COMMENTARY NOTES

I.1 according to St Paul Sidenote: 2. Cor. 3.
I.2 he adviseth Titus Sidenote: Tit. 3.
I.2 Ebion, Cerinthus…and in other forefarthers time Berengar At least according to Epiphanius (Haer. xxx) Ebion was the founder of the Ebionite sect. Cerinthus was a Gnostic-Ebionite heretic of the late first century. The Gospel According to St. John is sometimes said to have been written in response to this sect. The eleventh century French theologian Beringar could be regarded as a proto-Protestant insofar as he challenged the doctrine of the transubstiation of the Host.
I.3 as the Apostle saith The mention of itching ears refers to 2 Timothy 4 and the following quotation is of Ephesians 4:14.
I.3 opinions, saith Sidenote: Timoth. 6.
I.6 with St. Paul Sidenote: Gal. 1.
I.7 I was made to swear an oathe At various points in their careers University men were required to affirm on oath their loyalty to the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, beginning with the signing of a loyalty pledge as part of the matriculation ceremony.
I.7 Doctor Whitaker in a book attacking Doctor Stapleton Alabaster alludes to the 1594 De Authoritate Scripturae by William Whitaker [1548 - 95], who had been Master of Trinity College at the time of its writing.
II.1 against the gentiles Sidenote: Tert. apol. contra gentes cap. 17 (Alabaster cites Tertullian, Apologia Contra Gentes 27 and refers to his De Testimonio Animae).
II.1 also on this matter Sidenote: Lib. de testimonio animae.
II.1 in amaritudine animae meae Sidenote: Isay. 30.
II.2 of St. Paul to the Romans Sidenote: Rom. 6, 7, 8 *c. Mar. 12, Jac. 2, Gal. 5.
II.3 som bookes of Dominicus Asoto The Dominican theologian Pedro à Soto [1500 - 62]; Alabaster perhaps read his Methodus Confessionis (1553).
II.4 profiteth nothinge Sidenote: Math. 25, Jac. 1.2., 1 Cor. 13, Math. 24, Luc. 21.
II.4 qui facit iustitiam iustus est Sidenote: 1. Jo. 3.
II.4 a nemine iudicatur Sidenote: 1 Cor. 2.
II.8 different motions of my soul Sidenote: Psal. 4.
II.8 motions of my soul Sidenote: Math. 17.
II.8 of the same spirite Sidenote: Coloss. 2.
III.2 the Darnell of heresies Sidenote: Math. 13.
III.2 which St. Paul calleth her Sidenote: Timo 3.
III.5 of old fathers and auncient counsels Sidenote: 1 Cor. 2, 2, 2 Joan. 2.
III.7 the guilt of syn remitted Sidenote: D. Th. 3a p. 1 q. 88 ar 10 ibid. Caet et ir. de indulgentiis. Alabaster glosses his remark with a citation of Summa Theologica, pars 1, questio 88, articlum 1, which explains the difference between mortal and venial sin: the assumption is that, if there is such a thing as venial sin, the Church is empowered to grant absolution.
III.12 St. Paul speakethe heerin resolutly Sidenote: Ephes. 5.
IV.1 I was to goe at Masters If Alabaster departed Cambridge for London and was to be presented with living at the time when the Universities granted their degrees, in June, then this agrees with the statement in his initial deposition to the English College that his conversion occured when he was “living at Court”; he never states why his stay at London was so protracted.
For to pretend a good prebend = “for to stake my claim on a rich ecclesiasticall living:” he had to travel to London to be confirmed by Essex in the living of Landulphe in Cornwall, for which he had compounded on September 8, 1596 (P. R. O. First Fruits Composition Book xii, fol. 60v). Now that he haid gained this secure income he was free to marry. Note that that Story (p. xv) mistakenly states he gained this living in 1596.
IV.2 (afterwarde) Saint Augustine Sidenote: Aug. lib. 8 Confess. cap. 11 et 12. Alabaster usually does not identify the specific books that led him to his conversion but from a number of citations in this document, obviously St. Augustine’s Confessions was favorite reading. Sonnet 35 reveals the identity of another book Alabaster read, as it is about “St. Augustine’s Meditations,” i. e., the very popular Liber Meditationum wrongly attributed to that writer in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
IV.2 from Judaisme to Christianisme Sidenote: Acts 9.
