On the Dangers of the Vernacular Bible



For if we mighte our feith by reson preeue,

we sholde no meryt of our feith haue.

But now a dayes a Baillif or a Reeue

Or man of craft wole in it dote or raue.


Some wommen eke, thogh hir wit be thynne,

Wele argumentes make in holy writ !

Lewde calates ! sittith down and spynne

And kakele of sumwhat elles, for your wit

Is al to feeble to despute of it!

To Clerkes grete apparteneth that aart                

The knowleche of that, god hath fro yow shit;

Stynte and leue of, for right sclendre is your paart.


Oure fadres olde & modres lyued wel,

And taughte hir children as hem self taught were

Of holy chirche & axid nat adel

'Why stant this word heere?' and 'why this word there?'

'Why spake god thus and seith thus elles where?'

'Why did he this wyse and mighte han do thus?'

Our fadres medled no thyng of swich gere;

that oghte been a good mirour to us.


                                                --Thomas Hoccleve, c. 1410