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MARSHALL, (GEORGE.) – A compendious treatise in metre, de
claring the firste originall of Sacrifice and of the buylding of
Aultares and Churches, and of the firste receauinge of the
Christen fayth here in Englande by G. M.
Drawe nyghe to God, and he wil drawe nighe to you.
Anuo Domini 126.96.36.199. 18. Decembris.
[Colophon). Excusum Londini in odibus Johannis Cawodi Typographi Regiæ Maiestatis. 4to, pp. 24, blk. lett.
Queen Mary began her reign on July 6, 1553, and this poem, written by a sincere admirer of hers, who belonged to the faith professed by that sovereign, was published December 18, 1554. It is a severe attack against the early Reformers, and against the Scriptures being read in the mother tongue, and is of the greatest rarity. The title is surrounded by a neat wood-cut architectural design, with the initials of the printer, I. C., in a shield at the bottom. On the reverse is “The Preface unto the Readers,” in two eight line stanzas, containing an acrostic on the author's name, which may be allowed a place here :
Spiritus ubi vult spirat.
Good readers pardon me I praye you more and lesse
Emptye of learning, furnished with rudenesse
Onlye my good will, accepte here in this place
Regarde here the stories, thoughe they you apprehende
Grudge you not at thē, but your faultes amend
Exāples there you shew, for to moue you to grace
Use me and amēd me, and I wil thanke you therfore
Saue me sure harmelesse, and I aske you no more.
Marke not my ryme, but regard well ye matter
As tyme shal serue you, reade it with leasure
Referring all faultes to your good discretion
Sythe I am bare of knowledge, and voyde of eloquence
Haue it not in despite, but pardon my insolence
Al thynges I wishe to come, to good ende and conclusion
Laude God and prayse him howe euer ye worlde turne
Loke wel to the marke ye all men muste runne.
Clense your handes ye synners, and purge your hartes ye waueryog mynded.
The preface is followed by a dedication in prose, five pages, “To the
right worshipfull Mayster Richarde Whartun Esquier G. M. dothe wishe longe life with grace,” in the course of which the writer dwells much on the duty of withholding the English version of the Scriptures from the people. “Who," says he, “ happie good syr, is that man, that hath not entered into their wicked iudgement neyther yet hath walked in their peruerse wayes neyther yet hathe rested themselfes in theyr seate or pestilēt chayre. Yet doth these wicked byrdes chatter, and continuallye saye: that all the cause of our plages hathe bene for that we haue not receaued gods word, as thoughe Goddes woorde was neuer in this realme before, and that Gods worde can not be receaued, but in the Englishe tongue. But surelie, good syr, the rulers of the earth hath bene to blame for suffering so precious and holye a juell to be cast amonge swyne, sithe Christe himselfe hath warned us the contrarye. And so it is an olde sayinge, that to much familiaritie ingendreth contempte: yet will this wicked generation so stiffye stande in argument, that it is necessarye that al men shuld haue the Bibel and Testament in their mother tongue, as thoughe that all men being ordeyned to learne Gods worde, shoulde also bee teachers. But surelye, good syr, theyr opinion is verelye false, as you shall well perceaue.” He then quotes the example of Uzzah being punished for touching the ark, and continues the argument with the erroneous view of supposing that every reader of God's word must necessarily be a preacher of it.
The poem itself, which commences on the following page, contains fiftyseven stanzas of eight lines each, and
As I laye musing in my bedde alone
My pillowe remouinge: For slepe was gone
So troubled was my spirite by greuous agonyo
Consideryng the state and staye of our beleue
The oft chaunging therof christen hartes doth greue
Which standeth in no staye, it is the moro pitie
God geuo us grace
ur lyues to amende
And true fayth in Englande agayne sende.
For lacke of grace we haue gone astrayo
Ensuing the steppos of wickednes alwaye
Our soules and bodyes by synne is corrupted
The thinges that of olde to God was begonne
We fondely agayne haue them fordonne
The badde for the good unsemely placed
Experience hath taught us, it is well knowen
That euil men haue reped, that good men haue sowen.
The author then alludes to the institution of sacrifice from Scripture history, commencing with Adam; the sacrifice of Cain and Abel; Noah, who, after the flood,
Beganne fyrst to buylde to God an Aultare
Whereon he dyd offer swete incenso and sacrifice, the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham; the preaching of Jonah to the Ninevites; David's numbering the people; Solomon, and his magnificent temple, who made “aultare of Golde unto the Lorde”; Christ's coming, when twelve years old, with his parents to Jerusalem, and his public entry, before his death, into that city. The first introduction of Christianity into England is thus related :
Fiftene hundred yeares past we in writing find
Synco Lucy was Kyng of Englande by kynde
Whyche sent to the Pope called Eleutherius
That he woulde sende or els sone come
This Realme to couerte to holy Christendome
Which sent Damian with his fellow Forganus
Then was this Realme to Christ conuerted
Which we agayne hath falsely subuerted.
