The following is a sixteenth-century translation of the poem Ad episcopos, “To the Bishops,” by St. Gregory of Nazianzus. The translation is by a certain Thomas Drant; it is found in his book, Epigrams and sentences spirituall in vers, of GREGORI NAZANZEN, an auncient & famous Bishop in the Greke church (London 1568).

0 Presstes that unto God
Hould sacred signes in handes,
On whom commission great
And charge of people standes:
Betwixe whose onlye armes
Godes workmanshippe doth swaye,
You which both God, and man
In one partakynge laye,
Ye groundselles of the worlde,
Of lyfe yclept the light,
Ye workers of the worde,
You blest to all mens sight,
Christbearers that shoulde be.
Now Lordes you set aloaft,
With Pantakles, and moilles
Your fete are feanced softe,
To pageanes, and to plaies,
Ye sawnter up, and downe,
On Theaters ye shine,
The freshest in the towne
Pretensed outward shape
Ye counterfeete, and steale
But in Religion true,
Pure inwardly to deale,
You are from that as farre,
As miserable stockes,
As most infected sheepe
Of all your scabye flockes.
Playe on thou carelesse crue,
As sounde thou hast begunne,
With countenance graue pronounce,
Which lightly thou hast dunne.
How so euer thou me calles,
A person lewd, and lyght,
And dost with arrowes thicke
Of opprobrie me smyte,
Wherin as well I see,
Thou highlie dost delighte,
Yeat what my mynde me giues,
That bouldely will I saye,
To the a folke unkinde,
My hart I will outlaye:
Euen as the water streames,
If sterne the weather blowe,
Compelled kepe beneath,
And downe ther swellings throwe,
Then brymme again do rise
With murmure, and with heate,
And hie with spreadyng floode
Orwart the feildes do beate:
So I can not inhoulde
Thir dolore in my brest,
But out it forcing flyes
Impacient of rest.
Geve good leue for to speake,
Forgiue what I auouche,
If I your galled myndes
With wordes do chaunce to touche
True pledges of my teene
Are wordes, and of my care,
And though they bootlesse flye,
And bussinge beate the ayre,
Yet practyse proues it playne,
We tell it as we finde,
Talke presentlie doth ease,
The payned pensyue mynde:
Christs bodye, and renowne,
(His flocke spreade farre abroad)
Was quyet, whilst it voyde
Of right Relligion boade,
Now gods possession due,
Addicted unto him,
It sperplith here and ther,
As waues amyde the brymme.
Or as the Pynetre frame
With wanton Eastwinde strength:
From skyes abatinge power
To his Christ came at lenght,
To humanekynde yknytte
He God, and man was heare,
And on his body bould
A dreadfull death did beare,
For our outragiouse synnes,
Forth lardge his bloude did streame,
That with suche pension proude,
Our synnes he might redeme.
Then readye sheepe to dye,
His ministers he sent,
Who throughe out many realmes
His word upbearinge wente.
And sweet accompted death
That came from cruell hande,
For with godes honoure highe
It seamed well to stande,
That all his servants true
Attendant to his state,
On his worde with their worde,
On bloude with bloude should waite.
But who our body shakes?
Whence springs this mischeifes load?
Howe commes the mone so darke,
That once so brigome boade?
Howe coulde that brockishe Boare
Our Haruest so destroye?
Who ardent angrye seekes
Our kindred to annoye.
Since first he Adame wrought
From euerlastyng blysse,
A forcye ferce assault
To give he doth not misse.
Yet totally our kynd
(Nathlesse his wilye pate)
He compasse not with craft,
Nor stirde them from their state.
The sperklynge worde of God,
That candle blasyng bright
Through landes, and countryes farre
Upheaued by his light.
The eager martires hartes
Wer boulned more to die,
The more that they the rage
Of Tirantes dire did spie.
The Satan slye that spied,
Our souldyers victores still
Amongste their vnderguides
Dissentious seede did spill.
The cheiftane tayne awaye
The armye can not bide,
The shippe that fletyng gaie
Uppon the surge doth ride
(The Pylott yf he mysse)
With winde his warped lowe,
Or wrekyng all her wares
Her self on rockes doth throwe.
