Colloquies of Erasmus, Volume I.
by Erasmus
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The Colloquies of Erasmus.


Edited, with Notes, by the Rev. E. Johnson, M.A.


LONDON: 1878.



Prefatory Note Dedication Admonitory Note To the Divines of Louvain Copy of Bailey's Title Bailey's Preface Life of Erasmus Courtesy in Saluting Family Discourse Of Rash Vows Of Benefice-Hunters Of a Soldier's Life The Commands of a Master The School-master's Admonitions Of Various Plays The Child's Piety The Art of Hunting Scholastic Studies The Profane Feast The Religious Treat The Apotheosis of Capnio A Lover and Maiden The Virgin Averse to Matrimony The Penitent Virgin The Uneasy Wife The Soldier and Carthusian Philetymus and Pseudocheus The Shipwreck Diversoria Young Man and Harlot The Poetical Feast An Enquiry concerning Faith The Old Mens Dialogue The Franciscans, [Greek: Ptochoplousioi], or Rich Beggars The Abbot and Learned Woman The Epithalamium of Petrus AEgidius The Exorcism or Apparition The Alchymist The Horse-Cheat The Beggars' Dialogue The Fabulous Feast The Lying-in Woman

Prefatory Note.

The present English version of Erasmus' Colloquies is a reprint of the translation of N. Bailey, the compiler of a well-known Dictionary. In his Preface Bailey says, "I have labour'd to give such a Translation as might in the general, be capable of being compar'd with the Original, endeavouring to avoid running into a paraphrase: but keeping as close to the original as I could, without Latinizing and deviating from the English Idiom, and so depriving the English reader of that pleasure that Erasmus so plentifully entertains his reader with in Latin."

This is a modest and fair account of Bailey's work. The chief peculiarity of his version is its reproduction of the idiomatic and proverbial Latinisms, and generally of the classical phrases and allusions in which Erasmus abounds, in corresponding or analogous English forms. Bailey had acquired, perhaps from his lexicographical studies, a great command of homely and colloquial English; the words and phrases by which he frequently represents rather than construes Erasmus' text have perhaps in many instances not less piquancy than the original. Thus his translation, as a piece of racy English, has a certain independent value of its own, and may be read with interest even by those who are familiar with the original.

In preparing this volume for the press, Bailey's text has been carefully revised, and clerical errors have been corrected, but the liberty has not been taken of altering his language, even to the extent of removing the coarsenesses of expression which disfigure the book and in which he exaggerates the plain speaking of the original. Literary feeling is jealous, no doubt justly, on general grounds, of expurgations.

Further, throughout the greater part of the work, the translation has been closely compared with the Latin original. Occasional inaccuracies on Bailey's part have been pointed out in the Appendix of Notes at the end of the volume. The literal sense of the original, sometimes its language, has in many of these notes been given, with the view of increasing the interest of perusal to the general reader. The remainder of the notes are, like the contents of the volume, of a miscellaneous character: philological, antiquarian, historical. They do not, of course, profess to supply an exhaustive commentary; but are designed to afford elucidations and illustrations of the text that may be intelligible and instructive to the English reader, and possibly to some extent to the scholar.

The Colloquies of Erasmus form a rich quarry of intellectual material, from which each student will extract that which he regards to be of peculiar value. The linguist, the antiquary, the observer of life and manners, the historian, the moralist, the theologian may all find themselves attracted to these pages. It is hoped that there are many who at the present time will welcome the republication, in English, of a book which not only produced so great a sensation in Europe on its appearance, but may be said to have had something to do with the making of history.

It is unnecessary to do more than refer to the fact that the Editor undertook his task under certain inconveniences, and limitations as to space and time, which have prevented him from satisfying his own idea of what the book should be. He trusts it will not be found wanting in accuracy, however falling short of completeness.

The Latin text used has been that of P. Scriver's edition, printed by the Elzevirs. 1643. A translation of Erasmus' dedication to young Froben has been added; also of several pieces from the Coronis Apologetica, not given by Bailey, which contain matters of interest bearing upon the history or contents of the book.





A Boy of Excellent Promise: Greeting.

