Latin/Greek Translations for Preface
Ad Dominvm Iesvm Christum servatorem clementissimum,

Eucharisticon Ioan. Foxi.

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

To the Lord Jesus Christ, most merciful Saviour, a Thanksgiving from John Foxe.

The task, which I first took on and started under your auspices, is now finished, most high and reverend Jesus, and likewise most merciful Saviour. I have finally completed and brought this to a close through your kindness and favour, certainly contrary to all expectations and my strength: and so it remains, in accordance with my duty, for this little soul, like a votive tablet, to give thanks, if not as great as it should be (would that this were possible), but as great as it is able, to your most bountiful majesty, which has so mercifully with fruitful success and relief supported so wretched a little man, or rather the mere skin of a man, being agitated with so many and such great toils as would wear out even some burden bearing donkey. But although there is no point in pleading the difficulty of the work, which will hardly be able to be appraised by many, yet your omnipotent majesty is not unaware that the completion of this business, such as it is, has cost me unbearable cares, sleeplessness and worries, to which we would in no way have been equal, if the divine will of your favouring grace had not shone upon me, and involved itself in some way or other with my work. For why should I not admit and frankly attest what we have experienced in the accusation? For we have seen clearly, and we have almost caught sight with our very eyes of the outstanding energy of your exalted right hand, not only in promoting the success of the matter, but also in preserving life and breath amid the toils. And so it is a mark of your gift, most merciful Jesus, that the task undertaken under your auspices, has been carried forward thus far: we in turn, as should be our duty, give thanks for your mercy, both privately in our own name, and in a manner publicly in the name of your church. It is from this fact, indeed, namely that you, with such great inclination, favour illustrating their name, that we perceive how much you value the cause of your martyrs. And yet, even if no record of them were to exist here, those whose names have been inscribed in the book of your life could not fail to be most illustrious in every way. But it was in this way that your majesty wanted to declare, and make known to us men, how honourable it is for those who are fighting bravely for the glory of your name to die, whose life you so liberate from the ash and the funeral pyre, whose cause you so protect and whose dignity you show, that it receives from you the same [life], much more distinguished with the advantage of glory, than if they themselves had never otherwise lost it. For the business of fighting in your service brings this special blessing, far removed from this world, that, whether they live fighting in your camp, they live for you, or whether they die, they become famous more fortunately from their death than if they had lived at all.

In this way we see with how much greater glory Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, John Hooper, Bradford and the rest of the prize fighters in the same company, died fighting in your army, than if they had abandoned the posts in which they had been placed and put your cause after their own safety. For what people, what language, what nation, what old age of time, what posterity will not sing their praises, will not recognise their courage and will not admire their greatness. Who would have thought that Wickliff or Cobham had ever been born, if they had not acted so vigorously in your cause? How much honour did Huss of Bohemia and our own Tyndale have in the fact that they preferred to receive from you a life lost in the cause of your gospel than to keep it themselves. Let us look on the opposite side at your adversaries, of whom it is generally agreed that there were so many murders, injustices, cruelties against your own people, and likewise many crimes perpetrated secretly and wickedly by the same people, which they never expected would be publicly known; and yet what was ever designed by them in corners and in darkness so secretly against the Church, that your providence has not brought it out and will bring it out into the sunlight, and has brought it out in such a way that, where they themselves conceived in their hearts thoughts of praise, there they have acquired the utmost disgrace and reproach for themselves from which they will never be able to escape in life or end with death. Who does not now know of the Guises, the Bonners and the Storeys as the names of men accursed, and shudder? What day will obliterate their crimes, what memory bury them? And why do I list these men amid such a great crowd of your enemies? For whom has it ever been a success to rebel against your divine will or to profess himself to be an enemy to your Church? How celebrated and famous was the name of the Pope formerly in these lands? Now what is more rotten, what is more disgraceful? Initially men began to admire the eminence of Cardinals, and to honour it with much respect; likewise the houses of Monks and Nuns formerly had their own applause among the simple and credulous people. But after they had rejected your truth and begun to attack you, and become the murderers of your people, they finally slipped to such an extent that, save a few whom your grace exempted, the rest of the dregs seems to be nothing other than certain names left to disgrace.

These, of course, our most holy Lord and God, are preludes to your most just judgement, and from this it cannot be difficult to gauge what those whom you load with such great infamy and disgrace in this world, that is in their own kingdom, are to expect in the next. But leaving these aside, let us return to your holy Martyrs, in whose name we rightly and constantly owe and keep as it were a sacrifice of praise and thanks to your goodness. First, because to those fighting in the cause of your church you have given such a brave and keen spirit and one which rises above all their tortures against the Papist murderers. Secondly, because the propitious favour of your mercy has been present also with us as we were sweating in compiling their history. There is also this private debt owed in my own name to your outstanding love, that you have wanted my life, which is otherwise so often weak, to be preserved through your kindness in this task and labour whose immensity you alone know. But we all equally owe this debt in particular to your boundless love towards us, that you have thought it worthy to recall to light anew and reveal to the notice of your church the cause and innocence, as if gathered again from the ash, of your blessed Martyrs, whom the perversity of this world reduced to flames and ashes. For although there is no doubt that in that final judgement of yours, when the virtues of heaven are moved, all their cases will be examined with the utmost diligence before your judgement seat, yet it is something that here also in your church should not be unknown, the case of these very people, their deeds, and the rest of the virtues their lives. Then a richer glory will abound for them, and in the meantime a greater fruit will abound for us, when from their righteous deeds, their integrity, their innocence, their faith and patience, it can generally be agreed not only what they themselves have done, but what must also be done by us through their example.