IV.2 at the begynninge of his conversion Sidenote: 1 Cor. 12 2 Cor. 15.
IV.3 and with a greater tendernes of harte Alabaster’s Sonnet 71 is entitled The Difference ’twixt Compunction and Cold Devotion in Beholding the Passion of our Saviour.
IV.4 Master Goodman the Deane of Westminister Gabriel goodman (d. 1602); life in D. N. B.
IV.4 as St. August reconteth Sidenote: Au: lib. 8 Conf. cap. 6.
IV.4 and hee told me Master William Reynals against one Master Whitakers The book in question was William Reynold’s defense of the Rheims translation of the New Testament, A refutation of sundry reprehensions (Paris, 1583). For the brothers John Rainolds and William Reynolds cf. Alabaster’s poem XVI with the accompanying note.
IV.5 Northamption was a Puritan town. Since 1572 its churches had been regulated by a covenant entitled The Orders and Dealings of the Church of Northampton, described by W. H. Freer, The English Church in the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I (1588 - 1625) (London, 1905, repr. New York, n. d.) 168f. These injunctions prescribed very Low Church practices, and specified that Calvin’s catechism was to be used in lieu of that of the Book of Common Prayer.
IV.5 The Family of Love was one of the extreme Protestant splinter sects of the time, like the Arians and Anabaptists.
IV.5 one of Master Jewels bookes against Doctor Harding. John Jewel(1522 - 71), Master of St. Catherine’s College, Cantab., and latterly Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, then of Norwich, was a prominent Anglican writer, best known for his 1562 Apologia pro Ecclesia Anglicana. In the same year he published his Reply to Mr. Harding’s Answer. Alabaster’s remarks are understandably biased, although he grudgingly admits Jewel’s effectivenest as a polemicist.
IV.5 Master Copeley Anthony Copley (b. 1567); life in D. N. B.
IV.5 named by him Calvinoturcismus William Reynolds’ Calvino-Turcismus, i. e. Calvinismae Perfidiae cum Mahometana Collatio et utriusque sectae confutatio was printed at Antwerp in 1597 and again at Cologne in 1603.
IV.6 by Doctor Cole his president William Cole (d. 1600), President of Corpus Christi College, Oxon; life in D. N. B.
IV.7 for my sake Sidenote: Act. 9.
IV.7 for love of the world Sidenote: 2 Timo. 4.
IV.8 from St. Paules boddylye eyes Sidenote: Act. 9.
IV.10 speaketh of to the galatians Sidenote: Gal. 5.
V.1 that of St. Jhon Sidenote: Apo. 2.
V.1 the Actes of the Apostles Sidenote: Act. 2.
V.1 and dedicated to Christ Rutilius Namatianus, De Reditu Suo I.4f. with Christum laudantibus substituted for Romam venientibus.
V.1 Richard Topcliffe (1532 - 1604), a notoriously sadistic persecutor of Catholics (the name is spelled Toplyffe in other contemporary documents, such as the one printed by Foley I.385); life in D. N. B. Alabaster was mistaken indentifying him as a member of the clergy
V.2 os et sapientiam Sidenote: Luc. 21.
V.4 thes woordes of St. Paul Sidenote: 2 Corin. 7.
V.4 prayer in this behalfe Sidenote: Rom. 15.
V.4 for as St. Bernard saith Sidenote: Bern. ser. in cant. (i. e., Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermo super Cantica Canticorum).
V.4 quomodo glorificas? Sidenote: Aug.
