Page images



Of a somewhat later date is the celebrated Rushworth Version | monasteries, amongst the lower clergy, amongst the humble and of the Gospels (MS. Bodl. Auct. D. ii. 9), which contains an lowly and ignorant. There were certainly renderings of the

independent translation of the Gospel of St Matthew, Bible during the 12th, 13th and early 14th centuries, but they Rushworth

and a gloss on those of St Mark, St Luke and St John, were all in French. Some of these translations were made in

founded upon the Lindisfarne glosses. From a note England, some were brought over to England and copied and in the manuscript we learn that two men, Færman and Owun, recopied. Amongst the latter was the magnificently illuminmade the version. Færman was a priest at Harewood, or ated Norman Commentary on the Apocalypse, some of the Harwood, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and to him earliest copies of which were written in an English hand. In the best part of the work is due. He translated the whole of fact before the middle of the 14th century the entire Old TestaSt Matthew, and wrote the gloss of St Mark i.-ii. 15, and ment and the greater part of the New Testament had been St John xviii. 1-3. The remaining part, a mere transcript, is translated into the Anglo-Norman dialect of the period. (MSS. Owun's work. The dialect of the translation of St Matthew is Bibl. Nat. fr. 1, 9562, Brit. Mus. Reg. I.C. ü. Cf. S. Berger, Mercian.

La Bible française au moyen âge, Paris, 1884, pp. 78 ff.) A further testimony to the activity which prevailed in the When English finally emerged victorious, towards the middle field of Biblical lore is the fact that at the close of the century, and latter half of the 14th century, it was for all practical pur

probably about the year 1000—the Gospels were poses a new language, largely intermixed with French, dissering

rendered ancw for the first time in the south of Eng- from the language of the older period in sound, flexion and Gospels. land. Of this version-the so-called West-Saxon structure. It is evident that any Old English versions which

Gospels-not less than seven manuscripts have come might have survived the ravages of time would now be unindown to us. A note in one of these, MS. Corpus Christi College, telligible, it was equally natural that as soon as French came to Cambridge, 140, states, ego Ælfricus scripsi hunc librum in bc looked upon as an alien tongue, the French versions hitherto Monasterio Baðþonio et dedi Brihtwoldo preposito, but of this in use would fail to fulfil their purpose, and that attempts should Ælfric and his superior nothing further is known.

again be made to render the Bible into the only language The Lord's Prayer is rendered in the following way in these intelligible to the greater part of the nation-into

14th-cen gospels:

English. It was also natural that these attempts tury rea. Wesl-Saron Gospels.-MS Corpus 140.

should be made where the need was most pressing, derings. Matthew vi. 9. Eornustlice gebiddað cow dus; Fæder úre pu where French had gained least footing, where parliape cart on heolonum; si þin nama gchalgod (10) to-becume bin ment and court were remote, where intercourse with France was rice; gewurpe Sin willa on corðan swa swa on hcofonum. (11) úrne difficult. In fact in the Northern Midlands, and in the North gedæghwamlican hlab syle us to drg, (12) J forgyf us úre gyltas even before the middle of the 14th century, the book of Psalms swa șwa wé forgyfað úrum gyltendum. '(13) 3 ne gelaéd þu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele soplice.

had been twice rendered into English, and before the end of

the same century, probably before the great Wycliffite versions Towards the close of the century the Old Testament found had spread over the country, the whole of the New Testament a translator in Ælíric (9.8.), the most eminent scholar in the close had been translated by different hands into one or other of the

of the 10th and the opening decades of the 11th century. dialects of this part of the country. liric. According to his own statement in De velere testamento,

At the same time we can record only a single rendering during written about 1010, he had at that period translated the Penta- the whole century which originated in the south of England, teuch, Joshua, Judges, Kings, Job, Esther, Judith and the namely the text of James, Peter, 1 John and the Pauline Epistles Maccabees. His rendering is clear and idiomatic, and though (edited by A. C. Paues, Cambridge, 1904). he frequently abridges, the omissions never obscure the meaning

Of these pre-Wycliffite versions possibly the carliest is the or hinder the easy flow of the narrative.