But here again, sweetest Jesus, there is need of the kind protection of your favour. For we who are the sons of your Martyrs, and for whom it is particularly appropriate that we imitate our ancestors, now retain almost nothing of our parents, except this freedom of life alone which they left behind, having gained it with their blood: this also we most intemperately abuse, so that now there is the danger that we may not only not deserve to be the sons of the Martyrs, but not even their brothers. For assuredly it is shameful to report what a difference and what complete disharmony there is between our way of life and the path of discipline which they pursued. But why should I tell you, whose majesty perceives and examines everything? How much eagerness and concern did they have out of love for you to resign all other things and indeed themselves to contempt for life, to account the world with all its desires as of small importance, and to reject pleasures as mere trifles? And the dangers which were threatening them on all sides did not allow them to have time for amassing wealth, much less for accumulating honours. But our life now, our enthusiasm and all our exertion, on the contrary, what do they breathe except the world, what else do they seem other than a sort of perpetual lying in wait for and aspiring to ephemeral things, wealth and honours. But how splendidly those people would have thought things had turned out for them, if they had been allowed even to live. And on that account there were many among them who offered Queen Mary all their means and possessions as far as their last penny, if she would only give them back their conscience. And what folly of possession hounds us, for whom neither a single nor an insignificant way of life can be sufficient? Without measure, without end, we gape at riches, priesthoods and expanding property. With what great ambition do we wear out our friends and enemies, not only so that we may live, but that we may live exalted and honoured? Concerning their faith, concerning their clemency, endurance, innocence and unbelievable patience, what can sufficiently be said? With how much determination, with what eagerness of heart did they suffer whatever was inflicted, resigning all vengeance to God, to whom they also entrusted their cause. No power of their adversaries was able to dislodge them, nor threats break them, nor insults move them, nor dangers nor tortures subdue them, nor allurements flatter them.

Let us now compare our weakness with these qualities. But shames prevents us, for what so light a breeze of temptation could blow upon us, which does not instantly rush us headlong and crosswise into greed, into pride, desires, dishonour, vengeance and all other evils? What so trivial a little injury can be offered, for which we do not mingle heaven with earth, and disturb the seas from the bottom? From this it is easy to gather how far away we are from ever undergoing death in your cause, if ever the situation were to demand martyrdom, when we are not even willing to cut off those ignoble passions at your command. Wherefore just as indeed we give thanks to your holy name for the sake of those martyrs, so we in turn pray on our own behalf, that you, who have bestowed on them the means of conquering, may assist us in like manner with the good fortune to imitate their pious examples, and that in this way your grace may shine on your church, so that nowhere seduced by the allurements of this world we ourselves should seem more lazy in preserving the victory of your gospel than those men seem energetic in establishing it. Finally, since we have embarked on this history with your assent and will and have put effort and eagerness into this matter, so that the deeds and achievements of your saints, most holy Jesus, might emerge to the glory of your name and public advantage of the church, add now fruit to the labour, and at the same time we earnestly beg you to take for yourself the protection of the history, to whom I commend, dedicate and consecrate with the whole of my body and soul and my strength both the work itself and the whole of myself, whom in so many ways I owe to your mercy, and before whom may every knee fall and every voice and tongue of confession give glory and make it resound throughout all the churches. Amen.

1563 Edition, page 1 | 1583 Edition, page 1[Back to Top]
Ad Doctum Lectorem

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

John Foxe to the learned reader.

When I think and turn over in my mind how dangerous and hazardous a thing it is to send out now something in public, which may come to the hands and eyes of many people, especially in these so troubled ways and times, when almost everything is boiling with so many disagreements of people, so many desires of parties, so many fretful individuals, such rigid censures, and mockery of Critics, that it is very difficult to write anything so circumspectly, that it is not seized upon for some grounds for misrepresentation, assuredly they seem very fortunate and lucky who are allowed to hold such a course of life, that living in leisure with dignity, they are able so to enjoy other peoples' labours, as though sitting as idle spectators in the theatre, that they must not in the meantime fear any weariness from doing it or any danger from their work. But a very different way of life has indeed somehow or other exercised me so far, since it has not fallen to my lot to experience, scarce even to taste throughout my life, either that happiness of fortune, in whose embraces I see so many being sweetly cherished, or the delight of leisure, amid the constant fervour and strife of my labours and employment. And yet I complain little about fortune which I have always despised, and indeed I will not say much about my labours, if only those labours may either benefit or please other people as much as they privately wear me down and inconvenience me. Now there is added on top of the pile of my misfortune the fact that I have had to work on that kind of subject matter which, beside the mournful nature of the matters themselves, beside the unpleasantness of the language, beside the difficulty of treatment, which may scarcely receive the elegance of speech, furthermore reduces the author himself to such constraint that he may neither tell lies without injustice to history nor tell the truth without incurring great ill will towards himself and the hatred of many people. For since I have had to engage in such an historical theme of history, as does not relate only to events of earlier years recalled from the distant past, but touches upon this very age of ours, and men of our race who are even now present and alive, rubs on them, and points them out in such a way as has of necessity to be done in this kind of subject, I ask what else I should expect here, except, after I have destroyed my health in vainly wearing myself out, damaged my eyes, hastened the onset of old age, and exhausted my body, finally after all this to expose myself to the hatred, hissings, ill will and censure of many people. In so many adversities as these when nothing will be able to keep me safe, not a Caesar, not Monarchs, not a King, not Queens, not any protection in this world, save only the powerful right hand of the divine Spirit, at the outset therefore and before all I have betaken myself to him as though to a very safe haven, to him I have commended and do commend myself and my book. But then in addition in the same Lord I have wished to appeal to that candor of yours (learned and pious Reader) and that humanity of yours, with which I know that you are endowed from your study of the literae humaniores, so that the vote of your approbation given for these efforts of ours or, if we do not deserve approbation, at least that the kindness of your support may not be lacking: by which if we feel that the this mixture of our history will be approved, we shall the more lightly bear the judgements of the others who are our detractors.

For otherwise I know that there will be no lack of those who in various ways will cause us trouble. Here Momus will have his bites, the informer will have his whispers, nor will the Chicaner be without his tongue and sting to stick into me. This one will detract from the reliability of the narrative. That one will find a lack of skill in the treatment, another of conscientiousness or judgement in investigating the facts. That one will perhaps not like the size of the work or its less than organised or sequential chronology. And if it is none of these, yet in such a great conflict of religion, in such a great variety of judgements, heads and thoughts, where each man favours and promotes his own side, what can be so skilfully or circumspectly explained that it can please everyone? On the contrary, even now I hear that there is also muttering on the part of some people, who say that they are held by long expectation, until this Golden Legend of ours, as they call it, at last be published: if they first wish our tardiness in the matter to be censured, I in truth would like to ask those pretty gentlemen to show themselves more ready in publishing their own things before attacking someone else's slowness.

