From Purvey's Prologue to the Wyclif Bible

This is a Modern English version of chapter 15 of Purvey's Prologue to the Wyclif Bible, which I have translated from the Middle English text presented in The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, with the Apocryphal Books, in the Earliest English Versions Made from the Latin Vulgate by John Wycliffe and His Followers: edited by the Rev. Josiah Forshall, F.R.S. etc. Late Fellow of Exeter College, and Sir Frederic Madden, K.H. F.R.S. etc. Keeper of the MSS. in the British Museum. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1850. 4 vols. Reprinted New York: AMS Press, 1982). The Prologue appears in volume 1. The Middle English text from this edition is also given below.

Chapter 15

Why every man should know and obey the scripture, which is the scripture of peoples, as Jerome says.

Christ said that the gospel should be preached in all the world, and David said of the Apostles and their preaching, "the sound of them went out into each land, and the words of them went out into the ends of the world." And David also said, "the Lord shall reveal his truth in the scriptures of peoples, and of the princes that were in Zion," that is, in the church, as Jerome explains in his commentary on this verse. He also explains that scripture is here called "the scriptures of peoples" because it was intended that all nations should know the scriptures, and he explains that the "princes" of the church spoken of in this verse are the Apostles who had the authority to write scripture, for it is because the Apostles wrote their scriptures by this authority, and by the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, that it is holy scripture, and the authoritative basis of our Christian faith. And no man has been given this authority after them, however holy or wise he may be, as Jerome declares in his commentary on that verse. Also, Christ said of the Jews who cried Hosanna to him in the temple, that if they had been silent the stones would cry out, and by "stones" he means the gentiles that worshiped stones for their gods. And we Englishmen are descended from such heathen men; therefore we are meant by these stones, that should proclaim the scriptures. On the other hand, the Jews signify the clerics who ought to have acknowledged the truth of God by repenting of their sins and praising him. But failing that, the common men of our realm, who attach themselves to the great Cornerstone (which is Christ), are indeed rightly signified by stones that are set firmly in the foundation; for though our covetous clerics are altogether carried away by bribery, heresy, and many other sins, and though they despise and oppose the scripture, as much as they can, yet the common people cry out for the scripture, to know it, and obey it, with great cost and peril to their lives.

For these reasons and others, and with the loving purpose of saving all men in our realm which God would have to be saved, a simple creature has translated the bible out of Latin into English. First of all this simple creature went to much trouble, with various friends and helpers, to gather many old bibles, and other books written by theologians, and commentaries, in order to edit one Latin bible somewhat correctly; and then he studied the text and whatever commentaries he could get, especially the commentaries of Nicolas of Lyra on the Old testament, which was very helpful in this work; then he referred to the old grammarians and theologians for the interpretation of difficult words and passages, to see how they might best be understood and translated; and then he translated as clearly as he could the meaning, and in this task he also was helped by many good and knowledgeable friends, who suggested corrections to the translation.

It should be known that the best way of translating out of Latin into English is to translate according to the meaning, and not merely according to the words, so that the meaning might be as plain, or even more plain, in English as in Latin, while not straying any further from the literal translation than is necessary. The letter need not always be closely followed in the translation, but by all means let the meaning be completely plain, for the words of a translation should serve to convey the intended meaning, or else the words are useless or false. In translating into English, many transformations are necessary in order to make the meaning plain. For example: the Latin "ablative absolute" construction should usually be transformed into a phrase with the prepositions while, because, if. So, for example, we would not translate literally, the teacher reading, I stand, but instead, while the teacher reads I stand or if the teacher reads I stand, or because the teacher reads I stand, etc. And sometimes it suits the meaning better to use when or after; and so render when the teacher read, I stood; or after the teacher read, I stood. And sometimes it may well be transformed into an equivalent phrase by supplying a verb and conjunction, as in the following example. Arescentibus hominibus præ timore may be rendered and men shall become dry for fear. Also a participle in the present or preterit tense, either in the active or passive voice, may be transformed into an equivalent phrase with a verb of the same tense and a conjunction, as for example when dicens (saying) may be rendered and says or who says; and this will in many places make the meaning plain, whereas if we rendered it in English in a strictly literal fashion, the meaning would be obscure and doubtful. Also a relative participle may be expressed by supplying a pronoun and a conjunction, and so instead of who runs we would say, and he runs. Also when a word occurs but once in a passage it may be supplied in other places in the passage where it is implied, as often as seems necessary for the sake of clarity. And the word autem, although it usually means but, may also sometimes mean and, as the old grammarians say. Also sometimes a faithful translation cannot be right because it is impossible in the context, as in the sentence Dominum formidabunt adversarij ejus. If we were to translate this literally it would say, the Lord his adversaries should fear, but I translate it by this interpretation, the adversaries of the Lord should fear him, and likewise there are other sentences like this.