The Book dedicated to you has surpassed my expectation, my dearest Erasmius: it will be your part to take care that you do not disappoint my expectation. Our studious youth are so in love with the book, seize upon it so eagerly, handle it so constantly, that your father has had repeatedly to print it, and I to enrich it with new additions. You might say it too was an [Greek: herasmion], the delight of the Muses, who foster sacred things. It will be the more your endeavour that you also may be what you are called, that is, that you may be, by learning and probity of manners, "most endeared" to all good men. It were deep cause for shame, if, while this book has rendered so many both better Latin scholars and better men, you should so act that the same use and profit should not return to yourself, which by your means has come to all. And since there are so many young fellows, who thank you for the sake of the Colloquies, would it not be justly thought absurd, if through your fault the fact should seem that you could not thank me on the same account? The little book has increased to the fair size of a volume. You must also endeavour, in proportion as your age increases, to improve in sound learning and integrity of manners. No ordinary hopes are placed upon you: it is indispensable that you should answer to them; it would be glorious for you to surpass them; disappoint them you surely cannot without the greatest disgrace. Nor do I say this, because your course thus far gives me occasion for regret, but by way of spurring the runner, that you may run more nimbly; especially since you have arrived at an age, than which none happier occurs in the course of life for imbibing the seeds of letters and of piety. Act then in such a way, that these Colloquies may be truly called yours.

The Lord Jesus keep the present season of your life pure from all pollutions, and ever lead you on to better things! Farewell.

BASIL, August 1st., 1524.


A Book of Colloquies had appeared, the material of which was collected partly from domestic talks, partly from my papers; but with a mixture of certain trivialities, not only without sense, but also in bad Latin,—perfect solecisms. This trash was received with wonderful applause; for in these matters too Fortune has her sport. I was compelled therefore to lay hands on these trumperies. At length, having applied somewhat greater care, I added considerable matter, so that the book might be of fair size, and in fact might appear worthy even of the honour of being dedicated to John Erasmius, son of Froben, a boy then six years old, but of extraordinary natural ability. This was done in the year 1522. But the nature of this work is such, that it receives addition as often as it is revised. Accordingly I frequently made an addition for the sake of the studious, and of John Froben; but so tempered the subject-matters, that besides the pleasure of reading, and their use in polishing the style, they might also contain that which would conduce to the formation of character. Even while the book I have referred to contained nothing but mere rubbish, it was read with wonderful favour by all. But when it had gained a richer utility, it could not escape [Greek: ton sykophanton degmata]. A certain divine of Louvain, frightfully blear of eye, but still more of mind, saw in it four heretical passages. There was also another incident connected with this work worth relating. It was lately printed at Paris with certain passages corrected, that is to say, corrupted, which appeared to attack monks, vows, pilgrimages, indulgences, and other things of that kind which, if held in great esteem among the people, would be a source of more plentiful profit to gentlemen of that order. But he did this so stupidly, so clumsily, that you would swear he had been some street buffoon: although the author of so silly a piece is said to be a certain divine of the Dominican order, by nation a Saxon. Of what avail is it to add his name and surname, which he himself does not desire to have suppressed? A monster like him knows not what shame is; he would rather look for praise from his villany. This rogue added a new Preface in my name, in which he represented three men sweating at the instruction of one boy: Capito, who taught him Hebrew, Beatus Greek, and me, Latin. He represents me as inferior to each of the others alike in learning and in piety; intimating that there is in the Colloquies a sprinkling of certain matters which savour of Luther's dogmas. And here I know that some will chuckle, when they read that Capito is favoured by such a hater of Luther with the designation of an excellent and most accomplished man. These and many things of the like kind he represents me as saying, taking the pattern of his effrontery from a letter of Jerome, who complains that his rivals had circulated a forged letter under his name amongst a synod of bishops in Africa; in which he was made to confess that, deceived by certain Jews, he had falsely translated the Old Testament from the Hebrew. And they would have succeeded in persuading the bishops that the letter was Jerome's, had they been able in any tolerable degree, to imitate Jerome's style. Although Jerome speaks of this deed as one of extreme and incurable roguery, our Phormio takes peculiar delight in this, which is more rascally than any notorious book. But his malicious will was wanting in power to carry out what he had intended. He could not come up to Erasmus' style, unpolished though it be: for he thus closes his flowery preface: Thus age has admonished, piety has bidden me, while life is still spared in my burdensome age, to cleanse my writings, lest those who follow my mournful funeral should transcribe my departed soul!

