« ZurückWeiter »
far from owning what is ascribed to them, that they would proceed against the innovators as CHEATS 8.” It is certain, that this translation in its genuine and unsophisticated state, by ascertaining the signification of many radical words now perhaps undeservedly disused, and by displaying original modes of the English language, may justly be deemed no inconsiderable monument of our ancient literature, if not of our ancient poetry". In condemning the practice of adulterating this primitive version, I would not be understood to recommend another in its place, entirely new. I reprobate any version at all, more especially if intended for the use of the churcht.
In the mean time, not to insist any longer on the incompatibility of these metrical psalms with the spirit of our liturgy, and the barbarism of their style, it should be remembered, that they were never admitted into our church by lawful authority. They were first introduced by the puritans, and afterwards continued by connivance. But they never received any royal approbation or parliamentary sanctions, notwithstanding it is said in their title page, that they are “set forth and AlLowed to be sung in all churches of all the people together before and after evening prayer, and also before and after sermons: and moreover in private houses for their godly solace and comfort, laying apart all ungodly songs and ballads, which tend only to the nourishing of vice and the corrupting of youth.” At the beginning of the reign of queen Elizabeth, when our ecclesiastical reformation began to be placed on a solid and durable establishment, those English divines who had filed from the superstitions of queen Mary to Franckfort and Geneva, where they had learned to embrace the opposite extreme, and where, from an abhorrence of catholic ceremonies, they had contracted a dislike to the
* Gloss. Rob. Gl. p. 699. [Hearne pular psalmody in our churches.” Life of complains also that these innovators have Warton, p. cvi.-PARK.] in several places changed the very initial I [This is humorously attested by Sir letters that were to represent the several John Birkenhead in his witty character parts of the Psalms that every one turned of an Assembly-man or Independent, who into metre.--PARK.]
is made to tear the liturgy, and burn the [Sir John Hawkins observes, that the book of common prayer : yet he has mercy early translation of the psalms into metre (he adds) on Hopkins and Sternhold, be“ was the work of men as well qualified cause their metres are sung without aufor the undertaking as any that the times thority (no statute, canon, or injunction they lived in could furnish; and he deemed at all)-only like himself, first crept into Fuller had not greatly erred in saying that private houses, and then into churches. • match these verses for their ages, they Wither gravely confirms the same in the shall go abreast with the best poems of following paragraph from his Scholler's, those times.'"
Hist. of Music, iii. 512. Purgatory, before quoted: “By what pub." - PARK.]
licke example did we sing David's Psalms + [Dr. Huntingford, bishop of Glou- in English meeter before the raigne of cester, represented Mr. Warton as strongly king Edward the Sixth ? or by what comattached to the church of England in all mand of the church do we sing them as the offices of her liturgy.
" This attach- they are now in use ? Verily by none. ment,” says Mr. Mant, “mixed with a But tyme and Christian devotion having decided antipathy to Calvinistic doctrine first brought forth that practice, and cusand discipline, may have disposed our tome ripening it, long toleration hath in historian not only to regard choral service a manner fully authorized the same. with fondness, but to have reprobated PARK.] somewhat too severely the practice of po
decent appendages of divine worship, endeavoured, in conjunction with
some of the principal courtiers, to effect an abrogation of our solemn · church service, which they pronounced to be antichristian and unevan
gelical. They contended that the metrical psalms of David, set to plain and popular music, were more suitable to the simplicity of the gospel, and abundantly adequate to all the purposes of edification: and this proposal they rested on the authority and practice of Calvin, between whom and the church of England the breach was not then so wide as at present. But the queen and those bishops to whom she had delegated the business of supervising the liturgy, among which was the learned and liberal archbishop Parker, objected, that too much attention had already been paid to the German theology. She declared, that the foreign reformers had before interposed, on similar deliberations, with unbecoming forwardness; and that the Common Prayer of her brother Edward had been once altered, to quiet the scruples, and to gratify the cavils, of Calvin, Bucer, and Fagius. She was therefore invariably determined to make no more concessions to the importunate partisans of Geneva, and peremptorily decreed that the choral formalities should still be continued in the celebration of the sacred officest
Metrical versions of Scripture. Archbishop Parker's Psalms in metre.
Robert Crowley's puritanical poetry.
The spirit of versifying the psalms, and other parts of the Bible, at the beginning of the reformation, was almost as epidemic as psalm-singing. William Hunnis, a gentleman of the chapel under Edward the Sixth, and afterwards chapel-master to queen Elizabeth, rendered into rhyme many select psalms *, which had not the good fortune to be rescued from oblivion by being incorporated into Hopkins's collection, nor to be sung in the royal chapel. They were printed in 1550, with this title:“Certayne Psalmes chosen out of the Psalter of David, and drawen furth into Englysh meter by William Hunnis servant to the ryght ho
! See Canons and Injunctions, A.D. 1559. Num. xlix.