After mentioning the persecutions of Dioclesian (“that slewe saynt
Albon"), Gayus Decius, Nero, Maximilian, and others, the following is his
version of the well-known story of the origin of the later preaching of St.
Augustine in this country:
Yet was not this realme fully conuerted
Which was before by infidelitie subuerted
Tyll Gregoryo in Rome, Popo was there
He came into the marketto, as it by chaunce fel
Whero as he founde Englisho chylderne to sell
Demaūding of what coūtrie and nation they were
Aunswere was made of Englande they be
As Angles, sayde Gregoryo, they some to me.
Then sont to Augustine with good intent
Which dyd aryue at Tanette in Kent
The kynge and the subiectes he couerted there
Then fayth agayne began for to spryoge
Which then was receaued of subiectes and kynge
As in the Englishe Cronicles it doth appeare
Why should we at Rome now baue despyte
That chaunged our darkenesse agayne to light.
Ethelbertus was then kynge, as I haue redde
Berta hyte the Queene, that much desired
To here Augustine preache Gods worde deuine
Then dyd it chaunce and folowe by successo
That the people conuerted bothe more and lesse
To Christes fayth, and holy doctrino
Then began kynges Churches to buylde
Which were before with Idoles defyled.
Then came to raygnyng by succession in time
Noble kynge Edgar, Oswoulde, and Edwyne
That found and rebuyldod mo then fortie abbeies
That were before by the Saxones destroyed
And eke by ipfideles, that the fayth denied
To counte some by namo, as storio sayes
Whinchester, Wylton, Brought, and Ramsey,
Glastonbury, Abyngton, and also Thorney.
Edmund and Edward ful noble kinges thei were
Which buylded worthely, and for no cost did spare
To erecte such places to Gods honor and glorye
O Henry the seuenth a ful worthy king was he
Whoso noble workes in Cambrydge you may se
And eke in Westminster both sūptuouse and costlie
As the good tree by the fruite is euer tryed
So are good men by their workes espied. Although slightly referring to the destruction of the monasteries, and the churches attached to them, yet whilst thus lavish in his praise of Henry VII., he is cautious enough, for fear of offence, not once to allude to the sovereign who was the destroyer of them (the father of the reigning queen), nor to her predecessor Edward VI., but the whole fury of his wrath and indignation is poured out upon the early reformers of Germany.
O cursed Germany, woo be unto the
That first nowe began to skowre the old heresie
of the Caphernites and Arians with other diuers mo
With the was harbored the cursed Luther,
Ecolampadius, Melancton, and Bullingere,
Carolstadious, Stalbrydge, and wicked Otho.
Marke to what ende their learning is come
By warre and sedition, their Realme undone.
These cursed men and wicked teachers
Were cleane contrarie to Gods holy preachers
That taught falsc libertie, deuout vertue to hide
Downe with the churche, y' Masse and the grayle,
Prayer and fasting naught doth prouaylo
That thing yi was good, they myght not abide
That good men of olde, study to maynetayne
Nowe Antichristes preachers hathe destroyed agayne.
So also of our own great reformer in England, he says:
All the old heresies that heretofore were
Were put in use by John Wyckeleffe here
And were confuted by William Wylford
He was a famous clarke, and an english man borne
Whose workes containe those heresies eche one
Which he dyd confute, as the bokes recorde
Hony and poyson of sweete floures are sucked
So truth and falshode on scripture is gathered.
The fall of Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, and his followers, after the
hasty attempt to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne in the preceding
year, is thus exultingly remembered by Marshall:
Yet is but in vayne herein to enterdyto
What care thē befel y' at the church had despite
Wittenesseth well Cromwell as you wel know
Duddely the stoute with his fellowes aye
Their parte on the skaffolde full well did playe
That then were on hye, and nowe are full lowe
These men are to us example and warning
To serue our Lord GOD, and obey the Kynge.
And then, after setting up Queen Mary, “God's chosen vessell," above
“the wydowe Judith and Quene Hester” of Scripture, and recording her
zeal in restoring the ancient faith, the author concludes the whole with the
following stanza :
God saue the Quene.
Prayse be to God that a noble quene hath sent
Ouer us for to raygne if we canne be content
That wel dath begonne to call thinges agayno
The which were before by falsehead subuerted
Agayne to Gods glorie, she bath them couerted
Amonge us Christians euer to remayne
Sithe we were before deceaued with heresie
Let us nowe bo faythful, and geue God the glorie.
Cælum et terra transibunt, uerba autem mea non proeteribunt.
This poem was entirely unknown to Herbert or Dibdin. Lowndes