West Midland Psalter, once erroneously ascribed to William of Dietrich, Ælfric's most competent biographer (Nicdncr's, Shorcham. It occurs in three MSS., the earliest of which, Zeitschrift für historische Theologie, 1855-1856), looks upon the Brit. Mus. Add. 17376, was probably written between 1340 and Pentateuch, Joshua and Judges as a continuation of his Lives

1350. It contains a complete version of the book of Psalms, of Saints, including as they do in a series of narratives the Old followed by the usual eleven canticles and the Athanasian Creed. Testament saints. Genesis is but slightly abridged, but Job, The Latin original is a glossed version of the Vulgate, and in the Kings, Judges, Esther and Judith as well as the Maccabees are English translation the words of the gloss are often substituted mere homilics epitomized from the corresponding Old Testa- for the strong and picturesque expressions of the Biblical text; ment books. Judith is metrical in form.

in other respects the rendering is faithful and idiomatic. The The ith century, with its political convulsions, resulting following two verses of the first psalm may exemplify this: in the establishment of an alien rule and the partial suppression of the language of the conquered race, was unfavourable to

MS. British Mus. Add. 17370. literary efforts of any kind in the vernacular. With the excep- (i. 1.) Bealus uir, qui non abijl in consilio impiorum, & in uia tion of Ælfric's late works at the very dawn of the century, we peccatorum non stetit, et in cathedram iudicio pestilencio ::: falsitatis can only record two transcripts of the West-Saxon Gospels as

non sodil. Blesced be pe man pat jede noušt in pe counseil of wicked,

ne stode noust in pe waje of sinzeres, ne sat noust in fals iugement. coming at all within the scope of our inquiry.

(2) Set in lege domini uoluntas eius, & in lege eius meditabitur die ac In the 12th century the same gospels 'were again copied by nocte. Ac hijs wylle was in þe wylle of oure Lord, and he schal pious hands into the Kentish dialect of the period.

penche in hijs lawe bope daye and ny3t. The 13th century, from the point of view of Biblical renderings Before the middle of the century Richard Rolle (9.0.), the into the vernacular, is an absolute blank. French-or rather hermit of Hampole (+ 1349), turned into English, with certain

the Anglo-Norman dialect of the period-reigned additions and omissions, the famous Commentary on Angla.

supreme amongst the upper classes, in schools, in the Psalms by Peter Lombard. The work was under-
parliament, in the courts of law and in the palace of taken, as the metrical prologue of one of the copies tells

the king. English lurked in farms and hovels, amongst us (MS. Laud. misc. 286), At a worthy recluse prayer, cald villeins and serís, in the outlying country-districts, in the distant dame Merget Kyrkby." The Commentary gained immediate ! See Stevenson, Waring and Skeat, op. cit.

and lasting popularity, and spread in numerous copies throughout 2 W. W. Skeat, The Holy Gospels in Anglo-Saxon, &c. (Cambridge, the country, the peculiarities of the hermit's vigorous northern 1871–1887); J. W. Bright, The Gospel of Saint Luke in Anglo-Saxon dialect being either modified or wholly removed in the more (Oxford, 1893); for earlier editions see Cook, op. cit, p. Ix.

*C. W. M. Grein, Elfrik de vetero et novo Testamento, &c.—Bibl K. D. Bülbring, The Earliest Complete English Prose Psalter d. Angels. Prosa (Cassel and Göttingen, 1872), p. 6; E. Thwaites, (E.E.T.S., No. 97), part i. (London, 1891); c. A. C. Paues, A Four. Heptateuchus. Liber Job, et Evangelium Nicodemi; Anglo-Saxonice leenth-Century Engl. Bibl. Version (Upsala Diss.) (Cambridge, 1902). (Oxon., 1698).

Normaa Period.


p. lvi.


southerly transcripts. The translation, however, is stiff and epistles and gospels used in divine service, and other meassa literal to a fault, violating idiomatic usage and the proper order familiarizing the people with Holy Scripture. It was the custoa of words in its strict adherence to the Latin. The following of the medieval preachers and writers to give their own English brief extracts may exemplify the hermit's rendering and the version of any text which they quoted, not resorting as in later change the text underwent in later copies."

times to a commonly received translation. This explains the MS. Univ. Coll. 64.

MS. Reg. 18 B. 21.

fact that in collections of medieval homilies that have come down (i. 1.) Blisful man þe whilk Blessed is þat man pat hap to us, no two renderings of the Biblical text used are ever alite, oway, fed noght in þe counsaile not gone in þe counsell of wicked not even Wycliffe himself making use of the text of the commcaly of wicked, and in pe way of men, and in þc weye of sinfull accepted versions that went under his name. synful stode noght, & in pe men haþ not stonde, and in pe chaiere of pestilens he noght chaire of pestilence sat

It is noteworthy that these early versions from Anglo-Saxon sate. (2) Bot in laghe of lord pe 2. But in þe lawe of our lorde times onwards were perfectly orthodox, executed by and for good will of him; and in his laghe is þe wille of him; and (in) his and faithful sons of the church, and, generally speaking, with he sall thynke day & nyght. lawe we shall pinke day and the object of assisting those whose knowledge of Latin proved too nyght.

