s version with 
"hard sentences that no reason could be gathered of them, 
whether it was by the ignorance of the first translator 
or of the printers," and that he had made such places " plain 
from the Latin text." Yet Joye s version was done so care 
lessly, that the error in Tyndale s first edition in Mark xiv, 5, 
" two hundred pence " for " three hundred pence " is unnoticed 
and unchanged, and he had not even looked into the Vulgate. 

Joye calls his book in reply "An Apology made by George Joye 
to satisfye if it may be William Tyndale, to pourge and defend 
himself against so many slanderause lies feigned upon him 
in Tyndale s uncharitable and unsober pistle, c. Lord de 
liver us from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue. I know 
and believe that the bodies of every dead man shall rise at 
doomsday." He specially prided himself on his change of a 
verse "darkly translated," and he had shown his amendment to 


Tyndale s scribe, but Tyndale refused it "though it stand 
clearer and truer in my correction than in his," and he boldly 
adds, "let the learned judge." The passage is Acts vi, 1, Tyn 
dale having, " In those dayes, as the nombre of the disciples 
grewe, there arose a grodge amonge the grekes agaynst the 
ebrues, because theyr widdowes were despysed in the dayly 
ministration." Joye s version is, " In these dayes, the nombre 
of the disciples grewe, there arose a grudge amonge the grekes 
agaynst the ebrues, because theyr pore nedy were neglege 
in the dayly almose dealinge." l The " Apology," for he was 
not afraid to answer Tyndale for " all his high learning," 
is dated 28th February, 1535. The story contained in it 
has some interest, for it gives a good account of the 
spurious issues. 2 " Thou shalt know that Tyndale, about 
eight or nine years ago, translated and printed the New 
Testament in a mean great volume, but yet without kal- 
endar, concordances in the margin, and table in the end. 
And anon the Dutchmen got a copy, and printed it again in a 
small volume, adding the calendar in the beginning, con 
cordances in the margin, and the table in the end. But 
yet for that they had no Englishman to correct the setting, 
they themselves having not the knowledge of our tongue, 
were compelled to make many more faults than were in 
the copy, and so corrupted the book that the simple reader 
might oft times be tarried, and stick. After this they printed 
it again, also without a corrector, in a greater letter and 
volume, with the figures in the Apocalypse, which was there 
fore much falser than their first. When these two prints 
(there were of them both about five thousand books printed) 
were all sold, more than a twelvemonth ago, Tyndale was 
pricked forth to take the Testament in hand, to print it and 

1 Anderson s" Annals, vol. I, p. "greedy, covetouse, insaciabl, de- 

396. In 1541, he published a small ceytfull, gatherers;" and for the 

book against adultery, "printed epithet " extortioners," he has "nor 

at London, by George Joye." The pyllers and pollars." 

motto on the last leaf is 1 Cor. vi, 9- - See AVaterland s Letters to Mr. 

10 ; and in its translation, for the Lewis, "Works, vol. VI, p. 305, &c. 

single epithet " covetous," he has ed. Van Mildert, Oxford, 1856. 


correct it, as he professeth and promiseth to do in the latter 
end of his first translation. But Tyndale prolonged and 
deferred to so necessary a thing, and so just desires of many 
men; in so much that, in the mean season, the Dutchmen 
printed it again the third time, in a small volume like their 
first print, but much more false than ever it was before. 
And yet was Tyndale here called upon again, seeing there 
were so many false printed books still put forth, and bought 
up so fast ; for now was there given, thanked be God, a 
little space to breathe and rest unto Christ s Church, after 
so long and grievous persecution for reading the books. But 
yet, before this third time of printing the book, the printer 
desired me to correct it, 1 and I said, It were well done, if 
ye printed them again, to make them truer, and not to deceive 
our nation with any more false books ; nevertheless, I suppose 
that Tyndale himself will put it forth more perfect and newly 
corrected, which if he do, yours shall be nought set by, nor 
never sold. This notwithstanding, yet they printed them, 
and that most false, and about two thousand books, and had 
shortly sold them all. All this long time Tyndale slept, for 
nothing came from him as far as I could perceive. Then the 
Dutch began to print them the fourth time, because they saw 
no man else going about them ; and after they had printed the 
first leaf, which copy another Englishman had corrected for 
them, they came to me, and desired me to correct them their 
copies, when I answered as before: If Tyndale amend it with 
so great diligence as he promiseth, yours will never be sold. 
Yes, quoth they, for if he print two thousand, and we as 
many, what is so little a number for all England ? and we will 
sell ours better cheap, and, therefore, we doubt not of the sale. 
So that I perceived well, and was sure that, whether I had 
corrected this copy or not, they had gone forth with their 
work, and had given us two thousand more books falslier 
printed than ever we had before. Then I thus considered 
with myself: England hath enough and too many false Testa- 

1 Joye refers to the octavo and ig- Joye, Jaye, Gee, and More adds, 
nores the quarto with its marginal " otherwise called Clarke." 
furniture. He had wealth of names 


ments, and is now likely to have many more ; yea, and that 
whether Tyndale correct his or no, yet shall these, now in hand, 
go forth uncorrected too, except somebody correct them ; and 
what Tyndale doth, I wot not, he maketh me nothing of his 
counsel. I see nothing come from him all this long while, 
wherein, with the help that he hath, that is to say, one both 
to write it and to correct it in the press, he might have done it 
thrice since he was moved to do it. For Tyndale, I know well, 
was not able to do it without such an helper, which he hath 
ever had hitherto." 

Had Joye been contented to reprint Tyndale correctly, he 
would have conferred a benefit on all English readers, but he 
was snared by his own ambition, and he failed, as so often 
happens to improvers in painting and architecture. He acted 
doubly, to say the least of it, and his charge of indolence against 
Tyndale contradicts all that we know of his busy existence. 
But his words imply that several surreptitious and badly 
printed editions of the New Testament had been issued, 
and had he sent from the press another edition without the 
natural arid numerous blunders ascribed by him to the foreign 
printers, he would have earned hearty thanks. But his work 
brought obloquy upon him, for it was Tyndale s without his 
name, and disfigured, too, by changes that could never have 
got the translator s sanction. 

One special translation by Joye, Tyndale felt obliged to pro 
test against, the change of the word resurrection and the 
employment in its room of " life after this," and similar phrases, 
as in Matthew xxii, 30, 31, and Mark xii, though he 
retained it in cases where the rising of the body is distinctly 
intended, as in 1 Corinthians xv, and Philippians iii. Joye and 
Tyndale had often disputed about the nature of the soul-life, 
between death and the resurrection, and Tyndale had manifested 
impatience at Joye s arguments, " filliping them forth between 
his finger and his thumb after his wonted disdainful 
fashion." Joye s view was the common one, that souls pass 
into a higher life at death. Tyndale did not dispute this 
doctrine ; but his own opinion had wavered, for he said in 
his controversy with More, " the souls of the dead lie and 

xiv.] HIS APOLOGY. 223 

sleep till doomsday." But he had now obtained clearer 
conceptions, and he " protests before God and the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and before the universal congregation that 
believeth in him, that he held and maintained it in 
perfect accordance with Scripture." Tjoidale s more recent 
view is in harmony with Scripture, which teaches not simply 
the immortality of the soul, but the immortality of man, 
asserts that Christ came not to save souls as a portion of 
our nature, but to save human beings ; lays far more stress 
on the resurrection than our popular theology supposes ; looks on 
the separate existence of the soul after death as an insignificant 
parenthesis in our existence, and takes almost no notice 
of it when it is out of the physical organism created for it ; 
implies that an unembodied spirit, whatever be its brightness, 
happiness, and service in the Divine presence is imperfect ; and 
sets before us the last day as the epoch of our glorification, 
when our nature in all its spheres shall be perfected in 
Christ, and prepared for, and admitted into everlasting 
blessedness. Tyndale s words in his Protestation are, 
"Nevertheless, I confess openly, that I am not persuaded 
that they be already in the full glory that Christ is 
in, or the elect angels of God are in." Tyndale, repeating 
the unfounded accusation that he had hastily made against 
Sir Thomas More, hints that covetousness might mingle 
with George Joye s motives for interfering with his work, 
but the implied charge falls to the ground. The printers 
offered him a remuneration of threepence a sheet of thirty-two 
pages, and he closed the hard bargain at fourpence halfpenny. 
His own curious account is that, "the printer came to me 
agen, and offred me two stuvers and a halfe for the 
correcking of every sheet of the copye ; which folden con- 
tayneth sixteen leaves ; and for three stuvers, which is 
fourpense halpeny sterling, I promised to do it. So that 
in al I had for my labour but fourteen shylyngis flemesshe." 
And he affirms that had it not been for the goodness of the 


deed, he would not have done it for five times that sum. 
There is no record of Tyndale s receiving money for any of 
his works; but Joye rebuts the charge of covetousness by 


asserting that " Tyndale took ten pounds for his correction." 
Luther complains that all he received was often a single 
copy of a Book on its publication, while other writers, even 
translators, frequently got an angel for every eight leaves. But 
in one of his casual utterances Joye merits our thanks : 
" In good faith, as for me I had as lief put the truth into the 
text as in the mai gent ; and except the gloss expound the text, 
or where the text is plain enough, I had as lief leave such 
frivole glosses clean out. I would the Scripture were so purely 
and plainly translated, that it needed neither gloss nor scholia, 
so that the reader might once swim without a cork." It is 
difficult to say whether Joye means by these words to depre 
cate Tyndale s marginal references ; but the statement certainly 
involves a momentous truth, and shows that he had just ideas 
of the general nature of a good translation. 

That Joye was not devoid of ambition appears incidentally 
from Tyndale s postscript to his second letter to Fryth, relating 
that " George Joye at Candlemas, being at Barrow, printed two 
leaves of Genesis in a great form, and sent one copy to the 
king and another to the new queen, with a letter to N. for to 
deliver them, and to purchase licence, that he might go through 
the whole Bible. Out of that is sprung the noise of the new 
Bible, and out of that is the great seeking for English Books at 
all printers and bookbinders in Antwerp, and for an English 
priest that should print." Joye had some malice in him too, 
for he ventures to say in his " Apology," in spite of the eulogy 
which he had pronounced upon Tyndale s learning, "that he 
wondered how Tyndale could compare the translation with 
Greek, sith himself is not exquisitely seen therein." 
And not only so, but he accuses Tyndale of praising his own 
Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount (1532) "so highly, 
that forsooth, my ears glowed to hear him, and all the while it 
was Luther that made it, Tyndale only but translating and 
powdering it here and there with his own fantasies." l Tyndale 
tells Fryth in his letter that " George Joye would have put 
forth a treatise on the Sacrament, but I have stopped him as 
yet ; what he will do, if he get money, I wot not." But he did 
1 Apology, sig. F, III, b. 


publish so smart an attack on Bishop Gardyner s " False Articles" 
that the bishop was obliged to answer it. Joye was afterwards 
unjustly accused, both in Antwerp and in England, of being 
privy to the plans for the apprehension of Tyndale. " His 
friends greatly blamed him and abused him falsely and 
wrongfully," so that he left Antwerp, and went to Embden, 
where he published the " Subversion of More s faulse founda 
tion," &c. In 1545 he published at Geneva an Exposition of 
Daniel, and, returning to England, he died in 1553. 

Tyndale s revised New Testament, in the preface to which he 
exposed George Joye, came out in 1534, the title being " The 
Newe Testament, dylygently corrected and compared with the 
Greke by Willyam Tindale, and fyneshed in the yere of oure 
Lord God M.D. & xxxnu, in the moneth of November." W. T. 
to the Christen reader, fills seventeen pages ; a prologue to the 
four Evangelists, four pages ; W. T. yet once more, &c., nine 
pages. A table of the Epistles and Gospels for Sundays, occupies 
sixteen pages ; and there are " some things added to fill up the 
leffe withal," consisting of five pages. The second title runs, 
"The Newe Testament, imprinted at Antwerp, by Marten 
Emperowr, Anno MDXXXIIII." A page has thirty-three lines. 
In this edition not only are prologues prefixed to the several 
books, but the church lessons are also marked, and there is a 
translation of the " Epistles," taken out of the Old Testament, 
which " are read in the church, after the use of Salisbury, upon 
certain days of the year." These " Epistles " include seventy- 
eight verses from the Pentateuch, fifty-one from 1st Kings, 
Proverbs, and Canticles; one hundred and forty-seven from 
the prophetical books, chiefly Isaiah ; and forty-three from the 
Apocrypha, in excerpts from Esther, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus, 
no less than six selections being from the latter book. This 
spontaneous work shows that Tyndale did not hold such strong 
views about the Apocrypha as his biographer, Mr. Anderson, 
ascribes to him ; nay, Mr. Anderson unaccountably omits 
altogether the passages from the Apocrypha, when he gives a 
list of the places in the Old Testament translated by Tyiidale. 

In the Protestation, or, as he calls it, " William Tyndale yet 
once more unto the Christian Reader," he speaks in the fulness 

VOL. I. P 


of a heart in which love for the truth and for the diffusion 
of it in his fatherland had absorbed every other emotion. 
" Moreover, I take God to witness (which alone seeth the 
heart) to record to my conscience, beseeching Him that my 
part be not in the blood of Christ, if I wrote, of all that I 
have written throughout my book, aught of an evil purpose, of 
envy or malice to any man, or to stir up any false doctrine or 
opinion in the Church of Christ, or to be author of any sect, or 
to draw disciples after me, or that I would be esteemed or had 
in price above the least child that is born. Also my part be 
not in Christ, if mine heart be not to follow and live according 
as I teach ; and also if mine heart weep not night and day for 
mine own sin and other men s, indifferentlv beseeching God to 

\j o 

convert us all, and to take His wrath from us, and to be merci 
ful as well to all other men as to mine own soul ; caring for the 
wealth of the realm I was born in ; for the king and all that 
are thereof, as a tender-hearted mother would do for her only 

" As concerning all I have translated or otherwise written, I 
beseech all men to read it, for that purpose I wrote it, even to 
bring them to a knowledge of the Scripture ; and as far as the 
Scripture approveth it, so far to allow it ; and if in any place 
the Word of God disallow it, there to refuse it, as I do before 
our Saviour Christ and His congregation. And where they 
find faults, let them show it me if they be nigh, or write to 
me if they be far off ; or write openly against it, or improve 
it; and I promise them, if I perceive that their reasons con 
clude, I will confess mine ignorance openly." 

The revision fully bears out T}mdale s honest and noble pro 
fession. In it the Vulgate is forsaken oftener than in the first 
edition. Thus, he inserts the Doxology in Matthew vi, 13. 
Erasmus had admitted it in his fourth edition of 1527, which, 
however, Tyndale does not seem to have used. Some erroneous 
renderings remain unchanged, as " backbiter," in Ephesians iv, 
27 ; and he gives this rendering also in the conclusion of his 
prologue to St. Matthew, and in the " Obedience of a Chris 
tian Man"; "founde in his aparrell as a man," Phil, ii, 8; 
" honestly apparelled," 1 Timothy iii, 2 ; " lordes over the 


parishes," 1 Peter v, 3. But every verse bears marks of a 
careful treatment. The minuter alterations show the atten 
tion and taste of a painstaking scholar, labouring to bring 
his translation as close as possible to the original. His 
own scholarship had improved during the last nine years, 
and he had profited by his experience as a translator. He 
could now enter more deeply into the spirit of the Greek text, 
and, feeling its wondrous beauty and compactness, he became 
endowed with the power of seizing minuter shades and more 
delicate turns of thought, and of giving them a more apt and 
felicitous rendering. No change to the better was beneath his 
notice, whatever might contribute to clearness and vigour he at 
once laid hold of. He felt that, in the book he was translating, 
not only were the " lamps of pure gold," but even " the snuffers 
and the snuff dishes " were of the same precious metal not to 
be dimmed or tarnished by any careless human handling. 
Many of the changes introduced by him keep their place in 
our present New Testament, and that after having passed 
through several revisions in the Great Bible, the Genevan, 
and the Bishops . The following collation is a proof and 
sample : 

1526. MATTHEW V. 1534. 


1 disciples cam vnto hym. disciples came to hym. 

9 mayntayners of peace. peacemakers. 

11 men shall re vyle you. men revyle you. 

13 if the salt be once uusavery. yf ye salt have lost hir saltuess. 

but to be caste oute at the dores, but to be cast oute, & to be troa- 
& that men treade it vnder fete. den vnder fote of men. 

15 all them which are. all that are. 

16 se that youre light. let your light. 

17 to disannull. to destroy e. 
19 shall teache. teacheth. 

., shall observe & teache them, that observeth & teacheth, ye same shal 

persone shalbe called greate. be called greate. 

21 whosoever shall kill. whosoever killeth. 

22 But whosoever shall saye vnto his But whosoever sayeth, thou 

brother thou fole. fole. 

23 eny thynge agaynst thee. ought agaynst the. 

24 reconcile thy silfe. be recoucyled. 

25 at once. quicklye. 








-5 thine adversary at once. 
-8 eyeth a wyfe. 
31 a testymonyall of her. 
the grete king. 

o o 

one heer whyte or blacke. 
ye withstond not wronge. 
But yf a man. 

and take thy coote from the. 
you re hevenly Father. 
Yf ye shall love them. 



thyne adversary qxiicklye. 

looketh on a wyfe. 

a testymonyall also of the. 

that greate kynge. 

one whyte heer, or blacke. 

ye resist not wronge. 

But whosoever. 

and take away thy coote. 

your fathei that is in heaven. 

Yf ye love them. 


youre father in heven. 

But when ye praye. 


as we forgeve them which tras- 

pas vs. 
Leede vs not into temptacion, but 

delyvre vs from yvel. Amen. 

that hit myght apere vnto men 

that they faste. 
there are youre hertes also. 
The light off thy body. 
ys full of light, 
he shall leue the one. 
what raymeiit ye shall weare. 
Are ye not better than they ? 

Behold the lyles. 

Care not therfore for the daye 
foloynge; For the daye foloynge 
shall care tfor yt sylfe. Eche 
dayes trouble ys sufficient for 
the same silfe day. 

youre father which is in heven. 

And when ye praye. 

he then. 

as we forgeve cure trespacers. 

And leade vs not into temptacion 
but delyver vs from evell. For 
thyne is the kiugdome and the 
power and the glorye for ever. 

that they myght be sene of men 
how they faste. 

there will youre hertes be also. 

The light of the body. 

shalbe full of light. 

he shall lene to the one. 

what ye shall put on. 

Are ye not moche better then 
they ] 

Considre the lylies. 

Care not then for the morow, 
but let the morow care for it 
selfe ; for the day present hath 
ever yuough of his awne trouble. 


Judge not lest ye be judged, 
sufi re me to plucke oute a moote 

oute off thyne eye. 
which wolde proffer his soune a 

stone if he axed him breed. 

Judge not that ye be not judged, 
suffre me to plucke oute the moote 

oute of thyue eye. 
which if his souue axed hym breade 

wolde offer him a stone. 

xiv.] COLLATION OF THE EDITIONS OF 1526 AND 1534. 229 





1 1 them that axe off hym. 

14 For strayte ys the gate. 

21 he that fulfilleth my father s will. 

22 And in thy name have we not 

caste oute devyls ? And in thy 
name have we nott done many 
miracles ? 

25 and it was not over throwen. 

26 doth not the same. 

27 and it was over throwen. 

them that axe hym. 

But strayte is the gate. 

he that dothe my father s will. 

And in thy name have caste 
oute devyls ? And in thy name 
have done many miracles ? 

and it fell not. 
doth them not. 
and it fell. 


1 congregacion. 
5 for ever. Amen. 
10 Seeke nowe the faveour off men, 
or off God \ 

13 ye have heerde. 
in tymes past. 

14 more fervently mayntayned the 

18 vnto Peter. 
24 glorifyed god in me. 


for ever and ever. Amen. 

Preache I marines doctrine or 

Godes ? 

For ye have hearde. 
in tyme past, 
more fervent maynteuer of the 

to se Peter, 
glorified God on my behalffe. 


1 I went agayne. 

2 I went by. 
which are. 

& as sone as James, Cephas, & 
Jhon, which semed to be pil- 
lares, perceaved the grace thatt 
was geven vnto me, they gave 
to me & Barnabas their 

11 When Peter. 

14 To folowe the Jewes ? 

16 and we have beleved. 
because that noo flesshe shal be 
justified by the dedes off the 

20 the lyf e. 

21 then is Christ deed in vayne. 

I went vp agayue. 

I went vp by. 

which were. 

& therfore when they perceaved 
the grace that was geven vnto 
me, then James, Cephas, 
John, which semed to be 
pilers, gave to me & Barnabas 
the ryght hondes. 

And when Peter. 

to live as do the Jewes ? 

and therfore we have beleved. 

because that by the dedes of 
the lawe no flesshe shal be 

For the lyfe. 

then Christ dyed in vayue. 









ye have suffred in vayne, yf it be 
so that ye have suffred in vayne. 

7 They which are of fayth, are the 


8 The scripture. 
., and shewed. 

13 Christ hath. 

14 that we might. 

16 thy seedes. 

1 7 conf ermed of god. 

19 vnto which seede the promes. 
-I Yff there had bene. 
27 put Christ on you. 
28 nether greke. 

., nether fre. 

., nether woman, 
for all are one. 

there ye have suffred in vayne, if 

that be vayne. 
the same are the chyldreu. 

For the scripture. 

and therfore shewed. 

But Christ hath. 

& that we might. 

the seedes. 

confermed afore of God. 

to which ye promess. 

Howbeit yf ther had bene. 

put on Christ. 

nether gentyle. 

ner fre. 

ner woman. 

but ye are all one. 


5 shulde receave. 

8 not goddes. 

10 the dayes. 

11 I fear offe you. 

12 hurte me. 

13 ye knowe wele how that. 

14 the flesshe. 

In digged out 3*011 re awne e3 r es. 

]6 Am I so greatly become. 

30 Cast a wave. 

myght receave. 

no goddes. 


I am in feare of 3*011. 

not hurte me at all. 

ye knowe how. 

nty flesshe. 

plucked out 3*oure awne 63*68. 

Am I therefore become. 

put awa3 r e. 







"We loke for & hope to be justi 
fied by the sprete which com- 
meth of fa^ th. 

In god. 

I then suffre. 



parte takyngp?. 

shall not be the inheritours. 

off the sprete. 

is there no lawe. 

We loke for & hope in the 
sprite, to be justified thorow 

In the Lorde. 

I then 3*et suffre. 




shall not iuherite. 

of sprete. 

there is no lawe. 


1526. CHAPTER VI. 1534. 


2 Beare one another s burthen. Beare ye one another s burthen. 

3 yff a man seme. If eny man seme. 

8 in the flesshe. in his flesshe. 

9 Let vs do good, and let vs not Let vs not be wery of well 

faynte. doynge. 

Several of these changes may not be improvements, but 
in the great majority of them there is an apparent effort to 
secure greater accuracy of rendering, and more clearness and 
concinnity of expression. 

Many of Tyndale s terms have been changed in the course 
of successive revisions. Similitude has passed into parable, 
health into salvation, counterfeit into follow, favour into grace, 
congregation into church, hallowed loaves into unleavened 
bread, Easter into passover (except in one instance), it fortuned 
or it chanced into it came to pass, love into charity, dearth 
into famine, captain into centurion, laude into praise, &c. 

George Harnian, of Antwerp, had, as recorded on a previous 
page, been imprisoned along with his wife, 1 at the instance 
of Hacket the English envoy and the authorities at home, 
and he had been expelled from the "English House." The 
Lords of Antwerp released him in February, 1529, after 
seven months confinement, and some years afterwards he 
visited England, and found a patron in Queen Anne 
Boleyn who had been crowned on the 1st of June, 1533. A 
letter from her to Crumwell, dated 13th May, 1534, "at my 
Lord s Manor at Greenwich," 2 and beginning with " Anne the 
Queen," has been preserved, telling what penalty he had 
suffered "in the time of the late Lord Cardinal ; boldly 
setting forth the crime charged upon him that, "he like a 
good Christian man, both did with his goods and policy 
help to the setting forth of the New Testament in English ; " 
and asking him " to be restored to his pristine freedom, liberty, 
and fellowship, and the sooner at our request." 3 Tyudale 

1 See p. 178. 3 The " Lady Anne " had been 

3 Cotton MSS., Cleopatra, E. V., involved in a perilous adventure 

fol. 330. Strype s Annals, vol. I, in 1529, with a copy of Tyudale s 

part 1, p. 171. " Obedience of a Christian Man," and 


had been informed of this royal interposition, and as a fitting 
memorial of his earnest gratitude, he threw off a copy of 
his revised edition on vellum, with beautifully illuminated 
capitals, but without name, dedication, or preface, and 
sent the volume to her Majesty. This Testament, not 
in the original binding, is now in the British Museum, 
and when the book is kept firmly shut, there may be 
read in dim red letters on the fore-edge of the leaves, 
on the top Anna, on the centre Regina, and on the bottom 

Tyndale published another edition in 1535. Joye in his 
Apology, intimates that it was then in hand, but before it was 
printed the translator was betrayed and imprisoned. There 
were indeed two editions, in 1535, the one no doubt Tyndale s 
own work, and the other a surreptitious issue. The one edition, 
1534-1535, has a second title dated 1534, which had been 
printed with the text at the end of that year, the preliminary 
leaves, as being the last portion of the volume thrown off, having 
the date 1535, and on the title, "yet once agayne corrected by 
Willyam Tindale." This edition has a monogram G. H. on the 
second title, and its genuineness may be assumed from the fact 
that its readings are usually adopted in Matthew s Bible. 
Having been for a brief period the translator s "own 
familiar friend," Matthew must have selected it as Tyndale s 
last and best production. The other edition " fynesshed " 
in 1535, and "dylygently corrected and compared with the 
Greke by Willyam Tindale," is to all intents that of 1534, 
but with 833 changes, few of which, however, can be called 
scholarly emendations. 1 The following collation affords a speci 
men, and is a portion of Mr. Fry s monograph on the subject, 
1 Corinthians being selected : 

had brought upon herself the suspi- accuracy " Three New Testaments 
cion and resentment of Wolsey, a of William Tyndale, that of 1534, 
short time before his fall the Seals 1535, 1535-1534, and the text of 
being taken from him on the 18th uf Matthew s first edition" a portion 
October. of a larger work on Tyndale New 
1 See Mr. Fry s monograph, pre- Testaments. There are some mis- 
pared with marvellous minuteness and prints and omissions in Matthew. 

xiv.] COLLATION. 233 

COLLATION OF ED. 1534, GH 1535-34, AND MATTHEW 1537. 

Ch. Ver. 

1 11 34 GH ... M (my brethren) of you by ... 35 ... (my brethren of you by 

them them) 

- 24 34 GH ... M and the wisdom of God ... 35 ... and wisdom of God 

2 4 34 preaching were not with GH 35 M preaching was not with 

7 34GH 35... ordained before the world M ordained before the word 

8 34 the rulers of the world GH 35 M the rulers of this world 

3 6 34 God gave increase GH 35 M God gave the increase 

7 34 which gave the increase GH 35 M that gave the increase 

- 20 34 GH... M God knoweth the thoughts... 35... God knoweth thoughts 

- 22 34 other, 4 times in the verse GH 35 M either, 4 times in the rcrse 

5 4 34 GH ... M in the name of our Lord ... 35... the name of our Lord 

M and wickedness 35... omitted 

6 5 34 GH ... M I say to * * not one at all ... 35 ... I lay to * * not one all 

7 6 34 not of commandment ...GH 35M and not of commandment 

M he that hath married 35... he that had married 

M his virgin doe th well 35... his virgin ite doe th well 

M if any man love God 35... if any man loveth God 

eat as of a thing offered M eat as a thing offered 

are offered unto the idol GH 35 M are offered to the idol 

34 are not ye my work ... GH 35 M are ye not my work 

or saith not the law 35... saith not the law 

is it a great thing 35... it is a great thing 

have their finding 35... have they finding 

so also did the Lord 35... so did the Lord 

should live of the gospel ... 35... omitted 

without law became I ... 35... without the law became I 

10 19 33 GH ... M is offered to images 35 ... is offered to the images 

... I say that those things GH 35 M I say that these things 

... cannot be partakers M cannot be the partakers 

M bid you to a feast 35... bid you to the feast 

... ye give occasion GH 35 M ye give none occasion 

11 13 34 GH ... M that a woman pray 35... that a woman prayed 

this cup is the new testa- GH 35 M omitted 

ment of my blood 
34 GH 35 ... in the remembrance M in remembrance 

- 29 34 GH ... M maketh no difference 35... make th not difference 

- 31 34GH 35... we had truly judged M we have truly judged 

- 33 34 GH 35 ... tarry one for another M tarry one another 

12 3 34 GH 35 ... but by the Holy Ghost M but the Holy Ghost 

8 34 GH ... M to another is given 35... to another given 

- 12 34 GH ... M though they be many yet are 35... omitted 

but one body 

- 23 34 members of that body ... GH 35 M members of the body 

- 24 34 GH... M hath given most honour ... 35... hath given more honour 

14 6 34GH 35... unto you other by revelation ... M to you other by revelation 

- 2y 34GH 35... let other judge M let the other judge 

30 34 GH ... M be made to another 35 ... be made on another 

15 2 34 by which also ye are ... GH 35 M by the which also ye are 

10 34 not I but the grace ... GH 35 M yet not I but the grace 

12 34 .. .. from death** from death GH 35 M fromthedead**ofthedead 


COLLATION Continued. 

Ch. Ver. 

15 13 34 rising again from death GH 35 M rising again of the dead 

15 34 rise not up again GH 35 M rise not again 

20 34 Christ risen from death GH 35 M Christ risen from the dead 

- 21 34 resurrection from death GH 35 M resurrection of the dead 

28 34 they put all things under GH 35 M that put things under 

29 34 GH ... M if the dead rise not at all ... 35... if the dead rise not all 

- 33 34 GH ... M malicious speakings 35 ... malicious speaking 

34 34GH 35... this unto your rebuke M this to your rebuke 

- 43 34 GH ... M and " ryseth " in honour ... 35... and " rysed " in honour 

50 34 corruption inheriteth ... GH 35 M doth corruption inherit 

16 3 34 GH ... M allow by your letters 35... allow by our letters 

12 34GH 35... his mind was not at all M his mind was not all 

The edition of 1535 is also marked by peculiar spelling. 
Tyndale had promised at Sodbury that " if God spared his life, 
he would cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of 
the Scriptures than a priest." This strange spelling has been 
supposed, by Mr. Walter among others, to be a conformity to 
the rustic dialect of Gloucestershire in fulfilment of his early 
pledge. But such a theory fails of proof, and the probability is 
that the flat diphthongal orthography was the fruit of Flemish 
printing, copy being read off to a compositor who did not 
know English. Similar pronunciations are yet common in Flan 
ders, and might also have been heard, not many years ago, in 
some parts of Morayshire. The following are a few specimens : 
First, an e put after an o, which is the commonest form aboede, 
boeke, cloeke. Second, an e put after an a, which is also very 
common aege, aere, maey, laey, faether. Third, sometimes the 
o is doubled booth, boones, coostes, oonly, hoow, stoone, loo for 
lo, whoom, moor, nioost. Fourth, sometimes an e after a u 
ruele, ruelers, truethe. Fifth, sometimes an a after an o moane 
for mone. Sixth, an a after an e hear for her. Seventh, some 
times ee heere for here. There are other forms, as te for the, 
tappe for toppe, tought for taught, vyneyaerde for veneyarde, 
woeld for would, woerde for worde, woere for where, yought 
for youth. 


A FTER the publication of the Pentateuch, Tyndale was 
proceeding with the Hebrew Historical Books, when his 
work was brought to an abrupt termination. 

Yaughan had been at a previous period instructed to persuade 
Tyndale to return to England under promise of protection. 
But he intimated to Crumwell, 26th January, 1530-31, that 
the task was hopeless, for " Tyndale daily heareth so many 
things from thence which feareth him." "Would God," he 
adds, " he were in England." There was at that time no covert 
design to entrap him, or to coax him to come over and then 
seize him. Yaughan afterwards informs the king, 17th April, 
that he had an interview with Tyndale in the fields near 
Antwerp ; that he had avowed his fervent and patriotic 
loyalty, and his reluctance to come home, because the king 
would not be able to keep his promise to protect him against 
the bishops, for they affirmed that no faith should be kept 
with heretics. Yaughan s despatch got him into trouble, as he 
was supposed to be favourably inclined towards the exile, and 
Crumwell replied, "Withdraw your affection from the said 
Tyndale, and all his sort ; the king s highness would be much 
joyous of his conversion." 1 Yaughan again met Tyndale, and 
thus reports his words : "If his majesty would grant only a bare 
text of Scripture to be put forth among his people, like as is 
put forth among the subjects of the emperor in these parts, and 
of other Christian princes, be it of the translation of what person 
soever shall please his majesty, I shall make faithful promise 

1 Vaughan seems to have thought Crumwell some secret information 
that George Constantiiie had given against him. 


never to write more, nor abide two days in these parts after the 
same ; but immediately to repair unto his realm, and there most 
humbly submit myself at the feet of his royal majesty, offering 
my body to suffer what pain or torture, yea, what death his 
grace will, so that this be obtained. And till that time I will 
abide the asperity of all chances, whatsoever shall come, and 
endure my life in as much pains as it is able to bear and 
suffer." l The Translator, in defiance of mighty and malignant 
influences, was still unshaken ; his courage remained firm and 
unflinching amidst many perils closing surely and darkly 
about him. He rose to sublimity of resolution as his end drew 
nigh, for his words were no idle bravado no mere self-glorify 
ing ejaculation, as the event was so soon to prove. 

During his abode at Antwerp, Tyndale continued his 
studious life, giving himself wholly to his book, taking his 
" pastime " on Monday and Saturday ; on the first of these 
days visiting and relieving all the refugees, " seeking every 
corner and hole," and imparting liberal charities to the poor 
and distressed, for he had "a considerable yearly exhibi 
tion" from the merchants. On the Lord s Day he held 
worship in private with such of the merchants as might 
assemble " in some chamber or other, and read a parcel of 
Scripture." He could not join in the public Catholic worship, 
and Sir Thomas More as usual puts it strongly, " He neither 
crieth out, nor hallo we th, nor baiteth, nor buzzeth, as they say 
that know him ; he saith none at all, neither matins, evensong, 
nor mass." A story told by Foxe, and occupying a special 
place in a remarkable book, needs not be repeated at length. 2 
It tells that he was taken to see a conjurer at Antwerp, who 
did many marvellous things, and " brought to table by his 
art all that could be desired " of wines and delicious fruits ; 
but that in the Reformer s presence he " wearied himself with 
spells, charms, and incantations," and all the resources of 
"hellish skill" in vain, so that he cried out in great wrath that 

1 Cotton MSS.,Galba,b.X,fol. 5,6. Mathematics in the University of 

2 " Satan s . Invisible World Dis- Glasgow. Edinburgh, 1635. Ee- 
covered," by George Sinclair, Pro- printed at Edinburgh, 1871. The 
fessor of Moral Philosophy and story is Eelation xxii, p. 154. 


there was "one in the company that hindered his work." The 
magician could not do his dexterous manipulations under the 
sharp eyes of the shrewd and unsusceptible Englishman. 

Vaughan was a kind-hearted man, and boldly appealed to the 
king to extend mercy to reformers like Barnes and Latimer, 
intimating that the fear of punishment sent many fugitives 
to the Continent, and hardened them in their opinions, so that 
by this means, " it is likely that new Tyndales shall arise, or 
worse than he/ Another agent was therefore selected to work 
out a sterner purpose than to plead with the Translator to return 
to England the object now being to apprehend him on the 
Continent. Tyndale had been aware of his peril, and may have 
left Antwerp for a time, continually shifting his residence, and 
some have supposed that he went for a brief period to Nurem 
berg. Sir Thomas Elyot, a friend of Sir Thomas More, under 
took the degrading task of seizing him ; and, in a despatch to 
the Duke of Norfolk, admits that his stay at Brussels, in 
obedience to the royal mandate to seize the exile, may be 
protracted " considering that like as he is in wit movable, 
semblably so is his person unable to come by ; " and that 
aware of the king s order to arrest him, "he withdraweth him 
into such places where he thinketh to be farthest out of danger." 1 
Information about him had been for a considerable period 
carefully sought for in England by the bishops and Sir 
Thomas More, and in examining " any poor man under 
coram," who had been in Antwerp, they put such questions 
anent Tyndale as, " where and with whom he hosted, where 
abouts stood the house, what was his stature, in what apparell 
he went, what resort he had," &c. 2 Suspicion so haunted him, 
that he was in doubt of Vaughan s purpose at their first inter 
view; and the envoy describes him as being "somewhat fearful 
of me, lest I should pursue him. He took leave of me, and 
departed from the town, and I toward the town. Howbeit, I 
suppose, that he afterwards returned to the town by another 
way." The " wise man s eyes are in his head," and Tyndale 
informs Fryth, " My Lord of London hath a servant called 
John Tisen, with a red beard and black reddish head, and 

1 Cotton MSS., Vitell., xxi, fol. 58. 2 Foxe V,p. 121, Registers of Loudon. 


who was once ray scholar; he was seen in Antwerp, but 
came not among the Englishmen. Whether he is gone 
an ambassador secret, I wot not." Sir Thomas Elyot writes, 
in November, 1533, "I gave many rewards, partly to the 
emperor s servants, to get knowledge, partly to such as by 
whose means I trusted to apprehend Tyndale." In the pro 
secution of the futile enterprise he had contracted consider 
able debts. 

From about the middle of 1534 Tyndale had lived in Antwerp, 
with Thomas Poyntz, one of the English merchant adventurers. 
But the secret of his residence in the " English house," was 
discovered, and a man named Philips, son of a " customer " at 
Poole, and Gabriel Donne, " won his confidence." The first of 
the two passed as a gentleman, and the second as his servant. 
" In the wily subtleties of this world Tyndale was simple and 
inexpert," and when Poyntz got suspicious and questioned 
him, the innocent victim pronounced " Philips an honest man, 
handsomely learned, and very conformable "yielding to 
Tyndale s arguments and opinions. Tyndale even lent him 
money ; on the very morning of his capture he gave him the 
loan of forty shillings, it being asked as a pledge of mutual 
confidence. These spies now procured the necessary powers, 
and then, when he least expected it, trading on his unsus 
pecting nature they got him into their power by nefarious 
treachery. As he was leaving the house, taking the traitor 
familiarly with him, to dine at the dwelling of a friend, 
Philips had him arrested by means of lurking accomplices, who 
" pitied to see his simplicity." The contrivers of the plot are 
unknown. Halle darkly hints, " Tyndale was betrayed and 
taken, as many said, not without the help and procurement of 
some bishops of this realm." 1 That some ecclesiastical in 
fluence had been at the vengeful work may be naturally 
inferred. Donne was a monk of Stratford Abbey, near London. 
On his return from the Continent he was appointed Abbot of 
Buckfastleigh in Devonshire; but he yielded his abbey in 
1539, and got a pension of 120 a year. He was afterwards a 
prebendary of St. Paul s, and keeper of the spiritualities of the 
1 Halle s Chronicle, p.818, Loiidon, 1809. 


diocese till 1550. Philips had two benefices and a prebend in 
England. He "persisted in person with constant diligence" 
going from Louvain to Brussels and to Yilvorde, and urged 
on the process against Tyndale, which, from CrumweU s in 
fluence, might have fallen asleep. A warrant being sent 
across to arrest him for treasonable language, he could not 
return to England, and soon fell into poverty. He went to 
Italy to secure the patronage of Cardinal Pole; but, being 
suspected as a spy, he was roughly barred from entering 
the Venetian territory. 

Poyntz had no doubt that the arrest was made "by pro 
curement out of England," but unknown to the king s grace. 
Tyndale was arrested on the 23rd or 24th of May, 1535, and 
conveyed to the castle of Yilvorde, about eighteen miles from 
Brussels. His imprisonment lasted a year and one hundred 
and thirty-five days. There had been unfounded rumours of 
the king s interference. Though Marshe, the governor of the 
English House, had been indifferent at first, the English mer 
chants interposed, and applied to the Piegent Mary, but without 
effect ; a charge of heresy being, under the emperor, as danger 
ous as one of treason, and the procureur-general, Dufief, was 
as inexorable as his master. Measures were taken in England 
to move Crumwell to interfere on the prisoner s behalf, as may 
be learned from the letter of Tibold, a godson of the English 
minister, and in the confidence of Cranmer. In a communi 
cation, dated the last day of July, he informs Crumwell, " he 
that did take Tyndale is abiding in Louvain, with whom I did 
there speak ; which doth not only there rejoice of that act, but 
goeth about to do many more Englishmen like displeasure." 
The betrayer, he adds, " was greatly afraid of the resentment 
of the Antwerp merchants, who will lay watch to do him some 
displeasure privily ; " l and he writes to Cranmer, on the last 
day of July, in reference to other interviews with Harry Philips, 
" I could not perceive the contrary by his communication but 
that Tyndale shall die, which he doth follow and procureth 
with all diligent endeavour, rejoicing much therein, saying 

1 Cotton MSS., British Museum, probably sent to make inquiries, 
Galba, B x. Tibold or Theobald was among other things, about the arrest. 


that he had a commission also to have taken Doctor Barnes l 
and George Joye." Poyiitz, writing to his brother John 
Poyntz of Ockenden in Essex, bears also cordial testimony 
to the integrity, simple-heartedness, and beneficence of Tyn- 
dale, " the which is in prison and like to suffer death. This 
poor man hath been in my house three quarters of a year ; I 
know that the king has never a truer- hearted subject to 
his grace this day living. I think he shall be shortly at 
a point to be condemned ; and there are two Englishmen 
at Louvain busy in translating out of English into Latin 
those things that may make against him." The earnest in 
terference of Poyntz led to his own incarceration for four 
months, and when he effected his escape, the keeper of the 
prison was fined eighty pounds on suspicion of connivance. 2 

During Tyridale s imprisonment his New Testament was 
passing through the press at home, the enterprise being per 
haps patronized by Queen Anne and her party. Berthelet has 
been long supposed by Ames (Herbert), Anderson, Dibdin, 
and Cotton, to be the printer of this first New Testament 
issued in England ; but Mr. Bradshaw, of the University 
Library, Cambridge, assigns it to T. Godfray. The engraved 
border was in the possession of Godfray before it belonged 
to Berthelet, and the transfer was not made so early as 
153G. 3 If Tyndale had secret intelligence of the preparation 
of the volume, the news must have filled him with unutter 
able gladness, and ho must have felt a blessed compensation 
for months and months of exile and peril, in the assurance 

1 But Barnes was now an envoy 497. Poyntz came back to England, 
for the king to the German States, and. on the death of his brother, took 
Buckenham was in Louvain too possessionof the paternal inheritance, 
he that preached the sermon at Cam- He died in 1562, and his escape from 
bridge in reply to Latimer, Philips prison is noted in his epitaph. The 
paying all charges. lady of Sir John Walsh, who had 

2 The entry of the amount of the Tyndale as a tutor to her children, 
fine paid " for carelessness and negli- was a Poyntz of Gloucestershire, 
o-ence " by the jailor, John Baers, to of the same lineage as the family 
the counsellor in ordinary of the in Essex. 

emperor, and receiver of escheats and 3 Westcott, p. 51, second edition, 
fines, &c., may be seen in Demaus, p. 


that the Blessed Book, which for eleven years had been pro 
duced by strangers, and had reached his fatherland in stealthy 
and circuitous ways, was now printing in the metropolis. 
The Bodleian Library possesses a copy. Several editions were 
issued at Antwerp about this time, as may be seen in Ander 
son s list. 

Though Henry hated Luther with a perfect hatred, he had 
no reason to hate Tyndale. Tyndale was a Yorkist indeed, 1 
but the king s mother was Elizabeth of York, the lineal heir ; 
and if he did not approve of the divorce, he certainly would 
have supported the royal supremacy for the denial of which 
Fisher and More were both beheaded. The disloyal language 
of the two spies against the king plainly showed that 
they belonged to the reactionary party, no member of which 
could be so deep in the royal confidence as to be trusted 
with their errand. But Henry had no right to interfere, as 
he had burned some of the emperor s subjects on a similar 
charge. Crumwell wrote twice in favour of Tyndale to the 
Marquis of Bergen-op-Zoom, and to Carondolet, Archbishop 
of Palermo, and was not listened to. These letters were sent 
to the care of an English merchant at Antwerp, of the name of 
Flegge who did what he could ; and in sending to Crumwell 
the answer of the high personages appealed to, he expresses 
a hope that it may be to the king s pleasure and yours," 
implying that the king had acquiesced in his minister s 
interference for the release of Tyndale. 

At this time, Coverdale, under Crumwell s protection, had 
finished his translation of the entire Bible, to be dedicated, 
within a brief time after, to King Henry, and at length to be 
authorized by him. But Tyndale s treatises must have provoked 
many to hostility, for they were trenchant and unsparing, and 
bore hard, like his " Practice of Prelates," on the popish priest 
hood. His arrest and death may be traced in all probability 

1 " They slew the right king, and Tyndale could not like the Lau- 
set up three false kings in a row, castrian kings, for besides being 
Henrys IV, V, VI, by which usurpers, two of them had been 
mischievous sedition, they caused such persecutors. Works, vol. II, 
half England to be slain up." pp. 53, 224, Parker Society edition. 
VOL. I. Q 


to ecclesiastical malignity, which slowly and secretly com 
passed its end without caring to consult the king or his 
ministers, who, from political complications, at home and 
abroad, were helpless to interpose in favour of any relaxation 
with Charles or his Regent. There were 72,000 executions 
in England during Henry s reign, and a life more or less could 
not be felt by the king or his council to be of any great 
moment, especially the life of one so friendless and so long absent 
from the island. One of Tyndale s letters, written in prison to 
the governor, the Marquis of Bergen-op-Zoom, whose favour for 
him Crumwell had already asked, has been discovered, and a por 
tion of it has been already quoted. The noble-hearted prisoner 
was so reduced as in his cold and rags to beg with touching 
and mournful earnestness, " your lordship, and that by the 
Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here during the winter, you 
will request the procureur to be kind enough to send me from 
my goods which he has in his possession, a warmer cap, for I 
suffer extremely from cold in the head, being afflicted with a 
perpetual catarrh, which is considerably increased in the cell. 
A warmer coat also, for that which I have is very thin ; also a 
piece of cloth to patch my leggings; my shirts are also 
worn out. He has also a wolleu shirt of mine, if he will be 
kind enough to send it. I have also with him leggings of 
thicker cloth for putting on above; he also has warmer caps 
for wearing at night." l At length a commission was named 
for the trial of Tyndale, and it comprehended four divines from 
the University of Louvain. There were long written discus 
sions that passed from the prison to Louvain, for Tapper and 
Lathomus were no mean antagonists. Ruwart Tapper was 
a subtle scholastic, and Lathomus had attacked Erasmus, and 
affirmed that a knowledge of Hebrew and Greek was not 
necessary to the study of Scripture. In 1528 the divines 
of Louvain had sent a letter of congratulation to the Arch 
bishop of St. Andrews on the burning of Patrick Hamilton.- 
Vaughan, who had now returned from England, in a letter to 
Crumwell from Antwerp, April 13th, expresses some hope for 
the prisoner. " If now you send me but your letter to the Privy 
1 See p. 211. " Foxe, vol. TV, p. 501. 


Council, I could deliver Tyndale from the fire ; see it come by 
time, or else it will be too late." The envoy spoke his own 
wishes, and overrated his influence. 

Tyndale could have but little hope himself; for even in Eng 
land he would have been in serious peril, and he must often have 
thought in those dreary months of his own words written eight 
years before : " If they burn me, they shall do none other thing 
than I look for." His condemnation and martyrdom were 
certain from the first. His doom was pronounced on the 10th 
of August, and he was then "degraded, and condemned into the 
hands of the secular power." On Friday, the Gth of October, 
1536, he was first strangled for the law of the Low Countries 
was more merciful than that of England and then burned. 
At the moment before his death, he cried with fervent zeal 
and a loud voice at the stake, "Lord, open the king of 
England s eyes." According to Foxe, his life and words 
produced a deep impression on his jailor, his jailor s daughter, 
and others who were permitted to visit him. And so died 
" one, who, for his notable powers and travel, may well be called 
the apostle of England in this our later age." 

And truly Tyndale did an apostle s work, in presenting 
divine truth to the souls of men, and he was bles sed at the 
same time in suffering all manner of evil during such work 
with " patience and wonders " " the signs of an apostle," for 
he was filled with the true spirit, endowed with gifts that 
descended from Pentecost, and set apart by a nobler consecra 
tion than the laying-on of hands. Men so thoroughly fur 
nished and absorbed in evangelical toil and travail are surely 
" the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. 1 
To labour for the Divine Master is one phase of conformity to 
Him who "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister ; 
but to suffer also for Him who yielded His life for us, seals 
and completes the assimilation. "And one of the ciders 
answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed 
in white robes ? and whence came they ? And I said unto 
him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they 
which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their 
robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 



Therefore are they "before the throne of God, and serve him 
day and night in his temple : and he that sitteth on the 
throne shall dwell amonsr them." 

While Wycliffe and Tyndale may have some unavoidable 
resemblance in their translation of simple historical clauses, 
the Latin being at the same time a version from the Greek ; 
the following four verses of a peculiar structure will show the 
independence of Tyndale : 


Forsothe for manye men enforce- 
den to ordeyne the tellyng of thingis, 
whiche ben fillid in vs, as thei that 
seyn atte the bigynnyng, and weren 
ministris of the word, bitaken, it is 
seen also to me, hauynge alle thingis 
diligentli bi ordre, to write to thee, 
ihou best Theofile, that thou knowe 
the treuthe of tho word is, of whiche 
thou art lerned. 

For as moche as many have taken 
in hond to compyle a treates off thoo 
thynges, which are surely kuowen 
amonge vs, even as they declared 
them vnto vs, which from the be- 
gynyuge sawe them with their eyes, 
and were ministers at the doyng : I 
determined also, as sone as I had 
searched out diligently all thiuges 
from the begynynge, that then I 
wolde wryte vnto the, goode Theo- 
philus, that thou myghtest kuowe 
the certente off thoo thinges, whereof 
thou arte informed. 


TN his introduction to the first edition of the Novum 
Instrumentum, or Greek New Testament, Erasmus, while 
vindicating the right of all to read the Scriptures, and 
maintaining that they should be translated into all languages, 
adds as a climax, " and be read and understood by Scots and 
Irishmen." These nations, though they were to him the lowest 
in the scale of civilization, might have a translated Bible, and 
next to them he places Greeks and Saracens. But copies of 
the Wycliffite version had already been carried into the 
northern kingdom, and the translation of Tyndale soon found 
its way into Scotland, probably as early as to England, for 
Scotland had a close mercantile connection with the Low 
Countries, especially with the towns of Middleburg and 
Campvere. Hacket, the English ambassador at Antwerp, 
who had fallen into such trouble about Tyndale s New 
Testament, wrote to Wolsey on the 20th of February, 
1527, that he had advertised Brian Tuke, on the 4th of 
January of the same year, that there were " divers merchants 
of Scotland that bought many of such like books, and took 
them into Scotland, a part to Edinburgh, and most 
part to the town of St. Andrews," x adding, " that he had 
expected to make a seizure at Barrow; but that to his 
chagrin the ships had left before his arrival." : The allusion is 

1 St. Andrews was then the capital Andrews the seventh. Its university 

of Scotland, and Glasgow ranked was founded in 1411, that of Glas- 

only as eleventh in the taxation list gow in 1450. 

of royal burghs. In the date of its 2 Cotton MSS., Galba., B. VI, 

charter it is the twenty-first, and St. fol. 4. 


to Tyndale s Testaments, which he was so anxious to discover, 
and destroy, and he had also received copies from England 
in order to identify the version. Racket s language implies 
that the practice of carrying away such books in trading 
vessels had been a common one before it had been distinctly 
observed and watched. There was as yet in Scotland no pro 
hibition of such literary imports, nor for five years to come, 
though in 1525 there had been an enactment against 
" strangers " bringing with them any books of Luther, and in 
August, 1527, "natives or the king s lieges" are comprehended 
in the prohibition, the inference being that they had already 
been engaged in the traffic. Leith, Montrose, and Aberdeen 
were parts as accessible as St. Andrews, and they were all 
visited by vessels carrying Tyndale s New Testaments to a 
ready and secret market. 

