Description Of A Golden Manual Of Prayers,
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
Having been favoured with a facsimile copy of the curious little miscellany of devotions, very superbly bound in solid gold, which Queen Elizabeth, it is said, usually wore, hanging by a gold chain, at her side ; of which, according to promise indicated in p. 988, you herewith receive a more particular and correct account than I was enabled to give when " The Typographical Antiquities of Great Britain and Ireland " were published ; and intreat your indulgence to give it a place in your valuable repository.
This rare collection of devotional pieces begins with " Morning and Euening Prayer, with diners Psalmes, Himmes, and Meditations. T. Made by the Lady Elizabeth Tirwit. Scene and allowed. Printed by H. Middelton, for Christopher Barker." This title is printed within a border of metal flowers. 'On the back page is an escutcheon bearing these arms, A lion rampant double queved, in a bordure charged with eight escallops. These prayers, etc., occupy signatures M, in eights ; the size of the leaf is two inches and a half high, and one inch and three-eighths broad, margin included in both dimensions. Prefixed thereto is briefe Exhortation unto Prayer," in six leaves; the form of Morning Prayer, on seventeen leaves; Evening Prayer, on eight leaves. On the last of them is C. Barker's device, as represented on the frontispiece to the "Typographical Antiquities," with this couplet over it :
A Barker if you will :
Then follow " Certaine godly Sentences," on four leaves, with the same device on the back of the last.—" Certaine other godly Prayers," on twenty-three leaves ; the back of the last blank.—"Hymnes," on seventeen leaves, with the same device on the back of the last, and a blank leaf after it.—" The Lettanie," on seventeen leaves, concluding with the " Prayer of Chrisostome ;" before which are inserted, " A Prayer for the Queene's Maiestie," and, " A Prayer for Pastors and Ministers of the Church." On the back of the last of these leaves is this colophon, "1T Imprinted at London, by Henrie Middelton, for Christopher Barker, 1574." On another leaf is C. Barker's device again ; and, lastly, a blank leaf. These prayers, etc., by Lady Tirwit, were reprinted, with considerable variations and without the Letany, in Tho. Bentley's 2d " Lamp of Virginitie," vol. i., pp. 103-138.
The next article in this curious miscellany has the following title in a border of metal flowers, "The Queene's Prayers, or Meditations, wherein the Mynde is stirred to suffer all Afflictions here." On the back is the text, Col. iii. 1, 2. It is needless to describe these prayers particularly, as they differ only in orthography from those you have given from Mr. Levett's curious MS. bound in silver, in your magazine for last September, and the residue thereof from Berthelet's edition, printed 1545, in that of November following. I shall only mention that the running title throughout is "The Queene's Praiers ;" even over that part of "The Letanye," which remains in this splendid binding. A probable reason for leaving out the residue of the Litany, might be to render the volume more portable ; the whole Litany having been inserted at the end of Lady Tirwit's prayers. It would doubtless have been taken entirely away, but that "The Letanye " begins on the same page (F iiii) on which the Queen's prayers end. These are complete according to the printed editions, but at the end of the meditations has only " A devoute Prayer* to be sayde daiely." See Gent. Mag. for Nov. last, p. 988. The four first leaves are without a signature, B—E, in eights; of has only four leaves remaining. Had this piece been left entire, we might very likely have found a colophon at the end. I have an edition not much larger than the forementioned Queen's prayers, printed by William How, 1571, which has its title, verbatim, the same, and environed with a border of the same metal flowers, and has the same running title, even to the end of the " ° Letany."t From so great similarity may it not reasonably be conjectured that both editions were printed by him ? I cannot suppose Q. Catherine Parr published these meditations and prayers out of any ostentation of authorship. In this particular especially she does not in the least pretend to it, as was observed in the note, p. 987, they were only " collected out of holy workes by her, neither does she prfess herself, though possibly she might be the translator."
To the fore-mentioned devotional treatises in this august collection is annexed the latter part of an almanack for twenty years, exhibiting the Easter days, Golden numbers, Dominical letters, and Leap years from 1583 to 1591 inclusive.