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only ardent humanists, but thorough and practical churchmen. Of the laymen, whether foreigners or Englishmen, whose names are associated with the renaissance of letters in this country, such as, for example, the distinguished scholar Ludovico Vives, the two Lillys, Sir Thomas More, John Clement,1 and other members of More's family, there
He joined Reginald Pole in his studies at Padua, and on his return, after acting as Thomas Winter's tutor in Paris, he held a position first as teacher and then in Cardinal Wolsey's household. In his Exhortation to Young Men, persuading them to a good life, "written at More, a place of my Lord Cardinal's," in 1529, he gives a charming account of his relation with a former pupil. "It happeneth," he says, "at this time (my heartily beloved Edmund) that I am in such a place where I have no manner of books with me to pass the time after my manner and custom. And though I had here with me plenty of books, yet the place suffereth me not to spend in them any study. For you shall understand that I lie waiting on my Lord Cardinal, whose hours I must observe, to be always at hand lest I be called when I am not bye, which would be straight taken for a fault of great negligence. I am well satiated with the beholding of these gay hangings that garnish here every wall." As a relief he turns to address his young friend Edmund. Probably Edmund doesn't understand his affection, because he has always acted on the principle he has "been taught, that the master never hurteth his scholar more than when he uttereth and sheweth by cherishing and cokering the love he beareth to his scholars." Edmund is now "of age, and also by the common board of houseling admitted into the number of men, and to be no more in the company of children," and so now he can make known his affection. "This mind had I to my friend Andrew Smith, whose son Christopher, your fellow, I ever took for my son. ... If you will call to your mind all the frays between you and me, or me and Smith, you will find that they were all out of my care for 'your manners.' When I saw certain fantasies in you or him that jarred from true opinions, the which true opinions, above all learning, I would have masters ever teach their scholars. Wherefore, my good withipol, take heed of my lesson."
1 John Clement, a proteg^ of Sir Thomas More, was afterwards a doctor of renown not only in medicine but in languages. He had been a member of More's household, which Erasmus speaks of as "schola et gymnasium Christianae religionis." He is named at the beginning of the Utopia, and Sir Thomas, in writing to Erasmus, says that Linacre declared that he had had no pupil at Oxford equal to him. John Clement translated many ancient Greek authors into Latin, amongst others many letters of St. Gregory Nazianzen and the Homilies of Nicephorus Callistus on the Saints of the Greek Calendar. Stapleton, in his Ires Thoma can be no shadow of doubt about their dispositions towards the ancient ecclesiastical r6gime. A Venetian traveller, in 1500, thus records what he had noticed as to the attitude of ecclesiastics generally towards learning:—" Few, excepting the clergy, are addicted to the study of letters, and this is the reason why any one who has any learning, though he may be a layman, is called a clerk. And yet they have great advantages for study, there being two general universities in the kingdom, Oxford and Cambridge, in which there are many colleges founded for the maintenance of poor scholars. And your magnificence (the Doge ot Venice) lodged at one named Magdalen, in the University of Oxford, of which, as the founders having been prelates, so the scholars also are ecclesiastics."
It was in England, and almost entirely from the ecclesiastics of England, that Erasmus found his greatest support. "This England of yours," he writes to Colet in 1498, "this England, dear to me on many accounts, is above all most beloved because it abounds in what to me is best of all, men deeply learned in letters."1 Nor did he change his opinion on a closer acquaintance. In 1517, to Richard Pace he writes from Louvain in regret at leaving a country which he had come to regard as the best hope of the literary revival:—" Oh, how truly happy is your land of England, the seat and stronghold of the best studies and
(p. 250), says he had himself seen and examined with the originals these two voluminous translations at the request of John Clement himself. He had married Margaret, the ward of Sir Thomas More, and in the most difficult places of his translation he was helped by his wife, who, with the daughters of Sir Thomas, had been his disciple and knew Greek well. Mary Roper, More's grand-daughter, and the daughter of Margaret Roper, translated Eusebius' History from Greek into Latin, but it was never published, because Bishop Christopherson had been at work on a similar translation. On the change of religion in Elizabeth's reign, John Clement and his wife, with the Ropers, took refuge in the Low Countries. Paulus Jovius, in his Descriptio Britannia, p. 13, speaks of all three daughters of Sir Thomas More being celebrated for their knowledge of Latin. 1 Erasmi Opera (ed. 1703) Col. 40.
the highest virtues! I congratulate you, my friend Pace, on having such a king, and I congratulate the king whose country is rendered illustrious by so many brilliant men of ability. On both scores I congratulate this England of yours, for though fortunate for many other reasons, on this score no other land can compete with it."1
When William Latimer said in 1518 that Bishop Fisher wished to study Greek for Biblical purposes, and that he thought of trying to get a master from Italy, Erasmus, whilst applauding the bishop's intention as likely to encourage younger men to take up the study, told Latimer that such men are not easy to find in Italy. "If I may openly say my mind," he adds, " if I had Linacre or Tunstall for a master (for of yourself I say nothing), I would not wish for any Italian."'
