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Iiignl miseries." The following letter to her has been deservedly commended for its spirit of gentleness, benevolence, and piety:—
Mistress Alice, in my most hearty wise I recommend me to you. And whereas I am informed by my son Heron of the loss of our barns and our neighbours' also, with all the corn that was therein; albeit (saving God's pleasure) it is great pity of so much good corn lost; yet since it has liked him to send us such a chance, we must and are bounden, not only to be content, but also to be glad of his visitation. He sent us all that we have lost; and since he hath by such a chance taken it away again, his pleasure be fulfilled! Let us never grudge thereat, but take it in good worth, and heartily thank him, as well for adversity as for prosperity. And peradventure we have more cause to thank him for our loss than for our winning, for his wisdom better seeth what is good for us than we do ourselves. Therefore, I pray you be of good cheer, and take all the household with you to church, and there thank God, both for that he has given us, and for that he has taken from us, and for that he hath left us; which, if it please him, he can increase when he will, and if it please him to leave us yet less, at his pleasure be it!
I pray you to make some good onsearch what my poor neighbours have lost, and bid them take no thought therefore; for, if I should not leave myself a spoon, there shall no poor neighbour, of mine bear no loss by my chance, happened in my house. I pray you be, with my children and your household, merry in God ; and devise somewhat with your friends what way were best to take, for provision to be made for corn for our household, and for seed this year coming, if we think it good that we keep the ground still in our hands. And whether we think it good that we so shall do or not, yet I think it were not best suddenly thus to leave it all up, and to put away our folk from our farm, till we have somewhat advised us thereon. Howbeit, if we have more now than ye shall need, and which can get them other masters, ye may then discharge us of them. But I would not that any man were suddenly sent away, he wot not whither.
At my coming hither, I perceived none other but that I should tarry still with the king's grace. But now I shall, I think, because of this chance, get leave this next week to come home and see you, and then shall we farther devise together upon all things, what order shall be best to take.
And thus as heartily fare you well, with all our children, as ye can wish. At Woodstock, the third day of September, by the hand of Thomas More.
WILUAM TYNDALE. 1477—1536.
No subject is more interesting and instructive than the history of Biblical Literature of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. We have before spoken of the claims of John Wiclif to our lasting gratitude, for having given us the first English version of the Bible. But that was made, not from the originals, but from the Latin Vulgate. Wiclif died 1384. About twenty-four year| after his death, Archbishop Arundel, in a convocation of the clergy of his province assembled at Oxford, published a constitution, by which it was decreed, u that no one should thereafter translate any text of Holy Scripture into English, by way of a book, a little book, or tract; and that no book of this kind should be read that was composed lately in the time of John Wiclif, or since his death."
The Latin Bible, or Vulgate, was first printed on the continent in 1462; the Old Testament in Hebrew, 1488, and the New Testament in Greek about 1518. When these sacred oracles were brought into England, with the introduction of printing, the illiterate and terrified monks declaimed from their pulpits, that there was now a new language discovered, called Greek, of which people should beware, since it was that which produced all the heresies: that in this language was come forth a book called the New Testament, which was now in everybody's bands, and was full of thorns and briers: that there was also another language now started up, which they called Hebrew, and that they who learned it were termed Hebrews. One of the priests declared, with a most prophetic wisdom, "We must root out printing, or printing will root out us." But, notwithstanding the clamors of the monks, and the persecutions of the secular clergy, William Tyndale, in the reign of Henry VIII., undertook to translate the Scriptures from the original Hebrew and Greek into English, though he knew it would be done at the hazard of his life.
Tyndale was born about the year 1477. At an early age he entered the University of Oxford, and while there was a most diligent student: thus he laid the foundation of that skill in the learned languages essential to the successful accouiplisliment of that enterprise which he was soon to take upon himself.