At the beginning I resolved, with God's help, to make the meaning as accurate and plain in English as it is in Latin, or more accurate and more plain than the Latin; and I ask, for the sake of love and the common benefit of Christian souls, that if any learned man find any fault in the translation, let him substitute a better interpretation of the Latin himself. But he should first of all see to it that his Latin text is correct, for he will find that many of the Latin copies are often incorrect if he examine many of them, especially the newer ones. The Latin Bibles commonly in use (of which I have examined many) have even more need of correction than the English Bible set forth here. Our Latin Bibles often disagree with the Hebrew of the Old Testament, as one may see from the commentaries of Jerome and Nicolas of Lyra and other expositors. In such places I have made a note in the margin, giving the true sense of the Hebrew, and how it is interpreted by these commentators. This is most necessary in the Psalter, which of all our books discords most from the Hebrew, because the church does not use the Psalter as it was accurately translated from the Hebrew by Jerome, but it uses another translation made by men who had much less knowledge (and holiness) than Jerome. Indeed, in few books does the church use the authentic translation of Jerome, as may be proved by examination of the text which he comments upon in his commentaries. Whether I have translated as plainly or more plainly in English than it is in Latin, let learned men judge, who know both languages well, and who know well the meaning of the scriptures. And if I have somewhere failed in this, yet there should be no doubt that, with God's grace and with much work, it may be accomplished. And this being done, again with God's grace and much hard work, it will then be possible for men to use this English Bible in order to explain to common men the meaning of the scriptures more plainly and briefly than the venerable old theologians, who commented on the Latin; and certainly much more clearly and correctly than many of our recent homilists and expositors have done.

May God in his great mercy give us grace to live rightly, and to see the truth promptly, and to have favor with God and his people, and not waste our time, whether it be short or long according to God's ordinance. But some, that would seem learned and holy, would hinder us, saying that if indeed men now were as holy as Jerome was, they might truly translate out of Latin into English, as he did out of Hebrew and Greek into Latin, but that we ought to refrain from doing so now, because in fact we lack the holiness and knowledge of men like Jerome. Now, although this argument seems plausible enough, in fact it has no basis in good reasoning or good will, for this argument is more against Jerome himself, and the translators of the Septuagint, and against the church itself, than against the simple men who now translate God's word into English. For Jerome was not as holy as the Apostles and Evangelists whose books he translated into Latin, and he had not the superior gifts of the holy spirit which these men had. Likewise the seventy translators of the Septuagint were not so holy as Moses and the Prophets, and they had not the gifts of these men. Furthermore, the church has in the past approved not only the true translations done by humble Christian men who were steadfast in the faith, but also those done by heretics, who by clever translations obscured many mysteries of Christ, as Jerome testifies in his prologues to Job and Daniel. How much more ought the Church of England to approve the true and honest translation of simple men, who would for no reward in this earth knowingly obscure the least truth, or even the least letter or jot of holy scripture, if it have any significance. And our critics ought not to call into question the holiness of men now living in this mortal life, for they have no knowledge of it, and it is reserved only to God's judgment. If they know of any noteworthy fault among the translators or their helpers, let them declare it (yet in love), but let them not damn something which may be done lawfully by God's Law, as the wearing of good clothes for an occasion, or riding on a horse for a long journey, when they are ignorant of the reason for it. For such things may be done by simple men with as much virtue as those who, reputed to be great and wise, ride magnificently on gilded saddles and who use silk cushions and wear gilded silk clothes, with other vain things of the world. God grant us mercy and love of the common good, that we may avoid such foolishness, which is against all godly reason and love! Yet these worldly clerics ask vehemently, "What spirit makes these ignorant men so bold as to translate the Bible now into English, since the four great theologians never attempted it?" But this argument is so stupid that it needs no answer but silence or polite scorn; for these theologians were not Englishmen, and they had no contact with Englishmen, and had no knowledge of English. But they would not cease to translate till they had put the scripture in their own language, the language of their own people. For Jerome, who was a Latin man by birth, translated the Bible out of Hebrew and Greek into Latin, and he also commented much on it; and Augustine and many other Latins expounded the Bible in Latin to Latin men among whom they lived, because Latin was the common language of their people around Rome and abroad, just as English is the common language of our people. (And yet today the Italians no longer speak Latin, as honest men who have been to Italy report.) And the number of the translators into Latin passes all knowledge, as Augustine testifies in the second book of his Christian Doctrine, where he says, "The translators out of Hebrew into Greek may be numbered, but the Latin translators are beyond number. For in the beginning of the faith each man, as a Greek book came into his hands, and who thought that he had some knowledge of Greek and Latin, was bold to translate; and this helped more than hindered understanding of the scriptures, if the readers are not negligent, because the comparing of many translations had often shed light upon some difficult sentence." Thus said Augustine. And therefore Grossteste has said that it was God's will that different men had translated, and that different translations were in the church, for where one spoke obscurely, another one spoke more plainly. Lord God! Since in the beginning of the faith so many men translated into Latin, and to the great benefit of Latin men, let one simple creature of God translate into English, for the benefit of Englishmen. If our worldly clerics would study their history books, they would find that Bede translated the Bible, and expounded upon it much in Saxon, which was the English, or common language of this land, in his time. And not only Bede, but also King Alfred, who founded Oxford University, translated in his last days the beginning of the Psalter into Saxon, and would have done more if he had lived longer. Also the French, Bohemians, and Britons had the Bible and other books of devotion and exposition translated into their mother tongues. Why the English should not have the same in their mother tongue I cannot tell, except because of the falseness and negligence of the clerics; or perhaps our people are not worthy to have such a grace and gift of God, because of their former sins? May God in his mercy amend these evil causes, and make our people to have, understand, and truly obey the holy scriptures, to life and death!

