Sermons for a king

Two leaves from 27 sermons preached by the ryght Reuerende father in God and constant matir [sic] of Iesus Christe, Maister Hugh Latimer,  printed by John Day in London in 1562 (190 x 140 mm)

Hugh Latimer was a leading protestant preacher who was burnt at the stake in 1555 in Oxford (where a cross in the roadway outside Balliol College marks the spot). John Day in 1562 published a compilation of Latimer's sermons, one section of which includes, among others, seven sermons preached by Latimer when he was chaplain to King Edward VI.  My first leaf here is the title page to that section.

An elaborate woodcut border surrounds the text, laid out in a variety of sizes and a mixture of roman and gothic type (and even a single italic character in the second line). To achieve symmetry, words are broken and hyphenated with an abandon that would not be tolerated today.

Scroll down to see the second leaf, the last one in 'Seven Sermons ...', which carries on its verso page John Day's colophon. The woodcut 'emblem' is one of several used by Day and is full of meaning, particularly for those with protestant leanings. In it an old man points out a skeleton to a younger man with the words 'Et si mors, in dies accelerat' ('Even if death hastens on from day to day ...'). The motto continues with the words 'post funera virtus vivet tamen' (... yet virtue will live after death is gone'), entwined in a tree which is issuing from the skeleton. The inclusion of the word 'dies' ('day') is of course a play on the printer's own name. In the background the sun shines down between clouds onto what is perhaps the New Jerusalem. Day calls himself Iohn Daye here, and the intials I.D. appear in the lower left corner of the woodcut.

Owners of the book from which this leaf comes have used the margin for various jottings of which I can only decipher a word or two. At the foot of the page a William Heydon has added his signature, complete with squiggles in a similar style to that of Elizabeth 1st when she signed papers of state.