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191
HYMNS


Marot, .valet or groom of the chamber to Francis I., and Theodore Beza, then a mere youth, fresh from his studies at Orleans. Marot's psalms were dedicated to the French king and the ladies of France, and, being set to popular airs, became fashionable. They were sung by Francis himself, the queen, Marot's — P“,

ms the princesses and the courtiers, upon all sorts of secular occasions, and also, more seriously and religiously, by the citizens and the common people. They were soon perceived to be a power on the side of the Reformation. Calvin, who had settled at Geneva in the year of Marot's return to Paris, was then organizing his ecclesiastical system. He rejected the hymnody of the breviaries and missals, and fell back upon the idea, anciently held by Paul of Samosata, and condemned by the fourth council of Toledo, that whatever was sung in churches ought to be taken out of the Scriptures. Marot's Psalter, appearing thus opportunely, was introduced into his new system of worship, and appended to his catechism. On the other hand, it was interdicted by the Roman Catholic priesthood. Thus it became a badge to the one party of the “ reformed " profession, and to the other of heresy.

The example thus set produced in England the translation commonly known as the “ Old Version ” of the Psalms. It was begun by Thomas Sternhold, whose position in the gun" household of Henry VIII., and afterwards of Edward old and .

H, ,, , k, ,, , VI., was similar to that of Marot with Francis I., and whose services to the former of those kings were rewarded by a substantial legacy under his will. Sternhold published versions of nineteen Psalms, with a dedication to King Edward, and died soon afterwards. A second edition appeared in 1 5 51, with eighteen more Psalms added, of Sternhold's translating, and seven others by John Hopkins, a Suffolk clergyman. The work was continued during Queen Mary's reign by British refugees at Geneva, the chief of whom were William Whittingham, afterwards dean of Durham, who succeeded John Knox as minister of the English congregation there, and William Kethe or Keith, said by Strype to have been a Scotsmanl They published at Geneva in 1556 a service-book, containing fifty-one English metrical psalms, which number was increased, in later editions, to eighty-seven. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth, this Genevan Psalmody was at once brought into use in England -first (according to a letter of Bishop Jewell to Peter Martyr, dated 5th March 1560) in one London church, from which it quickly spread to others both in London and in other cities. Jewell describes the effect produced by large congregations, of as many as 6000 persons, young and old, women and children, singing it after the sermons at St Paul's Cross—adding, “ Id sacrifices et diabolum aegre habet; vident enim sacras conciones hoc pacto profundius descend ere in hominum animos.” The first edition of the completed “ Old Version ” (containing forty Psalms by Sternhold, sixty-seven by Hopkins, fifteen by Whittingham, six by Kethe and the rest by Thomas Norton the dramatist, Robert Wisdom, John Marckant and Thomas Churchyard) appeared in 1562.