So Cyties, houses, flockes,
Ther absent guides do rewe
The waganers not skilde
Their wagons ouerthrew:
Whoseuer heares mongst us
What myscheifes craule and crepe,
Will therfore blame, and banne
The shepard, not the shepe.
For manquellers were once
Appoynted romes to lurcke,
And romes assigned weare
For Pagans Sabott worke.
For seruyce of the Jues
Erected was a place,
Which kinges, and Rulers stoute
Made euen with grounde in space.
Howe well I will not saye:
Nor do I honoure those
That in suche wicked actes
Their likinges do repose.
The Lorde him selfe I knowe
Their Temples doth detest,
Those therfore layde it downe:
So now the worst and best,
The gentill, and the Jue,
The Turke with us is prest.
In one Churcheyarde we lye,
Our Cophins cople neare,
And in the Churche of Christ
our service now they heare.
This venerable seat,
This temple for the wise,
Wher in ther whilome dwelt
Most perfitt pure precyse,
This pulpet wherin prechde
Right angelles of the ayre,
This chauncell and this churches
So durable, and fayer.
To wher God, and good men
Were wonted to repayer,
This once was very so:
But now it is not rare.
To so howe in they rushe,
The doore standes open wyde,
To intralles all they runne,
Not one with out doth bide.
I thinke some blast of trompe.
Hath breathed up alowde,
And calld in such likewise
The multitude to crowde
Come hether lesse, and more
That ride on vices backe,
Put spurres unto your horse
Beware you be not slacke:
Ye filthe, ye bellyes bigge,
That lardge abroade do stroute,
Ye facelesse shamelesse beastes
In browes, and forehead stoute,
Ye tiplinge vagaboundes,
Ye trouncers with your tounge,
Ye valyant beggers bragge,
With wrangling that do wronge:
Ye concyences slye
Addressed to forsweare,
Ye suytts of Sattens soft
So solemply that weare,
Ye that with greedy tawes
The people grate, and grind
Ye that do steal the shares
To other men assynde,
Ye tarrers in your house,
Ye breakers of your faith,
Ye wily slylye pates
That loue to take no skath,
Ye that to noble men
Can ducke adowne so lawe,
And ouer loke the poore
As you would eate them rawe,
Ye tickle turnecottes, you,
That lightly wilbe gonne,
And like the Lopster frame
Your hewe to euery stone,
Ye rouers in the fylde,
Ye romers in the towne:
Ye womens men aright.
To squire them up and downe.
Ye mynions freshe, and shene,
Of oders sweat that smell,
In whom all manner synne
Doth principally dwell:
Come, come ye bouldly neare,
Whatseever sort you be
All places in our churche
For euery man is free.
Take ease with head on hande
And sturre not from your stall,
All thinges that heare we haue,
Are common unto all.
Ye shall not neade to doubte
God streight will seende a showre,
And now for your swete sakes,
He Manna downe will powre.
Eche man may fill his lappe
And beare at will awaye,
He more, he lesse, and yf
You thinke it for your paye,
On Hoolydayes make bould
The sacred breade to take,
And let it rote at home
And light the matter make:
The ayre a common thinge,
The earth a common thinge,
The skye, and starres from hye
Their common lyght do bringe.
The Sea a common thinge,
Our seates are common all,
Amonge the Prophettes sage
Ther is a place for Saule.
Wherfore come plowghmen rude,
Come wrightes, and cobbers roughe,
Come neat makers, and ye
That strike on strithes toughe,
Let no man haue a guide
Let none to pastours harke,
Who hath on them in chardge
A spirituall care, and carke.
Its better for to teache
Than euer to be taught,
And he lyues beast at ease
That suffrantie hath wrought.
Let him cast downe at once,
The plowgh all from his handes,
And let him cast awaye
His hatchett wher he standes,
The skynner let him caste
Away his falles and skynnes
The Hunter let him cast
Awaye his huntyng gins
The blacksmith let him leaue
His hammer, and his styth
And nowe no more theron
Imploye his paynes with pithe.
Come take you romes up all
About our hooly table,
Let eche man place him best,
As he by force is able,
Come thrust, and eke be thrust,
Maintayne a myghtie thronge,
The stronger to the weeke,
The great to lesse do wronge,
Come to our preysthoode fast,
Forsake it not for heate,
Thrust whilles the stalles go downe,
Thrust hardly whilst you sweate,
The best Preyst that is founde,
The most deseruinge prayse,
The cheife in all respectes,
Most holy in his wayes,
Afflicted is in fleshe:
Such one as loues the skyes,
Desyrs the worlde to come,
This present doth despise.