But in the translating of ambiguous words, that is, words that have several meanings, there may be some peril, for as Augustine says in the second book of his Christian Doctrine, if ambiguous words are not translated according to the meaning intended by the author, then the translation is in error. For example, in that place in the Psalm, "their feet are swift to shed blood," the Greek word may mean "swift" or "sharp," but he who translates it "sharp" is in error, and a translation that had "sharp feet" would be false, and must be corrected. Likewise the sentence "unkind young trees shall not put forth deep roots" ought instead to be "plantings of adultery shall not put forth deep roots." So says Augustine in that book. Therefore a translator must study well the meaning, both before and after translating, and see that such ambiguous words accord with the meaning, and he must also live a clean life, and be very devout in his prayers, and not have his mind distracted by worldly things, so that the Holy Spirit, who is the author of all wisdom and knowledge and truth, will prepare him in his work, and prevent him from making mistakes. Also the word ex sometimes means of and sometimes by, as Jerome says; and the word enim may mean either truly or because; and the word secundum usually means after, but may also mean by or upon, and so we might translate by your word or upon your word. Many such adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions are often substituted for one another, at the free choice of the author, and they must be understood in the sense which best suits the meaning of the sentence.

By this manner, with good living and great labor, men may come to a true and clear translating and understanding of the scriptures, however hard it may seem at the beginning. May God grant to us all the grace to know well and fully obey the holy scriptures, and suffer joyfully some pain for it in the end! Amen.

Below is the Middle English text of chapter 15 of the Prologue, exactly as it appears in Forshall and Madden's edition.


Hou euery man schulde kunne and kepe the scripture, and hooly writ is the scripture of puplis, as Jerom seith.

