Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
1008 [1008]

K. Henry. 8. Prophecies and prouerbes agaynst the church of Rome.

Marginalia An other signification of the popes subuersion.that it remoued the litle child Iesus out of the lappe of his mother, and the keyes out of S. Peters hand. Whiche thyng manye then did interprete to signifie and forshowe the subuersion and alteration of the Sea of Rome.

Hetherto perteineth also a straūge portente and a prodigious tokē frō heauen, in the yeare of our Lord. 1501. Marginalia Ex Ioan. Carione.
Franc. Mirandula. & alijs.
In the which yeare, vnder the reigne of Maximilian Emperour, Marginalia Bloudye markes of the Lordes passion, seene vpon mens garmentes.there appeared in Germanie, vpon the vestures of men as well of priestes, as laymen, vpon wemens garmentes also, and vpon their rockes as they were spinnyng, diuers printes and tokens of the nayles, of the spunge, of the spayre, of the Lordes, coate, and of bloudye Crosses. &c. All whiche were sene vpon their cappes and gownes, as is most certeinly testified and recorded by diuers, whiche both did see, and also did write vpon the same. Of whom first was Maximiliā the Emperour, who both had, and shewed the same to FranciscuS Mirandula, whiche wrote therupon a booke in Latine meter called Staurostichon:  

Commentary   *   Close

I.e., the Stauristichon of Giovanni Pico della Miarandola.

wherein for the more credite, these verses be conteined.

[Back to Top]

Non ignota cano, Cæsar monstrauit, & ipsi
Vidmus: Innumeros prompsit Germania testes. &c.

Of this also writeth Iohn Carion, Functius, Phil. Melan. Flaccius, with diuers moe.  

Commentary   *   Close

The references to all of these writers, including Pico della Mirandola, is from John Bale, Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae…Catalogus (Basel, 1557), p. 646.

Marginalia The exposition of thys portent.These markes and tokens, as they were very straunge, so were they diuersly expounded of many, some thinkyng that they portended affliction and persecution of the Churche to draw neare: some, that God by that token did admonish them, or foreshewed vnto them, the true doctrine of their iustification, which onely is to be sought in the Crosse & Passion of Christ, and no other thyng. This I maruell, that Christianus Masseus, & other of that profession, do leaue it out. Bylike they saw some thyng in it, that made not to their lyking. For whether it signifieth persecutiō to come vpon the Germanes, they can not be euill that suffer and beare the Crosse with Christ: Or whether it signifieth the true doctrine of Christe commyng to the Germaines, it can not otherwise be, but that the doctrine of the Byshop of Rome must nede be wrong, whiche is contrarie to this whiche God hath styrred vp in Germanie.

[Back to Top]

By these and such lyke prophecies it is euident to vnderstand, the time not to be farre of, when God of his determinate prouidence was disposed to reforme and to restore his Churche. And not onely by these prophecies the same might wel appeare, but also, and much rather by the hartes of the people at that tyme, whose myndes were so incensed and inflamed with hatred agaynst the pompe and pride of Rome, both through all nations, and especiallye the people of Germanie, that it was easie to perceiue the tyme was neare at hand, when the pride of Popish prelacie would haue a fall. Such disdeine there was, such contempt & derision began to rise on euery side then agaynst the Pope and the Court of Rome, that it myght soone appeare by the hartes of the people, that God was not disposed to haue it long to stand. For neither were their detestable doyngs so secret that mē did not see them: neither did any man behold them, hauyng any sparcle of godlynes, that could abyde them. And thereupon grewe these prouerbes to their derision, in euery countrey: As in Germanie it hath bene a Prouerbe amongest them.

[Back to Top]

Marginalia Prouerbes agaynst the corrupt sea of Rome.  

Commentary   *   Close

These anticlerical proverbs and quotations, down through the quotation from Becket, are all taken from Mathias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), p. 564.

Was ist nu in der werlt fur ein wesen,
VVir moegen fur den pfaffen nicht genesen.

What is this, to see the world now round about,
That for these shaueling priestes no man that once may rout?

