The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume III. Renascence and Reformation.

II. Reformation Literature in England

§ 16. Hymns

One further result of the liturgical changes and the growing use of the vulgar tongue calls for mention. The hymns in the daily offices had always been popular, and the tendency to replace them by English substitutes was natural and strong. The best example of devotional poetry was to be found in the Psalms, and, when religious and poetic interests were warmly felt, a rendering of the Psalms into English verse seemed a happy method of stirring up religious zeal. Clément Marot had set French psalms to popular tunes for the French court under Francis I; Calvin, whom many generations of puritans followed, kept Marot’s words, although he rejected his tunes. An English courtier and poet attempted a like task in England. Thomas Sternhold, a Hampshire gentleman educated at Oxford, became groom of the robes to Henry VIII. He was in trouble for his religious views (1543), but kept his favour at court, and was there at a time when English was being largely used in Edward VI’s chapel royal. Thinking to turn the minds of the nobles to higher things, he put some psalms into verse and (1548), a year before his death, published nineteen of them under the title of Certayne Psalms.