Patrick Hamilton, 1 born in the city or diocese of Glasgow, 
the young and intrepid reformer, related by both his parents 
to the royal blood of Scotland, had returned from the Continent, 
and begun to preach the Gospel ; but going to St. Andrews, 
on a treacherous invitation of the primate, he was placed under 
espionage, tried with great pomp on thirteen different articles, 
and burned before the gate of the College of St. Salvador, 

o o 

the same day on which his judges returned their verdict 
Saturday, 28th February, 1528. The burning of the martyr 
lasted six hours. Campbell, Prior of the Order of Blackfriars, 
had betrayed him, and now as prosecutor he pressed as the 
first and special charge against him his confession that " it is 
lawful for any man to read the word of God, and in special the 
New Testament." But his martyrdom did not kill the Reforma 
tion, and a shrewd friend said to the archbishop, " My lord, if 
ye burn any more, except ye follow my counsel, ye will utterly 

1 His name stands under the year name of " Maister Patricks Places/ 

1528 in a register of Acta Rectoria They may be seen in Foxe, vol. IV, 

of the University of Paris as Pat- p. 563, or in Laiug s edition of Knox s 

ricius Hamelto, Glassguensis, Nobi- Works, vol. I, p. 19. He was present 

lis. His Loci, translated by Fryth at the inauguration of the University 

at Marburg, were long a popular of Marburg, and his name survives 

digest of theology, and went by the on the first page of the Album. 


destroy yourselves. If ye will burn them, let it be in how 
(hollow) cellars, for the reek (smoke) of Master Patrick 
Hamilton has infected as many as it blew upon." 

In October of the same year, Rinck, writing from Cologne 
to Wolsey, makes the disclosure, already told, that Bibles 
enclosed in packages, and artfully covered with flax, were by 
sea " taken into Scotland and England as to the same place, 
and sold as merely clean paper." 1 As the panic spread, pro 
hibitions became more sweeping and stringent, and among 
others the bishops issued a ban declaring that the New Testa 
ment was neither to be read in the vernacular nor sold. The 
particulars with allied instances are to be found in a letter of 
Alexander Ales 2 to King James V. His proper name was 
Alane, and so it is written in the old registers of the University 
of St. Andrews. He was a native of Edinburgh, born in 1500. 
He had been a canon in St. Andrews, and owed his religious 
change to conversations with Patrick Hamilton during his im 
prisonment, and was now an exile from Scotland for the "Word 
of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ." " Whence," he 
asks, " shall they hear sound doctrine if they are not allowed 
at home to read the books of the Gospel ? " and he mentions, 
" that travelling abroad, he had heard of the king or emperor 
enacting laws against dogmas, but not against the reading of 
the Scriptures." In a reply to an attack of Cochlseus, he 
nobly vindicates domestic reading of the Scriptures, which 
was so common in Germany, " even in many places which 
have no business with Luther," and he exposes the common 
trick of confounding all versions of the sacred books with 
Luther s translation. " I have heard the chief among our 

1 See page 1 79. Mr. Anderson will not admit it, there 

2 The name Ales was coined for is sufficient proof that Melanchthon 
him by Melanchthon, A A^crtos, wan- helped Alesius in the composition 
derer, suggested by the similarity of of his letters to the king. The 
Alane to aAei vw. Melanchthon oc- "Wanderer" settled at length as 
casionally plays upon the meaning of Professor of Divinity at Leipzig, 
the name, and in reference to his own where he died in 1565. Lorimer s 
troubles fears that he would be forced Patrick Hamilton, p. 241, Edin- 
to"becomeanother Alesius." Though burgh, 1857. 


preachers declare that this same version, (Tyndale s in Scot 
land) gave them more light than many commentaries." 
The restless Cochlseus 1 replied to Ales on the 8th of June, 

1533. In the course of his letter he urges the employment 
of force, after the example of the Bishop of Treves, who 
had ordered first one bookseller, and then another, to be cast 
into the Rhone with their pernicious books ; asserts that the 
New Testament of Luther is not the sacred book, but execrable 
and cursed ; is not the Gospel of Christ, but of Satan ; and bids 
the king desist from favouring any version, especially at this 
time, since the best and most undoubted translation in the 
vulgar tongue is productive of all possible mischief. The 
king was not disposed to cruelty, and had more than once inter 
fered in behalf of the oppressed; but he was overborne by such 
ecclesiastical counsellors as the most profligate Prior Hepburn 
of St. Andrews, and David Beaton, afterwards the notorious 
cardinal. Henry Forrest, of Linlithgow, was apprehended and 
condemned " for nou uther cryme but because he had ane New 
Testament in Engliss," and in 1533 he was burned at "the 
North Church style of the Abbey of St. Andrews, that all the 
people in the shire of Forfar might see the flames." Other 
executions followed in the next year, for the Scottish ecclesias 
tics were not behind their English and foreign fellows in 
blindness, cruelty, and thirst for blood, and therefore Scotland, 
though it be but a small countiy, has an illustrious roll of 
confessors and martyrs. 

1 Cochlteus, in his reply to Mory- " Item, to ane servantt of Cocleus 

syn, charges Henry VIII with in- whilk brocht frae his maister ane 

gratitude, and complains that royalty buyk intitulat. ... To his reward 

had been unmindful of his poverty L.I., that is 50 Scots." Anderson s 

and his merits. But in September, Annals, vol. II, p. 467- Ales says 

1534, he sent a servant to Edinburgh that, according to the statement of 
with one of his tracts, pro Scotice Cochlaeus himself, he had been nobly 
regno Apologia, for there appears this rewarded by the Scottish king, James 
entry in the accounts of the Lord V, and by the Archbishops of St. 
High Treasurer, September, 1534, Andrews and Glasgow. 


Not myself, but the truth that in life I have spoken : 
Not myself, but the seed that in life I have sown, 
Shall pass on to ages, all about me forgotten 
Save the words I have written, the deeds I have done. 

Tis clear, if we refuse 
The means so limited, the tools so rude 
To execute our purpose, life will fleet, 
And we shall fade, and nothiug will be done. 


TN many intellectual and spiritual movements, while one 
man by his genius, persistence, or bravery towers above 
his fellows, another often stands by him, somewhat over 
shadowed by his greater height second to him, but still 
essential to the final success of the enterprise. In such a 
relation stood Paul and Barnabas, Luther and Melanchthon, 
Calvin and Beza, Tyndale and Coverdale. The translation 
of the Bible was the chief end of Tyndale s existence. The 
purpose was his own, formed in his inmost soul, and in the 
intensity of a great and ardent nature it was inwrought like a 
subtle influence into all the fibres of his being, fostered apart 
from all minor pursuits with a "godly jealousy," and pressing 
into its service all learning and all time. He could not be 
wiled away from his work, except to interpret it and defend it, 
and he never relaxed from it till he was " carried whither he 
would not." His independence, decision, earnestness, and pre 
sentiment of martyrdom might seem to impart somewhat of 
hardness to his temperament, and the fruit might appear to hang 
on a leafless bough. There was, however, no sullenness about 
him, though he was alone among strangers that could not 
appreciate him; adversity had not embittered him; but his 
history and his mission shed a profound solemnity over him, 
and every word and act was viewed in the light of high 
principle, and of an eternity which he felt to be ever nearing 
him. Complimentary terms were beneath him, and his 
affectionate greetings, as those to Fryth, were without efflor 
escence. His sincerity did not garnish itself with cheap 
sentiment; his honesty did not robe itself in purple; his 


eye was single, and his aim was definite. To give his country 
a faithful and idiomatic version of the Divine Word, a true 
reflection of the inspired original, was his one labour ; for it he 
lived, and for it he died a homeless, solitary exile and martyr. 
His successor, Coverdale, was a man fitted in all ways to act 
a secondary part. Loyal to truth and conscience, he was not 
characterized by mental independence. It was not his nature 
to cherish a self-born resolve, or act it out apart from advice 
and consultation. He liked to lean on some one ; and while he 
was honest and persevering, he was singularly susceptible 
of impression and guidance. Tyndale never had a patron, but 
Coverdale, though he does not seem to have begged patronage, 
or to have ever abased himself in order to keep it, yet liked 
to nestle under it. The unctuous style of his time does 
not suffer in his hands, as when he tells Crumwell that 
" like Jacob, he has obtained the chief blessing ; " and con 
cludes, " farewell, thou ornament of learning and of counsels, 
and, in fine, of every virtue." His instinct was rather to 
follow than to discover the path of duty. He seems to have 
had little confidence in himself, but he had great faith in 
the judgment of others. He was afraid to take any momentous 
step till others had suggested it, or at least till he had taken 
counsel with them about it ; but he set himself without hesi 
tation to do his work when it had been clearly pointed out to 
him. He could not lead; he preferred to be led as friends 
directed, or circumstances seemed to warrant or indicate. 
While, in T} r ndale s experience, duty became a divine necessity 
to which, at all hazards, he ever responded, Coverdale was 
advised and urged to the work of translation. He did not 
venture upon it as a competitor for fame, " not as a checker, 
not as a reprover or despiser of other men s translations," and 
he appears now and then to be on the point of offering an 
apology for engaging in it at all. " Now, for thy part, most 
gentle reader, take that I here offer thee with a good will, and 
let this present translation be no prejudice to the other that 
out of the Greek have been translated before, or shall be 
hereafter;" 1 and in another allusion to Tyndale he adds, 
1 Prologue to the Xew Testament of 1538. 

x vii. ] T YNDA LE A ND CO VERDA LE. 953 

" Notwithstanding, when I considered how great pity it was 
that we should want it so long, and called to my remembrance 
the adversity of those which were not only of ripe knowledge, 
but would also with all their hearts have performed that they 
had began, if they had not had impediment, considering, I 
say, that, by reason of their adversity, it could not so soon 
have been brought to an end as our most prosperous nation 
would fain have had it .... I was the more bold to take 
it in hand." 1 He uniformly and repeatedly disclaimed all 
merit as the founder of the enterprise, confessing, however, 
to have felt the influence of one subsidiary motive, that a& 
other nations were more plenteously provided with the Scrip 
tures in " their mother tongue " than his own, he would do hi* 
best to supply the want. 2 

Tyndale knew his powers, and put a high estimate on 
his translation, as a work of earnest industry and scholar 
ship, and he could defend it with lofty spirit and sternness 
against such assailants as Sir Thomas More and George Joye. 
But Coverdale had no overweening estimate of the value of 
his labour, for his hope and prayer was that "if it was 
not worthily ministred, God shall send it in a better shape." 
In unaffected humility he was content if his version served 
only as a foundation " for another to build thereon," and 
he kept his word. So utterly unselfish was he that he 
worked heartily at a new edition intended to supersede his 
own. He had no gall in his nature ; was not one of those men 
who consider a work to be ill done if they have not a chief 
share in the doing of it. He was far in spirit from another 
class who, if their own plot have little greenery, are com 
pensated by the thought that a worm is twining itself round 

1 Prologue to the Bible of 1535. Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Bohemia, 

2 Before 1477 there had been four and Poland had their Bibles at an 
editions of the German Bible, and early period. All that had been 
ten more followed within forty printed in England was Bishop 
years. There had been an Italian Fisher s Exposition of the Seven 
Bible in 1471, and in about thirty Penitential Psalms. Wyukyn de 
years there were nine other editions. Worde, London, 1509. 

A French Bible appeared in 1487 ; 


the root of their neighbour s gourd. Tyndale sharply resented 
any attempt to tamper with his work, and claimed the sole 
power to amend it ; but Coverdale, in the preface to his Diglott 
Testament, avows, " Yet, forasmuch as I am but a private man, 
and am obedient unto the higher powers, I refer the reformation 
and amendment thereof unto the same, and to such as excel in 
authority and knowledge." 1 These words should scarcely have 
been written by a skilful and painstaking translator, conscious 
of doing his best in his very responsible task. Were we not 
assured of his honesty and simple-heartedness, we should regard 
him as guilty of wretched obsequiousness, when, after all his 
toil, patience, and prayers, he ends his royal dedication of his 
Bible by the morbid avowal, " I thought it my duty, and to 
belong unto my allegiance, when I had translated the Bible, not 
only to dedicate this translation unto your highness, but wholly 
to commit it unto the same, to the intent that, if anything therein 
be translated amiss, it may stand in your grace s hands to 
amend it, to improve 2 it, yea, and clean to reject it, if your godly 
wisdom shall think it necessary." Though all this protestation 
is undoubtedly genuine, it indicates a marvellous facility of 
temperament, the absence of all self-reliance, a morbid prone- 
ness to self-depreciation, and a total want of ambition to be 
earliest in suggestion or first in progress. But he took his own 
place, and willingly filled it without envy, jealousy, or un- 
charitableness, and heartily did he welcome any coadjutor or 
successor. Provided the work was done, he did not covet iden 
tification with it, though he did not publish anonymously as did 
Tyndale at first. Tyndale would not have become a translator 
at all if he could not have rendered directly from the original 
texts ; but Coverdale, with lowlier aim, scrupled not to confess 
on his first title-page that his Bible was " translated out of 
Douche and Latyn into Englishe." Tyndale s convictions were 
firm, and he was ever ruled by them ; but Coverdale was so 
flexible as to say, " here the Hebrues begynnethe X Psalm," 
and yet to mark the next Psalm as the tenth also, according to 

1 Prologue to the New Testament, or reject, as in his own version of 2 
printed by Francis Regnault, 1838. Tim. iv,2, "improve, rebuke, exhort," 
- " Improve," (improbo) to condemn and also in Tyndale. 

xvii.] COVERDALE. 25 


the other numeration ; and he could note, in reference to a 
portion of the fourteenth Psalm found in the Vulgate, " these 
thre verses are not in the Hebrue," and yet he puts them 
without hesitation into his text. In his professed translation 
of the Vulgate New Testament, he forsakes the form of the 
Lord s Prayer in St. Luke, and, unfaithful to his purpose as 
told on his title-page, he follows the Greek, but he admits the 
inconsistency in his Preface. In his Prologue he quietly ac 
cepted " Vulgarius" from a strange error of Erasmus, 1 who gave 
Theophylact a name derived from his diocese of Bulgaria. 
Quaintly and earnestly he opens his soul to the reader : " If, 
when thou readest this or any other like book, thou chance to 
find any letter altered and changed, either in the Latin or 
English (for the turning of a letter is a fault soon committed in 
the print), then take thy pen and mend it, considering that 
thou art as much bound so to do as I am to correct all the 
rest." And the concluding words are the coinage of his heart : 
" And what edifying soever thou receivest at any man s hand, 
consider that it is no man s doing, but cometh even of the 
goodness of God, to whom only be praise and glory." 2 

Miles Coverdale was born about 1488 in the North Riding 
of Yorkshire, and probably in the district that gave him his 
own name, Cover-dale, which lay in what was called Richmond- 
shire. Of his youth and early life nothing is known, though 
Hoker 3 describes him as " from his childhood given to learning, 
wherein he profited much." He was, at a fitting age, attached 
to the Convent of the Augustines at Cambridge, 4 and, accord 
ing to Tanner, was admitted in 1514 to priest s orders at 
Norwich by John, Bishop of Chalcedon. Barnes, who became 
Prior in 1523, at length espoused the reformed doctrines, and 
his influence brought many around him over to his views. 

1 Erasmus who, in Latinizing his be fully borne out. Drununoud s 

own Dutch name, had made two Erasmus, vol. I, pp. 315, 316. 

blunders, does not get very well 2 Prologue to the reader, Diglott. 

out of the oversight of taking the 3 Catalogue of the Bishops of 

geographical term for a proper Exeter. 

name. His assertion that his MS. 4 This convent shared the fate of 

was all but illegible is said not to many similar establishments in 1 r>31). 


When or how Coverdale got into the good graces of Crumwell, 
to whom he styles himself " your poor child," we have no means 
of ascertaining, but at an early period he enjoyed his patronage. 
In a letter dated 2Gth August, 1527, he writes to Crumwell, 
" If I knew that my coming to London might stand with your 
favour, truly the bird was never gladder of the day than I 
would be to come. It remains with you to command as you 
will the abilities of your Miles. Tuus quantus quantus Milo 
Coverdalus." : At a later period, in making a request to him 
for his printer, his appeal is, " according to your most loving 
and favourable manner of old." He attended along with other 
anxious inquirers the meetings held at the White Horse, a 
building close to St. John s College, and placed so conveniently 
that members of King s and Queen s might enter it without 
being observed, and which, on account of the Lutheran notions 
held by many who frequented it, was often, as Foxe says, 
called " Germany." Their opinions spread, and their zeal grew. 
Barnes 2 was publicly arrested, and search was made in the 
University for heretical or Lutheran books ; but Dr. Farman, 
of Queen s, gave timely notice to the suspected parties. In the 
meantime Coverdale escaped annoyance, probably through 
Crumwell s influence, though he had so far committed himself 
that he followed Barnes to London, and was occupied with 
him in the Fleet Prison in the preparation of his defence. He 
continued to maintain his evangelical profession, threw off his 
monastic habit, left his convent, and, in the words of Bale, 
" while others dedicated themselves in part only, he gave 
himself wholly up to the preaching of the Gospel." His argu 
ments and appeals as he laboured at Bumstead in Essex made 
converts, some of whom, on being arrested and examined by 
Bishop Tunstall, laid the blame on Sir Miles Coverdale and his 
discourses, 3 which opposed the mass, the confessional, and the 
worship of images. Thomas Topley, an Augustine friar of 
Stoke Clare, confessed, when examined in 1528, that having 
heard Sir Miles Coverdale preach, "his mind was sore with 
drawn from the blessed sacrament, insomuch that he took it 

1 State Papers, vol. VII, No. 67. 3 On the title Sir, as given to a 

2 See page 1G7. priest, see pages 118, 119. 


but for the remembrance of Christ s body." Such accusations, 
made before a tribunal so terrible showed the reformer that he 
was no longer perfectly safe in England, and he went across to 
the Continent. According to Foxe s record, he met Tyndale in 
Hamburg, and stayed with him from Easter to December, 1529, 
in the house of a " worshipful widow," Mistress Margaret Van 
Emmerson, during a violent epidemic, and helped him to 
translate the Pentateuch. 1 But the gossip, though circumstan 
tially told, has no corroborative support, and, wanting coherence, 
is not in some points very credible. Coverdale may have met 
Tyndale somewhere on the Continent, but from his ignorance 
of Hebrew he could have given him only such subordinate help 
for the Old Testament as Friar Roye had afforded for the New. 
There is no allusion either by Tyndale or Fryth to Coverdale s 
presence or assistance in any place or at any time, and surely 
these two martyrs cannot be accused of any unworthy pre 
judice created by rivalry in Biblical labour. Besides, there is 
no proof that Tyndale visited Hamburg after his second journey 
to it in 1524, and he could not come to that city, " minding to 
print his translation of Deuteronomy in it," as Foxe so naively 
relates, for at that epoch it had no printing press, and ap 
parently no books were printed in it before 1536. Tyndale 
may have gone to the northern seaport on some other errand, 
and may have met Coverdale ; yet Foxe, who relates the 
anecdote about this abode in Hamburg from Easter to December, 
places Tyn dale s interview with Packington at Antwerp about 
the middle of August in the same year. 2 Genesis was printed 
in January, 1530, at Marburg, and Tyndale could scarcely be 
absent from that city for so long a period as nine months of 
the previous year, for he must have been preparing his trans 
lation, and superintending it at press. 

From this period, in 1528 till 1535, the places of Coverdale s 
residence are unknown. It has been conjectured by Foxe 
that he visited Denmark. But if the date assigned by the 

1 There seems to have been, ac- of a senator ; and there was a 
cording to Offor s testimony, what- "sweating sickness" ill 1529. 
ever be its value, a lady of that name 2 See pages 179, 180. 
at this time in Hamburg, the widow 

VOL. I. R 


Royal Commissioners, who first published the following letter, 
be accepted, he must have gone back for a time to his old 
convent, and through his powerful patron his return might 
involve him in little peril. The letter is addressed to Crumwell, 
" his singular good master," " From the Augustines this May 
day," and subscribed " your chyld and beedman in Jesu Chryst, 
Frere Myles Cov dale." Its date is supposed to be 1531, or 
1532, though it maybe earlier; and after the custom of his day, 
he writes, " For now I begyne to taste of Holy Schryptures: now 
(honour be to God) I am sett to the most swete smell of holy 
lettyres, 1 with the godly savour of holy and awncyent Doctoures, 
unto whose knowledge I cannot attayne, without dyversyte of 
bookys, as is not unknown to your most excellent wysdome. 
Nothyng in the world I desyre but books as concerning my 
lernynge. They once had, I do not dowte but Allmyghty God 
schall perfourme that in me, whych He, of Hys most plentyfull 
favour and grace, haith begone." 2 Whatever truth may be in 
the surmises just mentioned, it is certain that Coverdale was in 
obscurity for a considerable period, but that time had not been 
wasted. During his earlier residence on the Continent he must 
have learned German, 3 and thus prepared himself for his heavy 
task, which, in all likelihood, he had already commenced. 
At least the letter just quoted, while it may allude to Biblical 
study generally, would seem by its special terms to imply 
that he had made some progress with the translation. He 
must again have gone over to the Continent, though the date 
is uncertain, and there undisturbed and withdrawn from 
public notice, he finished his great work. 

We have already seen that, on the 24th of May, 1530, a 
council was held at Westminster, which, among other topics, 
discussed the question of an Authorized Bible a question 
forced upon it by the conviction of the people that the king 

1 Latimer says, referring to the Crumwell s death, he had sucli 

period of his conversion, "from that knowledge of German that he was 

time forward I began to smell the at once admitted to the benefice of 

"Word of God." Bergzabern, where he preached till 

J State Papers, vol. I, p. 383. the death of Henry VIII. 

3 When he went abroad after 


had promised them such a gift, and by the rapid circulation of 
Tyndale s Testament, the suppression of which was sternly 
commanded. The people were longing for the Scriptures in 
the mother tongue ; and while their longings were recognized, 
they were virtually set at nought. The decision of the council, 
which, after a conference of twelve days, began by fulminating 
against Tyndale s Testament, was formally embodied in a 
royal proclamation, and Warham, the Primate, immediately 
followed with another document, which ended with a bill to be 
read by preachers, and to the following effect : 

" Forasmuch that it was reported unto the king s highnes, 
that there is engendered an opynyon in diverse of his subjects, 
that it is his duetie to cawse the Scripture of God to be trans 
lated into the Englishe tonge to be communicate unto the people ; 
& that the prelates & also his highnes doo wronge in denying 
or letting of the same ; his highnes therefor willed every man 
there present in the said assemble, freely and frankly to shewe & 
open unto him what might be proved and confirmed by Scrip 
ture & holy doctours in that behalf, to the entent that his 
highnes, as he there openly protested, myght conforme himself 
thereunto, mynding to doo his dutie towards his people, as he 
wolde they shulde doo their duties towards him. In whiche 
matter, after Scriptures declared, holy doctours & auctors al 
leged, & read, & all thinges sayde that might be on both sidys, 
&, for bothe parties spoken, deduced, & brought furthe; fynally 
it appered, that the having of the hole Scripture in Englisshe 
is not necessarye to cristen men, but that without having any 
suche Scripture endevoring themself to doo well, & to applye 
their myndes to take and followe such leassons as the precher 
techith theym, & soo lerned by his mowthe, may as well 
edifye spiritually in their soules, as if they had the same 
Scripture in Englishe ; & like as the having of Scripture in the 
vulgar tongis, & in the common peoples handes, hath ben by 
holy fathers of the church e heretofore in some tymes thought 
mete and convenient ; soo at another tyme it hath ben 
thought to holy fathers not expedient to bo communicate 
amongst them. 

Wherein forasmuche as the kings highnes, by the advise & 


deliberation of his coimceill, & the agrement of great learned 
men, thinkith in his conscience that the divulging of this 
Scripture at this tyme in Englisshe tongc to be committed to 
the people, considering such pestilente books & so evill 
opynyons as be now spred amonge them, shulde rather be to 
their further confusion & destruction then the edification of 
their soules ; & that as holy doctours testifie upon suche like 
considerations, the semblable hath been doon in tymes past, it 
was thought ther in that assemble to all & singular in that 
congregation, that the kings highnes & the prelats in soo 
dooing, not suffering the Scripture to be divulgid & communi 
cate in the Englishe tonge unto the people at this tyme, dotli 
well, & (the preacher was to add) I also think & judge the 
same, exhorting and moving you, that in consideration his 
highnes did there openlye saye & protest, that he wolde cause 
the Newe Testament to be by lerned men faithfully & purely 
translated into Englishe tonge, to the extent he might have it in 
his handes redy to be gevyn to his people, as he might se their 
manners & behaviour mete, apte, and convenient to receyve 
the same, that ye will soo detest thes perniciouse boks, so 
abliore thcs heresies & riewe opynions, soo declyne from arro- 
gancy of knowledge & understanding of Scripture after your 
fantasies, and shewe your self in the meane tyme without 
grudging or murmerying, perswading unto your selfe the very 
truth. Avhich is this, that ye cannot require or demande Scrip 
ture to be divulged in the Englishe tonge, otherwise then upon 
the discretions of the superiours, soo as whensoever they think 
in their conscience it may doo yowe good, they may & doo well 
to geve it unto you, and whensoever it shall be seen otherwise 
unto them, they do amissc in suffering you to have it." 

The king s implied promise to authorize an English Bible 
was too precious to be forgotten, and Latimer took an early 
opportunity of briskly refreshing the royal memory. On the 
1st of December, 1530, he sent an epistle to his Majesty of 
marvellous boldness, fidelity, and earnestness. Several manu 
script copies of it are still in existence, showing that it 
must have had some circulation. The undaunted reformer 
thus proceeds, without hesitation : 


" How little do they fear the terrible judgment of Almighty 
God ! And specially they which boast themselves to be guides and 
captains unto others, and challenge unto themselves the knowledge of 
holy Scripture, yet will neither show the truth themselves (as they be 
bound), neither suffer them that would. . . . And they will, as 
much as in them lieth, debar, not only the "Word of God, which 
David calleth a light to direct, and show every man how to order 
his affections and lusts according to the commandments of God, but 
also by their subtile wiliness they instruct, move, and provoke in a 
manner all kings in Christendom, to aid, succour, and help them in 
this their mischief. And especially in this your realm they have so 
blinded your liege people and subjects with their laws, customs, 
ceremonies, and barbarous glosses, and punished them with cursings, 
excommunications, and other corruptions (corrections I would say). 
And now, at the last, when they see that they cannot prevail against 
the open truth (which the more it is persecuted, the more it increaseth 
by their tyranny) they have made it treason to your noble Grace to 
have the Scripture in English. 

" This, most gracious King, when I considered, and also your favour 
able and gentle nature, I was bold to write this rude, homely, and 
simple letter unto your Grace, trusting that you will accept my true 
and faithful mind even as it is. 

" Your Grace may see what means and craft the spiritualty (as 
they will be called) imagine, to break and withstand the Acts which 
were made in your Grace s last Parliament against their superfluities. 
Wherefore they that thus do, your Grace may know them not to be 
true followers of Christ. And though I named the spiritualty to be 
corrupt with this unchristian ambition, yet I mean not all to be 
faulty therein, for there be some good of them ; neither would I that 
your Grace should take away the goods due to the Church, but 
take away all evil persons from the goods, and set better in their 

"And they whose works be naught, dare not come to this light, but 
go about to stop it and hinder it, letting as much as they may that the 
Holy Scriptures should not be read in our mother tongue, saying 
that it would cause heresy and insurrection ; and so they persuade, at 
the least way they would fain persuade, your Grace to keep it back. . . 
But as concerning this matter, other men have showed your Grace 
their minds, how necessary it is to have the Scripture in English. 
The which thing also your Grace hath promised by your last procla- 


mation : the which promise I pray God that your gracious Highness 
may shortly perform, even to-day, before to-morrow. Nor let the 
wickedness of these worldly men detain you from your godly purpose 
and promise. 

"As concerning your last proclamation, prohibiting such books, 
the very true cause of it and chief counsellors were they, whose evil 
living and cloaked hypocrisy these books uttered and disclosed. And, 
howbeit, that there were three or four that would have had the Scrip 
ture to go forth in English, yet it happened there, as it is evermore 
seen, that the most part overcometh the better. And so it might be 
that these men did not take this proclamation as yours, but as theii S, 
set forth in your name, as they have done many times before, which 
hath put your realm in great hinderance and trouble, and brought it 
in great penury. But what marvel is it that they, being so nigh of 
your counsel and so familiar with your lords, should provoke both 
your Grace and them to prohibit these books, which before, by their 
own authority, have forbidden the New Testament under pain of 
everlasting damnation 1 For such is their manner, to send a thousand 
men to hell ere they send one to God. 

"And take heed whose counsels your Grace doth take in this 
matter, that you may do that God commandeth, and not that seemeth 
good in your own sight without the Word of God that your Grace 
may be found acceptable in His sight, and one of the members of His 
Church ; and, according to the office that He hath called your Grace 
unto, you may be found a faithful minister of His gifts, and not a 
defender of His faith : for He will not have it defended by man or 
man s power, but by His Word only, by the which He hath evermore 
defended it, and that by a way far above man s power, or reason, as 
all the stories of the Bible make mention. 

"Wherefore, gracious King, remember yourself; have pity 
upon your soul ; and think that the day is even at hand when you 
shall give account of your office, and of the blood that hath been 
shed with your sword. . . . The Spirit of God preserve your 
Grace ! " 

Coverdale may, therefore, have been the more anxious to 
hasten on the work, for change of opinion had been rapidly 
spreading in England. The authority of the Italian Pontiff 
had also been broken, when, by the Convocation of 1531, Henry 
was acknowledged as supreme head of the Church, and the 

xvii.] THE CONVOCA TION OF 1534. 263 

papal jurisdiction was superseded by the royal prerogative, or 
rather was absorbed into it. 1 The desire for the Scriptures in 
English could not be repressed, the few copies in circulation 
created a desire for more. Convocation, or rather the bishops, 
abbots, and friars of the Upper House of the Province of 
Canterbury, which met on the 19th of December, 1534, "did 
unanimously consent that the most reverend father the Arch 
bishop make instance in their names to the king, that his 
majesty would vouchsafe for the increase of the faith of his 
subjects, to decree and command that all his subjects in whose 
possession any books of suspect doctrine were, especially in 
the vulgar language, imprinted beyond or on this side the sea, 
should be warned within three months to bring those in before 
persons to be appointed by the king, under a certain pain to 
be limited by the king ; and that, moreover, his Majesty would 
vouchsafe to decree that the sacred Scriptures should be trans 
lated into the English tongue by certain honest and learned 
men, named for that purpose by his Majesty, and should be 
delivered to the people according to their learning." 2 The last 
portion of the memorial was bitterly opposed by Gardyner and 
his party, for they maintained that all " heresies and extra 
vagancies sprang from the free use of the Scriptures." The 
Convocation itself, apparently, did not feel its ground to be 
very secure ; for while it ventured on one bold step to ask for 
a translation of Scripture it attempted to guard its decision 
against apprehended abuses, and forbade such inquiries and 
discussions as the free circulation of the English Bible at that 
time must certainly produce. It prohibited the subjects from 
" publicly disputing, or in any manner contending, concerning 
the Catholic faith, or the articles of faith, or the sacred Scrip 
ture, or its meaning." The attempt was vain, for discussions 
could not but spring up in the divided state of religious 
opinion. The old and the new had come into sharp conflict, 
and the new, suddenly conscious of its strength, was tempted 

1 The title, Defender of the Faith, against the Lollards nos zelo fidei 

of which Henry was so proud, had Oatholicoe cnjus sumus et esse volu- 

beeii virtually assumed by Richard mus Defensores. 
II in a royal commission granted a Wilkiu s Concilia, vol. Ill, p. 770. 


to exhibit and test it unduly, like the lame man healed by the 
apostle, who, not content with the common exercise of restored 
physical power, is described as " leaping " in wanton thankful 
ness while he entered into the temple " praising God." The 
result of this petition of Convocation is not definitely known, 
and probably it was not presented in form to the king. But 
the archbishop, to seize the opportunity, at once set about the 
work himself. The story told by Strype is to the following 
effect, that the primate was determined " that a translation of 
the Bible should be published, and that the way he managed 
was this He took an [old] 1 translation of the New Testament 
(Tyndale s) to begin with. This he divided into nine or ten 
parts, causing each part to be written at large in a paper book, 
and then to be sent to the best learned bishops and others, to 
the intent that they should make a perfect correction thereof; 
and when they had done so, to restore them to him at Lambeth 
by a certain time. One of these parts (the Acts of the Apostles) 
was, it seems, sent to Stokesley, Bishop of London. When the 
day fixed w r as come, they all sent in their portions to the 
archbishop except Stokesley; and the archbishop, sending to 
know why he had not sent in his part like the rest, Stokesley 
returned the following answer : " I marvel what my Lord of 
Canterbury meaneth, that thus abuseth the people, in giving 
them liberty to read the Scriptures, which doth nothing else 
but infect them with heresy. I have bestowed never an hour 
upon my portion, nor never will ; and, therefore, my lord .shall 
have this book again, for I will never be guilty of bringing the 
common people into error." Mr. Thomas Lawney, 2 chaplain to 
the old Duke of Norfolk, standing by and hearing the arch- 

1 In Foxe s MSS., to which Strype in "Wilkiu s. Foxe may have got 

formally refers as his only authority, the clause from some inexact or un- 

the word " old " does not occur. But corrected scroll, but the injunctions 

the "Injunctions" of 1536 given in ascribed to Crumwell were appar- 

Foxe, "that every parson orproprie- eutly never published, 

tary of any parish church was to 2 Lawney had been one of the 

provide a whole Bible in Latin and scholars chosen by Wolsey for his 

also in English before the first of College at Oxford, and had been ini- 

August, to be laid in the choir," are prisoned in 1528. 
not found in Cranmer s Register, nor 


bishop speak of Stokesley s untowardness, said, " I can tell 
your grace why my Lord of London will not bestow any labour 
or pains this way : your grace knoweth well that his portion is 
a piece of the New Testament. But he being persuaded that 
Christ had not bequeathed him anything in his Testament, 
thought it were madness to bestow any labour or pains where 
no gain was to be gotten. And besides this, it is the Acts of 
the Apostles, which were simple poor fellows, and therefore my 
Lord of London disdained to have to do with any of them." x 
The scheme seems to have miscarried for some reason, though, 
according to Morrice, Cranmer s private secretary, "every man 
sent to Lambeth their parts corrected," 2 but the purposed 
edition never appeared. 

Cranmer s project of getting a version made through epis 
copal co-operation has been frequently ascribed to the influence 
of the Convocation of 1536. But the opinion is erroneous, for, 
on the 1st of June, 1535, Bishop Gardyner, writing from Wal- 
tham, informs Crumwell, " I have finished the translations of 
St. Luke and St. John, wherein I bestowed great labour, though 
I had as great cause as any man to desire rest and quiet for 
the health of my body." 3 Bishop Gardyner seems to have 
been lying under some cloud of political suspicions at the time. 
He " laments and wails his chance and fortune," the king fearing 
in "me a coloured doubleness," and refers to something 
alleged to have been done by him in the house of Syon, a 
house notorious for its opposition to the divorce, the supremacy, 
and all change. And therefore he sent the notice of his com 
pleted revision, not to the primate, as the other revisers did, 
but to the powerful Secretary. 

These things were not " done in a corner," and they must 
have been known to Coverdale s patrons, who were prompting 
him to redeem the time. During this period he had not been 
idle, and some patient and industrious months must have been 
given to the labour. It must have commenced before the 


1 Strype s Life of Cranmer, vol. I, 3 The holograph letter is preserved 
p. 71, Oxford, 1848. in the Crumwell Correspondence, 

2 Nicholl s Narrative, Camden bundle W, State Papers, 1, 430. 
Soc. ed., p. 277. 


petition of Convocation, for from that date less than a year 
elapsed before the Bible was published. The volume could 
not have been prepared during this brief interval, for on such 
a supposition which one writer has adopted, there must have 
been, in no figurative sense, " an invisible power guiding the 
thoughts and speeding the pen of the translator." 1 Apparently 
none but his immediate friends and advisers were aware of his 
doings or divined his intentions. He had retired into tem 
porary seclusion, and a friendly cloud concealed him. As the 
harvest springs from seed which germinates in darkness, so 
the entire English Bible, translated no one knows where, pre 
sented itself unheralded and unanticipated at once to national 
notice in 1535. 

The previous months and years had been very eventful. 
The treasonable utterances of the nun of Kent had brought 
her and her accomplices to Tyburn. Some seditious monks 
of the Charterhouse had been remorselessly executed " in 
their habits " ; and the king, as if touched by such scenes of 
blood, had ordered his court into mourning. Wolsey had 
passed into eclipse and death ; Fisher and More had fallen ; 
the heart of popish Europe was filled with indignation and 
bitterness, and there had been symptoms of a continental 
coalition against Henry. The reports of the indescribable vices 
and villanies of some of the religious houses were beginning to 
be known and talked of; many momentous ecclesiastical changes 
had taken place, and more seemed to be impending, for the 
Pope had been transubstantiated into the king ; Cranmer was 
in Canterbury, and Anne Boleyn on the throne ; and the pre 
occupied and distracted people of England had no leisure to 
give the new Bible any formal token of recognition or 

The title-page of the volume that had stolen as a stranger 
into the country names itself thus : " Biblia The Bible : 
that is, the Holy Scripture of the Olde and New Testa 
ment, faithfully & truly translated out of Douche & Latyn 

1 In a letter to Conrad Hubert, sometimes in need of a spur, inas- 
dated Bergzabern, February 20th, much as I am by nature dilatory." 
1545, Coverdale confesses, " I am 

xvii.] CO VEED ALE S BIBLE. 267 

in to Englishe, MDXXXV. S. Paul, ii Tessa iii. Praye for us, 
that the worde of God male have fre passage, & be glorified, 
c. S. Paul, Colloss. iii. Let the worde of Christ dwell in you 
plenteously in all wysdome, c. Josue i, Let not the Boke of 
this lawe departe out of thy mouth, but exercyse thyselfe 
therein daye & nyghte, &c." Then follows a Dedication: " Vnto 
the most victorious Prynce & oure most gracyous soueraigne 
Lorde, kynge Henry the eyght, kynge of Englonde & of 
Fraunce, lorde of Irelonde, &c., Defendour of the Fayth, & 
vnder God the chefe & suppreme heade of the Church of Eng 
londe ; " followed by a prayer that among other blessings 
" multiplication of seed which God gave unto Abraham and 
Sara, his wife, be given unto you, most gracious prince, with 
your dearest just wife and most virtuous princess, Queen 
Anne." " Queen Anne," however, was soon changed into 
" Queen Jane." The Dedication fills five pages, and is signed 
on the last of them, " Your graces humble subiecte & daylye 
oratour, Myles Coverdale." It contains eloquent denunciations 
of Popery, and is exuberant in its laudation of the king. It 
pictures " the blynde bysshope of Rome " as Balaam and 
Caiaphas, and the king as a Moses, a David, a Jehoshaphat, a 
Hezekiah, "yea, as a very good Josiah," revived in his Majesty. 
He stoutly upholds, also, the pre-eminence of the temporal 
sword, and vindicates the sole royal supremacy, there being 
above the king "no other head under God." It also touches 
on themes most pleasing to him, probably including a favour 
able reference to the king s " great business," the divorce, " as 
John durst say unto King Herode, It is not lawful for thee 
to have thy brother s wife." The cases were not at all similar, 
indeed, for Herod s brother was alive when the Baptist pro 
nounced the censure ; but the verse was often quoted in the 
great controversy, which was discussed by statesmen, casuists, 
and divines in so many courts and colleges of Europe. Nor 
was it a divorce in the common sense of the term, but the 
dissolution of a union which, according to the king s friends 
and lawyers, had been void from the beginning, as it had 
never been a valid marriage. The Dedication is followed by 
" A prologe " of five pages and a half, which briefly discusses 

268 THE ENGLISH BIBLE. [ciur. 

the question of translation, enumerates and characterizes the 
various books of the Bible, and is followed by a catalogue of 
them. The lower half of the last page of the volume contains 
" A faute escaped in pryntinge the New Testament," and two 
similar errors are noted at the end of the Song of Solomon. 
The colophon is " prynted in the yeare of oure Lorde MDXXXV, 
and fynished the fourthe daye of October." The volume, 
small folio, is printed in angular black letter, in double 
columns, and a full page contains fifty-seven lines. It con 
sists of six parts : " The first, Genesis to Deuteronomion ; the 
seconde, Joshua to Hester; the thyrde, Job to Solomon s 
Song; the fourth, the Prophets; the fifth, the Apocrypha; and 
the sixth is the New Testament. The Table of Contents fills 
two pages, and is headed with The Bokes of the hole Byble, 
how they are named in Englysh and Latyn, how longe they 
are written in the Allegacions, and how many chapters every 
Boke hath. The contents of the chapters are placed before 
each book, with the exception of Salomon s Ballettes and the 
Lamentacions of Jeremy. The same exception holds in the 
Apocrypha in the case of the Songe of Three Children, the 
Story of Susanna, and the Story of Bel ; but " contents " are 
placed before each chapter of the Apocryphal Esther. There 
are no verses, but paragraphs are marked and distinguished by 
capital letters on the margin. There are numerous woodcuts 
in the text, the half of the first page of Genesis representing 
six " dayes worke," and there are many ornamented capitals. 
At the end of Deuteronomy there is a map of the size of two 
leaves curiously constructed with the north to the bottom 
and the south to the top, and headed, " The descripcion of 
the lande of promes called Palestina, Canaan, or the holy 

The Apocrypha has this brief preface " The Bokes & 
Treatises which among the Fathers of olde are not rekened to 
be of like authoritie with the other Bokes of the Byble, nether 
are they found e in the Canon of the Hebrue" with a note at 
the foot of the page, " Unto these also belongeth Baruc, whom 
we haue set amonge the prophetcs next unto Jeremy, because 
he was his scrybe, & in his tyme." The next page has " The 


Translatoure unto the Reader " " These bokes (good reader) 
which be called Apocrypha, are not iudged amonge the 
doctours to be of like reputacion with the other scripture, as thou 
mayest perceaue by S. Jerome in epistola ad Paulinum ; & the 
chefe cause thereof is this : there be many places in them that 
seme to be repugnaunt vnto the open & manyfest trueth in the 
other bokes of the byble. Nevertheles, I have not gathered 
them together to the intent that I wolde haue them despysed, 
or little sett by, or that I shulde thinke them false, for I am 
not able to proue it : Yee, I doute not verely, yf they were 
equally conferred with the other open scripture (tyme, place, 
& circumstaunce in all thinges considered) they shulde nether 
seme contrary, ner be vntruly & perliersly aledged. Treuth it 
is : a man s face can not be sene so wel in a water, as in a 
fayre glasse ; nether can it be shewed so clearly in a water that 
is stered or rnoued, as in a styll water. These & many other 
darck places of scripture haue bene sore stered & myxte with 
blynde & cuvetous opjnnions of men which haue cast soche a 
myst afore the eyes of the symple that as longe as they be not 
conferred with the other places of scripture, they shall not 
seme other wyse to be vnderstonde, then as cuvetousnes 
expoundeth them. But who so euer thou be that readest 
scripture, let the holy goost by thy teacher, & let one text 
expounde another vnto the : As for soch dreames, visions, & 
darck sentences as be hyd from thy vnderstondinge, commytte 
them vnto God, and make no articles of them : But let the 
playne text be thy gyde, and the sprete of God (which is 
the author therof) shal lede the in all trueth. 

"As for the prayer of Salomon (which thou findest not 
herin), the prayer of Azarias, & the swete songe that he & his 
two felowes songe in the fyre : the first (namely, the prayer of 
Salomon) readest thou in the eight chapter of the thirde boke 
of the kynges, so that it appeareth not to be Apocryphurn : 
The other prayer & songe (namely, of the thre children) haue 
I not founde amonge eny of the interpreters, but onely in the 
olde latyn texte, which reporteth it to be of Theodotio s trans- 
lacion. Nevertheles, both because of those that be weake & 
scrupulous, & for their sakes also that love soch swete songes 


of thankes2;euinge : I haue not left them out : to the intent 

o o 

that the one shulde haue no cause to complayne, & that the 
other also might haue the more occasion to geue thankes vnto 
God in aduersite, as the thre children dyd in the fyre. Grace 
be with the. Amen." The prayer of Manasses is left out, as 
the Zurich Bible had omitted it ; but before the canonical 
Lamentations is set this preface, " And it came to passe (after 
Israel was brought into captivitie & Jerusalem destroyed) 
that Jeremy the prophet sat weepynge & mourning, & making 
his mone (moan) in Jerusalem, so that with an heavy herte 
he sighed & sobbed, sayenge." 

The Bible has no name of place or printer, and neither 
place nor printer is ascertained to perfect satisfaction. It 
is sometimes supposed to have been printed by Christian 
Egenolph, at Frankfort. 1 The evidence is based on the simil 
arity between some woodcuts bearing the monogram of Hans 
Sebald Beham of Nuremberg used by Egenolph, and those 
found in Coverdale; but an examination shows at once that they 
are not the same, those in Coverdale being only copies. The 
type in Egenolph s German Bible is not the same in body with 
that used in Coverdale. Offor puts in a plea for Cologne as the 
place of printing ; but there is a very strong presumption that 
Froschover of Zurich, who printed the edition of 1550, also 
printed that of 1535. The two larger sizes of letters in the 
Bible are found in his other works ; but the watermarks in 
the leaves of these works differ from those found in the Bible. 
Froschover was at a later day the friend and protector of 
the Marian exiles, and boarded twelve of them, including 
Humphrey, Professor of Divinity at Oxford, and Bishop 
Parkhurst. Several letters of his, dated Oxford, are found 
in the collection published by the Parker Society. 2 He is 
also spoken of by Grindal 3 as " rich enough," and therefore 
fitted to take on him the charge of an expensive work. He 
printed Cranmer s book against Gardyner, John Foxe delivering 
the copy to him. He was, in short, in position and character, 

1 As by Botfield, Miscellanies, &c., 3 Remains of Archbishop Grindal, 
p. 43, p. 220, Parker Soc. ed. 

2 Original Letters, vol. II, p. 719. 


such a man as might be entrusted with a work to be done in 
secret, and involving probably a considerable outlay. Besides, 
as Coverdale s version rests mainly on the Swiss-German Bible, 
printed by Froschover, in Zurich, we may infer that the trans 
lator s retreat had been for a period in that city, and from 
typographical evidence that his translation was completed and 
printed there. 1 

The year 1535 was, in one sense, a year of promise. Tyndale 
was in prison indeed ; but Coverdale s Bible was published, and 
there were also issued these royal injunctions for the University 
of Cambridge, indicating the dawn of a new era. " In each 
college and hall there shall be two daily public lectures, one of 
Greek, the other of Latin. . . . No lectures shall be read 
upon any of the doctors who have written upon the Master of 
the Sentences, but all divinity lectures shall be upon the 

1 The Bible by Coverdale, 1535. By Francis Fry, F.S.A., Lond. 1867. 


O OME peculiar points in the history of this volume may be 
noted. It has two distinct title-pages, one in the type of the 
volume, and therefore the original one; the other in the English 
black letter of the period, and therefore a reprinted one, with 
dates of 1535 and 1536. There are also two copies with a fac 
simile of the title of 1535, but with a very important clause 
left out, while the leaves that come after are in English type. 
These reprints give the list of Books on the reverse of the 
seventh leaf- the first title has it on its own reverse. The 
name of Queen Anne is found in some copies, and the name 
of Queen Jane in others. Various surmises have been thrown 
out as to the causes of this early reprint of the preliminary 
furniture. It has been sometimes argued, as by Lewis, 1 Bot- 
field, 2 Walter, 3 and Anderson, 4 that, after the volume had 
been printed, its publication was postponed on account of 
the trial and execution of Queen Anne who was beheaded 
19th May, 153G. Her name had been in the original dedica 
tion, and it was now thought necessary to expunge it. Eight 
months must in this way be supposed to elapse between the 
period when the volume was finished, in October, 1535, and its 
issue in England with Queen Jane in the dedication, 1536. To 
support this conjecture stress is laid on the copy in the British 
Museum, in which " Anne " has been made into "Jane " with a 
pen ; but any possessor of a copy might, if he pleased, effect such 
a change, and no argument can be based upon it, unless it be 
supposed that the awkward alteration was introduced into the 

1 History, p. 100, London, 1818. 3 Letter to Herbert Marsh, p. 73. 

2 Cathedral Libraries, p. 193. 4 Annals, I, p. 563. 


whole edition. The copy at Sion College has Jane printed as 
part of the original text, and with the date 1536. But the 
title, as Mr. Fry l plainly shows from difference of type and 
from the misprints, belongs to the edition printed by Nycolson 
in 1537, and by a common trick it was put into an earlier 
issue, as if to produce a complete copy. In fact, all the "Jane" 
leaves are from the same edition, the English reprint. All the 
known copies that have the dedication to King Henry VIII, of 
date 1535 and 1536, read Queen Anne. There is therefore 
little doubt that the Bible was issued in 1535, with a title- 
page and preliminary matter in the same foreign type as the 
body or text of the volume. The editions found with the title 
and following leaves in English black letter, bearing the date 
both of 1535 and 1536, only show that the first title and pre 
fatory matter had been on purpose superseded, and that very 
soon after the arrival of the Bible in this country. The 
reasons of the change in the title-page itself will be afterwards 

Some interesting particulars about this first complete English 
Bible may be gleaned from itself, and from Coverdale s dedica 
tion of his edition of 1550. 

And, first, true to his temperament, he was not the 
originator ; but is ever forward to make and repeat 
this acknowledgment : " To say the truth before God, it was 
neither my labour nor desire to have this work put into 
my hand, nevertheless, when I was instantly required, 
though I could not do so well as I would, I thought it 
yet my duty to do my best, and that with a good will, for 
the which cause (according as I was desired), anno 1534, I 
took the more upon me to set forth 2 this special translation ;" 
and he adds, " I was boldened in God sixteen years ago 
to labour faithfully in the same." What is more striking, 
the use of the Douche and Latin versions had been prescribed 
to him, his singular words about his predecessors being, 
"whom I have been the more glad to follow, according as 

1 The Bible by Coverdale, p. 17, phrase for publishing. The edition 
&c., London, 1867. of 1537 has, "set forth with the 

3 " Set forth" was Coverdale s kynge s most gracious license." 
VOL. I. S 


I was required." In his first dedication his utterance also 
is, " Trusting in His infinite goodness, that He would bring 
my simple and rude labour herein to good effect, therefore, 
as the Holy Ghost moved other men to do the cost hereof, 
so was I boldened in God to labour in the same." The 
persons so referred to are unknown. For prudential reasons 
their names were not divulged, and probably they did not 
covet the perilous notoriety. There must have been within 
the church a party of covert inquirers who might encourage 
a translation of the Bible as the charter of ecclesiastical 
liberty and reform. Crumwell, who became Secretary of 
State in 1534, had been Coverdale s tutelary genius, had 
directed his studies, and had certainly befriended him in this 
undertaking. Probably others like-minded, feeling that 
Tyndale and his work had been proscribed by name, and 
" all manner of evil " said against them, may have also 
urged him on, and sympathized with him in his literary 
labour. It may even be believed that Sir Thomas More- 
knew of the translation, and of its earlier progress. In the 
letter first quoted, 1 Coverdale speaks of " Master Moore s 
kinsman being ill at ease under fever," and in the second 
he adverts to a conversation held in his house on Easter- 
Eve, which shows that there must have been some degree 
of intimacy between him and the Chancellor. More did 
not wholly oppose translations in theory, but objected to 
Tyndale s so strongly because it wanted several ecclesiasti 
cal terms. Tyndale s Testament had been condemned already, 
and the higher powers could not be expected to retract 
their sentence ; so that if there was to be an English Bible, 
it must emanate from a new and untainted source. 
What would not be tolerated as coming from Tyndale, might 
be accepted as coming from Coverdale, whose name was 
new and who had few palpable and compromising antecedents. 
But Mr. Froucle outsteps all probability when he repre 
sents the king as in some way originating this version, 
and as acting on his own responsibility, " his patience being 
exhausted " in expectation of providing a Bible for his 

1 See page 256. 


subjects. 1 Henry, however, had no hand in the produc 
tion of the volume, though it was dedicated to him. The 
dedication, indeed, declares that " Josias commanded straytly 
(as youre grace doth) that the lawe of God shulde be redde and 
taught vnto all the people." But the reference is to the royal 
proclamation, of which Latimer reminded the king in a letter 
dated 1st December, 1530, written after a meeting of Convoca 
tion. 2 At the close of 1534!, Convocation indeed, as we have seen, 
petitioned the king for an English translation of the Scrip 
tures, but there is no proof that the petition was laid before 
him ; and if he received it, he certainly took no action upon it. 
Nor had the first issue of Coverdale s version exposed for sale 
the words "cum privilegio" on its front, as the historian wrongly 
asserts. The original title-pages contain no clause of this 
nature, for " the king s most gracious license " first appeared 
on the edition printed at South wark in 1537. Mr. Froude also 
adduces the frontispiece in proof of his statements, " it being 
equally remarkable and more emphatic in the recognition of 
the share in the work done by the king." The eloquent annal 
ist makes here an unaccountable mistake, for the frontispiece 
described by him, " the Almighty in the clouds, and Cranmer. 
and Crumwell, in prominent positions on each side," &c., is 
that of the Great Bible of 1539, and not that of Coverdale at 
all. Coverdale s is modest in comparison : at the base the 
king occupies the centre, the royal arms under him, and a 
square space filled with the title of the Bible over his head, 
his sword in his one hand, and in his other hand a volume 
which the bishops are presenting to him, while the peers are 
looking on ; St. Paul is at the one corner with the scroll, " I 
am not ashamed of the Gospel"; and King David, harp in hand, 
at the other, with the scroll, " O how sweete are thy wordes to 
my throte " ; at the top are the Hebrew letters representing 
Jehovah ; on the one side are the first transgressors ashamed of 
their nakedness, and the serpent coiled over their head, with a 
scroll, " In what daye soever thou eatest thereof thou shalt 
dye"; on the other side is the Saviour crushing with his heel 
the serpent s head, with the scroll, " This is my deare Sonne, 
1 History, III, p. 79. " See page 261. 


in whom I delyte, hear him." This frontispiece of Coverdalc 
is a cheap and worthless woodcut, poor in conception and in 
artistic in execution, and, therefore, very unlike the spirited 
and fine engraving by Hans Holbein in the Great Bible, with 
which Mr. Froude confounds it, and which will be described 
in its place. The other six engravings on both sides of the 
title are only simple scenes from the Old Testament, the Apo 
crypha, and the New Testament. There is, therefore, no proof 
whatever that the king knew of or was concerned at all in the 
origination of Coverdale s Bible. Nor would the translator 
have concealed the royal patronage it was not his habit to 
pass over in silence so great an honour. 

