Annexe : The Monument of Matrones de Thomas Bentley

Implorer les éléments ou éloigner les catastrophes naturelles : Prières pour la clémence divine dans The Monument of Matrones de Thomas Bentley.

Extraits de The Monument of Matrones

Julie Van Parys-Rotondi (Université Clermont Auvergne)

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The monument of matrones conteining seuen seuerall lamps of virginitie, or distinct treatises; whereof the first fiue concerne praier and meditation: the other two last, precepts and examples, as the woorthie works partlie of men, partlie of women; compiled for the necessarie vse of both sexes out of the sacred Scriptures, and other approoued authors, by Thomas Bentley of Graies Inne student.

Bentley, Thomas, student of Gray’s Inn., Abergavenny, Frances Nevill, Lady, d. 1576., Marguerite, Queen, consort of Henry II, King of Navarre, 1492-1549. Miroir de l’âme pécheresse. English & French., Catharine Parr, Queen, consort of Henry VIII, King of England, 1512-1548. Lamentacion of a sinner., Tyrwhit, Elizabeth, Morning and evening prayers., Catharine Parr, Queen, consort of Henry VIII, King of England, 1512-1548. Prayers or meditacions.

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  1. In time of drought for raine.

O GOD heauenlie father, which by thy sonne Iesus Christ hast promised to all them that seeke thy kingdome, and the righteousnesse thereof, all things necessarie to their bodilie sustenance; send vs, wee beseech thee, in this our necessitie, such moderate raine and showers, that we may receiue the fruites of the earth to our comfort, and to thy honor, through Iesus Christ our Lord,


  1. For faire weather.

O Lord God, which for the sinne of man didst once drowne all the world except eight persons; & afterward of thy great mercie didst promise ne∣uer to destroie it so againe: we hum∣blie beseech thee, that although we for oure iniquities haue woorthilie deserued this plague of raine and waters; yet vpon our true repentance thou wilt send vs such weather, whereby we may receiue the fruits of the earth in due season; and learne both by thy punishment to amend our liues, and for thy clemencie to giue thee praise and glorie, through Iesus Christ our Lord,


  1. A praier in time of vnseasonable showers, for faire weather.

O God and mercifull Father, wee acknowledge that we, through our manifold sinnes, haue deserued to be sharpelie rebuked and corrected of thee: but if thou shouldest deale with vs after our sinnes, we are not able to abide thy wrath and heauie hand. Wherfore deale mercifullie with vs, O Lord, after the greatnesse of thy goodnesse, and the multitude of thy mercies; that wee rather may reioice, and be thankfull vnto thee, for the abundance of thy great mercie, and louing kindnesse, than be cast downe and discouraged, by the heauie weight of thy hand. In thy hands, O Lord, are both heauen and earth; so gouerne them therefore, we beseech thee, for thy name sake; that we may haue seasonable weather, to receiue the fruits of the earth. Staie the unmoderate plentie of raine, and vnseasonable weather: and powre rather vpon vs the plentifull dew of thy spirit, that we may dailie growe to the perfection of Christian men and women. Take awaie from vs our stonie harts, and giue vnto vs in stead there of harts of flesh, that we may cease at the length thus to prouoke thy wrath, to bring vpon vs either this so great a plague, as the losse of the fruits of the earth; either else other plagues of thy iust iudgments. Grant that we may so repent vs of our former euils, that hereafter the woorthie fruits of true repentance may continuallie appeare therein, and so to passe ouer and to end our mortall liues; that at the last we may attaine vnto the blessed resurrection, and life euerlasting, through Iesus Christ our Lord,


