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Hoc mens illa hominum, partim sortita Deorum, Greek, law divinity, music. * He fell Et pars ipsa Dei, patitur se errore teneri?
afterwards at his father's side, at Flodden. ['t scelere iste latro pollutus Julius omni
Erasmus at length descended again to Cui velit occludat cælum, rarsusque recludat Cui velit, et possit momento queinque beatum
Rome, to make, it might be, a long, a lifeEfficere, aut contra, quantum quiscunque bene long sojourn. Those of the cardinals who egit
were the professed patrons of letters reEt vixit bene, si lubeat, detrudere possit ceived him with open arms—the Cardinal Ad Stygias panas, et Averni Tartara ditis,
St. George, the Cardinal of Viterbo, the Et quod non habet ipse, aliis divendere cælum. Cardinal de Medici, so soon to ascend the
Papal throne as Leo X. He describes in * Et nunc ille vagus spargit promissa per orbem, one of his letters his interview with the Qui cædem et furias, scelerataque castra se- Cardinal Grimani, who displayed not only quantar,
the courtesy of a high-born and accomSe Duce, at liis cælum pateat. Qua fraude tot plished churchman, but a respect, almost a urbes,
deference, for the poor adventurous schoEt tot perdidit ille Duces, tot millia morti lar, which showed at once the footing on Tradidit, et pulsa induxit bella acria pace, which men of letters stood, and what ErasTranquilluinque diu discordibus induit armis Et scelere implevit mundum, fasque omno ne
mus might have become, had he devoted his fasque
transcendent learning and abilities to the Miscuit, inque isto caneret cum classica motu Roman court and to the service of the Naufraga direpti finxit patrimonia Petii Papacy. Pope Julius himself, unconVindice se bello asserere atque ulciscier armis,' scious of the unfavourable impression which &c. &c.
he had made on the peaceful Teuton, conOper. Ilutteni, Munch. 1, 207. descended to notice him; he was offered
the rank, office, and emoluments of one of At Bologna Erasmus remained nearly a the Penitentiaries. Julius put the scholar y ear. There is only one incident pre- to a singular test. He cominanded him to served of his pursuits; about his friends declaim one day against the war which he not much is recorded. The plague broke was meditating against Venice; ou anout, the physicians and watchers of the other, in favor of its justice and expedieninfected persons were ordered to throw a cy. Erasmus either thought it not safe to wbite cloth over their shoulders, to distin- decline, or was prompted by his vanity, in guish them. The white scapular of his the display of his powers and of bis Latiorder, which Erasmus wore, caused him nity, to undertake the perilous office, or twice to be mistaken for one of these offi- probably treated it merely as
a sort of cials. As the scholar took pride in not trial of his skill in declamation after the knowing a word of Italian, he was mobbed, old Roman fashion. By his own account and once narrowly escaped with his life. he did not flatter the Pope by arguing From Bologna he removed to Venice, to more strongly on the warlike side ; but print a new edition of his ‘Adagia’ at the the weaker oration, being in favour of the famous Aldine Press. He became very war, and recited before Pope Julius, could intimate with the Aldi: his enemies after- not fail of success. After his departure wards reproached him as having degraded from Rome, however, he disburthened himself (such were the strange notions of himself of his real, heart-rooted sentiments ; literary dignity in those days) to the meni- he wrote his · Antipolemo,' a bold tract, al office of corrector of the Press for some which at that time did not see the light, of the splendid volumes issued by the but was afterwards embodied in his · QueVenetian typographers. At Venice and rela Pacis,' and proclaimed to the world all at Pauua he found himself in the centre of his intense and cherished and ineffaceable many men, then of great distinction, but | abhorrence of war. whose names we fear would awaken no great Erasmus was not destined nor, indeed, reverence, or might be utterly unknown disposed to bask away his life in the calm to our ordinary readers. At Padua a na- sunshine of papal favour, or under the sky tural son of James, King of Scotland, a of Italy. Intelligence from England sumyouth of twenty years old, but already moned him back to our shores. Archbishop of St. Andrews, was pursuing In April, 1509, Henry VIII. acceded to bis studies. Both at Padua and afterwards the throne.f During the preceding year when they met at Sienna, Erasmus charged the Prince Henry had addressed a flatterhimself with the young Scot's instruction. He was a youth of singular beanty, tall, of
See his character in the 'Adagia,' or in ‘Knight,'
He is mentioned also in the letter to Botsweet disposition. The juvenile arch
zemius. bishop was a diligent student of rhetoric, + See Mountjoy's Letter, epist. x.