Secondly, Though Coverdale was not the originator of the 
enterprise, he claims to be the one workman. Thus in his 
address to the Christian Reader, "... I was the more 
bold to take it in hand. ... I took the more upon me to 
set forth this special translation. . . . Though it be not 
worthily ministered unto thee by reason of my rudeness, I 
thought it my duty to do my best, and that with a good will. 
. . . I pray God that through my poor ministrations herein, 
I may give them that can do better some occasion so to do. 
. . . Whereinsoever I can perceive by myself, or by the 
information of others, that I have failed, I shall now by the 
help of God overlook it better and amend it." To the king 
his avowal is, " I thought it my duty when I had translated 
the Bible to dedicate this translation unto your highness." 
He therefore did the work as sole translator, any assistance in 
comparison of texts or in carrying the volume through the 
press being of a subordinate nature. But this distinct claim of 
sole authorship, so formally and frequently asserted and 
reiterated in the plainest terms, has not been always accepted, 
and it has been sometimes put aside by unsupported conjectures. 
Whittaker, against all proof, alleges that Coverdale s Bible " is 
properly regarded as the joint production of Tyndale and 
Coverdale," and subjoins what is beyond all belief, " Coverdale, 
assisted by Rogers, who corrected the press, revised the whole 
of Tyndale s work before they printed it," 1 the statement being 
1 Historical and Critical Enquiry, p. 48. 

xvm.] AND OF HALLAM. 277 

a bewildered reference to the Bible of 1537, or the Great Bible 
of 1539. Tyndale would not have coveted such a partnership, 
and could not have tolerated many of Coverdale s renderings. 
Blunt speaks in unintelligible terms of Coverdale s Bible, " as 
being printed abroad from the translation in which Tyndale, 
Coverdale, and Rogers had each a share," and subjoins a note, 
" It is almost impossible to distinguish their respective shares." 1 
True, for no one can distinguish among non-existent things, 
and the mistake, if it be not a mere repetition of the errors 
of previous authorities, has arisen from some unconscious 
confusion of thought about Matthew s Bible, which, however, 
is immediately afterwards mentioned. Macknight s allega 
tions are yet wilder and blinder when he ventures to charge 
Coverdale with something like fraud, since, by calling his 
version " a special translation," 2 he wished to have it con 
sidered as different from Tyndale s a mistake probably origi 
nating in the erroneous notion that Matthew s Bible was merely 
a second edition of Coverdale s. Even Hallam, led astray by 
Johnson, or " other authorities," whom yet he has stigmatized 
as " erroneous or defective," describes this translation as " a 
complete version of the Bible, partly by Tyndale and partly 
by Coverdale." 3 Froude also falls into more elaborate error on 
the same subject. As if he were inserting a statement which 
rested on indisputable testimony, he quietly avers, "Miles 
Coverdale went abroad ; with Tyndale s help he collected and 
edited the scattered portions," that is, of the Old and New Tes 
tament. But there really existed no such " scattered portions," 
for Tyndale had only published a version of the Pentateuch and 
of Jonah. Besides, Coverdale did not republish in his Bible any 
part of Tyndale. His is really a new version of the Old Tes 
tament, and a revised version of the New ; and Tyndale, so far 
as is known, had and could have no participation in the work. 
Blundering onward, and yet more deeply, Mr. Froude next 
asserts that this Bible " was made up of parts prohibited in 

1 The Reformation of the Church 3 Constitutional History of Eng- 
of England, p. 510. land, vol. I, p. 83. 

* A new literal translation of the 
Epistles, vol. I, p. 15. 


detail "; but the assertion applies to Matthew s, and not in any 
sense whatever to Coverdale s Bible. He says, moreover, that 
" Tyndale had translated the New Testament, the Pentateuch, 
and the Historical Books," and the statement is true ; but he 
adds what all evidence contradicts, " afterwards by Tyndale 
himself, or under Tyndale s eyes, the Psalms and the Prophets 
were rendered." 1 But any one looking into the versions may 
ascertain the truth for himself Coverdale, beyond all doubt, 
was the translator of the Old Testament after 2 Chronicles, and 
his translation was accepted by Rogers or Matthew in his 
Bible of 1537, which also contains all that Tyndale had com 
pleted. To Coverdale himself, therefore, and to no copartnery 
of any kind, is the Bible of 1535 to be ascribed. He claims 
to be the one doer, and no one who knows his transparency 
of character can doubt his simple word. 

Thirdly, Coverdale does not profess to follow any settled 
principles of translation. The prologue to the Christian Reader 
does not formally enter upon the subject. He knew, however, 
that an interpreter ought to have " excellent knowledge and 
learning in the tongues," and he avows his perfect integrity : 
"so make I this protestation, having God to record in my 
conscience, that I have neither wrested nor altered so much as 
one word for the maintenance of any manner of sect, but have 
with a clear conscience purely and faithfully translated . . . 
though I have failed anywhere (as there is 110 man but he 
misseth in some thing) love shall construe all to the best, 
without any perverse judgment. There is no man living that 
can see all things, neither hath God given any man to know 
everything. Howbeit, whereinsoever I can perceive by myself, 
or by the information of other, that I have failed (as it is no 
wonder), I shall now by the help of God overlook it better and 
amend it." He urges also the value of translations : " Now 
whereas the most famous interpreters of all give sundry judg 
ments of the text, so far as it is done by the spirit of knowledge 
in the Holy Ghost, methink no man should be offended thereat, 
for they refer their doings in meekness to the spirit of truth in 
the congregation of God; and sure I am that there cometh more 
1 History, vol. Ill, pp. 79, 80. 


knowledge and understanding of the Scripture by their sundry 
translations than by all the glosses of our sophistical doctors. 
For that one interpreteth something obscurely in one place, 
the same translateth another ; or else he himself, more mani 
festly by a more plain vocable of the same meaning, in another 
place. Be not thou offended therefore, good reader, though 
one call a scribe that another calleth a lawyer ; or elders, that 
another calleth father and mother ; or repentance, that another 
calleth penance or amendment. For if thou be not deceived 
by men s traditions, thou shalt find no more diversity between 
these terms than between fourpence and a groat." 1 This license 
however, he carried too far, as did Tyndale; and both set a bad 
example to subsequent revisers. But he keeps fast the terms 
" scribe " and " congregation " in the New Testament, and 
though he does use "repentance" very often, he sometimes 
varies it by " penance " and " amendment." Coverdale has 
some eloquent eulogies on the character and benefits of Scrip 
ture, and some excellent practical counsels as to the profitable 
and spiritual reading of it. 

Lastly, Though Coverdale began, and carried out the work 
without co-operation, he never exalts his version as one taken 
immediately from the Hebrew and Greek text. He was too 
honest to put forward any false pretences, and he felt that any 
boastful falsehoods were in utter antagonism to the book on 
which he had been so silently and patiently working. He would 
not give a Bible to the people with a lie in the right hand that 
was holding it out to them. The original title-page revealed 
the truth, " faythfully and truly translated out of Douche and 
Latyn." This curt declaration expresses the simple fact 
without hesitation or abatement. But as if this honest 
confession on the title-page, explained and confirmed as it 
was in the prologue and dedication, had been either too 

1 Grosseteste (Greathead), Bishop of the Church, so that what is obscurely 

Loudon, who died in 1253, had said, expressed by one may be more per- 

" It is the will of God that the Holy spicuously rendered by another." 

Scriptures should be translated by Wharton, Auct. Hist. Dogmat., p. 

many translators, and that there 416. 
should be different translations in 


startling or were liable to be misunderstood, a significant 
change was soon made, and the phrase, " out of Douche and 
Latyn " 1 was omitted. The omission is found in the title 
of one copy printed in English black letter, and dated 1535, 
which has simply " faythfully translated in to Englyshe," 
and so in another of 1536 ; but in the edition of 1537, 
which issued from the press of Nycolson, the words 
are " translated in Englysh," and " Douche and Latyn " 
were dropped not only out of the editions referred to, 
but also out of all subsequent issues. Mr. Fry suggests 
that, as Froschover, who probably was the printer, has 
made blunders on the title-pages of some of his English 
Bibles, as in the quarto edition of Coverdale, 1550, and in 
Tyndale s New Testament of the same date, so the words 
" out of Douche and Latyn " may in this way have really 
been an unauthorized declaration. But the conjecture is not 
very probable, for the deleted words present the exact case. 
Yet Whittaker, who by his own confession had never seen 
the original title, hazards the assertion that, "if this 
be the case, the title-page contains a very great misrepre 
sentation." 2 The editor of Bagster s reprint of Coverdale 
calls the change of title a bookselling artifice of the time, 
to make the work circulate better, and Anderson conjectures 
that the new title was a mere device, as if it were a differ 
ent book. 3 The more probable reason is that some of the 
persons who suggested the work or favoured it, or defrayed 
the expense, may have been displeased at the candour of 
the title-page, and counselled its alteration "Douche" or 
German being regarded as in special alliance with heresy 
and deeply tainted with it. But whatever the motive for 
changing the title, the change was unfair to Coverdale. If 
done without his sanction, it was a great injustice to him ; 
and if he was overborne by stronger minds to consent to it, 
as Anderson insinuates, it was a weakness which cannot be 

1 Douche meant what is now p. 59. He means that Cover- 
called German Deutsch, not low dale translated directly from the 
German or Dutch. original texts. 

2 Historical and Critical Enquiry, 3 Annals, vol. I, p. 563. 


excused. He should have been true to himself and to his 
first purpose, resolved to hold by the naked verity as stated in 
this first title-page and in his Prologue. One may, however, 
believe that he intended his Bible to circulate as it came 
from Froschover s press, and with an unmutilated title to 
carry its own tale. At the same time, it is strange that the 
parties who concealed what Coverdale was so forward to 
tell, should have left untouched the Prologue and Dedication 
which give so distinctly and formally his own account of 
the sources of his translation. For the words of the first title 
which the Bible bore on its arrival in London are explicitly 
confirmed by the disclosure which Coverdale makes to the 
king : " I have with a clear conscience purely and faithfully 
translated this out of five sundry interpreters, having only 
the manifest truth of the Scriptures before mine eyes ;" and 
by what he says to the Christian reader: " To help me herein, I 
have had sondrye translacions, not only in Latyn;but also of the 
Douche interpreters, whom, because of their singuler gyftes and 
special diligence in the Bible, I have been the more glad to follow 
for the most part." 1 This confession is so very plain and 
full, that it must be taken in its literal significance ; for 
the fact is, that he took his Bible at once from the German 
and Latin versions, especially the Old Testament, without 
any regard whatever to the Hebrew text, with which he 
had no familiar acquaintance, if indeed he had any acquaint 
ance at all. Four of these "five interpreters," whom, how 
ever, he does not specify, were the Vulgate, Luther, the 
Zurich or Swiss-German Bible, the Latin version of Pagninus, 
and he certainly consulted Tyndale s Pentateuch and New 
Testament. 2 

1 Alexander Barclay had already then translated into Latin by 

set the example of a similar honest Locher, and into French by Bade ; 

title-page " The shyp of Folys, and the English editor, a priest of St. 

translated . . . out of Latine, Mary Ottery, Devonshire, simply 

Frenche, and Doyche, into Englyshe told the truth, as did Coverdale. 

tonge." London, B. Pynsou, 1509. 2 There was besides the Biblia 

The original work of Brandt had Sacra of Rudelius, with marginal 

been written first in German, and renderings, Cologne, 1527 ; and also 


As there never was a sincerer soul than Coverdale, never 
a man who so frankly speaks the truth even to his own dis 
paragement, it is astonishing that in this instance he should 
not have been taken at his word, when he points out so 
distinctly the sources of his version. But some authors 
discredit him. It almost sets one s teeth on edge to find 
the handsome title-page, in black and red, in Bagster s 
" Second Modern Edition " of Coverdale s Bible, presenting 
these astounding words : The Holy Scriptures of the Old 
and Newe Testamente with the Apocripha faithfully translated 
from the Hebrewe and Greke, by Miles Coverdale, sometime 
Lord Bishop of Exeter, MDXXXV. Coverdale never made such 
an assertion as is here ascribed to him, and it is found in 
no title-page issued by him, nay, in none of the five title-pages 
which have been preserved. He would not for worlds have 
uttered or countenanced such a falsehood, giving the lie 
not only to himself, and to his first title-page, but also to his 
repeated assertions in the Dedication and Prologue. Pearson, 
editor of " Coverdale s Remains," avers that " his version 
throughout bears marks of a close attention to the original " ; l 
but its own author did not describe it in such terms. Ander 
son declares, " of Coverdale s qualifications as a translator from 
the original, there can be little, or rather no question after 
what Whittaker has so ably written respecting his acquaint 
ance with Hebrew." - Whittaker, 3 whose remark on the 
title-page has been already quoted, did affirm that Coverdale 
translated from the Hebrew, and in proof he has adduced 
what he regards as four " crucial instances," in which the ver 
sion differs from the Septuagint and the Vulgate, from Luther 
and Paeninus ; and his inference is that in these cases it must 


be an immediate translation " from the Hebrew and from 
nothing else." His first adduced proof is Coverdale s rendering 
of Isaiah Ivii, 5, it being " singly sufficient in deciding this 

a Dutch and a German version. l Remains, p. xvii, Parker Society 

See Steigeuberger s literarisch- edition. 

kritische Abhandlung iiber die 2 Annals, vol. I, p. 564. 

zwei alleralteste gedruckte Deutsche 3 Historical and Critical Enquiry 

Bibeln, &c., Miinchen, 1787. p. 52, &c. 


point." The verse reads in our version, " Enflaming yourselves 
with idols under every green tree," and Coverdale has, "Ye 
take your pleasure under the oaks and under all green trees." 
The Septuagint, Vulgate, Luther, and Pagninus mistook the 
meaning of the term properly rendered " oaks," and made it 
" gods " or " idols." The Zurich Bible has, Ir habend hitzen 
genommen under den Eychen, under alien griinen Baumen. 
In the first clause Coverdale feebly follows Luther s " in der 
Brunst," and the incalescentes of Pagninus, vailing some 
what the distinct allusion to the lustful heathen orgies ; 
but the second clause is translated directly from Luther 
and the Zurich Bible. The Hebrew simply is "Enflamed 
by the oaks under every green tree," but to it, of course, 
Coverdale paid no attention. Whittaker s second instance 
is Numbers x, 31, "and thou shaltbe our eye," 1 but in render 
ing "oure eye," Coverdale follows the Ziirich and Luther, 
the Hebrew being plural or rather dual, " eyes," as in Pagninus, 
and in the Authorized Version. In the third instance, Exodus 
xxxiv, 30, Coverdale varies from the Hebrew, and from 
Pagninus ; but he follows the Zurich Bible and Luther, 
the Hebrew being literally, "And Aaron and all the children 
of Israel saw Moses, and beheld the skin of his face shine"; 
Coverdale having, " And when Aaron and all the children 
of Israel saw that the skynn of his face shyned," omitting 
the proper name. 2 Whittaker s last example is Daniel 
iii, 25, given from the Chaldee in our version, "the form 
of the fourth is like unto the Son of God" the Vulgate 
being similar; but Coverdale renders "and the fourthe was 
like an angel to loke upon." Luther is literal, " a son 
of the gods"; but Coverdale follows the Zurich version. 3 
Whittaker s argument virtually amounts to this that 
in those verses in which Coverdale forsook the Vulgate 
and the Septuagint, he must have clung to the Hebrew. But 
a brief collation might have dispelled the illusion. The editor 
of Bagster s " English Hexapla," aware that Coverdale did not 

1 Unser auge. popular portraits of Moses with, 

2 The Vulgate rendering of " cor- horns. Compare Hab. iii, 4. 
nutam faciem " gave rise to the 3 Gleich wie ein Eugel. 


always follow Luther, calls his version "a faithful version of 
the original Scriptures," asserting that Whittaker has well 
defended the fame of Coverdale, but adding, " yet it must be 
confessed that his version is very often free, and there are 
some renderings so peculiar that one is at a loss to find the 
translator s authority, as for instance, Isaiah i, 8, " Syon is left 
alone like ... a watchhouse in tyme of warre " ; xvi, 1 
(in modern spelling), " Then sent the lordes of the land a man 
of war from the rock." But the " authority " is very evident, 
for both versions are from the Zurich Bible, and the second is a 
very literal translation. Lewis, to show why Coverdale s is 
rightly called a " special translation " l gives as a sample 
Genesis xxix, 31, 32, setting side by side Tyndale s and 
Coverdale s versions. Now in these two verses Tyndale 
keeps by the Hebrew, omitting, however, the particle rendered 
" surely " and " now therefore " in our version ; but Coverdale 
prints again an accurate translation from Luther and the 
Zurich Bible. 

Dr. Ginsburg, in Appendix II to his Commentary on 
Ecclesiastes, has shown that Coverdale s version of that 
book rests entirely on the Zurich or Swiss-German Bible. 
He has made out the point beyond all dispute, though in 
one of his proofs he has fallen into a little blunder. In 
Ecclesiastes ii, 5, Coverdale has " trees of all manner fruites," 
representing the German, 2 and Dr. Ginsburg argues that he has 
even followed the Swiss construction, " at the expense of the 
English idiom, making manner into an adjective." But the 
remark is not correct, for Coverdale simply preserves an old 
English idiom of his own time. Thus we find " all manner herbs," 
Luke xi, 42, in Tyndale, Coverdale, the Great Bible, the 
Genevan, and the Bishops ; and the idiom still survives in the 
present editions of the Authorized Version, " all manner vessels 
of ivory," &c., Rev. xviii, 12. The same form also occurs in 
the Genevan and the Bishops in 1 Peter ii, 13, "all manner 
ordinance." In the first issues of the Authorized Version it is 
met with repeatedly, Lev. vii, 23, " no manner fat," xiv, 54, " all 

1 History of Translation, p. 97, " Allerley friichten. 
2nd ed. 

xviii.] GINSBURG S REMARKS. 285 

manner plague," but "of" is inserted in Dr. Scrivener s 
Cambridge edition. The idiom occurs also in Sir Thomas 
More, "what manner folk they be," and in Tyndale s Path 
way, "all manner vices," though in the previous paragraph 
he has " two manner of people " ; and Chaucer, in the 
Clerk s Tale, has "a manner serjeant." Thus the proofs 
brought forward to show that Coverdale translated at once 
from the Hebrew, only show that his title-page was an honest 
and accurate avowal. In a word, his Old Testament is not 
taken at all from the original Hebrew, either professedly or in 
fact ; but is only a secondary translation, based chiefly on the 
Swiss-German or Zurich Bible. 1 Similar remarks may be made 
about the Apocrypha, from which the prayer of Manasses is 
excluded, because the Zurich Bible had not admitted it. There 
is no proof that Coverdale made any use whatever of the He 
brew text, or even that he had any fair knowledge of the 
Hebrew language. The name Jehovah, indeed, stands in 
Hebrew characters at the apex of the title-page ; and Hebrew 
letters mark in the margin the divisions of the alphabetic 
chapters in the Book of Lamentation, though not in the sections 
of the 119th Psalm, where, however, they are found in the 
edition of 1550. 

1 The Zurich Bible was to a great Judte, who became minister of St. 

extent a revision of Luther s, so far Peter s Church in 1522, was not a 

as he had proceeded that is, of the Jew, his father s name being John 

Pentateuch, Historical Books, and Jud ; but many, from the form of his 

Hagiographa, with a new translation name, believed him to be of Hebrew 

of the Prophets and Apocrypha, and descent, so that he sometimes called 

an assimilation of his language to the himself Leo Keller ; in Zurich itself 

Swiss-German dialect. It appeared he was Meister Low, representing 

at intervals, 1524-29, and was rep ub- Leo. Pellicanus, a voluminous 

Iishedinl530. The ministers of Zurich author, was professor of Hebrew 

engaged in fhe work wereZuiugli,Leo at Zurich, his native name being 

Judse, Pellicanus, and others. Leo Klirschuer (Skinner) ; died in 1556. 


T IGHT is also thrown upon Coverdale s method of procedure 
by the notes which are loosely scattered throughout his 
Bible. These notes, especially introduced by " Some reade," 
let us see incidentally what translations he was consulting, as 
the debris in front of the mine reveals the nature of the strata 
through which the miner has been piercing his way. There 
are only sixty-six notes in all forty-seven in the Old Testa 
ment and nineteen in the New and they are very capriciously 
distributed, there being fifteen in Genesis, and nineteen in 
Exodus, while there are none in Isaiah, and only two in the 
Minor Prophets. The distribution in the New Testament is 
similar, there being eight in Matthew, only two in Romans, one 
in Titus, and none in the subsequent books. If the original 
plan may be inferred from the number of notes in Genesis, then, 
for some reason or other, it was not carried out, and was finally 
dropped. There may have been some haste in the printing of 
the work, and the hope of a more convenient season, if a new 
edition should be contemplated. The majority of the notes 
are from the Zurich Bible, others are taken almost equally 
from Pagninus l and Luther, and not a few from the Vulgate. 
But this selection of notes from " Douche and Latyn," when 

1 S;uictes Pagninus, a Dominican lation of the Bible a work done 
rnouk, and pupil of Savonarola, first very carefully the translation being 
taught Oriental literature at Rome, very literal, and the verses being 
under the patronage of Leo X, then marked and numbered. The edition 
removed to Avignon, and finally to by Arias Montanus is an inter- 
Lyons. He published in small folio, linear gloss. 
at Lyons, in 1528, anew Latin trans- 


they are compared with the clauses in the text to which they 
are appended, verifies Coverdale s honest title-page, and shows 
the proportional influence of those versions on his own eclectic 

Genesis ii, 12. Some call it " Schoham " Zurich Bible; text, 

" onyxe " Luther and the Yulgate. 
18. Some reade, "To stonde next by him " Zurich 
Bible; text, " to bear him company" Tyndale. 
iii, 6. Some reade, " whyle it made wyse " Luther ; 
text, " a pleasant tree to make wise " Tyndale. 
16. Some read," Thou shalt bowe downe thyselfe before 
thy husbande " a paraphrase based upon 
Luther ; text, " thy lust shall pertain unto thy 
husband " Tyndale. See Miinster s Note, 
iv, 7. Some reade, " let it be subdued unto thee and 
rule thou it" Luther and virtually Tyndale; 
text, "shall he be subdued unto thee, and wilt 
thou rule him " Zurich Bible. 

viii, 7. Some reade, " came not agayne " Vulgate and 
Septuagint ; text, " came again " Zurich Bible 
and Tyndale who follows Lxither. The Author 
ized Version fully represents the Hebrew, 
xi, 2. Some reade, " from the east " Vulgate and 
Tyndale ; text, " toward the east " Luther 
and the Zurich Bible. 

xvii, 1. Some reade, "I am the God Schadai " (that is, 
plenteous in power, abundant, sufficient, and 
full of good) a bracketed note in the Zurich 
Bible ; text, " I am the Almighty God "Vul 
gate and Luther. 

xviii, 10. Some reade, " as soone as the frute can lyve "- 
Tyndale ; text, " about this time twelvemonth, 
if I live " Zurich Bible. 

xxiii, 4. Some reade, " my corpse that lieth before me "- 
Luther ; text, " my corpse by me " Zurich 

xxiv, 31. Some reade, " thou beloved " Zurich Bible ; 
text, " thou blessed of the Lord " after Luther 
and the Vulgate, more correctly resembling the 


Genesis xxvii, 35. " That my lierte may wysh tliee good" virtually 
from the Zurich Bible ; text, " my soul may 
bless tliee " after the Vulgate and Luther. 
xxviii, 1. Some reade, " talked louingly with him " Zurich 
Bible ; text, " and blessed him " Vulgate, 
Luther, and Tyndale. 

xxxiii, J 9. Some reade, " an hundreth lambes " Vulgate, 
Tyndale, and Pagninus, who has in his margin, 
"centum nurnmis"; text, " an hundred pence " 
Luther and the Zurich Bible reading, how 
ever, " umb hundert groschen." 

xli, 45. " Zaphnath Paena, that is to saye, an expounder 
of secrete thinges, or a man to whom secrete 
thinges are opened " the explanation being 
from Pagninus, with the clauses reversed, and 
the spelling of the Hebrew word being copied 
from the Zurich Bible and Tyndale. The ad 
venturous note in our present Bibles, referring 
to the Coptic for explanation, is not in the first 
edition of 1611. 

Exodus ix, 16. Some reade, "I have holden theeup" Zurich 
Bible; text, " have I stirred thee lip " Luther 
and Tyndale. 

xvi, 15. Some reade, " "What is this " Vulgate and Tyn 
dale ; text, " this is man " Luther and Zurich 

xvii, 16. That is, " the Lorcle is he that lifteth me vp"- 
virtually from Pagninus, " dommus elevatio 
mea," the marginal note being "vel signuni 
meum"; text, "the Lord Nissi " Luther and 
the Zurich Bible, Tyndale having " Jehovah 
Nissi," with the marginal note, " that is, the 
Lord is he that exalteth." 

xxix, 28. " Some call them peace-offeringes "-Vulgate, 
Luther having "thank- offerings ; text "dead- 
offerings" Zurich Bible. 

Num. xxxiii, 52. " Hill chapels, or altares builded vpon hilles "- 
the last clause being the translation of Tyndale ; 
text, " destroy all their high places " Vulgate 
and Luther. 

xix.] TEXT AND MARGIN. 289 

Joshua iii, 15. Some reade, " of the hamest " virtually Vulgate 
and Luther; text, "it was full of all manner 
waters of the land " Ziirich Bible. 

Ruth iii, 3. Some reade, " Anoynte thee " Pagninus, Luther. 
Vulgate, and Tyndale ; text, " muffle thee "- 
Zurich Bible. 

1 Sam. xxiii, 28. " Sela Mahelkoth, the rock of parting asunder 

Pagninus, the spelling of the Hebrew word 
after Luther, the explanation being a transla 
tion of his note, and of a bracketed clause in 
the Zurich Bible. 

2 Sam. viii, 18. Some reade "rulers" after the margin of Pag 

ninus, Tyndale having "chief rulers"; text, 
" priests " Luther and the Ziirich Bible. 
xvi, 22. In reference to Absalom s incestuous intercourse 
with his father s harem on the roof of the 
palace, the note is, " the houses were flat in 
those partes at that tyme." 

1 Kings ii, 17. That is, " He shall not denye the thy peticion"- 

virtually from the Vulgate, Tyndale s rendering 
being preserved in the Authorized Version ; 
text, " for he shall not shame thy face " based 
on Luther, 
vii, 26. A Bat was a certayne measure of liquore a 

note not unlike it being in Matthew s Bible. 
xvi, 7. " The prophet," explanatory of " this man " in 
the text ; the Vulgate having " that is, John 
the son of Hanani," and there is an alternative, 
rendering in the Zurich Bible. 

2 Kings vi, 25. A Cab is a certayne measure, a similar note being 

in Matthew s Bible, 
xv, 13. Some reade, " Vsia," Zurich Bible; text 

" Azarias" Vulgate. 
30. That is Asarias whom some call Vsia a similar 

note in Matthew s Bible, 
xxiii, 60. " That is Jechonias." 

xxv, 6. Some reade, " And they talked with him of 
iudgment " Zurich Bible and Pagninus ; text, 
"And he gave judgment upon him" Luther, 
the singular being also in the Vulgate. 
VOL. I. T 


2 Kings xxv, 23. "Otherwyse called Masphat," the Vulgate hav 
ing Maspha ; Matthew s Bible, Mazphag. 
2 Chron. vii, 20. Some reade, " them " Zurich and Pagnimis : 

text, " you " Vulgate. 

xxii, 6. " That is Ochosias, otherwyse called Ahasia," the 
first name being in the Vulgate, and the second 
in Luther ; text, " Azarias " Zurich Bible. 
Ezra iii, 7. Otherwyse called " Japho " Zurich Bible ; text, 

" Joppa," after Vulgate and Tyndale. 

Nehemiahix, 10. Some reade, "them," the same note being re 
peated in Matthew s Bible after Zurich Bible : 
text, " madest thee a name " Vulgate. 
Job iii, .>. " Simile Jere, xx " a reference to the striking 

similitude of language, 
ix, 9. " Some call these seven starres the clock hen 

with hir chekens." 

Ps. xiv, 5, 6, 7. " These three verses are not in the Hebrue." 
They are found in the Vulgate and Septuagint. 
and are quoted in Romans iii, 11, &c. 

xxxvii, 21. Some reade thus, " the vngodly lendeth vpon 
vsury, and not for naught " Zurich Bible, 
" auff wiicher leycht der gottloss " ; text, "the 
ungodly borroweth & payeth not again "- 
Vulgate, Luther, and Pagninus. 

xl, G. Some reade thus, " but myne ears hast thoii 
opened" Luther and the Zurich Bible; text, 
" a body hast thou ordained me," which, how 
ever, is not in accordance with the Hebrew. 
Compare Hebrews x, 5. 
Jeremiah i, 18. "Or brass"- Vulgate; the text correctly, "a 

wall of steel." 

Amos vii, 7. " Some call it a lyne." after Pagninus, Luther 
having "plumb-line" ; text, " a mason s trowell " 
Zurich Bible, which has the alternative read 
ing Richtschniir, technically meaning a level. 

Malachi ii, 15. " The one" " This the interpreters reken to be 
spoken of Abraham," as in the note of Pag 
ninus, " unus quidam Abraham"; text, "so 
did not the one " Luther, but " excellent 
spirit " is from the same note of Pagninus. 




The Ziirich Bible adopts quite a different inter 
pretation, " he has not only made the man (but 
the wife) also." 

Matthew i, 18. Some reade, " befoi-e they sat at home together 
Ziirich Bible ; text, " before they came 
together," after Erasmus. 

ii, 6. Some reade, "least" Luther and the Zurich 
Bible, the more correct " less " of the text being 
from Tyndale s second edition. 

xvi, 13. Some reade, "that I the sonne of man am "- 
Tyndale s second edition ; text, " that the son 
of man is " Luther. 

xx, 25. Some reade, " the greatest deale with violence," 
after Luther ; text, "exercise power" Tyn 
dale s second edition, 
xxiii, 5. " Philateries were writinges wherein the com- 

maundementes were wrytten." 
15. " Proselyte, a nouyce or conuerte, turned from 

the beleue of the Hey then vnto the Jewes." 
25. Some reade, " vncleannes" Zurich Bible ; text. 

" excess " Tyndale s second edition. 

xxvi, 7. Some reade, " a glas with precious water " 
Luther ; text, " a box with precious ointment 
after Tyndale. 
Mark i, 11. Some reade, "in whom I am pacified " Luther: 

text, " in whom I delight " Tyndale. 
iii, 21. Some reade, "He wil go out of his witt," after 
Luther ; text, " he taketh too much upon him," 
after the Zurich Bible, 
xiii, 9. Some reade, " councell-houses," after Luther : 

text, " councils " Tyndale. 

Luke i, 39. "the city of Jewry," the note being "Jeru 

salem." Incorrect, however, for it was not the 
city of Judah referred to. 

Acts ix, 40. Some reade, " She sat up " Tyndale s second 

edition ; text, " she sat her down again " 
Vulgate and Luther. 

xv, 3. Some reade, " conuersion " T3 r ndale s second 
edition ; text, " conversation " Luther and 
Tyndale s first edition. 


Acts xvii, 18. Some rondo, " devyls " Tyndale ; text, "gods" 


xxvii, 17. " Syrtes are perlous places in the see." 
Romans iii, 28. Some reade, "By faith onely" Luther; text, 

" through faith "Tyndale. 
x, 17. Some reade, "By preachynge " Luther; text, 

" by hearing " Tyndale. 
Titus. i, 12. " Epimenides," referred to as their awne prophet. 

At the end of the Psalms, the Note on Sola bears, "In the 
Psalter 1 , the word Sela commeth very oft, and (after the mynde 
of the interpreters) it is as much to say as allwaye, contynually, 
for ever, forsoy th, verily, a liftinge up of the voyce, or to make 
a pause & earnestly to consider & to ponder the sentence." 
But such terms as Maschil or Michtam, and the title Song of 
Degrees are omitted by him. Coverdale, leaning more to the 
Vulgate, neglected the shorter prefatory notes of Luther and 
the fuller ones of the Zurich Bible. To add some significance 
to proper names, he gives for Gush Ethiopia, " the Morians " 
Moors, after Luther and the Ziirich Bible ; Rabsaris, he 
makes chief chamberlain, and Rabshakeh chief butler, both 
after Luther and the Zurich Bible. He has the better transla 
tion in Gen. xlix, G, "they houghed an oxe"; after Tyndale 
and against the Vulgate, but virtually after his two German 

A brief collation of a few verses of Genesis, as found in 
Tyndale (Matthew) and Coverdale, will bear out the previous 
statements as to the use made by Coverdale of the German 



1 After these decles, God dyd prone After these actes God tempted 

Abraham, & sayde vnto hym ; Abraham, & sayde vnto him, 

Abraham. And he answered, Abraham, Arid he answered, I 

Here am I. am here. 

2 And he sayde: take thy onely And he sayde: Take thy sonne, this 

sonne Isaac whom thou louest, onely sonue of thine, even Isaac 

and get the vnto the laud Moria, whom thou louest, and go thy 

& sacrifice hym there for a sac- \vaye in to the londe of Moria, 

rifice vpon one of the moun- & offre him there for a burnt- 








taynes whiche I wylle shewe 

3 Than Abraham rose vp early in 

the moruinge & sadled his asse, 
& toke two of his meyny with 
hym, & Isaac his sonne, & cloue 
wod for the sacrifyce, & rose 
vp & got him to the place which 
God had appoynted hym. 

4 The thirde daye Abraham lyfte 

vp his eyes, & sawe the place a 
farre of. 

~) And said vnto his yonge men : 
byde here with the asse, I & 
the lad wyll goo yonder & wor- 
shyp, & come agayne vnto you. 

(j And Abraham toke the wood of 
the sacrifice, & layde it vpon 
Isaac hys sonue, & toke fyre in 
his hande, & a knyfe. And they 
wente bothe of them together. 

7 Than spake Isaac vnto Abraham 

his father & sayde : My father. 
And he answered, here am I my 
sonne. And he sayd : Se here 
is fyre & wood but where is the 
shepe for sacrifice ? 

8 And Abraham sayde : my sonue, 

God wyl provyde hym a shepe 
for sacrifice. So wente they 
bothe together. 

5) And when they came vnto the 
place whiche God shewed him, 
Abraham made an aulter there, 
& dressed the wod, & bownde 
Isaac his sonne, & layd him on 
the aulter aboue vpoii the wod. 

offerynge vpou a mouutayne 
that I shal shew the. 

Then Abraham stode vp by tymes 
in the mornynge, & sadled his 
asse, & toke with him two yonge 
men, & his sonue Isaac, & clove 
wodd for the brentofferyuge, gat 
him vp, & went on vnto the 
place wherof the Lorde liad 
sayde vnto him. 

Vpon the thirde daye Abraham 
lift vp his eyes, & sawe the 
place a farre of. 

and sayde vuto his yonge men : 
Tary ye here with the Asse ; as 
for me & the childe, we wyl go 
yonder : & when we haue wor 
shipped, we wyll come to you 

And Abraham toke the wodd to 
the breutofferynge, & layed it 
vpou Isaac his sonue. As for 
himself, he toke the fyre and a 
knyfe in his hande, & wente 
on both together. 

Then sayde Isaac vnto his father 
Abraham: My father. Abraham 
answered, here I am, my sonue. 
And he sayde, Lo, here is fyre 
& wodd, but where is the shepe 
for the brentofferynge ? 

Abraham answered : my sonne, 
God shall provyde him a shepe 
for the brentofferynge. And 
they weute both together. 

And whan they came to the place 
which God shewed him, Abra 
ham buylded there an altare, & 
layed the wodd vpou it, & baude 
his sonne Isaac, layed him ou 
the altare, aboue vpon the 





10 And Abraham stretched forth his 

hande & toke the knyfe, to haue 
kylled his sonne. 

11 Than the angell of the Lorde 

called vuto him from heauen, 
sayinge : Abraham, Abraham. 
Arid he answered, here am I. 

12 And -he sayde : laye not thy 

hancles vpon the chylde, nether 
do anye thyuge at all vnto him, 
for nowe I knowe that thou 
fearest God, in that thou haste 
not kepte thyne onely sonne 
from me. 

13 And Abraham lyfted vp his eyes 

and loked aboute, & beholde 
there was a ram canghte by the 
homes in a thykette. And he 
went & toke the ram & offred 
him vp for a sacrifyce in the 
steade of his sonne. 

14 And Abraham called the name of 

the place, the Lord wyll see : 
wherefore it is a comen saying 
this day: in the mounte wyll the 
Lorde be sene. 



aud stretched onte his hande, & 
toke the knyfe, to haue slaym- 
his sonne. 

Then the augell of the Lorde called 
from heauen vnto him & sayde ; 
Abraham, Abraham. He an 
swered : here am I. 

He sayde : Laye not thy handes 
vpon the childe, & do nothinge 
vnto him : for now I knowe that 
thou fearest God, & hast not 
spared thine onely sonne for my 

Then Abraham lift vp his eyes & 
sawe behynde him a ramme, 
holden fast by the homes in the 
breres, & wente & toke the 
ramme, & offred him for a brent- 
sacrifice in steade of his sonne. 

And Abraham called the place : 
The Lorde shall prouyde: There 
fore it is a comon sayenge yet 
this daye, Vpon the moiintayue 
shal the Lorde prouyde. 

In this paragraph Tyndale for the most part follows the 
Hebrew, and now and then agrees with the Vulgate ; but 
Ooverdale in every instance where he forsakes Tyndale is led 
by Luther and the Zurich Bible. Nay, he deserts both Luther 
and the Vulgate in not a few places in his Bible in order to 
follow the Swiss-German version. There is at the same time 
ample evidence that Coverdale consulted the portions of the 
Old Testament which Tyndale had published. Every page of 
his Pentateuch is necked with clauses suggested by Tyndale s 
version, but he does not seem to have made any use of the 
" Epistles from the Old Testament," appended to the edition 
of 1534. 

The New Testament of Coverdale is greatly superior to his 


Old Testament. Its basis is Tyndale, with many variations, 
especially in the Epistles. Yet with all these variations, it 
rests so completely on Tyndale s New Testament, especially 
that of 1534, that it may be called a new edition of it nay, it 
is in some books a mere reprint the changes that do occur 
being due, as may be anticipated, to the Zurich version. Thus 
in the first section of John xv, 1, " a " for "the " ; 2, " bringeth 
forth" for " beareth," "shall be cut off" for "he will take 
away," both in the Zurich Bible ; 3, " because of " for " through " 
(thorow) " propter," Vulgate ; 4, " like as " for " as " ; " even so 
neither ye also" for "no more can ye"; 6, "branch" for 
" vine " ; 7, " ye shall ask " for " ask." These changes are 
suggested by the Vulgate and the German versions. In the 
first chapter of Galatians there are over twenty clauses differ 
ing from Tyndale. Of these five are from Tyndale s second 
edition, the others from the Vulgate and the German transla 
tions. The first section of Galatians iii shows some revision. In 
verse 2 the " else " of Tyndale is omitted, and in 3 the participle 
is turned into a finite verb, " ye beganne " ; the statement in 4 
is made a question, " have ye suffered so much ? " in 5, "which 
ministereth " becomes " he that giveth," and " miracles " is 
altered into " great actes " ; in 6, " ascribed to " is changed 
into " counted to " ; in 7, " this ye know " takes the place of 
"understand therefore"; in 8, "justify," the ethical present 
supersedes " would justify ;" "and said" is a supplement from 
the Zurich Bible, and "heathen" is used for "nations"; in 
10, "go about with" is suggested by the "umgehen" of the 
Zurich Bible ; " to do them " is better than " to fulfil them." 
These variations, made some of them for the sake of clearness 
and rhythm, all rest on the Douche and Latyn versions which 
Coverdale so honestly professed to follow. 

In the Epistles of St. John, Tyndale has also been revised, 
and some of the connecting particles changed ; and similarly in 
St. Peter, some of the variations being found in the Authorized 
Version, as i, 3, " according to " ; 4, " fadeth not." St. James is 
a mere reprint, and so is St. Jude the chief, if not the only 
change, in the former Epistle being a conformity to Tyndale s 
first edition ; the omission of the words "with sophistry" in 


James i, 22. Rev. ii, 3, " for my name s sake hast laboured " 
is taken also from the first edition, the strange rendering of the 
edition of 1534, "and dydest wasshe thyself," the reading of 
Erasmus in 1516 and 1519. 1 

Some of Coverdale s renderings in other parts of Galatians 
are retained in the Authorized Version, such as iii, 6, " counted"; 
10, "under curse"; 15, "confirmed"; 24, "unto Christ"; 
29, " according to promise," Tyndale having " ascribed " ; 
" malediction," " allowed," " unto the time of Christ," " by 
promise." Many of his translations in other parts of the New 
Testament are also preserved in our present version, and these 
are better than Tyndale s of 1534. Matt, ii, 12, " In a dream " ; 
iii, 14, "I have need to be"; vi, 10, "thy kingdom"; 12, 
" debts " ; vii, 21, " the will of my Father " ; x, 41, "a righteous 
man s reward"; xiii, 30, "till the harvest"; xvi, 3, "it will be 
foul weather to-day " ; xvii, 6, " overshadowed " ; xxi, 28, " but 
what think ye?" xxiii, 9, " One is your Father "; xxiv, 28, 
" there will the eagles be gathered together " ; xxv, 21, " enter 
thou into the joy of thy Lord." Canon Westcott refers to two 
other renderings in 1 John ii, 16, "the pride of life," and 17, 
" the world passeth away." The fact is that, in the Authorized 
Version, Tyndale s renderings are adopted about three times 
oftener than those of Coverdale, though in many cases both are 
refused, even when they agree together. Other clauses not 
preserved in the current translation are also very good. Gala 
tians iv, 5, " that we might receive the childship," is preferable 
to Tyndale s circuitous phrase, " that we through election might 
receive the inheritance which belongeth unto the natural 
sons"; vi, 1, "overtaken of a fault"; Tyndale, "fallen by 
chance into a fault " ; 2 Thessalonians i, 7, " with the angels 
of his power," Tyndale having " with his mighty angels." 
Like Tyndale, he has the terms to which Sir Thomas More 
so vehemently objected, " love " and " congregation " 
which " charity " and " church " afterwards superseded. 
He has also, as Tyndale had, " knowledge " for " confess," 
and both use "similitude" for "parable"; but for Tyndale s 

1 Referring in his Annotations to two editions, Erasmus brands it 
this reading, though he kept it in thus sod mendax nifallor. 


repent " in Matt, iii, 1, he has " amend your selves." " Cen 
turion " in Tyndale is "captain" in Coverdale ;" unleavened 
bread" is "sweet bread," in both an imitation of Luther s 
siitsesbrod, the contrast being suggested by sauerteig (leaven). 
After him they both have " Easter," and occasionally " Easter 
lamb." But with all the excellencies of his version no one who 
has looked into the question can accept the statement of Geddes, 
that the Authorized Version is " of less merit, and is less in 
accordance with the original, than that of Coverdale." 


rPHERE are, as might be anticipated from the man and the 
time, many quaint and antique renderings in Coverdale. 

Gen. viii, 11, and she bare it (an olive leaf) in her nebb 
the last term being still in familiar use among Scottish 

Joshua ii, 11, our hert hath failed us, neither is there a good 
stomacke in eny man. 

Judges vi, 19, layed the flesh in a maunde and put the broth 
in a pot ; x, 53, cast a pece of a mylstone upon Abimelech s 
heade and brake his brain panne ; xi, 39, she had never been 
in daunger of eny man (Romans, iii, 19, and that all the world 
may be endangered to God) ; l xv, 19, then God opened a gome 
tooth in the cheke bone, so the water went out ; xvii, 5, the 
man Micah had a god s house, and made an overbody cote 
(ephod) and idols ; xx, 32, let us flye, that we may provoke 
them out of the city into the bye stretes. 

Ruth ii, 1, Boaz, which was an honest man. 

1 Sam. iv, 17, then answered the tydinge bringer and saydc ; 
x, 1, then toke Samuel a glasse of oyle and poured it upon his 
head ; xx, 30, thou wicked and unthryfte, I know that thou 
hast chosen the son of Isai to the shame of thyselff and of thy 
shameful mother; xxi, 13, and stackered towarde the dores 
of the gate, and his slaveringes ranne downe his beerde ; xxv, 
18, five sheep ready dighted, and five measures of firmentye. 

2 Sam. xiii, G, make me a syppynge or two ; xiv, 14, and God 
will not take away the lyfe, but unbethynketh himself that 
even the very outlaw be not clean thrust out from him ; xxii, 

1 Bishop s Bible, 


11, He sat upon cherub and dyd flye, and appeared upon the 
fethers of the wynde. 

1 Kings xii, 11, 1 will nourtoure you with scorpions; xvii, 12, 
a curtesy oyle in a cruse; xxii, 34, and shott the king of Israel 
between the mawe and the lunges. 

2 Chron, xxv, 12, and cast them downe headlinges from 
the toppe of the mount, so that they all to burst in sunder. 

Job iii, 5, let it be lapped in with sorowe ; v, 7, it is man 
that is borne vnto inysery, lyke as the byrde for to fle ; vi, 16, 
they that feare the horefroste, the snow shal fal vpon them ; 
xiii, 4, As for you, ye are workmasters of lyes ; xiv, 1, Whether 
his children come to worship or no, he can not tell; xvii, I, 
My breth fayleth, my dayes are shortened, I am hard at deathes 
dore ; xix, 17, Myne owne wyfe may not abyde my breth : I 
am fayne to speake fayre vnto the children of mine owne 
body ; 18, Yee the very deserte fooles despyse me ; xxxix, 25, 
He feareth not the noyse of the trompettes; but as soon as he 
heareth the shawmes blowe, tush (sayeth he), for he smelleth 
the batell afarre of. 

Psalm xiv, 1, The foolish bodyes saye in their hertes, Tush, 
there is no God; Ixviii, 11, the Lorde shal geve the worde 
with greate hoostes of evangelistes ; Ixxiv, 5, men maye se the 
axes glister aboue, like as those that hewe in the wod. They 
cutt downe all the sylinge worke of ye sanctuary with bylles 
and axes, xci, 5, thou shalt not nede to be afrayde of eny 
bugges by night ; cxix, 70, their herte is as fat as brawn. 1 

Prov. xvi, 18, after a proude stomacke there folio weth a fall 
28, he that is a blabbe of his tonge maketh devysion ; xvii, 14, 
he that soweth discorde and strife is like on that dyggeth up 
a water broke ; xxiii, 2, measure their appetite. 

Isaiah ii, 4, So that they shal breake their swerdes and 
speares, to make sythes, sycles, and sawes thereof; 0, or in 
calkers of mens byrthes ; v, 9, the Lord of hoostes rowneth 
me thus ; 22, Wo vnto them that are connynge men to suppe 

1 Luther, dick wie Schmeer ; Vul- ders. Chaucer has " full big he was 

gate, sicut lac. Brawns occurs in of braun." Grease of our version 

Wycliffe, Job xxii, 9 ; the second came from the Genevan, and it is 

version having " schuldris " shoul- nearer in sense to the Hebrew term. 


out wyne ; 27, no one faynte nor feble amonge them, no 
not a slogish or nor slepery parsone ; vi, 2, From aboue flakred 
the seraphins ; 4, the geastes and dore chekes moued at their 
crienge ; x, 15, or doth the sawe make eny krakinge against 
him that ruleth it; xxiv, 20, The erth shal gcue a greate 
crack, it shal haue a sore ruyne, and take an horrible fall ; 
xliv, 6, and do wherthorow he maye be lickened vnto me ; 
Ivi, 3, neither shal the gelded man saye, I am a drie tre. 

Jer. viii, 52, there is no triacle in Galaad. xvii, 1, graven 
vpon the edge of your aulters with a pen of iron and with 
an adamant clawe. 

Dan. ix, 26, after the Ixvii weekes shall Christ be slain, and 
they shall haue no pleasure in him. 

Hosea xi, 3, I learned Ephram to go. 

Matt, ii, 2, the newe borne kynge. 

Mark iii, 21, he taketh to moch vpon him ; vi, 2, marueled at 
his lernynge; viii, 16, their my ndes wauered here and there; xv, 
29, Fye vpon the, h ow goodly breakest thou downe the temple. 

Luke x, 40, Martha made her self moch to do ; xi, 8, because 
of his vnshamefast begginge. 

John i, 38, Where art thou at lodginge? xviii, 39, that I 
should give one vnto you lowse at easter. 

Acts v, 14, layed them vpon beddes and barowes ; vi, 1, be 
cause their wyddowes were not loked vpon in the daylie hand- 
reachinge; xvii, 11, they were the Eldest amonge them at 

1 Cor. ii, 1, I came not with hye words. 

2 Cor. i. 18, O faitfull God, that oure worde vnto you hath 
not bene yee and naye. 

Eph, iv, 10, one member hangeth by another thorowout all 
the ioutes. 

Philip, i, 10, that maybe pure and soch as hurte no man s 

Colos. ii, 10, Let no man make you shote at a wronge mark, 
which after his owne chosynge walketh in humbleness and 
spiritualyte of angels, thinges which he neuer sawe. 

1 Tim. vi, 4, but waysteth his brayne aboute questions and 
stryuynges of wordes. 


Obsolete terms sometimes occur, as " to clyp " to shear 
sheep; a "maund," a large basket; "body," the foolish bodyes 
saye in their hertes ; "symnel," a cake; "lever," rather; "to 
spar," that is, to close the door spar meaning bar. Still 
several of his phrases have also descended to us Judges v, 
"a lordly dish;" "garments of needlework ;" Tyndale (Mat 
thew) having a different rendering; and we have still many 
verses with almost no change. Many such passages occur in 
the Psalter, as Psalms li, 11; Ixiii, 2; cii, 25; cxliii, 2. 

Though Coverdale may not be everywhere correct, he is 
always musical. A few examples may suffice in proof: 

Psalm xc, 10, The dayes of oure age are thre score yeares 
and ten ; xcix, 1, The Lord is kynge, be the people never so 
impacient : he sytteth vpon the cherubins, be the earth never 
so vnquiete. 