_Such being the man's style throughout, he has nevertheless not shrunk from interweaving his flowers with my crowns; either pleasing himself in a most senseless manner, or having a very ill opinion of the judgment of divines. For these things were composed for their benefit, all of whom he supposes to be such blockheads that they will not instantly detect the patch-work he has so awkwardly sewn together. So abjectly does he everywhere flatter France, Paris, the theologians, the Sorbonne, the Colleges, no beggar could be more cringing. Accordingly, if anything uncomplimentary seems to be said against the French, he transfers it to the British; or against Paris, he turns it off to London. He added some odious sayings as if coming from me, with the view of stirring up hatred against me amongst those by whom he is grieved to know me beloved. It is needless to dwell upon the matter. Throughout he curtails, makes additions, alterations after his fashion, like a sow smeared with mud, rolling herself in a strange garden, bespattering, disturbing, rooting up everything. Meanwhile, he does not perceive that the points made by me are quite lost. For example, when to one who says_, 'From a Dutchman you are turned into a Gaul,'[A] _the answer is made_, 'What? was I a Capon then, when I went hence?': _he alters_ 'From a Dutchman you are turned into a Briton. What? was I a Saxon, then, when I went hence?' _Again, when the same speaker had said_, 'Your garb shows that you are changed from a Batavian into a Gaul,' _he puts_ 'Briton' _for_ 'Gaul'; _and when the speaker had replied_, 'I had rather that metamorphosis, than into a Hen,' _alluding to_ 'Cock:' _he changed_ 'Hen' _into_ 'Bohemian.' _Presently, when there is a joke_, 'that he pronounces Latin in French style,' _he changes_ 'French' _into_ 'British,' _and yet allows the following to stand_, 'Then you will never make good verses, because you have lost your quantities'; _and this does not apply to the British. Again, when my text reads_, 'What has happened to the Gauls' _(cocks)_ 'that they should wage war with the Eagle?' _he thus spoils the joke_, 'What has happened to the pards, that they should go to war with the lilies? _as if lilies were in the habit of going forth to war. Occasionally he does not perceive that what follows his alterations does not hang together with them. As in the very passage I had written_, 'Is Paris free from the plague?' _he alters_, 'Is London free[B] from the plague?' _Again, in another place, where one says_, 'Why are we afraid to cut up this capon?' _he changes_ 'capon' _into_ 'hare'; _yet makes no alteration in what follows_, 'Do you prefer wing or leg?' _Forsooth, although he so kindly favours the Dominican interest that he desired to sit among the famous Commissaries: nevertheless he bears with equal mind a cruel attack on Scotus. For he made no change in what one says in my text_, 'I would sooner let the whole of Scotus perish than the books of one Cicero.' _But as these things are full of folly, so very many of the contents bear an equal malice joined to folly. A speaker in my text rallies his comrade, who, although of abandoned life, nevertheless puts faith in indulgentiary bulls. My Corrector makes the former confess that he, along with his master Luther, was of opinion that the Pope's indulgences were of no value; presently he represents the same speaker as recanting and professing penitence for his error. And these he wants to appear my corrections. O wondrous Atlases of faith! This is just as if one should feign, by means of morsels dipped in blood, a wound in the human body, and presently, by removing what he had supplied, should cure the wound. In my text a boy says_, 'that the confession which is made to God is the best;' _he made a correction, asserting_ 'that the confession which is made to the priest is the best.' _Thus did he take care for imperilled confession. I have referred to this one matter for the sake of example, although he frequently indulges in tricks of this kind. And these answer to the palinode (recantation) which he promises in my name in his forged preface. As if it were any man's business to sing a palinode for another's error; or as if anything that is said in that work of mine under any character whatever, were my own opinion. For it does not at all trouble me, that he represents a man not yet sixty, as burdened with old age. Formerly, it was a capital offence to publish anything under another man's name; now, to scatter rascalities of this kind amongst the public, under the pretended name of the very man who is slandered, is the sport of divines. For he wishes to appear a divine when his matter cries out that he does not grasp a straw of theological science. I have no doubt but that yonder thief imposed with his lies upon his starved printer; for I do not think there is a man so mad as to be willing knowingly to print such ignorant trash. I ceased to wonder at the incorrigible effrontery of the fellow, after I learnt that he was a chick who once upon a time fell out of a nest at Berne, entirely [Greek: hek kakistou korakost kakiston hoon]. This I am astonished at, if the report is true: that there are among the Parisian divines those who pride themselves on having at length secured a man who by the thunderbolt of his eloquence is to break asunder the whole party of Luther and restore the church to its pristine tranquility. For he wrote also against Luther as I hear. And then the divines complain that they are slandered by me, who aid their studies in so many night-watches; while they themselves willingly embrace monsters of this description, who bring more dishonour to the order of divines and even of monks, than any foe, however foul-mouthed, can do. He who has audacity for such an act as this, will not hesitate to employ fire or poison. And these things are printed at Paris, where it is unlawful to print even the Gospel, unless approved by the opinion of the faculty.