* [On the back of the title to a copy of Sir Thomas More's works, 1557, (presented to the library of Trin. Coll. Oxon. by John Gibbon, 1630,) the following lines occur, which bear the signature of our poet in a coëval hand.
MY LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT.
To God my soule I do bequeathe, because
it is his owen, My body to be layd in grave, where to my
frends best known : Executors I wyll none make, thereby
great stryffe may grow; Because the goodes that I shall leave wyll not pay all I owe.
nourable syr William Harberd knight. Newly collected and imprinted."
I know not if among these are his Seven Soss of a sorrowful soul for sin, comprehending the seven PENITENTIAL Psalms in metre*, They are dedicated to Frances countess of Sussex, whose attachment to the gospel he much extols t, and who was afterwards the foundress of Sydney college in Cambridge. Hunnis also, under the happy title of a HANDFUL OF HONEY-SUCKLES, published Blessings out of Deuteronomie, Prayers to Christ, Athanasius's Creed, and Meditations, in metre with musical notes. But his spiritual nosegays are numerous, To say nothing of his RECREATIONS on Adam's Banishment, Christ his Cribb, and the Lost Sheep, he translated into English rhyme the whole book of GENESIS, which he calls a HIVE FULL OF Honeyb. But his honey-suckles and his honey are now no longer delicious.
He was a large contributor to the PARADISE OF Dainty Devises, of which more will be said in its place. In the year 1550, were also published by John Hall, or Hawle, a surgeon or physician of Maidstone in Kent, and author of many tracts in his profession, “ Certayne chapters taken out of the proverbes of Solomon, with other chapters of the holy Scripture, and certayne Psalmes of David translated into English metre by John Hallo.” By the remainder of the title it appears, that the pro
• I have also seen Hunnis's “ Abridge- Increase hir friends, maintaine hir cause, ment or brief meditation on certaine of And heare us when we call! the Psalmes in English metre," printed So shall all we that faithfull be by R. Wier, 4to. [8vo. says Bishop Tan- Rejoise and praise thy name: ner.-PARK.]
0 God, ô Christ, ô Holie-Ghost, [The “Certayne Psalmes" did not Give eare, and grant the same. Amen. appear among the “Seven Sobs," which
Park.] were licensed to H. Denham Nov. 1581,
• Printed by T. Marshe, 1578. 4to. and printed in 154, 1585, 1589, 1597, 1629 and 1636. Hunnis's Seven Steps
[And entitled “A Hyve full of Hunnye ;
contayning the firste Booke of Moses called to Heaven" were also licensed in 1581.
Genesis. Turned into English Meetre by The love of alliteration had before pro
William Hunnis, one of the Gent. of her duced "a Surge of Sorrowing Sobs," in
Majestie's Chappel and Maister to the the "gorgeous gallery of gallant inven
Children of the same," &c. It is inscribed tions," 1578.–PARK.]
to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in an + [Her ladyship's virtue and courtesie
acrostic on his name, which is followed by are extolled; but godlie fear, firm faith,
another on the versifiers " to the friendlye &c. are only enumerated among the dedi
reader.” . Thos, Newton has verses precator's wishes.-PARK.]
fixed “in commendation of this his [To these were added the poore Wi
Frendes travayle,” which was written, as dowes mite, Comfortable Dialogs betweene
it seems, “in the winter of his age." He Christ and a Sinner, a Lamentation of
names as previous productions of Hunnis, youth's follies, a psalme of rejoising, and
“ Enterludes and gallant layes, and rondea praier for the good estate of Queen Eliza
letts and songs, his Nosegay and his Wybeth. The last being the shortest is here
dowes Myte, with other fancies of his given ; for Hunnis was rather a prosaic
forge:" and he tells us, that in the prime penman.
of youth his pen “had depaincted Sonets Thou God that guidst both heaven and Sweete." This probably is allusive to his earth,
contributions in the “Paradise of Daintie On whom we all depend ;
Devises.” Wood calls Hunnis a crony of Preserve our Queene in perfect health, Thomas Newton, the Latin poet. Ath. And hir from harme defend.
Oxon. i. 152.-Park.] Conserve hir life, in peace to reigne,
There is an edition in quarto dedicated Augment hir joyes withall :
to king Edward the Sixth with this title,
verbs had been in a former impression unfairly attributed to Thomas Sternhold. The other chapters of Scripture are from Ecclesiasticus and saint Paul's Epistles. We must not confound this John Hall with his cotemporary Eliseus Hall, who pretended to be a missionary from heaven to the queen, prophesied in the streets, and wrote a set of metrical visions d. Metre was now become the vehicle of enthusiasm, and the puritans seem to have appropriated it to themselves, in opposition to our service, which was in prose*.
