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THE spirit of versifying the psalms, and other parts of the Bible, at the beginning of the reformation, was almost as epidemic as psalm-singing. William Hunnis, a gentleman of the chapel under Edward the Sixth, and afterwards chapel-master to queen Elisabeth, rendered into rhyme many select psalms *, which had not the good fortune to be rescued from oblivion by being incorporated into Hopkins's collection, nor to be sung in the royal chapel. They were printed in 1550, with this title, "Certayne Psalmes chosen out of the Psalter of David, and drawen furth into Englysh meter by William Hunnis servant to the ryght honourable syr William Harberd knight. Newly collected and imprinted "."
I know not if among these are his SEVEN SOBS of a sorrowful
* [On the back of the title to a copy of Sir Thomas More's works, 1557, (presented to the library of Trin. Coll. Oxon. by John Gibbon, 1630,) the following lines occur, which bear the signature of our poet in a coëval hand.
"MY LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. To God my soule I do bequeathe, because it is his owen,
My body to be layd in grave, where to my frends best known:
Executors I wyll none make, thereby
great stryffe may grow; Because the goods that I shall leave, wyll not pay all I owe.
a I have also seen Hunnis's "Abridgement or brief meditation on certaine of the Psalmes in English metre," printed by R. Wier, 4to. [8vo. says Bishop Tanner.-PARK.]
soul for sin, comprehending the SEVEN PENITENTIAL PSALMS in metre*. They are dedicated to Frances countess of Sussex, whose attachment to the gospel he much extols†, and who was afterwards the foundress of Sydney college in Cambridge. Hun nis also, under the happy title of a HANDFUL OF HONEY SUCKLES, published Blessings out of Deuteronomie, Prayers to Christ, Athanasius's Creed, and Meditations ‡, in metre with musical notes. But his spiritual nosegays are numerous. To say nothing of his RECREATIONS on Adam's banishment, Christ his Cribb, and the Lost Sheep, he translated into English rhyme the whole book of GENESIS, which he calls a HIVE FULL OF HONEY. But his honey-suckles and his honey are now no longer delicious. He was a large contributor to the PARADISE of Dainty DevISES, of which more will be said in its place In the year 1550, were also published by John Hall, or Hawle,
[The "Certayne Psalmes" did not appear among the "Seven Sobs," which were licensed to H. Denham Nov. 1581, and printed in 15-, 1585, 1589, 1597, 1629 and 1636. Hunnis's "Seven Steps to Heaven were also licensed in 1581. The love of alliteration had before
duced "a Surge of Sorrowing Sobs," in the " gorgeous gallery of gallant inventions," 1578.-PARK.]
+ [Her ladyship's virtue and courtesie are extolled; but godlie fear, firm faith, &c. are only enumerated among the dedicator's wishes.-PARK.]
[To these were added the poore Widowes mite, Comfortable Dialogs betweene Christ and a Sinner, A Lamentation of youth's follies, a psalme of rejoising, and a praier for the good estate of Queen Eliza beth. The last being the shortest is here given for Hunnis was rather a prosaic
So shall all we that faithfull be
b Printed by T. Marshe, 1578. 4to. [And entitled "A Hyve full of Hunnye; contayning the firste Booke of
Moses called Genesis. Turned into En
glish Meetre by William Hunnis, one of
Thou God that guidst both heaven and deletts and songs, his Nosegay and his
On whom we all depend;
Wydowes Myte, with other fancies of his forge. And he tells us, that in the
Preserve our Queene in perfect health, prime of youth his pen "had depaincted
And hir from harme defend.
Conserve hir life, in peace to reigne,
Sonets Sweete. This probably is allusive to his contributions in the "Paradise of Daintie Devises." Wood calls Hunnis a crony of Thomas Newton, the Latin poet. Ath. Oxon, i. 152.-PARK.]