This last work of the Colloquies, with the addition of an appendix, is issued in the month of September, 1524._

[Footnote A: Gallus: meaning also a Cock.]

[Footnote B: Immunis instead of immune agreeing with Londinum.]

* * * * *

From a letter of Erasmus dated 5th Oct. 1532, we gather some further particulars about the obnoxious person above referred to. His name was Lambert Campester. Subsequently to his exploit at Paris in printing a garbled edition of the Colloquies, he "fled to Leyden; and pretending to be a great friend of Erasmus, found a patron, from whom having soon stolen 300 crowns, fled, was taken in his flight amongst some girls, and would have been nailed to a cross, had not his sacred Dominican cowl saved him. He, I say, many other offences and crimes having been proved against him, is at length in a certain town of Germany, called, I think, Zorst, in the Duchy of Juliers,—his cowl thrown aside, teaching the Gospel, that is, mere sedition. The Duke begged them to turn the fellow out. They answered that they could not do without their preacher. And this sort of plague spreads from day to day."


His dearly beloved brethren in the Lord, greeting.

A matter has been brought to my knowledge, not only by rumour, but by the letters of trustworthy friends, expressly stating in what words, in what place, a calumny was directed against me in our midst, through the agency of a well-known person, who is ever true to himself; whose very character and former doings lead one to assume as ascertained fact what in another would have been but probable. Accordingly, I thought I ought to make no concealment of the matter; especially from you, whose part it was to restrain the unbridled impudence of the fellow, if not for my sake, at all events for that of your Order.

He boasts and vociferates that in the book of Colloquies there are four passages more than heretical: concerning the Eating of meats and Fasting, concerning Indulgences, and concerning Vows, Although such be his bold and impudent assertion, whoever reads the book in its entirety will find the facts to be otherwise. If, however, leisure be wanting for the reading of trifles of this description, I will briefly lay the matter open. But before I approach it, I think well to make three prefatory remarks.

First, in this matter contempt of the Emperor's edict[C] cannot be laid to my charge. For I understand it was published May 6th, 1522, whereas this book was printed long before: and that at Basle, where no Imperial edict had up to the time been made known, whether publicly or privately.

[Footnote C: Edict of the Emperor Charles V.: 1523.]

Secondly, although in that book I do not teach dogmas of Faith, but formulae for speaking Latin; yet there are matters intermixed by the way, which conduce to good manners. Now if, when a theme has been previously written down in German or French, a master should teach his boys to render the sense in Latin thus: Utinam nihil edant praeter allia, qui nobis hos dies pisculentos invexerunt. ("Would they might eat naught but garlic, who imposed these fish-days upon us.") Or this: Utinam inedia pereant, qui liberos homines adigunt ac jejunandi necessitatem. ("Would they might starve to death, who force the necessity of fasting on free men.") Or this: Digni sunt ut fumo pereant qui nobis Dispensationum ad Indulgentiarum fumos tam care vendunt. ("They deserve to be stifled to death who sell us the smokes (pretences) of dispensations and indulgences at so dear a rate.") Or this: Utinam vere castrentur, qui nolentes arcent a matrimonio. ("Would they might indeed be made eunuchs of, who keep people from marrying, against their will")—I ask, whether he should be forced to defend himself, for having taught how to turn a sentence, though of bad meaning, into good Latin words? I think there is no one so unjust, as to deem this just.