  1. In time of thunder, lightening, raging tempests, and vnseasonable weather, praie thus:

O Most wise & mightie God, thou art a glorious King in all the world; thy woonderfull maiestie doth shine and is knowne also by raine, thundering, lightening, and other meteors ingendred in the aire. Thy throne is among the clouds, thou hast made darkenesse thy secrete place and thy pauilion about thee, euen darknesse of water, and clouds of the aire. At the brightnesse of thy presence the clouds doo passe awaie; so doo the haile-stones and firie coales. Thou dooest thunder from the heauens, and giuest thy voice; hailestones and coales of fire. Thou sendest thine arrowes, and scatterest them; thou increasest lightenings, and destroiest them. Who is so great a god as thou our God? Thou art the God which dooest woonders, and declarest thy pow∣er among the nations. Thou redeemest thy people with thine arme. The waters sawe thee, and were afraid; the depths trembled. The clouds powred out water, the aire thundered, and thine arrowes went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was heard round about the world, the earth trembled and shooke. The foundations of the earth shooke and were discouered, at thy rebuking, O Lord; at the blasting of the breath of thy nostrels.

Therefore shall the verie heauens extoll thy woonderous works, and the Saints set foorth thy truth in the congregation. For who is equall to thee in hea∣uen? And who like thee among the sonnes of the gods? Thou art verie terrible in the assemblie of the saints, and to be reuerenced aboue all that are about thee. O Lord God of hosts, who is like vnto thee; which art a mightie Lord, and thy truth is about thee? Thou ru∣lest the raging of the sea, thou stillest the waues there∣of, when they doo arise. Thou onlie art of power to re∣solue into vapours the drops of the sea, by the heat of the sunne; thou takest the same vp being turned into airie substance, and againe turnest it into meere wa∣ter, and makest it to come powring downe vpon the face of the earth. Whatsoeuer thou wilt, thou dooest in heauen, and in earrh, and in the sea, and in all deepe places. With thy power thou madest the earth, with thy wisdome thou hast established the world, and with thy discretion stretchest out the heauens.

As soone as thou lettest thy voice be heard, the wa∣ters in the aire waxe fierce. Thou drawest vp the clouds from the ends of the earth, thou turnest the lightening into raine, and bringest foorth the wind out of thy treasures. Thou couerest the heauens with clouds, and preparest raine for the earth. Thou makest the grasse to growe vpon the mountaines, and prouidest herbs for the vse of man. Thou giuest to beasts their food, and to the yoong rauens that crie. Behold, so great art thou, that thou passest our knowledge; neither can the number of thy yeeres be searched out. When thou restrainest the drops of water, the raine powreth downe by the vapours thereof, and falleth abundantlie vpon man. Thou bringest foorth the winds out of thy treasures; that is, from thy secret places, where thou diddest hide them in great abun∣dance, that they might be readie at thy commande∣ment, and come foorth when thou thinkest good. Thou makest the clouds to labour to giue water to the earth, and scatterest the cloud of thy light; thou turnest it about by thy gouernement, that they may doo whatsoeuer thou commandest them vpon the whole world.

O God, mine hart is troubled verie sore, when I behold the immoderate showers, and heare the terrible thunder: yea it forsaketh his place, when I heare the noise of thy voice, and the speech proceeding from thy mouth. O God, which rulest heauen and earth, I most humblie beseech thee, mercifullie to driue awaie, or at¦least to mitigate these mightie streames, and most ra∣ging tempests. Restraine the thunderbolts, and thy firie darts, that they hurt vs not. Keepe vs, and our nests, that we perish not through lightenings, nor be destroied by thy thunderclaps. Protect our houses and vs, that we be neither consumed by thy firie meteor, nor drowned by thy sudden floud. O mercifull God, raine not, I beseech thee, hailestones vpon the face of the earth; neither strike such as are in the fields, be they man or beast. Strike not thou therewith all the herbes of the feeld; neither breake thou, gratious Lord, the trees of our land. Destroie not our corne with hailestones, nor with hailestones smite thou our cattell, and deliuer our flocks from the thunderbolt. Cast not the feercenesse of thy wrath, anger, and displeasure vpon vs. Giue vs not hailestones for raine, neither flames of fire in our land; but of thy mercie conuert the thunder into gentle raine, whereby it may bring out fruit aboundantlie. Send not among vs either vntimelie or vntemperate showres, which be either noisome to the fruits, and bring the mil∣dew, or destroie the corne. Restraine in like sort the winds and violent tempests, that they bring none hurt, neither to vs or our goods, euen for Christes sake, our Lord and Sauiour,


  1. A fruitfull Praier, verie necessarie to be hartilie said at the appearing of monsters, and in anie earthquake, or other plagues, that God would turne awaie his vengeance hanging ouer vs for our sinnes.

