« PreviousContinue »
has been printed; first in folio in 1731 under the care of the Rev. John Lewis; next in 4to. in 1810 under that of the Rev. H. H. Baber; lastly in 4to. in 1841 in Bagster's English Hexapla. The publication of the Old Testament from the Clarendon press, at the expense of the University of Oxford, and under the superintendence of the Rev. J. Forshall and Sir Frederick Madden, has long been announced; but the work has not yet appeared. The following extracts from Wiclif's Bible were communicated to the Pictorial History of England by Sir Henry Ellis from one of the best manuscripts of the entire translation, the Royal MS. 1 c. viii. in the British Museum. The first from the Old Testament, consists of part of the fifteenth chapter of Exodus, containing the song of Moses :
Thanne Moises song, and the sones of Israel, this song to the Lord; and thei seiden, Synge we to the Lord for he is magnafied gloriousli; he castide down the hors and the stiere into the see. My strengthe and my preisyng is the Lord, and he is maad to me into heelthe, this is my God: y schal glorifie hym the God of my fadir: and y schal enhaunce hym: the Lord is as a man fizten: his name is almizti. He castide doun into the see the charis of Farao and his oost, his chosun princes weren drenchid in the reed see, the deepe watris hiliden them; thei zeden doun into the depthe as a stoon. Lord thy rizt hond is magnyfied in strengthe: Lord thi rizt hond smoot the enemye: and in the mythilnesse of thi glorie thou hast put doun all thyn adversaryes; thou sentist thine ire that devouride hem as stobil: and watris weren gaderid in the spirit of thi woodnesse; flowinge watir stood: depe watris weren gaderid in the middis of the see: the enemy seide, Y schal pursue and y schal take, schal departe spuylis: my soule schal be fillid: I schal drawe
out my swerde: myn hond schal sle hem. Thi spirit blew; and the see hilide hem, thei weren drenchid as leed, in grete watris. Lord who is lyk thee in stronge men: who is lyk thee: thou art greet doere in hoolynesse; ferdful and p'isable, and doyng miracles; thou heldist forth thin hond, and the erthe devouride hem: Thou were ledere, in thi merci, to thi puple, which thou azen bouztest, and thou hast bore hym, in thi strengthe, to thin holi dwellyng place: puplis stieden and weren wroothe sorewis helden the dwelleris of Flistiym; thane the pryncis of Edom weren disturblid trembling helde the stronge men of Moab: all the dwelleris of Canaan weren starke. Inward drede falle on hem: and outward drede in the greetnesse of thin arm. Be thei maad unmoovable as a stoon, til thi puple passe, lord, til this thi puple passe. Whom thou weldidist, thou schalt brynge hem in and thou schalt plaunte in the hil of thin eritage: in the moost stidefast dwellyng place which thou hast wrodzt, Lord, Lord, thi_seyntuarie which thin hondis made stidefast. The Lord schal regne in to the world and ferth'e. Forsothe Farao a ridere entride with his charis and knyztis in to the see: and the Lord brouzte the watris of the see on him; sotheli the sones of Israel zeden bi the drie place, in the myddis of the see.
Therefore Marie profetesse, the sister of Aaron, tooke a tympan in hir hond, and all the wymmen zeden out aftir hyr with tympans cumpanyes to which sche song before and seide, Synge we so the Lord: for he is magnyfied gloriously, he castide doun into the see the hors and the stiere of hym.
The specimen selected from the New Testament is the last chapter of St. Luke :
But in o day of the woke ful eerli thei camen to the grave, and broughten swete smelling spices that thei hadden arayed. And thei founden the stoon turnyd awey fro the graue. And thei geden in and foundun not the bodi of the Lord Jhesus. And it was don, the
while thei weren astonyed in thought of this thing, lo twey men stodun bisidis hem in schynyng cloth. And whanne thei dredden and bowiden her semblaunt into erthe, thei seiden to hem, what seeken ye him that lyueth with deede men? He is not here: but he is risun haue ye minde how he spak to you whanne he was yit in Golilee, and seide, for it behoueth mannes sone to be bitakun into the hondis of synful men: and to be crucifyed: and the thridde day to rise agen? And thei bithoughten on hise wordis, and thei geden agen fro the graue: and teelden alle these thingis to the ellevene and to alle othere. And there was Marye Maudeleyn and Jone and Marye of James, and othere wymmen that weren with hem, that seiden to Apostlis these thingis. And these wordis were seyn bifore_hem as madnesse and thei bileueden not to hem; but Petre roos up and ran to the graue, and he bowide doun, and sigh the lynen clothis liynge aloone, and he wente by himsilf, wondrynge on that that was don.