Then if the volume comes out later than they thought it was going to, let them remember the proverbial instruction that haste should be slow. Even the weary ox is said to fix its step quite firmly. In this matter indeed we have done our level best, we have done, I hope, what our duty demanded, if not sufficiently expeditiously as regards the measure of time, yet certainly we have acted in accordance with our health, and I shall add, moreover, beyond our health. Let me add, moreover, with their indulgence, that we have acted quicker than perhaps will suit those very people, who trifle in this way: certainly we have acted more expeditiously than was appropriate for a work of such great importance and size, which demanded a more painstaking interval of time and care in sorting the materials, since, as those who were witnesses to this, who were aware of the time, and were companions in the labour know, scarcely eighteen full months were given over by us to preparing the material, to collecting and putting together items, to comparing copies, to reading books, to re-writing the things which had been entrusted to manuscript, to correcting type, to arranging the history appropriately and to putting it in order, etc. But if they apply the title of their own Golden Legend to this, because they think this history, after the example of that one, is similarly legendary, and from this by a hateful word prejudice its truth, what am I to reply to them except that they are naively themselves betraying their own false accusation, which they cannot even put off until the publication of the book, making judgements on matters before they know them. In the meantime it is right that they themselves finally are ashamed of that entirely fabulous Golden Legend. And yet they were not ashamed to ridicule the world for so long with those little stories, even threatening those persons with danger, if any should dare to disparage that Legend, that is, their most deceitful rubbish. Wherefore, since nothing can be more impious than to stain the sacrosanct faith of the church with fabrications of this kind and invented nonsense beyond all credibility, yet those most foolish liars measure all other writers from their own abilities, and neither themselves trouble to tell the truth, nor think that others who do tell it should be believed, obviously considering that everything is akin to their own golden dreams. But away, you impudent liar, with your Golden Legend, which all of us know, nor do you yourself not know, to be a book abounding with unnatural monstrosities of lies and most empty inventions ¬Ė I should not even wish to compare it with the stories of Homer: so far is it removed from having anything in common with the serious and weighty history of the Church. Because those Papists and unchaste monks of yours liked to play the fool in the ridiculous monstrosities of their miracles, do you at once think that no serious authority of history in the church should be allowed? Why should we not, by the same token, pass judgement both concerning the ecclesiastical history of Eusebius and the tripartite history of Sozomen, Socrates and the rest. There are in addition to these certain other miracles on record concerning Saints and Divines, which come closer to this Legend, and yet are not all regarded among us as being apt to be numbered with that Papist Legend, even those which are of very suspect reliability. And yet I have no interest in passing judgement on other writers. Indeed, as far as concerns my martyrology, I would like it to be made manifest to all that I have taken pains to ensure that there should not be anything legendary in the work, or of such a kind as either could have been invented by me, or could not be everywhere very unlike that Golden (I should rather say Leaden) Legend. To this the matter itself and the natural appearance of the history will be able to bear witness, whose whole fabric will be able to seem drawn and conflated from the very archives and registers of bishops, and partly from the martyrs' own letters. Although in this history I do not demand that the individual examples here should be regarded as oracles, yet we have given the effort in accordance with our strength, to the end that if we might not fully achieve it, yet we might approach as close as possible to that old law of history, that we should avoid two things, the particular plagues of history, namely fear and flattery, of which the one always says less and the other always adds more to the narrative than is proper. But it is more honourable that reliability in this matter be built up from the work itself than from my recommendation. For truth itself has its own simple and natural appearance, which it will not be difficult for the reader who is not thick in the head to understand, either from the very character of the utterance, or from the appearance of things or from other characteristics of circumstances. But I am afraid that here also, just as in other things, there may be a place for experience of the old proverb, namely, that liars see to it that not even someone speaking the truth is believed. Since hitherto in the records of martyrological legends and lives of saints, lies, and the most trifling inventions of dreams are read in place of true narratives, it also happens that the rest of the subject matter of the same cast equally comes under the same suspicion, so that now scarcely anything can be read or said in the Church with trust. But since we are unable to remedy this evil, it will be enough to have done what it was in our power to do. What remains let us leave to the care of divine providence. So much then as regards the certainty and the truth of my history: I could indeed wish that it were not even as true and certain as those people want it to seem, but false rather, and very like this which they call their Golden Legend, or the lives of the fathers, or the Festival, or the 'sleep securely', and the rest of these Papist 'babblings of babblers'. But, as it is, the punishments and the dreadful slaughter of these martyrs, which were not invented by us, but inflicted by you, prove this history to be truer and have more witnesses to their truth than those of us who have written the history would wish. Now I come to the other part of the charge, which will perhaps be raised ¬Ė the Calendar. For I hear that here too I am being criticised not only by silent opinions, but also by open comments from certain papists, to whom it will seem that I have acted unjustly in rejecting and ejecting from the Calendar the divines, martyrs, confessors and virgins of the ancient church, and have put in their place new martyrs and confessors. First, I would wish none of the old divines to have been injured by this action. Nor indeed for the reason that they are inserted in the Calendar are those persons mentioned by me as being among the divines. I have never taken to myself this apotheosis, which Gregory IX undertook so confidently to himself. Moreover, this Calendar does not aim at prescribing some new law for the feast days of the Church. Then much less do I establish the cult of some saint. Already there are more than enough feast days in the world. I wish we could spend Sunday only as the sabbath, properly and as is right. As far as I am concerned, let the papists keep their Calendar. Let the Church also keep its saints, both recent and old, provided they are approved, provided in the meantime that the same are not worshipped, provided that they are truly as saintly as they are old.

But while Jerome did not hesitate to think that even in his own times many were being tortured in the fires of gehenna whom many indiscriminately regarded as saints in the Church, what would Jerome then say here, if he were somehow to have survived and saw this papist dregs of saints with calendars smeared by so many popes, so many bishops and abbots?

