Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/102

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

86 Books Condemned to be Burnt language of the Letany is in many passages extremely coarse, and it is only possible to quote such milder expressions as since the time of Tyndale had been traditional in the Puritan party. "As many prelates in England, so many vipers in the bowels of Church and State." They were "the very polecats, stoats, weasels, and minivers in the warren of Church and State." They were "Antichrist's little toes." To judge from these expressions merely one might be disposed to agree with Heylin, who says of the Letany that it was "so silly and contemptible that nothing but the sin and malice which appeared in every line of it could have possibly preserved it from being ridiculous." But the Letany is really a most important contribution to the history of the period. Nothing is more graphic than Bastwick's account of the almost regal reverence claimed for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the traffic of the streets interrupted when he issued from Lambeth, the overturning of the stalls; the author's description of the excessive power of the bishops, of the extortions of the ecclesiastical courts, is corroborated by abundant correlative testimony; and he appeals for the truth of his charges of immorality against the