OH Lord God, strong and mightie, great and dreadfull; which dwellest in the heauens, and workest great woonders: we thy miserable children here, prostrate vpon the earth, doo most humblie beseech thee to be mercifull vnto vs, to pardon our offences, and to forgiue vs all our sinnes. O Lord enter not into iudgement with thy seruants; for if thou doo, there shall no flesh be saued in thy sight. We confesse and acknowledge, O Lord, that it is our sinnes which haue mooued thee to wrath, and to shew such fearefull tokens of thy displeasure towards vs in these our daies. First with fire from heauen, betokening thy hot burning indignation, and wrathfull displeasure for sinne, which aboundeth at this daie: and then with such horrible and monstrous shapes against nature, as it was neuer seene here in our daies, nor in anie time before vs; which betoken to vs none other thing, but thy plagues to come vpon vs, for our dege∣nerate and monstrous life and conuersation: and of late, by the strange & terrible earthquake that shooke, or rather that euen vomited vs with fearfull trem∣bling harts, and amazed spirits out of our houses, which we so shamefully haue polluted and defiled with our vile sinnes and wickednesse: and now last of all, by the long and great mortalitie, plague and pestilence, thou doost & hast terribly threatened vs, fatherlie warned vs, and mercifullie called vs to repentance. The axe is set to the roote of the tree, and if we be not as rotten members, without all sense and feeling, we may perceiue our fearefull destruction and desolation to be at hand, vnlesse we speedilie repent and turne to thee: bicause we haue beene so long taught out of thy most holie and sacred word, and yet no fruits of true repentance or Christian life will appeare.

Wo and alas to these our daies, that neither preaching by word most comfortable, nor preaching by monsters most ouglie, nor preaching by fire most strange, nor preaching by earthquakes most terrible, neither yet by plagues and pestilence most horrible, will stirre vp our stonie harts, and awake vs from our sinnes.

We feare, oh Lord, that the Turks, with all the rest of the vnbeleeuing will condemne vs in the last daie, which if they had beene so long instructed by the comfortable preaching of thy word, and sweete promises of thy Gospell; or thy woonders both in heauen and earth, which we haue seene, no doubt their righteousnes would haue shined at this day to our great shame and confusion. Thou hast no lesse warned vs, oh Lord, of thy fearefull displeasure, & heauie plagues at hand for our great wickednesse; than thou didst the Israe∣lits of the horrible destruction, which came vpon them, whom thou first in mercie didst call to repentance by the preaching of thy word: but when no warning would serue, thou didst send them monstrous and fearfull signes and tokens, to declare that thy visitation was not farre off. But they, like vnto vs at this daie, did alwaies interpret these things after the imagination of their vaine harts, promising to themselues peace, when destruction was ouer their heads.

Which things, when we doo call to mind, (for as much as they are written for our learning, example, & warning) it maketh vs to tremble and quake for feare of thy iust iudgments. For if thou hast thus dealt with thine owne deere and chosen children, in token of thy great wrath against sinne: what shall we looke for, who doo no lesse deserue thy fearfull scourge; (and of mercie it is, that thou dooest thus long forbeare vs:) but liue as though there were no God at all to be reuenged vpon our sinnes? It maketh vs to feare and crie unwardlie in our soules; Come Lord Iesu, holie and true in all thy dooings, and shorten our daies: bring this our pilgrimage to an end: suffer vs not to heape sinne vpon sinne vnto the daie of vengeance, least we be caught vp amongst the number of the wicked and reprobate, which shall neuer see thy louing countenance.

