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BIBLIA. DR. COMBE, to whom Literature is considerably indebted in more than one of its branches, had made a Collection of English Bibles, many of which are of unexampled rarity and value.
He condescended to dispose of them to the British Museum, for the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds; which must be considered as a great instance of generosity, as they are certainly worth very much more.
The following is a description of them, in the order of their respective dates. I give their titles at full length.
COYERDALE'S BIBLE. “THE BIBLE that is the Holy Scripture of the Olde and New Testament, faithfully and truly translated out of Douche and Latyn into Englishe. By Myles Coverdale.
Printed in the yeare of oure Lorde, mdxxxv." Folio.
MATHEW'S BIBLE. " THE BYBLE, which is all the Holy Scripture: in which are contained the Olde and Newe Testament, truly and purely translated into Englysh, by Thomas Matthew. Prynted and fynesshed in the yere of oure Lorde God, MDXXXVII." Folio.
" THE MOST SACRED BYBLE, which is the Holy Scripture, conteyning the Old and New Testament, translated into English, and newly recognised with great diligence after moost faythful exemplars, by Rycharde Taverner. Prynted at London, in Fleetstrete, at the Syne of the Sonne, by John Byddell, for Thomas Barthlett. M.DXXXIX." Folio.
HENRY THE VIIIth's BIBLE. “ The BYBLE IN ENGLYSHE, that is to saye, the Content of all the Holy Scrypture, bothe of ye Olde and Newe Testament, truly translated after the veryte of the Hebrue and Greke Textes, by the dylygent studye of dyverse, excellent learned men, expert in the forsayde tonges. Prynted by Rychard Grafton and Edward Whitechurch. M.D. XXXIX." Folio.
The above is the first edition of what is commonly designated by the appellation of Henry the Eighth's Bible. It has the arms of Cardinal Wolsey engraved in the title page.
HENRY THE EIGHTH'S BIBLE.
" THE BYBLE IN ENGLYSHE, of the largest and greatest Volume, auctorised and apoynted by
the Commaundement of oure most redoubted Prynce and Soveraygne Lorde, Kynge Henry the VIII, supreme Head of this his Churche and Realme of Englande : to be frequented and used in every Church within this his sayd Realme, accordynge to the tenoure of hys former injunctions geven in that behalfe.
Oversene and pervised at the comaundement of the Kynges hyghnes, by the ryght reverende fathers in God, Cuthbert, Lyshop of Duresme, and Nicolas Bishop of Rochester. Printed by Rycharde Grafton. 154).” Folio.
The above is the second edition of Henry the Eighth's Bible, and it is worthy of observation, that the arms of Cardinal Wolsey are erased from the title page. .
EDMUNDE BECKE'S BIBLE.
“ THE BYBLE, that is to say, all the Holy Scripture, in which are conteyned the Olde and New Testamente, truly and purely translated into Englysh, and nowe lately with great industry and diligence recognised.
Imprynted at London, by Jhon Daye, dwelling at Aldersgate, and William Seres, dwelling in Peter Colledge. MDXLIX.”
MDXLIX.” Folio. This is the first edition of Edmunde Becke's Bible, who has subscribed his name to the dedication to Edward VI.
EDMUNDE BECKE'S BIBLE.
" THE BYBLE, that is to say, all the Holy Scripture conteined in the Olde and New Testament, faythfully set forth according to y Coppy of Thomas Matthewes Traunslation, whereunto are added certaine learned Prologes and Annotaciós for the better understanding of many hard places thorowout the whole Byble.
Imprinted at London, by Jhon Day, dwelling over Aldersgate. M.D.L1." Folio.
The above is the second edition of Edmunde Becke's Bible.
“ THE BIBLE in Englyshe, of the largest and greatest Volume, that is to saye, the contentes of all the Holye Scripture, booth of the Oulde and Newe Testament, according to the Translation apoynted by the Queenes Majesties Injunctions, to be read in all Churches within her Majesties Realme.
At Rouen, at the coste and charges of Richard Carmarden. 1566.” Fol.
BISHOP's BISHOP'S BIBLE.
« THE HOLIE BIBLE.
Imprinted at London, in Poules Churchyarde, by Richard Jugge, Printer to the Queenes Majestie. 1568.” Fol.
This is the first edition of the Bishop's Bible. It is often designated by the appellation of the Leda Bible, for strange to say, at the commencement of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the story of the connection between Leda and Jupiter in the shape of a swan, is engraved on wood.
This Bible is farther remarkable for these particulars. At the beginning is the head of Elizabeth; at the end of the second part is the head of the Earl of Leicester ; at the end of the third part is the head of Burleigh.
There is also a double translation of the Psalms: one from what is called the Great Bible, the other entirely a new one.
« THE HOLIE BIBLE.
Imprinted at London, in Poules Church Yarde, by Richard Jugge, Printer to the Queenes Majestie. 1572." Fol.