Isaiah xlviii, 1G-19, Wherfore the Lorde God with his sprete 
hath sent me. And thus saieth the Lord, thine avenger, the 
holyone of Israel : I am the Lorde thy God, which teach the 
profitable thinges, and lede ye the waye, that thou shuldest go. 
Yf thou wilt now regarde my commaundement, thy welthynes 
shalbe as the water streame, and thy rightuousnes as the 
waues flowinge in the see : Thy sede shalbe like as the sonde 
in the see, and the frute of thy body like the grauel stones 
therof ; thy name shal not be roted out, nor destroyed before 

Though Coverdale s version was only secondary, yet it 
possessed merits of its own. The gentle flow of its English 
is idiomatic and fresh, though many words and phrases are 
now antiquated, and it may still be read with pleasure in the 
Psalms of the English Book of Common Prayer, of which it is 
the basis. His own " Ghostly Psalms " are sometimes a little 
rugged ; but his prose translation is beautiful in its rhythm. 
The simple grandeur of many portions of Isaiah and the 
prophets was initiated by him. He often omits, like Tyndale, 
connecting particles, and smoothness is now and then secured 
by a paraphrase at the expense of terseness and brevity. 
Changes of order, variations of renderings, tuneful turns of 
phrase, resolution of participles and relative pronouns, and 


numerous literary dexterities are used to secure the same 
result, a result that still gives tone and cadence to the 
Authorized Version. No little of that indefinable quality 
that gives popular charm to our English Bible, and has 
endeared it to so many generations, is owing to Coverdale. 
The semitones in the music of the style are his gift. 1 
What we mean will be apparent to any one who compares 
the Authorized Version, especially in the Old Testament, with 
the exacter translations of many of the books which have been 
made by scholars and critics. Tyndale gave us the first great 
outline distinctly and wonderfully etched, but Coverdale 
added those minuter touches which soften and harmonize it. 
The characteristic features are Tyndale s in all their boldness 
of form and expression, the more delicate lines and shadings 
are the contribution of his successor, both in his own version 
and in the Great Bible revised and edited by him. 

The first edition of Coverdale s Bible was soon exhausted, 
and the thirst for possessing a copy was even growing. But 
though the Dedication to the king secured no royal license or 
patronage, the work was not forbidden or suppressed. When, 
in June, 1536, Convocation prayed the king "that he would 
indulge unto his subjects of the laity, the reading of the Bible 
in the English tongue, and that a new translation of it might 
be made for that end and purpose," the resolution amounted 
to a virtual condemnation of Coverdale s version. 

In 1537 two editions one in quarto, the other in folio 
" overseen and corrected," were printed in London by James 
Nycolson, St. Thomas, South wark ; and at the foot of the title- 
page are the wondrous words, " Set forth with the Kynge s most 
gracious license " ; the name of Queen Jane being substituted 
for that of Queen Anne in the dedication. Was Tyndale s 
dying prayer now answered, " Lord, open the King of Eng 
land s eyes " ? 

Coverdale was always anxious that his countrymen should 
have free access to the Word of God in their own language, and 

o o * 

that all the current prejudices against a native version should 

] Even the rough and rugged Bale smooth, and flowing gently along." 
describes his style " as sweet and 

xx.] THE DIQLOTT. 303 

be disarmed. To show them that a vernacular New Testa 
ment did not of necessity misrepresent the Latin one with 
which they were so familiar in the church service, he rendered 
it into the mother tongue, and printed it t in both languages 
the Vulgate and an English translation in parallel columns. 
Three editions of this Diglott Testament were published in 
1538, the first by James Nycolson, with a dedication to the 
king and a preface to the reader. In the dedication Cover- 
dale explains his purpose and method of procedure. The 
enemies of an English Bible are thus described : " Because it 
grieveth them that your subjects be grown so far in knowledge 
of their duty to God, to your grace, and to their neighbours, 
their inward malice doth break out into blasphemous and un 
comely words; insomuch that they call your loving and 
faithful people heretics, new-fangled fellows, English biblers, 
cobblers of divinity, fellows of the new faith, &c., with such 
other ungodly sayings. It is to be feared that forwardness and 
malice is mixed with their ignorance. For, inasmuch as in 
our other translations we do not follow this old Latin text, 
word for word, they cry out upon us as though all were not as 
nigh the truth to translate the Scripture out of other languages 
as to turn it out of the Latin, or as though the Holy Ghost 
were not the author of His Scripture as well in the Hebrew, 
Greek, French, Dutch, and in English, as in Latin. The Scrip 
ture and Word of God is truly to every Christian man of like 
worthiness and authority, in what language soever the Holy 
Ghost speaketh it." Another motive alleged by him in print 
ing the Latin and English text in parallel columns so as 
specially to induce and instruct " such as can but English, 
and are not learned in the Latin, that in comparing these two 
texts together they may the better understand the one by the 
other. And I doubt not but such ignorant bodies as, having 
cure and charge of souls, are very unlearned in the Latin 
tongue, shall through this small labour be occasioned to attain 
unto more knowledge, and at the least be constrained to say 
well of the thing which heretofore they have blasphemed." 

The version is his own, carefully arid minutely adapted to the 
Vulgate, " inasmuch as the New Testament which I had set 




forth in English before doth so agree with the Latin, I was 
heartily well content that the Latin and it should be set 
together." Thus in Mark i, and suggested by the Latin : 


1 iu the prophet. 

my messenger. 
4 baptized and preached. 

) and they of Jerusalem. 

iu Jordan. 

knowledging their sins. 
M I baptized. 
!) at the same time. 

1 lie was come out of. 

as a dove comynge downe. 

11 in whom I delyt. 

1 3 with the wylde beestes. 


inEsaye the prophet. 

mine angel. 

baptizing and preaching. 


all they of Jerusalem. 

in the river of Jordan. 


I have baptized. 

in those days. 

coming up out of. 

descending and abiding. 

in thee am I pleased. 

with beastes. 

The first edition was " negligently corrected " during Cover- 
dale s absence in Paris was in fact so badly executed that he 
was forced to disown it, for it was in many places " base, 
insensible, and clean contrary, not only to the phrase of our 
language, but from the understanding." " Weeding out the 
faults," he superintended a new edition in Paris, printed by 
Francis Regnault and published by Grafton & Whitechurch, 
\vith a dedication to "Crumwell, Lord Privy Seal and Vicegerent 
to the King s Highness." 2 In spite of his remonstrance and 

1 In Isaia propheta, augelum 
meum ; 4, baptizans et predicans, 
penitentioe ; 5, Hierosolymitos uni- 
versi, in Jordanis flumine, confi- 
tentes ; 8, baptizavi ; 9, in diebus 
istis ; 10, ascendens, descendentem 
et maneutem ; 11, in te complacui ; 
13, cum bestiis. The Wycliffite 
versions taken from the Latin text 
are quite different, having for "pre 
pare, " in 3, "make redy ; in 
5, the first version has " flood," and 
the second " flom," and both have 

the Saxon "knowledged"; in 6, the 
first version has " honey of the 
woods," and in 7 it gives "thong." 
The translations, 9, " it was done, 
and 11, "a voice was made," are 
in accordance with the constant 
literalism of these older versions. 

" " The New Testament, both in 
Latin & English, after the vulgare 
texte, which is red in the church e. 
Translated & corrected by Myle.s 
Coverdale, and prynted in Paris by 
Fraunces Keguault, aicccccxxxvm, 


of an apology put forward for him by Grafton, Nycolson 
printed another edition, affixing to it the name of John Holly- 
bushe as translator ; but with this volume Coverdale had no 
concern it was, in fact, a revision of his own version. It was 
this Hollybushe s New Testament, an avowed translation from 
the Vulgate, that led Macknight so far astray in his opinion 
of Tyndale. 

Coverdale s Bible, printed at Ziirich by Froschover, with the 
strange misprint of " By Mayst. Thomas Mathewe " on the 
title-page, was published in London (Andrewe Hester) in 1550, 
and there was also another issue of it in 1553, with a new title 
and kalendar (R. Jugge). Coverdale s subsequent Biblical 
labours in connection with the Great Bible will be immediately 

iu Xovembre. Prynted for Richard citizens of London. Cum gratia et 
Grafton & Edward Whitechurcli, privilegio Regis." 

VOL. I. U 


" THEN, amidst the hymns and halleluiahs of saints, some one may perhaps 
be heard offering at high strains in new and lofty measures, to sing 
and celebrate Thy divine mercies and marvellous judgments in this land, 
throughout all ages, whereby this great and warlike nation, instructed and 
inured to the fervent and continual practice of truth and righteousness, 
and casting far from her the rags of her old vices, may press on hard to 
that high and happy emulation to be found the soberest, wisest, and most 
Christian at that day, when Thou, the eternal and shortly expected King, 
shalt open the clouds to judge the several kingdoms of the world, and 
distributing national honours and rewards to religious and just common 
wealths, shalt put an end to all earthly tyrannies, proclaiming thy 
universal and mild monarchy through heaven and earth, when they, 
undoubtedly, that, by their labours, counsels, and prayers, have been 
earnest for the common good of religion and their country shall receive, 
above the inferior orders of the blessed, the regal addition of principalities, 
legions, and thrones, into their glorious titles, and, in supereminence of 
beatific vision, progressing the dateless and iiTevoluble circle of eternity, 
shall clasp inseparable hands with joy and bliss in over-measure for 



rpOWARD the conclusion of his Prologue to the reader, 
Coverdale, with characteristic candour and self-oblivion, 
had said of his Bible : " And though it be not worthily 
ministered unto thee in this translation, by reason of my 
rudeness : yet, if thou be fervent in thy prayer, God shall 
not only send it thee in a better shape by the ministration 
of other that began it afore, 1 but shall also move the hearts 
of them which as yet meddled not withal to take it in hand, 
and to bestow the gift of their understanding thereon, as well 
in our language as other interpreters do in other languages." 
The first part of the anticipation was not realized, as a few 
months after the words were written Tyndale was put to 
death. But the second part was fulfilled, though not exactly 
in the way which the prediction indicated, for a short time 
after the publication of Coverdale s version, another volume of 
Scripture made its appearance, and in peculiar circumstances. 
Though it was really a compilation and not a new version, and 
though it was published under another name than that of its 
compiler, it was destined to produce lasting results. This 
Bible was a folio, with the following title : " The Bible, which 
is all the Holy Scriptures, in which are contayned the Olde and 
Newe Testaments, truely and purely translated into Englysh, 
by Thomas Matthew. Esaye I, Hearcken to, ye heavens, and 
thou earth, geave eare : for the Lorde speaketh. MDXXXVII." 
The handsome title is printed in the centre of a large engrav 
ing which fills the page, and has at the bottom, in large red 
characters, " Set forth with the kinges most gracyous lycence. 
1 The reference being to Tyndale. 


At the end of the exhortation to the study of the Holy Scrip 
tures, which occupies one page, are printed, in large flourished 
capitals, I. R., John Rogers. The volume, in larger folio than 
Coverdale s Bible, consists of 1,110 pages, with sixty lines in a 
full page. The printing is in black letter, foreign in appear 
ance, and there are nearly eighty woodcuts, two of them at the 
beginning of Psalms and Proverbs, filling the whole breadth of 
the page. On the reverse of the title itself, which is in black 
and red, is a short table of contents; then follow, covering four 
pages, a kalendar, and almanac for eighteen years, beginning 
with 1538; and it ends by telling "the yere has fifty-two 
weekes and six homes." The dedication to the king, Henry 
Till, succeeds, and embraces three pages, with large flourished 
capitals at the commencement and conclusion. The next 
twenty-six pages are taken up with " a table of the pryncypall 
matters conteyned in the Byble," headed with a short address 
to the Chrysten readers. The succeeding page bears upon it 
" The names of all the Bokes of the Byble . . . and a Brief 
Rehersall of the yeares passed since the begynnynge of the 
worlde unto this yeare of oure Lord MDXXXVII ; " there being 
on the reverse a large engraving of Adam and Eve in paradise. 
The title-page of the New Testament, in black and red, which 
has the same ornamental engravings as that of the Old Testa 
ment, is, " The Newe Testament of our Saviour Jesu Christ, 
newly and dylygently translated into Englyshe, with anno- 
tacions in the margent to helpe the reader to the under- 
standynge of the texte. Prynted in the yere of our Lorde God, 
M.D.xxxvu." Five pages at the end of the New Testament 
are taken up with tables of the Epistles and Gospels, after 
Salsbury use, &:c. On the last leaf is " The end of the Newe 
Testament, and of the whole Byble. To the honoure and 
prayse of God was this Byble prynted and fynesshed in the 
yere of oure Lorde God, a M.D.XXXVU." The disputed text 
about the " three witnesses," in 1 John v, 7, is in smaller 
type. The following errata occur in John xx, 25, the clause 
" put my finger into the holes of the nails " is omitted ; so is 
the clause in 1 Cor. xi, 25, " This cup is the new testament in 
my blood " ; and Rev. iii, 17, is printed " because thou art rich," 


the words " sayest thou " being left out. In Hebrews vi, 1, we 
find " Therefore let us love the doctrine," for " let us leave" 
The initials I. R. point out the editor of the volume as John 
Rogers, the first of the Marian martyrs, Thomas Matthew being 
merely assumed ; or, if the name belonged to an actual person, 
no one has been at all able to identify him. 

John Rogers was born about 1500, probably in a hamlet called 
Deritend, now swallowed up by the city of Birmingham. He 
was educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, taking his degree 
of Bachelor of Arts in 1525. Foxe simply says of his academic 
life, " he profitably travailed in good learning." 1 According to 
one authority, he was chosen the same year a junior canon in 
Cardinal College, Oxford, and entered into holy orders. 2 He 
next became rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, 3 or 
Trinity the Less, in London, on the 26th of December, 1532, 
having been presented to the living by the prior and convent 
of St. Mary Overy in Southwark. This position he volun 
tarily resigned before the end of 1534, for his successor was 
admitted on 24th October of that year. It is probable that 
some change of religious opinion induced him to quit Eng 
land for Antwerp, where he officiated for a time as chaplain 
to the Merchant Adventurers. 4 At this epoch he had not 
formally left the popish communion, but did his priestly 
duties " according to the use and custom of the worshippers of 
idols." His views ripened " by little and little," and " day by 

1 Foxe, vol. VI, p. 591. also chaplain afterwards "for the 

2 Lewis, History of Translations of space of a year and more." A de- 
the Bible, p. 223, London, 1818. scription of the locality, and present 

3 This old church, " which stood on appearance of the Merchants House, 
the south side of Knight Riders may be found in Demaus, Life of 
Street, in the eastern part thereof," Tyndale, p. 413, &c. The Merchant 
was burned down in the great fire of Adventurers were an old guild or cor- 
1666, and the parish was united to poration, and were originally called 
that of St. Michaels, Queenhithe. "Merchants of St. Thomas k Becket. 7 
Newcourt Repert., vol. I, p. 556, &c., They had a special charter, and many 
Life of John Rogers, by Joseph privileges, and in this way rose 
Lemuel Chester, London, 1861. superior to an older body still the 

4 Lambert the martyr, converted " Merchants of the Staple." 
by Bilney to reformed opinions, was 


day," till at length he embraced evangelical truth in its fulness 
this complete change being fostered and perfected by his 
intimacy with William Tyndale and, Foxe adds, with Myles 
Coverdale. This friendship could not have lasted more than a 
few months, for Tyndale was martyred on the Gth October, 1536. 
As the result and token of final separation from the Church of 
Rome, Rogers followed the example of Luther, and, probably in 
1537, married Adriana Pratt or de Weyden, 1 " more richly 
endowed with virtue and soberness of life, than with worldly 
treasures." When he came back with his wife to England, in 
the early part of the reign of Edward the Sixth, they brought 
with them eight children ; and in his appeal to the Lord 
Chancellor, on 29th January, 1555, that Mrs. Rogers might 
be allowed to visit him in prison, he stated that he had been 
married eighteen years. After his marriage, which may have 
brought him into peril, he went to Wittenberg, and having 
now thoroughly mastered German, he was inducted into the 
pastoral charge of a congregation, to which he ministered for 
several years. Rogers had come to Antwerp a few months 
after the execution of Fry th ; and since he had been with Tyn 
dale, as Tyndale had been with Luther, Melanchthon, and their 
great associates the peerage of the Reformation, it was 
natural that he should interest himself in the work of translat 
ing Scripture- a work which he saw in busy process every 
day of Tyndale s life, prior to his arrest and imprisonment. 
Familiarity led, no doubt, to admiration, and admiration at 
length enlisted co-operation and assistance. 

A mystery hangs over the employment of the name Matthew 
in connection with this work of Rogers. Foxe says simply, 
and without any definite proof or illustration, " It seemed good 
to them which had the doing thereof to change the name ot 
William Tyndale, because that name was odious, and to father 
it by a strange name of Thomas Matthew." - That ground is 
quite intelligible only so fur as Tyndale is concerned. But 
a large portion of the Old Testament, and the entire Apo 
crypha, are certainly the work of Coverdale. Strype merely 
states the meagre fact, that Rogers " dedicated the whole 
1 Both names mean meadow. 2 Vol. V, p. 412. 


book to King Henry, under the name of Thomas Matthew, 
minding to conceal his own name." l But the reason so 
alleged is not strictly true, for the name of John Rogers was 
not really concealed, and his initials, I. R, stand at the end of 
the " Exhortation to the study of the Holy Scriptures." It 
has also been surmised that Thomas Matthew may have 
furnished money for the outlay, or may have had some other 
close connection with the volume. Indeed, the question pre 
sents a peculiar dilemma. The name is known only in its 
connection with this Bible; if Matthew was only a myth, 
or a man without a shadow, why are he and Rogers both 
indicated by distinct and separate names or initials in the 
volume, as if they were different individuals ? and if he 
were an actual coadjutor in flesh and blood, how happened 
it that he fell so soon into oblivion, that his name came to 
be looked on by shrewd lawyers as a mere fiction, the trans 
parent disguise of an alias ? For there is no doubt that Rogers 
was officially identified with Matthew, and this within tAventy 
years of the publication of the Bible. In the sentence which 
doomed him to the stake, he is four times called " Johannes 
Rogers 2 alias Matthew " ; in Foxe s translation, " John Rogers 
otherwise called Matthew"; and in the Council Register of 
Queen Mary, " John Rogers alias Matthew is ordered to keep 
his house at Paul s." During the trial there was indeed no 
charge based on the Bible, for he was not the translator. Be 
sides, his volume in its first form had been published with the 
king s license, and on being revised it had already passed into 
the Great Bible, published also under royal sanction. But Bishop 
Gardyner, presiding as chancellor, makes plain allusion to the 
dedication of the Bible, and twitted him as having acknow 
ledged King Henry VIII to be supreme head of the Church, 
the dedication being to the " most noble and gracious prince, 
King Henry VIII, king of England, . . . defender of the 
faith, and, under God, the chief and supreme head of the 
Church of England." In 1542 a list of books forbidden 

1 Memorials of Cranmer, vol. I, p. Jukannem Rogers alias Matthew, pres- 
185, Oxford, 1848. bytentm secularem. 

2 The sentence runs contra te, 


specifies the notes of the Bible as "of Thomas Matthew s 
doing." In the reprint of this Bible, in 1551, the initial 
capital A is not only ornamented, but often there are engraved 
in its lower and wider part the letters I. K., and sometimes I is 
found on the one side of the apex and R on the other. So 
deeply indeed had the identity of Thomas Matthew and John 
Rogers sunk into the popular mind, that the lines of another 
martyr, Robert Smith, burned at TJxbridge, 8th August, 1555, 
were ascribed to him, and were published, not only as "Maister 
Rogers Ryme to his Children," but also as " the Exhortation of 
Matthew Rogers." l It is thus plain that nobody at the time 
seems to have suspected that Matthew was other than John 
Rogers ; but why that name should have been selected cannot 
now be ascertained. 2 

The origination of the volume is also hidden from us. What 
suggested the preparation of it is nowhere stated. Only it 
may be surmised that Rogers wished the English people to be 
put in possession of a complete English Bible, embodying all 
that the martyred Tyndale had already rendered ; for he had 
rendered from the original texts, whereas Coverdale s was only 
a secondary version professedly taken, not from Hebrew and 
Greek, but from Douche and Latyn. Where the work was put 
to press is not known, whether at Hamburg, as Foxe, Strype, 
and Johnson conjecture ; or at Paris, as Wanley thought ; or 
at Antwerp, or Lubec, or at Marburg according to Lewis. 
Antwerp, as the residence of Rogers, is the most likely place 
at least, there is no necessity for any other supposition. The 
printing of English by foreign compositors must have required 
constant watchfulness from some "corrector" on the spot, 3 and 
the press must have been worked in speed and secrecy. 
According to Cotton, some of the engravings were taken 
from blocks, which had been already used in a Dutch Bible, 

1 These Rhymes were long a popu- 3 Thus in Tischendorf s English 
lar primer in New England. New Testament, published by 

2 It is extraordinary that Hallam Tauchnitz at Leipzig, the misprints 
should make Matthew the printer, are evidently the errors of foreign 
Literature of Europe, vol. I, p. 379, compositors and readers. 

London, 1854. 


issued at Lubec, in 1533. 1 But these blocks could easily be 
transferred to Antwerp. The first expense of printing was 
probably borne by some of the merchants, who had been 
so generous to Tyndale ; but Richard Grafton and 
Edward Whitechurch, two citizens of London, suddenly 
interposed, and took the burden on themselves. Grafton, the 
printer, writing at this time about the order that no book 
should be printed without at least the license of one bishop, 
suggests that " certain be appointed thereto that they may be 
as ready to read them as other good men to put them forth. 
For it is now seven years since the bishops promised to trans 
late and set forth the Bible, and as yet they have had no 
leisure." We are utterly ignorant as well of the process by 
which they learned that such a volume was contemplated, as 
of the motives which induced them to undertake the work. 
Men in those days of jeopardy did good by stealth, for if their 
well-doing rose into fame it might kindle for them a pyre at 
Smithfield. But it would appear that the printing had gone 
on as far as the beginning of Isaiah, when they stepped in to 
assist, probably purchasing what sheets had been already 
struck off, and making arrangements for the completion of 
the work. Certainly there is a black page, and a new num 
bering commences at Isaiah with the title, " The Prophetes 
in Englishe," and on the opposite side of the page, and at 
its four corners, are the large initials, R. G., and E. W., 
Richard Grafton, Edward Whitechurch. Grafton, though 
he was a cautious man, seems to have embarked his whole 
fortune in the enterprise, and he is the principal corre 
spondent with Cranmer in the business. 

The statements often made about this Bible of 1537 are 
but inaccurate hypotheses ; the connection of Tyndale and 
Coverdale with it has been misunderstood, and the proportions 
and character of their respective contributions to it have been 
very erroneously estimated. 

1. Grafton, the printer of it, comes far short of the truth, 
when he ascribes to Tyndale only the translation of the New 
Testament, for the Pentateuch had been printed some years 
1 Editions of the Bible, &c., p. 12, second edition, Oxford, 1852. 


before. 1 Baker, in his Chronicle, under 1535, says more de 
finitely, and more correctly, that " Tindale was murdered at 
Villefort, in Flanders, for translating the New Testament and 
divers parts of the Old." - 

2. Foxe 3 speaks of Tyndale as "the greatest doer" in this 
translation, and, with the help of Miles Coverdale, "translating 
all the books, except only the Apocrypha John Rogers at 
the same time being corrector of the print, who had then 
translated the residue of the Apocrypha." But the Apocrypha 
is beyond question Coverdale s version, as may be seen by 
looking into his Bible, and Rogers translated no portion of 
it. Foxe, in his first edition, had made the mistaken announce 
ment that Coverdale s Bible was published in 1532, a date 
which the book itself visibly contradicts, as its title-page bears 
MDXXXV. Several writers, relying on the truth of the state 
ment, seemed to infer that his Bible of a subsequent date was 
a prepared re-issue of this earlier volume, and the next and easy 
step was to imagine a confederacy of Tyndale, Coverdale, and 
Rogers, in the further revision of it. 

3. Offor, in the face of all evidence, thinks that perhaps 
Tyndale may have completed the entire Old Testament. But 
surely the incorporation of Coverdale s version, from the end of 
2 Chronicles to the end of Malachi, disproves the conjecture. 
If Rogers could have employed Tyndale s version, he would not 
have preferred Coverdale s, and his insertion of Coverdale s 
Jonah only proves that Tyndale s was not accessible, for so 
scarce did it become that some have denied its very existence. 4 
Or another reason may be found in the fact that Coverdale s 
Jonah is but a revision of Tyndale s, as may be seen on a brief 
comparison. 5 Thus, in the first chapter of the prophecy, 
T} 7 ndale is far more in accordance with the Hebrew than 
Coverdale. The connecting particle " and " is usually preserved 
by Tyndale, while Coverdale omits it five times, and changes 
it into " so " three times, into " where " twice, and into " then " 
once, these changes being usually after the Zurich Bible. 

1 Chronicle, fol. 132, London, 1563. 4 See pp. 205, 206. 

2 P. 283, London, 1670. 5 Both versions have been printed in 

3 Acts, &c., vol. V, p. 412. fac-simile by Mr. Fry. London, 1863. 


Coverdale gives not a few of Tyndale s simpler clauses, word 
for word, and has also some of his most characteristic phrases 
such as, "gat him down," "wente aborde," "paid his fare," 
" the lorde hurled a great winde into the see," " gat him under 
the hatches, and layed him down and slombered," " the see 
wrought and was troublous," and not a few clauses are pre 
served word for word. 

4. Bale asserts, and he is followed by Fuller, that Rogers 
translated the Bible from Genesis to the end of Revelation, 1 
adding prefaces and notes from Luther, and making use of 
Hebrew, Greek, Latin, German, and English copies, the last 
explained by Strype as meaning Tyndale s translation. This 
statement gives Rogers credit for work which he did not do, 
and did not need to do, as the comparison of the various parts 
of the edition so clearly and strikingly testifies. 2 

5. Strype, in one place, describes the book as " Matthew s 
Bible, of Tyndale and Rogers translation," 3 thus ignoring 
Coverdale, to whom undoubtedly is to be ascribed one-third 
of the volume or all the Old Testament from 2 Chronicles 
with the Apocrypha as any reader may determine at once 
for himself. 

6. Anthony Johnson vaguely speaks of the " feigned name " 
of Thomas Matthews, and connects the Bible with Tyndale and 
Rogers "Rogers having translated the Apocrypha, Tyndale 
having gone no farther than Nehemiah " ; 4 while Newcome/ 
more strangely still, tells us that Cranmer employed Rogers to 
superintend it, and Bishop Gray, 6 without any inquiry, copies 
the inaccuracy. 

7. Whittaker s statement is as unfounded, that " Coverdale, 
assisted by Rogers who corrected the press, revised the whole 
of Tyndale s work, before they reprinted it." 7 

1 A vertice ad calcem fidelissime 4 Historical Account, &c., p. T3, 
in idioma vulgare traustulit. reprinted in vol. Ill of Watson s 

2 Script. Illust, p. 676, Basil, 1557. Theological Tracts, London, 1842. 
He characterizes the Bible as " opus 5 Historical View, &c., p. 34. 
laboriosum, excellens, salubre, pium 6 Key to the Old Testament, p. 18. 
ac sanctissimum." 7 Enquiry, &c., p. 59, Cambridge, 

3 Memorials of Cranmer, vol. T, 1819. 
p. 185. 


9. According to Walter, and his opinion was adopted by 
Hartwell Home, Coverdale was the editor of Matthew s Bible, 
and he rejected as much of his own version as could be replaced 
from Tyndale s published or unpublished translations. 1 The 
statement about the authorship of the text is true, though 
Coverdale had no hand either in compiling or editing the 
Bible, as it was printed abroad, and Coverdale, who seerns to 
have come back at or about the time of the publication of his 
own Bible, was during this period in England. 2 

Equally remote from fact is Hallam s statement, 3 that the 
Bible of 1535 was the joint work of Tyndale and Coverdale, 
and that a new edition of it appeared in 1537 under the name 
of Matthew. The first opinion being baseless, the last of course 
falls to the ground ; and though it is true that the edition of 
1537 did consist of Tyndale s and Coverdale s version, yet they 
were not so joined together in 1535. 

Froude 4 also conjectures the entire Old Testament to be 
Tyndale s work, " done by him personally, or done under his 
superintendence"; but the assertion is contradicted by all that 
is known of the martyr s life, and by the character of the 
translation of the Historical Books found in the Bible of 1535, 
and in that of 1537. It is also incorrect to talk, as Colonel 
Chester does, of the New Testament "of Rogers version," since, 
as far as the text is concerned, he only reprinted Tyndale. 
Cranmer might be pardoned for calling it " a new translation," 
and " a new print " ; but such inadvertence is now without 

1 Letters to the Right Reverend years." Remains, Parker Society, 
Herbert, Lord Bishop of Peter- pp. 525-6. 

borough, p. 301, London, 1823. 3 Constitutional History of Eng- 

2 On the 26th of March, 1548, laud, vol. I, p. 83, seventh edition, 
Coverdale writes from Frankfort, to London, 1854. 

Calvin, about his speedy return to 4 History of England, vol. Ill, p. 
Euglaud, "after an exile of eight 78, fourth edition, London, 1867. 


A LL those extraordinary statements in the previous para 
graphs may be easily set aside by the briefest collation. 
The simple fact is, that the Bible of Matthew or Rogers was a 
composite volume made up of the translations of Tyndale and 
Coverdale. Tyndale had already published the Pentateuch, 
and during the remaining years of his life he must have been 
quietly and vigorously engaged in the prosecution of his 
great work the translation of the entire Old Testament. 
From his cold and dark prison he made a special request for 
a little light and for his " Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and 
Hebrew dictionary," that he might spend his time in the study 
and translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. 1 We can scarcely 
suppose that his small request, so feelingly urged, was denied ; 
and we can picture him during the long nights of winter 
poring over these volumes by the miserable, blinking flame of 
a candle, that did little more than make the darkness visible, 
while the morning sunbeams, feebly straggling through the 
narrow grated windows, might not supply a much better 
light to the crouching industrious student. The general belief 
is, that he had translated to the end of 2 Chronicles, and he 
may have left papers containing first copies of other books. 
Probably Rogers had been initiated into the work by Tyndale, 
and had acquired such a love for it that he resolved to republish 
what the martyr had already printed, and to issue at the same 
time what he possessed of his unfinished task. Tyndale s 
" books and other things " were seized on his arrest, but im 
portant manuscripts might in these hazardous times have been 

1 See page 211. 


secured from harm, and deposited in some secret place of 
safety, known to Rogers or Mr. Poyntz. The portion of 
the Old Testament, from Joshua to Ezra, is undeniably not 
Coverdale s version, and at the end of Malachi stand in large 
ornamented capitals the letters W. T. William Tyndale. But 
the part from 2 Chronicles onward to the conclusion of the 
Old Testament, including Jonah, is beyond doubt Coverdale s 
translation. Rogers did not insert the Epistles from the Old 
Testament according to the use of Sarum, which are appended 
to Tyndale s New Testament of 1534. The Epistles taken from 
the historical books differ from the corresponding sections of 
Matthew s Bible, and apparently they formed the basis of a 
revision made by the translator himself ; but those taken from 
the Prophets and the Apocrypha are completely ignored, and 
the version of Coverdale is used. 

No small presumption in favour of the tradition that Tyndale 
translated from Joshua to 2 Chronicles is afforded by the fact 
that these books are translated, according to Tyndale s wont, 
from the Hebrew text. The assertion may be verified by the 
comparison of any chapter, or even of any verse. Thus : 




Josh. i, 1. which I give (Heb. pres. par- I have given. 1 


4. the river Euphrates the water Euphrates. 2 

toward the going down of the toward the \vest. :J 


ix, 14. the men took of their victuals, the captain 4 took, 

xii, 1. the river Arnon. the water of Arnon. 

2. the river Jabbok water of Jabbok. 

the plain. the plain field. 5 

xxiv, 21. elders that overlived Joshua, lived long after Joshua. 6 

These are slight, but satisfactory, specimens in favour of 
Tyndale, and Coverdale cannot for a moment be suspected. 

1 Ich geben hab. 4 Hauptleiit. 

2 Wasser. 5 Flach viild. 

3 Gegen den Abend. (i Lauge zeyt laebtend nach Josua. 


Besides, not a few characteristic renderings in Tyndale s Pen 
tateuch are found in the Historical Books. " Timbrel " is the 
uniform translation of a Hebrew term in the Pentateuch, and 
also in the Historical Books ; but Coverdale has " tabret." 
Lebanon is the form found in the Pentateuch, and also in the 
Historical Books ; Coverdale preferring Libanus. " Ephod " is 
the translation in the Pentateuch, and is carried into the His 
torical Books; Coverdale employing "overbody cote." "Ark 
of the covenant of the Lord " is Coverdale s favourite phrase 
in the Pentateuch and Historical Books, but Tyndale has 
often in the Pentateuch, "Ark of the Testament," and this ren 
dering is employed also in the Historical Books ; while " Ark 
of the appointment of the Lord " is in both collections of books, 
and both phrases occur in Joshua iii and iv. A substantive 
rendered " tribulation " in Deut. iv, 30, has the same rendering 
in 2 Samuel xxii, 7, and in 2 Chron. xv, 4, Coverdale having 
" strately troubled " and " in trouble." Another peculiar phrase, 
rendered "prisoned and forsaken" in Deut. xxxii, 36, is "in 
prison and forsaken " in 1 Kings xiv, 10, and " prysoned and 
forsaken " in 1 Kings xxi, 21 Coverdale having in the first 
instance " shut up and remained over," and in the second, 
"the prisoner and forsaken." Coverdale carefully consulted 
Tyndale : s Pentateuch, and therefore proofs taken from identity 
of renderings in the Mosaic and in the Historical Books are 
so far obliterated when they are also found in the Pentateuch 
of the Bible of 1535. Coverdale preferred Tyndale s transla 
tion in cases where he was at liberty to select other terms ; as 
in Deut. xiv, 5, Tyndale (Matthew) having, " ye shall eate no 
maner of abhominacyon these are the beastes which ye shall 
eate of, oxen, shepe, and gootes, hart, roo, and bugle, hart- 
goote, unicorn, origin, and camelion," J Matthew altering hart 
into wild. The last three terms are in our version, wild ox, 
pygarg, and chamois. But in Leviticus xi, 22, Tyndale has 
" Even of these ye may eat, the arbe and all hys kynde, the 
selaam with all hys kynde, the hargol and all his kynde, the 

1 " Bugle " is biiffel in Luther, being some kind of antelope. All 
" origin " is Aurochs, the Septuagint these terms seem to denote animals, 
having opv, the word so rendered of that species. 

VOL. I. X 


hagab and all hys kynde." 1 Luther and the Zurich Bible leave 
these terms untranslated, and Coverdale follows. Matthew, 
however, who keeps Tyndale, gives this note : " Kyndes of 
beastes that crepe or scraule on the grounde, which the Hebrews 
themselves do not no we a dayes knowe." The Geneva Bible 
(1560) has a similar note. In a word, the Historical Books have 
the same closeness to the Hebrew, the same clearness and pre 
cision, the same tone and colouring as are found in the Penta 
teuch. The work is done as Tyndale could have done it, and 
who but he would do it ? It was not carried out in England, 
nor yet by any foreigner oil the Continent. Was there any 
other man of English blood across the channel at the time that 
was so absorbed in the preparation of an English Bible directly 
from the original tongues, or that possessed the requisite quali 
fications ? Was there any other self-devoted exile endowed 
with sufficient earnestness, scholarship, and boldness to engage 
in the beloved, responsible, and perilous task ? 

The New Testament is chiefly Tyndale s translation of 
1535-34. This edition was selected by Rogers as being the 
last and best, the crown and culmination of Tyndale s life work. 
He had been for some time in Antwerp, and had enjoyed con 
fidential and familiar intercourse with Tyndale, so that the 
translator s critical labour on the new issue \vas well known 
to him in its fidelity, scholarship, and patience, and he wisely 
resolved to reprint it. He, therefore, did not follow the 
revised edition of 1534, nor that of 1535, but chiefly preferred 
that of 1535-34, marked as GH in the following collation 
of Mark, and he has taken it in 778 places. But lie adopts 
the error of GH, 1535, in Mark xvi, 17, "these things" for 
"these signs," the correct rendering of 1534. 2 In the edition 
of 1535, there are many misprints, the result of careless editing, 
and to be traced to the same source as the peculiar spelling 
the ignorance of a foreign printer. The following is Mr. Fry s 
collation of Mark : 

1 These creatures belonged to the locust is still named in Egypt, the 

locust or grasshopper species ; the " bald locust " of our version being a 

first is the common locust, and the mere rabbinical fiction, 

second name is that by which the - See page 232-4. 


COMPAKISON OF 1534; 1535-1534 GH; 1535; MATTHEW S 1537. 

Ch. Ver. 

1 2 34 which shall prepared thy GH 35 M which shall prepare thy 

5 34GH 35... all the land of Jury M all that land of Jury 

- 21 34 ... 35 M into the synagogue ... GH to the synagogue 

- 31 34 GH ... M forsook her by and by ... 35 ... forsook her and by and by 

34 GH ... M and she ministered 35 ... she ministered 

- 39 34 GH... M throughout all Galilee ... 35... "throught" all Galilee 
40 34 GH... M ifthouwilt 35... "ywiltthou" 

( GH 35 ... and he was cleansed 

- 42 34 and was cleansed < ,. . . , 

I M omitted 

- 43 34GH 35... and he charged him M omitted 

2 23 34 went on their way ... GH 35 M went in their way 

34 GH ... M ears of corn 35 ... ears of the corn 

- 27 34 sabbath day was made GH 35 M sabbath was made 

34 the sabbath day GH 35 M the sabbath 

3 13 34 GH ... M up into a mountain, 35 ... up to a mountain 

- 10 34 gave unto Simon to name GH 35 M gave Simon to name 

4 20 34 those that were "so wen" GH 35 M those that were sowed 

- 24 34 GH ... M unto you that hear 35... unto you that have 

- 38 34 GH ... M carest thou not that we ... 35... nearest thou not that we 

5 13 34 GH ... M ran " headling" into the ... 35... rana"headling"intothe 

- 14 34 GH ... M and in the country 35... and the country 

- 1(3 34 happened unto him ... GH 35 M happened to him 

- 21 34 gathered unto him ... GH 35 M gathered to him 

- 42 34 GH ... M astonished at it 35... astonished of it 

G 5 34 GH ... M and he could there 35... and he would there 

31 34 come ye apart into ... GH 35 M come apart into 

- 33 34 GH ... M and came together unto ... 35... and together unto 

- 35 34 GH ... M the day was now far spent ... 35... the day was too far spent 

7 4 34 GH ... M from the market 35... from market 

- 11 34 GH ... M the with is given God 35... the "wich" is given God 

- 13 34 many such things ye do GH 35 M many such things do ye 

. 19 34 M but into the belly GH 35 ... but in the belly 

- 32 34 to lay his hand upon him GH 35 M to put his hand upon him 

8 1 34 GH 35 ... in those days M in the days 

9 37 34 whosoever receive any GH 35 M whosoever receiveth any 

34 GH ... M in my name receiveth ... 35... in my name receiveth not 

- 38 34 GH .. M which followeth not us ... 35... which followed not us 

34 GH ... M because he followeth us ... 35 ... because he followed us 

45 34 GH ... M having two feet 35... having two foot 

46 34 GH ... M and the fire never goeth ... 35... and he never goeth 

10 19 34 bear not false witness ... GH 35 M bear no false witness 

- 21 34 GH ... M thou shalt have treasure ... 35... thou shalt treasure 

34GH 35... and take up thy cross M and take up the cross 

11 2 34 GH ... M go your ways 35... go you the ways 

12 34 GH ... M and on the morrow 35... and " oone " morrow 

- 23 34 shall believe that those GH 35 M shall believe those 

12 26 34 GH ... M and God of Isaac .. .. 35 ... and the God of Isaac 


COLLATION Continued. 


34 ... 

under colour of long ... 


35 M 

under a colour of long 


34 GH 

... M 

and ho called unto him 

35 ... 

and he calleth unto him 


34 GH 

... M 

when all these things . . . 

35 ... 

when all things 


34 GH 

... M 

but whatsoever is given 

35 ... 

whatsoever is given 

34 GH 

... M 

same time that speak . . . 

35 ... 

same time that that speak 


34 GH 

... M 

but whosoever shall 

35 ... 

but whoever shall 



woe is then to them 


35 M 

woe shall be then to them 


34 ... 

false Christs shall arise 


35 M 

false Christs shall rise 


34 ... 

till all these things 


35 M 

till these things 


34 GH 

... M 

and hath left his house 

35 ... 

and had left his house 


34 ... 

35 M 

arise among the people 


arise among people 


34 GH 

... M 

Master Master and kissed 

35 ... 

Master and kissed 


31 GH 

... M 

then the highest priest 

35 ... 

then the high priest 

34 GH 

... M 

rent his clothes and said 

35 ... 

rent his clothes and say 


34 GH 

.. M 

all cave sentence .. 


all have sentence 

14 2 

34 GH 35 ... have heard the blasphemy M have heard blasphemy 

15 15 34 GH ... M to be crucified 35... to crucified 

1<J 34GH 35... kneeled down M omitted 

- 21) 34 GH ... M destroyest the temple 35 ... destroyed the temple 

( 34 with him to Jerusalem ... 35... with unto Jerusalem 

\ ... GH ... M with him unto Jerusalem 

4G 34 GH 35 ... of the rock and rolled a M omitted 

stone unto the door 

1(5 11 34 and when they heard ... GH 35 M and though they heard 

34 and he had appeared . . . GH 35 M and had appeared 

34 they believed it not ... GH 35 M yet they believed it not 

15 34 GH ... M preach the glad tidings ... 35... preach the gladder tidings 
17 34 and these signs GH 35 M and these things 

19 34 and is set down GH 35 M and sat him down 

These component parts being gathered into one volume by 
John Rogers, two-thirds of Matthew s Bible are, therefore, 
Tyndale s, and one-third is Coverdale s. Tyndale had done 
his work " in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in 
distresses " ; his name had been " cast out as evil " ; King 
Henry had hated him; Sir Thomas More had employed all 
his learning, eloquence, and wit to hold up his version to 
malediction and scorn; Crumwell had frowned upon him ; 
Tunstall had made a goodly bonfire of his volumes; Long- 
land s heart had been rejoiced by the secret simultaneous 
search for them in the capital and the two universities ; 
Stokesley had sent men to the flames for reading them ; the 
translator himself had been proscribed, " Judasly betrayed " 
by English agents, and burned; but in less than a year 


after his martyrdom, his translation acquired the royal right 
of free sale and dispersion, having been mysteriously ac 
cepted as forming the larger portion of an Authorized Version 
for the English people. 1 

1 Tyn dale s last prayer at the stake in" to the country "by the solemn 

contradict s Mr. Froude s assertion will of the king." No royal license 

(vol. iv, p. 84) that the translator was issued for Bibles till 1537 the 

had lived to see the Bible " borne year after Tyudale s martyrdom. 


work of Rogers in tlie production of this Bible was, 
however, something more than the mechanical putting 
together of its various portions, and the superintending of the 
press. The preliminary matter is characteristic. As has been 
already said, besides the general preface, and dedication, and the 
"exhortacyon to the studye of the Holy Scripture, gathered out 
of the Bible," at the end of which stand the initials I. R., there 
follows also, on two pages, the " summe arid content of all the 
Holy Scripture, both of the Okie and the Newe Testament," a 
brief system of theology. These two prefatory essays were 
retained in the great Bible of 1539. Then there comes a 
" table of the pryncypal matters conteyned in the Byble, in 
which the readers may fynde and practyse many commune 
places," and prefaced by an address to the " Christen reders," 
which opens, " As the bees dylygently do gather together the 
swete flowers to make by naturall craft the swete honey* 
so haue I done the pryncypall sentences conteyned in the 
Byble. The whych are ordened after the maner of a table, for 
the consolacyon of those whych are not yet exercised and 
instructed in the holy Scripture. In the which are many 
harde places, as well of the olde as of the newe Testament 
expounded, gathered together, concorded, compared one wyth 
another ; to thintent that the prudent Reader (by the sprete 
of God) maye beare awaj^e pure and cleare vnderstanynge. 
Wherby euery man (as he is bounde) maye be made ready, 
stronge, & garnyshed, to answere to all them that aske hym 
a reason of hys fayth. Thys is also profytable for the partycular 
& generall exhortacyons whych we make to certayne person- 


ages, or commune people : & for to answere truly to 
Heretykes, & to confounde the aduersaries of the worde of 
God. In the which also we may fynde (that which helpeth 
greatly the studye of the readers) the openynge of certayne 
Hebrewe tropes, translacyons, symylytudes, and maners of 
speakynges (whych we call phrases) conteyned in the Byble. 
And for the more easely to fynde the matters desyred (because 
that dysorder engendreth coufusyon), I haue preceded after the 
order of an alphabete : to thyntente that none be depryued of so 
precyous a treasure : the whych ye shall vse to the honoure & 
giorye of God, and to the edyfyinge of hys Churche. How be 
it (good Reader) yf thou fynde not the thynges in thys table 
expressed, in the same letters of the chapters wherin they 
are assynged ; vouchsaue to loke in the letter goinge next 
before or in the letter next folowynge." The table fills twenty- 
six folio pages, and being alphabetically arranged, it forms 
a species of concordance and dictionary one of the earliest in 
the language. Great pains were employed in drawing it up, 
and its scriptural fulness and accuracy are to be admired. It 
is not, however, original, but is taken chiefly from the French 
Bible of Olivetan. Texts of Scripture are uniformly given 
to these 220 articles, in order to illustrate, confirm, or improve 
practically what has been said, and the Apocrypha is freely 
used. Scripture is compared with Scripture. Thus, under the 
word Angels : l The angels assyste before God, Job xxv a, and 
xxxviii a, Daniel vii c, Matt, xviii ; and do minister to men, 
Ps. civ a, Heb. i. Also they do rebuke sinners, Judges ii a, 
and do comfort the afflycte, Genesis xxi 6, Luke xxii es, Dan. 
vi /. Also they do teach the ignoraunte, example of ye angel 
which taught Elijah, what he should say to the seruantes of 
Ohoziah, iv Re. i a, also of Dan. ix /, also of Joseph, Matt. i. 
ii, d, also of Cornelius, Acts x a, also of Zechariah, Luke i. 
By the angelles God scourgeth his people, ii Re. xxiv, iv Re. 
xix g, Act vii d. Aduocate Note that I fynde not in all the 
Byble this word aduocate, but only in i Jo. ii a, in ye which 
place is said that Christ is our aduocate towarde the father." 

1 There are, of course, no verses alphabet iudicate the section in 
marked, and the letters of the which the passages may be found. 


Some of the notes have a distinct reference to popery. Under 
Beatitude occurs, with a hand pointing to it, " blessed is Mary 
because she beleued," Luke i e. Masse, thys worde masse is 
not in the Byble translated by S. Jerom, nor in none other 
that we haue. And therefore, could I not tel what to note 
therof, but to sende the reader to the souper of oure Lorde 
Jesus Christe, i Corinthians xi, Act xx 6 c. Meryte In 
lokynge ouer the Byble, as well the newe as the olde Testa 
ment, I haue not founde this word meryte. Meryte then is 
nothynge ; for to meryt is to bynd God vnto his creatures, and 
not to obserue the meryte of Jesus Christ, by which only we 
are saued ; not accordynge to oure workes or merytes, but 
according to his holy purpose and grace, which was geuen vnto 
vs before al time, ii Tim. i b, Titus iv b : It is then by grace 
that we are saued through fayth, and not of vs, but by the 
gyft of God to thyntent that none do boast hym selfe, 
Ephe. ii, Roma, iii, 2. For the tribulacyons of thys world, are 
not worthye of the glorye that shal be shewed vnto vs, Rom, 
viii. And if we haue pacyence in them, that cometh of God, 
i Cor iv. Howe then can we glorye that we do meryte 
that thyng which is none of ours in as much as God doth and 
accomplysheth in vs the good wil, Phil. ii. Religion for 
obseruing (not of cloister rules), but of thynges orda}^ned 
of God, Exo. xii d, Leue. viii g, Num. xix d, religion for the 
sect of the Pharises which were proud Ipocrites and ful of 
ceremonies, of which S. Paul was at the fyrste, Act xxvi 6. 
Cornelius being captaine of the Italian s army, is called a 
religious man, and yet he had made no inonastycall vowes, 
Act x a. The true religion of the Christen standcth not in 
the dyuersitye of habytes or of vowes ; but in visitynge of 
the fatheiiesse and wydowes in their tribulacyons and kepyng 
a man s selfe pure from the wickedness of this world, James i. 

Rogers did not translate, nor did he attempt a thorough 
revision. But he went over the whole carefully, making a few 
unimportant changes, and adding several alternate renderings, 
found among the notes, and introduced by the formula, 
" Some rcade " thus, in Isaiah iii, 3, the text has " master of 
craftes," and the notes have, Some reade " exactours or extor- 


tioners." Isaiah viii, 14, text, " to stumble at, the rock to fall 
upon, a snare and net to both the houses to Israel, and the in- 
habitours of Jerusalem." Notes, Some reade, " and as the rock 
to fall upon the two houses of Israel, a snare and net to the 
inhabitours of Jerusalem," after Luther. In Prov. i, 1, Cover- 
dale has "These are the Proverbes of Salomon," and in Isaiah i, 1, 
" This is the Prophecy of Esay," both after Luther ; but Rogers 
gives more literally, " The Proverbs of Solomon,"" The Prophecy 
of Esay," after the Vulgate and Pagninus. The change, how 
ever, in these places is accidental, for similar diction is found 
in the beginning of other books, as in the opening words of 
Jeremiah, Hosea, Joel, Amos, &c., where Luther s usual formula, 
repeated in the Zurich Bible, and translated by Coverdale, 
remains unchanged. Coverdale had followed the numeration 
of the Psalms as given in the Vulgate, noting at the head of 
the tenth Psalm, " here the Hebrues begine the x Psalm," mak 
ing the next as the x also ; but in this Bible the numeration 
corresponds generally with the Hebrew. Rogers omits three 
verses in Psalm xiv, which, "not being in the Hebrew," accord 
ing to Coverdale s marginal note, were yet inserted by him. 
Coverdale does not translate the word given in our version, 
" to the chief musician," but Rogers always renders it, " to 
the chaunter." Coverdale at the beginning of a book, such as 
Isaiah, gives the contents of all the chapters together; Rogers 
prefixes them to each separate chapter, and at the end of 
the chapter come the annotations, headed as "the notes." 
He ends 2 Kings with the conclusion of the reign of Jehosha- 
phat, in our version xxii, 50. In the " Ballet of Ballettes of 
Salomon," he gives an interpretation of the poem, and the 
various scenes are distinguished as "the voyce of the Churche," 
" the spousesse to her companions," " the voyce of the Churche 
in persecution," " Christ to the Synagogue," " the voyce of the 
Patriarch speaking of Christ," &c., shorter notes occurring on 
the margin of Olivetan. In the use of such notes on Canticles, 
Matthew had been preceded by Hereford, the early colleague of 
Wycliffe " the Churche of the comynge of Christ speketh, the 
voice of the Fader, &c."; but Purvey removed such headings. 
The title to the Apocrypha, adorned with fifteen woodcuts, 


is, "The volume of the bokes called Apocrypha conteyiied 
in the comen translation in Latyne, which are not found in 
the Hebrue, nor in the Chalde." Coverdale had omitted 
the prayer of Manasses, but Rogers inserted it before 1 Mac 
cabees, from Olivetan s French version, such terms and phrases 
as "ornament," "laudable," " vertu," "importable," "requir 
ing goodness of thee," " knowing iniquity," " all the vertu e 
of heaven," being directly transferred from the French text. 
Baruch was placed next to Jeremiah by Coverdale ; but hero it 
is inserted between Ecclesiasticus and " the Song of the Three 
Children in the Oven." Though there are headings, there are no 
continuous notes to the Apocrypha ; and his first and general 
preface, which is translated from Olivetan, is a distinct and 
positive protest against the reception of the books of the 
Apocrypha as an inspired collection as follows : 

" In consyderacyon that the bokes before are fouride in the 
Hebrue tonge, receaued of all men : & that the other folowyng, 
which are called Apocripha (because they were wont to be 
reade, not openly & in comen, but as it were in secret & aparte) 
are nether founde in the Hebrue nor in the Chalde : in which 
tonges they haue not of longe bene written (in lesse then it 
were happly the boke of Sapience) wher vpon it were now very 
harde to repayre & amende them : And that also they are not 
receaued nor taken as legyttymate & leafull, as well of the 
Hebrues as of the whole Churche, as S. Hierome sheweth : we 
haue separat them, & sett them asydc, that they may the 
better be knowen : to thintent that men may kuowe of which 
bokes witnes ought to be receaued, & of which not. For the 
sayde S. Hierome speakinge of the boko of Judith (which is 
Apocriphe) sayth, that the autorytye therof is not esteamed 
worthy & suffycyeiit to confyrme & stablysh the thynges that 
lyght in disputacyon. And generally of all the bokes called 
Apocripha, he sayth, that men maye reade them to the edyfy- 
inge of the people : but not to confyrme & strengthen the 
doctryne of the Churche. I leaue oute here the lawe (as they 
call it) of Canon, c. Sancta Romana. xv. distinc. where he 
sheweth his iudgement. Lykewyse the Glose of c. Canones. 
XVJ. distinc. which sayth, that men reade them, but not in 

xxiii. ] THE A PO CR YPIIA . 331 

generall : as though he shulde saye, that generally & thorouly 
they are not alowed. And not wythout a cause : For that they 
haue bene corrupted & falsyfyed in many places, it appeareth 
sufficiently by Eusebius in his boke called Historia Ecclesiastica: 
AYhich thinge is easye to be known even now a dayes in 
certen poyntes, namely in the bokes of the Machabees : whose 
second boke S. Hiero. confesseth that he founde not in the 
Hebrue, by the meanes wherof it is become vnto vs the more 
suspect & the lesse receaued. In lyke maner is it of the thyrde 
& fourthe boke of Esdras, which S. Hierome protesteth that he 
wolde not haue translated, esteamyng them for dreames : where 
as Josephus yet in his boke of his Antiquities declareth the 
summe of the matter after the maner of a storye, as well of 
the boke of Machabees as of the .iij. of Esdras: although he 
esteame the bokes compyled from the raygne of Kynge 
Artaxerses vnto hys tyme, to be Apocripha. 

