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The Scholemaster

Excerpt from The Scholemaster: Written Between 1563-8, Posthumously Published, First It is a part of the Divine Providence of the World, that the Strong shall influence the Weak: not only on the Battlefield and iu Diplomacy; but also in Learning and Literature. Thus the Nations of Modern Europe have been influenced by the Writings of Greece and Rome: and they have influenced each other, in turn, with their own Power and Beauty in Thought and Expression. Thus, Modern English has been subject in succession to the influence of Classical Literature in the time of Ascham; to the literary fascination of Italy, in the age of Elizabeth; of France, at the Restoration; and of Germany, in more recent times: without at all ceasing in the natural progression of its innate capabilities, for all the fashions and forms which, for a time, it pleased to adopt In like manner, English Literature has allured the German, the Frenchman, and the Italian: thereby restoring benefit for benefit in the commerce and free trade of the Mind.2. The stream of Ancient literature and Cultivation, which, after the fall of Constantinople, advanced from East to West; at length reached our shores in the reign of Henry the Eight. In the planting and engraftment of Classical learning in England at that time, St Johns College, Cambridge, founded on 9 th April xmi had a most distinguished share. Its Master and Fellows whether they adhered to the older or the newer faith strove alike most earnestly to promote the new learning. Thomas Nashe, writing twenty years after Aschatn sdeath somewhat severely on our triutall translators, in his address To the Gentle mien Students, prefixed toR. Greenes Afenahou, 1589: bears honourable testimony to the worthiness of this College. I will propound to your learned imitation, those men of import, that haue laboured with credit in this laudable kinde of Translation; In the forefront of whom, I cannot but place that aged Father Erasmus, that inuested most of our Greeke Writers, in the roabes of the auncient Rontaines in whose traces, Philip Melancthon, Sadolet, Plan tine, and manie other reuerent Germaines insisting, haue reedified the mines of our decayed Libraries, and merueilouslie inriched the Latine tongue with the expence of their toyle. Not long after, their emulation beeing transported into England, euerie priuate Scholler, William Turner, and who not, beganne to vaunt the smattering of Latine, in English Impressions. But amongst others in that age, Sir Thomas Eliots elegance did seuer it selfe from all equalls, although Sir Thomas Moore with his Comicall wit, at that instant was not altogether idle: yet was not Knowledge fullie confirmed in hir Monarchie amongst vs. till that most famous and fortunate Nurse of all learning, Saint Johns in Cambridge, that at that time was as an Vniuersitie within it selfe; shining so farre aboue all other Houses. Halls, and Hospitalls whatsoeuer, that no Colledge in the Towne, was able to compare with the tythe of her Students; hauing (as I haue hearde graue men of credite report) more candles light in it, euerie Winter Morning before fowre of the clocke, than the fowre of clocke bell gaue stroakes; till Shee (I saie) as a pittying Mother, put too her helping hande, and sent from her fruitfull wombe, sufficient Scnollers, both to support her owne weale, as also to supplie all other inferiour foundations detects, and namelie that royall erection of Trinitie Colledge, which the Vniuersitie Orator, in an Epistle to the Duke of Somerset, aptlie teamed Colonia diducta from the Suburbes of Saint Johns. In which extraordinarie conception, vno partu in rempublicam frvdiere, the Exchequer of eloquence Sir Ikon Cheehe, a man of men, supernaturally traded in al tongues, Sir John Mason, Doctor Watson, Redman, Aschame, Grindall, Leuer, Pithington: all which, haue either by their priuate readings, or publique workes, repurged the errors of Artes, expelde from their puntie, and set before out eyes, a mo.
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