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many of the impostures of popery, it became an object of the legislature to curb the bold and seditious fpirit of popular poetry. No sooner were the Scriptures translated and permitted in English, than they were brought upon the stage: they were not only misinterpreted and misunderstood by the multitude, but profaned or burlesqued in comedies and mummeries. Effectually to restrain these abuses, Henry, who loved to create a subject for persecution, who commonly proceeded to disannul what he had just confirmed, and who found that a freedom of enquiry tended to shake his ecclesiastical supremacy, framed a law, that not only Tyndale's English Bible, and all the printed English commentaries, expositions, annotations, defences, replies, and sermons, whether orthodox or heretical, which it had occafioned, should be utterly abolished; but that the kingdom should also be purged and cleansed of all religious plays, interludes, rhymes, ballads, and songs, which are equally peftiferous and noyfome to the peace of the church.
Henry appears to have been piqued as an author and a theologift in adding the clause concerning his own INSTITUTION OF A CHRISTIAN MAN, which had been treated with the same sort of ridicule, Yet under the general injunction of suppressing all English books on religious subjects, he formally excepts, among others, some not properly belonging to that class, such as the CANTERBURY TALES, the works of Chaucer and Gower, CRONICLES, and STORIES OF MENS LIVES. There is also an exception added about plays, and those only are allowed which were called MORALITIES, or perhaps interludes of real character and action, “i for the rebuking and reproaching of “ vices and the setting forth of virtue." MYSTERIES are totally rejected. The reservations which follow, concerning the use of a corrected English Bible, which was permitted, are cusious for their quaint partiality, and they shew the embarrassment
· Stat. Ann. 34, 35. Henr. viii. Cap. i. Tyndale's Bible was printed at Paris
of administration, in the difficult business of confining that benefit to a few, from which all might reap advantage, but which threatened to become a general evil, without some degrees of restriction. It is absolutely forbidden to be read or expounded in the church. The lord chancellor, the speaker of the house of commons, captaines of the wars, justices of the peace, and recorders of cities, may quote passages to enforce their public harangues, as has been accustomed. A nobleman or gentleman may read it, in his house, orchards, or garden, yet quietly, and without disturbance “ of good order.” A merchant also
A merchant also may read it to himself privately. But the common people, who had already abused this liberty to the purpose of division and dissensions, and under the denomination of women, artificers, apprentices, journeymen, and servingmen, are to be punished with one month's imprisonment, as often as they are detected in reading the Bible either privately or openly:
It should be observed, that few of these had now learned to, read. But such was the privilege of peerage, that ladies of quality might read “ to themselves and alone, and not to others,”. any chapter either in the old or New Testament'. This has the air of a sumptuary law, which indulges the nobility with many superb articles of finery, that are interdicted to those of inferior degrees. Undoubtedly the duchesses and countesses of this
age, if not from principles of piety, at least from motives of curiosity, became eager to read a book which was made
Ibid. Artic. x. seq.
proportions. A canon refidentiary is to have a swan only on a Sunday. A rector of fixteen marks, only three blackbirds in a week. See a fimilar instrument, Strype's PARKER, APPEND. p. 65.
In the British Museum, there is a beautiful manuscript on vellum of a French translation of the Bible, which was found in the tent of king John, king of France, after the battle of Poitiers. Perhaps his majefty possessed this book on the plan of an exclufive royal right.
inaccessible to three parts of the nation. But the partial distribution of a treasure to which all had a right could not long remain. This was a MANNA to be gathered by every man. The claim of the people was too powerful to be overruled by the bigottry, the prejudice, or the caprice of Henry.
I must add here, in reference to my general subject, that the translation of the Bible, which in the reign of Edward the fixth was admitted into the churches, is supposed to have fixed our language. It certainly has transmitted and perpetuated many antient words which would otherwise have been obsolete or unintelligible. I have never seen it remarked, that at the same time this translation contributed to enrich our native English at an early period, by importing and familiarising many Latin words b.
These were suggested by the Latin vulgate, which was used as a medium by the translators. Some of these,
Some of these, however, now interwoven into our common speech, could not have been understood by many readers even above the rank of the vulgar, when the Bible first appeared in English. Bishop Gardiner had therefore much less reason than we now imagine, for complaining of the too great clearness of the translation, when with an insidious view of keeping the people in their antient ignorance, he proposed, that instead of always using English phrases, many Latin words should still be preserved, because they contained an inherent significance and a genuine dignity, to which the common tongue afforded no correspondent expressions of sufficient energy i.
To the reign of Edward the sixth belongs Arthur Kelton, a native of Shropshire or Wales. He wrote the CRONICLE OF
More particularly in the Latin derivative substantives, such as, divination, perdition, adoption, manifestation, confolation, contribution, administration, confummation, recorciliation, operation, communication, retribution, preparation, immortality, principality, &c. &c. And in other words, frustrate, inexcusable, transfigure, concupiscence, &c. &c.
Such as, Idololatria, contritus, bolo. caufta, facramentum, elementa, bumilitas, fa. tisfaétio, ceremonia, absolutio, myfterium, penitentia, &c. See Gardiner's proposals in Burnet, Hist. Rer, vol. i. B. iii. p.315. And Fuller, Ch. Hist. B. v. Cent. xvi. P. 238.
The Brutes in English verse.
It is dedicated to the young king, who seems to have been the general patron ; and was printed in 1547*. Wood allows that he was an able antiquary; but laments, that he “ being withall poetically given, must for“ sooth write and publish his lucubrations in verse ; whereby, “ for chime's fake, many material matters, and the due timing “ of them, are omitted, and so consequently rejected by histo“ rians and antiquarians'." Yet he has not supplied his want of genealogical and historical precision with those strokes of poetry which his subject suggested ; nor has his imagination been any impediment to his accuracy.
At the end of his CRONICLE is the GeneALOGY OF The Brutes, in which the pedigree of king Edward the fixth is lineally drawn through thirty-two generations, from Osiris the first king of Egypt. Here too Wood reproaches our author for his ignorance in genealogy. But in an heraldic enquiry, so difficult and so new, many mistakes are pardonable. It is extraordinary that a Welshman should have carried his genealogical researches into Egypt, or rather Thould have wished to prove that Edward was descended from Osiris : but this was with a design to Thew, that the Egyptian monarch was the original progenitor of Brutus, the undoubted founder of Edward's family. Bale says that he wrote, and dedicated to fir William Herbert, afterwards earl of Pembroke, a most elegant poetical panegyric on the Cambro-Britons m.
But Bale’s praises and censures are always regulated according to the religion of his authors.
The first CHANSON À BOIRE, or DRINKING-BALLAD, of any merit, in our language, appeared in the year 1551. It has a vein of ease and humour, which we should not expect to have been inspired by the simple beverage of those times. I believe I shall not tire my reader by giving it at length; and am only afraid that in this fpecimen the transition will be thought
Lond. O&avo. Pr. ' In the golden "De when all things."
| ATH. Oxon. j. 73. m Bale, xi. 97
too violent, from the poetry of the puritans to a convivial and
I cannot eat, but little meat,
My stomach is not good;
With him that weares a hood".
ye no care,
skin so full within,
Booth foot and hand go colde ;
Whether it be new or olde!
I love no rost, but a nut-browne tofte,
And a crab laid in the fire ;
Moche bread I noght desire.
Can hurt me if Iwolde,
Of joly good ale and olde.
Loveth well good ale to seeke,
Even as a mault-worm sholde;
“ Of this joly good ale and olde.”
• Having drank Ahe says.