Although this Calendar was instituted indeed by me for no other reason than to serve the private use of the reader as merely an Index to mark each martyr's month and year, yet, however, if in the Churches it is also right to record the days of individual months with the personal names of saints, how should I the less be allowed to do in the case of true martyrs what they themselves have permitted with such licence, not to say impudence, in the case of their pseudo-martyrs? If not punishment but cause makes a martyr, why should I not not compare but prefer one Cranmer to six hundred Beckets of Canterbury? What is there seen in Nicholas Ridley which is not to be compared to any divine Nicholas you please? In what way are Latimer, Hooper, Marsh, Simpson and the rest of the Christian martyrs dressed in white to seem inferior to those highest and greatest divines of the Papist Calendar, and not rather even to be preferred to them on many accounts? Meanwhile I harm the cause of no good and holy man (provided he is truly holy), nor do I extinguish his memory or lessen his glory. And if this Calendar is displeasing to anyone, let him remember that it is not being placed in the Churches, but is only being prepared for reading in the home.

But having dismissed these calumnies of my opponents, it is time, learned and sincere Reader, for my address to return to you, since this letter was designed for you, whose judgment in these matters as I value the more, so I also need here your patronage the more. For I know that in this vast accumulation you will find some things at which you will deservedly frown. Nor indeed could it easily have been achieved, especially in a work produced so quickly, that everything would be so completely filed to rule and finger-nail, but that somewhere either the writer becomes drowsy from fatigue, or something escapes the author through negligence, or that from haste it turns out that the dog, which proverbially is used to hurrying too much through eagerness, predictably produces blind puppies. Indeed, in carrying out these things, we must beg rather for your pardon than for your criticism. Wherefore, learned and at the same time most kind Reader, I have been pleased to place this brief ??????????? (preface) before the beginning of the work, so that, while perusing it, if anything turns up which is not complete in all its numbers, not composed laboriously by the lamp of Cleanthes, not expressed to the standard of the choice ingenuity of theologians, or otherwise less worthy of your most intelligent discernment, you may understand that these things have been published not for your ears, but for mine, that it is for men of the duller crowd, by whom books are more easily read than judged. Or if not even that satisfies your most weighty opinion, let me be allowed to use that law, by which it is always permitted for sleep to steal upon the writer in a great work. But if indeed I gain your willingness in this matter, I shall labour the less over what the rest may clamour, being mindful of the Greek proverb, which I could wish that themselves remember: 'one will blame quicker than one will imitate.'

1563 Edition, page 9 | 1583 Edition, page 6[Back to Top]
¶ On the Martyrology of John Foxe.

Laurence Humphrey.

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

We marvel at the sad Iliad of learned Homer, which, although he was a blind man, he skilfully applied himself to compose. The fates of many men are bewailed in tragic style and sad audiences watch these unfold with wet cheeks. Certainly many things have to be grieved for, but many are the dreams of poets, and they interweave truth with fiction and what is proved with what is not legitimate. There are those who delight in the inventions of the false Legend which you can rightly call an Augean stable. While it tells of the life and death of Holy men, how does that leaden book make mistakes, how does it embellish, how does it invent? Now at last a new and real Golden Legend is coming to the fore: an outstanding Chronicle, a mournful history. The work commends its author, and so again the author adorns the work: at the same time each of these is free from gall. Look at the author: he is just, concise but full and clear in judgement, skill and faith. If you consider the matter, he is dealing with the deaths and murders of good men, and the cruel 'stigmata' of an undeserved cross. Let other people mock, let them revile, but while Zoilus perished long ago, he has now taught what it is to slander. Here you may learn, Reader, how full of fury is the tyranny of the Roman pig-sty and the horned flock: how the wolf always attacks innocent lambs: how it growls and devours the bones with its greedy jaws. Had it not been enough to burn the holy limbs of Christ? and is it not enough to destroy the living in the flames? Is it not sufficient to have condemned old men and boys and men in their prime, and not enough to have condemned women of every class? Why does it please, alas, to censure dead spirits with writings, and to say that Foxe's divines stink of dung heaps? Ah, you poor man, ah, you are stinging the tender little eyes of Christ, you are touching his pupil, whoever you are, so be wise. This is the progeny whose robe, having been washed in the blood of the lamb, shines completely white through Christ. How long does it (sc. the progeny) lament beneath the altar, Christ? Christ, come quickly. Christ, how long will you bear it? Your progeny is beyond weapons, and it preaches God. Its death was costly, but its life will be everlasting. Why are you raging, O furious Satan? Why are you hurling darts? Why do you enrage kings, and why do you tear the good to pieces? Executioners, prison, tortures and firebrands are in vain. The limbs together with the head reign in heaven. The world has consumed the bodies of the saints, but their souls have departed on high and Foxe has their names. Foxe has names to be celebrated throughout the whole world, names which cannot now be buried by any length of day. For Foxe will live with the Martyrs and their names will live with God and their noble lineage with their God. Christ, show a harbour for your people, check the waves, and let there be its rest for the buffeted ship. Let the earth not be wet with the blood of brothers after this: may Foxe not continue to write of martyrdoms. May you curtail the ruined times of a wicked life and may that deadly cup finally pass by. Most excellent father, may there be an end and may your kingdom come: glory be to you, to Christ and to the Spirit. Amen.