William Baldwyn, of whom more will be said when we come to the MIRROUR OF MAGISTRATES, published a Phraselike declaration in English meeter on the CANTICLES or SONGS OF SOLOMON, in 1549+.
than the psalmody of his predecessor, and
Loe, thou my love art fayer;
Moste wyse.—Sign. B. 3. b.
“ The Psalmes of David translated into English metre by T. Sternhold, sir T. Wyat, and William Hunnis, with certaine chapters of the Proverbes and select Psalmes by John Hall.” I think I have seen a book by Hall called the “ Court of Virtue," containing some or all of these sacred songs, with notes, 1565. 8vo. [16mo.] He has a copy of verses prefixed to Gale's Enchiridion of Surgery, Lond. 1563. See John Reade's Preface to his translation of F. Arcaeus's Anatomy.
Strype, Ann. i. p. 291. ch. xxv. ed. 1725.
* [I suppose that church service of chant and anthem is here meant; otherwise, their preaching and praying was at least as bad prose as ours.—ASHBY.]
+ [With the sight of this rare book I have been favoured by a friend; its title runs thus: “The CANTICLES or BALADES of SALOMON, phraselyke declared in Englysh metres, by WILLIAM BALDWIN.
Of matter fresh and newe:
In wysedome of the flesh, my bed,
Whome my soule loveth.
Sign. E. 1. a.
Ye faythfull, would ye know
As full what one he is?
To shew that shape of his.-
My frende also is he:
Sign. H. 3. a.
It is dedicated to Edward the Sixthe. Nineteen of the psalms in rhyme are extant by Francis Seagar*, printed by William Seres in 1553, with musical notes, and dedicated to Lord Russel €.
Archbishop Parker also versified the psalter; not from any opposition to our liturgy, but, either for the private amusement and exercise of his religious exile, or that the people, whose predilection for psalmody could not be suppressed, might at least be furnished with a rational and proper translation. It was finished in 1557, and a few years afterwards printed by Day, the archbishop's printer, in quarto, with this title, “ The whole Psalter translated into English metre, which contayneth an hundredth and fifty psalmes. The first Quinquagenes. Quoniam omnis terre deus, psallite sapienter. Ps. 14. 47. Imprinted at London by John Daye, dwelling over Aldersgate beneath Saint Martyn's. Cum privilegio per decennium b.” Without date of the printer', or name of the translator. In the metrical preface prefixed, he tries to remove the objections of those who censured versifications of Scripture, he pleads the comforts of such an employment to the persecuted theologist who suffers voluntary banishment, and thus displays the power of sacred music:
The psalmist stayde with tuned songe
The rage of myndes agast,
To Saule in fury cast. the typographical antiquities of Herbert. But wil ye gladli knoe who made that His book was entitled, “A misticall devise boke in dede, of the spirituall and godly love betweene One WYLLIAM BALDEWINE-God graunt Christ the spouse, and the Church or him wel to spede.—Park.] Congregation : first made by the wise
e In quarto. I have seen also “ The prince Saloman, and now newly set forth
Ballads or Canticles of Solomon in Prose in verse by Jud Smith," &c. Printed by
and Verse." Without date, or name of H. Kirckham, 16mo, b. l. A single stan
printer or author. za may suffice.
* [Sir Thomas Smith, the learned seCome, wend unto my garden gay,
cretary to Edward VI. and to his sister My sister and my spowse ;
Elizabeth, while a prisoner in the Tower For I have gathered mirre with spice, in 1549, translated eleven of David's And other goodly bowes.
psalms into English metre, and composed A fantastical and almost unintelligible
three metrical prayers, which are now in
the British Museum. MSS. Reg. 17. pamphlet was printed in black letter,
A. xvii.-PARK.] called " Beware the Cat," and was attri
f At the end is a poem, entitled “A buted to one Stremer : but in the library
Description of the Lyfe of Man, the of the Society of Antiquaries, a black
World and Vanities thereof." Princ. letter copy of verses is preserved, which
“ Who on earth can justly rejoyce?”. ascribes the production peremptorily to
& The second quinquagene follows, the pen of Baldwin in these cryer-like
fol. 146. The third and last, fol. 280. lines :
n In black letter. Among the prefaces Wheras ther is a boke called Beware the are four lines from lord Surrey's EccleCat,
siastes. Attached to every psalm is a The verie truth is so that STREMER made prose collect. At the end of the psalms not that:
are versions of Te Deum, Benedictus, Nor no suche false fabels fell ever from Quicunque vult, &c. &c.
Day had a license, June 30, 1561, Nor from his hart or mouth, as knoe to print the psalms in metre. Ames, p. mani honest men.