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632 [608]

K. Henry.5. Iohn Hus. M. Hierome of Prage

MarginaliaIohn Hus from his gay gaarments comth to his white coate.good. My white coate you shall geue the minister. N. my scholer. To George or els to Zuzikon. 60. grotes or els my gray coate: for he hath faythfully serued me.

The superscription.

¶ I pray you that you do not open this letter, before you be sure and certaine of my death.

¶ The consolation of Maister Hierome to Maister Hus.

MY maister, in those thynges which you haue both writen hetherto and also preached, after the law of God agaynst the pride, auarice, and other inordinate vices of the Priestes, go foreward, bee constaunt and strong. And if I shall knowe that you are oppressed in the cause, and if neede shall so require, of myne owne accord, I will follow after to helpe you, as much as I can.

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¶ By the lyfe, actes and letters of Iohn Hus hetherto rehearsed, it is euident and playne, MarginaliaIohn Hus condemned for no erroneous doctrine wherein he was culpable.that he was condemned, not for any errour of doctrine, which they could well proue in him, who neither denyed their Popish transubstantiation, neither spake agaynst the authoritie of the Churche of Rome, if it were well gouerned, nor yet the. 7 sacramēts, and also said Masse himselfe, and almost in all their Popish opinions was a Papist with thē: but onely of euill was accused of his malicious aduersaries, because he spake agaynst the pompe, pride and auarice, and other wicked enormities of the Pope, Cardinals, and Prelates of the Church, and because he coulde not abyde the high dignities and liuyngs of the Church, and thought the doinges of the pope to be Antichristlike. For this cause he procured so manye enemyes & false witnesses agaynst him. Who streyning & pickyng matter out of his bookes and writyngs, hauyng no one iust article of doctrine to lay vnto him, yet they made him an heretike, whether he would or no, and broughte him to his condemnation. Thys can hatred and malice do, where the charitie of Christ hath not place. Which beyng so, as thy charity (good reader) may easely vnderstand, in perusing the whole course of his story: I besech thee thē, MarginaliaCochleus raleth against I. Hus without cause.what cause had Iohn Cochleus to write his xii. bookes agaynst Iohn Hus and Hussites? In which bookes how bitterly and intemperātly he misuseth his penne, by these few wordes in his second booke thou mayst take a little tast: which wordes I thought here briefly to place in English to the end that all English men may iudge thereby, with what spirite and truth these Catholickes be caried. His wordes be these. Lib. 2, Hist. Dico igitur Ioan. Huss, neque sanctum neque beatum habendū esse, sed impium potius. &c. MarginaliaEx Cochleo. Lib. 2. Hist. Hußitaarum. pag. 98.That is, I say therfore that Iohn Hus is neither to be counted holy nor blessed: but rather wicked and eternally wretched: in so much that in the day of iudgement, it shalbe more easie, not onely with the infidell Pagans, Turkes, Tartarians, and Iewes, but also with þe most sinfull Sodomites, & the abhominable Persians, whiche most filthely do lye with their daughters, sisters or mothers, yea & also with most impius Cayn killer of his owne brother, with Thyestes killer of his owne mother, and the Lestrygones & other Andropophagi, which deuour mās flesh: yea more easie wt those infamous murderers of infants, Pharao & Herode, thē with hym, &c. These be the words of Cochleus. Whose rayling bookes although they deserue neither to be read, nor aunswered, yet if it plesed God, it were to be wished that the Lord would styre vp some towardly young man, that had so much laysure, to defend the simplicitie of this Iohn Hus, whyche can not now aunswere for himselfe. In the meane tyme, some thyng to satisfie or stay the readers mynde agaynst this immoderate hyperbole of Cochleus, in like few wordes I will bryng out Iohn Hus to speake and to cleare himselfe against thys slaūder: whose wordes in his booke de sacerdotū & monachorū abhominatione desolationis. pag. 84. &c I besech thee reader to note. Nam & ista scribens fateor, ф nihil aliud me in illis perurget, nisi dilectio D nostri Iesu crucifixi, &c. That is, For in writyng these thynges, I confesse nothyng els to haue moued me hereunto, but onely the loue of our Lord Iesus crucified, whose printes & stripes, (accordyng to the measure of my weakenesse and vilenes) I couet to beare in my selfe, besechyng him so to geue me grace, that I neuer seeke to glory in my selfe or in any thyng els, but onely in his crosse, and in the inestimable ignominy of his passiō which he suffred for me. And therfore I write and speake these thynges, whiche I do not doubt will like all such as vnfaynedly do loue the Lord Christ crucified: and contrary will mislike not a litle, all such as be of Antichrist. Also agayne, I confesse before the most mercyfull Lord Iesus crucified, that these thynges which I do now write, and those that I haue written before, neither I could haue written, nor knew how, nor durst so haue written, vnlesse he by his inward vnction had so commaunded me. Neither yet do I write these thynges as of authoritie, to get me fame & name: For as S. Augustine and Hierome do say, that is onely to be geuen to the Scriptures and writyngs of the Apostles, Euangelistes and Prophetes, & to the Canonicall scriptures, which do abounde with the fulnes of the spirit of Iesus. And whatsoeuer is there sayd, is full of veritie and wholesome vtilitie. &c. And here place also would require somethyng to say to Æneas Syluius, to Antoninus, and to Laziardus, which falsely impute Articles to him, which he neuer maintained. But because tyme suffreth not, I will procede to the story of Maister Hierome of Prage.