Not to go into more lengthy details, there is, it must be admitted, abundant evidence to show that in the religious houses in England, no less than in the universities, there was a stirring of the waters, and a readiness to profit by the advance made in education and scholarship. The name of Prior Charnock, the friend of Colet and Erasmus at Oxford, is known to all. But there are others with even greater claim than he to be considered leaders in the movement. There is distinct evidence of scholarship at Reading, at Ramsay, at Glastonbury, and elsewhere.8 The lastnamed house, Glastonbury, was ruled by Abbot Bere, to whose criticism Erasmus desired to submit his translation of the New Testament from the Greek. Bere him
1 Erasmi, Opera, Ep. 241. - Ibid., Ep. 363.
3 To take one example, Thomas Millyng, who as Bishop of Hereford died in 1492, had studied at Gloucester Hall, Oxford, as a monk for Westminster. During the old age of Abbot Fleet, of Westminster, he governed the monastery, and became its abbot in 1465. He was noted for his love of studies, and especially for his knowledge of Greek. This, says the writer of his brief life in the Dictionary of National Biography, was " a rare accomplishment for monks in those days." He might have added, and for any one else!
self had passed some time, with distinction, in Italy, had been sent on more than one embassy by the king, and had been chosen by Henry VII. to invest the Duke of Urbino with the Order of the Garter, and to make the required oration on the occasion.1 He had given other evidence also of the way the new spirit that had been enkindled in Italy had entered into his soul. It was through Abbot Bere's generosity that Richard Pace, whom Erasmus calls "the half of his soul," was enabled to pursue his studies in Italy.2 Glastonbury was apparently a soil well prepared for the seed-time, for even in the days of Abbot Bere's predecessor, Abbot John Selwood, there is evidence to show that the religious were not altogether out of touch with the movement. The abbot himself presented one of the monks with a copy of John Free's translation from the Greek of Synesius de laude Calvitii. The volume is written and ornamented by an Italian scribe, and contains in the introductory matter a letter to the translator from Omnibonus Leonicensis, dated at Vicenza in 1461, as well as a preface or letter by Free to John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester.8
At St. Augustine's, Canterbury, also, we find, even amid the ruins of its desolation, traces of the same spirit which pervaded the neighbouring cloister of Christchurch. The
1 Dennistoun, Memorials of the Dukes of Urbino, iii., p. 415 seqq. 1 Erasmus to Abbot Bere. Opera, Ep. 700.
2 MS. Bodl. 80. It is the autograph copy of Free, cf. J. W. Williams, Somerset Mediteval Libraries, p. 87. It was Abbot Bere who, in 1506, presented John Claymond, the learned Greek scholar, to his first benefice of Westmonkton, in the county of Somerset. In 1516 Claymond became first President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, often after signing himself Eucharistice servus. Dr. Claymond procured for his college several Greek manuscripts which had belonged to Grocyn and Linacre, and which are still possessed by it. At the end of MS. XXIII., which is a volume containing ninety homilies of St. John Chrysostom in Greek, is an inscription stating that this, and MS. XXIV., were copied in the years 1499 and 1500 by a Greek from Constantinople, named John Serbopylas, then living and working at Reading.
antiquary Twyne declares that he had been intimately acquainted with the last abbot, whom he knew to have been deeply interested in the literary movement. He describes his friend as often in conversation manifesting his interest in and knowledge of the ancient classical authors. He says that this monk was the personal friend of Ludovico Vives, and that he sent one of his subjects at St. Augustine's, John Digon, whom he subsequently made prior of his monastery, to the schools of Louvain, in order that he might profit by the teaching of that celebrated Spanish humanist.1
Beyond the foregoing particular instances of the real mind of English ecclesiastics towards the revival of studies, the official registers of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge furnish us with evidence of the general attitude of approval adopted by the Church authorities in England. Unfortunately, gaps in the Register of Graduates at Oxford for the second half of the fifteenth century do not enable us to gauge the full extent of the revival, but there is sufficient evidence that the renaissance had taken place. In the eleven years, from A.d. 1449 to A.d. 1459, for which the entries exist, the average number
1 Ludovico Vives had been invited over to England by Cardinal Wolsey to lecture on rhetoric at Oxford. He lived at Corpus Christi College, then ruled by Dr. John Claymond, whom in his tract De conscribendis Epistolis he calls his "father." The fame of this Spanish master of eloquence drew crowds to his lectures at the university, and amongst the audience Henry and Queen Katherine might sometimes be seen. For a time he acted also as tutor to the Princess Mary, and dedicated several works to the queen, to whose generosity he says he owed much. He took her side in the "divorce " question, and was thrown into prison for some weeks for expressing his views on the matter. Fisher, More, and Tunstall were his constant friends in England, and of Margaret Roper he writes, "from the time I first made her acquaintance I have loved her as a sister." Among his pupils at Louvain, besides the above-named Canterbury monk, John Digon, he mentions with great affection Nicolas Wotton, whom the antiquary Twyne speaks of as returning to England with Digon and Jerome Ruffaldus, who calls Vives his "Jonathan," and who subsequently became abbot of St. Vaast, Arras.