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Hus was very indignant at this opposition. “Ha, ha,” he writes,
where are those slanderers and babblers who endeavour to prevent the Bohemian language from being honoured ?" To encourage singing in the native language Hus established at the Bethlehem chapel what Dr. Nejedly calls a “school” in which the people were taught the new devotional songs in their own language. There was, however, at first a great scarcity of such songs. Only four Bohemian hymns, among them the Hospodine pomiluj ny-one of the oldest documents in the Bohemian language-had hitherto been recognised by the Church of Rome. Through Hus's influence, however, other ancient Bohemian hymns began to be sung in churches, and new ones were composed, or adapted from the Latin. In consequence of the generally prevailing religious enthusiasm, new hymns—often the work of unknown writers-suddenly appeared in Bohemia, and were, after a short time, sung in all parts of the country. This was yet more the case after the death of Hus, and it is only then that we meet with the famous Hussite songs, of which the famed "All ye warriors of God ” 2 is the prototype, which partook both of the character of a hymn and of that of a war-song. Many of these hymns, however, became known during the life of Hus, and it would be very interesting to inquire as to what part Hus himself played as a writer of hymns. This is still a matter of controversy, and Dr. Nejedly, our principal authority on the subject, refuses to express a final opinion. Many of the early hymns are the work of unknown writers, and a large number of these were attributed to Hus, particularly in the hymn-books of the community of the Bohemian brethren, who considered themselves the true disciples and successors of Hus. Brother Blahoslav, testantibus clericis non convenit. Utinam caveretis earundem societatem vel in thoro!”. (Stephanus Dolanensis epistola ad Husitas, Pez Thesaurus Anecdotorum Novissimus, vol. iv. part 2, p. 590.) The engrained coarseness of the monk Stephen is apparent here also.
Exposition of the Lord's Prayer (Erben's edition, vol. i. p. 313). * See my History of Bohemian Literature, p. 151. Writing for English readers I do not think it necessary to give the Bohemian names of these hymns. • See my History of Bohemian Literature, p. 249. • Ibid. pp. 232–241.
born in 1523, mentions as undoubted works of Hus only two hymns, those entitled, “ Jesus Christ, bountiful Lord” and “O living bread of angels." Later writers attributed to Hus an ever-increasing number of hymns. There is great probability that at least six of these devotional songs are genuine works of Hus. Hus's love of singing did not forsake him to the last. As previously mentioned, it was while singing a hymn that he ended his life in the flames.
Hus's patriotic efforts to increase the power and importance of his country induced him to endeavour, as far as circumstances permitted, to establish relations with foreign countries. As regards this subject, also,
our materials are scant. The racial hatred between Slay and Teuton rendered amicable intercourse with Germany impossible at Hus's time, though a century later the German reformation undoubtedly caused religious sympathy for a time to prevail over racial antipathy. The Bohemians were, on the other hand, greatly influenced and attracted by the Wycliffite movement in England. The fact that King Richard II. had married a Bohemian princess, the daughter of Charles IV., undoubtedly led to considerable intercourse between England and Bohemia. Though the influence of Wycliffe on Hus was not so great, and particularly not so exclusive, as has recently been affirmed, its existence cannot be denied. Hus's reference to "blessed England when informing the Bethlehem congregation of the message of Richard Wiche has already been mentioned here. There is also no reason to doubt the assertion of a recent Bohemian writer 1 that Hus wrote to Lord Cobham begging him to send him copies of Wycliffe's writings.2
The purely theological intercourse between England and Bohemia led to no political consequences, even at a period when religious and political controversy were more closely connected than is the
1 Dr. Nedoma, A Hussite codex of Stara Boleslav [Alt Bunzlau]. (Proceedings of the Bohemian Society of Sciences, 1891.)
2 The statement is confirmed by English writers: The Lord Cobham is said likewise . . . at the desire of John Huss to have caused all Wiclif's works to be written out and to be dispersed in Bohemia.” (John Lewis, The Life of Dr. John Wiclif, 1820, p. 247.)