scanty for a proper interpretation and understanding of the holy Approximately to the same period as these early renderings text. Thus Richard Rolle's version of the Psalms was executed of the Psalter belongs a version of the A pocalypse wilh a Com- for a nun; so was in all likelihood the southern version of the mentary, the earliest MS. of which (Harleian 874) is written in epistles referred to above. Again the earliest MS. (Harl. 874) the dialect of the North Midlands. This Commentary, for a long of the Commentary on the Apocalypse gives the owner's name in a time attributed to Wycliffe, is really nothing but a verbal coeval hand as “ Richard Schepard, presbiter," and the Catholic rendering of the popular and widely-spread Norman Commentary Epistles of MS. Douce 2503 were probably glossed for the on the Apocalypse (Paul Meyer and L. Delisle, L'Apocalypse en benefit of men in religious orders, if one may judge from a short Français ou XIII siècle, Paris, 1901), which dates back as far Commentary to James ii. 2, “ & þerfore if eny man come into as the first half of the 13th century, and in its general tenor | 3oure sizt, þat is, into youre cumpenye þat beb Gedes religioas represents the height of orthodoxy. The English apocalypse, to men in what degre so ze be.” Nor do any of the remaining works judge from the number of MSS. remaining, must have enjoyed contain anything but what is strictly orthodox. great and lasting popularity. Several revisions of the text exist, It is first with the appearance of Wycliffe (q.c.) and his followers the later of which present such striking agreement with the later on the arena of religious controversy that the Bible in English Wycliffite version that we shall not be far wrong if we assume came to be looked upon with suspicion by the orthodox that they were made use to a considerable extent by the party within the Church. For it is a well-known fact

These revisers of this version.

that Wycliffe proclaimed the Bible, not the Church Verslas To the North Midlands or the North belongs further a complete or Catholic tradition, as a man's supreme spiritual version of the Pauline Epistles found in the unique MS. 32, authority, and that he sought in consequence by every means in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, of the 15th century. his power to spread the knowledge of it among the people. It

Commentaries on the Gospels of St Matthew, St Mark and St is, therefore, in all likelihood to the zeal of Wycliffe and bis Luke, we are told by the heading in one of the MSS. (Univ. Libr. followers that we owe the two noble 14th-century translations of Camb. Ii. 2. 12), were also translated into English by“ a man of the Bible which tradition has always associated with his name, þe north cuntre.” The translation of these Gospels as well as of and which are the earliest complete renderings that we possess of the Epistles referred to above is stiff and awkward, the translator the Holy Scriptures into English. being evidently afraid of any departure from the Latin text of The first of these, the so-called Early V CT5201, was probably his original. The accompanying commentary is based on the completed about 1382, at all events before 1384, the year of Fathers of the Church and entirely devoid of any original matter. Wycliffe's death. The second, or Later Version, being a thorough The opening lines of the third chapter of Matthew are rendered revision of the first, is ascribed to the year 1383 by Sir Frederic in the following way:

Madden and the Rev. Joshua Forshall in their edition of these MS. Camb. Univ. Libr. Ii. 2. 12.

two versions. (iii. 1.) In po dayes come Ihone baptist prechand in desert of be It is a matter of uncertainty what part, if any, Wycliffe himself Jewry, & seyand, (2) Do ze penaunce; forwhy þe kyngdome of took in the work. The editors of the Wyclifite versions say in heuyne sal come negh: (3) Pis is he of whome it was seide

be Isay be the Preface, pp. xv. ff._" The New Testament was naturally the prophete, sayand. “ pe voice of þe cryand in þe desert; redye 3e be first object. The text of the Gospels was extracted from the kleping of be hoerys of camels, & a gyrdyl of a skyn about his lendys; Commentary upon them by Wycliffe, and to these were added the & his mete was þé locust & hony of be wode.

Epistles, the Acts and the Apocalypse, all now translated aner, A version of the Acts and the Catholic Epistles completes the This translation might probably be the work of Wyclifíe himself; number of the New Testament books translated in the northern

at least the similarity of style between the Gospels and the other parts of England. It is found in several MSS. either separately parts favours the supposition.". The Wyclítite authorship of or in conjunction with a fragmentary Southern Version of the the Commentaries on the Gospels, on which the learned editors Pauline Epistles, Peter, James and 1 John in a curiously compiled base their argument, is, however, unsupported by any evidence volume, evidently made, as the prologue tells us, by a brother beyond the fact that the writer of the Prologue to Mattber superior for the use and edification of an ignorant “ sister," or

urges in strong language“ the propriety of translating Scripture woman vowed to religion. The translation of this, our only for the use of the laity.” The Biblical text found in these southern text, surpasses all previous efforts from the point of Commentaries is in fact so far removed from the original type view of clcarness of expression and idiomatic use of English, and, of the Early Version as to be transitional to the Late, and, what though less exact, it may be even said in these respects to rank is still more convincing, passages from the Early Version, irom

both the Old Testament and the New Testament, are actually equal with the later or revised Wycliffite version.

