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stretch of imagination to suppose that the memory of such a visit would have lingered long in the cloister of Canterbury, and it is hardly perhaps by chance that it is here that half a century later are to be found the first serious indications of a revival of Greek studies. Moreover, it is evident that other Greek envoys followed in subsequent times, and even the great master and prodigy of learning, Manuel Chrysoloras himself, found his way to our shores, and it is hardly an assumption, in view of the position of Canterbury—on the high road from Dover to London— to suppose to Christchurch also.1 It was from his arrival in Italy, in 1396, that may be dated the first commencement of systematic study of the Greek classics in the West. The year 1408 is given for his visit to England.'
There are indications early in the fifteenth century of a stirring of the waters in this country. Guarini, a pupil of Chrysoloras, became a teacher of fame at Ferrara, where he gathered round him a school of disciples which included several Englishmen. Such were Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester ;* Robert Fleming, a learned ecclesiastic; John Free, John Gundthorpe, and William Gray, Bishop of Ely; whilst another Italian, Aretino, attracted by his fame another celebrated Englishman, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, to his classes. These, however, were individual cases, and their studies, and even the books they brought back, led to little in the way of systematic work in England at the old classical models. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 gave the required stimulus here, as in Italy. Among the fugitives were many Greek scholars of eminence, such as Chalcocondylas, Andronicus, Constantine and John Lascaris, who quickly made the schools of Italy famous by their teaching. Very soon the fame of the new masters spread to other countries, and students from all parts of the Western World found their way to their lecture-halls in Rome and the other teaching centres established in the chief cities of Northern Italy.
1 Remigio Sabbadini, La Scuola e gli sludi di Guarino Guarini Veronese, pp. 217-18.
1 R. Sabbadini, Guarino Veronese et il suo epistolario, p, 57.
* The Earl was a confrater and special friend of the monks of Christchurch, Canterbury. In 1468-69, Prior Goldstone wrote to the Earl, who bad been abroad " on pilgrimage" for four years, to try and obtain for Canterbury the usual jubilee privileges of 147o. In his Obit in the Canterbury Necrology (MS. Arund. 68 f. 45d) he is described as "vir undecumque doctissimus, omnium liberalium artium divinarumque simul ac secularium litterarum scientia peritissimus."
First among the scholars who repaired thither from England to drink in the learning of ancient Greece and bring back to their country the new spirit, we must place two Canterbury monks named Selling and Hadley. Born somewhere about 1430, William Selling became a monk at Christchurch, Canterbury, somewhere about 1448. There seems some evidence to show that his family name was Tyll, and that, as was frequently, if not generally, the case, on his entering into religion, he adopted the name of Selling from his birthplace, some five miles from Faversham in Kent.1 It is probable that Selling, after having passed through the claustral school at Canterbury, on entering the Benedictine Order was sent to finish his studies at Canterbury College, Oxford. Here he certainly was in 1450, for in that year he writes a long and what is described as an elegant letter as a student at Canterbury College to his Prior, Thomas Goldstone, at Christchurch, Canterbury.1 He was ordained priest, and celebrated his first mass at Canterbury, in September, ^546.' / V "5"^ I
1 Leland (De Scriftoribus Brilannicis, 482) calls him Tilloeus, and this has been generally translated as Tilly. In the Canterbury Letter Books (Rolls Series, iii. 291) it appears that Prior Selling was greatly interested in a boy named Richard Tyll. In 1475, Thomas Goldstone, the warden of Canterbury Hall, writes to Prior Selling about new clothes and a tunic and other expenses "scolaris tui Ricardi Tyll." In the same volume, p. 315, is a letter of fraternity given to "Agnes, widow of William Tyll," and on February 7, 1491, she received permission to be buried where her husband, William Tyll, had been interred, "juxta tumbam sancti Thom« ma1tyris."
In 1464 William Selling obtained leave of his Prior an J 1 convent to go with a companion, William Hadley, to study in the foreign universities for three years,' during which time they visited and sat under the most celebrate. 1 teachers at Padua, Bologna, and Rome.' At Bologna, according to Leland, Selling was the pupil of the celebrated Politian, "with whom, on account of his aptitude in acquiring the classical elegance of ancient tongues, he formed a familiar and lasting friendship." * In 1466 and 1467 we find the monks, Selling and his companion Hadley, at Bologna, where apparently the readers in Greek then were Lionorus and Andronicus,6 and where, on the 22nd March, 1466, Selling took his degree in theology, his companion taking his in the March of the following year.'
Of this period of work, Leland says:—" His studies progressed. He indeed imbued himself with Greek; everywhere he industriously and at great expense collected many Greek books. Nor was his care less in procuring old Latin MSS., which shortly after he took with him, as the most estimable treasures, on his return to Canterbury.""