Thirdly, I had in the first instance to take care what sort of person it should be to whom I ascribe the speech in the dialogue. For I do not there represent a divine preaching, but good fellows having a gossip together. Now if any one is so unfair as to refuse to concede me the quality of the person represented, he ought, by the same reasoning, to lay it to my charge, that there one Augustine (I think) disparages the Stoics' principle of the honestum, and prefers the sect of the Epicureans, who placed the highest good in pleasure. He may also bring it against me, that in that passage a soldier, amongst many things which he speaks about in true soldier-fashion, says that he will look for a priest to confess to, who shall have as little of good as possible about him. The same objector would, I imagine, bring it up against me, were I to ascribe to Arius in a dialogue a discourse at variance with the Church. If such charges against me would be absurd, why in other matters should not regard be had to the quality of the person speaking? Unless perchance, were I to represent a Turk speaking, they should decide to lay at my door whatever he might say.

With this preface, I will make a few general remarks on the passages criticised by the person to whom I refer. In the first passage, a boy of sixteen years says that he confesses only sins that are unquestionably capital, or gravely suspected; while the Lutherans teach, as I understand, that it is not necessary to confess all capital offences. Thus the very facts show, that this boy's speech is in great disagreement with the dogma which you condemn. Presently, the same boy being asked, whether it be sufficient to confess to Christ himself, answers that it will satisfy his mind, if the fathers of the Church were of the same opinion. From this my critic argues, not with dialectic art, but with rascally cunning, that I suggest that this Confession which we now practise was not instituted by Christ, but by the leaders of the Church. Such an inference might appear sound, were not Christ one of the Primates of the Church, since according to Peter's saying He is Chief Shepherd, and according to the word of the Gospel, Good Shepherd. Therefore he who speaks of princes of the Church, does not exclude Christ, but includes Him along with the Apostles, and the successors of the Apostles, in the same manner as he who names the principal members of the body does not exclude the head. But if any one shall deem this reply to savour of artifice: well now, let us grant that the boy was thinking of pure men, heads of the Church: is it then not enough for the boy that he follows in the matter of confession their authority, even although he is not assured whether the Popes could ordain this on their own authority, or handed it down to us from the ordinance of Christ? For he has a mind to obey, in whatever way they have handed it down. I am not even myself fully convinced as yet, that the Church defined the present practice of Confession to be of Christ's ordinance. For there are very many arguments, to me in fact insoluble, which persuade to the contrary. Nevertheless, I entirely submit this feeling of my own to the judgment of the Church. Gladly will I follow it, so soon as on my watch, for certainty I shall have heard its clear voice. Nay, had Leo's Bull given the fullest expression of this doctrine, and any one should either be ignorant of it, or should have forgotten it, it would meanwhile suffice (I imagine) to obey in this matter the authority of the Church, with a disposition of obedience, should the point be established. Nor in truth can it be rightly inferred, This Confession is of human ordinance, therefore Christ is not its Author. The Apostles laid down the discipline of the Church, without doubt from Christ's ordinances: they ordained Baptism, they ordained Bishops, &c., but by the authority of Christ. And yet it cannot be denied, that many particulars of this Confession depend on the appointment of the Pontiffs, viz., that we confess once a year, at Easter, to this or that priest; that any priest absolves us from any trespasses whatever. Hence I judge it to be clear how manifest is the calumny in what relates to Confession.

Further, no mention is there made of fasting, to which the Gospel and the Apostolic epistles exhort us, but concerning the choice of foods, which Christ openly sets at naught in the Gospel, and the Pauline epistles not seldom condemn; especially that which is Jewish and superstitious. Some one will say, this is to accuse the Roman Pontiff who teaches that which the Apostle condemns. What the Gospel teaches, is perfectly plain. The Pontiff himself must declare with what intention he commands what the Gospel does not require. Yet no one there says—what I know not whether Luther teaches—that the constitutions of the Pontiffs do not render us liable to guilt, unless there has been contempt besides. In fact, he who speaks in that passage grants that the Pope may appoint an observance; he simply enquires, whether this were the intention of the Pope, to bind all equally to abstinence from meats, so that one who should partake would be liable to hell-fire, even although no perverse contempt should be committed. And he who says this in the Colloquies, adds that he hates fishes not otherwise than he does a serpent. Now, there are some so affected that fish is poison to them, just as there are found those who in like manner shrink from wine. If one who is thus affected with regard to fishes, should be forbidden to feed on flesh and milk-food, will he not be hardly treated? Is it possible that any man can desire him to be exposed to the pains of hell, if for the necessity of his body he should live on flesh? If any constitution of Popes and Bishops involves liability to the punishment of hell, the condition of Christians is hard indeed. If some impose the liability, others not; no one will better declare his intention than the Pope himself. And it would conduce to the peace of consciences to have it declared. What if some Pope should decree that priests should go girt; would it be probable that he declared this with the intention that if one because of renal suffering should lay aside the girdle, he should be liable to hell? I think not. St. Gregory laid down, That if any one had had intercourse with his wife by night, he should abstain the next day from entering church: in this case, supposing that a man, concealing the fact of intercourse having taken place, should have gone to church for no other reason than that he might hear the preaching of the Gospel, would he be liable to hell? I do not think the holiest man could be so harsh. If a man with a sick wife should live on meat, because otherwise she could not be provoked to eat, and her health required food, surely the Pope would not on that account determine him to be liable to hell! This matter is simply made a subject of enquiry in the passage referred to, and no positive statement is made. And certainly before the Imperial Edict, men were at liberty to enquire concerning these matters.