1570 Edition, page 20[Back to Top]
¶ On the history of the Holy Martyrs

Abraham Hartwell

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

Your eloquence, venerable Foxe, is needed not by the martyrs themselves but by us, not by heaven but by the world. By their calamities and death it was thought that the crowds whom you yourself now see degenerate had increased. By their story, believe me, as by fire the Gospel which is now cold will become hot. A thousand ages to come will strive to emulate the brave deeds of those of whose brave deeds they will read. And the many burnings and fires, the many deaths, tears, destructions, dangers and deaths, no length of time will remove, nor the evil enemy who brought them, even though with all Phlegethon he may wish it. The enemy who once raged will not twice be violent, since God refuses it. Let him twice roar: the Shepherd with the innocent flock will be carried off, the flock will fall and the shepherd, and the future hope of the flock. No lamb will remain in the shattered folds, no beast, O my God, with upright simplicity. All good things will be overcome and yield to all bad things: benign simplicity to deceit, and faith to perfidy, the holy choir of Evangelic virtues to the unjust, false, criminal and blood-stained. What they will do learn from what they have done: things to come are proved by things past. Unless there come from heaven your Clemency by whose finger the small are lifted up and the proud fall. And may you come, eternal one, powerful, unconquered, and triumphant: come as you did in Egypt or Babylon. Draco and Belus were not so great at Babylon, and their mad cults and foul superstition. And though the cruel deeds of Egypt will be read of, Egypt was not so savage and threatening. Nor is that enough: each of them grew into a single monster, and any hydra which was more savage than both. What will the trusty herald or master of the pen be able to do against them? What will the truth-begetting of the learned school be able to do? What the gentle martyr who se whole body is torn, what the book filled and blood-stained with the martyrs? The book which sings of violent things, of living witnesses on all sides, of doers still alive, and things recently done? To be sure, to show the nature of the church of the saints, and the character of the wolves gathered from Acheron. To teach, strengthen, and comfort the hearts of the pious, and unteach, overcome and torment the wicked. That the glory you have won, O my God, may stand forever, that the glory of your Son may be able to see with you. That posterity in both sorts, good and bad, may know of the trophies of holy blood not to be hidden. These words, venerable (Foxe), sought by you with so much labour, sought by so many prayers, drawn out by so many nights, sweated over by so many days, designed to please so many good men and overwhelm so many bad, designed to spread the praises of Christ not of men throughout the world, and deeds, I believe, such as but a few ages will produce. May the Almighty prosper these (words) for you and for us, to the perpetual praise and glory of God. Let Satan be envious, and Zoilus burst his side. Let lying Rome with its company detract through envy.

1570 Edition, page 20[Back to Top]
¶ On the same Subject. Robert Recorde

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

Look, again a new commentary on mighty prophets: the glory is increased, and greater than it was before. Reader, you have the histories of the saints and the perfidious times of our age, and terrible crime. Certainly the work, however large the volume be, is worthy to be read by the pious multitude and approved by posterity. A greater work rises, I admit it: the letters of the wise are numerous, but the style is similar in weight and art. Believe me, length of days will ultimately read this narrative and look up to your genius, eloquent Foxe. But madness on the part of a crazed population does not allow this (these things). Ah me, neither does it endure or suffer learned men. The actor, sycophant, babbler, parasite, hypocrite, mime-player and wastrel are more attractive; the pimp and the papist please. You do not know how to flatter or to be silent about the truth, Foxe; and are you surprised that your writings have not found favour?

1570 Edition, page 20[Back to Top]
From the Same [Poet]

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

Every good man respects you, Foxe, and honours your writings; so many monuments of your zeal give you this glory. Your holy life adorns you, the congregation of the learned praises you, so whence comes this hatred for your books? Whence this sudden conversion of the papizing sect? Now it is shame to hear what it was not shame to do. Whence so many Harpies, I mean Hardings and Copes? Whence this chattering mob from the school at Louvain? The cause is manifest: papism rages against the Muses, hates holy things, and the shorn nature does not approve of the athletes of Christ. And it is not so much that they hate you, but the truth and the faith. Alas, their malign tongue cannot speak well of anything.

1570 Edition, page 21[Back to Top]
¶ To John Daye, printer

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

Although many people have sold frivolous absurdities and unadulterated stupidity for a high price, do not have any doubt (Daye), that you will gain the profit you desire even for single copies, notwithstanding that the Monuments are costing you a great deal.

1570 Edition, page 21[Back to Top]
¶ A poem of Thomas Drant on the Acts of the Martyrs

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

So then, could the wicked voice of the Pope have thus by its order commanded so dreadful an outrage? have buried so many bodies together in so many pyres, ashes without the honour of a tomb? What kind of men is this? or what race so barbarous is there anywhere which permits this practice, of killing the good without regard for law, and of slaughtering so many men for the sake of the anger of a harlot? Tell it forth, Pope, what madness and frenzy carried you away to consign the bodies of saints to such dreadful flames? to mingle together the deaths of so many men, and smite so many citizens, and devastate Britons set a whole world away from you? Tell what great crime could our countrymen have committed against you? what could those persons do, for whom, after so many terrible sufferings, there scarcely remains any portion of the extent of the world's globe? Or is it that we have felt your deceit and treachery, your interference and your criminal love of possession? that your voice does not have a human sound to our ears, and we have rightly therefore supposed that the Pope was the son of an evil demon? Or was it that you grieved that we conspired with Christ, that we see that you do not conspire with Christ? That we reveal you as a Roman hydra with many horns, as the servant of great crime and vice? It is from this that that comes which twists itself with curses and threats, which has burned even these people with smoking torches. Be pitiful, and be pitied by no one at all. Of this great calamity you, Bonner, were a large part, slayer of the sheep of Christ, scatterer of the fold, a terrible scourge to the folds, nothing but an unmitigated disaster. And you too, who have taken pleasure in laying hands on all the prophets of God, and trampling underfoot the good, and rejecting the name of kindness, set aside the cruelty in your hearts. Now it is enough, O more than enough, become wise, though late in time, no day is too late, now finally learn, learn at last by admonition not to despise Christ. Bestow kisses on his Son, lest the Avenger exercise his wrath, and scatter you in disarray dislodged from the path of life. But you, you dwellers in heaven, who have overcome in joy all that there is of bitterness, who are permitted to dwell in bliss for ever, the sweet delight of Christ, because by your seemly death you have adorned Christ, you glorious dwellers above, and you the host in triumph, no flesh, no world, no Turks, or Pope or demon, or moon shining by night or sun by day will vex you. And you, all of you, who have climbed the height of heaven, and pass to the Father, leaving behind the weight of the world, what harm was done to you by prison, blows, fetters, tortures, jeers and cruel faces? what by weapons and by fires? To be sure, as yellow gold is tried in the fire, so you have been done to death by fires tested by Christ. Your death is precious in the eyes of the Lord. While you, Foxe, thus by your writings spread wide the names and the death and the characters of these persons down the length of time, while you reveal all from its true beginning, you are a good man, and much deserving to be remembered for your very service. So then you continue to grow pale over your learned papers, turning them with your hand by night and by day. You are an Atlas industrious and learned in the studies of your glorious labours, while the generality seeking after its benefits without the approval of Christ hunts down the honours of the world. Do you write either in the Roman speech or the British, and present the deeds of time past, with God the Father showing you the way, and you following the fate given you: you will earn full marks, so well do you mix the useful with the pleasurable. Mighty God, father of heaven, and monarch of the universe, whom we believe to be lord of earth and tempest, and whom we know to be the only God to be revered, do you see how everything is vexed by mad tumult and the world utterly turned from the pivot of peace? Spare your small flock, we all ask you for peace. May you be kind and prosper your people, and spare Christ whose limbs the world now too much harms and hates. By your beloved spouse, and the promised covenant, by the sufferings of Christ, by the sweet pledges of his passion, and in your name, you we beseech, break the jaw teeth of the wicked.

