Page images
PDF
EPUB

Among these theological versifiers, one of the most notable was CHRISTOPHER TYE, a doctor of music at Cambridge, in 1545, and musical preceptor to Prince Edward, and probably to his sisters Mary and Elizabeth. In the reign of Elizabeth he was organist of the royal chapel, in which he had been educated. To his profession of music, he joined some knowledge of English literature, and supposing that Scripture would be more instructive, and more readily received, if turned into verse, projected a translation of the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES into familiar metre. Of this metrical version he completed only the first fourteen chapters, which were printed by William Serres, in 1553, with the following singular title : “The Actes OF THE APOSTLES translated into Englyshe metre, and dedicated to the kinges most excellent maiestye by Cristofer Tye, doctor in musyke, and one of the gentylmen of hys graces most honourable chappell, with notes to eche chapter to synge and also to play upon the lute, very necessarye for studentes after theyr studye to fyle their wittes, and alsoe for all Christians that cannot synge, to read the good and godlye storyes of the lives of Christ his Apostles.” It has a poetical dedication “To the vertuous and godlye learned Prynce Edward the sixth," in which he professes to have kept close to the text of Scripture, and to have composed the present work with a view to his majesty's singing it to his lute. The two following initial stanzas of the fourteenth chapter, will serve as a specimen of oui? author's version :

" It chaunced in Iconium,

As they oft tymes did use,
Together they into did come

The sinagoge of Jeus.
Where they did preache and only seke

God's grace them to atcheve;
That'so they speke to Jue and Greke

That many did bilere."
Doctor Tye’s “ Acts of the Apostles” were sung for a

[ocr errors]

time in the royal_chapel of Edward VI., but never became popular. Fuller (Worthies, vol. II. p. 244) in• forms us, that Dr. Tye was the chief restorer of the loss which the music of the church had sustained, by the destruction of the monasteries; he concurred with the celebrated Tallis, and a few others, in setting several anthems, which are allowed to be perfect models of the genuine ecclesiastic style."

In the year 1550, the “Booke of Common Praier," with musical notes to the pieces, prayers, and responses, was printed by Richard Grafton. The composer of the music was John MARBECKE, organist of Windsor, whose zeal for the Reformation occasioned his imprisonment, and would bave cost him his life, but that on account of his diligence and ingenuity be obtained the king's pardon. He was the author of the first English CONCORDANCE of the whole BIBLE, printed by R. Grafton in 1550, with this title; “A CONCORDĀCE, that is to saie, a worke, wherein by the ordre of the letters of the A. B. C. ye maie redely finde any worde conteigned in the whole Bible, so often as it is there expressed or mencioned.” It was dedicated to King Edward VI. by the compiler, “ Jhon Marbek.” The account which he gave of his undertaking, to the bishops and others who summoned him before them, and condemned him, is interesting, and exhibits him as a shining instance of indefatigable diligence. “When Thomas Matthews' Bible came first out in print, I was much desirous to have one of thein : and being a poore man, not able to buy one of them, determined with myself to borrow one amongst my friends, and to write it forth. And when I had written out the Five Books of Moses, in fair great paper, and was entered into the book of Joshua, my friend Master Turner chanced to steal upon me unawares, and seeing me writing out the Bible, asked me what I meant thereby? (61) Varton's Hist, of English Poetry, III. sec, 29, pp. 190—194.

And when I had told him the cause: Tush, quoth he thou goest about a vain and tedious labour. But this were a profitable work for thee, to set out a CONCORD. ANCE in English. A Concordance, said I, what is that? Then he told me it was a book to finde out any word in the whole Bible by the letter, and that there was such a one in Latine already. Then I told him I had no learning to go about such a thing. Enough, quoth he, for that matter, for it requireth not so much learning as diligence. And seeing thou art so painfull a man, and one that cannot be unoccupied, it were a good exercise for thee.” He accordingly borrowed a Latin concordance, and had gone through the letter L, when he was apprehended, imprisoned, and all his papers seized. When he was set at liberty, as his papers were not restored to him, he had his concordance to begin again ; which, when completed, he showed to a friend, who promised to assist him in having it presented to the king, in order to have it published by his authority; but Henry VIII. died before that could be brought about. His friend, however, to whom he could not say nay, requested a copy of it, which he accordingly transcribed for him. When Edward VI. was settled on the throne, he renewed his thoughts of publishing his work, and consulted Grafton, the printer, concerning it, “who,” says he, in his Introduction, "seeyng the volume so houge and greate, saied—the charges of imprinting thereof would not onely be importunate, but the bokes when finished would beare so excessive price, as few should be able to attain vnto theim: wherfore by bis aduise I yet once again a newe writte out the same in such sorte as the worke now appereth.” He was, as he says of himself in bis Dedica- . tion to the king, “both destitute of learning and eloquence ; ” yet as he acknowledged to the bishops upon his trial, who could hardly believe the Concordance to be his own performance, he had a little grammar educa