In point of fact, neither in that place nor elsewhere do I absolutely condemn the Indulgences of the Popes, although hitherto more than sufficient indulgence has been shown them. It is simply that a speaker ridicules his comrade, who, although in other respects the most frivolous of triflers (for so he is depicted), yet believed that by the protection of a Bull he would get safely to heaven. So far from thinking this to be heretical, I should imagine there was no holier duty than to warn the people not to put their trust in Bulls, unless they study to change their life and correct their evil desires.

But Vows are ridiculed in that passage. Yes, they are ridiculed, and those (of whom there is a vast multitude) are admonished, who, leaving wife and children at home, under a vow made in their cups, run off along with a few pot-companions to Rome, Compostella, or Jerusalem. But, as manners now are, I think it a holier work to dissuade men altogether from such Vows than to urge to the making of them.

These, forsooth, are the execrable heresies which yonder Lynceus descries in the Puerile Colloquy. I wonder why he does not also give my Catunculus and the Publian mimes[D] a dusting. Who does not perceive that these attacks proceed from some private grudge? Yet in nothing have I done him an injury, except that I have favoured good literature, which he hates more than sin; and knows not why. Meantime he boasts that he too has a weapon, by which he may take his revenge. If a man at a feast calls him Choroebus or a drunkard, he in his turn will in the pulpit cry heretic, or forger, or schismatic upon him. I believe, if the cook were to set burnt meat on the dinner-table, he would next day bawl out in the course of his sermon that she was suspected of heresy. Nor is he ashamed, nor does he retreat, though so often caught, by the very facts, in manifest falsehood.

[Footnote D: Publius Syrus (B.C. 45), a writer of mimes, or familiar prose dramas. A collection of apophthegms from his works is said to have been used as a school-book in Jerome's days.]

In the first place what a foolish, what a mad blather he made against my revised New Testament! Next, what could be more like madness than that remark which he threw out against J. Faber and myself, when the very facts bespoke that he did not understand what agreement there was between me and Faber, or what was the subject of controversy! What more shameless than his fixing a charge of forgery and heresy in the course of a public address on me, because I rendered according to the Greek: Omnes quidem non resurgemus, sed omnes immutabimur ("We shall not all rise again, but we shall all be changed.") What more like a raging madman, then his warning the people at Mechlin, in a public address, to beware of the heresy of Luther and Erasmus! Why should I now recall the ravings that he belches out rather than utters in the midst of his high feasting as often as his zeal for the house of the Lord is inflamed from his cups? He lately said in Holland, that I was set down for a forger among the divines of Louvain. (One who was present and heard it wrote to me.) When asked, Why? Because, says he, he so often corrects the New Testament! What a dolt of a tongue! Jerome so often corrected the Psalter: is he therefore a forger? In short if he is a forger, who either rashly or from ignorance translates anything otherwise than it should be, he was a forger, whose translation we use at the present day in the Church. But what good does this sort of behavior do him? All men laugh at him as a Morychus,[E] shun him as a crackbrain,—get out of his way as a peevish fellow you can do nothing with. Nor can they think ill of him, of whom he says such spiteful things. And though he displeases all, himself alone he cannot displease.

