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pure, sober enjoyment; pious, intellectual Praise of Folly' and the Colloquies ?? luxury. Erasmus listened, and after some If they did read them, had they no comresistance entered on his probation. His punctious visitings as to the formidable foe visious seemed to ripen into reality; all they had galled and goaded beyond enwas comfort, repose, indulgence, uninter- durance ? rupted reading, no rigid fasts, dispensations The youth's consolation was in his books. from canonical hours of prayer, nights His studies he still pursued, if with less passed in study with his friend, who took freedom and with more interruption from the opportunity of profiting (being very enforced religious ceremonies, with his own slow of learning, and with only some know. indefatigable zeal and industry. Either ledge of music) by the superior attainments within or without the cloister he found of Erasmus. The pleasant peace was only friends of more congenial minds. William broken by light and innocent pastimes, in Hermann of Gouda, with whom he entered which the good elder brothers condescended into active correspondence, indulged in to mingle. So glided on the easy months; Latin verse-making, which in that age digbut, as the fatal day of profession arrived, nified itself, and was dignified by Erasmus, suspicions darkened on the mind of Eras- with the name of Poetry. Erasmus wrote
He sent for his guardians ; he a treatise, like other voluntary or enforced entreated to be released; he appealed to ascetics, on the · Contempt of the World.' the better feelings of the monks. ·Had But while he denounced the corruption of they been,' he wrote at a later period, the world, it was in no monastic tone; he 'good Christian religious men, they would was even more vehement in his invective have known how unfit I was for their life. against the indolence, the profligacy, the I was neither made for them, nor they for ignorance of the cloister. This dissertation me. His bealth was feeble ; he required did not see the light till much later in his a generous diet; he had a peculiar infir- life. Among the modern authors who most mity, fatal to canonical observance—when excited his admiration was Laurentius once his sleep was broken be could not | Valla. Not only by his manly and elosleep again. For religious exercises he quent style, but by the boldness and had no turn; his whole soul was in letters, originality of his thougbts, Valla had been and in letters according to the new light the man who first assailed with success the now dawning on the world.
But all were
monstrous edifice of fiction, which in the hard, inexorable, qunning. He was coaxed, Middle Ages passed for history. His threatened, compelled. St. Augustine Ithuriel spear had pierced and given the himself (they were Augustinian friars) deathblow to the famous donation of Conwould revenge himself on the renegade stantine. from his Order. God would punish one So passed about five years, obscure but who had set his hand to the plough and not lost. He was isolated except from one shrunk back. Verden was there with his or two congenial friends. With his family, bland seemingly friendly influence. He who seem hardly to have owned him, he would not lose his victim, the sharer in his had no intercourse; be was a member of lot for good or evil, the cheap instructor. a fraternity, who looked on him with Erasmus took the desperate, the fatal jealousy and estrangement, on whom he plunge. Ere long his eyes were opened ; looked with ill-concealed aversion, perhe saw the nakedness, the worse than haps contempt. He was one among them, nakedness, of the land. The quiet, the in- not one of them. At that time the Bishop dulgence, the unbroken leisure were gone. of Cambray, Henry de Bergis, meditated He must submit to harsh, capricious disci- a journey to Rome, in hopes of obtaining pline; to rigid but not religious rules; to a Cardinalis hat. He wanted a private companionship no longer genial or edifying. secretary skilful in writing Latin. Whether He was in the midst of a set of coarse, vul- be applied to the Monastery, which was gar, profligate, unscrupulous men, zealots not unwilling to rid itself of its uncongewbo were debauchees; idle, with all the nial inmate, and so commended him to the vices the proverbial issue of idleness. Bishop, or whether the fame of Erasmus Erasmus confesses that his morals did not bad reached Cambray—the offer was made altogether escape the general taint, though and eagerly accepted. He left his friend his feeble bealth, want of animal spirits, or Herman alone with regret; and Hermau bis better principles, kept him aloof from envied the good fortune of his friend, who the more riotous and shameless revels. had hopes of visiting pleasant Italy. He was still sober, quiet, studious, diligent. Did any of these men ever read the bitter 'At nunc surs nos divellit, tibi quod bene sarcasms, the bright but cutting wit of the Sors peracerba mibi,
(vortat, latring." ;
Me sine solus abis, tu Rbeni frigora et Alpes depth of a hard winter, to give hungry youths & Me sine solus adis,