case at the present day. Hus's relations with the Slavic countries had, on the other hand, political results, which influenced even the period subsequent to the death of the Bohemian reformer. The prominent part played in the Hussite wars by the Poles and particularly by the princes of the reigning family of Poland is foreshadowed by the hitherto little known relations which Hus established with King Vladislav of Poland. The Polish king was then engaged in war with the knights of the Teutonic order-one of the many episodes of the eternal conflict between Slav and Teuton. Many Bohemians, among them, according to an ancient tradition, John Zizka, subsequently the hero of the Hussite wars, joined, as volunteers, the army of the kindred Polish nation. The war was, of course, watched with the greatest interest by the Bohemians. In 1410, the King of Poland obtained a decisive victory at Tannenberg over the army of the Teutonic order which broke its strength for all times. On receiving the news of the great victory, Hus addressed to the king a congratulatory letter, which has recently been published 1 and is of the greatest interest. According to Dr. Nedoma's conjecture, Ones of Hurka, mentioned in this letter, was an envoy sent by the King of Poland to Hus to inform him of the great victory. We have evidence that King Vladislav sent messengers of victory not only to all sovereigns, but also to men of importance in Bohemia. It is a proof that the fame of Hus was already widely spread in Slavic countries that such a messenger should have been sent to him as the leader of the national party in Bohemia. The members of that party naturally rejoiced greatly over what they consider a victory of the Slavic cause. It is interesting to note that Hus here refers to his wish to meet the king and to visit Poland-no doubt in the interest of church-reform. It appears from a remark of the Emperor Sigismund, previously
* By Dr. Nedoma in the Proceedings of Bohemian Society of Sciences for 1891. The letter also formed part of the codex of Stara Boleslav which has already been mentioned.
. Such a letter, addressed to Lord Henry of Rosenberg is published—in a German translation-by Pubitschka. (Chronologische Geschichte Böhmens, vol. vii. p. 34.)
quoted, that that movement had acquired considerable strength in Poland. This planned journey of Hus was hitherto quite unknown. Both in this letter, and in a second one which will be quoted presently, Hus, acting truly as a peacemaker, entreats the King of Poland to live on good terms with Sigismund of Hungary, though the cautious reference to his arrogance proves that Hus was by no means unacquainted with the true character of that prince. Hus writes: “Greeting and thanks, peace and victory from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ! Most illustrious prince and magnificent king! When Ones of Hurka, your Majesty's messenger of victory and of praiseworthy agreement, 2 brought certain news, he gave my heart such joy that neither can my pen describe it, nor my voice express it, as would be seemly. I know, however, most Christian king, that not the power of your magnificence, but that of the supreme King, the peaceful Lord Jesus Christ, humiliated the proud enemies and rivals of your glory. He powerfully expelled them from the seat of glory and exalted the humble; therefore should both (adversaries), having before their eyes the power of the peaceful King, tremble and in their peril invoke His aid, and know that there is no victory but through Him, whom no mortal can defeat and who is pleased to grant victory to the humble, and because of their humiliation finally to exalt them. He (Jesus Christ) taught us this, saying frequently: 'All who exalt themselves shall be humiliated, and those who humiliate themselves shall be exalted.' Both things have been fulfilled. Where are now the two swords 3 of the enemies ? Verily they have been struck down by those (swords) by which they endeavoured to terrify the humble. They directed the two (swords) at kindness and at pride, and behold they lost many thousands struck down unexpectedly. Where are now their swords,
1 See p. 241.
* This probably refers to a truce between the Poles and Germans imme. diately after the battle. Peace was only concluded on February 1, 1411.
• On the eve of the battle the grandmaster of the Teutonic order, Conrad of Juningen, sent in derision two swords to the Polish camp, implying that the Poles were insufficiently armed.
their war steeds, their mailed men, their warriors in whom they confided? Where their innumerable florins or treasures? Assuredly everything failed them. Proud men, they who confided not in Christ, did not believe that they would be deceived. Therefore, most illustrious prince, wisely bearing this in your mind, adhere to humility, for it exalts. Follow the example of the peaceful King, the Lord Jesus Christ, strive for peace with that illustrious prince, King Sigismund, and should he in his arrogance raise unjust claims -may God avert this!—let your Majesty preserve the moderation of humility, lest Christian blood be again spilt, and great harm to the souls befall. But I, unworthy servant of Christ, with the whole people, will not cease humbly to invoke the grace of God on this concord, praying that the most kind Lord may deign to grant it. I also, O magnificent king, wish from the depth of my heart to behold you in person, and I hope that the Lord Jesus Christ will deign to grant me this, if He knows that it will in some fashion be of advantage to your Majesty and to my preaching. May the Almighty God deign to assist your Majesty for (the sake of) our Saviour, the mediator between God and men, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."
This letter is undated, but we may consider it certain that it was written in 1410, later than the 15th of July, the day on which the battle of Tannenberg was fought. On February 1, 1411, King Vladislav concluded a treaty of peace with the Teutonic order. His principal motive was that, shortly before, King Sigismund of Hungary had attacked Poland. Hus was therefore not successful in his attempt to prevent hostilities between the two kings.
The only other letter of Hus to the King of Poland that is known was written two years later. It is dated June 10, 1412. It is closely connected with the previous letter, for Hus begins by expressing his joy over the re-establishment of peace between the king and Sigismund of Hungary. Hus, however, expresses in this letter more clearly than in the former one his hopes with regard to churchreform. He lays particular stress on the suppression of simony, which he very truly considered the real cause of the depravation of