And lo tweyne of hem wenten in that day into a castel, that was fro Jerusalem the space of sixty furlongis, by name Emaws. And thei spaken togidre of alle these thingis that hadden bifalle. And it was don the while thei talkiden, and soughten by hemsilf: Jesus himsilf neighede and wente with hem. But her yghen weren holdun, that thei knewen him not. And he seide to hem, what ben these wordis that ye speken togidere wondringe: and ye ben sorewful? And oon, whos name was Cleofas, answerde and seyde, Thou thi silf art a pilgrim in Jerusalem, and hast thou not knowun what thingis ben don in it these dayes? To whom he seyde, what thingis? and thei seiden to him, Of Jhesus of Nazareth, that was a man profete myghti in werk and word bifore God and al the puple. And how the higheste prestis of oure Princis bitokun him into dampnacioun of deeth: and crucifieden him. But we hopiden that he schulde haue agen boughte Israel: and now on alle these thingis, the thirdde day is to day that these thingis weren don. But also summe
wymmen of ouris maden us aferd whiche bifore day weren at the graue. And whan his bodi was not foundun, thei camen and seiden that they sighen also a sight of aungels, which seiden that he lyueth. And summe of ouren wenten to the graue, and thei foundun so as the wymmen seiden; but they foundun not him. And he seide to hem, A foolis and slowe of herte to bileue in alle thingis that the profetis han spoken; Wher it bihofte not Crist to suffre these thingis, and so to entre into his glorye? And he began at Moyses and at alle the profetis and declaride to hem in alle scripturis that weren of him. And thei camen nygh the castel whidir thei wenten: and he made counte
naunce that he wolde go ferthir. And thei constreyneden him and seiden, Dwelle with us, for it draweth to nyght, and the day is now bowed doun; and he entride with them. And it was don the while he sat at the mete with hem, he took breed and blisside and brak, and took to hem. And the yghen of hem weren opened, and thei knewen him; and he vanyschide fro her yghen. And thei seiden togidere, wher oure herte was not biernynge in us, while he spak to us in the weye, and opened to us Scripturis? And thei risen up in the same our and wenten agen into Jerusalem, and foundun the ellevene gaderid togidre, and hem that weren with hem, seiynge, that the Lord is risun verily and apperid to Symount. And thei tolden what thingis weren don in the weye, and how thei knewen him in the brakinge of bred. And the while thei spaken these thingis Jhesus stood in the myddil of hem and seide to hem; Pees to you, I am, nyl ye drede: but thei weren affrayed and agast and gessiden hem to be a spirit. And he seide to hem, what ben ye troubled: and thoughtis camen up into youre hertis? Se ye my hondis and my feet: for I my silf am, feele ye and se ye, for a spirit hath not flesch and boones as ye seen that I haue. And whenne he hadde seid this thing; he schewide hondis and feet to hem. And yet while thei bileueden not and wondriden for joye: he seide, han ye here ony thing that
schal be etun? and thei profriden to him a part of a fisch roostyd, and a honycomb. And whanne he hadde etun bifore hem, he toke that that lefte and gaf to hem, and seyde to hem, These ben the wordis that I spak to you, whanne I was yit with you, for it is nede that alle thingis ben fulfilled that ben writun in the Lawe of Moyses and in the profetis and in Salmes of me; Thanne he openide to hem with that thei schulden undirstonde Scripturis. And he seide to hem, For thus it is writun, and thus it bihofte Crist to suffre: and rise agen fro death in the thridde day: and penaunce and remissioun of synnes to be prechid in his name into all folkis bigynnynge at Jerusalem. And ye ben witnessis of these thingis. And I schal send the biheest of my fadir into you, but sitte ye in the citee till that ye ben clothed with vertu fro an high. And he ledde hem forth into Bethanye; and whan hise hondes weren lift up, he blesside hem. And it was don the while he blessid hem he departede fro hem, and was borun into hevene. And thei worschipiden and wenten agen into Jerusalem, with gret ioye: and weren euer more in the temple heriynge and blessinge God.
Wiclif's English, as may be seen from these samples, is rude and difficult, as compared with that of Mandevil. He is also the author of many original writings in his native language, in defence of his reforming views in theology and church government, some of which have been printed, but most of which that are preserved still remain in manuscript. His style is every where coarse and slovenly, though sometimes animated by a popular force or boldness of expression.
Chaucer is the author of three separate works in prose; a translation of Boethius de Consolatione Philosophiæ, printed by Caxton, in folio, without date, under the title of 'The Boke of Consolacion of Philosophie, wich that