" Wherfore then, when thou wylt manteyne any thynge for 
certen, rendryng a reason of thy fayth, take heade to proceade 
therin by the lyuynge and pyththye Scriptures folowinge 
S. Peter, which sayth : He that speaketh, let hym speake 
as thoughe he spake the worde of God." 

On the other hand, Coverdale, after saying that " the 
Apocryphal Books are judged among the doctours to be 
of like reputation with the other Scripture," quietly adds, 
" I have not gathered them together to the intent that I wolde 
have them despised or little set by, or that I should think them 
false, for I am not able to prove it." He had also said that, 
between the translations, " repentance," penance or amendment, 
" there was no more difference than between fourpence and a 
groat." Rogers was not of that opinion, and he felt that the trans 
lation "do penance " might be understood in the Romish sense of 
self-inflicted physical pain suffered to make satisfaction. The 
Notes at the end of the chapters are of all kinds textual, doc 
trinal, polemical, and practical 1 and they almost form a running 

1 Colonel Chester calls these notes of Tyudale s notes," but he forgets 
the first general English Commentary, that we have only a very small frag- 
In proof he urges that " Mr. Walter ment of Tyndale s annotated quarto 
could gather only nine octavo pages New Testament. 


comment. They were gathered from various sources ; many 
are from Pellicanus, and others appear to be original. Some 
learning is displayed, as an allusion to the Chaldee interpreter, 
Job vi. Strabo is cited under Matth. ii, to show that the Magi 
were the priests of the Persians. Neginoth, Shiggaion, &c., are 
carefully explained. There is (Matt, ii) a reference to a saying 
of Augustus, preserved in Macrobius, that " he would rather be 
Herod s swine than his sonne." Josephus is quoted at 3 Kings 
vii, and in the margin of Num. xxxiii, 52, two rabbis are 
adduced for the alternate rendering " paving stones." Under 
Luke x, the sister of Martha is called Mary Magdalene. The 
Psalms are formally divided into five " Treatyses " or books, a 
distinction not recognized by Coverdale. Hallelujah is ex 
plained as meaning "praise the Everlasting." Under Job i, 21, 
Coverdale s parenthesis, based on the Vulgate, " the Lord hath 
done his pleasure " is omitted, and this note is added, " the 
Greek and Origen adds, Hereunto as it hath pleased the Lord, 
so it is done." A song of degrees is called "a song of the 

o o o 

stearis," that is, stairs. Selah is thus explained at the end 
of Psalm iii, " this worde, after Rabbi Kimchi, was a sygne or 
token of lyftynge up the voyce, and also a monission and 
advertisement to enforce the thoughte and mynde ernestly 
to give hede to the meanynge of the verse whereunto it is 
added. Some will that it sygnifye perpetuallye or verily." 
At Gen. ii, 17, such idioms as " die the death " are termed 
" rehearsalls of words." The note at the end of 2 Mac 
cabees xii is, "Judge from the place whether the opinion 
hath been to pray for the dead, as to be baptized for them ; 
1 Cor. xv, d, which thing was only done to confirm the 
hope of the resurrection of the dead, not to deliver from any 
pain. . . . This hole book of the Maccabees, and specially 
this second, is not of sufficient authority to make an article 
of our faith." 

It follows, from the previous statements about the com 
ponent parts of this Bible, that the assertion on its title-page 
" The Scriptures truly and purely translated into English, by 
Thomas Matthew " is not to be taken in literal accuracy, for 
Thomas Matthew did not himself translate; he simply joined 


together, edited, and published two translations. But he knew 
that the language could impose on no one, as thousands were in 
possession of Tyndale s Testament and Coverdale s Bible, the 
only two versions which he employed in making up the new 
volume. It was an act of splendid audacity on the part of Mr. 
Richard Grafton, "citizen and grocer," to send such a volume to 
the Archbishop of Canterbury a volume made up so largely of 
Tyndale s version, which had been so fiercely proscribed a few 
years before, which had the initials of his name blazoned in 
large capital letters, and which in its critical notes did not 
veil his opinions, but rather presented them in an intensified 
form, and which, going greatly beyond Cranmer s own views, 
was a trenchant protest against Catholic doctrines and usages. 

Strype gives the following brief account of some of the 
anti-papal notes r 1 

\,- " One of these notes fixeth us in the year of the edition 
viz., Mark i. Upon those words, What new doctrine is this ? 
the note in the margin is, That that was then new, after 
xv.c.xxxvi. years, is yet new. When will it then be old? 
This note was made to meet with the common reproach then 
given to the religion reformed, that it was a new upstart reli 
gion, and called the new learning. Another marginal note was 
at Matthew xxv, And the wise ansvjered, Not so, lest there be 
not enough, &c., where the note is, Note here, that their own 
good worlts sufficed not for themselves; and therefore remained 
none to be distributed unto their felloivs : against works of 
supererogation, and the merits of saints. And Matthew xvi, 
/ say unto thee, that thou art Peter : and upon this rock, &c. 
The note is, That is, as saith St. Austin, upon the confession 
which thou hast made, knowledging me to be Christ, the Son of 
the living God, I build my congregation or church. And 
again, / will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. The note 
is. Origen, writing upon Matthew, in his first homily affirmcth, 
that these words were as ivell spoken to all the rest of the 
Apostles as to Peter. And proves it, in that Christ, John xx, 
saith, Receive the Holy Ghost. Whose sins soever ye remit, &c., 
and not thou remittest. And Matthew xviii, Whatsoever ye 
1 Memorials of Cranmer, vol. I, pt. i, p. 472. 


bind on earth shall be bound in heaven : and ivhatsoever ye 
loose on earth, &C. Margin, Whatsoever ye bind, &c., is, 
Whatsoever ye condemn by my word in earth, the same is 
condemned in heaven. And what ye allow by my word in 
earth is alloivcd in heaven. These and such like notes and 
explications, giving offence, no doubt, to the Popish Bishops, 
when the Bible was printed again (which was in the year 
1540), all was left out." 


1VTO sooner had this Bible come into the country, probably 
toward the end of July, 1537, than Cranmer was brought 
into immediate connection with it. On 4th August he sent a 
letter to Crumwell, telling him of its appearance, and asking 
him "to rede it " "a new translation and a new print," praising 
it and addinc;, "As for the translation, so farre as I have redde 

O* * 

thereof, I like it better than any other translacion heretofore 
made : And forasmoche as the boke is dedicated unto the 
Kinges Grace, & also greate paynes & labour taken in setting 
forth of the same, I pray you, my lorde, that you will exhibite 
the boke into the Kinges Highnes : & to obteign of His Grace, 
if you can, a license that the same may be sold & redde of 
every person, withoute danger of any acte, proclamacion, or 
ordinaunce heretofore graunted to the contrary, untill such 
tyme that we, the Bisshops, shall set forth a better translacion 
which I thinke will not be till a day after Domes-day." 1 
These last bitter words were inspired by the memory of his 
failure in 1534. What the archbishop requested was done, and 
on the 13th of August, Cranmer sends a letter of hearty thanks 
to the great statesman for having so promptly secured the 
royal license : " My lorde for this your payne taken in this 
behalf, I giue vnto you my most hartie thanks, assurying your 
lordeship for the contentacion of my mynde, you have shewed 
me more pleasure herein than yf you hadd giuen me a 
thowsande pownde." - This second letter is dated 28th day 
of August, and on that day Grafton himself writes to Crumwell, 

1 State Papers, vol. I, pt. 1 1, p. 562. 2 Cotton MSS., Cleo., E. V. fol. 329. 


and also sends a present of six Bibles. His words imply 
that he was aware of Cranmer s first epistle of thanks. 1 In a 
third letter, dated Ford, 2Sth of the same month, the arch 
bishop blesses Crumwell for his kind interposition with the 
king, and promises him " laud arid memory of all God s faithfull 
people nay, this cleede you shall hear of at the Great Day." - 
Cranmer might have had no leisure for a collation, but pro 
bably Crumwell was aware of the component materials of the 
Bible ; and had Henry looked into the volume, which, at the 
request of his minister, he had licensed, he might have seen 
that he was stultifying himself in a most marvellous way, 
for he might at once have recognized the work of Tyndale, so 
often denounced ; even the prologue to Romans, which had 
been formally singled out and proscribed, was retained and 
placed in prominence. But, probably from his knowledge of 
public opinion, he took the bold step of granting the royal 
sanction to this Bible. The royal proclamation to be read by 
all the curates was in the following terms : 3 

" Whereas it hath pleased the king s majesty, our most dread 
sovereign, and supreme head under God of this Church of Eng 
land, for a declaration of the great zeal he beareth to the setting 
forth of God s word, and to the virtuous maintenance of the 
commonwealth, to permit and command the Bible, being trans 
lated into our mother tongue, to be sincerely taught by us the 
curates, and to be openly laid forth in every parish church : to 
the intent that all his good subjects, as well by reading thereof, 
as by hearing the true explanation of the same, may be able to 
learn their duties to Almighty God and his majesty, and every 
of us charitably to use other : and then applying themselves to 
do according to that they shall hear and learn, may both speak 
and do Christianly ; and in all things as it beseemeth Christian 
men : because his highness very much desireth, that this thing 
being by him most godly begun and set forward, may of all 
you be received as is aforesaid ; his majesty hath willed and 

1 In this letter, Graf ton, referring nines it into "ten thousand pounds." 

to Cranmer s remarks about the Strype s Cranmer, I, 131, &c. 
Bible giving him more pleasure than - Ibid., fol. 292. 
a gift of a thousand pounds, mag- 3 Cotton MSS., Cleop. E, p. 327. 

xxiv.] ROYAL LICENSE. 337 

commanded this to be declared unto you, that his grace s 
pleasure and high commandment is, that in the reading and 
hearing thereof, first most humbly and reverently using and 
addressing yourselves unto it, you shall have always in your 
remembrance and memories, that all things contained in this 
Book is the undoubted will, law, and commandment of Almighty 
God, the only and straight means to know the goodness and 
benefits of God towards us, and the true duty of every Chris 
tian man to serve him accordingly. And that therefore read 
ing this Book with such mind and firm faith as is aforesaid, 
you shall first endeavour yourselves to conform your own liv 
ings and conversation to the contents of the same. And so by 
your good and virtuous example to encourage your wives, 
children, and servants to live well and Christianly according to 
the rules thereof. 

" And if at any time by reading any doubt shall come to any 
of you touching the sense and meaning of any part thereof, 
that then, not giving too much to your own minds, fantasies, 
and opinions ; nor having thereof any open reasoning in your 
open taverns or alehouses, ye shall have recourse to such 
learned men as be or shall be authorized to preach and declare 
the same. So that, avoiding all contentions and disputation in 
such alehouses and other places, unmeet for such conferences, 
and submitting your opinion to the judgments of such learned 
men as shall be appointed in this behalf, his grace may well 
perceive that you use this most high benefit quietly and chari 
tably every one of you, to the edifying of himself, his wife, and 
family, in all things answering to his highness good opinion 
conceived of you, in the advancement of virtue and suppressing 
of vice ; without failing to use such discreet quietness and sober 
moderation in the premises as is aforesaid ; as you tender his 
grace s pleasure, and intend to avoid his high indignation, and 
the peril and danger that may ensue to you and every of you 
for the contrary." 

Peculiar decision and firmness are manifest in the movement. 
The "notes" in the volume sounded a bold defiance, and tended 
to exasperate thousands who were ready to rebel and battle for 
the faith and the rites of their fathers. The Pilgrimage of Grace 

VOL. i. Y 


had recently alarmed the nation, and this wild reactionary re 
bellion in the north was fed and fostered by fanatical priests, 
clamouring for the suppression of all ecclesiastical reforms, and 
plunging into treason to avenge themselves of heresy. Aske 
had been executed, and also the Abbot of Barlings, who had 
unfolded the Banner of the Five Wounds. Not long after this, 
when the treason of the Poles, one of whom had been made a 
cardinal, was detected and punished, such men as were forward 
to show hostility to the crown on pretence of helping the 
church were stigmatized by the king himself as " those miser 
able papistical and superstitious wretches." l The licensing of 
Matthew s Bible at such a time a volume so profuse in its 
civil homage, and so terse and pointed in its condemnation of 
papal dogmas and rites appeared to be throwing down the 
gauntlet to a great and turbulent faction. 

Crumwell had now risen to the pinnacle of power and 
prerogative. He had become Vicar-General and Vicegerent, 
officially representing the king as the head of the Church; and 
in virtue of this anomalous office, he presided in Convocation. 
Such presiding of " an ignorant layman in a synod of the most 
learned bishops that ever were in England was a most scan 
dalous sight," according to Bishop Godwin. 

At a meeting of Convocation in 153G, the vicegerent, who took 
precedence of the archbishop, introduced, by a wanton stretch 
of authority, Ales, or Alane, the Scottish exile, 2 and a sufferer 
from popish tyranny, and asked him to declare his judgment 
on the question of the Sacraments. Ales confined himself 
chiefly to arguments from Scripture, for Bishop Foxe, of 
Hereford, had encouraged him by these words : " We be com 
manded by the king s grace to dispute ~by the Holy Scripture. 
. The lay people now know the Holy Scriptures better 
than many of us." As Ales went on in his Biblical demonstra 
tion, Stokesley shouted in a paroxysm of wrath, "Yet are ye 
far deceived if ye think that there is none other Word of God 

1 In a circular letter to the justices book "On the Authority of the Word 
of the peace. Burnet s Collectanea, of God," he gave his name as Alex- 
p. 494. ander Alane, Scot. 

2 See page 247. On the title of a 

xxiv.] DEDICATION. 330 

but that which every souter and cobbler doth read in his mother 
tongue." One of the strong protestations of the Lower House 
also was, that now "by preaching the people have been brought 
in opinion and belief that nothing is to be believed except 
it can be proved expressly from Scripture." These varieties of 
opinion, and these confessions, wrung from alarmed opponents, 
showed that the Bible had been getting among the people, who 
were still eager for a fuller and more public circulation of it. 
Might not the king, understanding this state of feeling among 
his subjects, feel warranted to follow the advice of his prime 
counsellor, and give his royal sanction to the Bible of Cover- 
dale and to the Bible of Matthew ? Both Bibles received the 
royal license in the same year, but which of them had the 
priority cannot be definitely decided. Fulke, however, writing 
in 1583, calls " Thomas Matthew s translation the first that was 
printed in English with authority." l 

The Dedication, which occupies no less than three pages, 
must also have had some influence in gaining the royal consent. 
It takes up such topics as Coverdale had done not, however, 
comparing his majesty to the Jewish kings, but rather, in a 
firm and manly tone, holding up their life and work, as royal 
examples. But he adds, quite in the fashion of the age : " The 
want of lernynge, The obscurenes & lownes of byrth, The lack 
of youre graces knowledge, &c., shuld haply haue vtterly 
forbydden me, to haue interprysed the dedycacion herof to so 
puyssaient a Prynce : But the experience of youre graces 
benygnytye, wherthroughe youre prayse is renouined & hyghly 
magnifyed, even aui5ge straungers & alyentes, not alone among 
youre awne subiectes, The Godly moderacion of youre heuenly 
poly eye, wherwith ye suppresse supersticyon & maynteue true 
holynes, inflameth me to some part of boldnes : Specyally syth 
the thyng which I dedycate is soch as your grace studyeth 
dayly to fosther." And he thus concludes : " The euerliuynge 
Lord so prospere contynually youre begonne purpose vnto soch 
effect, that the thinge may be which ye haue beg5ne. And 
double vnto you the addycyo of yeares that was geuen vnto 
Hezekiah, ouer & above those that ye shulde naturally lyue. 
1 Defence, &c., against Gregory Martin, p. 112, Parker Society ed. 


that yo maye the Letter accomplish your moast godly intent : 
And blesse you at thys present wyth a sonne, by youre most 
grac} T ous wyfe Queen Jane, which may prosperously & fortun 
ately raygne, & folowe the godly steppes of his father : And 
after your grace shall geue place to nature, & forsake thys- 
mortall lyfe, grannte you the rewarde of that vnspeakable & 
celestyall ioye, whych no eye hath sene, no care hearde, nor 
can ascende into the herte of man. So be it. Youre graces 
faythfull & true subiect Thomas Matthew." 

Different views have been taken of the connection of Cranmer 
with Matthew s Bible ; some conjecturing that he was wholly 
ignorant of the preparation of it, and others that its importa 
tion did not take him by surprise nay, Lewis affirms that he 
was one of its " curators," and Todd, " that he had exerted 
himself for it." Certainly, his letter to Crumwell indicates no 
emotion produced by any sudden discovery, nor does it hint at 
any prior knowledge of the enterprise, but it speaks quietly of 
a mere welcome matter of fact. There may have been a prior 
understanding, though no hint of it is dropped. Grafton and 
Whitcchurch may have secretly informed Cranmer of their 
purpose, in the hope of securing his protection. Grafton had 
embarked his fortune in it, 500 sterling, a sum probably equal 
in value to 7,000 at the present day, and he was naturally 
anxious to be repaid. Would he have ventured without some 
tacit connivance with Cranmer to have brought the Bible into 
the country under the risk of its circulation being refused or 
impeded, and himself financially ruined ? That neither the 
archbishop nor the printers spoke of the matter prematurely 
was only a natural silence in the circumstances. Though 
Cranmer seized the first opportunity of turning Crumwell s 
attention to the new Bible, neither he nor the vicegerent had 
been at any expense or trouble about it, and it was not fostered 
or printed under any distinguished patronage. 

The edition of 1500 copies was soon exhausted, and Grafton, 
afraid of competition, petitioned Crumwell, Lord Privy Seal, for 
protection. He had already asked for a royal license, which 
had been granted ; but he was aware of what had happened to 
Tyndale through pirated editions, undertaken by illiterate 

xxiv.] GRAFTON S CAUTION. 341 

foreigners, ignorant of the very language which they were 
printing. He pleads the amount of capital embarked in the 
enterprise, and the popularity of the book as tempting others 
to republish it, " There are that will, and doth go about the 
printing of the same worke agayne in a lesser letter, to the 
intent that they may sell their little books better cheap than I 
can sell these great, to the utter undoing of me, your orator, and 
all these my creditors." He tries to frighten his patron by 
the prophecy that rivals wilt falsify the text, and not set out 
the book for God s glory, as may appear by the former Bibles 
which they have set forth, which have neither good paper, 
letter, ink, nor correction. Especially w r as he afraid of 
" Douchemen (Germans) dwelling within the realm, who can 
neither speak good English, nor write none, who yet will both 
print and correct such an edition, and who are so covetous 
that they will not bestow twenty or forty pounds on a learned 
man as editor." He calls himself a " poor young man " who 
will be ruined by such rival editions. Then he piously sug 
gests, with a keen eye to business and to a rapid sale, that every 
abbey should have six copies, " that they may look on the 
Lord s law," "none but those of the papistical sort," however, 
being compelled to have them; and he concludes, "then I know 
there should be enough found in my lord of London s diocese 
to spend away a great part of them, and so should this be a 
godly act worthily to be had in remembrance while the world 
doth stand. The sicknes is bryme l about, or else I 
would wait upon your lordship." 2 To this request, so simple in 
its terms, so cautious in its selfward suggestions, veiled, how 
ever, by such professions of disinterested patriotism, 
and Christian zeal, no response seems to have been made, at 
least none has been preserved. Yet, if the suspicions of 
Grafton were correct as to the contemplated reprint of the 
"dreaded lytle bookes," the project seems to have been checked, 
perhaps by Crumwell s command. We should have rejoiced, 
however, at seeing a Bible of smaller form put into circulation 
for popular use, since, as long as it was kept in the shape of a 

] Brime means fierce, as in Lang- 2 Cotton MSS., Cleopatra E. V., 
toft, "Eichard wexe full brime." fol. 340. 


large and heavy folio, it could be possessed only by a mere 
fraction of the nation. The age of hand-bibles had not come, 
the period was one of transition, and men were still feeling 
toward a more perfect version. But a decided advance had 
now been made ; for that Bible was now in the country which 
was to supply the basis of all subsequent revisions. The edition 
of Matthew or Rogers of 1537 became on revision the Great 
Bible in 1539-1-540, it on revision took the name of the 
Bishops Bible in 1508, and the Bishops Bible, on being 
again revised, took its lasting place as our English Bible 
in 1611. 


A REVISED edition of Matthew s Bible was published in 
1539. The editor, Richard Taverner, was born at 
Brisley, Norfolk, about 1505, and was one of the young men 
selected by Wolsey for his college at Oxford. He was 
imprisoned with others in its cellar for reading Tyndale s 
New Testament. But he was soon released on account of 
his singular musical accomplishments ; l and giving himself 
to the study of law, he was admitted to the Inner Temple. 
He next attached himself to Secretary Crumwell, Chancellor of 
the University of Cambridge, and in 1537 occupied a position 
of honour and responsibility as clerk of the signet to the king. 
Two years afterwards, in 1539, his edition of the Bible appeared, 
and his connection with Crumwell may have suggested to him 
such a Biblical work. The title bears that it was "newly 
recognized with great diligence after most faythful exemplars." 2 
The edition was printed in London, in folio and quarto, 3 
while the first Great Bible was at press on the Continent, 
and during the same year were issued two editions of the New 
Testament, in folio and quarto also. 4 His New Testament 
was again printed in 1540 in 12mo, and his Old Testament 
formed part of a Bible published in 1551. After that period 

1 Dalaber says (see p. 166), "I stood iu order that poorer people who 
at the quire door and heard Mr. could not purchase a whole Bible 
Taverner play." might be able to buy a fragment. 

2 Bale speaks of it as recognitio 4 Taveruer also published in 1540 
sen potius versio. De Illustr. Viris, Postills on the Epistles and Gospels. 
p. 698. Reprinted, ed. Cardwell, Oxford, 

3 This edition was printed in parts 1841. 


his edition sank into such neglect that it had no appreciable 
influence on any subsequent revision. 

Taverner was reputed to be a good Greek scholar, " it being 
his humour to quote law in Greek." His Bible has a dis 
tinctive character of its own. The Old Testament is Matthew 
with some variations; many of the marginal notes are changed ; 
and he closely followed Tyndale in the New Testament. He 
unfolds his purpose in his dedication to the king, and thanks 
him for licensing the Bible: " This one thing I dare well affirm, 
that amongst all your majesty s deservings . . . your 
highness never did thing more acceptable unto God, more pro 
fitable to the advancement of true Christianity, more unpleasant 
to the enemies of the same, and also to your grace s enemies, 
than when your majesty licensed and willed the most sacred 
Bible containing the unspotted and lively Word of God to 
be in the English tongue set forth to your highness subjects. 
. Wherefore, the premises well considered, forasmuch as 
the printers hereof were very desirous to have the Bible come 
forth as faultless, and emendably as the shortness of time for 
the recognizing of the same would require, they desired me, 
for default of a better learned, diligently to overlook and peruse 
the whole copy, and in any case I should find any notable 
default that needed correction, to amend the same, according 
to the true exemplars, which thing according to my talent I 
have gladly done." He understood the difficulty and impor 
tance of translation: "It is a work of great difficulty so 
absolutely to translate the Holy Bible that it be faultless," 
that he "feared it could scarce be done of one or two persons, 
but rather required both a deeper conferring of learned wits 
together, and also a juster time and longer leisure." This 
edition has no woodcuts, and there are very few notes. 

Tavcrner s 1 scholarship appears on every page in many 

1 Taverner had a license to preach from the pulpit of St. Mary s. Died 

from Edward VI, and did preach. 14th July, 1577. Bale, writing in 

Queen Elizabeth made him high 15.">7, says of him, " Nescio an vivat 

sheriff of Oxford in 13G9. In civil- adhuc." Wood ( Athena?, Oxon, vol. 

ian costume, and with a sword by I, p. 182) has preserved a specimen 

his side, he preached to the students of his alliterative conceits in his ser- 


minute touches, for he does justice to the article, as in Gal. v, 
27, "hath the husband." He often follows the Greek order of 
expression, and is eager to find Saxon equivalents and idioms 
for rarer terms and combinations. Some of his alterations are 
pithy in character Matt, xxii, 12, "had never a word to say"; 
34, " stopped the Sadducees mouths." But the clause " this cup 
is the New Testament in my blood," 1 Cor. xi, is omitted, and 
some copies have a slip of paper with the omitted words pasted 
over the place. The disputed clauses, 1 John v, are printed in 
a smaller type. In Gen. xliii, 11, the older phrase of Tyndale 
and Coverdale, " a curtesye baulme," is altered into " a quantity 
of baulme"; but he retains another archaism in Acts xii, 19, 
"commanded the keepers to depart" to be put to death. 
The very peculiar term in 2 Kings xxiii, 5, Kemurims in 
Coverdale, Taverner changed into " religious persons " ; the 
Great Bible having " ministers of Baal " ; the Genevan, 
" Chemerim," with a note as in the original Matthew. The 
Authorized Version has, in the place referred to, " idolatrous 
priests " ; in Hosea x, 5, simply " priests " ; but in Zeph. i, 4, 
it has " Chemarims." Taverner, in his usual English, prefers 
" residue " to " remnant," and " forthwith " to " by and bye." 
Some of his changes are kept in the Authorized Version, as 
" parables " for " similitudes " ; " because of their unbelief," 
Matt, xiii, 58; "ninety and nine," xviii, 12; "lodged," xxi, 17; 
" throne," xxiii, 23 ; "of many shall wax cold," xxiv, 12 ; "a 
stranger," xxv, 35 ; " passover," xxvi. 17 ; "guilty of death," 66; 
" ye have a watch," xxvii, 65 ; " the Israel of God," Gal. vi, 16 ; 
" I stand in doubt of you," iv, 20 last clause, " in a doubt," 
Tyndale and Matthew. Gal. iii, 6, is identical with this 
version, Tyndale having " ascribed," but he preserves the 

mons : "Arrived at the mount of St. Mary s was then of stone, and a 

Mary s, on the stony stage where I wooden pulpit was put in its place 

now stand, I have brought you some during the chancellorship of Dr. 

fine biscuits, baked in the oven of John Owen. For his edition of the 

charity, carefully conserved for the English Bible Taverner was impris- 

chickens of the church, the sparrows oued after Crumwell s death, but he 

of the spirit, and the sweet swallows was soon released, 
of salvation." The pulpit of St. 


wrong translation in iv, 25, " and bordereth on." Taver- 
ncr gives no preface to the Apocrypha, and in the title of 
the anonymous epistle to the Hebrews he omits the name of 
St. Paul. 

Some other editions of Matthew s Bible may also be glanced 
at. One of them is a reprint in 1549, the title being within the 
woodcut which had been used for Coverdalc s version. The 
colophon records, " And nowe agayne accordyngly imprinted & 
fynesshed the laste daye of Octobre, in the yeare of oure Lorde 
God MDXLIX, By Wylliam Hyll & Thomas Rainaldes, typo 
graphers." It is altogether a wretched production the type 
bad, and the arrangement devoid of taste and accuracy. Another 
edition appeared during the same year, "now lately with greate 
industry & diligence recognised," the printers being John Daye, 
dwelling over Aldersgate, and William Seres, dwelling in 
Peter s Colledge ; the colophon intimating that the volume 
was " fineshed " in MDXLIX, and that " these bokes are to be 
solde by the lyttle conduyte in Chepesyde." The "Supputation" 
of the years and times from Adam unto Christ is signed by 
Edmund Becke, the editor of the volume, which is a reprint, 
with few variations, of the edition of 1537, though the title- 
page affirms " faythefully set furth according to the coppy 
of Thomas Matthewes translacion." In the Apocalypse are 
twenty coarse small cuts, the majority of which have two lines 
of rhyme printed perpendicularly on each side of them thus 
the xii figure has 

" Goddes chosen church travaileth here ahvaye, 
And bringeth forth Christ both night and daye. 1 

and the xx figure 

" All flesh is killed with the two edged sword, 
Which after the spirit is called Goddes Worde." 

Another edition of 1551 Taverner s revised by Beckc con 
tains the Third Book of Maccabees for the first time, while 
Third Esdras, Tobit, and Judith are of a new translation. 
An edition of Becke s Matthew came out in 1551, "printed by 


Thomas Petyt, dwelling in Paul s Church eyarde, at the sign 
of the Maydens heade, and dated vi day of May." Eight 
publishers were concerned in the enterprise ; and the colophon 
at the end of the New Testament bears that it was " diligently 
perused and corrected and imprinted by Nicolas Hyll, dwel 
ling in Saynct Johns Streate, at the coste and charges of 
certayne honest menne of the occupacion, whose names be 
upon their bokes." Matthew s New Testament was issued 
in 1548, with a Latin version side by side; and an edition 
of Tyndale s New Testament, with Matthew s notes, appeared 
during the same year. 

After Edward VI ascended the throne, Rogers came home. 
He was in England in 1548, for his preface to his translation 
of Melanchthon s " Weighing of the Interim " is dated 1st 
August, 1548, at London, "in Edward Whitechurch s house." 
Though he had been for years a " stranger in a strange land," 
and though his volume had now been superseded by the Great 
Bible, his work as editor of Matthew s Bible was not forgotten, 
for he was, on the 10th of May, 1550, presented simultaneously 
to the rectory of St. Margaret Moyses, 1 on the east side of 
Friday Street, and the vicarage of St. Sepulchre, London. 
The income of the last living was 440 in 1636, the incumbent s 
share being 180, and a parsonage. On the 24th of August, 
1551, he was preferred to the prebendal stall of St. Pancras in 
St. Paul s, and to this stall the rectory of Chigwell in Essex was 
attached. He resigned St. Margaret Moyses seventeen days after 
he had become a prebendary. There were three stalls vacant 
at the time, and Grindal and Bradford were promoted by 
Ridley along with Rogers. The first escaped, and became 
Archbishop of Canterbury ; but Bradford, Rogers, and their 
bishop perished in the flames. Rogers was also chosen by the 
dean and chapter to be divinity lecturer in St. Paul s, but he 
could have held this office for a very brief interval only, for he 
seems to have been admitted to it in June, 1553. The changes 
of that period produced strange results, for Gabriel Dunne, the 

1 It was destroyed in the great fire, church in Bread Street of this name 
and afterward the parish was an- represents the two parishes, 
nexed to that of St. Mildred. The 


betrayer of Tyndale, occupied as prebendary the twelfth stall 
on the right hand of the choir, and Prebendary Rogers the 
sixth on the left. 

The death of Edward VI was followed by dark days. Popery 
was re-established under Mary, and its earnest opponents, after 
a brief respite, were arrested and martyred. Bishop Gardyiier, 
her chief counsellor, made it his policy to strike at the " head 
deer," and he began with an illustrious victim, singled out as a 
popular leader, and zealous and eloquent reformer, who, as he 
had been so long in the land of Luther, was believed to possess 
uncommon eagerness and intrepidity. In August, 1553, Rogers 
was ordered by the Lords of the Council to keep himself a 
prisoner in his house at Pauls. He remained for a long 
period in this confinement, and " spake with no man." He 
was at length sent to Newgate, and confined with thieves 
under a jailer named " Alexander Andrew, a strait man," ac 
cording to Foxe, " and a right Alexander, a coppersmith indeed." 
On the 22nd of January, 1555, official proceedings against him 
commenced before the Privy Council, the Lord Chancellor Gar- 
dyner presiding. Gardiner seems to have abruptly demanded 
if he was willing, then and there, to abandon his new faith, and 
acknowledge the Papal creed and authority. . . . With true 
courage, he replied boldly that he recognized Christ as the only 
head of the Church, and declared his opinion that the Bishop 
of Rome not the Pope had no more or other authority in 
spiritual matters than any other of the numerous bishops then 
living. Then Gardyner, hastily imagining that he had already 
ensnared him, inasmuch as, in his Dedication of the Bible to 
King Henry VIII, he had addressed him as "the chief and 
supreme head of the Church of England," taunted him with the 
fact; and when Rogers, who was fully prepared for this objec 
tion, would have explained his meaning and shown that he 
was guilty of no inconsistency, the subject was turned into 
derision by the Bishops of Durham and Worcester ; and Gar 
dyner, refusing to listen to him, demanded again, still more 
peremptorily, a direct answer to his original question. Deter 
mined not to be brow-beaten, Rogers urged that neither he or 
the other bishops believed what they now required him to 


avow, for they had not only preached the contrary doctrine for 
twenty years, but some of them had written books against it. 
There was so much truth in the assertion that Gardyner did 
not attempt to controvert it ; but, in seeking to escape the 
consequences of its admission by one outlet, he fell instantly 
into a still more serious pit-fall, and alleged that he and others 
had been compelled, by means of the cruelties used towards 
them, to appear to consent to what was really against their 
consciences. Rogers promptly retorted that they were now 
endeavouring to force him to do violence to his conscience in a 
similar manner. . . . He continued his argument with the 
Lord Chancellor, who soon interrupted him again, and insisted 
upon a prompt reply to his first question. Finding that they 
were determined not to listen to him, he shortly responded in 
the negative, and asked permission to prove, in writing, the 
truth of all his propositions. This was instantly refused ; and 
he was warned that, if he rejected the mercy then offered him, 
he should thereafter experience only justice. Declaring that, 
although he had never offended or disobeyed the Queen, he 
was yet willing to receive her mercy, he reminded them of the 
gross injustice that they were now manifesting; inasmuch as 
they themselves, twenty years before, had first led him to 
doubt the pretended primacy of the Bishop of Rome, and now 
they would not even discuss the question with him. Gardyner, 
to escape this home-thrust, recklessly flew to another position, 
and declared that he was forbidden by the Scriptures to dis 
pute with a heretic. " I deny that I am a heretic," said Rogers 
quietly ; " prove that first, and then allege your text." But this 
was also evaded, and his answer was again demanded ; but he 
only repeated that he must first find in the Scriptures the 
right of the Bishop of Rome to be called supreme head. 

After several appearances, Rogers and Bishop Hooper 
were condemned. 1 On being awaked "with much shog- 
ging " on the morning of his execution, and being told that 
he must die that day, he quietly said, "Then I need not 

1 An account of the trial written has printed it with great care from 
by Rogers himself may be found in the Lansdowne MS. Life of Rogers, 
Foxe, vol. VI, p. 591. Mr. Chester pp. 155 and 294. 


tye my points." After being "degraded" by Bishop Bonner, 
assisted by bis archdeacon and canons, he was the first sent 
to the flames, and calmly and bravely he met his fate, in 
the spirit of him who has the primacy of all the martyrs, 
and who prayed, " Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." 
Every one knows the affecting story of his meeting, on his 
way to the stake, his wife, who had been so cruelly denied 
access to him by Bishop Gardyner during his imprisonment, 
his eleven children being with her, the eldest a lad about 
seventeen years old, and the youngest a suckling on her 
breast. But he surmounted the trial ; " the sorrowful sight 
of his own flesh and blood could nothing move him in the 
defence and quarrel of Christ s Gospel." He was burned at 
Smithfield on the 4th of February, 1555 thousands of thrilled 
spectators being attracted to the spot. Count Noailles, the 
French ambassador, wrote to Montmorency on the same day, 
" that Rogers children so comforted him that it seemed as if he 
had been led to a wedding." Foxe relates that Rogers, " being- 
then in prison, did say to the printer of this book (John Day), 
who was then laid up for the like cause of religion," " Thou 
shalt live to see the alteration, and the Gospel to be freely 
preached again." l His children had been naturalized by 
Parliament, the royal assent being given to the Act on the 
loth of April, 1552 the Earl of Derby, and the Lords 
Stourton, Sands, Windsor, and Burgh having voted against 
the bill in the House of Lords. Many families in England and 
America have claimed descent from John Rogers, but without 
sufficient proof. Biographical sketches of several of his sons 
and grandsons are given in Chester s " Life of John Rogers." - 
One granddaughter was married to the well known Puritan 
commentator Jenkyn, who was minister of Christ Church, so 
near the familiar scene of martyrdom. 

Two incidents in connection with Matthew s Bible may be 
noticed. The first English Concordance sprang out of the study 
of it. When Marbeck, one of the organists of St. George s, 
Windsor, was arrested and tried in 1543, he confessed to the 
compilation of a Concordance drawn up from a borrowed copy 
i Vol. VI, p. 610. 2 Page 259. 


of Matthew s Bible, as he could not afford to buy a new one. 
The Bible was of such interest to him that he had begun to 
transcribe it for private study. When he had finished the 
transcription of the Pentateuch, " on fair, great paper," Master 
Turner called upon him unawares, and ascertaining the nature 
of his occupation, scorned his labour as "vain and tedious," 
but urged him to " set out " a Concordance. Marbeck, being 
wholly ignorant of the nature of such a work, asked, " What is 
that ? " and his " friend " showed him that " it was a book to 
find out any word in the whole Bible by the letters." He then 
boiTOwed a Latin Concordance, and at once began to " practise 
his wit " upon the task, which required " not so much learning 
as diligence," " for thou art," said his friend, " a painful man, 
and cannot remain unoccupied." After a long trial before 
Gardyner and other bishops " sitting in commission," in 1543, he 
was, along with three others, condemned to the fire; but he was 
ultimately pardoned, l though Testwood, Peersoii, and Filmer 
were burned on the meadow in front of Windsor Castle. The 
Concordance, dedicated to King Edward VI, was published in 
1550, with the simple and significant title, "A Concordance, 
that is to saye, a worke wherein by the ordre of the letters 
A, B, C, yee may reddlye find any word conteyned in the whole 
Bible, so often as it is there expressed or mentioned." 2 By 
some mistake Foxe had said in his first edition that Marbeck 
had suffered ; but in his second edition he shouts gleefully, 
" He liveth, God be praised, and yet to this present, and 
singe th merrily, and playeth on the organs." The martyr- 
ologist is very wroth with those who had attacked him for 
the error. Marbeck was admitted to the degree of Bachelor 
of Music at Oxford in 1549. He also supplied musical 
" notes " to an edition of the Book of Common Prayer pub 
lished in 1550. 3 

In fine, it was upon this Bible of Matthew 4 that an ingenious 
alteration was tried by a person whom Wanley styles, " a vil- 

1 The story is graphically told in 3 Burney s History of Music, vol. 
Foxe, vol. V, p. 472. II, p. 578. 

a London, Richard Grafton. 4 Account of Lord Oxford s Bible, 

Lewis, History, p. 46. 


lainous follow, commonly called Captain Thornton." 1 Fuller- 
had made the erroneous assertion that in Wycliffe s version 
"knave" was used for " servant." Thornton, by a clever mani 
pulation, erased " scrvaunte " in Romans i, 1, and pasted over 
the space the word " krieawe," in letters cut out from various 
parts of the volume. The preliminary leaves were taken away, 
the date on the title-page MDXXXVII was mutilated by paring 
off xvii, and the Bible with a new date of MDXX was sold to 
the Duke of Lauderdale, who prized it very highly as a literary 
curiosity, for it read in Rom. i, 1, " Paul a kneawe of Jesus 
Christ " A Bible, affirmed to be the "identical" book, was 
included in the sale catalogue of the library of Mr. Offor 
(London, 1S65) ; and the unsuspected forgery supplied a note 
to one of the Waverley fictions in explanation of the term 
"miller s knave." Knave does not occur in Wycliffe in the 
sense of servant; but the phrase knave-child, that is, male child, 
is used in the second version, Exodus i, 16, and Rev. xvii, 5. 
One MS., " ended in 14?OS," preserved in the Bodleian Library, 
and noted for many peculiar readings, has in Lev. xii, 7, 
" knave child." It also occurs in Chaucer s Clerk s Tale, as 
opposed to a " maiden child." 

1 Church History, vol. I, p. 456, ed. London, 1837. 


VOL. I. 

" Oh that I knew how all thy lights combine, 
And the configurations of their glory ! 
Seeing not only how each verse doth shine, 
But all the constellations of the story. 

This verse marks that, and both do make a motion 
Unto a third, that ten leaves off doth lie : 

Then as dispersed herbs do watch a potion, 

These three make up some Christian s destiny. 

Such are thy secrets, which my life makes good, 
And comments on thee : for in every thing 
Thy words do find me out, and parallels bring, 

And in another make me understood. 

Stars are poor books, and oftentimes do miss : 
This book of stars lights to eternal bliss." 



Bible of Matthew or Rogers, published in 1537, which 
was made up of Tyndale and Coverdale, was, from the 
very nature of its component parts, an unequal translation. 
It was, however, a step hi advance toward the great end, and 
therefore a further revision was felt to be indispensable. Cover- 
dale s method was vague and unsatisfactory, and Matthew s 
edition swarmed with provoking polemical annotations. But 
out of it, after careful critical labour a third Bible might be 
evolved for national use and circulation, and which, were it 
approved by competent scholars, might win its way by its 
own merits even among the adherents of the " old learning," 
Covevdale himself was chosen as reviser by his old patron 
Crumwell ; the translator now became the editor, while the 
basis of the work was the rival Bible of Matthew. Though 
Rogers himself had been in this country, he might have been 
thought disqualified by his pronounced opinions, and, so far as 
we know, he had given no decided evidence of capacity as a 
translator. The pliant mind of Coverdale seems to have offered 
no opposition to a task, which might have appeared ungracious 
to some minds, for no man likes to depreciate the fruits of his 
industry. But in the dedication of the Diglott he had said, 
like himself, " No less do I esteem it my duty to amend other 
men s faults, than if they were my own;" while in the dedica 
tion of his Bible he had avowed to the king, " I am always 
willing and ready to do my best as well in one translation 
as in another." And true to his spontaneous pledge, he did not 
shrink from a toil which, as it was intended to eclipse his 
earlier effort, also implied a confession that his volume of 


1535 was deficient in many elements of an accurate popular 
version. He had an innate liking for Biblical studies, and he 
pursued them in the true spirit of " simplicity and godly 
sincerity." ]S T o false pride kept him from amending what he- 
had previously done, and he did not decline a work which was 
meant to supersede his own Bible, of which there had been 
three editions, and a portion of a fourth in Thomas Matthew s. 1 
His constant motive was to make Scripture intelligible, to 
present the record of the Divine Will clearly and impressively 
to the English reader, and for this purpose he availed himself 
of the readiest assistance. Many good people must have been 
stumbled by the authorized circulation of two such Bibles 
as those of 1535 and 1537, the second clean and sharp as 
steel; the first quiet and equivocal, neither decidedly one thing 
nor another, but both by turns. Matthew s Bible must have 
stirred up great opposition ; but by the new revision its 
distinctive and anti-papal element was now taken out of 
it. Samson s locks were shorn, and he became "like any other 
man." The tastes of Cranmer were consulted more than those 
of the vicegerent. 

Several mistakes have been made about the origin of this 
revision. Hume records against all proof that " a vote was 
passed for publishing a new translation of the Scriptures, and 
in three years time the work was finished and published at 
Paris." Burnet states that a motion to have a new version 
was made in Convocation in 1536 ; but he confesses, however, 
" to whom the work was committed, or how they proceeded 
in it, I know not, for the accounts of these things have 7iot 
been preserved nor conveyed to us with that care that the 
importance of the thing required. Yet it appears that the work 
was carried on at a good rate, for, three years after this, it was 
printed at Paris." 3 But the narrative is utterly proofless, and 

1 Mr. Green (History of the Eug- Coverdale only revised to the best 

ish People, p. 332), states thai of his judgment. 

Coverdale, in preparing the Great - History of England, vol. IV, p. 

Bible, " collected the translations of 122, London, 1825. 

Tyndale " ; but the collection had 3 History of the Reformation, vol. 

been the work of Matthew, which I, pt. ii, p. 357, Oxford, 1816. 


contradicts what is definitely known of the birth of the Great 
Bible. Froude tells, " that Matthew s version, after being 
revised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, was reprinted in 
1538, 1539, 1540, and 1541, under the name of the Great Bible 
or Cranmer s. 1 But] the revision was not published in 1538, and 
with the edition of 1539 Cranmer had nothing to do, as we 
shall presently see. Some have even surmised, without any 
evidence, that the scraps of the revision which the Archbishop 
had attempted in 1534, were used in the preparation of the 
new Bible; and it has even been contended, as by Lord Herbert, 2 
that the king was now requested to order a new version 
without tables and comments, and that he committed the 
matter to Crumwell, who had obtained his sanction for the 
two previous editions. Certainly " his good lordship " is 
said to be " the causer thereof," and the reviser and the 
superintendent of the press, writing to him from Paris, call 
it "your work of the Bible." Whatever, therefore, the 
relation of the king to the edition might be, Crumwell was 
the prime mover, as the correspondence so plainly shows. Paris 
was fixed upon as the place of printing from the superiority 
of paper and workmanship to be found in it. Coverdale and 
Grafton went over to the French capital, probably in May, and 
the printing was immediately commenced at the press of 
Regnault. A royal license had been obtained from Francis, 
at the request of Henry, noster carissimus frater, but it 
contained stipulations which might at any time lead to the 
suspension of the enterprise ; for the ecclesiastical authorities, 
though forced for a time to wink at it, were jealous of it 
from the beginning. 3 In an early communication to Crumwell, 
Coverdale and Grafton inform him, that they have sent him 
two copies on parchment the only two to be so printed one 

1 History of England, vol. IV, p. 3 The license was to last as long 
201, fourth edition, 1867. as they did not print " privatas ullas 

2 England under Henry VIII, p. aut illegitimas opiuiones." Strype s 
614, London, 1870. Dibdin also Life of Cranmer, vol. I, p. 439, Ox- 
( Bibliomania, p. 328) carelessly talks ford, 1848. A copy of the license is 
of it as being made "under the archi- given in his Appendix xxx. 
episcopal patronage of Craumer." 


for the king, and one for himself, and that they enclosed a third 
specimen, printed on the paper on which it was to be published. 
They also unfold their plan : " We follow not only a standing- 
text of the Hebrew with the interpretation of the Chaldee and 
the Greek ; but we set also in a private (separate) table the 
diversity of readings of all texts, with such annotations in 
another table, as shall doubtless delucidate and clear the same ; 
as well without any singularity of opinions, as all checkings 
and reproofs. The print, no doubt, shall please your good 
lordship : the paper is of the best sort in France. The charge 
is certainly great ; wherein as we most humbly require your 
favourable help at this present, with whatsoever it shall please 
your lordship to let us have. . . . ^^ 7 e be daily threatened 
and look ever to be spoken to withal. " l As the work pro 
ceeded, the method was more fully explained, and on the 9th 
of August they write to the Lord Privy Seal : " Your work 
going forward, we thought it our most bounden duty to send 
unto your lordship certain leaves thereof, specially seeing 
we had so good occasion, by the returning of your beloved 
servant Sebastian ; 2 and as they are done, so will we send 
your lordship the residue, from time to time." 3 

"As touching the manner and order that we keep in the 
same work, pleaseth it your good lordship to be advertised, 
that the mark ^p in the text signifieth that upon the same 
(in the latter end of the book) there is some notable annota 
tions, which we have written without any private opinion, 
only after the best interpreters of the Hebrews, for the more 
clearness of the text. 4 This mark J5L betokeneth that upon the 
same text there is diversity of reading, among the Hebrews, 
Chaldees, and Greeks, and Latinists, as in a table at the end 

1 Grafton signs himself, Richard Cover-dale may have obtained some 

Grafton, grocer. knowledge of Hebrew ; but lie 

" Sebastian is sometimes said to be could learn all that he says from 

Crum well s cook. State Papers, the " interpreters " usually consulted 

Crumwell s Correspondence, vol. I, by him. The variations referred 

No. 167. to might be easily found in the 

3 Ibid., p. 108. Complutensian Polyglott. 

4 During the last three years 


of the book shall be declared. This mark C$8 showeth that 
the sentence, written in small letters, is not in the Hebrew or 
Chaldee, but in the Latin, and seldom in the Greek, and 
that we, nevertheless, would not have it extinct, but highly 
accept it, for the more explanation of the text. This token 
f in the Old Testament giveth to understand that the same 
text that followeth it is also alleged of Christ, or of some 
Apostle in the New Testament. This, among other our 
necessary labours, is the way that we take in this work ; 
trusting verily that as Almighty God moved your lordship 
to set us unto it, so shall it be to His glory, and right 
welcome to all them that love to serve Him, and their 
Prince, in true faithful obedience." On the 12th Septem 
ber they wrote again, telling that they had been instantly 
desired by their host to ask a license for him, who had 
been "an occupier" more than forty years, to sell in Eng 
land books printed by him on the Continent, the impor 
tation having been prohibited by the Company of Book 
sellers, and as an inducement to grant the privilege they 
pleaded for, they subjoin, " We shall fare none the worse in 
the readiness and due expedition of this your lordships Bible, 
which is going well forward, and within four months will 
draw to an end by the grace of Almighty God." Coverdale 
had already asked a monopoly for James Nycolson, who 
published the second and third editions of his New Testa 
ment, and now in his kind-heartedness he asked a relaxation 
of patent on behalf of Regnault. 

Bonner, 1 the English ambassador, and successor to Gardyner 
at Paris, had been very kind and patronizing to the English 
party, had them often at dinner, and often dined with them at 
the printer s house, when he generously defrayed the expense. 
He had taken a liking to Coverdale s Diglott Testament, and 
the license from the French king gave liberty to print 

1 Bishop elect of Hereford, for- He had been favoured by Crmmvell, 

merly Archdeacon of Leicester, and and did not appear in his true charae- 

afterwards Bishop of London, a ter till after his patron s execution, 

reformer apparently up to the time of Bonner is said to have written the 

his elevation to the episcopal bench. Homily on Charity. 


Bibles in Latin and English Latine quam Britannice. On 
the 13th of December, Coverdale asked to know Crurnwell s 
pleasure about the annotations, and whether the places 
noted by the "hands" should pass undeclared, "promising 
to avoid any private opinion or contentious words," and 
offering all notes to be inspected by Bonner before they 
were printed. He also intimates that he sends home, 
through Bonner, another portion of the printed sheets, that 
these at least may be " safe," should the ecclesiastics of 
Paris " confiscate " what they could lay their hands on. 
His precaution was wise, and, indeed, a first warning put 
Coverdale and Grafton on their guard. Before the printing 
was finished, and four days after this last letter, an Inhibi 
tion was launched against them. The inquisitor-general had 
been influenced to interfere, and on the 17th December, 
1538, he issued through Le Tellier, the " sworn scribe " 
of the Holy Office, an edict l forbidding the work, seizec 1 
the pages already printed and not conveyed across the 
Channel, and cited the printer to appear before his tribunal. 
The Englishmen fled for safety, but left behind them many 
sheets, which were condemned to be "burned in the Place 
Maubert," close upon the Rue des Anglais. 2 But an officer 
of the Inquisition, for the sake of a little money, sold them 
as waste paper to a haberdasher " to lay caps in," and " four 
great dry vats " full of them were purchased and saved. 
Presses, types, and workmen were also in a short time 
brought over to England, and in two or three months the 
printing was completed in April, 1539. This volume, 
begun in Paris, and finished in London, is the " GREAT BIBLE," 
the name being given it on account of its size. 3 

1 The original is in the British from secondary sources, and sneers 

Museum, Cotton MSS., Cleop. E. V., at him for "thrusting himself for- 

fol. 326. ward as a translator, and hindering 

- Foxe suggestively adds, " a spot the progress of an authorized ver- 

like Smithfield." sion, it is enough to reply that 

3 AVhen Mr. Blunt, in his con- of the first authorized version of 

ilemnatiou of Tyndale as a decided 1539, two-thirds were the immediate 

Protestant, virtually ranks his New and personal work of Tyndale. 
Testament among those taken 


This first edition of the Great Bible, sometimes erroneously 
termed Cranmer s, is a handsome folio, printed in black letter, 
with the title 

" The Byble in Englyshe, that is to saye, the content of 
all the holy scripture, bothe of the olde & newe testament, 
truly translated after the veryte of the Hebrue and Greke 
textes, by the dylygent studye of dyuerse excellent learned 
men, expert in the forsayde tonges. Prynted by Rychard 
Grafton &, Edward Whitchurch. Cum privilegio ad impri- 
mendum solum. 1539." The colophon carries, " The Ende of 
the New Testament & of the whole Byble, Fynisshed in 
Apryll, Anno MCCCCCXXXIX. A Domino factum est istud." 