It maketh vs to crie to thee, O Lord, let thy kingdome come, and end this our sinfull life, wherein we doo nothing but prouoke thee to wrath. Correct vs not, O Lord, in thine indignation; neither chasten vs in thine heauie displeasure. And though to vs belongeth nothing but shame and confusion; though our offences haue deserued to be visited with the rod, and our sinnes with scourges: yet in mercie, Lord, and with fatherlie correction chasten vs; and thy louing kindnesse take not awaie from vs. To thee we flie for succour, vnder the wings of thy mercie shall be our refuge, vntill thou turne thy wrathfull countenance from vs. We knowe that thy mercie is aboue all thy works, and euen as great as thy selfe: therefore will we saie with holie Iob; Though thou kill vs, yet we put our trust in thee.

Thou camest to comfort and plucke out of the dungeon of hell, such wretches as we are. Thou art the good Samaritane, that camest to heale our deadlie wounds. Thou art that good Physician, that camest to cure our mortall infirmities. Thou art the good shepheard, that camest to seeke vs wandering & lost sheepe; and to bring vs to thy fold againe. And more than that, thou art our brother; flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bones; which hast tasted of our infirmities, felt our temptations, & borne the burden of our sinnes. Therefore at thy hands we looke for mercie, against the daie of vengeance. And though thou punish vs, yet our hope is, and euer shall be, that thy rod shall no further touch vs, than shall make to thy glorie, our commoditie, and the strengthening and increase of our faith.

Let this thy preaching sundrie waies, O Lord, be sufficient for our warning: and grant that we may speedilie, and from the bottome of our harts repent, endeuour to doo thy righteous and blessed will reuea∣led in thy word; and frame our liues according to the same: that we may here liue in thy feare all the daies of our life, and after this our sinfull course is ended, may dwell with thee in thy blessed kingdome, through the death and merits of Iesus Christ our onelie redeemer,


  1. In the time of anie particular or generall earthquake, praie:

OH eternall, mightie, and most louing Father; which hast no desire of the death of a sinner; but that he conuert and liue; and vnto whom nothing is so pleasant as the repentant, contrite, and sorowfull hart of a penitent person. For thou art that kind father that fallest most louinglie vpon the necke of the lost sonne; kissest, imbracest, and feastest him, when he returneth from the puddle of pleasures, and swill of the swine; and disdainest not the repentant praier of thy poore and sinfull seruants, whensoeuer with true faith they returne and call vpon thee, as we haue most comfortable examples in Da∣uid, Manasses, Magdalen, Peter, and the theefe vpon the gibbet.

We most hartilie and humblie beseech thy fatherlie goodnesse, to looke downe from the throne of thy mercie-seate, vpon vs most miserable and sinfull slaues of Satan, which with fearfull and trembling harts doo quake and shake at the strange and terrible tokens of thy wrath and indignation, appearing most euidentlie vnto vs, by the shaking & moouing of the earth, which is thy footestoole; whereby (if we be not vtterlie destitute of grace) we be warned that thy cōming-downe amongst vs, to visit our sinnes in most terrible maner, can not be farre off; seeing thou treadest so hard vpon this thy footestoole the earth, which we most shamefullie haue polluted and defiled, with our most wicked, sinfull, and rebellious liues; notwithstanding thy continuall crieng and calling vpon vs, by thy seruants the prophets and preachers, by whome we haue learned thy will; but haue not followed it. We haue heard much, and done little, yea nothing at all: but like most peruerse and vnthankfull children, haue made a mocke of thy word, derided thy ministers, and accounted thy threatenings trifles, and thy warnings of no weight or moment. Wherefore we haue iustlie deserued to taste most deeplie of the bitter cup of thine anger and bengeance, by wars, famine, pestilence; yea and eternall death, if thou shouldest not temper the rigour of thy iustice with the mildnesse of thy mercie. But such is thy fatherlie affection towards vs, that thou shewest thy selfe slowe to anger, long suffering, and of much patience and mercie; yea, thou art a thousand times more readie to forget and forgiue, than we to aske and require forgiuenesse.