V.5 wherof I might afterwardes kyndle my devotion at new tyme againe The present paragraph contains a memorably succinct statement ofj a poet’s motive for writing devotional verse. Story (p. xxxvi) assumes that the composition of all Alabaster’s sonnets “can be placed fairly certainly in the period immediately following [his] first conversion to the Roman faith until his escape from England, that is, between Easter 1597 and Michelmas 1598. He may even have begun to write them earlier, for as early as Michaelmas 1596, that is, whlie still a Protestant, he was undergoing a religious experience not unlike that which is revealed in the sonnets.” He notes that his periods of confinement at Cambridge and London, and the time he spent hiding with Father John Gerard after his escape from the latter, would have afforded him leisure for their writing. While the possibility that some may be later cannot be excuded, one group (46 - 52) is specificaly about his conversion.
Sonnet 50 is entitled To His Sad Friend (it concludes thus in revenge I joy to see you sad / Since you in error grieve to see me glad), and Gardiner (p. 58) suggested this and the preceding one were addressed to Alabaster’s intended bride. More likely they are written for the same friend who is the probable addressee of the present document, Hugh Holland.
For his trip home to Suffolk (he haled from Hadleigh), where he tried to convert several members of his family, see Story p. xiii with references.
V.6 then forth at sea Essex did not return from his disastrous expedition to the Azores until July 20. Alabaster describes the writing of his lost Seven Motives in the summer of 1597. On the basis of published refutations of Alabaster’s treatise, Coutts attempted to reconstruct the thread of its argument (pp. 145- 56).
VI.1 πανοπλίαν Sidenote: ἐνδύσασθε τῷ πανοπλιῷ τοῦ θεοῦ &c.
VI.2 to correct Sidenote: 2 Timoth. 3.
VI.6 were present at his assention Sidenote: Act. 1.
VI.12 thes wordes of our sweet Saviour Sidenote: John 11.
VII.2 Doctor Nevel Thomas Neville (d. 1616), Master of Trinity College, Cantab., and subsequenty Dean of Canterbury; life in D. N. B. Immediately below, Alabaster is in error: the Vice-Chancellor for 1597 was not Humprey Tyndall, but rather Dr. John Jegen.
VII.5 Doctor Overall…Master Downe…Master Lyvely John Overall (1560 - 1619), subsequently Dean of St. Paul’s; life in D. N. B. John Downe (d. 1631) Regius Professor of Greek; life in D. N. B. edward Lively (d. 1601), Regius Professor of Hebrew ; life in D. N. B. Overall (who appears to have remained a friend to Alabaster throughout his years of imprisonment) had been Essex’ tutor at Trinity College, and was perhaps instrumental in making the Earl Alabaster’s patron. Alabaster had a proclivity for Hebrew linguistics, already evidenced in his poem II (1587), and probably studied the subject under Lively’s direction, hence that professor was brought in now.
VII.6 This pursuivant is identified by Cambridge University Library ms. Baker xxiv.356 as Nicholas Cole, one of the Messengers of Her Majesty’s Chamber. The Bishop of London ordered Alabaster’s transfer to London on October 24 and he set out on the last day of the month (ib. 186).
VII.6 Master Bankrofte called Bishopp of London Richard Bancroft (1544 - 1610), elected Bishop of London April 21, 1597. Subsequently he became Archbishop of Canterbury and Chancellor of the University of Oxford; life in D. N. B. Since he was notoriously harsh towards schismatics, his gentle handling of Alabaster’s case is notworthy. Alabaster says that Bancroft was “called Bishopp of London” because, as a Catholic, he was not prepared to concede the legitimacy of Anglican bishops in the Apostolic Succession.
VII.7 which Luther confessed Sidenote: Luther de missa angulari. In fact, the allusion is evidently not to Luther’s treatise On the Private Mass, but rather to his open letter “To the Honorable and Steadfast N. My Most Gracious Lord and Good Friend,” in which he defended that treatice: cf. D. Martin Luthers Werke (Weimar, 1883 — ) XXXVIII.267.
VII.9 as Bellarmine and the rest Cardinal Richard Bellarmine (1542 - 1621), the eloquent and prolific Jesuit champion of papal supremacy over the secular state.
VII.9 by Catholique preestes in Lankeshire In 1587 a Commission of Peace and an ecclesiastical commission had been sent to Lancashire to quell what was regarded as rampant Catholicism: cf. Strype III.i.702 - 4.
