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of Italy. Intelligence from England summoned him back to our shores.
In April, 1509, Henry VIII. acceded to the throne. During the preceding year the Prince Henry had addressed a flattering letter to Erasmus with his own hand, in his own Latin, acknowledging one which he had received from Erasmus, 'written with that eloquence which, as well as his erudition, was famous throughout the world. Lord Mountjoy wrote from the Court at Greenwich, urging his friend to return to England; holding out the certain favour of the King, who had done him the unwonted honour of corresponding with him with his own hand; promising him the patronage of Archbishop Warham, who sent him five pounds towards the expense of his journey, and as an earnest of future favours. Erasmus set forth without much delay: he crossed the Rhætian Alps, by Coire, to Constance, the Brisgau, and Strasburg; then down the Rhine to the Low Countries, from whence, after a short rest in Louvain, he crossed to England. He beguiled his time on his journey by meditating his famous satire on the Pope and on the Cardinals, for which in Rome itself, and all the way from Rome, he had found ample food—The Praise of Folly.' He finished it in More's house, who enjoyed the kindred wit, nor as yet took alarm at the bitter sarcasms against the Church of Rome and her Head. It was on this journey from the coast that he saw all the sacred treasures of the church of Canterbury. The stately grandeur of the fabric impressed him with solemn awe; he admired the two lofty towers, with their sonorous bells; he remarked among the books attached to the pillars the spurious Gospel of Nicodemus. He mentions, not without what reads clearly enough like a covert sneer, the immense mass of reliques, bones, skulls, chins, teeth, hands, fingers, arms, which they were forced to adore and to kiss ; but he was frightened (an ominous circumstance) at the profaneness of his companion, Gratian Pullen, a secret Wickliffite, who, notwithstanding the
• See Mountjoy's Letter, epist. x.
presence of the Prior, could not restrain his mockery, handled one relique, and replaced it with a most contemptuous gesture, and instead of a reverential kiss, made a very unseemly noise with his lips. The Prior, from courtesy or prudence, dismissed his guests with a cup of wine. At the neighbouring Hospital of Harbledon, Erasmus duly kissed the shoe of Thomas à Becket, an incident not forgotten in his pleasant • Colloquy on Pilgrimages. Already had he gazed in wonder at the inestimable treasures of gold and of jewels, which the veneration of two centuries had gathered round the tomb of Becket; even Erasmus ventured to hint to himself, that such treasures had been better bestowed on the poor. He was sufficiently versed in Church History to know how immeasurably the sacerdotal power was strengthened in England by the death and saintship of Thomas à Becket. Little did he foresee how soon that power, with the worship of the Saint, should pass away; that sumptuous tomb be plundered, and its wealth scattered abroad, too little, it is to be feared, to the poor. Yet while he contemplated these treasures, these superstitions, and meditated on the character of Becket and of his worship, he seems to have bad some prophetic foresight of the religious troubles of England.
In London Erasmus took up his lodging in the Augustinian convent, with Bernard Andreas, the tutor of Prince Arthur, and Royal Historiographer, in which character he wrote his Life of Henry VII. A quarrel arose about the expenses of the great scholar's maintenance, which was set at rest by the liberality of Lord Mountjoy. King Henry, however, whether too busy on his accession to the throne, and too much absorbed in European politics, hardly appears to have sustained the promise of welcome and patronage to the stranger whom he had allured into his realm: we hear but little of the royal munificence. Erasmus ever wrote with the highest respect of Henry; propitiated him by dedications, in one of which he dexterously reminded him of their early intimacy; he afterwards vindicated the King's authorship of the famous answer to Luther; and Henry was certainly jealous of the preference, shown by Erasmus in his later life, of the Imperial patronage. King Henry appreciated Erasmus more highly when he had lost the fame which he might have conferred upon his realm by his denizenship. The great Cardinal, of whose splendid foundations at Oxford Erasmus writes with honest admiration, condescended to make noble promises to Erasmus, first of a canonry at Tournay (that see was one of Wolsey's countless commendams), which, as his friend Lord Mountjoy was governor of the city, would have been peculiarly acceptableafterwards of nothing less than a bishopric. But his hopes from Wolsey turned out, in the words of his friend Ammonius, dreams. He more than once betrays some bitterness towards a patron, whose patronage was only in large words, and contemplated his fall, at least with equanimity. At this period Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, seems to have been his most active and zealous advocate. Even Fisher was an avowed friend of the new learning; as Chancellor of Cambridge it was his deliberate design to emancipate the University from the trammels of scholasticism : himself, at an advanced age, had studied Greek. Through his influence Erasmus, who, as we have seen, had visited Cambridge in 1506, was appointed first Margaret Professor of Divinity, afterwards Professor of Greek. He had
Ho appears to have seen the reliques of Thomas å Becket on another occasion, in company with Colet. “I myself saw, when they displayed a torn rag with which he is said to have wiped his nose, the Abbot and other standers-by fall on their knees and lift up their hands in adoration. To Colet, for he was with me, this appeared intolerable ; to me these things seemed rather to be borne with, till they could be corrected without tumult.' — Erasmi Modus Orandi, Oper. v. p. 933. A critic of Jortin's Life (Additions, ii. p. 706), to whom Jortin seems inclined to bow, supposes only one visit, and that Gratian Pullen was Colet; but the Wickliffism and rather coarse behaviour seom out of character with that derout man.