1570 Edition, page 21[Back to Top]
¶ An allusion to a poem of Ennius

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

If anyone is allowed ascend to heaven by killing, the biggest gate of heaven is open to the Papists.

J[ohn] F[oxe]

[Note that this epigram also occurs on page 2265 of the 1570 edition in Book XII. The actual text of Cicero is found in the De Republica, Fragments, sect. 6. line 3: Si fas endo plagas caelestum ascendere cuiquam est, Mi soli caeli maxima porta patet. Also cf. Seneca the Younger, Epistlae Morales ad Luc. Letter 108. 34. 5.: Ennium hoc ait Homero [se] subripuisse, Ennio Vergilium; esse enim apud Ciceronem in his ipsis de re publica hoc epigramma Enni: si fas endo plagas caelestum ascendere cuiquam est, mi soli caeli maxima porta patet. Also cf. Lactantius, Divinarum Institutionum lib. I, De Falsa Religione Deorum, Migne P.L., col. 0211B: Apud Ennium sic loquitur Africanus; Si fas endo plagas coelestum ascendere cuiquam est, Mi soli coeli maxima porta patet.]

1570 Edition, page 21[Back to Top]
¶ On the Martyrology of John Foxe.

Laurence Humphrey.

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

We marvel at the sad Iliad of learned Homer, which, although he was a blind man, he skilfully applied himself to compose. The fates of many men are bewailed in tragic style and sad audiences watch these unfold with wet cheeks. Certainly many things have to be grieved for, but many are the dreams of poets, and they interweave truth with fiction and what is proved with what is not legitimate. There are those who delight in the inventions of the false Legend which you can rightly call an Augean stable. While it tells of the life and death of Holy men, how does that leaden book make mistakes, how does it embellish, how does it invent? Now at last a new and real Golden Legend is coming to the fore: an outstanding Chronicle, a mournful history. The work commends its author, and so again the author adorns the work: at the same time each of these is free from gall. Look at the author: he is just, concise but full and clear in judgement, skill and faith. If you consider the matter, he is dealing with the deaths and murders of good men, and the cruel 'stigmata' of an undeserved cross. Let other people mock, let them revile, but while Zoilus perished long ago, he has now taught what it is to slander. Here you may learn, Reader, how full of fury is the tyranny of the Roman pig-sty and the horned flock: how the wolf always attacks innocent lambs: how it growls and devours the bones with its greedy jaws. Had it not been enough to burn the holy limbs of Christ? and is it not enough to destroy the living in the flames? Is it not sufficient to have condemned old men and boys and men in their prime, and not enough to have condemned women of every class? Why does it please, alas, to censure dead spirits with writings, and to say that Foxe's divines stink of dung heaps? Ah, you poor man, ah, you are stinging the tender little eyes of Christ, you are touching his pupil, whoever you are, so be wise. This is the progeny whose robe, having been washed in the blood of the lamb, shines completely white through Christ. How long does it (sc. the progeny) lament beneath the altar, Christ? Christ, come quickly. Christ, how long will you bear it? Your progeny is beyond weapons, and it preaches God. Its death was costly, but its life will be everlasting. Why are you raging, O furious Satan? Why are you hurling darts? Why do you enrage kings, and why do you tear the good to pieces? Executioners, prison, tortures and firebrands are in vain. The limbs together with the head reign in heaven. The world has consumed the bodies of the saints, but their souls have departed on high and Foxe has their names. Foxe has names to be celebrated throughout the whole world, names which cannot now be buried by any length of day. For Foxe will live with the Martyrs and their names will live with God and their noble lineage with their God. Christ, show a harbour for your people, check the waves, and let there be its rest for the buffeted ship. Let the earth not be wet with the blood of brothers after this: may Foxe not continue to write of martyrdoms. May you curtail the ruined times of a wicked life and may that deadly cup finally pass by. Most excellent father, may there be an end and may your kingdom come: glory be to you, to Christ and to the Spirit. Amen.

1576 Edition, page 20[Back to Top]
On the History of the Holy Martyrs

Abraham Hartwell

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

Your eloquence, venerable Foxe, is needed not by the martyrs themselves but by us, not by heaven but by the world. By their calamities and death it was thought that the crowds whom you yourself now see degenerate had increased. By their story, believe me, as by fire the Gospel which is now cold will become hot. A thousand ages to come will strive to emulate the brave deeds of those of whose brave deeds they will read. And the many burnings and fires, the many deaths, tears, destructions, dangers and deaths, no length of time will remove, nor the evil enemy who brought them, even though with all Phlegethon he may wish it. The enemy who once raged will not twice be violent, since God refuses it. Let him twice roar: the Shepherd with the innocent flock will be carried off, the flock will fall and the shepherd, and the future hope of the flock. No lamb will remain in the shattered folds, no beast, O my God, with upright simplicity. All good things will be overcome and yield to all bad things: benign simplicity to deceit, and faith to perfidy, the holy choir of Evangelic virtues to the unjust, false, criminal and blood-stained. What they will do learn from what they have done: things to come are proved by things past. Unless there come from heaven your Clemency by whose finger the small are lifted up and the proud fall. And may you come, eternal one, powerful, unconquered, and triumphant: come as you did in Egypt or Babylon. Draco and Belus were not so great at Babylon, and their mad cults and foul superstition. And though the cruel deeds of Egypt will be read of, Egypt was not so savage and threatening. Nor is that enough: each of them grew into a single monster, and any hydra which was more savage than both. What will the trusty herald or master of the pen be able to do against them? What will the truth-begetting of the learned school be able to do? What the gentle martyr whose whole body is torn, what the book filled and blood-stained with the martyrs? The book which sings of violent things, of living witnesses on all sides, of doers still alive, and things recently done? To be sure, to show the nature of the church of the saints, and the character of the wolves gathered from Acheron. To teach, strengthen, and comfort the hearts of the pious, and unteach, overcome and torment the wicked. That the glory you have won, O my God, may stand forever, that the glory of your Son may be able to see with you. That posterity in both sorts, good and bad, may know of the trophies of holy blood not to be hidden. These words, venerable (Foxe), sought by you with so much labour, sought by so many prayers, drawn out by so many nights, sweated over by so many days, designed to please so many good men and overwhelm so many bad, designed to spread the praises of Christ not of men throughout the world, and deeds, I believe, such as but a few ages will produce. May the Almighty prosper these (words) for you and for us, to the perpetual praise and glory of God. Let Satan be envious, and Zoilus burst his side. Let lying Rome with its company detract through envy.