There is no proof that these "dyverse excellent learned men" 
were living divines working with Coverdale, and there is no 
trace of any such co-operation in his correspondence. But the 
versions so referred to are easily recognized, for the Bible was 
made by the continuous consultation of Miinster and Erasmus. 
The Latin motto quoted from Psalm cxviii, 23, is a grateful 
recognition of the kind and watchful guardianship of the 
Divine Author of Scripture. Grafton, who had charge of the 
printing, has this high witness borne to him in a recommen 
datory epistle prefixed to his Chronicle by Thomas N. . . . 
" The Bible in English, that vnvaluable Jewell, we haue by his 
trauayle, first with his charge and attendaunce procuring the 
translation thereof, then sundrie times copying the same out 
with his own hande, thirdly printing it in Fraunce with his 
great expense and perill. . . . Not discouraged herewith, but 
still caried with zeale to doe good, he attempted the woorke 
againe, and to Gods great praise and to the edification of 
Christes Church, performed it." Grafton was of good family 
and appears at one time to have had a seat in Parliament ; but 
he became so poor in his old age, that he applied to be taken 
on as a government informer. 

The Bible has an elaborately artistical frontispiece, de 
signed by Holbein. At the top is the Saviour in the clouds, 
with two Latin scrolls issuing from His lips, the one thrown 
out towards the right hand being, Verbum meum quod egre- 
dietur de ore meo non revertetur ad me vacuum, sed faciet 


quaecunque volui, Esa. Iv ; ] and that towards the left being, 
Inveiii virum juxta cor mourn, qui faciet omnes voluntates 
ineas. 2 Below the figure in the clouds is the king on his 
throne, with his crown and insignia of the Garter at his feet, 
and holding in each hand a book entitled, Verbum Dei. On 
the right of the throne stand Cramner and some ecclesiastics, 
with their mitres oil the ground ; and as the king presents the 
book to Cranmer, the scroll addressed to him, as representing 
the group, is, HJHC praecipe et doce. 3 Upon the king s left 
stands Crumwell with other peers. The king gives the book 
to him as their leader, and the thick and heavy scroll in 
tended for them reads, A me constitutum est decretum, ut in 
universe imperio et regno meo homines tremiscant et paveant 
Deum viventem. 4 There is another scroll lying over the royal 
breast, also addressed to them, inscribed with the words, Quod 
justum est, judicate. 5 Ita parvum audietis ut magnum. 6 One 
of the group, kneeling, has the legend issuing from his mouth, 
Verbum tuum lucerna pedibus meis. 7 Lower down on the 
one side of the title which occupies the centre, Crumwell is 
depicted again with the Verbum Dei in his hand which he is 
giving to those around him, with the scroll over his head, 
Diuerte a malo et fac bonum, inquire pacem et persequere earn. 8 
Psalm xxxiii. On the other side of the title, Cranmer, arrayed 
in pontificals, with his coat-of-arms at his feet, is giving the 
Verbum Dei to the eager clergy, with the issuing scroll, Pascite, 
qui in vobis est, gregem Christi, prima Pe. v. 9 The last com 
partment, under the title, fills the whole breadth of the page, 

1 So shall my word be that goeth ble and fear before the living God. 

forth out of my mouth ; it shall not Daniel vi, 26. 

return unto me void, but it shall ac- 5 Judge righteously. Deut. i, 16. 

complish that which I please. Isaiah fi Ye shall hear the small as well as 

Iv, 18. the great, Deut. i, 17. 

" I have found a man after mine 7 Thy word is a lamp unto my 

own heart, which shall fulfil all my feet. Psalm cxix, 105. 

will. Acts xiii, 22. s Depart from evil, and do good ; 

;i These things command and teach, seek peace, and pursue it. Psalm 

1 Tim. iv 11. xxxiv, 14. 

4 I make a decree, That in every 9 Feed the flock of God which is 

dominion of my kingdom men trem- among you. 1 Peter v, 2. 


like the first compartment above it. In one corner a preacher 
is addressing a crowd, and the scroll contains his text, Obsecro 
igitur primum omnium fieri obsecrationes, orationes, postula- 
tioues, gratiarum actiones, pro omnibus hominibus, pro regibus, 1 
&c., 1 Timo. ii ; and the congregation are shouting in reply, 
some Vivat Rex, and some, including females, God save the 
Kynge. At the lower portion of the left-hand corner are 
children, who are not supposed to know Latin, and who are also 
shouting God save the Kynge. Three prisoners, looking out on 
the scene from grated windows, appear to be filled with chagrin 
and amazement, while the people in front, notably a figure girt 
with a sword, are flaunting toward them many a Yivat Rex, in 
scorn of their disloyalty. 

The numerous notes in Matthew s Bible, and its prefatory 
theological miscellany, were set aside ; and Bale ascribes such 
removal of the annotation table and prefaces to popish in 
fluence. The Great Bible has no notes, not even a dedication. 
Coverdale s own proposed annotations were omitted; and the 
volume, in the eyes of its editor, must have appeared naked, 
while the ingenious apparatus of signals pointed specially to 
that nakedness. So that the short preface makes explanation 
and apology : " We have also (as ye may see) added many 
hands, both in the margin of this volume and also in the text, 
upon the which we purposed to have made, in the end of the 
Bible (in a table by themselves), certain godly annotations, 
but, forasmuch as yet there hath not been sufficient time 
ministered to the king s most honourable council for the over 
sight and correction of the said annotations, we will therefore 
omit them till their more convenient leisure, doing now no 
more but beseech thee, most gentle reader, that when thou 
comest at such a place where a hand doth stand, . . . and 
thou canst not attain to the meaning and true knowledge of 
that sentence, then do not rashly presume to make any private 
interpretation thereof, but submit thyself to the judgment of 
those that are godly learned in Christ Jesus." The " more 

1 I exhort therefore, that, first of made for all men ; for kings, &c. 1 
all, supplications, prayers, inter- Timothy ii, 1, 2. 
cessions, and giving of thanks, be 


convenient" leisure never came, though several editions re- 
tiiined the " hands " and other signs. 

Coverdale s language in the previous sentences betrays his 
constitutional weakness, his want of firmness and decision. 
He sacrificed somewhat to expediency, and wished to be " all 
things to men " in a way more flaccid than he who first used 
the phrase ever intended or exemplified. But his pliancy 
arose not from any regard to worldly interest or honour; it 
sprang from a desire to charm others over to his opinions. He 
would not be unfaithful; but he could give his fidelity, if it 
were to cause offence, the gentleness of the dove. He was too 
apt to forget that the "soft answer" may not be the most effective 
answer, though it turn away wrath. It was undutiful to him 
self and to his convictions to profess such eagerness to tune his 
annotations so as to suit the temper and likings of those who 
might inspect and criticize them. 

The Great Bible owed its existence to Crurnwell -and to his 
Protestant zeal. He had determined that there should be such 
a book, and he was not a man to be lightly turned from his 
purpose, for the prominent elements of his character were 
decision and energy. The merit then belongs really to the 
vicegerent, and neither to the king nor the archbishop. The 
copy designed for himself printed on vellum, with gilt leaves, 
the covers embossed with brass, and the frontispiece having his 
arms in colours is now in the library of St. John s College, 
Cambridge. Crumwell had also been preparing measures for 
its immediate and extensive circulation. The archbishop had 
laid injunctions on the diocese of Hereford that its clergy 
"shall have by the first day of August next coming (1539 ?), as 
well a whole Bible in Latin and English, or at least a New 
Testament of both the same languages, as the copies of the 
king s highness injunctions." This document, drawn up some 
time in 1538, pointed to the forthcoming volume of the next 
year. The vicar-general had issued injunctions also as early 
as September, when the interruption could not have been fore 
seen : " Item, that ye shall provide on this side the feast of 
- next comyng, one boke of the whole Bible in the 
largest volume in Englyshe, and the same sett up in summe 

xxvi.] COLLATION. 3(35 

convenyent place within the said churche that ye have cure of, 
whereat your parishners may most commodiously resort to the 
same and rede yt ; the charges of whiche boke shal be vatablie 
born between the parson and the parishners aforsaid, that is 
to say, the one half by youe, and th other half by them." 
Latimer issued similar injunctions to the diocese of Worcester. 
" The Bible of largest volume in English " specified in this 
Injunction is, without doubt, the Great Bible. In size none 
of the others can compete with it, neither Coverdale s nor 
Matthew s. Its pages are fully fifteen inches in length, and 
over nine in breadth. There was also a royal proclamation 
repeating and enforcing many portions of a previous edict. 1 

And so the work was done. The order had gone forth 
for the free circulation of Scripture, and was not for some 
time to be recalled. Private enterprise had translated and 
multiplied the English Bible, in spite of keen and malignant 
opposition. The king gave no grant in assistance, nor was 
any sum voted from the exchequer. Bishop Gardyner had 
no influence at the moment to prevent it ; but the clergy did 
"malign the printing of this Bible." 

The Great Bible of 1539 is the text of Matthew revised ; 
or is, in other words, Coverdale s revision both of his own and 
Tyndale s translation. In the revision of the New Testament 
Coverdale had the assistance of the Latin version of Erasmus, 
and in many cases was influenced by it. Thus, from the 
Epistle to the Galatians, chap, iii, the following specimens may 
be taken : 



3 Ye would now end. ye now end. 

4 if that be vain. if it be also in vain. 

5 Which ministered to you. Moreover he that ministereth. 

7 Understand therefore that. Ye know therefore. 

8 the scripture saw aforehand. the scripture seeing aforehand. 

9 and therefore. 

10 under malediction. subject to the curse. 

1 Burnet, p. 337, pnevidens ; 9, omitted in Erasmus 

2 3, consummamini ; 4, si et frus- and in the Great Bible ; 10, execra- 
tra ; 5, qui igitur ; 7, scitis igitur ; 8, tioni obnoxii. 






13 was made accursed. 

14 and that we might receive. 

15 I will speak. 

when it is once allowed. 

16 as in one. 
18 cometh not. 

21 howbeit if there had been a law. 
should have come. 

23 Before that faith came. 

kept & shut up under the law. 

24 unto the time of Christ. 

25 sons of God by the faith. 

28 now is there no. 

but ye are all one thing. 

29 by promise. 

GREAT BIBLE, 1539. 1 

inasmuch as be was made accursed. 

that we might receive. 

I speak. 

if it be allowed. 

as of one. 

cometh not now. 

for if there had been given. 

should come. 

but before that. 

kept under the law & were shut up. 

unto Christ. 

children of God because ye believe. 

there is no. 

for ye are all one. 

according to the promise. 

Miinster especially, and Pagninus served the same purpose 
for the Old Testament that Erasmus did for the New. Over 
twenty years after this period, Bishop Sandys said with perfect 
truth, " The setters forth of this our common translation [the 
Great Bible] followed Miinster too much, who doubtless was 
a very negligent man in his doings, and often swerved very 
much from the Hebrew." Bishop Sandys is right as to the 
fact that Miinster was constantly used; but his disparagement 
of the Latin version of Miinster is baseless, for it is very literal, 
and on the whole accurate, though the Latin idiom is occasion 
ally sacrificed. 2 The following collation of the second Psalm 

1 13, dum factus est ; 14, and 
omitted in the Great Bible and 
Erasmus; 15, dico ; si sit compro- 
batum; 16, de uno; 18, non jam; 21, 
eteuim si data; esset; 23, cteterum; 
sub lege custodiebamur, conclusi 
Vulgate also ; 24, ad Christum ; 25, 
eo quod credidistis ; 28. 11011 est ; 
omnes enim vos uuus estis ; 29, 
juxta promissionem. Erasmus. 

2 Sebastian Minister, born in 
1489, studied under Stapfer and 
Reuchlin at Tubingen ; was Professor 

of Hebrew, first at Heidelberg, and 
then at Basle. Died there of the 
plague in 1552. Besides many 
works bearing on Hebrew philology, 
he published a Latin version of the 
Old Testament with notes from 
Eabbiuical commentaries, two vols., 
folio, Basil, 1534-35, reprinted in 
1546. The translation is literal and 
perspicuous. Father Simon and 
Geddes prefer it, though it be the 
work of a Protestant, to the version 
of Pagrninus. 




and the twenty-third Psalm 
tion : 



1 Why do the Heithen grudge ? why 

do the people ymagyne vayne 
thinges ? 

2 The kynges of the earthe stode 

vp, & the rulers are come to 
gether, agaynst the Lorde, & 
agayust his anoynted. 

3 Let vs breake their bondes a sunder, 

& cast a waye their yocke* from 

4 Neverthelcsse, 6 he that dwelleth in 

heauen, shall laugh them to 
scorne ; yee euen 7 the Lord him- 
selff shall have them in derision. 

5 Then shal he speake vnto them in 

his wrathe, and vexe them in 
his sore displeasure. 10 

6 Yet haue I set my kynge vpoii my 

holy hill of Sion. 11 

7 A sfor me, 12 1 will preache the lawe ; 

wherof the Lorde hath sayde 
vnto me : Thou art my sonne, 
this daye haue I begotten the. 

may suffice as an illustra- 


Why do the heathen so furiously 
rage 1 together ; & why do the 
people imagine a vain thing? 

The kings of the earth stand up, 
& the rulers take counsel to 
gether: 3 against the Lord & 
against his Anointed. 

Let us break their bonds asunder ; 

& cast away their cords 5 from 

8 He that dwelleth in heaven shall 

laugh them to scorn : 9 the Lord 

shall have them in derision. 

Then shall he speak unto them in 
his wrath; and vex them in his 
sore displeasure. 

Yet have I set my king: upon my 

holy hill of Sion. 
I will preach the law, whereof the 

Lord hath said unto me : Thou 

art my son, this day have I 

begotten thee. 

1 Ad tumultum conveniunt, Miin- 

2 Hem inanem, Miinster 

3 Simul ineunt consilium, Miin 
ster; consiliabuntur pariter, Pag- 

4 Jugum, Vulgate. 

5 Funes eorum, Miinster and 

6 " Nevertheless " represents the 
" Aber " of Luther and the ZU rich 

7 "Yee even" may represent the 
repeated " der ; of the Zurich 

8 No word representing " Never 
theless " is found in Miinster or 

9 No word representing " Yea 
even " is found in the Hebrew or 
the Latin versions. 

10 Coverdaie follows "the Vulgate 
in preference to the Zurich. 

11 Coverdaie J follows Luther and 
the Ziirich in preference to the Latin 

12 "As for me," probably suggested 
by the " bey mir selbs " of the 
Zurich Bible. 

13 Predigen, Luther. 





8 Desyre off me, 1 & I shall geue the the 

Heithen for thine enheritaunce, 
Yee the vttermost partes of the 
\vorlde for thy possessiou. 

9 Thou shalt rule 3 them with a rodde 

of yron, & breake them in peces 
like an erthen vessell. 

10 Be wyse now therfore (o yekynges) 
be warned, 7 ye that are judges of 
the earth. 


Desire of me, & I shall give thee 
the heathen for thine inherit 
ance : & the utmost parts of the 
earth" for thy possession. 

Thou shalt bruise 4 them with a rod 
of iron ; & break them 5 in pieces 
like a potters vessel. 6 

Be wise now therefore, O ye kings ! 
be learned 3 ye that are judges of 
the earth. 

11 Serve the Lorde with feare, & Serve the Lord in fear: w & rejoice 

reioyce before him with reuer- unto him u with reverence, 

12 Kysse the sonne, lest the Lorde 12 be Kiss the son lest he be angry, and 

angrie, & so ye perish from the 
right 13 waye. For 1 * his wrath 
shalbe kindled shortly 15 ; blessed 
are all they that put their trust 
in him. 

so ye perish from the right 
way: if his wrath be kindled 17 
(yea, but a little), 13 blessed are 
all they that put their trust in 

The words " unto him" in verse 11, and " right " in verse 12, are printed 
in small type in the edition of 1540. 


1 The Lorde is my shepherde, 19 I can The Lorde is my shepherds, there- 
waut uothinge. fore w can I lack nothing. 

1 Zurich Bible. 

2 Terras, Miiuster. 

3 Eeges, Vulgate ; regieren, Ziirich 

4 Conteres, Pagninus. 

5 Confringes, Pagninus the two 
verbs being reversed in Miiuster. 

6 Vas figuli, Vulgate and Latin 

7 Suggested by Luther and the 
Zurich Bible. 

8 Erndiamini, Miinster. 

9 Luther and the Zurich Bible. 

10 In timore, Vulgate and Minister. 

11 Vulgate and Sept. 

12 Vulgate and Sept. 

13 Vulgate and Sept. 

14 Denu, Luther. 

15 In brevi, Vulgate; bald, Luther. 

16 "The Lord "omitted in Minister. 
ir Ne irascatur, Miinster. 

18 Vel paululum, Miinster. 

19 Coverdale has not translated the 
" darurnb " of the Ziirich Bible, but 
follows the Vulgate and Luther, 

20 Ideo, Miiuster. 

XXVI. ] 





2 TLafedeth 1 me in a greene pasture ; 
& ledeth me to afresh water? 

3 He guickencth my soule, 7 and bring- 

eth me forth in the waye of 
rightuousnes for his names 

4 Though I shulde walke noiv in 11 the 

valley of the shadowe of death, 
yet 1 ^ I feare no euell, for thou art 
with me; thy staffe & thy shepe- 
hoke comforte me 

5 Thou preparest a table before me 

agaynst mine enemies; 17 thou 
anoyntest my heade with oyle, 
& fyllest my cuppe is full. 

6 Oh let thy loiiyiug kyndnes & mercy 

folowe me all the dayes off my 
life that I maye dwell 23 in the 
house off the Lorde for eiier. 


He shall 3 fede me in a grene pas 
ture, & leade me forthe* besyde* 
the waters of comforted 

He shall convene 9 my soule, & 
bryng me forth in the pathes 9 of 
ryghteousnes for hys names 

Yee 14 though I walke thorow l5 ye 
valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no eueU, w for thou art 
with me, thy rodde & thy staffe 
comforte me. 

Thou shah prepare I9 a table before 
me agaynst them that trouble 
me, thou hast 21 anoynted my 
head with oyle, & my cuppe 

But** (thy) louynge kyndes& mercy 
shall 25 folowe me all the dayes 
of my lyf e, / will divell " 6 in the 
house of the Lord for ever. 

1 Er weidet mich, Luther and the 

2 After Luther, the Zurich having 
" still waters." The phrase adopted 
by the Genevan came through it into 
the Authorized Version. 

3 Accubare faciet, " shall make me 
to lie down," Minister. 

4 Deduce t. 

5 Juxta,Miinster. 

6 Aquas refrigerii, do. 

7 Erquicket, Ziirich and Luther. 

8 Convertet, Pagninus. 

9 In semitis, Miiuster. 

10 Schon, Liither an d the Zurich. 

11 In Vulgate and Zurich. 

12 Doch, Zurich. 

13 Future form in Hebrew. 

VOL. I. 2 

14 Etiam, Pagninus and Miinster. 

15 Per, Paguinus and Munster. 

16 Malum, Pagniuus and Miiuster. 

17 Contra, Pagninus. 

18 Fullest, Ziirich. 

19 Praeparabis, Munster and Pag 

20 Adversus eos, Munster. 

21 Miinster and Pagniuus. 

22 Saturus, do. do. 

23 Vulgate and Zurich. 

24 Veruutamen, Miiuster and 

25 Sequentur, do. do. 

26 Morabor, do. do. 
"And I will dwell" being iu the 
edition of 1540. 



So careful had been Coverdale s revision, and so little attach 
ment had he to his previous version, that in the fifty-third 
chapter of Isaiah, the Bible of 1539 differs in nearly forty 
places from his earlier one of 1535. 

The enemies of a free English Bible were spiteful in their 
attempts to frustrate the proclamation, quoted on a previous 
page. Many " parsons, vicars, and curates, read confusedly the 
Word of God ; and the injunctions set forth and commanded 
by them to be read ; humming, and hawing, and hawking 
thereat, that scarce any could understand them." " When your 
royal highness gave commandment that the bishops should 
see that there were in every church one Bible at least, set 
at liberty, so that every man might freely come to it, and 
read therein, many of this wicked generation, as well 
priests as others their faithful adherents, would pluck it, 
either into the quire, or else into some pew, where poor men 
durst not presume to come ; yea, there is no small number 
of churches that hath no Bible at all." J . . . " They bade their 
parishioners notwithstanding what they read, being com 
pelled so to do, that they should do as they did in times 
past as their fathers ; and that the old fashion is the best : 
and other crafty and seditious sayings they gave among 

The Bible of 1539 was, however, warmly welcomed by the 
people, and the words of Strype, taken from a manuscript of 
Foxe, more probably apply to it than to the earlier edition of 
Matthew : 2 "It Avas wonderful to see with what joy this book 
of God was received not only among the learned sort, and those 
that were noted for lovers of the reformation ; but generally all 
England over, among all the vulgar and common people ; and 
with what greediness God s Word was read, and what resort to 
places where the reading of it was. Everybody that could 
bought the book, or busily read it, or got others to read it to 
them if they could not themselves, and divers more elderly 
people learned to read on purpose, and even little boys flocked 
among the rest to hear portions of the Holy Scripture read." 

1 Strype s Ecclesiastical Memorials, vol. I, pt i, p. 612 ; Life of 
Coverdale, p. 199. - Life of Cranmer, vol. I, p. 141. 


This statement is corroborated by a document found in the 
State Paper Office, and printed by Collier : " Englishmen 
have now in hand in every church, and place, and almost 
every man, the Holy Bible and New Testament in their mother 
tongue, instead of the old fabulous and fantastical books of 
the Table Round, Lancelot du Lake, Huou de Bourdeux, 
Bevis of Hampton, Guy of Warwick, &c., and such other, 
whose impure filth and vain fabulosity the light of God 
has abolished utterly." l 

1 Ecclesiastical History, vol. IX, p. 162, London, 1852. 


TOURING the autumn of this year (1539), preparations were 
made for the printing of a new edition at home, Parisian 
types and workmen being still kept in London. Cranmer 
was naturally busy about the work, for he felt that it 
needed some special superintendence. His own mind was 
opening more fully to the light, and amidst the perplexing 
secular intricacies and anxieties attaching to his office, and 
the political combinations which he had daily to deal with 
in that period of change, he resolved on securing for the 
Bible an unimpeded circulation. To the volume in progress, 
which often goes under his name, he composed a preface 
which, through Crumwell, was to be submitted to the king. 
On this matter he writes to the vicegerent, on the 14th ot 
November, 1530, a sensible and practical letter, asking 
whether the preface 1 to the Bible had got the royal approval, 
and discussing the price of the prepared volume. The 
archbishop settled it at 13s. 4d., which Crumwell had thought 
rather high, and the publisher naturally rather low. But 
Berthelet and Whitchurch were willing to fix it at 10s. on 
condition that they alone were to print and publish it. It is 
certainly a A~ery strange coincidence that, on the 14th Novem 
ber, 1539 the date of Cranmer s letter Crumwell got from 

1 Mr. Hunt (Eeligious Thought iu Bible, to be his, which certainly we 

England, vol. I, p. 33), gives this ought to do." But the Great Bible 

hypothetic proof or illustration of is specially marked by the total 

Cranmer s moderate Calvinism, " If absence of all notes, the pointing 

we are to take the notes on the hands indicating a purpose unful- 

Great Bible, known as Craumer s filled. 


the king a patent, conferring on him the sole and unlimited 
power of licensing the printing and publication of English 
Bibles for the next five years. The early and curious patent, 
so distinct and precise in its terms, runs to the following 

" Henry the Eighth, &c. To all and singular prynters and 
sellers of bookes within this our realme, and to all other officers, 
mynisters, and subjectes, these our Letters hearyng or seeyng, 

" We let you witt, that beyng desirous to have our people at 
tymes convenyent geve themselves to th atteynyng of the 
knoulege of Goddes Worde, whereby they shall the better 
honour hym, and observe and kepe his commaunclements, 
and also do their duties the better to us beyng their prince 
and soveraign lord ; and considering that as this oure zeale 
and desire cannot by any meane take so good effecte, as by 
the graunting to theym the free and lyberall use of the Bible 
in oure oune maternall English tongue ; so onles it be forseen, 
that the same passe at the beginnyng by one Translation to be 
perused and considerid, the frailte of menne is suche, that the 
diversitie thereof maye brede and brnyge forthe manyfolde 
inconvenyences, as when wilfull and hedy folks shall con- 
ferre upon the diversitie of the said Translations : We have 
therfore appoynted oure right trusty and welbeloved coun- 
sellour the lorde Crumwell, keeper of our pryvye scale, to 
take for us, and in oure name, special care and charge, that 
no manner of persone or persones within this our realme 
shall enterprise, attempt, or sett in hand, to print any Bible in 
the English tonge of any maner of volume, duryng the space of 
fyve yeres next ensuyng after the date hereof, but only suche 
as shall be deputid, assignid, and admitted, by the said lord 
Crumwell. Willing and commanding all maires, shirefes, 
bailiffes, constables, and all other oure officers, miiiistres, and 
subjectes, to be ayding to our said counsailour in the execution 
of this oure pleasure, and to be conformable in the accomplish 
ment of the same, as shall apperteigne." l 

1 Wilkins, Concilia, vol. Ill, p. 846. Burnet, Records, vol. I, pt. ii, p. 2S3. 


This proclamation, which in these days had the force of law, 
ends with the peremptory per ipsum regem; 1 is quite autocra 
tic, and wholly ignores Council, Convocation, and Parliament. 
It bases itself on the king s sole and sovereign will, and inter 
poses the full royal authority against all resistance. There 
were probably some existing circumstances which suggested 
the royal incisiveness. The Bible about which Cranmer cor 
responded with the Privy Seal, was still delayed in publication, 
and one reason given by Fulke is, that Henry consulted the 
bishops, and that these mitred critics did not commit them 
selves by a hasty response. The preface was ready by 
November; but the volume was not published till the 
April of the following year. The story, which most pro 
bably refers to this Bible, is told by Fulke. " I myself, and 
so did many hundreds beside me, heard that reverend father, 
M. Doctor Coverdale, of holy and reverend memory, in a 
sermon at Paul s Cross, upon occasion of some slanderous 
reports that then were raised against his translation, declare 
his faithful purpose in doing the same ; which after it was 
finished, and presented to the king, Henry VIII, of famous 
memory, and by him committed to divers bishops of that 
time to peruse, of which (as I remember) Stephen Gardiner 
was one ; after they had kept it long in their hands, and 
the king was diverse times sued unto for the publication 
thereof, at the last, being called for by the king himself, 
they redelivered the book, and being demanded by the king 
what was their judgment of the translation, they answered 
that there was many faults therein. Well, said the king, 
but are there any heresies maintained thereby ? They 
answered, there were no heresies they could find maintained 
thereby. If there be no heresies, said the king, then, in 
God s name, let it go abroad among our people. 2 According 
to this judgment of the king and the bishops, M. Coverdale 
defended his translation, confessing that he did now himself 
espy some faults, which, if he might review it once over again, 
as he had done twice before, he doubted not but to amend ; 

1 Eymer s Fcedera, vol. XIV, p. 2 Defence of Translations of the- 
649. Bible, p. 98, Parker Society ed. 


but for any heresy, he was sure there was none maintained 
by his translation." Coverdale s statement about reviewing 
his version "twice before" describes the work which he had 
done on the Bibles of 1539 and 1540. The reference cannot 
be to the Diglott ; and it can scarcely be to the two editions 
" overseen and corrected," of his own first translation which 
were published in 1537, for the changes in these are so very 
few and slight, that the process could not with any propriety 
be called " reviewing." 

But though the Bibles of 1539 and 1540 were not wholly 
of his first translation, as they included a large portion of Tyn- 
dale s work, they were the result of a genuine revision carried 
out by him, but not with uniform closeness through all the 
books of Scripture. Ooverdale was certainly the editor of the 
second Great Bible, as well as of the first one. Fulke in his 
" Defence of English Translations " from the attack of Gregory 
Martin, thus replies to his opponent s loose reference to various 
editions, "I guess that the Bible of 15G2 is that which was of 
Dr. Coverdale s translation," J and in another place, he calls it, 
" Master Coverdale s Bible of 1562." 2 Now, the Bible of 1562 
was a reprint of the Great Bible of 1540. Gregory Martin 
singles out the Great Bible in one passage as " the Bible 
authorized by the Archbishop, and read all king Edward s 
time in their churches and (as it seemeth by the late printing 
again, anno 1562) a great part of this queen s reign." 3 

Cranmer s prologue is judicious in its choice of topics, and 
quiet but earnest in spirit and language. Thus it opens : 
" Concerning two sundry sorts of people, it seemeth necessary 
that something be said in the entry of this book, by way of a 
preface or prologue; whereby hereafter it may be both the 
the better accepted of them which hitherto could not well bear 
it, and also the better used of them which heretofore have 
misused it. For truly some there are that be too slow, and 
need the spur ; some other seem too quick, and need more of the 
bridle. Some lose their game by short shooting ; some by 

1 Defence of Translations of the 3 Discovery of the Manifold Cor- 
Bible, p. 68, Parker Society ed. ruptions, &c., p. 11, Bheinis, John 

8 Do., p. 548. Fogny, 1582. 


overshooting. Some walk too much on the left hand; some 
too much on the right. In the former sort by all they that 
refuse to read, or to hear read, the Scripture in the vulgar 
tongue ; much worse they that let also, or discourage, the 
other from the reading or hearing thereof. In the latter 
sort be they which, by their inordinate reading, indiscrete 
speaking, contentious disputing, or otherwise by their licen 
tious living, slander and hinder the Word of God most of all 
other, whereof they would seem to be greatest furtherers. 
These two sorts, albeit they be most far unlike the one to 
the other, yet they both deserve in effect like reproach. 
Neither can I well tell, whether of them I may judge the 
more offender, him that doth obstinately refuse so godly and 
goodly knowledge, or him that so ungodly and so ungoodly 
abuseth the same." Then follows a vindication of English 
translations according to ancient custom, succeeded by a 
long extract from Chrysostom on the duty and benefit of 
reading the Holy Scriptures, with a pithy application from 
Cranmer himself : " Therefore, in few words, to comprehend 
the largeness and utility of the Scripture, how it containeth 
fruitful instruction and erudition for every man, if anything 
be necessary to be learned, of the Holy Scripture we may 
learn it. If falsehood shall be reproved, thereof we may 
gather wherewithal. If anything to be corrected and amended ; 
if there need any exhortation or consolation, of the Scripture 
we may well learn. In the Scriptures be the fat pastures 
of the soul ; therein is no venomous meat, no unwholesome 
thing: they be the very dainty and pure feeding. He that 
is ignorant shall find there what he should learn. He that 
is a perverse sinner shall there find his damnation to make him 
to tremble for fear. He that laboureth to serve God shall 
there find his glory, and the promissions of eternal life, 
exhorting him more diligently to labour. Herein may 
princes learn how to govern their subjects ; subjects obe 
dience, love, and dread to their princes ; husbands, how they 
should behave unto their wives, how to educate their children 
and servants ; and contrary, wives, children, and servants 
may know their duty to their husbands, parents, and masters. 


Here may all manner of persons, men, women, young, old, 
learned, unlearned, sick, poor, priests, laymen, lords, ladies, 
officers, tenants, and mean men ; virgins, wives, widows, 
lawyers, merchants, artificers, husbandmen, and all manner of 
persons, of what estate or condition soever they be ; may 
in this book learn all things what they ought to believe, 
what they ought to do, and what they should not do, as well 
concerning Almighty God, as also concerning themselves and 
all other. Briefly, to the reading of the Scripture none can be 
enemy, but that either be too so sick, that they love not 
to hear of any medicine ; or else that be so ignorant that they 
know not Scripture to be the most healthful medicine. 
Therefore, as touching this former part, I will here conclude 
and take it for conclusion, sufficiently determined and ap 
pointed, that it is convenient and good for the Scriptures 
to be read of all sorts and kinds of people, and in the 
vulgar tongue, without further allegations and probations 
for same. Wherefore, I would advise you all, that come to 
the reading or hearing of This Book, which is the Word of 
God, the most precious jewel, and most holy relic that re- 
maineth upon earth, that ye bring with you the fear of God, 
and that ye do it with all reverence, and use your knowledge 
thereof not to vain glory of frivolous disputation; but to 
the honour of God, increase of virtue, and edification both 
of yourselves and others." Next there is a long and appro 
priate quotation from St. Gregory Nazianzen, on those who 
did not considerately read and study the Word of God " idle 
babblers and talkers " ; the conclusion being, " This is the mind 
and almost the words of Gregory Nazianzen, doctor of the 
Greek Church, of whom St. Jerome said, that unto his time 
the Latin Church had no writer able to be compared, and to 
make an even match with him. Therefore, to conclude the 
latter part, every man that cometh to the reading of This 
Holy Book ought to bring with him first and foremost this 
fear of Almighty God ; and then, next, a firm and stable purpose 
to reform his own self according thereunto ; and so to continue, 
proceed, and prosper, from time to time ; showing himself to be 
a sober and fruitful hearer and learner. Which if he do, he 


shall prove at length well able to teach, though not with 
his mouth, yet with his living and good example ; which is 
sure the most lively and effectuous form and manner of teach 
ing. He that otherwise intermeddleth with This Book, let him 
be assured that once he shall make account therefore, when 
he shall have said to him, as it is written in the prophet David, 
" Peccatori dicit Deus, &c. 

The volume, with Cranmer s prologue, was at length published 
in April, 1540, with the following title in black and red: 

" The Byble in Englyshe, that is to saye the content of al the 
holy scrypture, both of the olde, and newe testament, with a 
prologe therinto, made by the reverende father in God, Thomas 
archbysshop of Canterbury, This is the Byble apoynted to the 
use of the churches. Prynted by Rychard Grafton. Cum 
privilegio ad imprimendum solum, M.D.XL." The colophon is 
The ende of the newe Testament ; and of the whole Byble, 
fynisshed in Apryll, anno M.CCCCC.XL. A Domino factum est 
istud." A royal proclamation followed, repeating the terms of 
one previously issued. Two other editions were issued in the 
same year, and three more followed the next year. 

The very vacillations of some men of that time betokened 
progress ; for while the waves singly fall back on the shore, the 
tide surely advances to its fulness. Thus William Barlow, who 
had changed sides more than once, and died at length Bishop 
of Chichester, published a dialogue against " Luthers faccions " 
in 1531, and in it objected to Tyndale s translation, asserting 
that "for the present" the Scripture should not be rendered 
into English. This limitation of time foreshadowed the coming 
of a future period when there might be an Authorized Version, 
and it came in six years, and was now in wide unrestricted 


A S the text of the Bible of 1539 differed from Matthew, of 
which it was a revision, so the text of the Bible of 1540 
differs from that of 1539, Coverdale being very conscientious in 
what he did, though his changes are not all to the better. Miin- 
ster s Latin version is for the most part followed in the old Testa 
ment, but not always; and where it may not be formally accepted 
it suggests the change. Some instances are striking : 1 Proverbs 
xviii, 1. The edition of 1539 has, "Whoso hath pleasure to 
sowe dyscorde, pycketh a quarrell in every thynge," Cover- 
dale s own translation after the Zurich Bible unchanged ; 
in the edition of 1540, "He accompanieth hym selfe with all 
steadfast and helthsome doctryne, that hath a fervent desyre 
to it, and is sequestrate from company e," after Miinster : 2 xix, 
2, " There the soule is not well ; & who so is swyfte on 
fote, stombleth hastely," 1539 ; " There the soule is 
inclined to the thyng that is not good ; & is swyfte on fote, 
and offendeth," 1540, after Miinster: 3 xix, 19, "For greate 
wrath bringeth harme, therefore let hym go, and so mayest 
thou teach hym more nurtoure," 1539; "A man of great 
wrath beareth a payne ; and though thou once deliver 
him, thou must agayne do as moch for him," 1540, after 

1 Every scholar and critic must 2 Qui in votis est et quoerit seques- 

feel deeply obliged to Mr. Francis trari, hie immiscet se omni solidae et 

Fry for his volume " A Description sana? (doctrinse). 

of the Great Bible," &c. London, 3 Anima (fertur ad id quod) non 

1865. He has given a minute, care- est bonum, festinatque pedibus et 

ful, and exhaustive collation of the peccat. 
various editions. 

380 THE ENGLISH BIBLE. [ciiAi>. 

Minister : l xix, 24, " A slouthfull body shuteth his hande in 
to hys bosome, so that he can not put it to his mouth," 1539 ; 
" A slouthful man shuteth his handes into his bosom as into the 
pot : and wyll not take payne to put it to his mouth," 1540, 
after Miinster. 2 

Eccles. xi, 1, " Sende thy vitayles ouer the waters, and so shalt 
thou fynde them after many dayes," 1539 ; " Lay thy brede 
vpon weate faces, and so shalt thou fynde after many days," 
1540, virtually after Miinster : 3 xi, 5, " As thou knowest not the 
waye of the wynde, nor how the bones are fylled in a mothers 
wombe," 1539; "As thou knowest not the waye of the spirit 
howe he entred into the body beinge yet in a mother s wombe," 
1540, after Miinster. 4 

Hosea x, 12, "That they myght plowe vp their fresh land, 
and seke the Lord,tyll he came, and lerned them ryghteousness " 
1539 ; " Plowe up youre freshe lande, for it is tyme to seake 
the Lorde tyll he come and rayne rightuousnesse vpon you," 
1540, Miinster. 5 

Zech. ix, 1G, "For the stones of his Sanctuary shal be 
set vp in his lande," 1539 ; "Ffor as precyous stones of a 
dyademe they shall be sett vp ouer his lande," 1540, Miin 
ster. 6 

Jeremiah viii, 4, "And turne they so farre awaye, that 
they neuer conuerte," 1539 ; "Or yf Israeli repent, wyll 
not god turne ageyn to them?" 1540, Miinster: 7 viii, 22, 
"For there is no more Triacle at Gylead, and there is no 
Physicyon that can heale the hurte of my people," 1539 ; 
" Is there triacle at Gilead ? Is ther no physycyon ther ? 

1 Qui est (homo) magni furoris, atur) spiritus in corpusculum cum 
portat pcenam, et si eum semel acllmc est in utero pregnantia. 
liberaveris denuo id agere te opor- 5 Novate vobis novalia, tempus 
tebit. enim est ad inqmrendum dominimi, 

2 Abscondit piger manum suam (in donee veniat et pluat super nos 
sinu quasi) in olla, et dediguatur justltiam. 

earn reducere ad os suum. 6 Quia ut lapides coronoe eleva- 

3 Mitte pauem tuum super facies buutur super terram ejus. 
(emittentes) aquas. 7 Aut si poeniteat (Israel) et non 

4 Sicut tu nescis qua via (ingredi- revertetur (dens) ? 

xxviii.] COLLATION. 381 

Why then is not the helthe of my people recouered?" 1540, 
Miinster. 1 

Other examples may be quoted, Mlinster being guide : 

1539. 1540. 

1 Sam. xxi, 4, clause omitted. thynges especiallye. 

Ps. xxvii, 3, I put my trust iu hym. I put my trust in this. 

G, the oblaciou of thankes- an oblacyon with great glad- 

geuyng. nesse. 

13, omitted. I shuld vtterlye haue faynted : 

but that. 

Isaiah i, 7, as it were with enemyes in a as they were subverted that 
batayle. were alienate from the 


S, lyke a beseged cytie. lyke a wasted cytie. 

11, sacryfyces vnto me ! sacrifices unto me saithe Lorde? 

ii, 16, vpon all shyppes of the see. vpon all shyppes of Tharsis. 
xxxviii, 10, in my least age. when mine age was shortened. 

Jer. viii, 19, foolyshe straunge fashyons I foolysh strauuge fashyons of 

a foreyne god ? 
Lam. iv, 20, shal be taken in oure syunes, was taken iu ther uett of 

of whom we saye. whom we saye. 

Dan. v, 7, Caldees and deuel conjurors. Caldees and readers of des 

Nah. ii, 3, his archers are not well and his spere shaftes are soked 
deckte and trimmed. in venim. 

Erasmus was carefully studied for the New Testament, 
lough several of 
Vulsate. Thus 

though several of the Erasmian renderings agree with the 

1639. 1540. 

Rom. i, 25, which is blessed for euer. which is to be praysed for 


iv, 25, for to justifye vs. for oure justificacyon. 

Gal. i, 10, Do I nowe speake vnto men Do I now perswade men or 

or vnto God I after the God ? 

Eph. ii, 12, & had no hope, <fc were hauynge no hope, and beyug 

with out God in thys with out God in thy 

worlde. worlde. 

1 Num resina non est in Gilead, non est recuperata sauitas filia? po- 
aut lion est medicus ibi ? quare igitur puli mei ? 


1539. 1540. 

Phil. i, 23, to be with Christ is inoch to be with Christ which is 

better moche & for better. 

29, it is geuen of Christ. it is geuen for Chryst. 

but also suffre. but also that ye shulde suffre. 

1 Tim. iii, 16, was beleued on erth. was beleued ou in the woiide. 
Heb. xi, 16, God is not ashamed. God himself e is not ashamed. 
James i, 13, God cannot tempte vnto as God can not be tempted 

euyll because he tempteth with euill, so nether he 
no man. hymselfe temptethe eny 


2 Pet. ii, 14, exercysed with couetousues. exercysed with robrie. 

In the Apocalypse there are several clauses inserted, as in 
x, 5 (And the erth and the thynges that therein are) ; xii, 10, 
For (the accuser of our brethren) is cast doune ; xviii, 23 
(and candell lyght shalbe no more burnynge in the): these 
clauses and readings not being found in the earlier Greek 
editions of Erasmus nor in the versions of Tyndale and 
Coverdale, and the translation of them is printed in smaller 
type. But Erasmus admitted them into his fourth edition 
of 1527; in fact he inserted ninety emendations of the text 
of the Apocalypse on the authority of the Complutensian 
Polyglott. Canon Westcott has brought to light a strange fact, 
that portions of the editions of November, 1540, and of May, 
1541, do not follow that of April, 1540, but that of 1539. It is 
impossible to guess who suggested this retrogression, or for 
Avhat reason the first revision was preferred. 

There were thus published, within a brief space, seven 
editions of the Great Bible Crumwell s in 1539, and Cranmer s 
in April, July, and November, 1540, and in May, November, 
and December, 1541. These editions are very similar; the point 
ing hands are retained in the three first of them, and the -J* keeps 
its place in all of them. Five have sixty-two lines in a page, 
and two November, 1540 and 1541 have sixty-five. At the 
beginning of some of the Books, in the volume of April, 1540, 
are large woodcut initials, which are peculiar to this edition. In 
the edition of November, 1540, there is only a flourished capital 
at the beginning of Genesis, and the pages of the New Testa 
ment are faulty in numeration. These editions have a strange 


misprint in the heading of Genesis xxxix, where it is said of 
Joseph, "Pharaoh s wife tempteth him." The Books of the 
Apocrypha are called Hagiographa, and the strange reason is 
given, " because they were wont to be read, not openly and in 
common, but as it were in secret and apart." The mistake 
perhaps arose from a false reading in Jerome s Preface to Tobit 
and Judith. 1 But Martianay, Vallarsi, and other editors, have 
shown from manuscript authority that the true reading is 
Apocrypha, and that this, the proper reading, is in accordance 
with Jerome s own opinion on the Canon. 2 

Coverdale was in no way partial to his own work, but 
changed his earlier renderings without hesitation, though 
sometimes without sufficient reason. Thus, in Isaiah liii, he 
has made about twenty alterations on the edition of 1539; 3 
and in chapter xl of the same book there is on an average a 
change in each verse, resting, nearly every one of them, on 
Pagninus and Miinster, and about a third of them on Miinster 
alone. In fact, he has made most changes in the part of 
Matthew s Bible which was his own work, as if he had felt the 
insecurity of a version which was not taken directly from the 
original Hebrew. This Great Bible was the Authorized Version 
for twenty-eight years. 4 

But though it was a double revision of Matthew s of 1537, 
the Great Bible is not only inferior as a translation, but has 
interspersed through it a great variety of paraphrastic and 
supplementary clauses from the Vulgate, some being preserved 
in the Bishops . The following examples are taken almost at 
random, and similar instances may be found on almost every 

Genesis iv, 8, Cain spake with Abel hys brother [let us go furth]. 
xxxi, 31, But [whereas ye layest theft to my charge] wyth 
whome soeuer thou fyndest thy goddes let hym 

1 Apud Hebrceos Judith quae inter 4 In the strict sense it is the only 

Hagiographa legitur. Prolog. Gal. authorized version still for the 

" Hieronymi Opera, torn. X, p. 2, Bishops Bible and the present Bible 

ed. Vallarsi, Venet., 1771. never had the formal sanction of 

3 See p. 370. royal authority. 


Exodus ii, 22, [And she bare yet another sonne, whome he called 
Eliezer, sayinge : the God of my father is myne 
helper, & hath ryd me out of the handes of 
Pharao] after Coverdale and Matthew, the 
authority being some copies of the Septuagint, 
Vulgate, and other versions. The verse is taken 
from chapter xviii, 4. 
Numb, xiii, 30, Caleb stylled the [murmur that was raysed vp of] 

the people, 
xxii, 33, els yf she had turned from me [geuynge place to me 

that stode in the waye]. 
Deut. i, 37, [wonderfull was that indignacyon. agayn the people, 

seyinge that] the Lord was angry with me. 
Joshua ii, 11, as we hearde these thynges [we were sore afraied &] 

our heartes dyd fainte. 
iii, 13, the waters of Jordan [that are beneth, shall ronne 

downe] shall be deuided. 
iv, 3, twelve [of the most hardest] stones. 
ix, 9, we haue heard ye fame [of the power] of him. 
xxii, 25, Therfore we [toke better aduisernent and] sayd. 
Judges ix, 49, so that [with smoke and fyre] all the men of the 

tower of Sicheni were slayne. 
2 Samuel i, 18, [And he sayde : Consyder O Israel, these that be 

deed and wounded upon the hye hilles.] 
vi. 12, [And there were with David seven sorts of dancers 

and calves for sacrifice.] 

xiv, 30, [and Joabs servauntes came with their garments 
rent, and sayde, Absaloms servauntes have burnte 
the piece of land with fyre. ] 
iv, 8, corn and wine [and oyle]. 
xi, 25, For [the chaunce of warre is dyuerse and] the 

sworcle deuoureth one as well as another. 

2 Kings v, 17, And Naaman. sayd [Euen as thou wylt, but I 
beseche thee]. 1 

1 There is a peculiar addition or the clause, " that which was found 

mistranslation in 2 Chron. xxxvi, 8 upon him," the Bishops adds a note : 

" the carved images that were laid to "marks of idolatrie found printed 

his charge," after Matthew, Minister in his bodie when he was dead." 
having " sculptse impressiones." To 


Job xiv, 6, he maye rest [a lytle] vntyll hys daye come. 

Psalm vii, 11, God is a righteous judge [strong and pacient]. 

xiii, 6, [yee I wyll prayse the name of the Lord, the most 


xiv, 5, a great fear [even where no fear was]. 
xxix, Syng unto the Lorde, O ye mightie [brynge younge 
rammes unto the Lorde] ascrybe unto the Lorde 
worshippe and strengthe. 

xxxix, 11, like as it were a mothre [putting a garment]. 
Ixviii, 1, unto thee vow be performed [in Hierusalem]. 
Ixviii, 4, to hym that rydeth upon the heavens [as it were 

upon a horse.] 
cxi, [Prayse the Lorde for the returnyng agayne of 

Aggeus and Zachary the prophetes.] 
cxxxii, 4, nor rnyne eye lyddes to slomber [nether the 

temples of my heade to take anye rest]. 

cxxxvi, 26, [O give thankes unto the Lord of Lordes, for hys 
mercie endure th for ever.] 

There are more than seventy such additions in the Book of 

Prov. iii, 9, [give unto the poor.] At the end of chap, v are 

two long verses. 

v, 2, [apply not thyself to the deceitfulness of a woman.] 
vi, 11, [But if thou be not slowthful, thy harvest shall 

come as a spryngynge well, and poverty shall flye 

farre from thee.] 
x, 4, [whoso regard eth leasynges fedeth the wynde, and 

doth but followe byrdes that have taken their 


All these accretions are from the Vulgate, and they are found 
in both the earlier Wycliffite versions. 

Isaiah xl, 1, Comforte my people [O ye prophetes]. 

Luke x, 21, That same houre reioyced Jesus in [the holy] 


xvi, 21, [and no man gave unto him.] 
xvii, 36, [Two in the felde, the one shall be receaved and the 

other forsaken.] 

xxiv. 36, Peace be vnto you. [It is I, feare not.] 
VOL. I. 2 B 


John vi, 41, I am the bread [of lyfe]. 

Acts v, 15, that the shadowe of Peter myght shado\ve some of 

them [and that they myght all be delyuered from 

their infirmytyes]. 
xiv, 7, [& all the multitude was moued at their doctryne, 

but Paul and Bai-nabas taryed styll at Lystra.] 
xviii, 4, [settynge forth in the mean while the name of the 

Lorde Jesus.] 

Romans v, 2, the glory [of the chyldren] of God. 
1 Cor. xvi, 19, [with whom also I am lodged.] 
Gal. v, 13, but by loue [of the sprete] serue one another. 

Phil. iv. 8, yf there be eny prase [of leriiynge]. 

1 John ii, 22, [he that knowelageth the Sonne hath the Father 

also] but the clause is now accepted as genuine 

on preponderant authority. 

The titles of the Psalms are sometimes expanded after the 
Vulgate. At Ps. xxiv the inscription is " in the first day of 
the sabbath," and at Ps. xlviii, " in the second daye of oure 
sabbathe " ; but the Vulgate is not followed at Ps. xxxvii. Ps. 
xxvi is inscribed " a Psalm of David [afore he was embalmed]/ 
and Ps. xxix has " a Psalm of David at the perfourmynge of 
the Tabernacle." At Ps. xvi, and in other places, Michtam is 
"the badge or armes of David." Maschil is "instructyon in 
the chauntes or melodyes." The Chief Musician becomes the 
Chaunter, or " to him that excelleth in songs of musick, or on 
Gittith, &c.," or " to him that excelleth among the lylies," Ps. xlv. 
The poor cut prefixed to the Book of Psalms [1540] represents 
Bathsheba bathing in nudity, and David, with his crown on 
his head, intently gazing down upon her from an opposite 
window. The Psalms in the Book of Common Prayer are from 
the Great Bible, and they were retained in 1602, when the 
Epistles and Gospel were taken from the Authorized Version of 
1611, for "the choirs were accustomed to the old Psalter, and 
its language was considered more smooth and fit for song." 1 

o o o 

1 Proctor s History, p, 216. Mr. no such Bible; and of "Cramner s 

Proctor speaks in the same para- version of 1539," but his Bible did 

graph "of the version of Tyndale not appear till 1540. Many in the 

and Coverdale, 1535," there being nation were thankful for the Bible, 




The seven years from 1534 to 1541 that intervened be 
tween the published translation of Tyndale, the volume of 
Matthew, and the issues and revisions of Coverdale, as well as 
the six following years, that ended with Henry s death, form 
an eventful period in the history of the English Bible. It came 
into national circulation during a time of stormy transition, 1 and 
was hailed by many as the bow in the cloud. After the earlier 
and more promising part of Henry s life had been passed, he 
was swayed alternately by opposite influences. The wars of 
the Roses had left suspicions and hatreds in his mind, and his 
throne was not surrounded by royal children, some one of 
whom might take the sceptre without challenge. The harder 
elements of his nature had been intensified by the circum 
stances of his reign, the separation from the Pope, the long 
battle of the divorce, with its "traverses and tossings," and 
the antagonistic views and feelings battling among his subjects, 

and grateful to the king for his 
sanction of it. Thus Becon, in his 
"News from Heaven," 1451, "The 
most sacred and holy Bible thanks 
be to God which hath brought these 
things to pass by his dearly beloved 
servant our king, Henry VIII . . . 
whose grace s highness I most be 
seech Almighty God to beautify with 
the benefit of perpetual health." 
And again, in his " Christmas Ban 
quet, 1542," " This supply of Bibles 
hath God unfeignedly brought to 
pass by his well-beloved servant and 
our king, Henry VIII." But many 
were careless about the royal gift ; 
"for a man may come into a church, 
and see the Bible so enclosed and 
wrapped about with dust, that with 
his finger he may write upon it this 
epitaph Ecce nunc in pulvere dor- 
mio." Works, vol. I, p. 38, Parker 
Soc. ed. 