Therefore, though we be not woorthie of the least mite of thy mercie; yet gratious Lord, looke not vpon vs and our sinnes; but vpon thine owne selfe, and thy sonne Iesus Christ, the fountaine of grace, the trea∣sure of mercie, the salue of all sicknesse, the iewell of ioie, and the onlie hauen of succour and safetie. By him we come to thee, in him and for him we trust to find that we haue lost, and gaine that he hath got. He is the scale of Iacob, by whom we climbe vp to thee; and thou by the Angels of thy mercie cōmest downe to vs. Him we present vnto thee, and not we our selues; his death, and not our dooings; his bloudie wounds, and not our detestable deseruings: whose merits are so great, as thy mercie cannot be little; and our ransom so rich, that our beggerlie and beastlie sinnes are no∣thing in thy sight; for the great pleasure and satisfaction that thou takest of his paines and passion.

Turne this late earthquake, O Lord, to the benefite of thine elect, as thou didst when thou shookest the prison; loosedst the locks, fetters and chaines of thy seruants Paule and Silas, and broughtst them out of prison, and conuertedst their keeper: so gratious Lord, strike the harts of tyrants with the terrour of this thy woorke, that they may knowe that they are but men; and that thou art that Samson, that for their mocking and spiting of thee, and thy word, canst shake the pillers of their palaces, and throwe them vpon the furious Philistines heads. Turne thy wrath, oh Lord, from thy children that call vpon thy name, to the conuersion or confusion of thine enimies, that despise and abhorre thy name, and deface thy glory. Thou hast knocked long at their doores, but they will not open to let thee in. Burst open therefore the brasen gates of their stonie harts, thou that art able of stones to raise vp children to Abraham. And finallie, so touch our harts with the finger of thy grace, that we maie deeply muse vpon our sinfull liues, to amend them; and call for thy mercie, to forgiue and pardon them; through Christ our Lord, who liueth with thee, and the holie Ghost, three persons and one eternall God; to whome be all dominion and glorie, with praise and thanks-gi∣uing, for euer and euer,


  1. At the sight of a blasing starre, or other meteors, or prodigious signes of Gods iudgment in the heauens, praie to preuent the euils foreshewed thereby, and saie:

O Almightie Lord and God, whose workemanship is the whole world, the heauen and the earth, with all the beautie and blessings of the same; at the presence of whose power all things doo quake and tremble; whose indignation when it threatneth vengeance vnto sinners is vnsufferable, and whose promises of mercie are vn∣measurable: bicause thou art euen the most high Lord ouer all the earth, full of patience, forbearance, pitie and repentance, ouer the wickednesse of sinfull people, declaring the sharpnesse of thy iudgements for their amendment, and deliuerance from punishment. Thou, O Lord, hast promised, according to thy bottomlesse bountie and goodnesse, a penitent spirit, not to iust and righteous Abraham, Isaac and Iacob, which haue not offended against thy Maiestie; but to those that are ouerwhelmed with the tempestuous tides of their transgressions. We, O Lord, haue offended, and our fathers haue committed sinne in thy sight. We haue defiled our selues in the filthie puddle of iniquitie; and therefore beholding in the verie heauens, such dread∣full tokens of thy wrathfull indignation hanging ouer our heads, for our monstrous and prodigious life, we bow before thee the knees of our harts, beseeching thee to be gratious vnto vs, and to open thine eares to our praiers. We haue sinned, O Lord; we haue sinned, and we acknowledge our misdeeds, humblie beseeching thee to forgiue vs our offences. O forgiue vs, and deli∣uer vs not ouer to destruction with our iniquities, nei∣ther laie thou vp in store vengeance against the daie of iudgement. O reserue not for vs the whip of wo and wretchednesse; but in mercie pardon our misdeeds: and let not the fierie flames of thy furie and wrath waxe hot against vs, to burne and consume vs in our iniquities,


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