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lords, I may thank you that these Puritans plead for my supremacy, for if once you are out and they in place, I know what would become of my supremacy, for, no bishop, no king. Well, doctor, have you any. thing else to offer ?” Dr. Raynolds : “No more, if it please your Majesty.” Then rising from his chair, the king said, “If this be all your party have to say, I will make them conform, or I will harry them out of this land, or else worse."
A few alterations in the Book of Common Prayer were allowed at the Conference, and the king assented to the wish for a new authorised version of the Bible, provided it were without marginal notes. Of all the translations, he said, that of Geneva was worst, because of the marginal notes which allowed disobedience to kings,
The king required of the Puritans by proclamation absolute conformity. A book of canons for the binding of the clergy, containing 141 articles, was introduced to the Upper House of Convocation by Dr. Bancroft, and the good Dr. Rudd, that Bishop of St. David's who so far forgot conventions feminine and courtly as to remind Queen Elizabeth in a sermon of the ominous number of her years, spoke generously on the side of Christian charity. After suggesting questions to which Puritans might ask him for his answer, he said :
Furthermore, if these men, being divers hundreds, should forsake their charges, who, I pray you, should succeed them? Verily, I know not where to find so many able preachers in this realm unprovided for; but suppose there were, yet they might more conveniently be settled in the seats of unpreaching ministers. But if they are put in the places of these men that are dispossessed, thereupon it will follow-1. That the number of preaching ministers will not be multiplied. 2. The Church cannot be so well furnished on a sudden; for though the new supply may be of learned men from the Universities, yet will they not be such ready preachers for a time, nor so experienced in pastoral government, nor so well acquainted with the manners of the people, nor so discreet in their carriage, as those who have already spent many years in their ministerial charge.
I protest that all my speeches now are uttered by way of proposition, not by way of opposition, and that they all tend to work pacification in the Church ; for I put great difference between what is lawful and what is expedient, and between then that are schismatical and them that are scrupulous only upon some ceremonies, being otherwise learned, studious, grave, and honest men.
Concerning these last, I suppose, if upon the urging them to absolute subscription they should be stiff, and choose rather to forego their livings and the exercise of their ministry, though I do not justify their doings herein, yet surely their service will be missed at such a time as need shall require us and them to give the right hand of fellowship one to another, and to go arm in arm against the common adversary.
Likewise consider who must be the executioners of their deprivation : even we ourselves, the bishops ; against whom there will be a great clamour of them and their dependents, and many others who are well affected towards them, whereby our persons will be in hazard to be brought into extreme dislike or hatred.
Also remember that when the Benjamites were all destroyed, saving six hundred, and the men of Israel swore in their fury that none of them would give his daughter to the Benjamites to wife, though they suffered for their just deserts, yet their brethren afterwards lamented, and said, “There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day;" and they used all their wits, to the uttermost of their policy, to restore that tribe again.
In like sort, if these our brethren aforesaid shall be deprived of their places for the matter premised, I think we should find cause to bend our wits to the utmost extent of our skill to provide some cure of souls for them, that they may exercise their talents.
Dr. Rudd was answered by Bancroft and others, and was not allowed to reply to them. Bancroft at the hampton Court Conference had knelt and petitioned the king for a praying ministry, saying that the service of the Church had been neglected since preaching had come into fashion. Besides, he had said, pulpit harangues are dangerous; and humbly moved that the number of homilies might be increased, and that the clergy might be obliged to read them instead of sermons, in which many vented their spleen against their superiors. It was not likely, therefore, that Bancroft paid much heed to the plea that there would be fewer efficient preachers if the Puritans were forced out of the Church. In December, 1604, Richard Bancroft succeeded John Whitgift as Archbishop of Canterbury, and continued to support the policy of the Crown until his death in 1610. His severe repression of the Puritans obliged many to separate from the Church ; but his successor in 1610, Dr. George Abbot, greatly relaxed the enforcement of laws levelled against Puritan opinion, and spent all his zeal in battle against those who gave allegiance to the Pope.