Apart from these more or less complete versions of separate quoted in the Commentary. Under such circumstances it books of the Bible, there existed also numerous renderings of the would be folly to look upon them as anything but late productions, Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, accounts of the Life, at all events later than the Early Version, and equal folly to Passion and Resurrection of our Lord, translations of the assign these bulky volumes to the last two years of Wyclifle's

* See Paues, op. cit. p. 210. "H. R. Bramley, The Psalter and Cerlain Canlicles ... by Richard *For a different view as to the authorship of the Wycliste Rolle of Hampole (Oxford, 1884); cf. H. Middendorff, Studien über versions, see F. A. Gasquet, The Old English Bide and Other Essays Richard Rollevon Hampole unter besonderer Berücksichtigung seiner (London, 1897), pp. 102 ff. Psalmen-Commentare (Magdeburg, 1888).

Sir F. Madden and Rev. J. Forshall, The Holy Bible ... Esde * A. C. Paucs, A Fourteenth-Century English Biblical Version from the Latin Vulgate by John Wycife and His Follozers (4 vols, (Cambridge, 1904), pp. xxiv. ff.

Oxford, 1850), pp. xix., xxiv.


life merely because the text used in them happens to be that of Early Version.

Late Version. the Early Version. It is therefore at present impossible to say (Psalm i. 1.) Blisful the man, (i. 1.) Blessid is the man, that what part of the Early Version of the New Testament was

that went not a wei in the coun- 3ede not in the councel of wickid translated by Wycliffe.'

seil of vnpitouse, and in the wei men; and stood not in the

off sinful stod not; and in the weie of synneris, and sat not in The Old Testament of the Early Version was, according to the chaser of pestilence sat not. the chaier of pestilence. (2) editors (Preface, p. xvii.), taken in hand by one of Wycliffe's (2) But in the lawe of the Lord his But his wille is in the lawe of coadjutors, Nicholas de Herford. The translator's original copy shal sweteli thenke dai and nyzt. in the lawe of hym dai and ny3t.

wil; and in the lawe of hym he the Lord; and he schal bithenke and a coeval transcript of it are still extant in the Bodleian

(Matthew iii. 1.) In thilke (iii. 1.) In tho daies loon library (Bodl. 959, Douce 369). Both break off abruptly at days came loon Baptist, pre- Baptist cam, and prechide in Baruch iii. 19, the latter baving at this place a note inserted chynge in the desert of lude, the desert of ludce, and seide, to the following effect: Explicit translacionem Nicholay de sayinge, (2) Do ze penaunce (2) Do 3e penaunce, for the herford. There is consequently but little doubt that Nicholas nei), or cume nize. (3) Forsothe (3) For this is he, of whom it is de Herford took part in the translation of the Old Testament, this he of whome it is said by seid bi Ysaie, the prophete, though it is uncertain to what extent. The translator's copy is Ysaye the prophet, A voice of seyinge, A vois of a crier in written in not less than five hands, differing in orthography and the wayes of the Lord; make se of the Lord; make 3e rizt the dialect. The note may therefore be taken to refcr either to the ristful the pathes of hym. (4) pathis of hym. (4) And this portion translated by the last or fifth hand, or to the whole of the Forsothe that ilk loon haddecloth loon hadde clothing of camels Old Testament up to Baruch iïi. 19. Judging from uniformily of the heeris of cameylis, and a heeris, and a girdil of skynne of style and mode of translation the editors of the Bible are girdil of skyn aboute his leendis; aboute his leendis; and his mete inclined to take the latter view; they add that the remaining and hony of the wode.

sothely his mete weren locustis, was honysoukis and hony of the

wode. part of the Old Testament was completed by a different hand, the one which also translated the New Testament. This state

The 15th century may well bc described as the via dolorosa ment is, however, not supported by sufficient evidence. In view of the English Bible as well as of its chief advocates and supof the magnitude of the undertaking it is on the contrary highly porters, the Lollards. After the death of Wyclisle probable that other translators besides Wycliffc and Nicholas de violence and anarchy set in, and the Lollards came Herford took part in the work, and that already existing versions, gradually to be looked upon as encmies of order and with changes when necessary, were incorporated or made use of disturbers of society. Stern measures of suppression were by the translators.

directed not only against them but against “Goddis Lawe,” the The Early Version, apart from its completeness, shows but book for which they pleaded with such passionate carnestness. little advance upon preceding cfforts. It is true that the transla- The bishops' registers bear sufficient testimony to this fact.? tion is more careful and correct than some of the renderings It would appear, however, as if at first at all events the persecunoticed above, but on the other hand it shares all their faults.