Quam primum clericus suscipit rasuram, statim intrat in eum diabolus. That is:
So soone as a clarke is shorne into hys order, by and by the deuill entreth into hym.
In nomine domini incipit omne malum. That is:
In the name of God beginneth all euill: alludyng to the Popes Bulles, whiche commonly so begin.
Item, when Bulles come from Rome, binde well your purses.
The nearer Rome, the farther from Christ.
Item, he that goeth once to Rome, seeth a wicked man.
He that goeth twise, learneth to know him.
He that goeth thrise, bringeth him home with him.
Item, the Court of Rome neuer regardeth the shepe without the woll.
Once were wodden chalices and golden Priestes:
Now we haue golden chalices, and wodden Priestes.
Marginalia Ex Auenti.Once Christen men had blind Churches and light hartes:
Now they haue blind hartes and light Churches.
Iteē, many are worshipped for Saintes in heauen, whose soules be burnyng in hell.

[Back to Top]

What should I speake of our English prouerbe which so vilye estemeth the filthye Friers, that it cōpareth them (sauing thy reuerence good reader) to a farte?

In Fraunce, Gallus Senonensis wryteth 400. yeares agoe, that amongest them it was an olde saying: Romæ solui Satanam in perniciem totius ecclesiæ. That is: That Satan was let lose at Rome to distroy the whole Church.

Thomas Becket him selfe, in hys tyme wryting to the Colledge of Cardinalls, denieth it not, but to be a common worde both through towne and Citie, quod nō sit iustitia Romæ. That is: That there is no right at Rome.

To these may be adioyned also the A. B. C. Which we finde in the margent of a certaine old register, to be attributed to VVilliā Thorpe,  

Commentary   *   Close

Foxe's meaning is obscured by his tortured syntax. What he is saying is that an annotation in a register attributed the work to William Thorpe, not that the register was attributed to Thorpe. In fact, Foxe is probably referring to the marginal note in Bishop Tunstall's register (Guildhall Library MS 9531/10, fo. 143v).

[Back to Top]
whose story we haue comprehended in the booke before.  
Commentary   *   Close

See 1583, pp. 527-43; 1576, pp. 511-27; 1570, pp. 629-49; 1563, pp. 143-72.

Marginalia An A. B. C. agaynst the pride of the popes clergye.

Commentary   *   Close

Foxe is quoting an anticlerical tract, A proper dyaloque betweene a gentillman and a husbandman, printed c. 1529 (STC 1462.3). It takes its popular name, the A.B.C., from the acrostic verses printed on its title page. These verses are printed by Foxe.

ye gostly persones, awake, awake,
oth priest, pope, bishop and Cardinall.
consider wisely, what wayes that ye take,
aungerously beyng like to haue a fall.
uery where the mischief of you all,
arre and neare, breaketh out very fast:
od will nedes be reuenged at the last.
ow long haue ye the worlde captiued,
n sore bondage, of mens traditions?
ynges and Emperours ye haue depriued,
ewdly vsurping, their chiefe posseßions:
uch miserie ye make in all regions.
ow your fraudes be almost at the latter cast,
f God sore to be reuenged at the last.
oore people to oppresse, ye haue no shame,
uaking for feare of your double tyrannie.
ightfull iustice ye haue put out of frame,
eking the lust of your God, the belly.
herfore I dare you boldely certifie,
ery litle though ye be therof a gast,
et God will be reuenged at the last.

[Back to Top]

By these and such like sayinges, whiche may bee collected, innumerable, it may soone be sene what hartes and iudgemētes the people had in those dayes of the Romishe clergy. Whiche thyng, no doubt, was of God, as a secrete prophecie, that shortly Religion should be restored: accordyng as it came to passe, about this present tyme when D. Martin Luther first began to write,  

Commentary   *   Close
Martin Luther

Despite his occasional disagreements with Luther over theology, Foxe never lost sight of Luther's historical importance. And while Foxe insisted that there was a True Church before Luther and also that the way for Luther had been prepared by Erasmus and others, Foxe saw Luther's doctrine of justification by faith as a divinely inspired revelation. (The section introducing the life of Luther, describing prophecies of Luther's advent reveal Foxe's commitment to the concept of Luther as a divine agent). Far more than even Wiclif or Hus or Tyndale, Luther was, to Foxe, the most important figure in human history since the apostolic era.