1 There were suppressed, at differ 
ent times, six hundred and forty-five 

monasteries, ninety colleges, two 
thousand three hundred and seventy- 
four chaimtries, and one hundred 
and ten hospitals their revenues, 
amounting to 161,100 an im 
mense sum in present currency. 
Bishop Fisher himself had, in 1521, 
suppressed a house in his own dio 
cese to endow New College, Oxford. 
College endowments taken from 
dissolved houses were given at an 
earlier period by Bishop "Wainflete 
to Magdalene College, and Wolsey 
to Cardinal College, Oxford. Bishop 
Alcock iu the same way enriched 
Jesus College, Cambridge; and 
Bishop Smith gave the revenues of 
Cold Norton to Brasenose; and All 
Souls, Oxford, was thus supported 
by Chichele. During the three cen 
turies between the Conquest and 
the accession of Richard II, twelve 
hundred religious houses had been 
founded in England. 


the majority of whom clung to the creed, though they had 
renounced the jurisdiction, of Rome. The laws passed at this 
period indicate strange oscillations. The "Act of the Six 
Articles," or the " Bloody Statute," which calls itself an " Act 
for abolishing diversity of opinion," was, with its sanguinary 
penalties, a measure befriending Popery ; but another Act was 
also passed, vesting the property of the dissolved monasteries 
in the crown, the king promising to set up and endow thirteen 
additional bishoprics. The parliament which passed the "Act 
of the Six Articles " was no sooner prorogued than a proclama 
tion was issued, forbidding, on the one hand, the application of 
such names as papists and heretics ; but, on the other hand, 
declaring " that the king was pleased and contented that such 
as could read might read the Scriptures in the English tongue, 
at all times and places convenient, for their own instruction 
and edification, and increase thereby godliness and virtuous 
learning, and to bring them from their old ignorance and 
blindness." While the public pulse was in this way beating 
wildly, both in assault and defence, society was appalled by 
scenes of "judgment without mercy "; men held their breath 
at the demolition of the monasteries, and the scandals brought 
to light in connection with many of them such imposture 
as the hidden machinery that moved the Eood of Boxley. 
Charges of treason filled the air, and the scaffold at Tower Hill 
did not want victims. Bishop Fisher, who had been Lady 
Margaret s first Professor of Divinity in Cambridge, fell in 
1534, and Sir Thomas More in 1535. The axe may be said to 
have been suspended in front of the royal closet, and even of 
the royal bridal chamber. The mighty were smitten down 
without remorse ; no offending head was spared for its crown 
or its coronet. Two queens perished one on the 19th May, 
1536, and the other six years afterwards, on the 12th 
February, 1542. The aged " Lady of Sarum," the last of 
the Plantagenets, laid her grey hairs upon the block 
on the 27th of May, 1541. To-day the sky might be 
clear, but to-morrow it was darkened with thunder clouds. 
Familiars and councillors high in favour were helpless when 
the storm burst; and the hand that gave Crumwell the 


patent 1 to authorize the printing of the Scriptures, signed, 
almost at the same moment, the death warrants of the 
Abbots of Reading and Glastonbury the second of whom, 
an old man of fourscore, was hanged on the summit of the 

For several years indeed as far back as 1537 the reading 
of the Bible had been accompanied by scenes of irregularity 
sometimes approaching to riot. Such ebullitions of feeling 
were natural in the circumstances, but might have been kept 
under some measure of restraint. On the one side there was 
revelling in the new liberty, and on the other side there were 
dismay and indignation at the novel and formidable privilege 
gloried in by the people. Conflict was inevitable ; the Catholic 
party frowned defiance, and men with the Bible in their hands 
scowled back with undue exultation. The fresh words of 
Froude narrate some of these scenes. 2 

"A circle of Protestants at Wincanton, in Somersetshire, 
wrote to Cromwell complaining of the curate, who would not 
teach them or preach to them, but gave his time and atten 
tion to dicing, carding, bowling, and the cross waster. In their 
desire for spiritual food they applied to the rector of the next 
parish, who had come occasionally and given them a sermon, 
and had taught them to read the New Testament; when 
suddenly, on Good Friday, the unthrifty curate entered the 
pulpit, where he had set no foot for years, and admonished 
his parishioners to give no credence to the new-fangled fellows 
which read the new books. They be like knaves and Phari 
sees, he said; they be like a dog that gnaweth.a marry -bone, 
and never cometh to the pith, therefore avoid their company ; 
and if any man will preach the New Testament, if I may hear 
him, I am ready to fight with him incontinent ; and indeed, 
the petitioners said, he applyeth in such wise his school of 
fence so sore continually, that he feareth all his parishioners. 

" So the parish clerk at Hastings made a speech to the con 
gregation on the faults of the translation. It taught heresy; 
he said ; it taught that a priest might have a wife by God s 

1 2G Henry VIII, cap. 1,13. 

2 Fronde s History of England, vol. Ill, pp. 240-243. 


law. He trusted to see the day that the book called the Bible, 
and all its maintainers and upholders, should be brent. 

"Here, again, is a complaint from the parishioners of Lang- 
ham, in Essex, against their village potentate, a person named 
Vigors, who with the priest oppressed and ill-used them. 

" Upon Ascension day last past did two maidens sit in their 
pew or stool in the church, as all honest and virtuous persons 
used to do in matins time, saying their matins together upon 
an English primer. Vigors this seeing was sore angry, in so 
much that therefore, and for nothing else, he did bid the 
maidens to avoid out of the church, (calling them) errant 
whores, with such other odious and spiteful words. And 
further, upon a time within this year, one of Vigors s servants 
did quarrel and brawl with other children many, whom he 
called heretics ; and as children be light and wanton, they 
called the said serva.nt again Pharisee. Upon this complained 
Robert Smyth of our town to Vigors, saying that it was 
against reason that the great fellow his servant should quarrel 
with children. Whereupon Vigors said to his servant, See 
that thou do cut off their ears, oh errant whoreson, if they so 
call thee hereafter ; and if thou lack a knife, I shall give thee 
one to do it. And if thou wilt not thus do, thou shalt no 
longer serve me. 

"On the other hand, the Protestants gave themselves no 
pains to make their heterodoxy decent, or to spare the feelings 
of their antagonists. To call a spade a spade, and a rogue a 
rogue, were Protestant axioms. Their favourite weapons were 
mystery plays, which they acted up and down the country in 
barns, in taverns, in chambers, on occasion, before the vicar- 
general himself; and the language of these, as well as the 
language of their own daily life, seemed constructed as if to 
pour scorn on the old belief. Men engaged in a mortal strife 
usually speak plainly. Blunt words strike home; and the 
euphuism which, in more ingenious ages, discovers that men 
mean the same thing when they say opposite things was as yet 
unknown or unappreciated." 

These scenes were to be witnessed in various parts of the 
country, and they afforded to watchful enemies a tempting 

xxviri.] ROYAL WARNING. 391 

opportunity to show their hostility, under pretence of guarding 
law, loyalty, faith, and decency of worship. Before the Act of 
the Six Articles was passed, the king, speaking as the head 
of the Church, issued a proclamation on Bible reading, which 
contains many excellent advices, though they are given in 
autocratic spirit. Some persons are accused of attempting to 
"bring back his subjects to the old devotion to the usurped 
power of the Bishop of Home ; others of wresting Scripture, 
and untruly alleging the same, to the subversion of law and the 
authority of magistrates; 1 some of them also using the Scrip 
ture permitted to them by the Kings goodnes in the English 
tongue, * at such times and places, and after* [much contrary to 
his Highnes expectation : for his Majesties intent and hope was, 
that they that would read the Scripture, would, with meeknes 
and wil to accomplish the effect of it, read it, and not to main 
tain erroneous opinions, and preach [them,] nor for to use the 
reading and preaching of it in undue time and places, and 
after] such fashions and sorts, as it is not convenient to be 
suffered. And thus each of them dispute so arrogantly against 
the other of their opinions, as wel in churches, ale-houses, 
tavernes, and other places and congregations, that there is 
begun and sprung among themselves slander and rayling each 
at other, as wel by words as writing ; one part of them calling 
the other Papist, and the other part calling the other heretic : 
wherby is like to follow * sedition * [dissension] and tumult, 
* to their own destruction, * [not only to their own confusions, 
that teach and use the same, but also to the disturbance, and 
liklihood to destruction of al the rest of the Kings true and 
welbeloved subjects,] if his Majesty, like a godly and Catholick 
Prince, of his excellent goodnes, by his princely power and 
authority given him by God, should not politicly, in the be 
ginning, provide for the same. 

"For remedy wherof his most royal Majesty, by his most 
excellent wisdome, knowing and considering his kingly office 

1 Strype s Ecclesiastical Memo- and followed by an asterisk were 

rials, vol. I, pt. ii, pp. 434-437. The erased by his majesty, and those 

king himself corrected this docu- within brackets inserted by him iii 

ment. The word or clauses begun their place. 


and charge touching the premisses, and daily painfully study 
ing and devising, with a most noble and earnest heart, to 
reduce his people committed by God to his care, to unity of 
opinion, and to encrease love and charity among themselves, 
and constantly to conserve them in the same, intendeth, God 
willing, by advice of his Prelates and Clergy, and other of his 
Council, to precede to a ful order and resolution to extinct al 
such diversities of opinions by * terrible* [good and just] laws 
to be made for the same, by authority of his Parliament. . . . 
And over this, his Majesty straitly chargeth and commandeth, 
that no person, except such as be curates, or graduates in any 
of the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge, or such as be or 
shal be admitted to preach by the Kings licence, or by his 
Vicegerent, or by any Bishop of the realm, shal teach or preach 
the Bible, or New Testament, nor expound the mysteries therof 
to any other ; nor that any person or persons shall openly read 
the Bible or New Testament in the English tongue in any 
churches or chappels, [or elsewhere] with any loud or high 
voice ; [and especially] during the time of divine service, or of 
celebrating and saying of masses : but virtually and devoutly 
to hear their divine services and masses, and use that time in 
reading and praying with peace and stilnes, as good Christen 
men use to do [for his own erudition] upon the like pains, as 
is afore rehersed. * And also* [notwithstanding] his Highnes 
is pleased and contented, that such as can [and wil] in the 
English tongue, shal and may quietly and reverently read the 
Bible and New Testament by themselves [secretly] at al times 
and places convenient for their own instruction and edification, 

to encrease therby godliness and vertuous learning 

Wherfore his Majesty chargeth and commandeth al his said 
subjects to use the H. Scripture in English, according to his 
godly purpose and gracious intent, as they would avoid his 
most high displesure and indignation, beside the pain above 

It is the Dean of Chichester who says that at this period 
" the demand for an English Bible was the political or radical 
cry of the age " ; and certainly ecclesiastics dreaded above all 
an English Bible in open circulation, as if God s Book was 


not the foundation and charter of God s Church. The Dean as 
serts also, without reserve, that " when Henry wished to intimi 
date the clergy, he threatened them with an authorized version," 
and " when he would win their favour he proscribed it." l 

The Act of Supremacy, passed in 1534, 2 and the Act of the 
Six Articles, carried through by Lord Chancellor Audley in 1539 3 
wrought like a double net with many fatal meshes, so that 
reformers and Catholics were entangled side by side, and per 
ished at the same time the first burned for heresy, and the 
second hanged for treason. If men shrank from the one 
danger, they were caught in the recoil by the other. As if to 
manifest the equality of the procedure, the victims were some 
times dragged on hurdles, two and two, a Papist and a Protes 
tant, the Catholics asserting that this " unequal matching was 
worse than death itself." 4 The statute was interpreted by 
" branches of inference " so that rare attendance at mass was 
equivalent to speaking against it, slowness in lifting the hands 
" in sacring time," and gentle striking of the breast at confes 
sion, were sufficient to bring a worshipper within sweep of the 
law. Heading of Scripture was especially regarded as very 
suspicious ; and in a fortnight five hundred persons were in 
dicted in London alone. As years passed on, it was supposed 
that heresy might bleed to death under the ruthless hands of 
an English inquisition. Latimer and Shaxton were sent to 
prison, and were obliged to give up their dioceses. Barnes, 
who had been prior of the Augustinian convent at Cambridge, 
and the spiritual father of Coverdale, was burned at Smithfield 
on the 30th July, 1540, 5 along with Jerome, and with Garrett 

1 Lives of the Archbishops of he returned, in 1540, he had .again 
Canterbury, Second Series, vol. I, indulged in personal raillery from 
p. 334, &c. the pulpit of St. Paul s Cross, and 

2 26 Henry VIII, cap. 7 and 13. played upon the name of Bishop 

3 31 Henry VIII, cap. 14. Gardyner as a "garden cock that 

4 Ipsa morte gravius ct intolcrabil- lacked good spiu-s." But he soon 
ius. Fuller s Church History, vol. found that the episcopal spurs were 
II, p. 105, l u g enough and sharp enough, for 

5 Barnes, by creating an impression he was at once arrested, and sen- 
that he had been drowned, had escaped tenced to the fire. (See page 256.) 
and fled to the Continent, but after 


who had taken an early and energetic part in the circulation 
of Tyndale s Testaments all three having been attainted ; and 
at the same time three priests Abel, Featherstone, and Powell, 
were executed with them as traitors. Between the publication 
of the third and fourth editions of the Great Bible, Crumwell 
himself, the Vicar-general and Vicegerent, the patron and pro 
moter of Biblical translations, was beheaded. His influence for 
eight years had been paramount at Court, and in Parliament 
and Convocation : and he had possessed his earldom but one 
hundred days when he was attainted without scruple, and 
swiftly sent to death. His arms found in the first three 
editions, 1539, April and July, 1540 are erased in the four 
last. In these earlier ones Cranmer and Crumwell are pictured 
each with his shield below him, but after the Vicegerent s 
death his figure stands alone ; the heraldry was carefully 
erased, and the circular space is a blank. 1 Crumwell s rise had 
been rapid and steady, but his fall was sudden. The orphan 
boy of a tradesman, he was a man of rare and resolute ability, 
and was at one time in the service of Wolsey. He was 
knighted in 1531, became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 
1532, Secretary of State in 1534, Vicegerent in 1535, a Baron 
and Master of the Rolls in 1536, the Garter and the Deanery 
of Wells were given him in 1537. He rose to be Great 
Chamberlain, and was created Earl of Essex on the 17th of 
April, 1540; and he was beheaded on the 28th of July. The 
Lincolnshire and Yorkshire rebels, during " the Pilgrimage of 
grace," had prayed that, as he was of " villein s " blood, he 
should be removed from the council; but the king bluntly 
told them they "were but brutes" and inexperts, and could 
not judge in such matters. His garter gave great offence to 
the old nobility. He had tried to entrap Gardyner under 
the Act of Supremacy ; but the bishop easily eluded the 
danger. Crumwell suffered under a law which himself 
had carried through the year before to wit, that a person 
named in a bill of attainder might be condemned without 
trial. His connection with heretical books and men was a 
strong charge against him. The edition of November, 1540, 

1 See p. 362. 


with the melancholy memento of Crumwell s fallen greatness, 
is the first bearing the names of Tunstall and Heath. Among 
the many surprises of the period, the occurrence of these 
names in such a connection is not the least ; for Tunstall had 
been the Bible burner the same " My Lord of London " into 
whose house Tyndale vainly asked admission, and who after 
wards gathered and gave to the flames so many copies of his 
translation. Crumwell had been executed, and lest the Bible 
in which he had taken such an interest might draw suspicion 
upon itself, and sink in popular esteem, episcopal revision and 
authority are set in prominence, by royal command, on the 
front of two editions. The title-page bears the declaration, 
" Oversene and perused at the commandment of the Kynges 
Highnes, by the ryghte reverende fathers in God, Cuthbert, 
Bishop of Duresme, and Nicolas, Bishop of Rochester." The 
full title of the editions of November, 1540 and 1541, is 

" The Byble in Englyshe of the largest and greatest volume, 
auctorysed and apoynted by the commaundemente of oure moost 
redoubted Prynce, and soueraygne Lorde Kynge Henry the 
VIII, supreme heade of this his Churche and Realme of Eng- 
lande : to be frequented and used in euery churche within this 
his sayd realme accordynge to the tenour of his former iniunc- 
tions given in that behalfe. Oversene and perused at the 
commaundmente of the Kynges Hyghnes, by the ryght reve 
rende fathers in God, Cuthbert bysshop of Duresme, and 
Nicolas bisshop of Rochester. Printed by Edwarde Whit- 
church. Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum." Colophon : 
" The ende of the newe Testamente and of the whole Byble. 
Fynyshed in November, Anno MCCCCCXL. A domino factum 
est istud." Of course the other edition has MCCCCCXLI. 

The Act of 1538 had commanded that all published books of 
Scripture should have the sanction of the king, a privy coun 
cillor, or a bishop. These two bishops had certainly no heart 
to the work, and the belief was that they had not revised the 
version as they professed. But they durst not thwart the 
king, and they gave their names to a virtual imposture, so far 
as the title-page is concerned. 

Tunstall, one of the episcopal editors of the Great Bible, 


Avas a scholar of eminence. When Pole, in a letter to the king, 
wished him to allow Tunstall to read his book De Unitate, 
he calls the bishop "a sad and learned man" ; and More, in the 
Utopia, styles him " a man doubtless out of comparison," and 
in his Epitaph he describes him as so " excelling in learning, 
wit, and virtue, that the whole world scant hath at this day 
any more learned, wiser, or better." Tunstall was a pupil of 
Grocyn, but he could have had no great leisure for study after 
he entered public life, for, with rapid promotion in the church, 
he filled a succession of public or civil offices Vicar-General to 
Warham in 1508, Master of the Rolls in 1516, Keeper of the 
Privy Seal in 1523, besides being Ambassador to the Archduke 
Charles, to Charles V in 1516, at Worms in 1519, to Francis I 
in 1527-29, and, with More, at Cambray in 1529. He became 
Bishop of London in 1522, was translated to Durham in 1530, 
was finally deprived in 1559, and committed, at the age of 
eighty-four, to the custody of the Archbishop of Canterbury. 
He had permitted no persecution in his diocese of Durham, 
and, according to Strype, he was before his death, by the 
Archbishop s kindness and conversation, "brought off from 
papistical errors." He had been godfather to Elizabeth when 
he baptized her at Greenwich in 1533 ; and on the coronation 
of Mary he stood at the queen s right hand. 

Some years afterwards, or in 15 46, there was published "The 
Supplication of the Poor Commons to the King," and the story 
there stated is not beyond the bounds of belief. "We heard say 
that they proffered your Highness, that if you would please to 
call in the Bible again, forasmuch as it was not faithfully trans 
lated in all parts, they would oversee it, and within seven years 
set it forth again. Your bishops, most victorious Prince, if they 
might have gotten in the Bible for seven years, would have 
trusted that, by that time, either your Highness should have 
been dead, or the Bible forgotten : or they themselves out of 
your Highness reach ; so that you should not have like power 
over them as you have now. . . . When your Majesty 
appointed two of them (Tunstall and Heath) to overlook the 
translation of the Bible, they said they had done your High 
ness commandment therein : yea, they set their names there- 

xxvni.] ANTHONY HAULER. 397 

unto : but when they saw the world somewhat like to wring 
on the other side, they denied it, and said they never meddled 
therewith, causing the printer to take out their names, 
which were erst set before the Bible, to certify to all men that 
they had diligently perused it, according as your Highness had 
commanded." l 

Grafton had risked five hundred pounds in the first edition 
of 1539, and in the six subsequent editions no small amount of 
capital must have been embarked probably towards fifty 
thousand pounds sterling of present value. The expense of 
these last editions was defrayed, wholly or partially, by An 
thony Maiier, a haberdasher in London, who also presented 
to his Majesty a magnificent copy on vellum, with an inscrip 
tion. This Bible is still preserved in the British Museum. 
The minutes of the Privy Council are significant. " Greenwich, 
25th April; it was agreed that Anthony Marler of London, 
merchant, might sell the Bibles of the Great Bible unbound 
for xs. sterling, and bound, being trimmed with bullyons, 
for xiis. sterling " the first being equal to about 7, and the 
second to 9 of present value. But copies were lying on his 
hands, and he might be " undone for ever," as he complains. 
The best way, therefore, to reimburse the petitioner was to 
help the volumes off his hands ; and a proclamation was issued 
on the 7th of May, 1540, which ordered all churches to provide 
themselves with a Bible of the largest volume, and another on 
the 6th of May, 1541, went fully into the subject: 2 

" . . . . The which godly commandment and injunc 
tion was to the only intent that every of the King s Majesty s 
loving subjects, minding to read therein, might, by occasion 
thereof, not only consider and perceive the great and ineffable 
omnipotent power, promise, justice, mercy, and goodness of 
Almighty God ; but also to learn thereby to observe God s 
commandments, and to obey their Sovereign Lord, and high 
powers, and to exercise godly charity, and to use themselves 
according to their vocations, in a pure and sincere Christian 
life, without murmur or grudging : By the which injunctions, 

1 Strype, vol. I, pt. i, p. 612, - Bui-net, vol. I, pt. ii, p. 377. 


the King s Royal Majesty intended that his loving subjects 
should have and use the commodities of the reading of the 
said Bibles, for the purpose above rehearsed, humbly, meekly, 
reverently, and obediently, and not that any of them should 
read the said Bibles with high and loud voices, in time of the 
celebration of the holy mass, and other divine services used 
in the Church ; or that any his lay subjects reading the same, 
should presume to take upon them any common disputation, 
argument, or exposition of the mysteries therein contained; 
but that every such layman should, humbly, meekly, and 
reverently read the same for his own instruction, edification, 
and amendment of his life, according to God s holy word 
therein mentioned. And notwithstanding the King s said 
most godly and gracious commandment and injunction, in 
form as is aforesaid, his Royal Majesty is informed that clivers 
and many towns and parishes within this his realm, have 
neglected their duties in the accomplishment thereof, whereof 
his Highness marvelleth not a little ; and minding the execu 
tion of his said former most godly and gracious injunctions, 
doth straitly charge and command that the curats and par 
ishioners of every town and parish within this his realm of 
England, not having already Bibles provided within their 
parish churches, shall, on this side the Feast of All -Saints 
next coming, buy and provide Bibles of the largest and great 
est volume, and cause the same to be set and fixed in every 
one of the said parish churches, there to be used as is aforesaid, 
according to the said former injunctions, upon pain that the 
curat and inhabitants of the parishes and towns, shall lose 
and forfeit to the King s Majesty, for every month that they 
shall lack and want the said Bibles, after the same feast of All- 
Saints, 40s., the one half of the same forfeit to be to the King s 
Majesty, and the other half to him or them which shall first 
find and present the same to the King s Majesties Council. 
And finally, the King s Royal Majesty doth declare and signify 
to all and singular his loving subjects, that to the intent they 
may have the said Bibles of the greatest volume, at equal and 
reasonable prices, his Highness, by the advice of his Council, 
hath ordained and taxed that the sellers thereof shall not 


take for any of the said Bibles unbound, above the price of ten 
shillings ; and for every of the said Bibles well and sufficiently 
bound, trimmed and clasped, not above twelve shillings, upon 
pain the seller to lose, for every Bible sold contrary to his 
Highness s proclamation, four shillings; the one moiety thereof 
to the King s Majesty, and the other moiety to the finder and 

presenter of the defaulter, as is aforesaid 

" God save the KING." 

The price was fixed at the terms suggested by Marler. The 
measure was a strange one, and the language of the proclama 
tion sounds very oddly when the subject is the Word of God. 
The fixing down of the price of copies, the stepping in of the 
law between buyer and seller, and the employment of in 
formers, were in accordance with the false notions of political 
economy current at that epoch. If a man were fined for not 
having bought a Bible, he was not likely to regard the volume 
with special affection. Another plan to secure a wide circula 
tion was apparently not thought of namely, to print the book 
in smaller and cheaper form. 

The title-page of the last volume of this series of the Great 
Bible, December, 1541, by its distinct declaration of being the 
authorized Bible, as in the edition of April, 1540, and by its 
translation of the Latin motto, seems to glance back at the 
two editions " overseen " by Tunstall and Heath , 

" The Byble in Englishe, that is to saye, the content of all 
the holy sciypture both of the olde and newe testament, with 
a prologe thereinto, made by the reverende father in God, 
Thomas archebisshop of Canterbury. *F This is the Byble 
appoynted to the use of the Churches. *T Printed by 
Rycharde Grafton. Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum solum 
An. do. MDXL." The colophon is "The ende of the Newe 
Testament, and of the whole Bible, Finysshed in December 
MCCCCCXLI. -f-A domino factum est istud. This is the 
Lordes Doynge." The pointing hands disappeared after Crum- 
well s death. 


rpHE circulation of the Bible by royal command went on 
with increased speed, and even Edmund Bonner, in his 
unaccountable zeal, and as he had promised to Grafton in Paris, 
commanded his archdeacon by letter, on the llth of May, 1542, 
to execute the royal mandate, and issued this Injunction : 

"By the authority given to me of God, and by our said 
Sovereign Lord the King s Majesty, I exhort, require, and com 
mand, that every parson, vicar, and curat, shall read over and 
diligently study every day one chapter of the Bible, and that 
with the gloss ordinary, or some other doctor or expositor, 
approved and allowed in this Church of England, proceeding 
from chapter to chapter, from the beginning of the Gospel of 
Matthew, to the end of the New Testament ; and the same so 
diligently studied to keep still and retain in memory, and to 
come to the rehearsal and recital thereof, at all such time and 
times as they, or any of them, shall be commanded thereunto 
by me, or any of my officers or deputies." l 

Bishop Bonner also set up six Bibles in St. Paul s. 2 Latimer 
ordered a copy to be chained in the monastery of Worcester, 
and Hooper directed every church to have a Bible, and the 

1 Vol. I, pt. ii, p. 381. Bonner and his chaplains rebuked 

2 Many readers may have seen Sir him ; but he quietly replied to the 
George Harvey s picture " The Eead- bishop that he had done nothing 
ing of the Bible in old St. Paul s." " contrary to his advertisements 
The person figured as reading to an which had been fixed in print over 
eager group aroimd him represents every Bible." He was then sent to 
John Porter, "a fresh young man, Newgate, and tortured so terribly 
and of a big stature, who could that he soon died in his dungeon, 
read well, and had an audible voice." Foxe, vol. V, p. 452. 


early opponent of Erasmus, Lee, now Archbishop of York, 
ordered all curates to provide a Bible within forty days, and 
have it chained in some open place in the Church. But abuses 
crept in ; people read mostly during service and sermon, and 
Bonner, " for the said abuses," threatened " to take down the 
said Bibles." In September of the same year, in imitation of 
Crumwell s address on the same subject in 1538, and of the 
king s in the previous year, he issued an admonition to all 
readers of the Bible in the English tongue, to bring with them 
" discretion, honest intent, charity, reverence, and quiet behav 
iour, that there should be no such number meet together there 
as to make a multitude ; that no such exposition be made there 
from but what is declared in the book itself; that it be not read 
with noise in time of divine service ; and that no disputation 
or contention be used at it." 

After the death of Crumwell, who was so cordially detested 
by the Catholic leaders and partizans, the enemies of the Eng 
lish Scripture raised their heads. The text had been author 
ized, but the " Notes " had not been appended. Yet, according 
to Foxe, Grafton, on being called before the authorities, and 
questioned strictly about the proposed annotations, was sent 
to prison for six weeks, and bound over in 300 to sell or print 
no more Bibles. 

The Great Bible of December, 15-11, was therefore the last 
edition printed in the reign of Henry, for a reaction had set 
in, and the royal mind was sinking into indifference, if not 
into hostility, to the English Scriptures. 

There had thus been for some years a supply of English 
Scriptures in the country, but the result had not been satis 
factory to the Catholic interest. Papal authority had been 
more and more undermined, theological questions were freely 
discussed, and in the light of the Bible many Catholic doc 
trines and practices were condemned, and ceased to com 
mand faith and obedience on the part of hundreds who 
were secretly or more openly nonconformists. The Book 
was in wide circulation, and it could not now be sup 
pressed or gathered into bundles and burned. The name of 
Tyndale was odious to all papal adherents; and he had "suf- 

VOL. I. 2 c 


fered trouble as an evildoer, even unto bonds " and death ; 
Coverdale was little less obnoxious, for he had been patronized 
by Crumwell, whose overthrow and death had been chiefly 
compassed by Bishop Gardyner and the faction that clung 
to him as their life and their leader; and Thomas Matthew 
or John Rogers was also well known for his sturdy and 
courageous character, so that all the Scriptures in use were 
tainted in their source and authorship, and could not be 
forgiven by bigoted, or accepted by conscientious, vassals of 
the Romish Church, and they at this time formed a majority 
of the people. But if the English Bible could not be with 
held, as it had enjoyed royal license, it might be transformed 
and so modified as to serve the aims of ecclesiastical intoler 
ance. If it could not be rudely plucked out of the people s 
hand, it might be taught to utter an uncertain sound, or it 
might be so vailed in its renderings as to be brought into 
unison with the traditions and service of the Church. The 
purpose formed, in these circumstances, by the more astute mem 
bers of the hierarchy was to produce a volume of their own, 
which should have no heretical pravity about it, but should so 
commend itself to the nation as perhaps to win many back to 
the old paths, and thrust out its predecessors by its superior 
popularity, and the priestly authority which should sanction 
and hallow it. The familiar Latin version consecrated by 
long use was to be the one means of correction ; and the 
omission of any reference to the Greek text throws a direct 
light on the motives of the contrivers of this reactionary 
enterprise. The motion of Gardyner is self-explanatory. The 
sacerdotal authorities hoped to mould the English Bible into 
ecclesiastical form, and to deprave its popular English speech 
with Latin terms unintelligible save to the educated. 

The plot was ripe when Convocation met in the early part 
of 1542. Proposals were made, in the king s name, for a new 
translation. Cranmer obeyed the royal order, though he had 
seen the good work already fall through the Bishops hands, who 
had not only no heart to it, but were ready to mar and impede 
it. It was decided in the Upper House that the Great Bible 
should be revised "according to that Bible which is usually 

xxix.] REVISION. 403 

read in the English Church," that is, the Vulgate. There were 
some honest minds among the party, and how did they hope 
to effect a thorough revision by the mere aid of the Latin ver 
sion ? But the scheme was agreed to, and the work was thus 
apportioned, the New Testament being given to the Bishops, 
and the Old Testament to members of the Lower House. 
Fuller copied from the Records of the Convocation (since 
destroyed) the order of distribution, which was as follows : 
St. Matthew Archbishop Cranmer ; St. Mark Longland, 
Bishop of Lincoln ; St. Luke Gardyner, Bishop of Winchester ; 
St. John Goodrich, Bishop of Ely ; Acts of Apostles Heath, 
Bishop of Rochester ; Romans Sampson, Bishop of Chichester ; 
1 and 2 Corinthians Capon, Bishop of Sarum ; Galatians, 
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians Barlow, Bishop of St. 
David s ; 1 and 2 Thessalonians Bell, Bishop of Worcester ; 
1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon Parfew, Bishop of St. 
Asaph ; 1 and 2 Peter Holgate, Bishop of Llandaff ; Hebrews 
Skyp, Bishop of Hereford ; St. James, 1, 2, and 3 John, and 
Jude Thirlby, Bishop of Westminster; Revelation Wake- 
man, Bishop of Gloucester, and Chambers, Bishop of Peterboro . 
The name of Tunstall does not appear on the list. 

On February 13th, the Lower House sent up to the Arch 
bishop and Bishops a list of places which in their opinion 
needed emendation, and Convocation then appointed joint- 
committees to consult as to the best means and method of 
revising the entire Scriptures. The Old Testament commit 
tee consisted of Lee, Archbishop of York ; Goodrich, Bishop 
of Ely ; Redmayne, afterwards Master of Trinity College, 
Cambridge; Taylor, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln; Heynes, 
afterwards Dean of Exeter; Robertson, afterwards Dean of 
Durham; Cox, afterwards Bishop of Ely; and others. The 
New Testament committee consisted of Tunstall, Bishop of 
Durham; Gardyner, Bishop of Winchester; Skyp, Bishop of 
Hereford ; Thirlby, Bishop of Westminster ; l Dr. Wotton, 

1 On the dissolution of the religious Twenty-one were intended, but six 

houses, in 1539, in an Act drawn by only were founded and endowed out 

his own hand, and passed, the king of the rich spoils. The abbey and 

too .c power to erect new bishoprics, monastery of St. Peter was dissolved 


afterwards Dean of Canterbury ; Dr. Day, afterwards Bishop 
of Chichester ; Dr. Corcn, Archdeacon of Oxford ; Dr. 
Wilson; Dr. Leighton; Dr. May, Dean of St. Paul s; and 

At the sixth meeting Gardyner handed in a list of about 
ninety-nine Latin words which should be retained in their 
original form, " for their genuine and native meaning, and 
for the majesty of the matter in them contained," or " be fitly 
Englished with the least alteration." The strange list is as 
follows : " Ecclesia, Pcenitentia, Pontifex, AnciHa, Contritus, 
Holocausta, Justitia, Justificare, Idiota, Elementa, Baptizare, 
Martyr, Adorare, Dignus, Sandalium, Simplex, Tetrarcha, 
Sacramentum, Simulacrum, Gloria, Conflictationes, Ceremonia, 
Mysterium, Religio, Spiritus Sanctus, Spiritus, Merces, Con- 
fiteor Tibi Pater, Panis propositionis, Communio, Perseverare, 
Dilectus, Sapientia, Pietas, Presbyter, Lites, Servus, Opera, 
Sacrificium, Benedictio, Humilis, Humilitas, Scientia, Gentilis, 
Synagoga, Ejicere, Misericordia, Complacui, Increpare, Distri- 
bueretur orbis, Inculpatus, Senior, Apocalypsis, Satisfactio, 
Contentio, Conscientia, Peccatum, Peccator, Idolurn, Pruden- 
tia, Parabola, Magnifico, Oriens, Subditus, Didrachma, Hospi- 
talitas, Episcopus, Gratia, Charitas, Tyrannus, Concupiscentia, 
Cisera, Apostolus, Apostolatus, Egenus, Stater, Societas, Zizania, 
Christus, Conversari, Profiteer, Impositio manuum, Idolatria, 
Inenarrabilis, Infidelis, Paganus, Commilito, Virtutes, Domina- 
tiones, Throni, Potestates, Hostia." l The adoption of Gardy- 
ner s 2 suggestion would have sadly marred the revision, and 

in January, 1540, and the abbot Abbey, by Dean Stanley, p. 450. 

became a dean ; twelve prebendaries London, 1868. 

succeeded the monks, and Thirlby * Fuller s Church History, vol. II, 

was consecrated on the 15th Decem- p. 108. 

ber, 1540, the first bishop, with a 2 Gardyner, notwithstanding his 

diocese including the whole of Mid- domineering dispute with Cheke on 

dlesex except Fulham. Queen Mary Greek pronunciation, was no mean 

upset all this arrangement ; the scholar. At college, in Cambridge, 

monks were restored, and Fecken- he joined the party of the " Cicer- 

ham was the last mitred abbot of onians"; and as Chancellor of the 

England. Memorials of Westminster University he lent his influence to 


made it as incongruous and un-English as the Rhemish version. 
Gardyner could not have selected his words at random, though 
some of them, "fitly Englished/ were already in the Great Bible, 
and many of them are no longer novelties in the language, as 
justice, justify, elements, baptize, mystery, adore, glory, spirit, 
apostle, confession, prudence, gentile, humility, communion, 
perseverance, synagogue, grace, charity. Other words have no 
special meaning attached to them, as idiota, ancilla, egenus, 
humilis, ejicere, oriens, which, if they had been preserved, 
would have disfigured any translation. But the indifferent 
words were probably only a cover for the more distinctive 
ecclesiastical terms. The project was, without doubt, the fruit 
of Gardyner s ingenuity, but he outwitted himself. Cranmer 
at once saw through the scheme, and after consulting with 
the king, on Friday, 10th March, he announced it to be the 
royal " will and pleasure " that the translation should be ex 
amined by both universities. The bishops, with the exception 
of Goodrich of Ely, and Barlow of St. Davids, vehemently 
protested that learning had decayed at the universities, and 
that all things were carried by " young men, the regent s 
masters," so that the " learning of the land was chiefly 
in the Convocation " ; but Cranmer " stuck close " to the 
king s resolution. The conspiracy was in this way easily 
baffled, and no further attempt was made to papalize the 
Authorized Version, and put a foreign mask on its honest 
every man s English. Convocation was not again troubled 
with the subject, and the Universities put no hand to the work. 
Yet on Sunday, the 12th of the month before Convocation 
broke up, a royal proclamation was issued, giving to Marler, 
" himself or his assigns," for four years, the " sole right to print 
the Bible in our English tongue," and sternly prohibiting all 
interference on the part of "subjects or strangers" with the 
monopoly. 1 As the project of the bishops to get a new version 
might, if carried out, have injured Marler s interests, and 
neutralized all previous proclamations, the king, therefore, 

the introduction of new studies, in Trinity Hall in 1520, and Bishop of 

opposition to Aristotle and the Winchester in 1531. 

Schoolmen. He became Master of 1 Patent Eolls, 33 Henry VIII. 


in sharp and imperative terms, forbade such a result. The 
proclamation implies perhaps that the king and Cranmer were 
aware of, or suspected greatly, more in the episcopal movement 
than has come to light. But Marler did not print or publish 
anymore folio Bibles; indeed no others were printed in Henry s 
reign, though it lasted four years longer. 

The portion of the nation that could read had now been 
furnished with the Divine Word in their " maternal tongue." 
During the last five years there had been issued at least 
twelve editions of the entire Bible ten in folio and two 
in quarto each impression probably averaging 1,500 copies. 
Thousands of copies of the New Testament, from 15 26 
and onwards, were also in use through the country. Becon, 
who had heard Latimer proving in his sermon delivered at 
Cambridge, in 1526, that the Holy Scriptures ought to be read 
in the English tongue by all Christian people, was now enabled, 
sixteen years after, to record "there is no realm throughout 
Christendom that hath so many urgent, weighty, and necessary 
causes to give thanks unto God as we Englishmen have at this 
present. . . . The most sacred Bible is freely permitted to 
be read of every man in the English tongue. . . . Many 
savour Christ aright, and daily the number increaseth." l Still 
there must have been a great disproportion between all this 
free circulation of expensive Bibles and the masses of the 
people " What were these among so many ? " 

But the reaction indicated in Gardyner s proposal grew 
more powerful, and the king was brought more fully under 
perverse influences, 2 wielded by some of the adherents of the 
old religious party which had sullenly bowed to the separa 
tion from Rome, but was still in heart thoroughly opposed 
to the open circulation of the Word of God, and really terrified 
by it. The circulation of Scripture could not now be easily 
fettered ; but the reading of it might be placed under legal re- 

1 Early Works, p. 180, &c., Parker Henry VIII died at what should now 
Society ed. be called the early age of fifty-six, and 

2 The common phrase that the re- his father had died at fifty-two. Of 
action took place in the king s mind his two great rivals, Francis died at 
in his old age rather tends to mislead, fifty-three and Charles at fifty-nine. 

xxix.] VARIOUS ABUSES. 497 

straint. Indeed, the king had more than once complained of 
scenes of disorder connected with the reading of Scripture, 
and Parliament had said that people " wrangled over it in ale 
houses," and that it was degraded " in rhymes, printed ballads, 
plays, songs, and other fantasies." One form of abuse, which 
had been already forbidden, was peculiar the reading of the 
New Testament aloud during divine service. It is, indeed, 
little matter of surprise that a man with an English New 
Testament in his hand should look into it during a long Latin 
service, not one word of which he understood ; but to disturb 
others around him was wholly unwarranted. Three persons 
of St. Albans parish were " prosecuted for disturbing the ser 
vice of the church, with brabbling of the New Testament"; 
and one, William Plane, was taken hold of " for loud reading of 
the English Testament." Such a scene, in the village of Vassy, 
in France, led, in 1562, to bloodshed, when, the Duke of Guise 
being the avenger, sixty people were killed and two hundred 
wounded the first of those massacres that crowned their 
atrocity on the day of St. Bartholomew. 

At an earlier period l the reading of the English Bible had 
been sadly abused conceited and opinionative men made it 
their text-book, and ignorant men, of extreme opinions, disdain 
fully tossed its verses in the faces of opponents. It is no less 
true, as already stated, that many readers of the Bible in 
rural parishes were frowned upon and insulted, the book being 
fraught with terror to reactionary ecclesiastics. 2 The infer 
ence, in high quarters, from all such agitations was, that none 
should read it but those who might be supposed to profit by it. 
Such a distinction was attempted by the politicians and the 
priesthood, not because they held the Word in supreme regard, 
and sought to keep it from desecration ; but because they had 
seen the results of its circulation in advancing freedom of 
opinion, and in diminishing attachment to the Romish ritual 
and observances. Those who read the Scripture and felt ite 

1 See page 389, &c. the Duke of Northumberland, con- 

8 Sir John Gates, who suffered fessed on the scaffold that he had 

under Queen Mary, in 1553, for his been a great reader of Scripture, but 

connection with the misdoings of not to his edification. 


power, turned instinctively to the cross rather than to the 
altar with its Latin service, opened their hearts more to God 
and less in confession to the priest, put themselves under 
the inspired teaching of the Bible rather than under sacer 
dotal authority. 1 " It is plain," wrote Cranmer, referring to 
papal errors and ceremonies, " that the Word of God hath 
got the upper hand of them all." In alarm at this growing 
revolution, caused mainly by free Scripture reading, a 
species of discrimination was tried between such as might, 
and such as might not read the Word of God, and Par 
liament, no doubt under ecclesiastical inspiration, passed an 
Act in 1543, for the "Advancement of true religion" 2 in the 
following terms : 

" That all manner of books of the Old and New Testament in 
English, of this (Tyndale s) translation should by authority of 
this act clearly and utterly be abolished and extinguished, and 
forbidden to be kept and used in this realm or elsewhere, in any 
of the king s dominions." ..." That the Bible and Testaments 
in English not being in Tyndale s translations, should stand in 
force and not be compromised in this abolition or act. Never 
theless, if there should be found in any such Bibles or New 
Testaments, any annotations or preambles, that then the owners 
of them should cut or blot the same in such wise as they cannot 

1 Dr. London, who had been busy his intense desire to catch Master 
years before in the search at Oxford Garret, consulted an " astronomer, 
(seep. ; 165),had shown some activity by whom a figure was made" ; and 
in the abolition of monasteries, and the oracle declared that the fugitive 
had fallen into immoral scandals, had "fled in a hairy coat south-east- 
He was now a prebendary of St. ward." London tells this story openly 
Georges, Windsor, and in furious to Archbishop "Warham, on the 21st 
zeal against Bible-readers, he had of February, thus pleading guilty 
laid an accusation against four himself to a capital crime, and mak- 
of the citizens, three of whom ing the primate so far a party to it, 
were burned. But in trying to if he acted on the information so 
entrap some gentlemen of the obtained. London was also a tool in 
royal household, he committed per- the hands of Gardyner in the plot 
jury, was degraded, pilloried, and against Cranmer. Strype,Memorials, 
sent to the Fleet prison, where he vol. I, p. 581; Life of Cranmer, vol. 
died. This same zealot, when com- I, p. 245. 
missary at Oxford, had, in 1528, iii - 34 and 35 Henry VIII, cap. 1. 


be perceived or read, on pain of losing or forfeiting for every 
Bible or Testament forty shillings (or equal to 30), provided 
that this article shall not extend to the blotting any quota 
tions or summaries of any chapters in any Bible." . . . 
" That no manner of persons, after the 1st of October, should 
take upon them to read openly to others in any church or 
open assembly, within any of the king s dominions, the Bible 
or any part of the Scripture in English, unless he was so 
appointed thereunto by the king, or by any ordinary, on pain 
of suffering one hundred months imprisonment. The Chan 
cellor of England, Captains of the Wars, the King s Justices, 
the Recorders of any city, borough, or town, and the Speaker of 
Parliament may use any part of the Holy Scripture as they 
have been wont." And " every nobleman and gentlewoman, 
being a householder, may read or cause to be read, by any of 
his family, servants in his house, orchard, or garden, to his own 
family, any text of the Bible ; and also every merchantman, 
being a householder, and any other persons, other than women, 
apprentices, &c., might read to themselves privately the Bible. 
But no women, except noblewomen and gentlewomen, might 
read to themselves alone ; and no artificers, apprentices, 
journeymen, servingmen of the degrees of yeomen (officers in the 
king s family between servants and grooms), husbandmen or 
labourers, were to read the New Testament to themselves or to 
any other, privately or openly, on pain of one month s im 
prisonment." 1 

The absurdities, contradictions, and impossibilities contained 
in this enactment almost exceed belief. Tyndale s translation 
was expressly forbidden, and yet though it was stigmatized as 
" crafty, false, and untrue," it had imbedded itself in the versions 

1 34 Henry VIII, cap. 1. Statutes be for a month or two observed ; 
at large. And yet in 1544, the but that the people, feeling the godly 
king says in a royal mandate, " We taste thereof, may gladly and joyous- 
have set forth certain godly prayers ly with thanks receive and embrace 
and suffrages in our native English the same." This translation of the 
tongue, to the setting forward of the Litany was the germ of the Book of 
glory of God, and the true worship- Common Prayer, 
ping of His most holy name, not to 


which were allowed to circulate. The Bible might be read in 
private by the higher classes ; but plebeians were not to taste 
the forbidden luxury. The industrial myriads were put under 
ban, and God s Word was not to be polluted by their vulgar 
breath. Members of the peerage were tolerated, but others of 
lower degree might not touch the hem of His robe. The Book 
permitted to the patrician was forbidden to those of inferior 
station, as if both had not been "made of one blood," or 
had not been in the same need of the " common salvation " ; 
as if under such a sumptuary regulation, rags and home 
spun put a man beyond the pale of divine regard, and vel 
vet and brocade were identical with the " wedding garment." 
The study of the Life of the carpenter s Son of Him who 
Himself used hammer and hatchet was cruelly refused to 
craftsmen and artizans, " earning their bread in the sweat of 
their face"; and the records of the religion of Him whom "the 
common people heard gladly" would have become the monopoly 
of peers and gentry. The insane prohibition did not last many 
years, but it must have created no little jealousy, confusion, 
and evasion among the masses, on whom the brand of disquali 
fication had been so visibly stamped. The old taunt had been 
" Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him," 
implying that the learned aristocracy as a body rejected him ; 
but the further insolent and uncharitable censure, " this people 
that knoweth not the law are cursed," though unjust in Judea, 
would have come to be true in England if this Act had been 
carried out for any length of time. 

The change from freedom to restriction in the reading of the 
Bible is indicated also in another way. In the dedication by 
the prelates to the king of " The Institution of a Christian 
Man" (1537), they "give thanks unto Almighty God, that 
it hath pleased Him to send such a king to reign over us, 
which so earnestly mindeth to set forth among his subjects the 
light of Holy Scripture." But in 15-iS the restriction is alluded 
to by the king himself in his proclamation that forms the 
preface to the " Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any 
Christian Man," l which is a fuller edition of the previous 
1 London, Thomas Berthelet, 1543. 


treatise. 1 After granting that the clergy should have the Bible, 
the royal words in reference to the laity are, " It ought to be 
deemed certainly, that the reading of the Old and New Testa 
ment is not so necessary for all those folks, that of duty they 
ought, and be bound to read, but as the prince and policy of 
the realm shall think convenient, so to be tolerated or taken 
from it. Consonant whereunto the politic law of our realm 
hath now restrained it from a great many, esteeming it sufficient 
for those so restrained to hear and truly bear away the doctrine 
of Scripture taught by the preachers, and so imprint the 
lessons of the same, that they may observe and keep them 
inwardly in their heart." - But this graduated toleration must 
have defeated its own ends, for the law could be evaded in 
hundreds of ways, so that three years afterwards, on the 8th 
of July, 1546, the Act was renewed in a more relentless and 
sweeping form : " No man or women, of what estate, condition, 
or degree, was after the last day of August to receive, have, 
take, or keep, Tyndale s or Coverdale s New Testament." 
Other works were also condemned : the whole Bible of Miles 
Coverdale, and the works of Fryth, Wycliffe, Joye, Roye, 
Turner, Tracy, &c., and were to be delivered up to be burned, 
the only mercy allowed being that "no bishop, chancellor, com 
missary, mayor, bailiff, sheriff, or constable, shall be curious to 
mark who bringeth forth such books." In December, 1546, a 
year before his death, and on his last personal meeting with his 
Parliament, the king, calling himself God s " vicar and high 
minister here," for he had taken the place of the Pope, complains 
of abuses in Bible reading : " For the book was disputed, 
rhymed, sung, and jangled in every alehouse and tavern, con 
trary to the true meaning and doctrine of the same." The 
royal discourse was touching, the king wept, and many of his 
audience were in tears, and yet, such was the perverseness 
of the times that, after this last and earnest discourse on charity, 
" spoken so sententiously, so kingly, or rather fatherly," the 
next dark tragedy of his closing reign was the cruel martyrdom 
of Anne Askew, who had often been seen reading the Bible in 

1 London, 1537. reign of Henry VIII, ed. Cardwell, 

2 Formularies of Faith during the Oxford, 1825. 


the aisles of Lincoln Cathedral, and who, after sentence of 
death had been pronounced upon her, was so tortured on the 
rack, that she had to be carried to the stake, at which she 
was burned with three companions. Bonner, Wriothesly, Rich, 
and Gardyner (the king being apparently passive), were the 
chief agents in this lady s heartless murder. 1 

But, though the true remedy was not to forbid the study 
or possession of a Bible, it was resolved to put the divine 
book out of existence, though fire had failed before, Bonner, 
who had been so kind to Coverdale and Grafton in Paris, while 
they were superintending the press, and who~had helped to 
transmit to England the endangered sheets of the Great Bible, 
took naturally to the pastime of Bible burning. Numerous 
copies must have perished, and to prevent identification the 
title-pages of many must have been torn off. The " Suppli 
cation of the Poor Commons " 2 offers this comment : " The 
remnant of the sturdy beggars not yet weeded out," they say, 
"tell us that vice, uncharitableness, lack of mercy, diversity 
of opinions and other like enormities, have reigned ever since 
men had the Scriptures in English. And what is this, other 
than to cause men s consciences to abhor the same, as the only 
cause and original of all this ? They say it sufficeth a layman 
to believe as they teach, and not to meddle with the interpreta 
tion of Scripture ; and what meaneth that, but that they would 
have us as blind again as we were ? They have procured 
a law that none shall be so hardy as to have the Scripture 
in his house, unless he may spend 10 by the year " (i. c., equal 
to 150 now), "and what meaneth this but that they would 
famish the souls of the residue, withholding their food from 
them ? Had God put immortal souls in none other, but such 
as be possessioners in this world ? Did not Christ send word 
to John the Baptist that the poor received the Gospel ? Why 
do these men disable them from reading of the Scriptures, that 
are not endued with the possessions of this world ? Undoubt 
edly, most gracious Sovereign, because they are the very same 

1 See page 195. which appeared originally many 

2 There was also printed with it, years before. Strype s Memorials, 
" The Supplication of Beggars," vol. I, pt. I, p. 608, Oxford, 1832. 


that shut up the kingdom of heaven before men. They enter 
not in themselves; nor suffer they them to enter that would. 
They are like to a cur dog lying in a cock of hay: for he will 
eat none of the hay himself, nor suffer any other beast that 
comes to eat thereof." l 

The statement of Mr. Anderson, that Tunstall and Heath 
omitted the motto " A Domino factum est istud " is not accord 
ing to fact. 2 It occurs in both editions twice, indeed, in that 
of 1540, at the end of the colophon and at the end of the 

1 The following is an example of the pray God amende that blyndness. 

working of the Act, the note being Wry t by Robert Wyllyams, keppy ing 

found on a spare leaf of a copy of shepe upon Seynbury hill, 1546." 