In the meantime, the Books of Common Prayer, of 1549, 1552 and 1559, had been successively established as law by the acts of uniformity of Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth. In these no provision was made for the use of any metrical psalm or hymn on any occasion whatever, except at the consecration of bishops and the ordination of priests, in which offices (first added in 1552) an English version of “ Veni Creator ” (the longer of the two now in use) was appointed to be “said or sung." The canticles, “Te Deum, " “ Benedicite, " the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, the “ Gloria in Excelsis, " and some other parts of the communion and other special offices were also directed to be “said or sung ”; and, by general rubrics, the chanting of the whole service was allowed. The silence, however, of the rubrics in these books as to any other singing was not meant to exclude the use of psalms not expressly appointed, when they could be used without interfering with the prescribed order of any service. It was expressly provided by King Edward's first act of uniformity (by later acts made applicable to the later books) that it should be lawful' “ for all men, as well in churches, chapels, oratories or other places, to use openl? any psalms or prayers taken out of the Bible, at any due time, not etting or omitting thereby the service, or any part thereof, mentioned in the book." And Queen Elizabeth, by one of the injunctions issued in the first year of her reign, declared her desire that the provision made, “ in divers collegiate and also some parish churches, for singing in the church, so as to promote the laudable service of music, ” should continue. After allowing the use of “ a modest and distinct song in all parts of the common prayers of the church, so that the same may be as plainly understand ed as if it were read without singing, " the injunction proceeded thus-“ And yet, nevertheless, for the comforting of such that delight in music, it may be permitted that in the beginning or in the end of the Common Prayer, either at morning or evening, there may be sung an hymn, or such like song to the praise of Almighty God, in the best sort of melody and music that may be conveniently devised, having respect that the sentence ” (i.e. sense) “ of hymn may be understand ed and perceived.” The “Old Version, ” when published (by éohn Daye, for the Stationers' Company, “ cum gratia et privilegio egiae Majestatis ”), bore upon the face of it that it was “ newly set forth, and allowed to be sung of the people in churches, before and after morning and evening prayer, as also before and after the sermon." The question of its authority has been at different times much debated, chiefly by Peter Heylyn and Thomas Warton on one side (both of whom disliked and disparaged it), and by William Beveridge, bishop of St Asaph, and the Rev. H. J. Todd on the other. Heylyn says, it was “ permitted rather than allowed, " which seems to be a distinction without much difference. “ Allowance, ” which is all that the book claimed for itself, is authorization by way of permission, not of commandment. Its publication in that form could hardly have been licensed, nor could it have passed into use as it did without question, throughout the churches of England, unless it had been “ allowed ” by some authority then esteemed to be sufficient. Whether that authority was royal or ecclesiastical does not appear, nor (considering the proviso in King Edward's act of uniformity, and Queen Elizabeth's injunctions) is it very important. No inference can justly be drawn from the inability of inquirers, in Heylyn's time or since, to discover any public record bearing upon this subject, many public documents of that period having been lost.

In this book, as published in 1562, and for many years afterwards, there were (besides the versified Psalms) eleven metrical versions of the “ Te Deum, ” canticles, Lord's Prayer (the best of which is that of the “ Benedicite ”); and also “ Da pacem, Domine, ” a hymn suitable to the times, rendered into English from Luther; two original hymns of praise, to be sung before morning and evening prayer; two penitential hymns (one of them the “ humble lamentation of a sinner ”); and a hymn of faith, beginning, “ Lord, in Thee is all my trust.” In these respects, and also in the tunes which accompanied the words (stated by Dr Charles Burney, in his History of Music, to be German, and not French), there was a departure from the Genevan platform. Some of these hymns, and some of the psalms also (ag. those by Robert Wisdom, being alternative versions), were omitted at a later period; and many alterations and supposed amendments were from time to time made by unknown hands in the psalms which remained, so that the text, as now printed, is in many places different from that of 1562. In Scotland, the General Assembly of the kirk caused to be printed at Edinburgh in 1564, and enjoined the use of, a book entitled The F arm of Prayers and Ministry of the Sacraments used in the English Church at Geneva swab approved and received by the Church of Scotland, whereto, besides that was in the former books, are also added sundry other prayers, with the whole Psalms of David in English metre. This contained, from the “ Old Version, ” translations of forty Psalms by Sternhold, fifteen by Whittingham, twenty-six by Kethe and thirty-five by Hopkins. Of the remainder two were by John Pulleyn (one of the Genevan refugees, who became archdeacon of Colchester); six by Robert Pont, Knox's son-inlaw, who was a minister of the kirk, and also a lord of session; and fourteen signed with the initials I. C., supposed to be John Craig; one was anonymous, eight were attributed to N., two to M. and one to T. N. respectively. "

So matters continued in both churches until the Civil War. During the interval, King James I. conceived the project of himself making a new version of the Psalms, and appears to have translated thirty-one of them-the correction of which, together with the translation of the rest, he entrusted to Sir William Alexander, afterwards earl of Stirling. Sir William having completed his task, King Charles I. had it examined and approved by several archbishops and bishops of England, Scotland and Ireland, and caused it to be printed in 1631 at the Oxford University Press, as the work of King James; and, by an order

1 Psalms.