[Footnote E: Lit.: One stained or smeared: an epithet of Bacchus (Dionysos) in Sicily, "smeared with wine-lees." ([Greek: morysso].)]

This doubtless he holds to be an Imperial edict, that he with raging insolence of tongue should rave at whomsoever he pleases. Thus does this wise and weighty man support the interests of the orthodox faith. This is not a zeal of God, to hurt the harmless; but it is a rage of the devil. The Jewish zeal of Phinehas was once extolled, but not that it might pass as a pattern with Christians. And yet Phinehas openly slew impious persons. To your colleague whatever he hates is Lutheran and heretical. In the same way, I suppose, he will call small-beer, flat wine, and tasteless broth, Lutheran. And the Greek tongue, which is his unique aversion,—I suppose for this reason, that the Apostles dignified it with so great an honour as to write in no other,—will be called Lutheran. Poetic art, for he hates this too, being fonder of the potatic, will be Lutheran.

He complains that his authority is lessened by our means, and that he is made a laughing-stock in my writings. The fact is, he offers himself as an object of ridicule to all men of education and sense; and this without end. I repel slander. But if learned and good men think ill of a man who directs a slander at one who has not deserved it, which is it fair to consider the accountable person, he who rightly repels what he ought not to acknowledge, or he who injuriously sets it afoot? If a man were to be laughed at for saying that asses in Brabant have wings, would he not himself make the laughing-matter? He cries out that the whole of Luther is in my books, that on all sides they swarm with heretical errors. But when those who read my writings find nothing of the kind, even if ignorant of dialectics, they readily infer the true conclusion. He has authority from the Emperor. Let him therefore conduct himself in the spirit of the Emperor, who would rather that wrong-doers should be cured than punished, and certainly does not desire that the harmless should be injured. He has entrusted this function to a man he did not know; when he shall have ascertained the fellow's character, he will doubtless recall what he has entrusted. It is not the disposition of the mildest of Emperors, nor of the most upright of Popes, that those who spend their night-watches in studying how to adorn and assist the State, should be exposed to the spite of such men; even although there were some human infirmity in the case. So far are they from desiring to estrange good and honest men, and force them to take a different side.

These matters are more your concern than mine. For this man's manners invite much discredit upon your order, while the mass of the people judge of you all by this one sample. Unjustly so, I admit; but so the world wags. And the harshness of your brother estranges no small number from the study of divinity. I know that the man is utterly disliked by you, with the exception of two or three boon companions, and one old hand, who abuses the man's folly in the interests of his own lusts. But all would definitely understand that you disapprove of him, if, since he cannot be restrained, you were to expel him from your table. I well know such a step will be very difficult to take. For men of his stamp are reluctantly torn away from the smell of stated, sumptuous, and free repasts. Nevertheless this concerns the honour of your Order, towards which I have good reason to be well-disposed. Farewell.

Supposed to have been written in 1531.


Familiar Colloquies


Desiderius Erasmus,



Concerning Men, Manners, and Things, translated into English.

* * * * *


* * * * *

Unlike in Method, with conceal'd Design, Did crafty Horace his low Numbers join; And, with a sly insinuating Grace, Laugh'd at his Friend, and look'd him in the Face: Would raise a Blush, when secret Vice he found; And tickled, while he gently prob'd the Wound: With seeming Innocence the Crowd beguil'd; But made the desperate Passes, when he smil'd.

Persius Sat. I. Dryden.

* * * * *




There are two Things I would take some Notice of: The first relates to my Author, and the second to myself, or the Reasons why I have attempted this Translation of him. And in speaking of the first, I presume I shall save myself much of what might be said as to the second. Tho' Erasmus is so well known, especially to those versed in the Latin Tongue, that there seems to be but little Occasion to say any Thing in his Commendation; yet since I have taken upon me to make him an English-man, give me Leave to say, that in my Opinion, he as well deserves this Naturalization, as any modern Foreigner whose Works are in Latin, as well for the Usefulness of the Matter of his Colloquies, as the Pleasantness of Style, and Elegancy of the Latin.

_They are under an egregious Mistake, who think there is nothing to be found in them, but Things that savour of Puerility, written indeed ingeniously, and in elegant_ Latin. _For this Book contains, besides those, Things of a far greater Concern; and indeed, there is scarce any Thing wanting in them, fit to be taught to a_ Christian _Youth design'd for liberal Studies.