tion was directed not so much against the Biblical text itself as The translation of the Old Testament as far as Baruch üi. 19 is against the Lollard interpretations which accompanied it. In a stiff and awkward, sometimes unintelligible, even nonsensical, convocation held at Oxford under Archbishop Arundel in 1408 from a too close adherence to the Latin text (e.8. Judges xx. 25). it was enacted “ that no man hereafter by his own authority In the remaining parts the translation is somewhat easier and

translate any text of the Scripture into English or any other more skilful, though even here Latinisms and un-English render- tongue, by way of a book, booklet, or tract; and that no man ings abound.

read any such book, booklet, or tract, now lately composed in It is small wonder, therefore, if a revision was soon found the time of John Wyclitle or since, or hereafter to be set forth in necessary and actually taken in hand within a few years of the part or in whole, publicly or privately, upon pain of greater completion of the Earlier Version. The principles of work excommunication, until the said translation be approved by the adopted by the revisers are laid down in the general prologue to ordinary of the place, or, if the case so require, by the council their edition, the so-called “ Later Version."

provincial. He that shall do contrary to this shall likewise be

punished as a favourer of heresy and error.''3 For these resons and othere ... a symple creature hath trans- It must be allowed that an enactment of this kind was not latid the bible out of Latyn into English. First, this symple creature hadde myche trauaile, with diuerse felawis and helperis, to godere without justification. The Lollards, for instance, did not manie elde biblis, and othere doctouris, and comune glosis, and to hesitate to introduce into certain copies of the pious and orthodox make oo Latyn bible sumdel trewe; and thanne to studie it of the Commentary on the Psalms by the hermit of Hampole interpolanewe, the text with the glose, and othere doctouris, as he miste tions of their own of the most virulently controversial kind gete, and speciali Lire on the elde testament, that helpide sul myche in this werk; the thridde tyme to counseile with cide

(MSS. Trin. Coll. Camb. B.V. 25, Brit. Mus. Reg. 18. C. 26, &c.), gramariens, and elde dyuynis, of harde wordis, and harde sen

and although the text of their Biblical versions was faithful and tencis, hou tho mizten best be vndurstonden and translatid; true, the General Prologue of thc Later Version was interlarded the iiij tyme to translate as cleerli as he coude to the sentence, with controversial matter. It is small wonder if the prelates and and to haue manie gode felawis and kunnynge at the correcting of priests sought to repress such trenchant criticism of their lives the translacioun.

and doctrines as appeared more especially in the former work, It is uncertain who the revisers were; John Purvey, the and probably in many others which since have perished in leader of the Lollard party after Wyclisie's death, is generally "faggots and burning." assumed to have taken a prominent part in the work, but the For all this, manuscripts of Purvey's Revision were copied evidence of this is extremely slight (cf. Wycl. Bible, Preface, and re-copied during this century, the text itself being evidently Pp. xxv. f.). The exact date of the revision is also doubtful: the approved by the ecclesiastical authorities, when in the hands of editors of the Wycliffe Bible, judging from the internal evidence the right people and is unaccompanied by controversial matter. of the Prologue, assume it to have been finished about 1388. Of the Lollard movement in Scotland but little is known, but This Revised or Later Version is in every way a readable, a curious relic has come down to our times in the shape of a New correct rendering of the Scriptures, it is far more idiomatic than Testament of Purvey's Revision in the Scottish dialect of the the Earlier, having been freed from the greater number of its early 16th century. The transcriber was in all probability a Latinisms; its vocabulary is less chaic. Its popularity admits certain Murdoch Nisbet, who also showed his reforming tendof no doubt, for even now in spite of neglect and persecution, in encies by adding to it a rendering of Luther's Prologue to the spite of the ravages of fire and time, over 150 copies remain to New Testament." Lestify to this fact. The following specimens of the Early : See Foxe, Acts and Monuments, iv. 135 ff. (ed. Townsend, 1846). and Late Versions will afford a comparison with preceding • Wilkin's Concilia, iii. 317. renderings:

* T. G. Law, The New Testament in Scots, being Purvey's Revision

of Wycliffe's version turned into Scots by Murdoch Nisbet, c. 1520 1CI. A C. Paues, The English Bible in the Fourteenth Century. (Scot T. S., Edinburgh, 1901-1905).

IU 15+

[ocr errors]


2. The Printed Bible. It is singular that while France, of the octavo only one perfect copy (the title-page missing in Spain, Italy, Bohemia and Holland possessed the Bible in the the Baptist College at Bristol,' and one imperfect in the library vernacular before the accession of Henry VIII., and in Germany of St Paul's cathedral. the Scriptures were printed in 1466 and seventeen times re- But Tyndale continued his labours undaunted. In 1529 the printed before Luther began his great work, yet no English manuscript translation of Deuteronomy is mentioned as haring printer attempted to put the familiar English Bible into type. perished with his other books and papers in a shipwreck which No part of the English Bible was printed before 1525, no com- he suffered on the coast of Holland, on his way to Hamburg plete Bible before 1535, and none in England before 1538. In 1530, however, the whole of the Pentateuch was printed in

Versions of the Scriptures so far noticed were all secondary Marburg by Hans Luft; it is provided with prefaces and mar. renderings of the Vulgate, translations of a translation. It was ginal annotations of a strongly controversial character. The only with the advent of the new learning” in England that only perfect copy is preserved in the Grenville library of the a direct rendering from the originals became possible. Erasmus British Museum. It was reissued in 1534 with a new preface in 1516 published the New Testament in Greck, with a new and certain corrections and emendations in Genesis, and again Latin version of his own; the Hebrew text of the Old Testament in London in 1551. had been published as early as 1488.