bit of dry bread, to send them to the well for Italiam, Italiam lætus penetrabis amenam.' water-and that fætid and unwbolesome, or
frost-bound! I have myself known many wbo But as yet Erasmus was not destined to thus contracted maladies which they did not breathe the air of Italy; the ambitious shake off as long as they lived. The sleepingPrelate's hopes of the Cardinal's hat rooms were on the ground floor, with mouldy vanished. Erasmus remained under the plaister walls, and close to filthy and pestilential protection of the Bishop at Cambray. He was induced to enter into Holy Orders. He goes on to dwell on the chastiseHe continued his studies, and as a scholar ments to which we presume from his age made some valuable friendships. At he was not exposed ; but in truth even in length, after five years, not wasted, but this respect monastic discipline was not still to bim not profitable years, he hoped particular; and here it ruled in all its to obtain the one grand object of his am. harshness-a further exemplification of bition-residence and instruction at one of the law of nature, that those who are the great Universities of Europe. Paris, cruel to themselves are cruel to others; the famous seat of theologic learning, that the proscription of the domestic affecseemed to open her gates to him. The tions is fatal to tenderness and to huBishop not only gave permission, but manity.* promise of support. The eager student Bui Erasmus was forcing his way to obtained what may be called a pensionate celebrity. Even
at Paris the young or bursary in the Montagu College. But scholar's name began to make itself known new trials and difficulties awaited him. in that which in those days had a real The Bishop was too poor, too prodigal, or and separate existence—the republic of too parsimonious to keep bis word. Ilis letters. This republic had begun to rival, allowance to Erasmus was reluctantly and to set itself apart from, the monastic irregularly paid, if paid at all. The poor world, and even from the Church. It scholar had not wherewithal to pay fees hailed with generous welcome, and entered for lectures, or for the purchase of books ; into friendly communication with young but he had lodging and such lodging ! aspirants after literary distinction. Erasfood, but how much and of what quality! mus, the parentless, without fortune, withHear his college reminiscences :* out connexions, without corporate interests,
even without country, began to gather *Thirty years since I lived in a College at around himself a host of friends, which do not wonder," says the interlocutor, 'that it gradually comprehended almost all the was so gour, with so much theological disputa: Paris he began to supply his failing re,
more distinguished names in Europe. In tion in it; the very walls, they say, reek with · Theology." Er. “ You say true; I indeed sources by what in our modern academical brought nothing away from it but a constitution phrase is called taking private pupils. full of unhealthy humours, and plenty of ver- Paris was crowded with youth from all min. Over that college presided one John countries. At a later period we find Standin, a man not of a bad, disposition, but Erasmus superintending the education of utterly without judgment. If, having himself the son of a rich burgher of Lubeck ; passed his youth in extreme poverty, he had shown some regard for the poor, it had been but England offered the wealthiest and well. If he had so far supplied the wants of the most generous youth. A member of the youths as to enable them to pursue their studies almost royal family of Grey, and the Lord in credit, without pampering theia with indul. Mountjoy, placed themselves under the gence, it had been praiseworthy. But what tuition of Erasmus. So with Mountjoy with hard beds, scanty food, rigid vigils and began a life-long friendship, which had labours, in the first year of my experience, I much important influence, and might have saw many youths of great gifts, of the bighest had even more, on his career. It opened hopes and promise, some who actually died ; some doomed for life to blindness, to madness, to leprosy. Of these I was acquainted with * Rabelais' reminiscences of the Collège Monsome, and no one was exempt from the danger. taigu were not inore pleasing. Ponocrates says to Was not that the extreme of cruelty ?
Grandgousier, Seigneur, ne penses que je l'aye mis Nor was this the discipline only of the poorer au Collège de pouillerie qu'on nomme Montaigu ; scholars; he received not a few sons of opulent mieux l'eusse voulu mettre entre les guenaulx de parents, whose generous spirit he broke down. St. Innocent, pour l'enorme cruaulté et villenie que To restrain wanton youth by reason and by j'y ai cognue; car trop mieulx sont traictés les moderation, is the office of a father; but in the forcèz entre les Maures et Turtres, les meurtriers
en la prison criminelle, voyre certes les chiens en
vostre maison, que sont ces malautrus au dit Col* See the Colloquia, 'Icthyophagia.' lège.