For as myche as Crist seith that the gospel shal be prechid in al the world, and Dauith seith of the postlis and her preching, "the soun of hem ȝede out into ech lond, and the wordis of hem ȝeden out into the endis of the world," and eft Dauith seith, "the Lord schal telle in the scripturis of puplis, and of these princis that weren in it," that is, in holi chirche, and as Jerom seith on that vers, "hooly writ is the scripture of puplis, for it is maad, that alle puples schulden knowe it," and the princis of the chirche, that weren therinne, ben the postlis, that hadden autorite to writen hooly writ, for bi that same that the postlis writiden her scripturis bi autorite, and confermynge of the Hooly Goost, it is hooly scripture, and feith of cristen men, and this dignite hath noo man aftir hem, be he neuere so hooly, neuer so kunnynge, as Jerom witnessith on that vers. Also Crist seith of the Jewis that crieden Osanna to him in the temple, that thouȝ thei weren stille stoonis schulen crie, and bi stoonis he vndirstondith hethen men, that worshipiden stoonis for her goddis. And we Englische men ben comen of hethen men, therfore we ben vndirstonden bi thes stonis, that schulden crie hooly writ, and as Jewis, interpretid knowlechinge, singnefien clerkis, that schulden knouleche to God, bi repentaunce of synnes, and bi vois of Goddis heriyng, so oure lewide men, suynge the corner ston Crist, mowen be singnefied bi stonis, that ben harde and abydinge in the foundement; for thouȝ couetouse clerkis ben woode by simonie, eresie, and manye othere synnes, and dispisen and stoppen holi writ, as myche as thei moun, ȝit the lewid puple crieth aftir holi writ, to kunne it, and kepe it, with greet cost and peril of here lif. For these resons and othere, with comune charite to saue alle men in oure rewme, whiche God wole haue sauid, a symple creature hath translatid the bible out of Latyn into English. First, this symple creature hadde myche trauaile, with diuerse felawis and helperis, to gedere manie elde biblis, and othere doctouris, and comune glosis, and to make oo Latyn bible sumdel trewe; and thanne to studie it of the newe, the text with the glose, and othere doctouris, as he miȝte gete, and speciali Lire on the elde testament, that helpide ful myche in this werk; the thridde tyme to counseile with elde gramariens, and elde dyuynis, of harde wordis, and harde sentencis, hou tho miȝten best be vndurstonden and translatid; the iiij. tyme to translate as cleerli as he coude to the sentence, and to haue manie gode felawis and kunnynge at the correcting of the translacioun. First it is to knowe, that the best translating is out of Latyn into English, to translate aftir the sentence, and not oneli aftir the wordis, so that the sentence be as opin, either openere, in English as in Latyn, and go not fer fro the lettre; and if the lettre mai not be suid in the translating, let the sentence euere be hool and open, for the wordis owen to serue to the entent and sentence, and ellis the wordis ben superflu either false. In translating into English, manie resolucions moun make the sentence open, as an ablatif case absolute may be resoluid into these thre wordis, with couenable verbe, the while, for, if, as gramariens seyn; as thus, the maistir redinge, I stonde, mai be resoluid thus, while the maistir redith, I stonde, either if the maistir redith, etc. either for the maistir, etc.; and sumtyme it wolde acorde wel with the sentence to be resoluid into whanne, either into aftirward, thus, whanne the maistir red, I stood, either aftir the maistir red, I stood; and sumtyme it mai wel be resoluid into a verbe of the same tens, as othere ben in the same resoun, and into this word et, that is, and in English, as thus, arescentibus hominibus præ timore, that is, and men shulen wexe drie for drede. Also a participle of a present tens, either preterit, of actif vois, eithir passif, mai be resoluid into a verbe of the same tens, and a coniunccioun copulatif, as thus, dicens, that is, seiynge, mai be resoluid thus, and seith, eithir that seith; and this wole, in manie placis, make the sentence open, where to Englisshe it aftir the word, wolde be derk and douteful. Also a relatif, which mai be resoluid into his antecedent with a coniunccioun copulatif, as thus, which renneth, and he renneth. Also whanne oo word is oonis set in a reesoun, it mai be set forth as ofte as it is vndurstonden, either as ofte as reesoun and nede axen; and this word autem, either vero, mai stonde for forsothe, either for but, and thus I vse comounli; aud sumtyme it mai stonde for and, as elde gramariens seyn. Also whanne riȝtful construccioun is lettid bi relacion, I resolue it openli, thus, where this reesoun, Dominum formidabunt adversarij ejus, shulde be Englisshid thus bi the