In 1531 the Book of Jonch appeared with an important and The first to take advantage of these altered conditions was highly interesting prologue, the only copy known of which is in William Tyndale (q.v.), “ to whom,” as Dr Westcott says, " it the British Museum.

has been allowed more than to any other man'to give Meanwhile the demand for New Testaments, for reading a Tyadalo.

its characteristic shape to the English Bible.” Of for the flames, steadily increased, and the printers found it to

Tyndale's carly life but little is known. Be it enough their advantage to issue the Worms edition of the New Testafor our purpose to say that he thoroughly saturated his mind ment in not less than three surreptitious reprints before 1536 with the “new learning," first at Oxford, where in 1515 he was This is testified by George Joye in his Apology, who himscf admitted to the degree of M.A., and then in Cambridge, where brought out a fourth edition of Tyndale's New Testament ia the fame of Erasmus still lingered. Before the beginning of August 1534, freed from many of the errors which, through 1522 we find Tyndale as chaplain and tutor in the family of the carelessness of the Flemish printers, had crept into the text, Sir John Walsh of Old Sodbury in Gloucestershire. He was but with such alterations and new renderings as to arouse the there constantly involved in theological controversies with the indignation of Tyndale. The only remaining copy, a 16mo, is surrounding clergy, and it was owing to their hostility that he in the Grenville library. To counteract and supersede all these had to leave Gloucestershire. He then resolved to open their unauthorized editions, Tyndale himself brought out his own eyes to the serious corruptions and decline of the church by revision of the New Testament with translations added of al translating the New Testament into the vernacular. In order the Epistles of the Old Testament after the use of Salisbury. to carry out this purpose he repaired in July or August 1523 to It was published in November 1534 at Antwerp by Jíartin London, and to the famous protector of scholars and scholarship, Emperowr. Prologues were added to all books except the Acts Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall. His reception was, however, cold, and the Apocalypse, and new marginal glosses were introduced. the bishop advising him to seek a livelihood in the town. During Three copies of this edition are in the British Museum, and it a year of anxious waiting, it became clear to him “not only was reprinted in 1841 in Bagster's Hexapla. In the follosing that there was no rowme lorde of londons palace to year Tyndale once more set forth a revised edition, “ fynesshed translate the new testament, but also that there was no place in the yere of oure Lorde God A.M.D. and XXXV.," and priated to do it in all englonde.”? In May 1524 he consequently at Antwerp by Godfried van der Haghen.' In this heading betook himself to Hamburg, his resolution to carry out his great were added to the chapters in the Gospels and the Acts, and work never for a moment flagging, and it was probably during the marginal notes of the edition of 1534 were omitted. It his stay in this free city and in Wittenberg, where he may have is chiefly noted for the peculiarities of its orthography. Of this been stimulated by Luther, that his translation of the New edition one copy is in the University library, Cambridge, a Testament was actually made. At all events there is no doubt second in Exeter College, Oxford, and a fragment in the British that in 1525 he was in Cologne, engaged in printing at the press Museum. It is supposed to have been revised by Tyndale side of Peter Quentel a quarto edition of the New Testament. This in prison in the castle of Vilvorde, being the last of his labowis edition was provided with prefaces and marginal glosses. He in connexion with the English Bible. His execution took place had advanced as far as the tenth sheet, bearing the signature on the 6th of October 1536, and about the same time a small K, when his work was discovered by Johann Cochlaeus (9.0.), folio reprint of his revised edition of 1534 was brought out in a famous controversialist and implacable enemy of the Refor England, the first volume of Scripture printed in this country, mation, who not only caused the Senate of Cologne to prohibit probably by T. Berthelet. A perfect copy is found in the the continuation of the printing, but also communicated with Bodleian library. In later years, between 1536 and 1553, Henry VIII. and Wolsey, warning them to stop the importation numerous cditions of Tyndale's New Testament were printed, of the work at the English seaports. Tyndale and his assistant, twenty-one of which have been enumerated and fully described William Roye, managed, however, to escape higher up the Rhine by Francis Fry.' to Worms, and they succeeded in carrying with them some or “ The history of our English Bible begins with the work of all of the sheets which had been printed. Instead of completing Tyndale and not with that of Wycliffe,” says Dr Westcott in his Quentel's work, Peter Schoeffer, the Worms printer, was em- History of the English Bible, p. 316, and it is true that one of the ployed to print another impression of 3000 in a small octavo most striking features of the work of Tyndale is its independence. size, without prefaces to the books or annotations in the margin, Attempts have been made to show that especially in the Old and only having an address “ To the Reder” at the end in Testament he based a great deal of his work on the Wyciele addition to the New Testament itself. Two impressions, the translations, but in face of this we have his own esplat quarto having possibly been completed by Schoeffer, arrived in England early in the summer of 1526, and were eagerly • Reprinted by G. Offor (London, 1836); reproduced in facsimde welcomed and bought. Such strong measures of suppression by Francis Fry (Bristol, 1862). were, however, at once adopted against these perilous volumes,

