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in a somewhat pedantic fashion similar to that of the ponderous writers of mediæval Latin. Hus, as he himself tells 1 us, formed his style on the common speech of the people, which he ennobled and raised to the rank of a language adapted to the expression of theological and philosophical thought, though the earlier merits of Stitny in this respect must not be overlooked. That Hus, who shared the great devotion to the holy gospel which is a characteristic of all Bohemian church-reformers, should have given much time and study to the Scriptures is but natural. He endeavoured to make the Bible more accessible to his countrymen, and this may be considered as one of the causes why he incurred the intense hatred of the opulent Bohemian clergy. It appears, though the matter is somewhat obscure, that, as early as the second half of the fourteenth century, parts of the Bible had been translated into Bohemian by various writers, and that these parts had been collected and joined together about the year 1410. These translations were, however, of very unequal value; some were written in the rough Bohemian in use about the year 1350, others in the more refined language of the fifteenth century. Some teemed with mistakes of the grossest description; others bore witness to the learning of the masters of the university. Of these some, including Hus, were acquainted with the Hebrew language.3 Hus undertook the difficult task of revising and correcting the already existent translations of the Bible, and it may be said that it was mainly
through him that the Scriptures became more accessible to the Bohemian people. 4
1 " Let him who wishes to read (my works) know that I write in the manner in which I am in the habit of speaking. I beg every one who shall write to write not otherwise than I have written. If I have made a mistake about a letter or omitted a syllable or a word, correct it. . . Many, thinking they understand better, efface that which was well written and write (something) wrong instead.” (Introduction to Postilla, ed. Flajshans.)
2 Flajshans, Mistr Jan Hus, p. 276.
: Hus's acquaintance with the Hebrew language is proved by passages in the Orthographia Bohemica which has just been mentioned-and in other of his works.
Though so much study has recently been devoted to Hus by Bohemian scholars, his work as a translator and editor of Scripture requires further research.
In close connection with Hus's striving to render his countrymen more familiar with the sacred documents which form the basis of Christianity, reference should be made to his endeavours to facilitate the participation of laymen in the religious rites, and more especially in church-song, which had gradually become an exclusive privilege of the clergy. This part of the activity of Hus had, up to recent times, been entirely neglected, and only recently scholars of the University of Prague have thrown some light on matters that were formerly almost unknown. In consequence of the ever-increasing claims of the clergy to superiority over laymen, the custom-no doubt general in the time of the primitive church -that the congregation should join in the singing during religious services had gradually been abandoned. This caused great resentment among the people, particularly among the Bohemians, with whom a taste for music is innate. . The early Bohemian churchreformers, Milic in particular, were deeply interested in this matter, and Hus here walked completely in their footsteps. We find here, as in so many other cases, close connection between Hus and his forerunners, while as regards music and art generally the somewhat puritanic views of Wycliffe were directly antagonistic to those of the Bohemians. This,' as Dr. Nejedly writes, is a matter by no means devoid of importance if we consider the arguments of those who attempted to prove that Hus was a mere copyist and imitator of Wycliffe. The theories on which the two opponents of Rome agreed were mainly common property of all mediæval opponents of the Church of Rome, while the natures and characters of Hus and Wycliffe were in most respects different, even antagonistic. The somewhat pedantic and matter-of-fact nature of Wycliffe, devoid of artistic instincts, contrasts absolutely with the enthusiastic and fanciful character of Hus, who fully possessed the fondness for vocal and instrumental music that is so characteristic of his countrymen.
Hus has in his works frequently expounded his views with
"I must here acknowledge my great indebtedness to Dr. Nejedly, whose work, Pocatky Husitskeho zpevu (the beginnings of Hussite song) is most valuable,
regard to singing in church. He declares that song is one of the three forms of devotion which constitute the religious services of the heavenly temple in our home (heaven). The religious services of the temples of the soul and the body should conform to this. The song of those who dwell in our celestial home consists of praise of God and of thanksgiving Elsewhere Hus mentions that Christ sang a hymn of thanksgiving when He proceeded with His disciples to the Mount of Olives. In yet another passage of his writings he advised the mournful to expel the plague of sorrow from their hearts by the sweetness of song. Many other passages could be quoted to prove the importance which Hus attached to devotional music. Hus's appointment to the Bethlehem chapel_afforded him the desired opportunity. The chapel soon became famed for its singing. It had, indeed, originally been built for preaching, particularly in the national language, and the preaching continued mainly to attract the people, as is natural, if we consider the unrivalled eloquence of Hus. Yet the singing of hymns by the congregation soon became a very important feature. In his interesting work Dr. Nejedly thus describes the services in the Bethlehem chapel at this period: “The people assembled to hear Hus's sermons, which inspired with enthusiasm all classes represented in the congregation. All were greatly moved when the sermon ended, and then a low mass was said. The people had previously already been in the habit of singing Hospodine pomiluj ny 4 (the Lord have mercy on us) and Buoh vsemohuci (Almighty God) after the sermons, and now they did so also after the sermons of Hus. Psychologically the enthusiastic disposition of the crowd required some outlet; it could find no better one than in song. Only a low mass was
1 Sunt tria pertinentia ad officium templi coelestis in patria, quibus debet se conformare officium templi in anima et officium templi corporalis extra in materia, scilicet cantus, cultus et visio vultus. Cantus templi coelestis habitatorum in patria consistit in divina laude et gratiarum actione." Explicatio in psalmum cxviii. (Hus Opera, 1715, vol. ii. p. 456.),
?“ Et hymno dicto_id est gratiarum actione Deo-exierunt in montem Oliveti." Passio Christi ex quatuor evangelistis (Hus Opera, 1715, vol. ii. p. 17).
