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up to the time when England became a Christian country.
And as he will find this to be a most important point of inquiry, in fact, although hitherto neglected, yet indispensable; so also is it one of no little difficulty. The books whose titles I have just alluded to are amongst the rarest which still exist, and except in a few instances, are to be found (whether printed or manuscript) only in the great public libraries. These often will be beyond his reach and opportunity: and he will be driven to search in the commentators upon our present Book, for the knowledge which he wants. We shall presently see what this is, both in quality and
I shall therefore in the beginning of these volumes, address myself to this subject: and I enter upon it, trusting that I may make some addition to the amount of information which is already at hand. Premising only, which I am bound to do, that when I speak of Service-Books, as in the title to this Dissertation, and as the subject upon which we are about to enter, I do not use the term in its proper and strict sense, limited to the Service of the Holy Communion: but as applicable to all parts of the public worship, much in the same way as very learned writers, Azevedo for example, have not scrupled to call treatises upon the Daily Office, Liturgical.
Let me then collect first what has been said by those to whom usually recourse is had in such inquiries. Bp. Sparrow in his Rationale, and Dean Comber in his Companion to the Temple, take no notice of the matter: nor indeed does it exactly enter into the object which they proposed. Hamon L'Estrange in his Alliance of Divine Offices, also passes it over without re
mark, except that he ignorantly states the Prymer of 1545 to be the first translation in English of the daily Service and Litany, and that the Creed, Pater noster, and Decalogue were "to begin with, imparted, Anno 1536." I have not been able to find any explanation in Dr. Nicholls' Commentary, though it would seem that some attempt at least should be there, for the titlepage promises great things. Wheatley, to whose Illustration reference is generally made, and properly so, nevertheless does not bestow a line upon the matter, with one exception (p. 23.) where he tells us that the King's Prymer "came forth in 1545, wherein were contained, amongst other things, the Lord's prayer, Creed, Ten Commandments, Venite, Te Deum, and other hymns and collects in English, and several of them in the same version in which we now use them."
Staveley in his History of Churches, has a short notice about the Service-Books, but it is a mere translation abridged, of Lyndwood's Gloss upon the famous constitution of Archbishop Winchelsey, which I shall speak of at some length presently. His account is: Legenda. A book containing the Lessons to be read at the Morning Service. Antiphonarium. A book containing Invitatories, Hymns, Responsories, Verses, Collects, &c., to be said or sung by Priest and People, alternately. Gradale, or Graduale. A Book containing several offices, as that of the sprinkling of Holywater the proceeds of the Mass: the Holy Offices, Kyrie, &c. Gloria in Excelsis, Gradalia, Hallelujah, the Symbols to be sung at the Offertory and the Mass.
1 Chap. 1. p. 26.
Psalterium. The book of Psalms.
Troperium, or Troparium, the service in which the people answer the Priest, called also sometimes, Liber Sequentiarum. Ordinale, a Book of rules and orders, to direct the right manner of saying, and performing Holy Service. Missale. A Book containing all things belonging to the service of the Mass. Manuale. A book always at hand, containing all things belonging to the Sacraments and Sacramentals, the Hallowing of Holy Water, and all other things to be Hallowed: and the ordering of Processions."2
Shepherd, a very inferior writer, (whose chief claim to the little consideration which he has met with, has probably rested on his venturing to depreciate his predecessor, Wheatley) says in the Introduction to his Elucidation, "The Commissioners of 1548 proceeded to examine the Breviaries, Missals, Rituals, and other books of offices at that time in use." A footnote adds, a general account of the contents of these books, and of their difference from each other, is given in p. 262, of the Elucidation in the note."3 But there is no such note in that place, nor (that I can discover) in any other part of his work.
A living writer, Mr. Palmer, in his Origines Liturgicæ, has again disappointed us. I can find no other account of the books used in the daily service than occurs in his 1st Vol. p. 207: and this being the most complete we have yet arrived at, yet not over-long, I shall also transcribe it.
"The Psalter used in the celebration of divine service generally contained, at the end, several hymns taken from the Old and New Testament, such as
Benedictus, &c. and the Te Deum, and Athanasian Creed, all of which were appointed for the service of the Canonical Hours.
The Bible contained the lessons of Scripture, which were not formerly selected and placed in a distinct volume, but were read at the nocturns from the Bible itself.
The Antiphonarium contained the anthems and responsories, which were sung in the course of divine service.
The Hymnarium comprised the hymns in verse, which from the time of Ambrose were chanted in the canonical hours.
The Collectarium included the collects to be said at the end of the services, and the capitula or short lessons, which were also sometimes recited in the offices.
The Homilarium, Passionarium, and Martyrologium, contained the comments of the Fathers on the Gospel of the day, and the account of the martyrdom of the Saints for each distinct festival.
About the eleventh century, the Breviary was formed out of all these books; the lessons, anthems, responsories, hymns, &c. for the different days of the year, being all placed in the same volume with the Psalter, Prayers, &c. And in latter times the Breviary was divided into two parts, one for the summer, and the other for the winter half of the year, and sometimes it was divided into four parts; so that it was more portable and convenient for the use of those clergy and monks who were accustomed to recite the offices for the canonical hours at some time in the day.
Obliged, I presume would be the proper word.
From this cause also it was sometimes entitled Portiforium."5
The above therefore appears to be the extent of the information afforded by works generally appealed to at present by the English student; I have collected it, such as it is, for two reasons: one, that it will save him much trouble in searching those authorities: and, secondly, it shews how little the whole amounts to, and that further labour is still demanded.
But there are two more authors who have touched upon the subject of old English Service Books: I am certainly bound to notice them, though they are not likely to be referred to for this purpose. These are Gough, and Dr. Dibdin. There is this to be said for the commentators who are mentioned above, that not having ventured much, they have made few mistakes, and so do not in that way mislead: but here we must complain of most egregious blunders.
Yet perhaps Gough only is to be blamed, for Dr. Dibdin has but copied his statements, and complacently (as upon a matter of no consequence) repeated his errors."
Let us then turn at once to the British Topography": and upon the same principle, that the reader may have collected here the chief explanations existing, I shall make a somewhat long extract, and point out his mistakes. We are told,
5 Not that the Portiforium was always a portable book, as will be seen hereafter.
Bibliographical Decameron: second day. This work is admirably illustrated with woodcuts, &c., and proportionably en
tertaining. If the second day is
to be taken as a criterion of the research and learning of the author, it is much to be feared, that entertainment will be all his reader will derive.
7 Vol. 2. p. 319. Wiltshire.