Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

for a year with a London alderman, Humfrey Monmouth. “ He studied most part of the day at his book," said his host afterwards, “and would eat but sodden meat by his good will and drink but small single beer." The book at which he studied was the Bible. But it was soon needful to quit England if his purpose was to hold. “I understood at the last not only that there was no room in my lord of London's 4 palace to translate the New Testament, but also that there was no place to do it in all England.”

From Hamburg, where he took refuge in 1524, he probably soon found his way to the little town which had suddenly become the sacred city of the Reformation.5 Students of all nations were flocking there with an enthusiasm which resembled that of the Crusades. “As they came in sight of the town,” a contemporary tells us, “they returned thanks to God with clasped hands, for from Wittenberg, as heretofore from Jerusalem, the light of evangelical truth had spread to the utmost parts of the earth.” Such a visit could only fire Tyndale to face the “poverty, exile, bitter absence from friends, hunger and thirst and cold, great dangers, and innumerable other hard and sharp fightings,” which the work he had set himself was to bring with it. In 1525 his version of the New Testament was completed, and means were furnished by English merchants for printing it at Köln. But Tyndale had soon to fly with his sheets to Worms, a city whose Lutheran tendencies made it a safer refuge, and it was from Worms that six thousand copies of the New Testament were sent in 1526 to English shores.

The King was keenly opposed to a book which he looked on as made “at the solicitation and instance of Luther ;' and even the men of the New 6 Learning, from whom it

4 The Bishop of London. 5 Wittemberg, where Luther taught. The scholars who sympathized with learning and might have hoped for welcome, were estranged from it by its Lutheran origin. We can only fairly judge their action by viewing it in the light of the time. What Warham and More? saw over sea might well have turned them from a movement which seemed breaking down the very foundations of religion and society. Not only was the fabric of the Church rent asunder and the centre of Christian unity & denounced as “ Babylon,” but the reform itself seemed passing into anarchy. Luther was steadily moving onward from the denial of one Catholic dogma to that of another; and what Luther still clung to his followers were ready to filing away. Carlstadt was denouncing the reformer of Wittemberg as fiercely as Luther himself had denounced the Pope, and meanwhile the religious excitement was kindling wild dreams of social revolution, and men stood aghast at the horrors of a Peasant War which broke out in Southern Germany. It was not therefore as a mere translation of the Bible that Tyndale's work reached England. It came as a part of the Lutheran movement, and it bore the Lutheran stamp in its version of ecclesiastical words. “Church” became “congregation,”“ priest” was changed into “elder." It came too in company with Luther's bitter invectives and reprints of the tracts of Wyclif, which the German traders of the Steelyard o were importing in large numbers. We can hardly wonder that More denounced the book as heretical, or that Warham ordered it to be given up by all who possessed it.

Wolsey took little heed of religious matters, but his policy was one of political adhesion to Rome, and he presided, over a solemn penance to which some Steelyard men subwith the work of Erasmus were called Men of the New Learning." 7 Archbishop Warham and Sir Thomas More were the heads of the New Learning in England. 8 Rome, or the Papacy. 9 The London establishment of the traders from the Hanseatic towns of North Germany.

mitted in St. Paul's. “With sıx and thirty abbots, mitred priors, and bishops, and he in his whole pomp mitred” the Cardinal looked on while “great baskets full of books ... were commanded after the great fire was made before the Rood of Northen,” the crucifix by the great north door of the cathedral, “thus to be burned, and those heretics to go thrice about the fire and to cast in their fagots.” But scenes and denunciations such as these were vain in the presence of an enthusiasm which grew every hour. “Englishmen,” says a scholar of the time, “were so eager for the gospel as to affirm that they would buy a New Testament even if they had to give a hundred thousand pieces of money for it.” Bibles and pamphlets were smuggled over to England and circulated among the poorer and trading classes through the agency of an association of " Christian Brethren,” consisting principally of London tradesmen and citizens, but whose missionaries spread over the country at large.

They found their way at once to the Universities where the intellectual impulse given by the New Learning was quickening religious speculation. Cambridge had already won a name for heresy; Barnes, one of its foremost scholars, had to carry his fagot before Wolsey at St. Paul's; two other Cambridge teachers, Bilney and Latimer, were already known as “ Lutherans.” The Cambridge scholars whom Wolsey introduced into Cardinal College 10 which he was founding spread the contagion through Oxford. A group of “Brethren" was formed in Cardinal College for the secret reading and discussion of the Epistles; and this soon included the more intelligent and learned scholars of the University. It was in vain that Clark, the centre of this group, strove to dissuade fresh members from joining it by warnings of the impending dangers. “I fell

10 Now Christ-Church.

down on my knees at his feet,” says one of them, Anthony Dalaber, “and with tears and sighs besought him that for the tender mercy of God he should not refuse me, saying that I trusted verily that he who had begun this on me would not forsake me, but would give me grace to continue therein to the end. When he heard me say so he came to me, took me in his arms, and kissed me, saying, “The Lord God Almighty grant you so to do, and from henceforth ever take me for your father, and I will take you for my son in Christ.'"

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

[Henry the Eighth had no love for the new opinions : but

at this moment he was drawn into a quarrel with the Papacy by its refusal to divorce him from his Queen, Catharine of Aragon. The quarrel widened into an actual breach between Rome and England. Henry threw off all connexion with Rome, and in defiance of its injunctions married a new queen, Anne Boleyn. Her solemn coronation announced that the separation of England from the Papacy was irrevocable.]

On the morning of the 31st of May, the families of the London citizens were stirring early in all houses. From Temple Bar to the Tower the streets were fresh strewed with gravel, the footpaths were railed off along the whole distance, and occupied on one side by the gilds, their workmen and apprentices, on the other by the city constables and officials in their gaudy uniforms, "with their staves in hand for to cause the people to keep good room and order.” Cornhill and Gracechurch Street had dressed their fronts in scarlet and crimson, in arras and tapestry, and the rich carpet-work from Persia and the East. Cheapside, to outshine her rivals, was draped even more splendidly in cloth of gold, and tissue and velvet. The sheriffs were pacing up and down on their great Flemish horses, hung with liveries, and all the windows were thronged with ladies crowding to see the procession pass. At length the Tower guns opened, the grim gates rolled back, and under the archway, in the bright May sunshine, the long column began slowly to defile. Two states only permitted their representatives to grace the scene with their presence—Venice and France. It was perhaps to make the most of this isolated countenance that the French ambassador's train formed the van of the cavalcade. Twelve French knights came riding foremost in surcoats of blue velvet with sleeves of yellow silk, their horses trapped in blue, with white crosses powdered on their hangings. After them followed a troop of English gentlemen, two and two, and then the Knights of the Bath, “in gowns of violet with hoods purfled with miniver, like doctors.” Next, perhaps at a little interval, the abbots passed on mitred in their robes; the barons followed in crimson velvet, the bishops then, and then the earls and marquises, the dresses of each order increasing in elaborate gorgeousness. All these rode on in pairs. Then came alone Audeley, Lord Chancellor, and behind him the Venetian ambassador and the Archbishop of York; the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Du Bellay, Bishop of Bayonne and of Paris, not now with bugle and huntingfrock, but solemn with stole and crozier. Next, the lord mayor, with the city mace in hand, and Garter in his coatof-arms; and then Lord William Howard—Belted Will Howard, of the Scottish Border, Marshal of England. The

« ZurückWeiter »