A seruant true to Christ,
Who thoughe he be in steade
Of liuinge creature here.
Yet he in synne is deade.
This is the portrayt first,
This is the portrayt true,
And so in tables ould
His lynyamentes they drue:
But he that lookes on you,
Shoulde thinke an other thinge,
Thexample of your deades
An other thought would bringe,
To paynt you in your kyndes,
And fitlye in degree
Your synnes, and vices rancke
Right profitable be.
Thus did the Trumpett sounde.
But Moyses makes me carcke,
Who he alone did see,
Christ in a figure darke,
And badde all others els
Of great, and lesse accompte
So highe not to presume,
But bide beneath the mounte.
To wash their vestures pure,
And trembling tarry still,
To harken to Goddes word,
And listen to his will.
Nor mell with flocke, except
They would yeald up ther bones,
To dartes, to cragges, to rockes,
To dashe upon the stones.
So Arons childerns endes
For feare do make me quake,
Who incens for to burne
Did proudly undertake
At hooly aulters pure:
They felt ther dreadful bayne,
The sacred plott of blysse
Became their place of payne.
Thoughe they were Arons sonnes,
And pleadges to him deare,
Yet destnyes sharpe they founde,
Presumynge feule to neare:
So Helyes case his straunge,
And heauie to behould,
For likwyse on his sonnes
Gods iudgementes iust are rould.
Both for ther saucye myndes
And beastly longinge luste:
Whilst to the hooly pottes
Their handes vnpure they thrust.
On Ely also selfe
Was wrought Gods wrekfull ire,
Of that vnworthy seed
The worthy praised syre.
For belly of his sonnes
He had like bitter smart,
Thoughe bitterly he warnd
Them oftens to conuert.
If suche offences smale
Haue suche a loord meede,
Howe ought outragouse crymes
To quake, and stand in dread?
He also myser dyd
That woulde with handes prophane
The fallyng Arcke of God
(Uncalde ther to) sustayne.
God would no ryott rude,
No dealyng so confuse,
And therfore temples cloase
For purpose he did chuse,
O Christ, I weep, I morne
Flat prostrat on my face,
And almost is (me thinkes)
Uncurable my case,
In that I did forsake
Still in my charge to toyle,
Thoughe greuouse were (God wote)
Myne agonye, and broyle:
I fought with rampinge wolfes,
I fought a drery tyme,
With eatars of their flockes,
With Pastours puffd with cryme.
My mynde doth leaue the corpes,
And hie it heauinge vauntes:
Dyseasd with open wrongs
And tost with raylinge tauntes.
Christ ministers should be
Most simple, myld, and mecke,
But now with huffe and snuffe
The prymate seates they seeke
They brable, and they braule,
They take outtakynge paynes,
They do, and suffer all
For griplenesse of gaines,
As in a champion fild
They warrelyke marshe, and mell
Right seruitors of Mars
In bickeringes bragge, and fell,
Their glory is in bludde,
Their glosyng is of peace,
Would god that Getteys plagues
Uppon their pates would cease,
Would God they guardon had.
A nother sort dysease,
With sectes, and frantike scysmes
The east and weastene seas,
God is not now their God,
But Paule, Apollo, Peter:
Or he is eche mans God
To him that semeth meter.
For men, and not for Christ
Good iudged must we be,
So that our Christ in vayne
Displayed was on tre,
And nayled was in vayne,
Forth whose thrise blessed bludde,
Issued all our name,
And all our worshippe good.
Now Lust before our eyes
A clattered cloude hath rould,
And in vs Christian lyfe
Hath caught a crazie could,
Now auarice doth raygne,
By stelth she clekes, and glenes,
Now pride doth proule for prayse
By lewde apparant meanes,
Nowe enuie clappes her handes
An others hurt to spie:
Althoughe therby the worthe
She wynne not of a flye.
To what so they do preche
They God protest before
Yet they apertly partes
Maynatyne, and factions sore:
They speake not as they thinke,
Ther saynges, and ther mynde
Or selde, or nauer in one
Contunynge shalt thou finde.