England to him, in which, had he chosen, of Mountjoy. Even now the scholar found he might have obtained an honoured himself welcomed by some of the highest domiciliation and a secure maintenance and most gifted of the land; presents, Mountjoy's first act was to remove him which became more free and bountiful as from the pestilential precincts of the col- he became better known, were showered lege to purer air and doubtless more costly upon him; he was an object of general diet. Some time after he settled on his respect and esteem. Already began his master a pension, which Erasmus held for life-long friendship with More and with life. He had an offer of a more promising Colet, afterwards Dean of St. Paul's. His pupil; he was to cram an unlettered noble first impressions on his arrival and recepyouth, the son of James Stanley, Earl of tion in England were flattering, even to Derby, and so son-in-law to the King's the atmosphere and climate of the island. mother, for a bishopric; a bishopric, that He had just emerged, be it remembered, of Ely, was ere long obtained. The tutor from the unwholesome air of the French was to receive 100 crowns for a year's capital, and, till rescued by Mountjoy, from drudgery, the promise of a benefice in a the most wretched quarter, and the most few months, and the loan of 300 crowns wretched lodging in that most wretched till the benefice fell in. But Erasmus, quarter of Paris, under frequent visitations from independence, or thinking that he too of what was called the plague. He might employ his time better than in this had but exchanged that dreary domicile, dull office of teaching perhaps an unteach still pursued by the plague, for Orleans, able youth, declined the flattering pro- for Louvain, and some of the cities of the posal.*
Low Countries and of Holland, No wonFrom Paris Erasmus was more than once der that he was delighted with the pure, driven by the plague to the Low Countries and not yet smoke-laden air of London and and to Orleans. During one of these ex- its neighbourhood. You ask,' he writes cursions he made an acquaintance, through to Piscator, an Englishman at Rome, how Battus, a man of letters, with Anna Bersala, I am pleased with England. If you
will Marchioness of Vere, who lived in the Cas- believe me, my dear Robert, nothing ever tle of Tornhoens. The Marchioness, an delighted me so much. I have found the accomplished woman, settled a pension climate most agreeable and most healthful, upon him, and more than once assisted him and so much civility (humanitas, a far in his necessities. In his turn Erasmus wider term), so much learning, and that instructed her son, Adolphus de Vere, and not trite and trivial but profound and accuwrote for him the treatise · De Arte con- rate, so much familiarity with the ancient scribendi Epistolas. The pension was writers, Latin and Greek, that, except for somewhat irregularly paid, and Erasmus the sake of seeing it, I hardly care to visit remonstrated on being left to starve, while Italy.' • When I hear Colet, I seem to his patroness wasted her bounty on illite- bear Plato. Who would not admire Grorate fellows who wore cowls. The allow. cyn’s vast range of knowledge? What ance ceased at length, the lady, after can be more subtile, more deep, more fine having refused the noblest offers, having than the judgment of Linacer? Did Nacontracted a low and almost servile mar. ture ever frame a disposition more gentle, riage. At. Orleans he was received in the more sweet, more happy, than that of house of a wealthy canon and treated with Thomas More ?'. Of his host Mountjoy, generous kindness. He visited his native Erasmus is gratefully eloquent : • Wbither Holland too—the air agreed with him ; would I not follow a youth so courteous, so but he could not endure the Epicurean gentle, so amiable, I say not to England, I banquets, the sordid and rude people, the would follow him to the infernal regions.' stubborn contempt of all polite studies, In another letter, addressed to the sothe total want and the mean jealousy of called Poet Laureate, Andrelini* of Forli learning.t
The first visit of Erasmus to England Life, p. 168; Ersch and Gruber; and the article in was in 1598. I He came at the invitation Didot's new 'Dictionnaire Biographique.'
* The Latin poetry of Andrelini is of moderate
merit; but, according to Dr. Strauss (in his excel* See Kinght. p. 19.
lent Life of Hutten, vol. i. p. 102), Andrelini was + lle called Holland 'beer and butter land.' – the author of the famous “Julius Exclusus,' the Müller, p. 232.