1576 Edition, page 20[Back to Top]
On the same subject. Robert Record

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

Look, again a new commentary on mighty prophets: the glory is increased, and greater than it was before. Reader, you have the histories of the saints and the perfidious times of our age, and terrible crime. Certainly the work, however large the volume be, is worthy to be read by the pious multitude and approved by posterity. A greater work rises, I admit it: the letters of the wise are numerous, but the style is similar in weight and art. Believe me, length of days will ultimately read this narrative and look up to your genius, eloquent Foxe. But madness on the part of a crazed population does not allow this (these things). Ah me, neither does it endure or suffer learned men. The actor, sycophant, babbler, parasite, hypocrite, mime-player and wastrel are more attractive; the pimp and the papist please. You do not know how to flatter or to be silent about the truth, Foxe; and are you surprised that your writings have not found favour?

1576 Edition, page 21[Back to Top]
From the same.

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

Every good man respects you, Foxe, and honours your writings; so many monuments of your zeal give you this glory. Your holy life adorns you, the congregation of the learned praises you, so whence comes this hatred for your books? Whence this sudden conversion of the papizing sect? Now it is shame to hear what it was not shame to do. Whence so many Harpies, I mean Hardings and Copes? Whence this chattering mob from the school at Louvain? The cause is manifest: papism rages against the Muses, hates holy things, and the shorn nature does not approve of the athletes of Christ. And it is not so much that they hate you, but the truth and the faith. Alas, their malign tongue cannot speak well of anything.

1576 Edition, page 21[Back to Top]
¶ To John Daye, the Printer

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

Although many people have sold frivolous absurdities and unadulterated stupidity for a high price, do not have any doubt (Daye), that you will gain the profit you desire even for single copies, notwithstanding that the Monuments are costing you a great deal.

1576 Edition, page 21[Back to Top]
A poem of Thomas Drant on the deeds of the Martyrs

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

So then, could the wicked voice of the Pope have thus by its order commanded so dreadful an outrage? have buried so many bodies together in so many pyres, ashes without the honour of a tomb? What kind of men is this? or what race so barbarous is there anywhere which permits this practice, of killing the good without regard for law, and of slaughtering so many men for the sake of the anger of a harlot? Tell it forth, Pope, what madness and frenzy carried you away to consign the bodies of saints to such dreadful flames? to mingle together the deaths of so many men, and smite so many citizens, and devastate Britons set a whole world away from you? Tell what great crime could our countrymen have committed against you? what could those persons do, for whom, after so many terrible sufferings, there scarcely remains any portion of the extent of the world's globe? Or is it that we have felt your deceit and treachery, your interference and your criminal love of possession? that your voice does not have a human sound to our ears, and we have rightly therefore supposed that the Pope was the son of an evil demon? Or was it that you grieved that we conspired with Christ, that we see that you do not conspire with Christ? That we reveal you as a Roman hydra with many horns, as the servant of great crime and vice? It is from this that that comes which twists itself with curses and threats, which has burned even these people with smoking torches. Be pitiful, and be pitied by no one at all. Of this great calamity you, Bonner, were a large part, slayer of the sheep of Christ, scatterer of the fold, a terrible scourge to the folds, nothing but an unmitigated disaster. And you too, who have taken pleasure in laying hands on all the prophets of God, and trampling underfoot the good, and rejecting the name of kindness, set aside the cruelty in your hearts. Now it is enough, O more than enough, become wise, though late in time, no day is too late, now finally learn, learn at last by admonition not to despise Christ. Bestow kisses on his Son, lest the Avenger exercise his wrath, and scatter you in disarray dislodged from the path of life. But you, you dwellers in heaven, who have overcome in joy all that there is of bitterness, who are permitted to dwell in bliss for ever, the sweet delight of Christ, because by your seemly death you have adorned Christ, you glorious dwellers above, and you the host in triumph, no flesh, no world, no Turks, or Pope or demon, or moon shining by night or sun by day will vex you. And you, all of you, who have climbed the height of heaven, and pass to the Father, leaving behind the weight of the world, what harm was done to you by prison, blows, fetters, tortures, jeers and cruel faces? what by weapons and by fires? To be sure, as yellow gold is tried in the fire, so you have been done to death by fires tested by Christ. Your death is precious in the eyes of the Lord. While you, Foxe, thus by your writings spread wide the names and the death and the characters of these persons down the length of time, while you reveal all from its true beginning, you are a good man, and much deserving to be remembered for your very service. So then you continue to grow pale over your learned papers, turning them with your hand by night and by day. You are an Atlas industrious and learned in the studies of your glorious labours, while the generality seeking after its benefits without the approval of Christ hunts down the honours of the world. Do you write either in the Roman speech or the British, and present the deeds of time past, with God the Father showing you the way, and you following the fate given you: you will earn full marks, so well do you mix the useful with the pleasurable. Mighty God, father of heaven, and monarch of the universe, whom we believe to be lord of earth and tempest, and whom we know to be the only God to be revered, do you see how everything is vexed by mad tumult and the world utterly turned from the pivot of peace? Spare your small flock, we all ask you for peace. May you be kind and prosper your people, and spare Christ whose limbs the world now too much harms and hates. By your beloved spouse, and the promised covenant, by the sufferings of Christ, by the sweet pledges of his passion, and in your name, you we beseech, break the jaw teeth of the wicked.

1576 Edition, page 21[Back to Top]
Against Papist firebrands.

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

If anyone is allowed ascend to heaven by killing, the biggest gate of heaven is open to the Papists.