ing letter to Erasmus with his own hand, / versed in Church History to know how in his own Latin, acknowledging one which immeasurably the sacerdotal power was he had received from Erasmus, written strengthened in England by the death and with that eloquence which, as well as his saintship of Thomas à Becket. Little did erudition, was famous throughout the he foresee how soon that power, with the world. Lord Mountjoy wrote from the worship of the Saint, should pass away ; Court at Greenwich, urging his friend to that sumptuous tomb be plundered, and its return to England ; holding out the certain wealth scattered abroad, too little, it is to favour of the King, who had done him the be feared, to the poor. Yet while he conunwonted honour of corresponding with templated these treasures, these superstihim with his own hand, promising him the tions, and meditated on the character of patronage of Archbishop Warham, who Becket and of his worship, he seems to sent bim five pounds towards the expense have had some prophetic foresight of the of his journey, and as an earnest of future religious troubles of England.* favours. Erasmus set forth without much In London Erasmus took up his lodging delay: he crossed the Rhætian Alps, by in the Augustinian convent, with Bernard Coire, to Constance, the Brisgau, and Andreas, the tutor of Prince Arthur, and Strasburg; then down the Rhine to the Royal Historiographer, in which character Low Countries, from whence, after a short he wrote his Life of Henry VII. A quarrest in Louvain, he crossed to England. rel arose about the expenses of the great He beguiled his time on his journy by me- scholar's maintenance, which was set at ditating his famous satire on the Pope and rest by the liberality of Lord Mountjoy. on the Cardinals, for which in Rome itself, King Henry, however, whether too busy and all the way from Rome, he had found on his accession to the throne, and too ample food — The praise of Folly.' He much absorbed in European politics, hardfinished it in More's house, who enjoyed ly appears to have sustained the promise the kindred wit, nor as yet took alarm at of welcome and patronage to the stranger the bitter sarcasms against the Church of whom he had allured into his realm : we Rome and her Head. It was on this jour- hear but little of the royal munificence. ney from the coast that he saw all the Erasmus ever wrote with the highest resacred treasures of the church of Canter- spect of Henry ; propitiated him by dedibury. The stately grandeur of the fabricim- cations, in one of which he dexterously repressed him with solemn awe; he admired minded him of their early intimacy; he the two lofty towers, with their sonorous afterwards vindicated the King's authorbells; he remarked among the books attach- ship of the famous answer to Luther; and ed to the pillars the spurious Gospel of Ni. Henry was certainly jealous of the prefercodemus. "He mentions, not without what ence, shown by Erasmus in his later life, reads clearly enough like a covert sneer, the of the Imperial patronage. King Henry immense reliques, bones, skulls, chins, teeth, appreciated Erasmus more highly when he hands, fingers, arms, which they were had lost the fame which he might have forced to adore and kiss; but he was conferred upon his realm by his denizenfrightened (an ominous circumstance) at the ship. The great Cardinal, of whose splenprofaneness of his companion, Gratian Pul- did foundations at Oxford Erasmus writes ien, a secret Wickliffite, who, notwithstand with honest admiration, condescended to ing the presence of the Prior, could not make noble promises to Erasmus, first of a restrain his mockery, handled one relique, and replaced it with a most contemptuous
* He appears to have seen the reliques of Thos. gesture, and instead of a reverential kiss, à Becket on another occasion, in company with made a very unseemly noise with his lips.Coet. 'I myself saw, when they displayed a The Prior, from courtesy or prudence, torn rag with which he is said to have wiped his dismissed bis guests with a cup of wine. nose, the Abbot and other standers-by fall on their At the neighbouring Hospital of Harble- Colet
, for he was with me, this appeared intoleradon, Erasmus duly kissed the shoe of ble; to me these things seemed rather to be borne Thomas à Becket, an incident not forgot. with, till they could be corrected without tumult.' ten in his pleasant . Coloquy on Pilgrim- tic of Sortin's Life (Additions, ii. p. 706), to whom ages. Already had he gazed in wonder Jortin seems inclined to bow, supposes only one visit, at the inestimable treasures of gold and of and that Gratian Pullen was Colet; but the Wick jewels, which the veneration of two cen- iiffism and rather coarse behaviour seems out of turies had gathered around the tomb of character with that devout man. Becket; even Erasmus ventured to hint to Henry V11., has appeared, exceedingly well edited,
+ This, the only contemporary biography of himself, that such treasures had been better among the publications for which we are indebted bestowed on the poor. He was sufficiently to the Master of the Rolls.
