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1422 [1422]

K. Henry. 8. A ridiculous pageant that happened in Oxforde.

And as in a great fire (where fire is in dede) we see many times how one litle sparke giueth matter of a mightie flame, setting whole stackes and pyles on burnyng: so here vpon a small occasion of one mans word, kyndled first a generall crye, then a strong opinion runnyng in euery mans head within the Churche, thinking the Churche to be on fire, where no fire was at all. MarginaliaDeluders deluded.Thus it pleased almyghtie God, to delude these deluders, that is, MarginaliaWe see great clarkes, how they are deceaued ofttymes in small trifles.that these great Doctours and wise men of the Scholes, which thinke them selues so wise in Gods matters as though they coulde not erre, shoulde see by theyr own senses & iudgementes, how blynde & infatuated they were in these so small matters and sensible trifles.

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MarginaliaWhat strong imagination cā do in deluding mans senses.Thus this strong imagination of fire beyng fixed in their heades, as nothyng could remoue them to thinke contrary but that the Churche was on fire: so euery thing that they saw or heard, encreased this suspition in them, to make it seme most true, whiche was in dede most false. The first and chiefest occasion that augmented this suspition, was the hereticke there bearyng his fagotte, whiche gaue them to imagine, that all other heretickes had conspired with hym, to set the Churche on fire.

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After thys, through the rage of the people and running too and fro, the duste was so raised, that it shewed as it had bene the smoke of fire. Which thyng together with the outcrye of the people, made all men so afraid, that leauing the Sermon, they beganne altogether to runne away. But such was þe preasse of the multitude running in heapes together, that the more they laboured, the lesse they could gette out. For whilest they rāne all headlong vnto þe doores, euery man striuing to gette out first, they thrust one an other in such sorte, & stucke so fast, that they which were without, neyther coulde gette into the Church agayne, neyther they that were within, could gette out by any meanes. So then one doore being stopped, they ranne to an other litle wicket on the North side, towardes the Colledge called Brasen nose, thinking so to passe out. But there agayne was the lyke or greater thronge. MarginaliaMuch hurt done in the thronge, wherof some dyed, some yet are aliue whose mothers armes were there broken.So the people clustring and thronging together, it put many in daunger and brought many vnto their ende, by brusing of theyr bones and sides. There was yet an other doore towardes the West, which albeit it was shutte and seldome opened: yet now rāne they to it with such sway, that the great barre of yron (which is incredible to bee spoken) being pulled out and broken by force of mens handes, the doore notwithstāding could not be opened, for the preasse or multitude of people.

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At the last, when they were there also past all hope to gette out, then they were all excedingly amazed and ranne vp and downe, crying out vpon the heretickes which had conspired their death. The more they ranne about and cryed out, the more smoke and duste rose in the Church, euē as though all thynges now had ben on a flamyng fire. I thinke there was neuer such a tumultuous hurley burley rysing so of nothyng, heard of before, nor so great a feare where was no cause to feare, nor perill at all: so that if Democritus the mery Philosopher 

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Democritus (born c. 460 BC) was an ancient philosopher who was known as the 'laughing philosopher' because he held that a cheerful disposition should be cultivated by the wise. For reasons that are less clear, Heraclitus (fl. 500 BC) came to be associated with melancholy and pessimism.

MarginaliaDemocritus was a Philosopher which vsed to laugh at all thinges: as Heraclitus vsed to weepe at all thinges.sitting in the toppe of the Church, and seing all things in such safetie as they were, had loked down vpon the multitude, and beholden so great a number, some howling and weeping, running vp and downe and playing the madde men, now hether, now thether, as being tossed too and fro with waues or tempestes, tremblyng and quaking, raging and faryng without any manifest cause: specially if he had seene those great Rabbines the Doctors, laden with so many badges or cognisaunces of wysedome, so foolishly and ridiculously seeking holes and corners to hyde them selues in, gasping, breathing, and sweating, & for very horror, being almost beside them selues, I thinke he would haue satisfied him selfe with thys one laughter, for all hys life tyme, or ells rather would haue laughed hys hart out of hys belly, whilest one said that he plainly heard þe noice of the fire, an other affirmed that hee saw it with his eyes, and an other sware that hee felte the molten leade droppyng downe vppon hys head and shoulders. Such is the force of imagination, when it is once grafted in mens hartes through feare. In all the whole cōpany there was none that behaued him selfe more modestly thē the hereticke that was there to do penaūce, who castyng hys Fagot of from hys shoulders vpon a Monkes head that stoode by, MarginaliaSome say that the Monkes head was broken with the fagotte.kept hym selfe quiet, myndyng to take such part as the other did.