tion. He was brought up altogether in the study of music, and playing on the organ at Windsor College ; and was admitted to the degree of bachelor in music at Oxford, in 1549. Dr. Burney, in his History of Music, vol. II. pp. 579–582, has given a considerable extract from Marbeck's Cathedral Service printed with the Common Prayer in 1550. Marbeck was living at the time when Fox wrote his “Acts and Monuments.” See the curious account of his examination in that work, vol. II.

p. 546.62

About this time Archbishop Cranmer and his associates appear to have completed a digest of ecclesiastical laws, commenced during the reign of Henry VIII. and printed, with some alteration in the arrangement, by Archbishop Parker, in 1571, under the title of Reformatỉo Legum Ecclesiasticarum, by which it was provided, that it should be a part of the business of one of the officers, established in every parish, with a stipend, “diligently to care that the Holy Bible and PARAPHRASE, and the other books of the church, be neither torn nor spoiled."

Nearly at the same period occurred the unhappy instance of cruel severity towards Joan Bocher, generally called the Maid of Kent, who for some singular notions respecting the human body of Christ, was burnt at the stake, for beresy, by those who had narrowly escaped a similar death in the preceding reign, and actually suffered under the sway of Queen Mary. The extraordinary efforts used to convince this unfortunate woman of her error, and to lead her to retract her opinion, show her to have been a person of note and influence. The account given of her by Strype, (Eccles. Memor. vol. II. p. 214,) is (62) Burney's Hist of Music, II. pp. 578-583; and III. p. 21. Loud.

1776, 4to,
Dibdin's Typog. Antiq. III. pp. 469-471.

Fox, II. (63) Strype's Memorials of Abp. Cranmer, B. i. ch, xxx, pp. 189—192.

Lewis's Hist. of English Translations, p. 187.

[ocr errors]

550.

highly honourable to her, and proves, that whatever speculative errors she had embraced, she hazarded her life to to disseminate the Word of God: “She was,” says he, "a great disperser of Tindall's New Testament, translated by him into English, and printed at Colen, and was a great reader of Scripture herself. Which book also she dispersed in the court, and so became known to certain women of quality, and was more particularly acquainted with Anne Ascue. She used, for the more secrecy, to tie the books with strings under her apparel, and so pass with them into the court.” She suffered in 1548. Her death, and that of George Van Paris, a Dutchman, form a heavy accusation against Archbishop Cranmer, for whom no excuse can be pleaded but the persecuting principles of the church in which he had been educated, and from which several of the Reformers were not yet emancipated. It is related of the compassionate young king, that he at first refused to sign the warrant for Joan Bocher's execution, and when he at last yielded to the archbishop's importunity, he told him with tears in his eyes, that if he did wrong, since it was in submission to his authority, he should answer for it to God. This deeply affected the archbishop, though he suffered the sentence to be executed.

64 Many pleasing instances of the attachment to the Bible, and the ardent piety of this excellent prince, have been related by his biographers: “When he was once in one of his childish diversions,” says one, "somewhat being to be reached at, that he and his companions were too

low for, one of them laid on the floor a great Bible that , was in the room, to step on, which he beholding with

great indigñation, took up the Bible himself, and gave over his play for that time.” “When crowned king,” says Fuller, “his goodnesse increased with his greatnesse: (64) Neal's Hist. of the Puritans, by Toulmin, I. ch. ii. pp. 54, 55,

Bath, 1793, sro

« PreviousContinue »