canonry at Tournay (that see was one of Warham presented him to the living of Wolsey's countless commendams), which, as Adlington, near Ashford, in Kent, to which his friend Lord Mountjoy was governor of he was collated March 22, 1511. Before the city, would have been peculiarly ac- the end of the year he resigned it, from ceptable—afterwards of nothing less than scruples which did him honour : "he could a Bishopric. But his hopes from Wolsey not pretend to feed a flock of whose lanturned out, in the words of his friend Am- guage he was ignorant. Erasmus dismonius, dreams. He more than once be- dained English, as he did all modern lantrays some bitterness towards a patron, guages. The Archbishop accepted his rewhose patronage was only in large words, signation, assigning him a pension on the and contemplated his fall
, at least with living. Erasmus still remonstrated, but equanimity. At this period Fisher, Bi- the Archbishop argued that Erasmus was shop of Rochester, seems to have been his so much more usefully employed in inmost active and zealous advocate. Even structing preachers than in preaching himFisher was an avowed friend of the new self to a small country congregation, that learning; as Chancellor of Cambridge it he had a right to remuneration from the was his deliberate design to emancipate Church. To the 201. from the living the the University from the trammels of scho- Archbishop added another 201. Knight lasticism : himself, at an advanced age, justly mentions, as a very curious circumbad studied Greek. Through his influence stance, that Adlington was the parish in Erasmus, who, as we have seen, had visit- which, some years after, appeared the Holy ed Cambridge in 1506, was appointed first Nun of Kent, whose history is so admiraMargaret Professor of Divinity, afterwards bly told by Mr. Froude. The successor of Professor of Greek. He had lodgings in Erasmus, Robert Master, was, if not the Queen's College ; in the time of Knight author, deeply implicated in that for a bis rooms were still shown; a walk is time successful, but in the end most fatal, even now called by his name. His scho- imposture. Even Warham, to say nothing lars were at first but few, his emoluments of More and Fisher, listened with too small, and he did not scruple to express greedy or too credulous ears to this monbis disappointment at Cambridge. He had strous tale. spent sixty nobles, and got barely one During the whole of this visit, his longfrom his lectures. His friends were obliged est sojourn in England, his intimacy into solicit aid, chiefly from Fox, Bishop of creased with the two Englishmen who Winchester, and Tunstall of Durham. He obtained the strongest hold on his admirabecame, however, better reconciled to tion and affections—More and Colet. The Cambridge, and preferred it, but for the genial playfulness of More, his as yet libesociety of two or three dear friends, pro- ral views on the superstitions and abuses bably Mountjoy, no doubt More and Colet, of the Church, and as yet unquestioned to London. After two or three years the tolerance, qualified him beyond all men to Archbishop Warham took him by the hand enjoy the quiet satire, the accomplish(his dedications of his translated Greek ments, the endless learning of Erasmus, plays had not been wasted on the accom- To Colet he was bound by no less powerpished and liberal prelate), and from that ful sympathies; the love of polite letters, time Warham’s liberality was free and un- the desire of giving a more liberal and intermitting, and the gratitude of Erasmus elegant tone to education, the aversion to in due proportion. There are several long scholastic teaching, the avowed determinapassages in which, during the life and after tion to supersede St. Thomas and Duns the death of Warham, he describes his Scotus by lessons and sermons directly character with equal eloquence and truth.t drawn from St. Paul and the Gospels, the • His Epistles to Henry VIII. and to Wolsey stition. Whatever made Colet an object
contempt for much of the dominant superare couched in a kind of respectful familiarity. The scholar is doing honour even to the haughty
of suspicion and jealousy, of actual proseKing, as well as receiving it, and to his “alter ego,' cution as a heretic by Fitzjames, Bishop as Erasmus describes Wolsey.
of London, against which he was protected + See especially the preface to the 3rd edition of by the more enlightened Warham_all, in length by Jortin, i. 612, Epist. 922. 1234 :—"The short, which justified to him and may juscontrast of the pious, enlightened, and unworldly tify to the latest posterity the elaborate, Warham with Wolsey is very striking. Compare most eloquent, and affectionate character the preferments and possessions of Wolsey on his which he drew of the Dean of St. Paul's, fall, with Warham's dying demand of his steward, with Vitrarius, the Franciscan, his two whiat money he had." Thirty pounds;"—“Satis viatiei ad cælum”—Enough to carry mne to Hea- model Christians—all conspired to unite Ven.'