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All the other beyng carefull for them selues, neuer made an end of running vp & down & crying out. None cried out more earnestly then the Doctor that preached (who was, as I sayd, D. Smith) who in a maner first of al cried out in þe pulpit, saying: These are the traines & subtilties of þe heretickes against me. Lord haue mercye vpon me: Lord haue mercy vpō me. But might not god, as it had ben (to speake with Iob) out of a whirlewynd 

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See Job 40: 6.

MarginaliaIob. 40.
Prosopopœia.
haue aūswered agayne vnto this preacher thus: Thou doest now implore my mercy, but thou thy selfe shewest no mercy vnto thy felowes and brethrē. How doth thy fleshe tremble nowe at the mention of fire, but you thinke it a sport to burne other simple innocentes, neither do you any thyng at all regarde it? If burnyng seme so greuous a matter vnto you, and to suffer the tormēt of fire: then you should also haue the lyke consideration in other mens perils and daūgers, when as you do burne your felowes and brethren.

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MarginaliaA iust expostulation agaynst these burners of Gods people.Or if you thinke it but a light or triflyng matter in in them, go to now, do you also with lyke courage, contemne, and with like pacience suffer now the same tormētes your selues. And if so be it I should now suffer you with þe whole Church to be burned to ashes, what other thing should I do vnto you, then you do daily vnto your felowes & brethrē? Wherfore since you so litle esteme the death of others, be now content that other men should also litle regard þe death of you. With this (I say) or with some other like aunswere, if that either God, or humane charitie, either the common sense of nature would expostulate with them, yea if there had ben a fire in dede (as they were more feared then hurt) who would haue doubted but that it had happened vnto them accordyng to their desertes? But now worthy it is the noting, how the vayne feare and folie of these catholickes either was deluded, either how their crueltie was reproued, MarginaliaA good warning for the Papistes to knowe what burning meaneth.wherby they beyng better taught by their owne example, might hereafter learne what it is to put other poore men to the fire, which they them selues here so much abhorred.

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But to returne agayne to the description of this pageant: wherin (as I sayd before) there was no daūger at all, yet were they all in such feare, as if present death had bene ouer their heades.

In all this great maze and garboyle there was nothyng more feared then the meltyng of the lead, which many affirmed that they felt droppyng vppon their bodyes. Now in this sodeine terrour and feare, whiche tooke from them all reason, and counsell out of theyr myndes, to beholde what practises and sondry shiftes euery mā made for hym self, it would make not onely Democritus, & Heraclitus also to laugh 

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Democritus (born c. 460 BC) was an ancient philosopher who was known as the 'laughing philosopher' because he held that a cheerful disposition should be cultivated by the wise. For reasons that are less clear, Heraclitus (fl. 500 BC) came to be associated with melancholy and pessimism.

, but rather an horse welnere to breake his halter. But none vsed thē selues more ridiculously, then such as semed greatest wyse men, sauyng that in one or ij. peraduenture some what more quietnes of mynd appeared. Amōgest whō was one MarginaliaClaymundus President of Corpus Christi Colledge.Claymund Presidēt of Corpus Christi Colledge (whō for reuerence & learnynges sake I do here name) & a few other aged persons with hym, which for their age & weakenes, durst not thrust thē selues into þe throng amongest the rest, but kneled down quietly before the high altare, committyng them selues and their lyues vnto the Sacrament. 
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John White, in another account of the same incident, claims that Claymund cast himself down before the altar and committed himself to the mercy of God, rather than escape through a broken window (John White, Diacosio-Martyrion[Louvain, 1553], STC 25388, fo. 83r).

The other whiche were yonger and stronger, ran vp and downe through

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