VII.9 St. Campion The famous Jesuit Edmund Campion (1548 - 95); life in D. N. B.
VII.10 a preest named Ithall Evidently Leonard Withal (matriculated from Jesus College, Cantab., 1578): cf. J. and J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses (Cambridge, 1922) I.ii.342.
VIII.4 before Doctor Still For John Still, bishop of Bath and Wells, see the initial note on poems V - IX.
VIII.4 Doctor Grante the Queenes Chaplaine Edward Grant (d. 1601), currently a Prebend of Westminster and formerly Head Master of the Winchester School from 1572 to 1592; life in D. N. B. Despite what Alabaster writes, we may wonder if the presence of these men was by prearrangement.
VIII.4 Timothee, custodi depositum Sidenote: 2 Timo. 6.
VIII.6 by Master Latimer Alabaster refers to the famous Anglican bishop Hugh Latimer, martyred in 1555.
VIII.7 without change of the river Sidenote: Joan. 4, 1 Timo. 6.
VIII.9 she held that lying was lawfull An allusion to the Jesuit doctrine of Equivocation, such as was preached by Henry Garnet, the Jesuit Superior for England, according to which it was permissible for Catholics to conceal their religion from the authorities in order to save their lives.
VIII.10 the Heretiques called Colliridiani The Collyridians were a fourth century sect, described by St. Epiphanius, that was devoted to idolatrous worship of the Virgin.
VIII.11 he obiected the bringing of Images Protestant opposition to the use of imagery had revived the issues involved in the Iconoclast controversy of the eighth century. The original Iconoclasts had appropriated arguments advanced by the fourth century theologian St. Epiphanius of Constantia, and St. John Damascene retaliated by writing several letters in defense of Roman Catholic usage.
IX.1 with one Doctor Andrewes Lancelot Andrewes (1555 - 1626) was one of the Anglican Church’s great preachers and theologians; besides being Head of Pembroke College, Cantab., he was a chaplain of the Queen, and would go on to be Bishop, successively, of Chichester, Ely, and Winchester; life in D. N. B. Alabaster’s representation of his positions is decidedly malicious.
IX.4 out of sainte Paule Sidenote: Rom. 9.
IX.7 et nullatenus dubita &c. Sidenote: Aug. lib. de Fide. ad Pet. cap. 37 et 38.
X.1 in the olde Lord Chauncelors tyme When Sir Christopher Hatton (d. 1591) was Lord Chancellor, Bancroft had been his chaplain. At that time, as a member of the Ecclesiastical Commission, he had come down hard on Puritans, for example in connection with the prosecution of the authors of the Marprelate tracts.
X.3 at the seate of iudgment Sidenote: The case of Ananias Act. 3.
X.4 a place in Baronius his Annales The allusions are to the Annales Ecclesiastici of Cardinal Caesar Baronius (1535 - 1607) and St. Gregory of Naziazene’s Oration 21.
X.7 and send me to prison At this point Alabaster was placed, at least in theory, under much closer confinement, being transferred from the pursuivant’s house to the Clink.
X.8 most redicolusly degraded of my orders of ministery Alabaster describes being defrocked and officially deprived of the living mentioned at 4.1, a transaction recorded by Cambridge University Library ms. Baker xiv.196 (this occurred on February 20, 1597). Lord Buckhurst was Thomas Sackville, first Earl of Buckhurst (1536 - 1608), member of the Privy council and Chancellor of the University of Oxford. He was there representing the Council and acting in his capacity as commissioner for Eclesiastical Causes, a post he had held since 1588; life in D. N. B. “Mr. Cookewas Sir Edward Coke (1552 - 1634), the Attorney General, best rmembered for his savage prosecutions of Essex and the Gunpowder Plotters; life in D. N. B. Also present were William Cotton (d. 1620), a future Bishop of Exeter and currently a Prebend of St. Paul’s, Sir Edward Stanhope (d. 1608), Chancellor of the diocese of London, and the aformentioned Lancelot Andrewes.