Soon after leaving the University, he became tutor and chaplain in the family of Sir John Welsh, a knight of Gloucestershire, whose liberal table was sure to procure him the frequent visits of the neighboring prelates and clergy. On one occasion, being in company with a popish divine, he argued so conclusively in favor of a vernacular translation of the Bible, that the divine, unable to answer him, exclaimed, « We had better be without God's law than the pope's." This fired the spirit of Tyndale, and he indignantly replied, "I defy the pope and all his laws; and if God gives me life, ere mai.')' years the ploughboys in England shall know more of the Scriptures than you do;"—a pledge which, in a few years, he most nobly redeemed.
Finding that he could not accomplish his plans at home, Tyndale, in the year 1523, became a voluntary exile from his native land, which he was never more to revisit He went to Antwerp, and there, with great assiduity, prosecuted his design of translating the Scriptures into English. The New Testament was finished in 1526. It sold so rapidly that the following year another edition *as published, and the year after another, each consisting of five thousand. Great numbers of these were imported into England and speedily sold, though the importers were prosecuted with great rigor.
His retreat at Antwerp was hidden for some time from those who had marked him for their prey. But at length, in 1534, he was betrayed by the spies employed by Henry VJiL, and imprisoned. Every tiling was done by the English merchants at Antwerp to release him, and one of them, by the name of Thomas Pointz, was so ardent in his cause, that he went to England in person, to exert what influence he could in his favor. In the mean time the noble martyr was not inactive, but while in prison prepared another edition of the Testament, peculiarly adapted to the agricultural laborers; thus fulfilling his pledge that the « ploughboys" should have it for themselves.
But his invaluable life was now drawing to a close. The formalities of a trial were gone through; he was condemned for heresy; and in September, 1S36, he was brought out of prison to suffer the dreadful sentence,—burning at the stake. In that appalling moment he exhibited the firmness and resignation only to be found in the certain confidence of having his portion with those « shining ones" (in Banyan's phrase) who had come out of great tribulation, and who had
tor Jeans' take,
Writhed on the rack, or blacken'd at the stake.
While the horrid preparations of death and of burning were going on in full view around him, his last thoughts were turned upon the welfare of that country which had driven him forth a fugitive; and his dying voice was that of intercession for his royal persecutor. «0 Lord, open the King of England's eyes," were his well-known last words at the stake.
Borne tbundcr'd death, hut Tyndale's dauntless eye
It rests on indubitable evidence that Tyndale's voice was hardly hushed in death, before his last prayer was answered in a remarkable manner; foi that capricious tyrant soon issued an injunction, ordering that the Bible should be placed in every church for the free use of the people.
Tyndale's translation of the New Testament is admirable both for style and uccuracy; and our present version has very closely followed it throughout. To use the words of a profound modern scholar,1 " It is astonishing how little obsolete the language of it is, even at this day; and, in point of perspicuity and noble simplicity, propriety of idiom, and purity of style, no English version has yet surpassed it." The following is a fair specimen of this translation.'
And marke" A Certayne Lawere stode vp' and tempted hym sayinge: Master what shall I do' to inheret eternall lyfe? He sayd vnto him: What ys written in the lawe? Howe redest thou? And he answered and sayde: Thou shalt love thy lorde pod' wyth all thy hert' and wyth all thy soule' and with all thy strengthe' and wyth all thy mynde: and thy neighbour as thy »ylfe. And he sayd vnto hym: Thou hast answered right. This do and thou shalt live. He willynge to iustifie hym sylfe' jayde vnto Jesus: Who ys then my neighbour?