It was in the first year of Dr. Abbot's primacy that the translation of the Bible authorised by James I., and since used in the English churches, was completed and published. It had been suggested by the Puritansin the Hampton Court Conference, and assented to on condition that it kept as near as possible to the Bishops' Bible, left the Biblical names and the division into chapters untouched, used the old ecclesiastical words—as "church," not "congregation "—and had no side-notes, except for the explaining of a Hebrew or Greek word. The work was begun in 1606, and carried out by forty-seven translators, parted into six companies, who divided the work among them. All being finished and revised, the authorised version of the Bible was published in 1611 in a massive volume, having been seen through the press by Dr. Miles Smith and Dr. Thomas Bilson, Bishop of Winchester. Bilson had been Winchester born, Winchester bred, and Master of Winchester School, before ending his life in 1616 as Bishop of Winchester. Dr. Miles Smith, Bilson's fellow-editor, was canon residentiary of his native town of Hereford. It was he who wrote the “ Preface" to the new version, and in the following year, 1612, he was made Bishop of Gloucester. He died in the year 1624.
• A note often quoted against the Geneva version was that to verse 16 of the 15th chapter of the Second Book of Chronicles, where upon Asa's deposing of his mother Maachah for idolatry, the marginal note says that he should not only have deposed her, but killed her.
Close following of the Bishops' version, which itself kept in view the preceding translations, produced in King James's Bible a fine blending of the work of all who had first laboured with intense devotion to bring home to every Englishman the Word of God. Its forty-seven translators were at work when Shakespeare was in the full noon of his genius, and wrote King Lear. There was intense life behind them, and about them; and in the midst of strife as to the best form of church, they produced a Bible from which God has spoken to the hearts of Englishmen of every creed, in a book unclouded by ephemeral dispute, through words that give their dignity to every speech with which they blend, while they sustain, firmly as human language may, the hearts which they have lifted to the love of God and man.
“ His strength? 'Tis dust:--His pleasure? Cause of pain: His hope ? False courtier :-Youth or beauty ?
Just recompence? The world were all too little:
Hell's force? In vain her furies Hell shall gather:
His servants, kinsmen, or his children rather? His child (if good) shall judge; (if bad) shall curse his
“ His life? That brings him to his end, and leaves him :
His end? That leaves him to begin his woe:
His gods of wood ? Their feet, alas! are slow
Honours, great worth ? Ah! little worth they be
Unto their owners :-Wit? That makes him see, He wanted wit, who thought he had it, wanting Thee.
“What need I urge, what they must needs confess ?
Sentence on them, condemn'd by their own lust; I crave no more, and Thou canst give no less,
Than death to dead men, justice to unjust;
But if Thy Mercy needs will spare her friends,
Let Mercy there begin, where Justice ends. 'Tis cruel Mercy, that the wrong from right defends.
“She ended, and the heav'nly hierarchies,
Burning with zeal, now quickly marshall'd were;
When ev'ry one doth shake his dreadful spear;
The earth and her firm basis quite asunder,
Flam'd all in just revenge, and mighty thunder: Heav'n stole itself from earth, by clouds that gather'd
In 1610, the year before the publication of the authorised version of the Bible, Giles Fletcher published a religious poem called “ Christ's Victory and Triumph," in Four Books celebrating Christ's Victory (I.) In Heaven, (II.) On Earth ; and His Triumph (III.) Over Death, and (IV.) After Death. The brothers Phineas and Giles Fletcher, first cousins to John Fletcher the dramatist, were sons of Giles Fletcher, LL.D., author of a book on Russia, who married in 1580, at Cranbrook, in Kent. Phineas was the elder brother, but Giles was the first to publish ; so that Giles Fletcher's " Christ's Victory” appeared in the reign of James I., and Phineas Fletcher's “ Purple Island” was not published until the reign of Charles I. Giles Fletcher was at Trinity College, Cambridge, when he wrote his poem. He passed to the degree of B.D. there, and was still at Cambridge in the year 1617. He became Rector of Alderton, a village on the coast of Suffolk, seven miles from Woodbridge, and there he died in 1623.
