Reference > Cambridge History > Renascence and Reformation > Reformation Literature in England > Sternhold and Hopkins
  Hymns Results of the reformation period  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume III. Renascence and Reformation.

II. Reformation Literature in England.

§ 17. Sternhold and Hopkins.


A year later, John Hopkins, a clergyman of Suffolk, published thirty-seven psalms by Sternhold, with seven of his own. In later editions, he increased the number, and (1562) The Whole Booke of Psalmes by Sternhold, Hopkins, Thos. Norton and others, appeared in verse, and was added to the prayer-book. Not only was this done, but melodies, some of which are still in popular use, were also printed. Successive editions show traces of German influence, and a formidable rival appeared in the Genevan Psalter, due to Whittingham, Kethe and others. Its history is much like that of the older English version, with which it has much in common: fifty-one psalms were printed (1556) together with the form of prayer used by the English exiles, and, in later editions, more were added. The influence of Marot and Beza could be traced in it, and so reappears in its descendant, the Scots Psalter (1564). The growth of Calvinism made these versions more popular than that of Sternhold, but his compositions, which are marked by a concise and natural simplicity, are easy to distinguish. Metrical psalmody was in the air, and many writers, including archbishop Parker (c. 1555), tried their hands at it. Its popularity grew, but the growing separation between religion and all kinds of art, which marked the seventeenth century, lowered the literary quality of later editions. These earlier versions had been, however, deservedly popular, and opened a new channel for religious fervour. Their merits and their religious influence must not be judged by their later successors. They belonged to a time when religious feeling and literary taste were at a higher level, and they did something to replace a favourite part of the older service-books.   45

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Hymns Results of the reformation period  
 
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