XI.1 For heer they say deleatur Alabaster alludes to two forms of Catholic censorship, the Index Expurgatorius and the elimination of passages in the works of the Church Fathers that contradicted Church teaching, as alleged by the Huguenot scholar Franz Junius (François du Jon, 1545 - 1602). For this charge, which sprang from the publication of a text of Origen’s Commentary on St. John based on a defective manuscript, in which the sixth chapter was omitted, see Richard Watson Dixon, History of the Church of England from the Abolition of the Roman Jurisdiction (Oxford, 1902) V.318f.
In the Elisaeis Alabaster had repeated this allegation. At lines 234ff. Satan comes to Rome and discovers the personified Papacy hard at work:

ergo ubi se intulerat tectis Acherusius horror
Sollicitam advertit Papiam, irritamine fraudis
antiquos castrare patres, Papiaeque sinistra
nomina censuris configere, mula dolsi
unguine depasci calami, et stuprata referre.

[“And so when he insinuated himself into the building, this horror from Acheron perceived that Papacy was preoccupied, emasculating the Fathers of old by the instruments of deceit, inserting many sinister words by Papacy’s censtorship, eliminating much with the nib of her treacherous pen, replacing them with corruptions.”]

XI.2 certum est &c. Sidenote: D. Thomas p. 3 1. 1 art. 4 in cap. (i. e., Summa Theologica pars 3, quaestio 1, articulum 4).
XI.3 non perdinet de ovibus Sidenote: Ioan. 10.
XI.4 the Bishop of Bangor and Doctor Momforde Richard, Vaughan (d. 1607), Bishop of Bangor; life in D. N. B. His presence may not have been as accidental as Alabaster assumed. In 1582, in response to Edmund Campion’s challenge, Archbishop Whitgift had named both Vaughn and John Still to a committee of leading Anglican theologians authorized to dispute with Jesuits, seminary priests and other Papists: cf. John Strype, The Life and Acts of John Whitgift D. D. (Oxford, 18721) I.196 - 8. He may therefore have been consulted about how Alabaster should be handled. “Doctor Momford” was perhaps the physician Thomas Moundeford, M. D. (d. 163), for whom cf. Alumni Cantabrigienses I.iii.224.
XI.5 those wordes of our Saviour Sidenote: Joan. 10.
XI.5 homo non separet Sidenote: Math. 19.
XI.5 dominus et Gedeon Sidenote: Iudic. 8.
XI.6 he tould me that I did foresee some change of Religion Unfortunately this interesting passage is written in a rather crabbed style and the is perhaps corrupt: one wonders whether I did forsee some change in Religion is a direct quotation of Bancroft’s words, or whether we should read he did forsee. The point, evidently, is that Bishop Bancroft said something that led Alabaster to conclude that the reason he was being handled with kid gloves was because, in the context of the current uncertainty about the royal succession, the Anglican clergy foresaw the likelihood that Elizabeth might soon be replaced by a Catholic sovereign and were therefore comporting themselves as trimmers.
XI.6 for that he is old and hath besides a courst wife I have seen no biography of Bishop Bancroft that gives particulars about his marriages (courst is evidently Alabaster’s spelling of “cursed.”)
XII.1 by an Angel in Jherusalem Sidenote: Act. 12 et 16.
XII.1 another tyme over a wall Sidenote: 2 Cor. 11.
XII.1 for 40 yeeres together Sidenote: in ceph. lib. 10, cap. 19.
XII.1 by an excellent booke Sidenote: hist. imp. l. 4 c. 1. I do not understand Alabaster’s method of citing Athanasius; evidently his two sidenotes respectively refer to Apologia contra Arianos xliv - xlv and Apologia de Fuga Sua.
XII.1 I went awaye Documents cited by Guiney p. 336 show that Alabaster made his escape at the beginning of May 1598; the earliest of these is P. R. O. State Papers (Domestic) Elizabeth CCLXVIII.5. He was hidden at Father John Gerard’s house in St. Clement’s Lane for two or three months, a sojourn which became a kind of retreat while he received spiritual instruction.