the two scholars in the most uninterrupted friendship. Erasmus did great service to himself might seem to care little where he Colet's school at St. Paul's, that most re- lived ; and, if indefatigable industry, if to markable instance of a foundation whose devote transcendent abilities to letters, and statutes were conceived with a prophetic above all to religious letters, be to live liberality, which left the election of the well, he might look back to those years of students and the course of studies absolute his life as the best spent, and, notwithly free, with the avowed design that there standing some drawbacks, some difficulties should be alterations with the change of from the precariousness of his income, times and circumstances. He composed much suffering from a distressing malady, hymns and prayers to the Child Jesus, which enforced a peculiar diet and great and grammatical works, the • De Copia care, as the happiest. Verborum,' for the institution of his friend. But no doubt the frequent changes of Erasmus remained in England during this residence during this period of the life of visit about four years—from the beginning Erasmus arose out of his vocation. Books of 1510 to 1514. Either disappointment, and manuscripts were scattered in many or restlessness, or ambition, the invitations places : if he would consult them, far more of Charles of Austria, afterwards the Em- if he would commit the works of ancient peror, now holding his court at Brussels, authors to the press, he must search into or sanguine hopes, on account of the eleva- the treasures of various libraries, most of tion of Cardinal de Medici, who had shown them in disorder, and very few with catahim so much favour at Rome, to the Papal logues. The printers, too, who would unthrone as Len X., draw him forth again dertake, and to whom could be intrusted, into the world. From Charles he received the care of printing and correcting volumithe appointment of honorary counsellor, to nous works in the ancient languages, were which was attached a pension of 200 flor- rare to be found. The long residence of ins. A bishopric in Sicily was held out as Erasinus at Basil was because he there ena provision for the northern scholar; but joyed not only the courtesy of the Bishop the bishopric turned out not to be in the and Clergy and many learned men, but gift of Charles, but of the Pope. His old because the intelligent and friendly printer convent of Stein began to covet the fame Frobenius was boldly engaged in the most of the great scholar whom they had per comprehensive literary enterprises.* He mitted to leave their walls. His friend had, of course, no domestic ties ; in fact, Servatius had become prior, and endea- no country. His birth precluded any claim voured to induce Erasmus to join again of kindred; his brother, if he had a brother, the brotherhood from which he bad de. was dead; his family had from the first reparted. The answer of Erasmus is among pudiated him. After his death Rotterdam the most remarkable of his letters; free, might take pride in her illustrious son, and full, fearless on the degeneracy of the mo- adorn her market-place with his statue ; nastic life, of which he acknowledges the but it never had been and never was his use and excellence in former times, but dwelling-place. Once free, and now reof which he exposes in the most uncom- leased by Papal authority from his vows promising language the almost universal of seclusion in the monastery of his Order, abuses. What is more corrupt and more he would not submit to the irksome impriwicked than these relaxed religions? Con- sonment of a cloister. He had refused all sider even those which are in the best es- preferment which bound him to residence ; teem, and you shall find in them nothing his home was wherever there were books, that resembles Christianity, but only I literary friends, and printers. He was, in know not what cold and Judaical observ- truth, a citizen of the world ; and the world
Upon this the religious Orders welcomed him wherever he chose for a value themselves, and by this they judge time to establish himself, in any realm or and despise others. Would it not be better, in any city. It was the pride of the richaccording to the doctrines of our Saviour, est or most famous capital in Europe to be to look upon Christendom as one house, one family, one monastery, and all Cbris- * This was the motive which led him so often to
* Decretum erat tians as one brotherhood ? Would it not meditate a retreat to Rome. be better to account the Sacrament of hyemare Rome, cum aliis de causis, tum ut locis
nonnullis Pontificiae bibliothecæ præsidiis uterer. Baptism the most sacred of all vows and Apud nos sacrorum Voluminum Græcorum magna engagements, and never trouble ourselves penuria. Nam Aldina officina nobis præter prowhere we live so we live well?'* For the fanos auctores adhuc non ita multum dedit. Rome six or seven following busy years Erasmus ubi bonis studiis non solum tranquillitas verum
etiam honos.'—Epist. DXLVII.