• Reprinted with an introduction by J. T. Mombert (New York,

1884). that of the quarto only a single fragment remains (Matt. i.-xxij.

• Reproduced in facsimile by Francis Fry (1863). 12), now preserved in the British Museum (Grenville, 12179);" 'CT. H. Bradshaw, Bibliographer (1882-1881), i 3 ff. (reprinted

1B. F. Westcott, History of the English Bible (3rd ed.), revised by * See F. Jenkinson, Early English Printed Books in the Usa. Las W. Aldis Wright (London, 1905), p. 25.

Cambridge, iii. (1730). : Pref. to Genesis, p. 396 (Parker Soc.).

.. See Biographical Description of the Editions of the New Testoster • Photo lithographed by Edw. Arber (London, 1871).

1.Tyndale's Version, in English (1878).



statement, “I had no man to counterfet, nether was holpe with Christopher Froschouer of Zürich, who printed the edition of englysshe of eny that had interpreted the same (i.e. the New 1550, and that the sheets were sent for binding and distribution Testament), or soche lyke thige i the scripture beforetyme.” to James Nicolson, the Southwark prinier. This first of all

He translated straight from the Hebrew and Greek originals, printed English Bibles is a small folio in German black letter, although the Vulgate and more especially Erasmus's Latin bearing the title: “ Biblia, The Bible; that is, the Holy Scripversion were on occasion consulted. For his prefaces and ture of the Olde and New Testament, faithfully and truly marginal notes he used Luther's Bible freely, even to para translated out of Douche (German) and Latyn into Englishe, phrasing or verbally translating long passages from it.

M.D.XXXV.” The volume is provided with woodcuts and Apart from certain blemishes and awkward and even incorrect initials, the title-page and preliminary matter in the only two renderings, Tyndale's translation may be described as a truly remaining copies (British Museum and Holkam Hall) being in the noble work, faithful and scholarly, though couched in simple same type as the body of the book. A second issue of the same and popular language. Surely no higher praise can be accorded date, 1535, has the title-page and the preliminary matter in to it than that it should have been taken as a basis by the English type, and omits the words "out of Douche and Latyn ”; translators of the Authorized Version, and thus have lived on a third issue bears the date 1536. A second edition in folio, through the centuries up to the present day.

"newly oversene and corrected," was printed by Nicolson, with The following specimens may prove of interest:

English typc, in 1537; and also in the same year, a third The Ihryde Chapler.

edition in quarto. On the title-page of the latter were added (Matthew iii. 1-4.) In those dayes Thon the baptyser cam and the significant words,“ set forth with the Kynge's moost gracious preached in the wyldernes of Tury, saynge, Repent, the kyngedom

licence." of heven ys at hond. Thys ys he of whom it ys spoken be the Coverdale, however, was no independent translator. Indeed, prophet Isay, whych sayth: the voice of a cryer in wyldernes, pre he disavows any such claim by stating expressly, in his dedication paire ye the lordes waye, and make hys pathes strayght. Tliys to the king, "I have with a cleare conscience purely & faythThon had hys garment of camelles heere, and a gyrdydhof a skynne fully translated this out of fyue sundry interpreters, hauyng

* " Locustes are more then oware greshoppers, souche men vse onely the manyfest trueth of the scripture before myne eyes," to eate in divres parties of the est" (marginal note),

and in the Prologue he refers to his indebtedness to “The Douche (Matthew vi. 9-13.), o oure father which art in heven, halewed (German) interpreters: whom (because of theyr synguler gyftes be thy name. Let thy kingdom come. Thy wyll be fulfilled, as well in erth, as hit ys in heven. Geve vs this daye oure dayly breade.

and speciall diligence in The Bible) I haue ben the more glad And forgeve vs oure treaspases, even as we forgeve them whych to folowe for the most parte, accordynge as I was requyred." treaspas vs. Lede vs nott' in to temptacion, but delyvre vs from These "fyue interpreters” Dr Westcoti (ibid. p. 163) identifies yvell. Amen. (Grenville 12179.)