most powerful satire of his day, which abounded $ The short visit, supposed in the older lives to in such satire. Jortin, we would observe, who have taken place in 1597, and which rested on kuew well Andrelini's writings, thinks him quite erroneous dates in some of the letters, is now given incapable of such a work; but More, in his letter up. The letters want a careful editor, such as to Lee (Jortin, Appendix, ii. p. 686), says positively Luther's have found in De Weite. See Müller's that it first appeared at Paris, and was attributed
(be read lectures on Poetry and Rhetoric | Greenwich, More, inviting him to a pleain Paris), Erasmus takes a lighter tone. sant walk, conducted him to the Royal He talks of his horsemanship— he had Palace at Eltham, where all the royal almost become a hunter. He had learned children, except Prince Arthur, were under to be a successful courtier, and taken up education. Prince Henry was then nine the manners of the great. How could years old, and, even in his boyhood, acAndrelini linger in the filth of Paris ? If cording to Erasmus, blended high majesty the gout did not hold him by the foot, let with singular courtesy. On his right was him fly to England.' Then follows a pas- the Princess Margaret, aged eleven, aftersage which has given rise to much solemn wards the wife of James of Scotland ; on nonsense. It seems that in the days of his left the Princess Mary, aged four, at Henry VII., our great-great-great-grand play: the Prince Edward was still in arms. mothers, at meeting and at parting, in- Prince Henry, whom More had accosted dulged their friends and even strangers with some compliment in Latin, addressed with an innocent salute. On this usage during dinner a short Latin letter to the Erasmus enlarges to his poetic friend in foreign scholar, who, as he complained to very pretty Latin, and rather pedantically More, was taken by surprise, and was not advises him to prefer the company of these ready with a reply. Three days after beautiful and easy nymphs to bis cold and Erasmus sent him in return a copy of coy muses. Such writers as Bayle and verses of some length. Of this effusion Gibbon, of course, made the most of this; England's assertion of her wealth and ferabsurdly enough, but not with half the tility is no unfavourable example :absurdity of the grave rebuke with which many a ponderous and cloudy wig was
“At mihi nec fontes nec vitia flumnica desunt, shaken among ourselves at this wicked
Sulcive pingues, prata nec ridentia,
Fæta viris, fæcunda feris, fæcunda metallis, calumny on British matrons.
Ne glorier, quod ambiens largas opes Yet, it should seem that Erasmus, at his
Porrigit Oceanus, nec quod nec amicius ulla first visit to England, was a pupil rather Cæluin, nec aura dulcius spirat plaga.' than a teacher. He was already a perfect master of Latin. In Oxford be found that But the king, Henry VII., is the chief instruction in Greek, which if Paris could glory of the glorious realm. furnish (and this may be doubted, for bis
"Rex unicum hujus sæculi miraculum, friend and rival Budæus had not yet begun to teach) Erasmus was too poor to buy. Hoc regnum ille putat, patriæ carissimus esse, But in the constant intercourse of England Blandus bonis, solis timendus impiis.' with Italy, some of her scholars liad studied under the Greeks, who had fled after
And so on through many lines of classic the taking of Constantinople and taught adulation, in which Decius, Codrus, Numa,
Æneas, and we know not who, are eclipsed Italy, and through Italy, Europe, their peerless language. Among these were w. by the iron Henry VII. The children Grocyn, probably also Linacer, and Lati: I have each their meed of flattery, Prince mer. Under Grocyn Erasmus made
rapid rita. It is curious that the poet Skelton,
Arthur, Henry, and “the pearl" Margaprogress, and soon after became sufficient
who had not yet fallen upon master of Greek to translate parts of Libanius, Lucian, Euripides. Gibbon's pointed cipating, doggrel,—and was only known
vein,-inexhaustible, scurrilous, Swift-antisentence that Erasmus learned Greek in Oxford to teach it in Cambridge is undeni- Xouse of York, and had been crowned
by his grave verses on the fall of the ably true. Érasmus had an opportunity of express- of Louvain, is described as directing Prince
with the poetic laurel by the University and this is the most curious, and perhaps Henry's poetic studiesthe most trustworthy, relation of his adven- Monstrante fontes vate Skeltono sacros.' tures during his first visit. When he was In the dedication, Skelton is named even at Lord Mountjoy's country-seat near with higher praise, as the one light and
glory of British letters. Erasmus of course by Stephen Poncher, bishop of Paris, to Faustus spoke from common report, for he knew Andrelinus. The calm, cutting sarcasm, and the nothing of English. His conversation with spirited Latinity of the ‘Julius Exclusis' are the royal family must have been in Latin.* equally masterly. The satire may be read in the Appendix to Jortin, and in the sixth volume of * Erasmus had heard of Dante and Petrarch, Munch's edition of Hutten, which contains the though, as we shall hereafter see, he knew nothing Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum.' It was repeat- of Italian : but England, he said, had vernacular edly disclaimed by Erasınus.
poets who rivalled those celebrated Italians.