His obituary notice in the Christchurch Necrology
1 Canterbury Letters (Camden Soc.) pp. 13, 15.
* C. C. C. C. MS. 417 f. 54d: "Item hoc anno videlicet 6 Kal. Oct. D. Willms Selling celebravit primam suam missam et fuit sacerdos summse missct per totam illam ebdomadam."
'Litem Cantuar. (Rolls Series), iii. 239.
1 Leland, De Scriptoribus Britannicis, p. 482. Cf. also Canterbury Letters (Camden Soc.), p. xxvii.
* Leland, ut supra,
* Umberto Dallari, / rotuli dei Lettori, &c., dello studio Bologncsc Jal 1384 a! Ijw, p. 51.
'Serafino Mazetti, Memorie storiche sopra Puniversita di Bologna, p. 308. "Leland, ut supra.
recites not only his excellence in learning, classical and theological, but what he had done to make his monastery at Canterbury a real house of studies. He decorated the library over the Priests' Chapel, adding to the books, and assigned it "for the use of those specially given to study, which he encouraged and cherished with wonderful watchfulness and affection." The eastern cloister also he fitted with glass and new desks, "called carrels," for the use of the studious brethren.'
After the sojourn of the two Canterbury monks in Italy, they returned to their home at Christchurch. Selling, however, did not remain there long, for on October 3, 1469, we find him setting out again for Rome' in company with another monk, Reginald Goldstone, also an Oxford student. This visit was on business connected with his monastery, and did not apparently keep him long away from England, for there is evidence that sometime before the election of Selling to the Priorship at Canterbury, which was in 1472, he was again at his monastery. Characteristically, his letter introducing William Worcester, the antiquary, to a merchant of Lucca who had a copy of Livy's Decades for sale, manifests his great and continued interest in classical literature."
At Canterbury, Selling must have established the teaching of Greek on systematic lines, and it is certainly from this monastic school as a centre that the study spread to other parts of England. William Worcester, keenly alive to the classical revival, as his note-books show, tells us of "certain Greek terminations as taught by Doctor Selling of Christchurch, Canterbury," and likewise sets down the pronunciation of the Greek vowels with examples evidently on the same authority.1
1 B. Mus. Arundel MS. 68, f. 4. The Obit in Christchurch MS. D. 12, says: "Sacra: Theologioe Doctor. Hie in divinis agendis multum devotus et lingua Grzeca et Latina valde eruditus. . . . O quam laudabiliter se habuit opera merito laudanda manifesto declarant."
* In the Canterbury Registers (Reg. R.) there is a record which evidently relates to Selling's previous stay in Rome as a student. On October 3, 1469, the date of Selling's second departure for Rome, the Prior and convent of Christchurch granted a letter to Pietro dei Milleni, a citizen of Rome, making him a confrater of the monastery in return for the kindness shown to Dr. William Selling, when in the Eternal City. This letter, doubtless, Selling carried with him in 1469.
* The Old English Bible and other Essays, p. 3o6.
Selling's long priorship, extending from 1472 to 1495, would have enabled him to consolidate the work of this literary renaissance which he had so much at heart.' The most celebrated of all his pupils was, of course, Linacre. Born, according to Caius, at Canterbury, he received his first instruction in the monastic school there, and his first lessons in the classics and Greek from Selling himself. Probably through the personal interest taken in this youth of great promise by Prior Selling, he was sent to Oxford about 1480. Those who have seriously examined the matter believe that the first years of his Oxford life were spent by Linacre at the Canterbury College, which was connected with Christchurch monastery, and which, though primarily intended for monks, also afforded a place of quiet study to others who were able to obtain admission.* Thus, in later years, Sir Thomas More, no
1 B. Mus. Cotton MS. Julius F. vii., f. 118.
* One of Prior Selling's first acts of administration was apparently to procure a master for the grammar school at Canterbury. He writes to the Archbishop: "Also please it your good faderhood to have in knowledge that according to your commandment, I have provided for a schoolmaster for your gramerscole in Canterbury, the which hath lately taught gramer at Wynchester and atte Seynt Antonyes in London. That, as I trust to God, shall so guide him that it shall be worship and pleasure to your Lordship and profit and encreas to them that he shall have in governance."—Hist. MSS. Com. 9th Report, App. p. 105.
* I. Noble Johnson, Life of Linacre, p. 11. Among the great benefactors to Canterbury College, Oxford, was Doctor Thomas Chaundeler, Warden of New College. In 1473, the year after the election of Prior Selling, the Chapter of Christchurch, Canterbury, passed a resolution that,