Polydore Vergil s " History of Inven- This book had been printed by Graf- 

tiou." " When I kepe Mr. Letymers ton during the same year. Cam- 

shepe I bout thys boke when the den s Annal, ed. Hearne, vol. I, 

Testament was oberragated, that p. xxx. 

shepeherdys myght not rede hit. I 2 See p. 395. 


OCOTTISH History, contemporary with the last years of 
Henry VIII, and the circulation of the Great Bible in his 
kingdom, has many stirring incidents. Scotland produced no 
divine or scholar that engaged in the sacred and responsible 
work of translation. The supply of Bibles therefore came from 
beyond the realm ; but the enmity of the popish ecclesiastics 
was as rancorous against the English Scriptures in the north 
as it was in the south. Cardinal Beaton had at this time 
prepared a list of intended victims, to the number of more 
than a hundred of the nobility and gentry, because, in the 
words of Sir Ralph Sadler, the English Ambassador, they 
were "gentlemen all well minded to God s Word" the Earl 
of Arran, heir-presumptive to the crown, being among the 
number. The king could not stand even the sight of the 
list; but the ecclesiastics, alarmed at the proposed interview 
of James with his uncle, Henry VIII, pledged themselves 
to grant him an enormous sum of money if he would give 
them a secular judge to sentence criminals, for there were 
41 many thousands who did not hesitate to study the books 
both of the Old and New Testament." The reading of the 
New Testament at this period is frequently referred to ; and 
the authorities, so alarmed and blindly wrathful, ordered 
that all persons having the books, the importation of which 
both by foreigners and natives had been now forbidden 
by statute, should deliver them up to their ordinary, 
on pain of confiscation and imprisonment. Especially the 
reading of the New Testament in the vulgar tongue was for- 


mally denounced and prohibited. 1 That such an act should 
have been deemed necessary shows that there must have been 
throughout the country numerous copies of the New Testa 
ment, and numerous students of it. Through the influence of 
Cardinal Beaton, five persons were burned on the Castle Hill of 
Edinburgh, on the 1st of March, 1539, the king himself being 
present at the martyrdom. The trial of one of them, Dean 
Thomas Forrest, a canon regular of the Augustinian Monastery 
of St. Colme s Inch, and Vicar of Dollar, on the charge of 
having and using the New Testament in English, brings 
out that he had been in the habit of doing a novel thing ; 
for though he was a dignitary, he preached out of the 
Scripture, and committed every day three chapters to 
memory. It was brought against him, not merely that he 
would not take the cow and corpse cloth, but that he taught 
his parishioners to say the Paternoster, the Creed, and the 
Ten Commandments in English, "which is contrary to our 
Acts, that they should know what they say." When, in vindi 
cation, he quoted the declaration of the apostle, that " he would 
rather speak five words with the understanding than ten 
thousand in an unknown tongue," he was challenged by his 
interrogators, " Where foundest thou that ? " and his reply was, 
" In my book here in my sleeve." It was at once plucked 
from him, and his accuser, holding it up, shouted, "Behold, sirs, 
he has the book of heresy in his sleeve that has made all the 
din and play in our kirk." At this trial the Bishop of Dun- 
keld, who, eleven years before, had sat in judgment on Patrick 
Hamilton, merrily exclaimed, " I thank God that I never knew 
what the Old or New Testament was." In 1540, under the 
primacy of Beaton, Sir John Borthwick, a younger son of Wil 
liam third Lord Borthwick who fell at Flodden, was charged 
with having in his possession Novum Testamentum in vulgari 
Anglico impressum. 2 He escaped, however, but was burned in 

1 Despatch by Lord Howard, and God s "Word as he had opportunity ; 
Barlow. State Papers, vol. V, p. 48. " whereat, though the clergy shall re- 
Barlow, at the time Bishop of St. pine, yet many of the lay people will 
Davids, writes to Crumwell, that he gladly give hearing." 
would preach, with the king s license, 2 He returned, however, in better 


effigy at the market cross of St. Andrews, on the 28th day of 
May. David Straiton of Lauriston, 1 and Norman Gourlay a 
secular priest, were condemned by a Council held at the Abbey 
of Holyrood the king presiding, clothed in scarlet as a Scot 
tish judge ; and were burned the next day at the Rood of 
Greenside near the northern top of the Calton Hill, that the 
inhabitants of Fife might see the fire, and be " stricken with 
terror." Similar scenes followed in the West of Scotland. 
Two young men, one a Franciscan and the other a youth 
from England, suffered in Glasgow. George Buchanan, the 
prince of Latinists, who had enraged the ecclesiastics by 
his Franciscanus and his Somniurn, made his escape from 
prison in St. Andrews. The Duke of Norfolk, writing from 
Berwick, on the 29th of March, informs Crumwell, "Daily 
cometh unto me some gentlemen and some clerks which do 
flee out of Scotland, as they say, for reading the Scriptures 
in English, saying that if they were taken they should be put 
to execution. I give them gentle words and some money." 2 

After the melancholy death of the James V, on the 14th of 
December, 1542, the weak Earl of Arran became Protector. 
But two factions at once sprang up: the clerical one assembling 
at Perth sent among other stipulations to Edinburgh that the 
New Testament in the native tongue should not go abroad. The 
stipulations were refused, and when Parliament met at Edin 
burgh on the 12th of March, 1543, it was proposed, on the motion 
of Lord Maxwell, that " all the lieges in this realm may read 
the Scriptures in our native tongue." The New Testament 
had been now about seventeen years in the country, and it was 
time that it should be unfettered. In one of these sudden turns 
of affairs so common in Scottish history, Cardinal Beaton was 
flung into prison on a charge of forging a will in the late king s 
name. But Chancellor Dunbar Archbishop of Glasgow rising 
in his place dissented simplwiter, in his own name and in the 
name of the prelates of the realm that were present. He and 
his party wished the measure to be postponed till a provincial 

times, and raising an action of " tie- * The Laird of Lauriston was the 
clarator," he had his sentence re- first of his social rank that suffered, 
versed, and his estates restored. 2 State Papers(Hemy VIII),V,154. 


council of all the clergy should discuss the question, " to advise 
and conclude thereupon, if the same be necessary to be had in 
the vulgar tongue, to be used among the Queen s lieges or not," 
and thereupon he " craved instruments." The Bible was pro 
duced in this meeting of parliament, and its opponents yielded 
so far as to allow that it might be read if the translation were 
true. They were challenged to produce a fault, and they in 
stanced the use of "love" instead of "charity"; but when 
asked what the difference between the terms was, they were 
dumb. The opposition was vain, and an Act was passed to 
the following effect : " It is statute and ordained that it shall 
be lawful to all our sovereign lady s lieges to have the Holy 
Writ, both the New Testament and the Old, in the vulgar 
tongue in the English or Scottish, 1 of a good and true 
translation, and that they shall incur no crimes for the 
having or reading of the same ; provided always that no 
man dispute or hold opinions, under the pains contained in 
the Acts of Parliament." 2 The Dean of Restalrig " long re 
pugned," and certain " old bosses along with him." The com 
missioners of burghs and part of the nobility then demanded 
that it might be " permitted to every man to use the trans 
lation of the Old and New Testament which they had, till 
the prelates and kirkmen set forth a translation more correct. 
But all compromise was negatived ; every man was made free 
to read " the Scriptures in his own or the English tongue," and 
all Acts made to the contrary were abolished. No time was 
lost ; proclamation was made at the Market Cross of Edinburgh, 
and letters were sent through the country, enjoining proclama 
tion to be made in the more important towns, among which 
Glasgow, the episcopal seat of the prime opposer and protester, 
is not mentioned. The regent s proclamation, 19th March, 1543, 
was in the following terms : 


" CLERK OF REGISTER. It is our will and we charge you, 
that ye gar proclaim this day in the mercat cross of Edinburgh, 
the Acts made in our Sovereign lady s Parliament, that should 

1 " Scottish" means here the Gaelic tongue. 2 Act. Parl., II, 415. 

VOL. I. 2 D 


be proclaimed and given forth to her lieges ; and in special, the 
Act made for having of the New Testament in vulgar tongue, 
with certain additions, and thereafter give forth the copies 
thereof authentic, as effeiris, to all them that will desire the 
samyn, and insert this our command and charge in the books 
of Parliament for your warrant. Subscrivit with our own 
hand at Edinburgh, the 19th day of March, the year of God 
1543 years. 

"JAMES G." 1 

The general possession of the Book had nursed the desire 
to have the readin^ of it removed from the list of felonies. 


It is difficult to say what number of copies of the Scriptures 
was printed abroad, for so many of them bore the London 
imprint, and the eye of the initiated alone can recognize the 
differences. The English Parliament at this time was 
forbidding the Bible to all the industrial classes, who 
were not to read it on pain of a month s imprisonment. 
No mention was made of issuing any Bibles from the press 
in Scotland, or of any measures conducing to it, and none 
were printed there for more than thirty years afterwards. No 
one can doubt, therefore, that there had been a very large 
importation of Testaments, probably also of the editions of 
Coverdale, Matthew, and of the Great Bible. That the Bible 
was very common twenty-five years afterwards may be in 
ferred from the words of John Knox. Describing the result 
of the Act which removed all restriction, he relates, with 
great glee, " This was no small victory of Christ. Jesus 
fighting against the conjured enemies of His verity: not 
small comfort to such as before were holden in such bondage, 
that they durst not have read the Lord s Prayer, the Ten 
Commandments, nor articles of their faith in the English 
tongue, but they should have been accused of heresy. Then 
might have been seen the Bible lying upon almost every gen 
tleman s table. The New Testament was borne about in many 
men s hands. . . . Some would touch their familiars with it 
and say, Thou hast been under my bed-feet these ten years. " 

1 James Hamilton, second Earl of Arran. 

2 Works, vol. I, pp. 100, 101, Edinb., 1846. 

xxx.] GEORGE WISHART. 419 

But a crisis soon came ; Arran recanted, Beaton was 
set at liberty, the work of murder again commenced, and 
many fled from suffering. Adam Wallace, who could read the 
Bible in three languages, was seized, and burned on the Castle 
Hill of Edinburgh. The mode of destroying heretics was 
somewhat changed. Four men, instead of being burned, were 
hanged at Perth, and a woman, the wife of one of the four 
sufferers, after giving the infant in her arms to a sympathizing 
neighbour, was drowned in the Tay. George Wishart, a 
younger son of the laird of Pitarrow Justice Clerk in 1513, 
had, when master of a school in Montrose, been guilty of the 
heinous crime of reading the Greek New Testament with his 
scholars. On being summoned to appear before Hepburn Bishop 
of Brechin, he fled, in 1538, into England. He is called, in 
the records of the city of Bristol, the " obstinate Scot " ; and 
having preached in St. Nicholas Church some form of theo 
logical error, he was seized, sent to London, and tried and 
condemned by Cranmer when he recanted and bore his 
faggot. 1 Returning to Scotland about 1544, he discoursed from 
his English New Testament, and was arrested, and burned on 
the 1st of March, 154G, at St. Andrews ; the windows and 
battlements of the castle opposite the stake being fitted with 
silk hangings and cushions to enable the cardinal and his 
associates to enjoy the spectacle. The country was now kept 
in wretched turmoil by armed feuds and factions, and contend 
ing parties bent on supremacy put to hazard life and estates. 
Though the aristocracy of Scotland had been little better than 
& set of coronetted savages, yet change of religious opinion 
began first among them and the landed gentry ; but the 
commons awoke to consciousness and " newness of life " 
with the dawn of the Reformation, for the truths of Scrip 
ture had not been lost upon them. 

1 Dr. M Crie, from misreading one the heresy which he retracted is not 

letter of a single word in the Bristol very intelligible ; it seems to have 

Record, gave currency to the story been a serious and uuscriptural error 

that Wishart recanted what he had regarding the merit of Christ as a 

preached against the papacy. But Redeemer. Life of Knox, p. 481. 


TZING HENRY died on the morning of the 28th of January, 
154-7, and the accession of Edward VI gave immediate 
ascendancy to the Reforming party. According to common 
report the young monarch manifested great veneration for the 
Divine Word, and an English Bible is said to have been used at 
his coronation. When three swords were presented, the sym 
bols of his being the royal head of three kingdoms, he told 
his courtiers that another sword was yet wanting, the Bible 
"the sword" of the Spirit which with the greatest reverence he 
commanded to be brought and carried before him. Sir Thomas 
More had alleged that if the Bible were in common use, it would 
be sometimes employed as a footstool; but the prince in his ear 
lier years, " when proffered a boss-plate Bible to stand upon to- 
heighten him, with holy indignation refused it." l The old 
incubus had now passed away, and the people breathed freely. 
The possession of the Bible was no longer restricted by statute ; 
every one, whatever his social position, might have it and 
study it. It was free to all as the light and air of heaven. 
But the minds of the rulers in church and state were so- 
occupied with the guidance of the changes passing over them 
that no new translation was undertaken during this reign of 
six years and a half. At the same time the instructions of 
Archbishop Cranmer to the two foreigners, Fagius and Bucer, 
during their stay with him at Lambeth prior to their installa 
tion as professors at Cambridge, would almost imply that the 
idea of a new translation was before his mind. His words are, 
" It had been a great while his pious and most earnest desire 
1 Heylin s Eeformation, vol. I, p. 27, Cambridge, 1849. 


that the Holy Bible should come abroad in the greatest ex 
actness and true agreement with the original text," and they 
were therefore to devote themselves to the scientific exegesis 
both of the Old and New Testament. 1 Castalio ascribes a 
similar purpose to the young king. 2 Anderson states that the 
Scripture was simply " let alone " during Edward s reign. 
The fact is, however, that his father s last act against the 
English Bible was at once declared to be " utterly void and of 
none effect," and there was also an injunction issued " that 
parsons, vicars, and curates, were to provide, within three 
moneths next after this visitation, one book of the whole 
Bible of the largest volume ; and within one twelve monethe 
next after the said visitation the paraphrasis of Erasmus also 
in English upon the Gospels, and the same set up in some 
convenient place within the said church that they have cure 
of, whereat their parishioners may most commodiously resort 
unto and read the same. . . . That every parson, vicar, 
curate, chambrey priest, and stipendiary being under the 
degree of a bachelor of divinity, should have of his own the 
New Testament both in Latin and English, with the para 
phrase of Erasmus upon it ; and that the bishops, &c., in 
their synods or visitations, should examine them how they 
had profited in the study of Holy Scripture . . . That in the 
time of high mass the epistle and gospel of that mass should 
be read in English ; and that on every Sunday and holy-day 
the parsons, &c., should plainly and distinctly read one chapter 
of the New Testament in English at matins, and one chapter 
of the Old Testament at even-song, and that when the priest 
reads the Scripture to the parishioners, no manner of persons, 
without a just and urgent cause, should depart out of the 
church." Cranmer s Articles of Visitation were based on these 
injunctions. 3 But the superstitious love of the Latin Bible 
and service lay deep in the popular mind, and the substitution 
of English provoked great opposition in various parts of the 
country. An insurrection broke out in Devonshire in 1549, 
and the rebels sent up fifteen demands, among them one that 

1 Strype s Cranmer, vol. II, p. 149. 3 Card well s Documentary Anuals 

2 Dedication of his Latin Version, vol. I, p. 8, &c. 


" they must have the mass in Latin celebrated by the priest 
alone, and that the sacrament should be worshipped as it was- 
wont to be," that "they utterly refused the new English," 
though they confessed that " certain of us Cornish men under 
stand no English " ; and that " all books of Scripture should be 
called in again, as otherwise the clergy shall not of long time 
confound the heretics." l On the other side, and on the part 
of furious and sturdy Protestants, the English Bible and 
Prayer Book were idolized. When, toward the end of 1581, 
Campian, the Jesuit, kneeled on the cart at Tyburn, and began 
to use Latin prayers, some of the reckless spectators shouted to 
him to pray in English. 2 

About 1550 Sir John Cheke translated Matthew and a por 
tion of Mark into a species of old English 3 to the exclusion of 
all Latin and foreign terms using moon d for lunatics ; tabler 
for money changer; toller for publican; toll-booth for the place 
of receipt of custom; frosent for apostle; ground-wrought for 
founded; byword for parable; crossed for crucified; freshman for 
proselyte; hunderder for centurion; and such phrases as "beggars- 
be gospelled," Matt, xi, 5 ; "brood gardes and large welts," Matt, 
xxiii, 5. Such a style appears like a rebound on purpose from 
Gardyner s attempt to Latinize the English version, but it 
was English born out of due season. Cheke, the first regius- 
professor of Greek at Cambridge, had been tutor to Prince 
Edward, and afterwards was Privy Councillor and Secretary of 
State. On Mary Tudor s accession, he went to the Continent, 
but was arrested there. At his trial he broke down, and he 
was forced to make a public recantation, which so filled him 
with shame that he died in 1557 of a broken heart, "carrying 
God s pardon and all good men s pity along with him." 

In the reign of Edward numerous editions of former versions 
were published, amounting to thirty-five editions of the New 
Testament and thirteen of the whole Bible. Thirty-one out of 

1 Coke apologizes for writing his 3 The version was edited from a 
Commentaries on Littleton in Eng- MS. in the Library of Corpus, 
lish, and hopes that it will not Christi College, Cambridge, by 
" work any inconvenience." James Goodwin, B.D., London, 

2 Froude, V, p. 167. 1843. 


fifty-seven printers were engaged in printing and publishing 
the sacred volume. Each of them selected what edition he 
preferred himself or what he thought was most likely to be 
preferred by the public. According to the best accounts there 
were two issues of Coverdale in 1550 (Andro Hester), and a 
third issue in 1553 (R. Jugge). Of Cranmer s Bible there seem 
to have been seven issues, and of his Testament eight. Of 
Matthew s there were five; one of them being a joint enterprise, 
the Bible being printed by Nicholas Hyll for eight "honest 
menne" publishers, each of these publishers having a title- 
page with his name for his own quantity of copies. Taverner s 
version was also issued in 1549, and there was apparently a 
reprint in 1551. This Bible was published in five volumes in 
1549, 1550, and 1551 "printed in sundry partes for these 
pore, that they which ar not able to bie the whole may bie a 
part." An English translation of the new Testament accom 
panied the paraphrase of Erasmus in 1548, and there are said 
to have been two other editions, the translator of Erasmus 
being Nicholas Udall, 1 under the patronage of Queen Catherine 
Parr. Of the New Testament of Tyndale or Matthew there 
were twenty-four editions, and fifteen editions at least bear 
the name of Tyndale. An edition of the New Testament 
was issued at Worcester in 1550, and a New Testament of 
1552-53, was by royal order to be sold for 22d., representing 
as many shillings of present value. Cranmer threw no 
patronage over his own version, nor did he in any jealousy 
discredit its rivals. Indeed, two impressions of Matthew s 
Bible, one in August and another in October, 1549, preceded 
the reprint of the Great Bible in December of the same year. 
In each year of this short reign there were eight issues of the 
Bible. Edition followed edition so quickly that the image of 
the Hebrew prophet was realized, " The plowman shall over 
take the reapers, and the treader of grapes him that soweth 

1 Nicholas Udall was for a time at Doyster. The Princess Mary assisted 

the head of the Eton School, then in the translation of the notes of 

first master of the Westminster Erasmus, and, as the preface states, 

School. He was the author of the rendered those on St. John. Udall 

first English comedy, Ralph Eoyster was not molested during her reign. 


seed " such continuous and self-renewing abundance as if 
spring were blended with harvest., or harvest encircled with 

Cranmer has sometimes been condemned for his alleged 
complicity in the burning of Joan of Kent, whose error was a 
peculiar and misty inconsistency of opinion on the subject of 
the incarnation. The story is that the prelate pleaded 
earnestly with the reluctant boy-king to sign her death- 
warrant, and that Edward at length with many tears attached 
his signature, calling God to witness all the while that his 
spiritual adviser must bear the blame. But the fact is that 
Edward did not sign the fatal paper, and that the prelate s 
name is absent from the list of those who in Council pro 
nounced the sentence of execution. The general belief at the 
period was that the judicial law of Moses was of perpetual 
authority. What has been called the "great crime" of Calvin 
was justified by Melanchthon and Beza, and even the poor 
victim Servetus himself held that blasphemy was a crime 
worthy of capital punishment. John Knox and Peter Dens 
use the same analogy in proving death to be the due penalty 
of heresy. The First Book of Discipline affirming that heretics 
should die, for they are like those who falsify the "coine of a 
king," quotes in proof the edict of Darius, which " pronounced 
that a balk should be taken from the house of that man 
and he himself hanged upon it, that durst attempt to hinder 
the re-edifying of the temple." The Catholic casuist argues 
the same conclusion against heretics, as they resemble falsarii 
pecunia? forgers of the current coinage. Persons were put to 
death for religious aberrations in Elizabeth s reign, without 
any protests from great statesmen and divines ; and when under 
James an incorrigible man was burned, Archbishop Abbot 
gratefully acquiesced in the deed, and Isaac Casaubon, then in 
England, cordially approved, though he had witnessed the 
deplorable results of persecution in his own country. Men 
have been slow to learn that conscience is the Holy of holies 
in the bosom of humanity the temple of God, and that no one 
Las a right to enter into it but the Great High Priest alone. 

Edward died on the 6th July, 1553, and was succeeded by 


his elder sister Mary. Her reign forms one of the gloomiest 
periods of English history, and an epithet of terrible colour 
cleaves to her and to her Bishop of London. Reginald Pole 
(Rainold Pool), who had been so long a busy plotter on the 
Continent, came over to England, and he had such coadjutors 
as Gardyner, Bonner, and Tunstall, called by the queen " her 
own bishops," though they had advocated her father s repudia 
tion of the Pope, but they had been maltreated under Edward. 
Tunstall s sermon against the papal jurisdiction had been pub 
lished in 1539, and Gardyner s " De Vera Obedientia" was in 
wide circulation, with or without the alleged preface by Bon 
ner. 1 Gardyner was, in fact, as much in favour of the divorce 
and of the royal supremacy as Cranmer, and in the tract 
referred to he affirms that the royal supremacy was the intro 
duction of "no new thing" but only a "clearer assertion and 
a more significant expression of it." - Bonner had vindicated 
Henry and his cause at Rome in a style so rough and defiant 
that his Holiness threatened at once to burn him, or boil him 
in a cauldron of molten lead. Gardyner, the ablest man of the 
whole party, became her Lord Chancellor ; and in the record of 
her bestowment of the Great Seal, she is called supreme " head 
on earth of the English and Irish Church." He also performed 
the ceremony which belonged of right to the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, and crowned the queen. Mary was aware of 
Gardyner s subtility ; and when he opposed her marriage with 
her cousin Philip of Spain, she declared that she " would prove 
a match for all the cunning of the Chancellor." Gardyner was 
opposed to the reunion of England with the Pope, and wished 
the English Church to keep its independence, with Mary as its 
head ; but her reported answer was, " Women, I have read in 
Scripture, are forbidden to speak in the Church. Is it then 
fitting that your Church should have a dumb head ? " Forced 
by his position as a statesman and lawyer to be an ecclesiastic, 
Gardyner was a subtle diplomatist, a matchless intriguer, and a 
wary, watchful, and unscrupulous antagonist of the Reformers. 
King Henry, provoked and angered by his audacity and ambi- 

1 See Maitland s Essay on the Re- 2 Browne s Fasciculus, Appendix, 
formation, p. 345, &c. vol. II, p. 800. 


tion, had left him out of his will ; and his ally, the Duke of 
Norfolk, had the king lived a few hours longer, would have 
been executed. Lloyd, in his "State Worthies," says of Gar- 
dyner, though their epigrammatic form gives his words an 
air of exaggeration, "He never did what he aimed at, never 
aimed at what he intended, and never said what he thought, 
whereby he carried it so that others should do his business 
when they opposed it, and he should undermine theirs when he 
seemed to promote it; a man that was to be traced like the fox, 
and read like the Hebrew backward; if you would know what 
he did, you must observe what he did not." Sitting as judges, 
men like Gardyner and his compeers were sometimes twitted by 
the prisoners at their bar for again accepting the Pope, thus 
getting, as from Rogers, Bradford, Taylor, and Sandars, some 
" privy nips." 

Heath, in succession Bishop of Rochester, and Worcester, and 
Archbishop of York, and co-editor with Tunstall of two 
issues of the Great Bible, had some scholarly reputation. 
When he was only Archdeacon of Stafford, he went along 
with Foxe, Bishop of Hereford, and Barnes, to Germany on 
an embassy; and Melanchthoii writes to Camerarius about him, 
"Only one of the guests, the Archdeacon Heath, excels in 
amiableness of disposition and sound learning." Cranmer also 
praises "his learning, wisdom, and discretion." 1 He succeeded 
Gardyner as Lord Chancellor in 155G, and during his rule two 
hundred and seventeen persons suffered martyrdom. The 
Primate of England had the unenviable honour of signing 
the death warrant of the Primate of all England, as Pole 
would not consent to be consecrated as long as Cranmer his 
predecessor lived. On his refusal to take the oaths under 
Elizabeth, Heath was imprisoned, letters of a treasonable 
nature being found in his house. Being released, he retired 
to Chobham, where he died in 1579. 

The English Bible, even in effigy, could not now be endured. 

On the marriage of Mary to Philip, July, 1554, when the royal 

pair went in procession through the city of London, they passed 

the conduit in Gracechurch Street, which had been gaudily 

1 Todd s Life of Cranmer, vol. I, p. 147. 

xxxi.] CONNER S RACE. 427 

adorned in honour of the festive occasion. Amono- other 


scenic pieces there was a tableau which represented the " nine 
worthies," of which Henry VIII was one; and the painter, 
having probably seen Holbein s frontispiece to the Great Bible, 
presented him with a sword in the one hand, and in the other 
the Verbum Dei the Word of God or the English Bible, which 
he was delivering to his son Edward. The indiscreet artist 
was at once laid hold of and brought before Bishop Gardyner, 
the Chancellor, who, in angry tones, hurled at him the epithets 
of " villain " and " traitor," and peremptorily commanded him 
to efface the volume and put a glove in its stead. The terrified 
workman, on being so admonished, set to the task without 
delay, and fearing lest he should leave some part of the book 
in King Henry s hand, applied his brush so sweepingly that he 
" wiped away a portion of the fingers withal." 

Not only the Bible as a whole, but any text or fragment of 
it, was also detested. Verses had been painted on the walls of 
many churches, but they were not to be tolerated, Bishop 
Bonner therefore, on the 25th of October, 1554-, issued a man 
date in these terms : 

" Edmund, by God s permission bishop of London to all and 
every parsons, vicars, clerks, and lettered, within the parish of 
Hadham, or within the precinct of our diocese of London, 
wheresoever being seiideth greeting, grace, and benediction. 

"Because some children of iniquity, given up to carnal 
desires and novelties, have by many ways enterprised to 
banish the ancient manner and order of the church, and to 
bring in and establish sects and heresies ; taking from thence 
the picture of Christ, and many things besides instituted and 
observed of ancient time laudably in the same ; placing in the 
room thereof such things, as in such a place it behoved them 
not to do ; and also have procured, as a stay to their heresies 
(as they thought), certain Scriptures wrongly applied to be 
painted upon the church-walls ; all which persons tend chiefly 
to this end that they might uphold the liberty of the flesh, 
and marriage of priests, and destroy, as much as lay in them, 
the reverent sacrament of the altar, and might extinguish and 
enervate holy-days, fasting-days, and other laudable discipline 


of the catholic church; opening a window to all vices, and 
utterly closing up the way unto virtue : Wherefore we, being 
moved with a Christian zeal, judging that the premises are not 
to be longer suffered, do, for discharge of our duty, commit unto 
you jointly and severally, and by the tenor hereof do straitly 
charge and command you, that at the receipt hereof, with all 
speed convenient, you do warn, or cause to be warned, first, 
second, and third time, and peremptorily, all and singular 
churchwardens and parishioners whosoever, within our aforesaid 
diocese of London (wheresoever any such Scriptures or paint 
ings have been attempted), that they abolish and extinguish 
such manner of Scriptures, so that by no means they be either 
read or seen ; and therein to proceed, moreover, as they shall 
see good and laudable in this behalf. And if, after the said 
monition, the said churchwardens and parishioners shall be 
found remiss and negligent, or culpable, then you, jointly and 
severally, shall see the foresaid Scriptures to be razed, abolished, 
and extinguished forthwith." 

Mary reigned only five years and four months, and the work 
of fire and blood began about a year and a half after she 
ascended the throne. The statement sanctioned by Lord 
Burghley is, that during three years and nine months almost 
the number of four hundred perished men, women, maidens, 
and children by imprisonment, torments, famine, and fire. A 
hundred thus perished annually. At Bow, thirteen persons 
were burned at once, eleven men and two women ; ten in the 
same way at Lewes, including a mother and her son ; and ten 
also at Colchester, six in the morning and four in the afternoon. 
Five months before the queen s decease, the last fire was 
kindled at Smithfield. Seven martyrs were consumed; but 
the scene was the triumph of the sufferers, and the sympathy 
of the spectators responding with a loud and hearty Amen to 
the martyrs prayers, in spite of a heartless prohibition of all 
such demonstrations, alarmed the persecutors, and showed the 
fruitlessness of their cruelty. For force could not extirpate 
what argument was unable to overthrow. The song chanted 
in the Church of England celebrates " the noble army of 
martyrs," and she has " the witness within herself." During 


such a reign the Bible could not but be neglected. By a 
proclamation of the 18th of August, 1553, the open read 
ing of the Scriptures was prohibited. Many, however, clung 
to them. When Edward Underbill, "the hot Gospeller," 
was sent to Newgate, he asked especially " for his Bible 
and his lute." In March, 1555, William Hunter, a London 
apprentice, and not very regular in his attendance at mass, 
was, when reading his Bible in Brentwood Church, discovered 
by a priest who reprimanded him, and told him "it was 
never a merry world since the Bible came forth in English." 
The young man was seized, and sent up to Bonner, by whom 
he was condemned to die in his native village. There were no 
new issues of the sacred volume ; for no one ventured to pub 
lish it, and the English Bible ceased to be used in public service. 
A second proclamation of 13th June, 1555, forbade the im 
portation of the works of twenty-five authors, twelve of them 
English, such as Tyndale, Coverdale, Cranmer, Fryth, Latimer, 
Hooper, &c. A third, issued five months before the queen s 
decease, ordered wicked and seditious books to be given up 
without delay, on pain of death by martial law. But though 
there was no direct edict against the Scriptures by name, many 
copies must have been destroyed. l The churchwardens of a 
parish in Kent reported in 1565 that they "had no Bible since 
their church was defaced ten years before." The current 
report was that numerous Bibles chained to the desks in the 
churches were torn away and trampled on. When the bones 
of Fao-ius and Bucer were exhumed and thrown into the fire 


at Cambridge, in presence of Christopherson Bishop of Chiches 
ter, there was a repetition of this enormity ; and Bibles with 
other books were destroyed when posthumous indignity was 
inflicted on the corpse of Peter Martyr s wife. 

John Rogers, the editor of Matthew s Bible, was the first to 
die under Mary, and in the strange and gallant words of Brad 
ford in reference to such a form of death, "he bravely brake the 

" But in Paul s church may a Note on the margin of the first 
man see the leaves of the Bibles torn edition of Becou s New Year s Gift, 
out, and that no small number." Early Writings,p.322,ParkerSoc.ed. 


ice." l Cranmer, whose name is imperishably associated with 
the English Bible, perished also at the stake. The incidents 
of his examination and martyrdom, when " out of weakness 
he was made strong," need not be written at length. Ridley, 
Hooper, Latimer, Taylor, Sandars, and Ferrars also served the 
truth by dying for it. Hooper, who was in the Fleet prison 
for eighteen months, had at first good accommodation, as he 
paid well ; but, after he had been deprived, Gardyner ordered 
him to be shut up in a common cell, which had the sink of the 
prison on the one side, and the Fleet ditch on the other, and 
where he had "a wicked man and a wicked woman" for his 
fellows. John Rough, 2 a Scotchman, and Cuthbert Symson, 
were apprehended in December, 1557, as belonging to the 
" brethren " who assembled in secret for divine worship one 
principal element of which was the reading of the English 
Scriptures. Bonner, after tearing the beard of the first, and 
racking the other three times in one day, sent them both 
to the flames. Other sufferers were caught as they were in 
meditation on God s holy Word. Some died in prison, while 
others escaped, and seven were burned on the 28th of June, 
1558. The queen was a poor lonely, disappointed, and hys 
terical woman, labouring under mortal disease, wedded to a 
" man stone-hard, ice-cold "; but the Spanish blood in her veins 
occasionally showed itself, and in her unenlightened conscience 
she imagined that she was propitiating God, and securing 
health and domestic blessing, by offering human sacrifice, as if 

" The blood and sweat of heretics at the stake 
Were God s best dew upon the barren field." 

Her mind was soured also by the execution of so many of her 
friends. Featherstone had been her schoolmaster, and Abel 
her mother s chaplain; and the Countess of Salisbury was a 
special favourite and a near kinswoman. 

A few sentences may now be given to the life of Coverdale, 
after the publication of the Great Bible. He seems to have 

1 See page 348. some time before his own capture 

- It was Rough that had called to see a martyrdom, in order, as 

John Knox to the ministry in St. he quaintly said, " to learn the 

Andrews. lie had gone to Islington way." 


gone abroad after the fall of Crumwell, and on his return, at 
Henry s death, he was selected by the queen dowager to be her 
almoner. On the 30th of August, 1551, he was consecrated 
Bishop of Exeter, under King Edward, and he had enjoyed 
his bishopric only a brief period when Edward died. Mary 
succeeded, and Coverdale was summoned to her Council at 
Richmond, on the 22nd of August, and made a prisoner at 
large. In April of the following year, " he was about upon 
sureties." During an earlier residence on the Continent he 
had married Elizabeth Macheson, "a sober, chast, and godly 
lady," of Scottish extraction, and his connection with this Scot 
tish lass now saved his life, as Dr. Johannes Maccabceus Mac- 
Alpinus, a learned Scotsman, had married her sister. Macalpine 
would have spurned, with Celtic pride, the thin and poor name 
of M Bee, sometimes invented for him, as if it had been repre 
sented by Maccabseus. He was of the famous clan Alpine, to 
which Roderigh of the " Lady of the Lake " belonged. In 1532 
he became prior of the old and opulent Dominican Monastery 
at Perth ; but to escape a charge of heresy he fled to England 
in 1534, where he was kindly sheltered by Bishop Shaxton, of 
Salisbury, who gave him a stall in his cathedral. As late as 
1550, in the accounts of the Lord Treasurer of Scotland, he is 
called simply Johne Makalpyne ; and according to Stephanus, 
in his Historia Danica, the name Maccabeus was invented for 
him by Melanchthon, in allusion to the famous heroes of Hebrew 
history. When the Senatus Academicus of Wittemberg met to 
confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity, Martin Luther 
himself occupied the chair. 1 Macalpine had become chap 
lain to King Christian II of Denmark, and Professor of Theology 
at Copenhagen ; and he had been one of the translators of the 
Danish Bible, published in 1550. Macalpine and Coverdale were 
"like brothers"; and the Danish king, influenced by his chaplain, 
wrote to Queen Mary on the 25th of April,1554, asking the release 
of Coverdale as a great favour, for he felt assured that no crime 

1 Macalpine had at an earlier period Theologice Forniatus. Gerdesius, 

studied at the University of Cologne, Historia, vol. Ill, p. 417, describes 

and prior to his leaving it had been him as sprung ex nobili et autiqua 

admitted to the degree of Baccalarius Macalpinorum in Scotia familia. 


or disloyalty could be laid to his charge, and he trusted that the 
queen, "as well for her own character as for his earnest request, 
would set him at liberty." The letter was not attended to for 
some time, and the reply at length vouchsafed was a mere 
pretext, for it gave out that Coverdale had been dealt with 
simply as a debtor to the treasury, being in arrears with the 
tenths of his diocese, which he had held only for two years. 
The Danish monarch wrote a second time on the 24th of 
September, in stronger terms, saying that he was glad to hear 
that " debt " only was charged on Coverdale ; that he there 
fore hoped his request would be the more readily complied 
with ; and that he would be under profound obligation to 
her majesty if Coverdale should be permitted to appear before 
him, and assure him in person of his safety. Some months 
were still allowed to pass. At length, in February, 1555, 
the queen answered that a " greater weight was to be given 
to your request than our debt," and on the following day, a 
fortnight after the martyrdom of John Rogers, Coverdale got 
passports for himself and two servants, and set out at once for 
Denmark " escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers." 
The queen s reluctance to part with Coverdale is manifest in 
the dilatory and hypocritical correspondence; and had not this 
powerful intercession for him come from a monarch whom she 
durst not offend, Coverdale, as one who had been so influential 
in the production of the English Bible, would most certainly 
have gone the way of Tyndale and Rogers, and left the 
world in a chariot of fire. 

The first translator had met his death with firmness, and 
triumph and with a fervent and patriotic ejaculation on his 
lips ; but his successor s escape from a similar death seems 
to be grudged by some biographers, because Tyndale, Rogers, 
and Cranmer fell victims. If, however, Coverdale escaped 
the fire, he lost the pre-eminence and came short of the 
highest glory. No power less than that of the Danish 
sovereign could have shielded him, for he had taken a de 
cided step towards martyrdom. After the public disputation 
at Oxford, and the recorded resolution of Rogers, Hooper, 
Bradford, and the other ministers in confinement, " to suffer as 

xxxi.] COVE RDALE S ESCAPE. 433 

the will and pleasure of the higher powers shall adjudge," he 
cast in his lot with them, and wrote " the things above said, do 
I, Miles Coverdale, late of Exon, consult and agree with mine 
afflicted brethren, being prisoners mine own hand." The 
" higher powers " were thus dared to their face, and Coverdale s 
formal accession and signature must have now given him a 
jeopardous notoriety. An incident, however, had taken place by 
which probably he was unconsciously favoured. Gardyner, on 
being accused at the trial of Rogers of instigating the queen to 
persecute heretics, had been so provoked as unguardedly to 
retort, " The queen went before me, and it was her own 
motion." The saying was at once " noised abroad," and her own 
popularity, as well as that of Philip, was at stake ; but as if to 
neutralize the report, his Spanish chaplain and confessor, 
Alphonso di Castro, of all men in the world, preached on the 
10th of February, and inculcated the doctrine of toleration in 
his sermon, condemning in severe terms the taking of human 
life for the sake of religion ; for the Scripture taught bishops to 
instruct their flocks, and not to burn them if they erred. One 
result was that the burnings were stopped for about five weeks. 1 
A week after this remarkable sermon, and as if to present an 
illustration of its doctrine and a proof of the integrity of the 
preacher, Bishop Coverdale, with her majesty s letter, was sent 
out of the country. There might be other circumstances, un 
known to us, that may have induced the queen or her council 
to deny themselves the pleasure of putting him to death. At 
all events, there is no ground for Colonel Chester s remark, 
that "by his comparative insignificance he passed safely through 
the storm." The man who had been prominently connected 
with so many editions of the English Bible at the beginning 
of the struggle; who had, in this work which had so notori 
ously helped to evoke the religious revolution, been a client of 
Crumwell, and a welcome and trusted instrument under Cran- 
mer; who had written decidedly and earnestly against the 
mass and prayers for the dead, and who had defended, with 
an ardour approaching to vehemence, the " Protestation " of 
the martyred Barnes; who had been a royal chaplain and a 

1 Strickland s Lives of the Queens of England, vol. II, p. C41. Bolm s ed. 
VOL. I. 2 E 


married bishop ; for whose advancement to the see of Exeter 
a catholic prelate, the queen s " governor " in her earlier years, 
had been thrust aside ; whose works had been specified and 
named in royal proclamations; whose history had been marked 
by positions and filled with successes so provocative of popish 
alarm and vengeance, and whose recantation was so hopeless 
that no one thought of attempting either to menace or in 
veigle him into it ; such a man could not be a " nobody " in 
the reign of Mary and Philip, and under the administration of 
Gardyner, Bonner, and Pole. 1 

Chancellor Gardyner, who had procured the re-enactment of 
the old and savage Act of Henry IV, de Haeretico Comburendo, 2 
who would have sacrificed the Princess Elizabeth, and who had 
zealously inaugurated the present cruelties against which even 
Henard was forced to protest, soon retired from the sad work. 
He died on the 12th of November, 1555, but the persecution 
went on after his death, Bonner being a prime agent in his 
own diocese. In the previous reign Gardyner had himself 
been roughly treated, and kept for some years in close confine 
ment, so that he returned to power with a soul exasperated 
to fierce retaliation. After Philip left his wife and England, 
Cardinal Pole became the queen s principal if not sole ad 
viser, and the persecution not only did not abate, but was 
specially fierce in his own diocese eighteen men and women 
being burned under the shadow of his own cathedral. In 
November, 1558, three men and two women were burned at 
Canterbury. They were personally presented by Pole for 
punishment; and they were the last that suffered in the perse 
cution. Yet Pole was a man of blameless life, and very far 
from being cruel by nature. Though he held the Lutheran 
doctrine of justification by faith, he was filled with the Romish 
horror of heresy; and his moderate successor, Archbishop 
Parker, does not hesitate to call him carnifex ct flagellum 
EcclesicB AnglicancB, 

Coverdale came home at the accession of Queen Elizabeth, 
but he was not restored to his former diocese of Exeter, 
though he was chosen to take part in Parker s consecration. 
1 Life of Rogers, p. 40, London, It-Gl. - See p. 85. 

xxxi.] HIS PUBLIC MERITS. 435 

The question of the vestments had again turned up, and 
Coverdale, though at his own consecration at Croydon he 
was " habited " like the three prelates who set him apart, 
appeared at the Archbishop s in a "plain black gown," the 
other bishops wearing " surplices." 1 It is not known if Exeter 
were offered to him ; but the Act of Uniformity was passed, 
and in spite of all his claims as the giver of the first 
full Bible to England, and the editor of the Great Bible or 
Authorized Version of the period, he was put aside, though, in 
consideration of his past services, his might have been made 
an exceptional case. Grindal, Bishop of London, thought of 
him for the see of Llandaff : " if any competency of living could 
be made of it, I would wish it to Father Coverdale, now lately 
recovered of the plague. Surely it is not well that he, qui 
ante nos omnes fuit in Christo, should be now in his age 
without stay of living." But surely he deserved some re 
cognition of his former labours. He had, under Crumwell, 
made a visitation in 1539 at Newbury, in Berkshire, for the 
purpose of calling in popish books and detecting popish 
practices. At the insurrection in Devonshire, in 1551, he 
went down with Lord Russell to preach tcr the rebels and 
treat with them. The enterprise was not without danger, 
and "who hazarded his life with that old, honourable Earl of 
Bedford ? Ye shall find that none of the clergy were hasty to 
take that service in hand but only old Father Coverdale." 2 
There is a note in the Register Book of King Edward s 
Council, " anno 1550, 20 Julii," ordering 40 Ib. to be given 
to Miles Coverdale, preacher, as a reward from the king. In 
1550 he had been one of a judicial committee of bishops and 
divines, who, under Cranmer, had in charge the trial of Ana 
baptists and other sectaries ; and he had been a member of a 
royal commission, appointed in 1551, to revise the ecclesiastical 
laws, a work to which no small labour was given. At Exeter, 
Bishop Coverdale was a "great keeper of hospitalitie, very 
sober in diet, godlie in life, freendly to the godlie, liberall to 

1 He came to have very decided along with Humphrey and Sampson, 
opinions about the vestments, as may to Farell, Viret,aud Beza,in July, 1 566. 
be seen in a joint letter sent by him - Troubles at Frankfort, p. 19C. 


the poore, and courteous to all men," ajid he attended regularly 
in. the House of Lords during the session of Parliament. He 
had been in great hardships and privations on the Continent, 
and he had taught, preached, and translated at Wesel and 
Bergzabern. Bale says of him during his exile, " Nunc antem 
in Germania pauper ac peregrinus manet." * At length 
Bishop Grindal, in 15G3, collated him to the living of St. 
Magnus, near London Bridge. The good old confessor was 
again so poor that he could not pay the queen the first-fruits, 
amounting to 60, IGs. lOd. His petition to the archbishop 
and the bishop, urging their interference for him with Her 
Majesty to have the debt remitted, is simple and touching 
in its allusion to his age and poverty. The see of Exeter was 
poor, and had been suddenly wrested from him, according to 
his own description, " I being compelled to resign. And how 
I never had pension, annuity, or stipend of it these ten years 
and upwards ; how unable also I am to pay the first-fruits, or 
long to enjoy the said benefice, going upon my grave, as they 
say, and not like to live a year. . . . And as I am bold most 
humbly to crave your grace s help herein, so am I fully per 
suaded, God willing, to shew myself again as thankful, and in 
my vocation during my short time as fruitful as I can. 20 
Jan., new-year. Myles Coverdale, quondam Exon." "Writing 
to Cecil, on the same subject, he says : " That heretofore 
(he praised God for it) his honour had ever been his special 
help and succour in all his rightful suits : and that if now 
poor old Myles might be provided for, it would please him to 
obtain this for him ; he should think this enough to be as 
good as a feast. And so beseeching him to take this his 
boldness in good part, he committed him and all his to the 
gracious protection of the Almighty. From London, 6 Feb. 
Myles Coverdale, quondam Exon." But his age and poverty 
did not bar all recognition of his claims. He had already 
become a Doctor of Divinity at Tubingen, and he was admitted 

1 Script. Illustr., p. 721. T?/;;c 1553, and retired to Basle, where lie 

autem, that is, at the time of his lived till his return to England, in 

writing the volume quoted from. 1559. 
Bale escaped on Michaelmas day, 

xxxi.] CO VER DALE S DEA TIL 437 

to a similar honour at Cambridge, per gratiam, in 1563 ; and 
he himself, by authority of the vice-chancellor of Cambridge, 
admitted Grindal to the same degree, in his palace at London, 
15th April, 15G4. Coverdale resigned his living in 15G6, 
perhaps under the actual or threatened enforcement of con 
formity; but he continued to preach as often as he had 
opportunity. The people, according to Strype, " ran after 
father Coverdale"; but he would not have it known where he 
was to preach, " though many came to his house to ask where 
he was to officiate next Lord s day." He did not care for 
tumultuous meetings, lest he should give offence to the 
government ; but he never forgot his former episcopal dignity, 
for though his signature during his exile is often Michael 
Anglus, or Miles Coverdalus, he usually signs himself, after 
his last return to England from an exile of three years and a 
half, "Myles Coverdale, quondam Exon." Latimer, on the other 
hand, was happy at being released from his bishopric, and 
rejoiced in calling himself a " quondam." 

Coverdale died in February, 1569, at the great age of eighty- 
one, fourteen years to a day after his escape from Mary and 
her bishops, and was buried in St. Bartholomew s Church, 
behind the Exchange. His grave was in the chancel, and a 
" fair plated stone " on the ground bore an elegant Latin in 
scription. The stone was destroyed in the great fire, but the 
parishioners of St. Magnus erected a tablet to his memory in 
1837. When the church of St. Bartholomew was taken down, 
in 1840, his remains were discovered, and reinterred in his old 
church of St. Magnus. 

The character of Coverdale has been unduly depreciated 
by several authors. What his work was, what his merit was, 
has been briefly stated. Colonel Lemuel Chester, who exalts 
John Rogers, says of Coverdale that he was " an honest and 
well-meaning, but a very ordinary plodding sort of man, like 
whom there can be ten thousand found any day in London, 
with no remarkable ability for either good or evil." 1 But 
whatever his ability, Coverdale did his own work when none of 
the " ten thousand" thought of attempting it; and though his 
1 Life of Rogers, p. 46. 


talent was certainly not transcendent, it qualified him to be 
the first to give a whole Bible to the English people, and to 
edit the Great Bible, which for so many years occupied a 
high place. He has the great honour of priority in this 
hallowed enterprise. John Rogers did not translate ; he only 
put together a Bible out of Coverdale and Tyndale : but a 
nobler crown than that of a translator was set upon his head, 
for he sealed his testimony with his blood, and was the first at 
that critical period to suffer, and to show the dignity, honour, 
and tenderness of a Christian martyr. Christopher Anderson 
glorifies Tyndale, and for the best of reasons; but in his glorifi 
cation of Tyndale, he does no small injustice to Coverdale, 
whom he persistently and on all occasions undervalues. 
Tyndale was certainly of a far higher style of manhood, 
decided, earnest, and noble in purpose and act, possessed 
of high scholarship, doing a primary work, and having 
his lasting monument in our present New Testament. But 
Coverdale s secondary work filling up a chasm was indeed a 
necessary and welcome supplement. The Psalms, as revised 
by him for the Great Bible, are read many times a year in the 
Church of England, and will not be readily displaced. Ander 
son has an ingenious and pleasant way of speaking of Tyndale s 
Bible, nay, he calls Rogers the editor of "Tyndale s Bible," 
though he knew that there was really no such book, for his 
reference is to Matthew s Bible of which at least a third 
belongs to Coverdale. He also sneers at him as attempting 
to " push " his version in the reign of Edward, though from the 
first he had laid emphasis on the benefit derived from the use 
of various translations. He did not wish to alter his version, 
but to present it as at " first issued " ; but he wrongly retained 
such a word as " penance," while he quite knew the meaning 
of the term, and that " penance " is in no sense " satisfaction " 
for sin. He had not the compact rigidity of Tyndale, the 
" divine stoutness " of Latimer, nor the impulsive energy of 
Barnes. When he preached the funeral sermon for the queen 
dowager, he quietly, but emphatically, warned his audience 
that the " offerings" were not "to profit the dead," but were 
meant " for the poor only," and that the " lights about the 


corpse" were in no sense superstitious symbols. He did 
not employ the coarse fulminations of Bale, nor indulge in 
such railing accusations as to stigmatize " the most holy 
sacrament " of the Papists as " Jack in the Box and Hound 
Eobin," "lest he should be an offence or stumbling-block to 
the weak brothers." l Bale himself is subdued into gentle 
ness when he describes Coverdale s " friendly and open disposi 
tion and most gentle spirit. The Spirit of God, which in some 
was like a powerful wind overturning rocks and mountains, 
was in him even as a gentle breath of air, infusing vigour into 
irresolute and wavering minds." 2 

But the eulogy of one reformer needs not to be connected 
with the disparagement of another, for they were all ser 
vants of the same Master. Which of them could have been 
wanted ? Which of their gifts and graces could have been 
spared ? " The eye cannot say to the foot, I have no need 
of thee," for guidance and progress are correlative. The 
watering of Apollos was as indispensable to the divine " in 
crease " as the planting of Paul. Forms of common service 
differ greatly in character and value, but each in its place is 
necessary. Paul dictated, Tertius wrote, and Phebe carried the 
epistle to the Church in Rome. Without any further minute 
or invidious adjudication of claim or position among those 
great and good fathers of an eventful and perilous time, we may 
say in a word that Coverdale was very high in honour " among 
the thirty," but " he attained not to the first three." 

Reference is made in the previous paragraphs to Coverdale s 
poverty, both by himself and others. His work in the west of 
England, at the period of the rebellion, naturally led to his 
appointment to the see of Exeter. But the see had been 
scandalously impoverished by his predecessor Voysey, who 
was 103 years of age when he resigned in favour of Coverdale. 
Hoker says that " of xxii. lordships and mannors, which 
his predecessors had left vnto him, of a goodlie yeerelie 
reuenewe, he left but three, and them also leased out. And 

1 Works, vol. II, p. 426. Preface to 2 Memorials of Coverdale, p. 
a translation of Calvin s Treatise on 140. 
the Lord s Supper, Parker Soc. ed. 


where he found xiiii. houses well furnished, he left onelie one 
house bare, and without furniture, yet charged with sundrie 
fees and annuities ; and by these meanes, this Bishoprike, which 
sometimes was counted one of the best, is now become in tem- 
porall lands, one of the meanest : and a place scarse left for 
the Bishop to laie and rest his hed in." l The bishopric had 
been estimated in 1534 to be of the clear annual value of 
1,566, l-ls. 7Jd. ; but it was now diminished to 500 a year 
only. The alienations that Voysey had made were connived 
at, in order to induce him to give up the bishopric quietly ; 
and Coverdale, who had no other preferments, and was not in 
very good circumstances, had no objection to the see, merely 
because the income was reduced from what it formerly had 

The following was the epitaph on Coverdale s tomb 
stone : 










1 Catal. Bps. Exon. Le Neve s Fasti, vol. I. p. 377. 



, vl^C