XII.14 after a good dyner In 1559, after Elizabeth had assumed the throne, Mary’s Bishop of London, Edmund Bonner, and other Catholic prelates attempted to debar the consecration of the Protestant Mattew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury. Since the ecclesiasticall commission in charge of his consecration was forbidden access to Lambeth, the ceremony was conducted at the church of St. Mary-le-Bow. Malicious Catholics put out a story that the rite had been transacted at the Nag’s Head tavern in Cheapside. In his History of the Church of England V.210 Dixon wrote:

It is degrading to enter the lists with men who hold the Nag’s Head; the earliest of the absurdities which have obscured the real issue: the story that Parker was not consecrated in Lambeth chapel, but in a tavern, and that the consecration was a mockery or travesty. This fable, which would make Elizabeth and her statesmen perfect fools, and her ecclesiastics a pack of blasphemous mountebanks, sprang up nearly fifty years after the event, when Elizabeth and all others concerned were dead.

In a footnote, Dixon asserted that this story first appears in print in Holywood’s De Investiganda Vera ac Visibili Christi Ecclesia (Antwerp, 1604), cap. iv, p. 17. If so, it is interesting to find Alabaster alluding to the story five years earlier, in Elizabeth’s lifetime.
XII.27 and tooke my Journy From other sources it is known that, thanks to arrangements made by Father Gerard, he made his escape to Brussels (Guiney p. 336 with references cited, J. S. Alabaster 48f. with map). Evidently he passed through Venice, and wrote poems XIX and XX at that time. Coutts (p. 156) quotes documentary evidence that he arrived at Rome on November 21.
XII.28 calling it Babilon the strumpett of the Apocalipse What Alabaster writes about such representations of the Church at Rome applies equally to his own personified Papacy in the Elisaeis. In a passage beginning at 153 (which appears to have been imitated by Milton at In Quintum Novembris 48ff.) Satan flies to Rome, and:

est locus Italia in media, qua flexibus ingens
aureolas late volvit Tiberinus arenas.
hic caput imperii donec fama integra mansit
deliciaeque hominum steterant, caelique theatrum,
sed tunc Roma fuit nunc magni nominis umbra.
hic sedes Papiae, et diri spiracula monstri,
templum infandum, ingens, septem super exilit arces
gentiles nugae, Iudaeae fragmina legis
Mosaicae, immanis templi tabulata coercent.
undique pontificum decretis ferrea pendet
compago laterum, et nexu solidatur aheno
concilium, quae vi et pretio stuprata tulerunt
pontificem verbi dominum, regumque tyrannum.
ante fores monachi, et diversa examina fratrum
infamis numerus stabulatur, et agmine caeco
conglomerant, et multa vomunt convitia caelo.

[“There is a place in middle Italy where Tiber, great in its windings, rolls its golden sands. Here was an imperial capital as long as its reputation remained intact, as long as mankind’s darlings endured as a theater for heaven; but at this time Rome was but a shadow of its great name. Here Papacy made her home, this was the dire monster’s lair. Here a foul temple, huge, loomed over the seven hills. It flooring was shored up by pagan foolishness and bits of Jewish Mosaic law, and by the decrees of pontiffs an iron binding girded its sides; it was reinforced by the brazen framework of Councils which, after having been corrupted by force and bribery, elected the pontiff, master of the Word and tyrant over kings. Before its doors were encamped monks and an infamous crew of friars, clumped together in a blind; huddle, spewing many insults heavenward.”]

After a further description of Rome, Satan enters the Vatican and meets Papacy, in a passage already quoted in the note on XI.i. Then he recruits her for his evil project of undermining English Protestantism.
XIII.1 Owr arrivall at Rome According to the Pilgrim’s Book of the English College (Liber 283, fol. 37), Alabaster entered the College in the company of Edward Luson of Lychfeld, Richard Cornwalllis of Norfolk, and Richard Higham of Essex.
XIII.5 as St. Ciprian saith Sidenote: Cypri. C de unit. (i. e., De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate 5).
XIII.8 now Fraunce is com in also France reentered the Catholic fold after Henri IV’s conversion soon after his accession in 1589.