The measure of Giles Fletcher's poem is suggested by Spenser, and is not Spenserian. For five lines the stanza follows Spenser's model, and then it is finished with a new rhyme in triplet, ending with an Alexandrine. Giles Fletcher's measure is very inferior to Spenser's. His brother Phineas afterwards, in the “Purple Island,” improved it by striking out the fifth line, but neither of the brothers can be said to have been happy in the invention of a stanza that should remind readers of Spenser and yet not be his.
The first part of Giles Fletcher's poem—“ Christ's Victory in Heaven"-sings of the pleadings in heaven of Mercy and Justice for and against the cause of man. The pleading is like in conception to that in Robert Grosseteste's “ Chasteau d'Amour,"1 but poetically elaborated, with pleasant influences of Spenser showing themselves even through the taint of the Later Euphuism on a young writer's style. Giles Fletcher thus represents Justice closing her plea against man :
Upon the indictment of Justice followed in heaven the plea of Mercy, who looked down upon Repentance and Faith, both also personified. For man, pleaded Mercy,
“He was but dust, why fear'd he not to fall p
And being fall'n, how can he hope to live ?
Could He not take away, as well as give ?
Was it not all the world's deceiving spirit,
(That, pufféd up with pride of his own merit, Fell in his rise) that him of heav'n did disinherit.
“He was but dust : how could he stand before Him ?
And being fall'n, why should he fear to die?
Depraved by sin, should he deprivéd lie
Who gave him strength ? Unworthy the forsaking
He is, who ever weighs, without mistaking, Or maker of the man, or manner of his making.
“Who shall bring incense to Thy temple more?
Or on Thy altar crown the sacrifice ;
Or why should prayer deck with herbs and spice
1 See the note on page 54.
“ With that the mighty thunder dropt away
From God's outstretched arm ; now milder grown
For pardon, and for pity, it had known,-
Thereto th' angelic armies all had vow'd
Their former rage :-but all to Mercy bow'd, And broken weapons at her feet, they gladly strow'd.
“ Bring, bring, ye Graces, all your silver flaskets,
Painted with every choicest flower that grows,
To strew the fields with odours, where He goes ;
So down she let her eyelids fall, to shine
Upon the rivers of bright Palestine ; Whose woods drop honey, and her rivers flow with wine."
"* * But oh!” he said, and therewith sigh'd full deep,
* The heav'ns, alas! too envious are grown, Because our fields Thy presence from them keep;
For stones now grow, where corn was lately sown: (So stooping down, he gather'd up a stone)
But Thou with corn canst make this stone to ear:
What need we then the angry heav'ns to fear? Let them envý us still, so we enjoy Thee here.'
So ends Giles Fletcher's first book with Mercy's Victory through Christ in Heaven. The song descends in the second book to Earth, and follows Christ through the Temptation in the Wilderness. Christ is described, and the beasts of the wilderness at peace about Him, then the approach of Satan, thus :
“ Thus on they wander'd; but those holy weeds
A monstrous serpent, and not man do cover;
And round about that loathsome corpse did hover
Of thousand peccant ghosts, unseen, unheard ; And all the tyrant fears, and all the tyrant fear'd.
“At length an aged sire far off He saw
Come slowly footing; ev'ry step he guess’d,
Three legs he had, that made of wood, was best ;
With benedictions, and with prayers store;
But the bad ground was blesséd ne'er the more : And all his head with snow of age was waxen hoar.