The first visit of Erasmus to England of the Iphigenia. Under the patronage was closed by an amusing, to him by no of Bishop Fisher of Rochester, Chancellor means pleasant, incident. Henry VII.'s of the University, Erasmus now visited political economy bad rigidly prohibited Cambridge, but at present only for a short the exportation of coined money. The time. He is said, on doubtful authority, rude Custom House officers seized twenty to have received a degree. It is not impounds, which poor Erasmus was carrying probable that this visit to England was away, the first fruits, and in those days to connected with the hope of raising funds him of no inconsiderable value, of English for that which had been the vision of his munificence. There is a bitterness in his youth, the day-dream of his maubood-a natural complaints, not quite accordant journey to Italy. To Italy accordingly, with the contempt of money which he during the next year, he set out from Paris. often affects, but was too needy to main- He had undertaken the charge of two sons tain.*
of Boyer, a Genoese, physician to Henry Before the second visit of Erasmus to VII.; they were gentle, manageable youths, England (nearly seven years after, 1505-6) - but their attendant, who had the care of he bad become, not in promise only, but their conduct, was rude, troublesome, imin common repute, the greatest Transalpine practicable. The connexion soon came to scholar. Reuchlin was now his only rival ; | an end. Erasmus, no doubt, had hoped to but Reuchlin's fame, immeasurably height find Italy the pleasant and peaceful sancened by his persecutions and his triumph tuary of arts, letters, religion ; in every over his persecutors, and by his vindica- city scholars pursuing their tranquil avotion through the anonymous authors of the cations under the patronage of their princes, • Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum,'was chiefly quiet universities opening their willing confined to Hebrew learning, to which gates to students from every part of ChristErasmus had no pretence. Budeus, no endom, the wealth of the Church lavished doubt, surpassed him in Greek, not one in well-stocked libraries, the higher Latin. The first, very imperfect, edition Churchmen, the Chief Pontiff especially, in of his · Adagia,' at the vast erudition of a court of enlightened men, whose whole which the world wondered, had appeared thought was the encouragemeut of letters, in 1500. In 1504 he had been summoned and by letters the advancement of sound to deliver a gratulatory address at Brus- religion. He found Italy convulsed, rasels, in the name of the Estates of the Low vaged, desolated with war, and at the head Countries, to their sovereign, Phillip the of one of the most ferocious, most rude, Fair, on his return to that city from Spain. most destructive of the predatory armies,
The second English visit, like the first, was the Pope himself Turin was bis first was short. He was introduced by Grocyn resting-place; and at the University of Tuto Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury. rin, after a residence of some months, he On that occasion he presented Warbam obtained, what was then a high honour, the with a copy of his translation of Hecuba' degree of Doctor. He passed to Bologna. of Euripides into Latin verse, with an Hardly had he arrived there when he heard iambic ode and dedicatory epistle. War- the thunders of the Pope's forces, with ham received him with great kindness, and Julius himself at their head, around the made him a present; but as Grocyn and beleaguered city. He retired to Florence. he returned across the Thames, the present, He returned to Bologna in time to see the on examination, turned out to be of but triumphant entrance of the Pope into the moderate amount. The wary archbishop rebellious city. He made an excursion, for had been too often imposed upon by needy a third time, to Rome, where he again (in students, and thought it not unlikely that March, 1508) bebeld the gorgeous ovation the same work, with the same dedication, of the martial Pontiff. The effect of this had been offered to others before himself. spectacle on the pacific mind of Erasmus, After his return to Paris, Erasmus, rather as he poured it forth in a dissertation added indignant, and to exculpate himself from to his. Adaiga' (printed at Venice during such base suspicion, sent the work, in print, the next year), will hereafter demand our to the archbishop, and added to it a version attention. On the more restless and turbu
lent mind of another reformer, himself not * IIis earlier letters are full of his pecuniary averse to the glorious feats of war, its redifficulties. He was not seldom reduced to a kind volting incongruity with the character of of sturdy literary mendicancy: later in life, by pen- the Vicar of the Prince of Peace wrought sions, presents, dedications, his counsellor's place with more fatal and enduring influence. works), he had a fair income. We cannot enter Read Hutten's vigorous verses In tempora into details.