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and the" Odyssey," of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, of Pindar and Theocritus, of Herodotus and Thucydides, of Plato and Xenophon, and above all of the Greek Testament. The movement thus inaugurated is known as the Renascence, or New Birth. It spread until it became the mark of all well-educated men and women to read, write, and speak Latin, and to know something of Greek. It revolutionized literary style. It hastened the translation of the Scriptures and thus afforded powerful aid to the Reformation. Finally, it broke up the system of mediæval education that prevailed in the universities.
The pioneers of the movement in England were John Colet, William Grocyn, Thomas Linacre, and Thomas More. All of them had much Greek and more Latin. Colet founded St. Paul's School. Linacre wrote a Latin grammar which, revised by William Lily and others, became and still is the “ Eton Latin Grammar.” Sir Thomas More wrote in Latin a book on sociology which remains one of the world's classics. Probably modelled on Plato's “ Republic," it presents the author's idea of an ideal state and is therefore with quaint propriety called “ Utopia,” which means, “No Place.” The teacher and leader of all of these humanists, as they came to be called, was the great Dutch scholar Erasmus, who resided for several years in England. In 1520 one-ninth of all the books sold by a certain Oxford bookseller were from his pen. Before 1545 his “ Enrichiridion," a small religious treatise, had passed through 75 editions; before 1546 his “Colloquia," a Latin book for beginners, had been reprinted no less than 98 times.
The result of all this was a revolution in educational methods and ideals. In his “ Boke of the Governour” (1531), Sir Thomas Elyot (1490–1546) lays down a course of study for a boy who is destined to be a ruler. Up to seven he is to be in charge of a nurse; from seven to fourteen he must learn music, painting, carving, Æsop's
Fables,” Lucian's “Dialogues,” and Homer. Physical training is amply provided for. He is to wrestle, swim, dance, shoot with the crossbow, and play tennis. Football, however, is forbidden, because “there is nothing therein but beastly furie and external violence, whereof procedeth hurte, and consequently rancour and malice do
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remaine with them that be wounded.” The student should contrast this curriculum with that of the preceding century.
That deep dissatisfaction with the corruption of the mediæval church which is foreshadowed by Chaucer's satire and Wickliffe's sermonizing enabled Martin Luther in Germany, 1513, to denounce indulgences and in 1520 to burn a papal bull without alienating popular or princely favor. The result was that great religious movement which is known as the Reformation. In England it culminated
in 1531 in a proclamation which declared Henry VIII the sole head of the English church and in 1539 in the suppression of the abbeys. Among its causes was a new translation of the Bible by William Tyndale.
His life, which was largely devoted to the accomplishment of this great task, was probably quite as full of excitement and danger as that of Kit Carson or Jesse James. He was born in Gloucestershire about 1484, took his M.A. degree at Oxford 1515, became a tutor and preacher at Sodbury, and about 1520, in consequence of his difficulties in reaching the minds and hearts of his parishioners,
decided that a new translation of the Bible was needed.
were multiplied. Meanwhile Tyndale, pursued from place to place, was busy upon the translation of the Old Testament. Finally, in May, 1535, he was seized at Antwerp, and on October 6, 1536, was put to death at Vilvorde. But his work was done. The New Testament was already common in England, and he had finished the “Pentateuch" and "Jonah ” of the Old. Miles Coverdale, afterward Bishop oi Exeter, took up the task where. Tyndale left it. Times had now changed; his work was approved both by Archbishop Cranmer and the king, and in 1540 the Great Bible, as it came to
be called, was finally set up in churches. The translation which was thus completed remains essentially the Bible of to-day.
The effect of the Reformation was in one respect disastrous. In 1539 Henry VIII suppressed the religious houses that had previously been the only seats of learning in the nation. The destruction of books that followed was enormous. Libraries that had been collected through centuries vanished in a moment. Precious manuscripts were used by grocers as wrapping paper. The leaves of the old theologians were blown about by the wind even in the courts of Oxford. Tons of priceless tomes were shipped to the Continent. It is certain that many of the treasures of early English literature thus disappeared forever. The number of students who were graduated from Oxford fell from 108 in 1535 to an average of 57 in Henry's reign and 33 in Edward's. Another class also suffered by the closing of the religious houses. The monasteries had kept their doors open to beggars. Thomas Harmon, who calls himself a "poore gentleman,” tried to supply their place by keeping open house for all sorts of paupers, but gradually discovered that the objects of his charity were mostly professional impostors; analyzed their " depe dissimulation and detestable dealynge ”; and gave his discoveries to the world in "A Caveat or Warning for Common Corsetors, vulgarely called Vagabondes.”
The destruction of the old learning, however, was by no means an unmitigated evil. It was like the ploughing of an old field. The havoc it created was only the prelude to a richer life. The crop that resulted was unequalled in the annals of literature. Before the end of the century England had produced, beside a horde of lesser writers, the prince of all poets and the prince of all philosophers.
Among the earliest poets to feel the new impulses was a clergyman and courtier named John Skelton (1460-1529), who has been called the father of English doggerel. Nobody was safe against his satire, his victims ranging from two of his parishioners who refused to attend church to Cardinal Wolsey, whom he called a “malyncoly mastyf” and “mangye curre dog,” with a“ wolyus hede; wanne, bloo as lede.” He himself describes his verse as "ragged, tattered, and jagged,” yet he was proclaimed poet-laureate at Oxford, became tutor to Henry VIII, was praised by Erasmus, was an honored assistant of William Caxton, and is the author of at least one immortal poem, the following lines to "Maystres Margaret Hussey: ”
Her demenyng As mydsomer flowre,
In everythynge, Jentill as fawcoun
Far, far, passyng On hawke of the towre;
That I can endyght With solace and gladness,
Or suffyce to wryght Moche mirthe and no madnes, Of mirry Margaret, All good and no badnes,
As mydsomer flowre So joyously,
Jentyll as fawcoun So maydenly,
Or hawke of the towre." So womanly,
In Scotland two writers of the period deserve notice. The first, Sir David Lindsay (1490–1555), the personal attendant of James V, was a skilful poet and an ardent reformer. His wit is shown in his “Complaint," in which he asks the king for a loan, which he promises to repay when kirkmen cease to crave dignities, when wives no longer desire sovereignty over their husbands, or when a winter passes without snow, wind, frost, or rain. His serious zeal is seen in his “ Pleasant Satyre of the Thrie Estaites," a play of such impressive dimensions that its representation lasted from 9 A.M. until 6 P.M.
The other writer was John Knox (1505–1572), the leader of the Scottish Reformation and its chief literary exponent. His most picturesque work, his “ First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women," was written because his desire to preach in England and Scotland was thwarted by the two Catholic queens who, in 1558, occupied their thrones. In this book he seeks, by citing the classical writers, the Roman law, the Bible, and the fathers, to prove that“ to promote a woman to beare rule, superiorite, dominion, or empire above any Realme, Nation, or Citie is repugnant to nature, contumelie to God, a thing most contrarious to his reveled will and approved ordinance.” His “ Historie of the Reformation in Scotland has the honor of being the first and one of the best prose works of that nation. Written to justify the reformers, it aroused bitter hatred as well as warm approbation. His foes called him a fanatical incendiary, his friends the light of Scotland. Right or wrong, he was a man—keen, vigorous, fearless. He has one claim