" He was the son of blackest Acheron,
Where many damnéd souls loud wailing lie;
Where many more in flaming sulphur fry;
Where nothing can be heard, but the sad cry
Of oh! alas! and oh! alas! that I Or once again might live, or once at length might die!
For whatsoever might aggrate the sense
In all the world, or please the appetence, Here it was poured out in lavish affluence.”
“ Ere long they came near to a baleful bow'r,
Much like the mouth of that infernal cave,
Dark, doleful, dreary, like a greedy grave,
The ground no herbs but venomous did bear;
The trees all leafless stood; and ev'ry where Dead bones and skulls were cast, and bodies hangéd were.”
This garden is painted, and its mistress, Vain Delights, in stanzas inspired by the second book of the “Faerie Queene," and recalling Spenser's description of Acrasia in the Bower of Bliss. Here Pangloretta is a Circe ; here sit they who drink with laughing Bacchus ; here are Avarice and Ambition. Pangloretta seeks to win the Saviour with a song, of which these are the last lines :
This is the cave of Despair in which Satan would persuade Christ to make His home in the wilderness; and Giles Fletcher does not shrink from a description of it in the manner of Spenser, though it provokes comparison with one of the finest passages in the “Faerie Queene."
* Within the gloomy den of this pale wight,
The serpent woo'd him with his charms, to inn; That he might bait by day, and rest by night;
But under that same bait, a fearful gin?
But He upon ambrosia daily fed,
That grew in Eden, thus he answered ; So both away were caught, and to the Temple fled.
“Every thing doth pass away,
There is danger in delay.
“Well knew our Saviour this the serpent was ;
And the old serpent knew our Saviour well;
Never did any Him in truth excel :
With this :—but now they both together met
Upon the sacred pinnacle, that threat With its aspiring top Astrea's starry seat.”
The Enchantress finding her spells vain, betakes herself to hell, and angels feed their Lord, who has achieved the Victory over the temptations of Earth.
The third part of Giles Fletcher's poem sings of the death of Christ, whereby Death itself was swallowed up in victory. Thus Joseph of Arimathea closes his lament at the burial of Christ :
Over the temple among the stars Presumption spread her pavilion. She is described allegorically, and then, we are told,
“Gently our Saviour she began to task,
Whether he were the Son of God, or no;
And if He were, she bid Him fearless throw
A flight of little angels that await,
Upon their glittering wings to catch Him straight, And longéd on their backs to feel His glorious weight.
" • Thus spend we tears, that never can be spent,
On Him, that sorrow never more shall see :
To Him that died to live, and would not be,
This heav'nly earth, here let it softly sleep,
The fairest Shepherd of the fairest sheep.' So all the body kiss'd, and homewards went to weep.
“But when she saw her speech prevailed nought,
Herself she tumbled headlong to the floor :
And to a lofty mountain swiftly bore ;
Restless Olympus seem'd to rest upon,
With all his swimming globes :-so both are gone, The dragon with the Lamb.-Ah, unmeet paragon!
"So home their bodies went, to seek repose,
But at the grave they left their souls behind ;
That can the chains of nature's self unbind,
Ah, blessed Virgin! what high angel's art
Can ever count thy tears, or sing thy smart, When every nail that piercéd Him, did pierce thy heart ?
"All suddenly the hill his snow devours;
Instead of which a goodly garden grew,
Which their sweet breath in subtle vapours threw,
“ So Philomel, perch'd on an aspen sprig,
Weeps all the night her lost virginity;
That dances at such joyful misery :
But leaning on a thorn her dainty chest,
For fear soft sleep should steal into her breast, Expresses in her song, grief not to be exprest.
1 Dark, doleful, &c. These two lines are quoted from Spenser's de. scription of the cave of Despair. ("Faerie Queene," Bk. I., canto ix., st. 33.) Spenser's description beginning with that stanza has been quoted on pages 208, 209, 210. * Gin, contrivance, snare. From "ingenium;" French "engin."
3 Aggrate, bring pleasure to.