“Crebra psalmodiae dulcedine nocivam tristitiae pestem de corde pellat. Explicatio in epistola Jacobi (Hus Opera, 1715, vol. ii. p. 230).
* See my History of Bohemian Literature, p. 8.
permitted in the chapel after the sermon, and this did not interfere with the singing and indeed rather helped it. We can, therefore, consider these regulations of the Bethlehem chapel as being largely the reason why the people sang there more than elsewhere, and why popular singing in churches sprang from there. Hus well understood the disposition of the crowds who listened to his sermons and helped them to give vent to it in that manner which is most natural to an emotional multitude, that is to say, by means
Hus's delight in church song, even though it had a liturgic 1 character, had a strong influence on the development of devotional music of a popular character.” The then established system of singing in churches, the “ liturgic ” one, as Dr. Nejedly calls it, was very faulty. Hus always declared himself its determined enemy. The total reform of the Bohemian Church—the cause for which Hus lived and died—was to include a reform of churchsong also. The part which the congregation was allowed to take in the singing at religious services had, through the influence of the priesthood—desirous here also to accentuate the difference between the clergy and the laity—become very insignificant. The singers-monks, or ecclesiastics who had only received the minor orders—showed a complete want of reverence, and mechanically accomplished their duties in a negligent manner that deeply offended so pious a Christian as was Hus. The priests, and particularly the friars, deacons, and acolytes who were paid for their services, behaved in a most unseemly manner, roving about the church and scoffing at the congregation. Some sang so falsely that they were derided by the congregation, and a Bohemian audience is always critical with regard to music. Their principal fault was, however, the indecent hurry with which they despatched their duties as singers. Hus blames this abuse in quaint words: “Such a (singer),” he writes, a “ grinds his words without using his
· Dr. Nejedly describes as the " liturgic" system that which allowed only priests, and men in minor orders, to sing in church while the rest of the congregation remained silent.
• Vyklad modlitby pane (Exposition of the Lord's Prayer), chap. lxxxiii.; Erben edition, i. p. 307.
lips or teeth, and they seem as the sound of a millstone, which thunders out: tr, tr, tr!” It was Hus's endeavour to remedy such abuses and to introduce in his chapel “ quiet song and prayer that should be pleasing both to the learned and to the simple."
It was a very important and by no means easy task that Hus undertook when he attempted to replace the Latin singing in his chapel by songs in the national language. With the exception of the one or two hymns that have already been mentioned, there then existed only secular songs in the Bohemian language, and these had frequently a frivolous and even obscene character. Hus, who thoroughly understood his countrymen, knew that singing of some
ort is to them a necessity. He, therefore-like some more recent church-reformers—endeavoured to expel the objectionable songs that were popular, and replace them by others that were of a pious character. He began by translating into Bohemian some of the Latin hymns which the people were in the habit of hearing, though of course without understanding them. As it had already proved to be possible to introduce the native language into the pulpit, Hus resolved to render the singing of Bohemian hymns in the churches general. Here, as in all his efforts to further churchreform, Hus was confronted by the violent hostility of the Bohemian prelacy. The fact that, as hymns were now sung in the national language, women were able to take part in the singing and were permitted to do so, met with great opposition and derision on the part of the enemies of church-reform. They were all the more exasperated because the Bohemian women from Queen Sophia downward had from the first been fervent adherents of Hus. The evil life of the priests was a cause of great resentment to the women of Bohemia. As on so many other occasions, the monk Stephen of Dolein is prominent among those who attacked the churchreformers. He accused them of having, contrary to the regulations of the church, sung masses and hymns together with women in the common Bohemian language.1
1“ Et iterum recenti confictione contra ritum ecclesiae junctis vobis mulieribus et Begutis (i.e. beguines) vestris in choro cantatis cum eisdem tam missas, quam alias cantilenas in vulgari Bohemico, quae societas scripturis