1 Dr. Gcddes. * See a beautiful edition of Tyndale's Testament, by Rev. J. P. llabney. vltb I'.n Interesting; memoir, published at Andover, Mass. s Behold
Jesus answered and sayde: A certayne man descended from Jerusalem into Jericho' And fell into the hondes off theves' whych robbed hym off his rayment and wonded hym' and departed levynge him halfe deed. And yt chaunsed that there cam a certayne preste that same waye' and sawe hym' and passed by. And lyke wyse a levite' when he was come neye to the place' went and loked on hym and passed by. Then a certayne Samaritane as he iornyed cam neye vnto hym and hehelde hym and had compassion on hym and cam to hym and bounde vppe hys wondes and poured in wyne andoyle and layed him on his beaste and brought hym to a common hostry1 and drest him." And on the morowe when he departed he toke out two pence and gave them to the host and said vnto him, Take care of him and whatsoever thou spendest above this when I come agayne I will recornpence the. Which nowe of these thre thynkest thou was neighbour unto him that fell into the theves hondes 1 And he answered: He that shewed mercy on hym. Then sayd Jesus vnto hym, Goo and do thou lyke wyse.
SIR THOMAS WYATT. 1503—1542.
Sib Tioxu Wtatt,3 whose poems are generally published with those of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, as they were contemporaries and warm personal friends, as well as among the first improvers of the English language, was born in AUington Castle in Kent, in 1503, and educated at Cambridge. He was early distinguished as a polite and elegant scholar, ind was remarkable alike for his uncommon beauty of person, for his dexterity and address in arms, and for his superior attainments in all the softer arts of peace. To a critical knowledge of the ancient classics, he added the French, Italian, and Spanish, which he spoke with fluency and elegance. But what distinguished him most was, his reputation as a poet, and the charm of his conversation. His wit is said to have been inexhaustible, and his readiness at repartee such as astonished every one who heard him.
Possessed of these advantages, it was no wonder that Wyatt should ingratiate himself with the king, and become a very general favorite at court. He was sent on some important foreign missions, and acquitted himself with great honor. The last, however, proved fatal to him: for having been sent by the king to Falmouth to conduct the ambassador of the Emperor Charles V. to court, he rode too fast, took ill of a fever, and died in October, 1542, in the thirty-ninth year of his age.
He was a man in every respect entitled to more than common admiration; and he obtained the praise of uniting in his character things in themselves •eemingly discordant; brilliant wit and purity of thought; the easo of the
1 Inn. 3 Made provision for him.
s See the admirable edition of the « Workii or Surrey and Wyatt," by Owirat I. Sou, D. D_ two voteEes, quarto, London, 1B1G.
courtier ami the gravity of the Christian. But what distinguished him more than even his talents or the powers of his wit, was a certain generous contempt of vice and an exalted love of virtue, which seem to have been the great bond of union between the noble-hearted Surrey and himself. These were not with him qualities merely speculative j they were vital principles, perpetually pressing forward into action. » God and goodness," to use his own expression, "were ever the foundation of his conduct;" so that it was not possible to know him, and converse with him, without feeling the same magnanimous longing after moral excellence by which he himself was animated. Thus he ennobled learning, and rendered poetry and polite attainments honorable, by making them subservient to the cause of Virtue and Religion,
THE LOVEK COMPLAINETH THE TJNK1NDNESS OF HIS LOVE.1
My lute, awake! perform the last
And end that I have now begun;
My lute! be still, for I have done.
As to be heard where ear is none;
My song may pierce her heart as soon:
No, no, my lute! for I have done.
The rock doth not so cruelly
As she my suit and affection;
Whereby my lute and I have done.
Proud of the spoil that thou hast got
By whom unkind thou hast them won;
Although my lute and I have done.
Vengeance may fall on thy disdain,
Trow not nlone under the sun,
Although my lute and 1 have done.
May chance thee lie wither'd and old,
Plaining in vain unto the moon:
Care then who list! for I have done.
I rbls poem is of singular merit, and as Dr. Todd remark* "Is one of the mo.t elegant amatory cdes in our language." The lute corresponded nearly to the modern guitar, and every person of good education played upon It.
« That Is, It would be more ea»y for lend, which in the softest of metals, to engrave characters on hard marble, than It Is for me to make Impression on her obdurate heart. To grove—to make an Impression unon.