In other letters he expresses his determination * Jortin's Translation, p. 61.
to live and die in England.
chosen even as the temporary residence of ran like wildfire through Europe. They Erasmus.
were in every house, every academy, every Up to the year 1520 (the 54th of his life) school, we suspect in almost every cloister. Erasmus thus stood before the world, ac- The first indignant remonstrances of the knowledged and honoured as the greatest Ecclesiastical censure only acted, as in our scholar, in a certain sense as the greatest days, as an advertisement. On the intelliTheologian, not only on this side of the gence of their proscription, a bold printer Alps, but fairly competing with or surpass- in Paris is said to have struck off above ing the greatest in Italy. Reuchlin, now 20,000 copies of the Colloquies,' thus imfamous for his victory, extorted even in plying a demand for which the publishers Rome herself from his stupid and bigoted of Scott, and almost of Macaulay, might persecutors, was chiefly strong in Hebrew hesitate to provide, in our days of univerand Oriental learning-knowledge more sal reading. It is difficult, indeed, for us to wondered at than admired ; and to which comprehend the fame, the influence, the Erasmus, as we have „said, made no pre- power, which in those times, gathered tension.* Budæus alone in Paris) was bis around the name of a scholar, a writer in superior in Greek, and in his own province Latin. Thus far he had ridden triumphant of more profound erudition, but that pro- through all his difficulties, and surmounted vince was narrow and limited. Some of all obstacles. He was the object, no doubt, the Italian scholars, Sadolet and Bembo of much suspicion, much jealousy, but still and Longolius, might surpass him in the more of fear. There had been many atelegance and purity of their Latinity ; but tacks upon him, especially on his Theolohe was hereafter to give a severe shock to gical works, but they had not commanded these purists in his • Ciceronianus,' and had the public ear; he bad rejoined with already shown himself at least their equal, dauntless and untiring energy, and in if not their master, in his full command of general carried the learned with him. a vigorous, idiomatic, if less accurate style. Through him Scholasticism was fast wanIn bis wit and pungent satire he stood ing and giving place to polite letters, to almost alone; he was rivalled only by the humanities as they were called : the cloisinimitable · Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum,' ters, and more orthodox Universities, might and the · Julius Exclusus,' which in its lofty seem almost paralyzed ; it might appear as and biting sarcasm, its majestic rebuke, and if the world-we might certainly say it of terrible invective, soars above anything in England—was ERASMIAN. the more playful and genial Colloquies.' There was one other name, indeed, desOf the authorship of both of these, indeed, tined shortly to transcend, in some degree Erasmus, notwithstanding his reiterated to obscure that of Erasmus. But as yet protestations, could hardly escape the ho. men had only begun to wonder and stand nours and the perils. But the · Praise of appalled at the name of Luther ; it had not Folly,' and the Colloquies,'t in which the yet concentered on itself the passionate surprised and staggered Monks hardly indelible attachment of his countless folbad discovered, what they afterwards de- lowers, nor the professed iinplacable aninounced as the impiety, even the atheism, mosity of his more countless foes. Luther
had denounced Tetzel and his Indulgences; * Erasmus is accused of doing scanty honour to he had affixed to the walls his famous TheReuchlin, of having timidly stood aloof from the ses; he had held his disputations with Eck contest with Pfefferkorn and the Cologne Divines. at Leipsic: but it was not till this year that One of the Letters (“Obscurorum Virorum') rather taunts him with this, 'Erasmus eet homo pro se' the declaration of war startled Christendom But Erasınus could not, from his acknowledged
-- the issuing of the Papal Bull against ignorance of Hebrew, mingle in the strife with Luthier, the burning the Bull in the streets any authority. He was not only ignorant, he of Wittenberg. writes himself , but he had no interest in the dis
Nothing can show more fully the position pute.' 'Cabala et Talmud quicquid hoc est, nuihi nunquam arrisit,' Epist. Albert. Mogunt. But he held up to this time in Europe by Erasmus, made ample compensation after Reuchlin's death than that all the great Potentates of the by his Apotheosis. Reuchlin is received into hea- Christian world had vied, or might seem ren, placed by the side of St. Jerome, and duly in. to be vying, for the honour of his residence stalled as the patron Saint of Philologists in their dominions. Even in their strife sancta anima! sis felix linguaruin cultoribus, faveto linguis sanctis, perdito malas linguas, iv fectas for the empire Charles V. and Francis might veneno Gehenna.'
appear to find time for this competition. + The Colloquies' were first printed by Erasmus Men of letters are often reproached with in 1522, but there had been two imperfect and adulation to men of high rank and station; surreptitious editions in 1518, 1519, which compelled Erasmus to publish a 'more accurate and it is more often that men of letters are obcomplete copy.
jects of flattery by great men. Erasmus