The woulfe in shepishe tyre
A simple soule doth loke,
They couer for the fyshe
A mortall hidden hoke,
Both those whiche haue no guides,
And those whiche haue suche guides,
Without, or with such guids
All into mischeife slids.
Life hooly, or prophane,
Life dissolute, or strayte,
Gods word, and mans deuice
Are deemed by one rate.
One custome still we haue,
And still is like to stande,
That he that is the worst
Best prosperse in the lande.
The Lord confounds that soule
That errors did inuent,
That hatefull head that first
Into the world them sent.
To them the world giues place,
To them gods selfe gives place,
The wills, and fees of men
They purchase thicke in space,
Rewards are all their owne.
Which shalbe ours at length
Thoughe now we toile in vayne.
Ormatchde with steere, and strength.
Our Iudges iudge it so,
It ruleth what they say,
Dame iustice from our coasts
An outlawe is awaye,
Alls one, Christ, man, the starrs,
The sunne, the darke, the lyght,
Proude Lusifer the blacke
And heuenly angells bright.
The Trayter Iudas hath
With Peter one rewarde,
Samaria is to
Ierusalem comparde.
Gould, silver, stone, and brasse
An ownce, and dramme are one.
A like the puddles vile
And fountaines clere in stone.
All thinges are nowe alike,
All thinges are now confusde,
As matter with out forme
Which first (they sayd) was vsde
In buildyng of the world.
The Amonittes of yore,
Nor Moabites might treade
With in the Temple doore:
Bicause they hurt Gods folke:
And they which with their mockes
Disquyeted Gods churche
God signd for hewynge blocks.
And tancards for to beare:
Thus did the wicked speede
At Gods indifferent hands
They had no better meede.
But Leues offsprings aye
Prehemynence had great
With in the temple they
Were ministers in seate,
The seruice they sustaynde
The cuers on them did bide
All offices of chardge
Mongst them they did deuide
Within and out the churche:
Thus they did practise well
In hooly deedes deuout
As then they did excell.
We, we (O death) to synne
Do honoure much present:
What planctiue Pooet can
These dayes enoughe lament.
A wake from vyce (O world)
Tyme now for to repent
And God with hartie praier
Is likly to relent.
You shall haue happy helthe,
You shall haue present ayde,
If warned by my wordes
In tyme you wilbe staide.
But if my whightlie heares
And sawes you do dispies,
If younkers Rashe and bould
Yee iudge for to be wise,
If some with deathfull noyse
And foolyshe parlouse dynne,
Do sott your sensles hart
And of me conquest wynne.
Our light I do protest
To darknesse that doth turne,
And Gods fyrepuysant hande
That shall make all to burne:
I will not take their parte,
I dare not be their mate,
Nor of their rede peruerse
Once will I knowe the state,
We come not in one shippe,
We sayle not in one Bardge,
I will not walke their waye
Nor sincke with them for chardge.
Let them post out the race
Which rashly they haue runne,
And speadely dispatche,
Which lightly they begonne.
The helthfull arcke of Noye
I laboure to assende,
To skape that is to come
Their doolefull dreadfull ende.
I will steppe from their pathe,
And voide the shenfull showre,
That grysely hydeous plague
On Sodome that did powre,
In this our yearthly corps
That Sodome hath a place,
The visage of the wise
With duste it doth deface,
It rangeth vp and downe,
It doth seduce the harte,
And is the motiue cause
From path to make vs starte.
I hope to take suche hede
To purge this Sodome out.
That safely I maye smyle
At stormes which lowdly route.
With fixt intentiue mynde,
And heaunly meanyng will
Purposinge godly thinges,
Not common with the ill,
Unto the persons three
(One godheade) I will fare,
And to my sauior Christ
Which sitts in Judgement chare.
Wheare alle thinges shalbe ope,
And euident in sight
In Gods eauenwayinge hande
The skole shall payse aright.
And vprightlie and iuste
Shall all be donne in sighte.

2 Responses to “Against the Arians, Hipocrites, and disceuers”



  2. bekkos Says:


    The word “disceuers” is an old spelling of “deceivers.” When Drant translated St. Gregory’s poem, English spelling was pretty fluid; usually the best way to decipher an unfamiliar word is to sound it out. Also, the letter “u” was often used where we would now use the letter “v,” and vice versa.


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