[Back to Top]

Unsurprisingly then, Foxe devoted a great deal of space to Luther in every edition of the A&M. In 1563, the account of Luther's life through the Diet of Worms (1521) was taken from Henry Bennet's translation of Philip Melancthon's Historia de vita et actis…Martini Lutheri (cf. A famous and godly history, trans. H. Bennet [London, 1561], STC 1881, sigs. B5v-F8r with 1563, pp. 402-15). Foxe followed this translation closely, often on a word-for-word basis. The difficulty with Melanchthon's account is that it really was two separate histories, one of Luther's background and early life, and one of the Diet of Worms. The crucial years between, including the Liepzig disputation, were not covered in it.

[Back to Top]

In the 1570 edition, Foxe filled this gap with two additional sources. The most important of these, at least for the life of Luther, was an expanded version of Caspar Hedio's continuation of the chronicle attributed to Burchard of Ursburg (Caspar Hedio, Paralipomena rerum memorabilium [Basel, 1569]). This expanded edition contained not only Hedio's chronicle, but also his reprinting of Melanchthon's 'Epistola Lipsica disputatione', which supplied a detailed account of the Leipzig disputation. (Foxe's awareness of this text by 1570, is an indication of how closely he followed Continental scholarship. It is also important to note how much of Foxe's account of Luther came, directly or indirectly, from Melanchthon). For background, particularly the political situation, Foxe also relied on Sleidan's Commentaries and he drew slightly on Bale's Catalogus and Caspar Peucer's continuation of Carion's chronicle. The 1570 account of Luther was unaltered in subsequent editions.

[Back to Top]

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

Marginalia Laurentius Valla.
Picus Mirandula.
Erasmus Rotterodamus.
M. Luther.
after that Picus Mirandula, and Laurentius Valla, and laste of all, Erasmus Roterodamus, had somewhat broken the waye before, and had shaken the monkes houses. But Luther gaue the stroke, and pluckt down the foundatiō, and all by openyng one vayne, long hid before, Marginalia The article of our free iustification beateth downe all errours.wherein lyeth the touchstone of all truth and doctrine, as the onely principall origine of our saluation: whiche is our free iustifiyng by fayth onely in Christ the sonne of God.  
Commentary   *   Close

This is an important statement of Foxe's belief that Erasmus, Valla and others prepared the way for Luther, but also of Foxe's profound appreciation of the seminal importance of justification by faith alone.

The laborious trauayles, and the whole processe, and the constant preachynges of this worthy man, because they are sufficiently and at large in the hystory of Iohannes Sleidanus, I shall the lesse nede to stand long therupon, but onely to runne ouer some principal matter of his life and actes, as they are briefly collected by Philip Melancthon.

[Back to Top]
¶ The history of D. Martin Luther, with his life and doctrine described.

Marginalia The historye of M. Luther with his lyfe and doctrine described.MArtin Luther, after he was growē in yeares,  

Commentary   *   Close

The first sentence, on Luther's life before he attended the University of Erfurt, is based on A famous and godly history, trans. H. Bennet (London, 1561), sigs. B2r-B3r. Foxe's lack of interest in the details of Luther's childhood and his parents (of Melancthon provides a detailed account), is in marked contrast to modern scholars, particularly Eric Erikson.

[Back to Top]
being borne at Isleben  
Commentary   *   Close

I.e., Eisleben.

in Saxonie, an. 1483. was set to the Vniuersitie, first of Magdeburg, then of Erford. In this vniuersitie of Erford,  
Commentary   *   Close

All of the material from here down to the accession of Leo X, is drawn from A famous and godly history, trans. H. Bennet (London, 1561), STC 1881, sigs. B5v-C1r.

there was a certeine aged mā,