lettre, the Lord hise aduersaries shulen drede, I Englishe it thus bi resolucioun, the aduersaries of the Lord shulen drede him; and so of othere resons that ben like. At the bigynnyng I purposide, with Goddis helpe, to make the sentence as trewe and open in English as it is in Latyn, either more trewe and more open than it is in Latyn; and I preie, for charite and for comoun profyt of cristene soulis, that if ony wiys man fynde ony defaute of the truthe of translacioun, let him sette in the trewe sentence and opin of holi writ, but loke that he examyne truli his Latyn bible, for no doute he shal fynde ful manye biblis in Latyn ful false, if he loke manie, nameli newe; and the comune Latyn biblis han more nede to be correctid, as manie as I haue seen in my lif, than hath the English bible late translatid; and where the Ebru, bi witnesse of Jerom, of Lire, and othere expositouris discordith fro oure Latyn biblis, I haue set in the margyn, bi maner of a glose, what the Ebru hath, and hou it is vndurstondun in sum place; and I dide this most in the Sauter, that of alle oure bokis discordith most fro Ebru; for the chirche redith not the Sauter bi the laste translacioun of Jerom out of Ebru into Latyn, but another translacioun of othere men, that hadden myche lasse kunnyng and holynesse than Jerom hadde; and in ful fewe bokis the chirche redith the translacioun of Jerom, as it mai be preuid bi the propre origynals of Jerom, whiche he gloside. And where I haue translatid as opinli or opinliere in English as in Latyn, late wise men deme, that knowen wel bothe langagis, and knowen wel the sentence of holi scripture. And wher I haue do thus, or nay, ne doute, thei that kunne wel the sentence of holi writ and English togidere, and wolen trauaile, with Goddis grace, theraboute, moun make the bible as trewe and as opin, ȝea, and opinliere in English than it is in Latyn. And no doute to a symple man, with Goddis grace and greet trauail, men miȝten expoune myche openliere and shortliere the bible in English, than the elde greete doctouris han expounid it in Latyn, and myche sharpliere and groundliere than manie late postillatouris, eithir expositouris, han don. But God, of his grete merci, ȝeue to vs grace to lyue wel, and to seie the truthe in couenable manere, and acceptable to God and his puple, and to spille not oure tyme, be it short be it long at Goddis ordynaunce. But summe, that semen wise and holi, seyn thus, if men now weren as holi as Jerom was, thei miȝten translate out of Latyn into English, as he dide out of Ebru and out of Greek into Latyn, and ellis thei shulden not translate now, as hem thinkith, for defaute of holynesse and of kunnyng. Thouȝ this replicacioun seme colourable, it hath no good ground, neither resoun, neithir charite, for whi this replicacioun is more aȝens seynt Jerom, and aȝens the firste lxx. translatouris, and aȝens holi chirche, than aȝens symple men, that translaten now into English; for seynt Jerom was not so holi as the apostlis and euangelistis, whos bokis he translatide into Latyn, neither he hadde so hiȝe ȝiftis of the Holi Gost as thei hadden; and myche more the lxx. translatouris weren not so holi as Moises and the profetis, and speciali Dauith, neither thei hadden so greete ȝiftis of God, as Moises and the prophetis hadden. Ferthermore holi chirche appreueth, not oneli the trewe translacioun of meene cristene men, stidefast in cristene feith, but also of open eretikis, that diden awei manie mysteries of Jhesu Crist bi gileful translacioun, as Jerom witnessith in oo prolog on Job, and in the prolog of Daniel. Myche more late the chirche of Engelond appreue the trewe and hool translacioun of symple men, that wolden for no good in erthe, bi here witing and power, putte awei the leste truthe, ȝea, the leste lettre, either title, of holi writ, that berith substaunce, either charge. And dispute thei not of the holynesse of men now lyuynge in this deadli lif, for thei kunnen not theron, and it is reseruid oneli to Goddis doom. If thei knowen ony notable defaute bi the translatouris, either helpis of hem, lete hem blame the defaute bi charite and merci, and lete hem neuere dampne a thing that mai be don lefulli bi Goddis lawe, as weeryng of a good cloth for a tyme, either riding on an hors for a greet iourney, whanne thei witen not wherfore it is don; for suche thingis moun be don of symple men, with as greet charite and vertu, as summe, that holden hem greete and wise, kunnen ride in a gilt sadil, either vse cuyssyns and beddis and clothis of gold and of silk, with othere vanitees of the world. God graunte pite, merci, and charite, and loue of comoun profyt, and putte awei such foli domis, that ben aȝens resoun and charite. ȝit worldli clerkis axen gretli what spiryt makith idiotis hardi to translate