[Note that this epigram also occurs on page 1937 of the 1576 edition in Book XII. The actual text of Cicero is found in the De Republica, Fragments, sect. 6. line 3: Si fas endo plagas caelestum ascendere cuiquam est, Mi soli caeli maxima porta patet. Also cf. Seneca the Younger, Epistlae Morales ad Luc. Letter 108. 34. 5.: Ennium hoc ait Homero [se] subripuisse, Ennio Vergilium; esse enim apud Ciceronem in his ipsis de re publica hoc epigramma Enni: si fas endo plagas caelestum ascendere cuiquam est, mi soli caeli maxima porta patet. Also cf. Lactantius, Divinarum Institutionum lib. I, De Falsa Religione Deorum, Migne P.L., col. 0211B: Apud Ennium sic loquitur Africanus; Si fas endo plagas coelestum ascendere cuiquam est, Mi soli coeli maxima porta patet.]

1576 Edition, page 22[Back to Top]
On the same subject

Giles Fletcher of Cambridge

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

Now three times your ship has traversed the seas, having spent much effort in the interim period, and three times Foxe has seen the shores. And while you put to flight swords, dogs and bodies consumed in flames, your own body has been consumed and your pale limbs are weak, but your courage remains tireless, which is advantageous to us but harmful to you alone. No rather you are complaining that soft idleness is lessening your labours, you superhuman person. You cannot, and an enormous passion for God's will drives your mind, and restores new strength to your heart. And so come on, seeing that you are singing to us of the memorable deeds of good men, indulge quickly in your sacred task. Already while posterity, which the long custody of fame holds, thinks about the succession of its great ancestor, and while it reads the monuments of your labour, worshipful sir, the great minded leaders and the stars sought through the midst of the fires, the age to come will at the same time marvel at you and will in rivalry imitate the sacred praises of those of old. Let not other fires, not the very power of Kings, nor any power of steel, neither spears nor swords, subdue breasts burning in the flames of heaven. Like when winged Aurora coming from the mountains carries back the funeral tribute and her father's ashes, and while she prepares the pyre and flames for herself, goes away from the fire greater, and where she fluttered with new wings the native birds follow with happy cry: you blessed ones have fortunate souls above the high stars (and) whatever is oppressed touches mortal breasts, no longer our honour, nor rewards for our concern: nor anything for the hostile land to do for such great virtues. See, however, Posterity will pay such honours as it will be able, while reading of tremendous deeds, it marvels at the strength and with applause will follow victorious faith above the stars. (If in any way they owe this to mortals) they themselves admit that they owe the ashes of the saints to you, Foxe. There will be a time, when, after your death and good works, being about to augment the inhabitants of the upper world, you will happily see the high stars, whose names you are already assigning to fame, the outstanding heroes, and you will yourself be seen by them. And now the offspring, rising high, will follow their fathers as the world goes to ruin, religion, the glory of the human race, an excellent guardian of the Empire, which holy faith accompanies as it proceeds, will thrust itself out more clearly than heaven on high and golden peace will increase around the happy lands, then also the monuments of divine labour and the sacred work will flourish everywhere and bless with its fruit both the people and the people's grandchildren throughout long generations.

1576 Edition, page 22[Back to Top]
On the same subject

Thomas Ridley of Cambridge.

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

The bodies which once lacked a just tomb and the pious bones which were scattered throughout the fields in all directions skilful Foxe has collected with great care and massed together in one work. But when the deceitful and troublesome clan, the Papists, vainly began to take revenge upon so holy a work, the pious man enlarged the same, made two volumes out of the one and built up his words against his enemies. Not satisfied with this, he refined it again, enlarged it and compressed it for the convenience of his people: not at all fearing the abuse of a stupid tongue, while he was making your brave deeds resound, you holy ones. O you lucky souls, who have born witness with your blood as heavenly assistance for us! And you, who have adorned your holy remains by such a death, completing a sad ministry: but outstanding for you, and not without use for us, just as by those examples we can be brave through faith.

1576 Edition, page 22[Back to Top]
M. M. S.

[The identity of this M.M.S. remains unknown. He did however translate Brevissima relacion de la destruycion de las Indias by Bartolomé de las Casas (1474-1566) from Spanish, and this was published in London in 1583.]

Translation

John Wade, University of Sheffield

Read through the deeds and burning fates of English men which we have sealed and disclosed in a faithful register: the spectacles of twin gatherings, congregations fighting in their different wars, are there to be admired by you. On this side, are those over whom wild Satan hovers with savage onslaught, and carries forward the torches of Tartarus into his own realms. On that side, Christ the King of Heaven, stretches out a way to the stars across flames and a thousand bloody deaths. On this side, arms, prayers, tears, fastings in the churches and the honour and sacrifices ordered by the Father on high. The fury of the Cyclopes wearies this gathering, the Eumenides weary their wild hearts and thorny breasts with grim squalor. The Mass flies in front, drunk with flames rivers of blood, and evil Rome steps back. While Foxe records such struggles extended over a long period of time, and gathers together so many monuments in his book, meanwhile the virgin born in the time of truth stands high over trampled Phleethon. After other births, and then after other labours, comes this final anger of the avenging hand, and this third set of arms we hang up to father Quirinus, which before were small but now as great and of such a kind as you see. Just like the miracles of the fateful stone which long ago the royal exile displayed on the soil of Assyria, [so] this stone is small, but it lifts itself up to heaven, ordered to equal the Atlantic bays. Now also (it is one) which has filled the world with its curved fragments and makes haste to climb in might to the heights of heaven. The father himself, thundering with this, has extended his rule over the burning vault, and topples proud kingdoms to the ground. A cruel flint, because it speeds through the flaming foundations of cities and brings destruction with its exalted threats. Bold Semiramis of Rome, look to your brick walls. Already that Babylon of yours is crashing down. How great a ruin will be brought about now by the force of that rocky cliff? What terrible massacre will its fearfulness inflict upon the wretched sons of Rome? This is the last labour of the greedy mountain which carries off the popes who revere the ships and the puppets who revere the popes. But you happy spirits, whose hearts are concerned with the age of gold, are pouring out pious prayers with pure lips: and you, winged battle-lines, citizens of starry Olympus, applaud: the Babel of Rome is dead, dead the pope.

1576 Edition, page 22[Back to Top]