as Luther, the Zürich Bible, the Latin version of Pagninus, the Meanwhile a complete English Bible was being prepared by Vulgate, and, in all likelihood, the English translation of Tyndale. Miles Coverdale (q.v.), an Augustinian friar who was afterwards Though not endowed with the strength and originality of mind

for a few years (1551-1553) bishop of Exeter. As the that characterized Tyndale's work, Coverdale showed great Coverdale. printing was finished on the 4th of October 1535 it discrimination in the handling and use of his authorities, and

is evident that Coverdale must have been engaged moreover a certain delicacy and happy ease in his rendering of on the preparation of the work for the press at almost as the Biblical text, to which we owe not a few of the beautiful early a date as Tyndale. Foxe states (op. cit. v. 120) that expressions of our present Bible. Coverdale was with Tyndale at Hamburg in 1529, and it is The following extracts from the edition of 1535 may serve as probable that most of his time before 1535 was spent abroad, examples of his rendering:and that his translation, like that of Tyndale, was done out of

The first psalme. England.

(i. 1-2.) Blessed is þe man, þc goeth not in the councell ol pe unIn 1877 Henry Stevens, in his catalogue of the Caxton Exhibi-godly: pe abydeth not in the waye off synners, & sytteth not in le tion, pointed out a statement by a certain Simeon Ruytinck in

scate of the scornefull. But delyteth in the lawe of be Lorde, & his life of Emanuel van Meteren, appended to the latter's Neder: exercyseth

himself in his lawe both daye and night. landische Historie (1614), that Jacob van Meteren, the father of

The gospell of S. Mathew. Emanuel, had manifested great zeal in producing at Antwerp the wildernes of Jury, saynge: Amende youre selues, the kyng

(iii. 1-4.) In those dayes Thon the Baptyst came and preached in a translation of the Bible into English, and had employed for dome of heuen is at honde. This is he, of whom it is spoken by the that purpose a certain learned scholar named Miles Conerdale prophet Esay, which sayeth: The voyce of a cryer in die wyldernes, (sic). In 1884 further evidence was adduced by W. J. C. Moens, prepare the Lordes waye, and make his pathes straight. This lhon who reprinted an affidavit signed by Emanuel van Meteren, had his garment of camels heer, and a lethren gerdell aboute his 28 May 1609, to the effect that he was brought to England loynes. Hys mcate was locustes and wylde hony. 0110 1550

by his father, a furtherer of reformed It should be added that Coverdale's Bible was the first in religion, and he that caused the first Bible at his costes to be which the non-canonical books were left out of the body of the Englisshed by Mr Myles Coverdal in Andwarp, the w'h his Old Testament and placed by themselves at the end of it under father, with Mr Edward Whytchurch, printed both in Paris the title A pocripha. and London" (Registers of the Dulch Reformed Church, Austin

The large sale of the New Testaments of Tyndale, and the Friars, 1884, p. xiv.). Apart from the reference to Whytchurch success of Coverdale's Bible, showed the London booksellers and the place of printing, this statement agrees with that of that a new and profitable branch of business was Simeon Ruytinck, and it is possible that van Meteren showed opened out to them, and they soon began to avail his zeal in the matter by undertaking the cost of printing the themselves of its advantages. Richard Grafton and work as well as that of remunerating the translator. Mr W.

Edward Whitchurch were the first in the field, bringing out Aldis Wright, however, judging from the facts that the name of a fine and full-sized folio in 1537, “ truely and purely transWhytchurch was introduced, that the places of printing were lated into English by Thomas Matthew." Thomas Matthew, given as London and Paris, not Antwerp, and lastly that Emanuel is, however, in all probability, an alias for John Rogers, a van Meteren being born in 1535 could only have derived his friend and fellow-worker of Tyndale, and the volume is in knowledge from hearsay, is inclined to think that the Bible in reality no new translation at all, but a compilation from the which J. van Meteren was interested “ was Matthew's of 1537 renderings of Tyndale and Coverdale. Thus the Pentateuch or the Great Bible of 1539, and not Coverdale's of 1535."

and the New Testament were reprinted from Tyndale's translaIt is highly probable that the printer of Coverdale's Bible was tions of 1530 and 1535 respectively, with very slight variations:

Epistle to the Reader in the New Testament of 1526, reprinted * See Dr Ginsburg's information to Mr Tedder, D.N.B. xii. 365. by G! Offor; cf. Parker Soc. (1848), p. 390.

.Cf. H. Stevens, Catalogue of the Caxton Exhibition (1877), p. 88. * Westcott, op. cit. p. 57 notes

Remains, Parker Soc. pp. iis,


« PreviousContinue »