8 This, the only contemporary biography of Henry VII., has appeared, exceedingly well editod, among the publications for which we are indebted to the Master of the Rolls.
• His Epistles to Henry VIII. and to Wolsey are couched in a kind of respectful familiarity. The scholar is doing honour even to the haughty King, as well as receiving it, and to his alter ego,' as Erasmus describes Wolsey.
lodgings in Queen's College; in the time of Knight his rooms were still shown; a walk is even now called by his name. His scholars were at first but few, his emoluments small, and he did not scruple to express his disappointment at Cambridge. He had spent sixty nobles, and got barely one from his lectures. His friends were obliged to solicit aid, chiefly from Fox, Bishop of Winchester, and Tunstall of Durham. He became, however, better reconciled to Cambridge, and preferred it, but for the society of two or three dear friends, probably Mountjoy, no doubt More and Colet, to London. After two or three years the Archbishop Warham took him by the hand (his dedications of his translated Greek plays had not been wasted on the accomplished and liberal prelate), and from that time Warham's liberality was free and unintermitting, and the gratitude of Erasmus in due proportion. There are several long passages in which, during the life and after the death of Warham, he describes his character with equal eloquence and truth. Warham presented him to the living of Aldington, near Ashford, in Kent, to which he was collated March 22, 1511. Before the end of the year he resigned it, from scruples which did him honour : “He could not pretend to feed a flock of whose language he was ignorant. Erasmus disdained English, as he did all modern languages. The Archbishop accepted his resignation, assigning him a pension on the living. Erasmus still remonstrated, but the Archbishop argued that Erasmus was so much more usefully employed in instructing preachers than in preaching himself to a small country congregation, that he had a right to remuneration from the Church. To the 201. from the living the Archbishop added another 201. Knight justly mentions, as a very curious circumstance, that Aldington was the parish in which, some years after, appeared the Holy
See especially the preface to the 3rd edition of Jerome, and the note to 1 Thess. ii. 7, quoted at length by Jortin, i. 612, Epist. 922. 1234:- The contrast of the pious, enlightened, and unworldly Warham with Wolsey is very striking. Compare the preferments and possessions of Wolsey on his fall with Warham's dying demand of his steward, what money he had. “Thirty pounds;" “ Satis viatici ad coelum"_" Enough to carry me to Heaven,"
Nun of Kent, whose history is so admirably told by Mr. Froude. The successor of Erasmus, Robert Master, was, if not the author, deeply implicated in that for a time successful, but in the end most fatal, imposture. Even Warham, to say nothing of More and Fisher, listened with too greedy or too credulous ears to this monstrous tale.
During the whole of this visit, his longest sojourn in England, his intimacy increased with the two Englishmen who obtained the strongest hold on his admiration and affections—More and Colet. The genial playfulness of More, his as yet liberal views on the superstitions and abuses of the Church, and as yet unquestioned tolerance, qualified him beyond all men to enjoy the quiet satire, the accomplishments, the endless learning of Erasmus. To Colet he was bound by no less powerful sympathies; the love of polite letters, the desire of giving a more liberal and elegant tone to education, the aversion to scholastic teaching, the avowed determination to supersede St. Thomas and Duns Scotus by lessons and sermons directly drawn from St. Paul and the Gospels, the contempt for much of the dominant superstition. Whatever made Colet an object of suspicion and jealousy, of actual prosecution as a heretic by Fitzjames, Bishop of London, against which he was protected by the more enlightened Warham—all, in short, which justified to him and may justify to the latest posterity the elaborate, most eloquent, and affectionate character which he drew of the Dean of St. Paul's, with Vitrarius, the Franciscan, his two model Christians—all conspired to unite the two scholars in the most uninterrupted friendship. Erasmus did great service to Colet's school at St. Paul's; that most remarkable instance of a foundation whose statutes were conceived with a prophetic liberality, which left the election of the students and the course of studies absolutely free, with the avowed design that there should be alterations with the change of times and circumstances. He composed hymns and prayers to the Child Jesus, and grammatical works, the · De Copiâ Verborum,' for the institution of his friend. Erasmus remained in England