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¶ The Tragicall and lamentable history of the famous learned man and godly Martyr of Christ, maister Hierome of Prage, burned at Constance for lyke cause and quarell as Maister Iohn Hus was. 1416. 
Commentary  *  Close
Jerome of Prague

Apart from the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, it is arguable that no violent death in the Middle Ages caught the imagination of contemporaries as did that of Jerome of Prague. This was not due to Jerome's intrinsic importance, but to the remarkable fortitude he displayed at his execution. Poggio Braccioloini, the celebrated humanist, was an eyewitness to Jerome's execution, and although not sympathetic to Jerome's cause, he wrote a public letter, which circulated widely, comparing Jerome to Socrates. Therefore it is not surprising that Jerome was one of the relatively few non-British martyrs included in the Commentarii (fos. 78r-81v). Foxe cited Bernard of Luxembourg as his source, but he was an author whom Foxe did not use. It is probable that Foxe's source for this account was a short account by John Bale, who cited Bernard frequently. Foxe repeated this account in the Rerum (pp. 67-71). In the 1563 edition, Foxe replaced this material with an account of Jerome's martyrdom based on accounts of eyewitnesses contained in the two volume collection of documents relating to Jan Hus, the Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, which was anonymously edited by Matthias Flacius, and printed in Nuremberg in 1558 (cf. Hus...Historia et Monumnenta, II, fos. 349r-354r). In the 1570 edition, Foxe reprinted this account, but he also added Poggio's more elegant, and famous, account of Jerome's death which was also printed in the Hus…Historia et Monumenta (fos. 358r-359r). The 1570 account of Jerome Prague was reprinted without change in the 1576 and 1583 editions of the Acts and Monuments.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaThe story of Hierome of Prage.THese thynges hetherto beyng discoursed touchyng the lyfe, Actes and constant Martyrdome of M. Iohn Hus, with part also of his letters adioyned to þe same, whose death was on the vi. of Iuly, an. 1416: now remaineth consequently to describe the lyke tragedy & cruell handlyng of his Christiā companion and felow in bandes M. Hierome of Prage: Who greuously sorowyng the slaūderous reproche and diffamatiō of his countrey of Boheme, and also hearyng tell of the manifest iniuries done vnto that man of worthy memory M. Iohn Hus: MarginaliaHierome commeth to Constance.freely and of his owne accorde he came vnto Constance, the iiij. day of Aprill. an. 1415. Who there perceauyng that Iohn Hus was denyed to be heard, and that watch and wayte was layd for hym on euery side, he departed to Iberlyng a Citie of the Empire, vntill the next day: the which Citie was a myle of from Constance, MarginaliaThe safeconducte was required but in vaine of the Emperour.& from thence he wrote his letters by me vnto Sigismund kyng of Hungary and his Barons, & also vnto the Councell, most earnestly requiryng that the kyng and the Councell would geue hym a safeconduict freely to come and go, and that he would then come in open audience to aunswere vnto euery man, if there were any of the coūcell that would lay any crime vnto him, as by the tenour of his intimation, shall more at large appeare.

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When as the sayd kyng of Hungary was required therunto, as is aforesayd, being in the house of the Lord Cardinall of Cambray, he denyed to geue M. Hierom any safeconduict, excusing himself for the euil spede he had with the safecōduict of Iohn Hus before, & alledgyng also certaine other causes. The deputies also of the foure nations of the Councell, beyng moued thereunto by the Lordes of the kyngdome of Boheme, aunswered: we (say they) will geue him a safeconduict to come, but not to depart. Whose aunsweres, whē they were reported vnto maister Hierome, he the next day after wrote certaine intimations accordyng to the tenour here vnder written, which he sent vnto Constance to be set vpō the gates of the Citie, & vpon the gates of the Churches and Monasteries, and of the houses of the Cardinals, and other nobles and prelates. The tenour wherof here foloweth word for word in this maner.

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MarginaliaThe intimations of Hierome of Prage, set vp in places of the towne of Constance.Vnto the moste noble Prince and Lord, the Lord Sigismund, by the grace of God king of the Romaines, alwayes Augustus, and of Hungary. &c. I Hierome of Prage maister of Arte of the generall vniuersities of Paris, Colleyn, Heldeberg and Prage, by these my present letters do notifie vnto the kyng, together with the whole reuerend Coūcell, and as much as in me lyeth, do all men to vnderstand and know, that because of the crafty sclanderers, backbiters and accusers, I am ready frely and of myne owne will, to come vnto Constance, there to declare openly before the whole Councell, the puritie and sinceritie of my true fayth and myne innocencie, and not secretly in corners before any priuate or particulare person. Wherfore if there be any of my slaunderers, of what nation or estate soeuer he be, whiche will obiect agaynst me any crime of errour or heresie: let thē come forth openly before me in the presence of the whole Councell, and in their owne names obiect agaynst me, and I will be ready as I haue written, to aunswer openly and publickely before the whole Coūcell for my innocencie, and to declare the puritie and sinceritie of my true fayth. And if so be that I shalbe found culpable in errour or heresie, then I will not refuse openly to suffer such punishement as shall be meete and worthy for an erronious person, or an hereticke.

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Wherfore I most humbly besech my Lord the kyng and the whole sacred Councel, that I may haue to this end and purpose aforesayd, safe and sure accesse. And if it happē that I offeryng such equitie and right as I do, before any fault

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