now the bible into English, sithen the foure greete doctouris dursten neuere do this? This replicacioun is so lewid, that it nedith noon answer, no but stillnesse, eithir curteys scorn; for these greete doctouris weren noon English men, neither thei weren conuersaunt among English men, neithir in caas thei kouden the langage of English, but thei ceessiden neuere til thei hadden holi writ in here modir tunge, of here owne puple. For Jerom, that was a Latyn man of birthe, translatide the bible, bothe out of Ebru and out of Greek, into Latyn, and expounide ful myche therto; and Austyn, and manie mo Latyns expouniden the bible, for manie partis, in Latyn, to Latyn men, among whiche thei dwelliden, and Latyn was a comoun langage to here puple aboute Rome, and biȝondis, and on this half, as Englishe is comoun langage to oure puple, and ȝit this day the comoun puple in Italie spekith Latyn corrupt, as trewe men seyn, that han ben in Italie; and the noumbre of translatouris out of Greek into Latyn passith mannis knowing, as Austyn witnessith in the ij. book of Cristene Teching, and seith thus, "the translatouris out of Ebru into Greek moun be noumbrid, but Latyn translatouris, either thei that translatiden into Latyn, moun not be noumbrid in ony manere." For in the firste tymes of feith, ech man, as a Greek book came to him, and he semyde to him silf to haue sum kunnyng of Greek and of Latyn, was hardi to translate; and this thing helpide more than lettide vndurstonding, if rederis ben not necligent, forwhi the biholding of manie bokis hath shewid ofte, eithir declarid, summe derkere sentencis. This seith Austyn there. Therfore Grosted seith, that it was Goddis wille, that diuerse men translatiden, and that diuerse translacions be in the chirche, for where oon seide derkli, oon either mo seiden openli. Lord God! sithen at the bigynnyng of feith so manie men translatiden into Latyn, and to greet profyt of Latyn men, lat oo symple creature of God translate into English, for profyt of English men; for if worldli clerkis loken wel here croniclis and bokis, thei shulden fynde, that Bede translatide the bible, and expounide myche in Saxon, that was English, either comoun langage of this lond, in his tyme; and not oneli Bede, but also king Alured, that foundide Oxenford, translatide in hise laste daies the bigynning of the Sauter into Saxon, and wolde more, if he hadde lyued lengere. Also Frenshe men, Beemers, and Britons han the bible, and othere bokis of deuocioun and of exposicioun, translatid in here modir langage; whi shulden not English men haue the same in here modir langage, I can not wite, no but for falsnesse and necgligence of clerkis, either for oure puple is not worthi to haue so greet grace and ȝifte of God, in peyne of here olde synnes. God for his merci amende these euele causis, and make oure puple to haue, and kunne, and kepe truli holi writ, to lijf and deth! But in translating of wordis equiuok, that is, that hath manie significacions vndur oo lettre, mai liȝtli be pereil, for Austyn seith in the ij. book of Cristene Teching, that if equiuok wordis be not translatid into the sense, either vndurstonding, of the autour, it is errour; as in that place of the Salme, the feet of hem ben swifte to shede out blood, the Greek word is equiuok to sharp and swift, and he that translatide sharpe feet, erride, and a book that hath sharpe feet, is fals, and mut be amendid; as that sentence vnkynde ȝonge trees shulen not ȝeue depe rootis, owith to be thus, plauntingis of auoutrie shulen not ȝeue depe rootis. Austyn seith this there. Therfore a translatour hath greet nede to studie wel the sentence, both bifore and aftir, and loke that suche equiuok wordis acorde with the sentence, and he hath nede to lyue a clene lif, and be ful deuout in preiers, and haue not his wit ocupied about worldli thingis, that the Holi Spiryt, autour of wisdom, and kunnyng, and truthe, dresse him in his werk, and suffre him not for to erre. Also this word ex signifieth sumtyme of, and sumtyme it signifieth bi, as Jerom seith; and this word enim signifieth comynli forsothe, and, as Jerom seith, it signifieth cause thus, forwhi; and this word secundum is taken for aftir, as manie men seyn, and comynli, but it signifieth wel bi, eithir vp, thus bi ȝoure word, either vp ȝoure word. Manie such aduerbis, coniuncciouns, and preposiciouns ben set ofte oon for another, and at fre chois of autouris sumtyme; and now tho shulen be taken as it acordith best to the sentence. Bi this maner, with good lyuyng and greet trauel, men moun come to trewe and cleer translating, and trewe vndurstonding of holi writ, seme it neuere so hard at the bigynnyng. God graunte to us alle grace to kunne wel, and kepe wel holi writ, and suffre ioiefulli sum peyne for it at the laste! Amen.