Monday, August 29, 2011

Falling in Love With the Geneva Bible

Lewis F. Lupton, History of the Geneva Bible, Vol. 1, pp. 11-12:

It was on a sketching tour soon after the War that I fell in love with a [Geneva] Bible. It lay invitingly open in a window shop in Chichester. The left-hand page had an old map with galleons and sea monsters on it while the right had a gorgeously decorative title and border. It was early closing day so we drove on to Bosham with our easels and canvasses. But I always regretted missing that Bible and in the end, some three years later, I wrote to see if it was still there. It was, and thereby hangs this tale.

I soon found that there was more to the volume than met the eye, especially for people who feel a sneaking sympathy with those underdogs of our school history books -- the Puritans and Roundheads. I found that this old book was a real Puritan Bible. As I dug out more and more bits of information about it I found myself back in a thrilling world of romance, of little ships slipping their moorings at night, of galloping horses, of the roar of siege cannon, of snowy Alpine passes, of printing presses, of mean who feared neither man nor devil, Queen nor Emperor, of a royal Duchess trudging a lonely road in pouring rain at midnight and carrying her husband's sword while he carried her baby, of long among exiles in foreign cities, of births, of deaths and a hundred other things of which I could write if this book were a Geneva quarto or one of Christopher Barker's great folios instead of a mere 20th century demy octavo.

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