The Principles of Faith are not only plainly and clearly laid down, but establish'd upon their own firm and genuine Basis. The Rules of Piety, Justice, Charity, Purity, Meekness, Brotherly Concord, the Subjection due to Superiors, are so treated of, that, in a Word, scarce any Thing is omitted that belongs to a Man, a Subject, or a Christian.

Neither are those Things omitted, which respect a Medium of Life, by which every one may chuse out safely what Ratio of Life he has most Mind to, and by which he may be taught, not only Civility and Courtesy, but also may know how to behave himself in the World, so as to gain himself the good Will of many, and, a good Name among all, and may be able to discern the Follies and Childishnesses of Fools, and the Frauds and Villanies of Knaves, so as to guard against 'em all.

And neither are there wanting Sketches, and that ample ones too, of Poetical Story, or Pagan Theology, universal History, sacred and profane, Poetry, Criticism, Logick, Natural and Moral Philosophy, Oeconomics and Politics; to which are added, a good Number of Proverbs and Apothegms used by the most celebrated of the Antients.

But there is one Thing in an especial Manner, that should recommend this Book to all Protestants in general, and cause them to recommend it to be read by their Children, that there is no Book fitter for them to read, which does in so delightful and instructing a Manner utterly overthrow almost all the Popish Opinions and Superstitions, and erect in their Stead, a Superstructure of Opinions that are purely Protestant.

And notwithstanding whatsoever Erasmus hath said in his Apology concerning the Utility of his Colloquies, that he could say with Modesty, according to his wonted Dexterity, to temper, and alleviate the Bitterness of the Wormwood that he gave the Papists to drink in the Colloquies, it is past a Question, that he lays down a great many Things agreeable to the Protestant Hypothesis, so that (if you except Transubstantiation) he reprehends, explodes and derides almost all the Popish Opinions, Superstitions and Customs.

Therefore if this golden Book be read with Attention, I doubt not but it will plainly appear, that the Scripture was in all Things preferr'd by the Author before them all; and that he accounted that alone truly infallible, and of irrefragable Authority, and did not account the Councils, Popes or Bishops so.

And as to the praying to Saints, it was his Opinion, the christian World would be well enough without it, and that he abhor'd that common Custom of asking unworthy Things of them, and flying to them for Refuge more than to the Father and Christ.

That he look'd upon all external Things of very small Account, of whatsoever Species they were: Either the Choice of Meats, Processions, Stations, and innumerable other Ordinances and Ceremonies, and that they were in themselves unprofitable, although he, for the sake of Peace and Order, did conform himself to all harmless Things that publick Authority had appointed. Not judging those Persons, who out of a Scrupulousness of Conscience thought otherwise, but wishing that those in Authority would use their Power with more Mildness.

And that he esteem'd, as Trifles and Frauds, the Community of good Works, of all Men whatsoever, or in any Society whatsoever; that he abhor'd the Sale of Pardons for Sins, and derided the Treasury of Indulgences, from whence it is a plain Inference, that he believ'd nothing of Purgatory.

And that he more than doubted, whether auricular Confession was instituted by Christ or the Apostles; and he plainly condemns Absolution, and laugh'd at the giving it in an unknown Tongue. From whence we may fairly infer, that he was against having the Liturgy (which ought to be read to Edification) in an unknown Tongue. But he either thought it not safe, or not convenient, or at least not absolutely necessary to speak his Mind plainly as to that Matter.

Likewise, he particularly laugh'd at all the Species of popular and monastical Piety; such as Prayers repeated over and over, without the Mind, but recited by a certain Number with their Rosaries, and Ave-Maria's, by which, God being neglected, they expected to obtain all Things, though none were particularly nam'd: Their tricenary, and anniversary Masses, nay, and all those for the Dead: The dying and being buried in a Franciscan's and Dominican's Garment or Cowl, and all the Trumpery belonging to it; and did, in a manner condemn all Sorts of Monastical Life and Order, as practis'd among the Papists.

He shews it likewise to have been his Opinion, as to the Reliques of Christ, and he and she Saints, that he judg'd the Worship of them a vain and foolish Thing, and believ'd no Virtue to be in any of them, nay, that the most, if not all of them, were false and counterfeit.

And to crown the Whole, he did not spare that beloved Principle and Custom of the Papists, so zealously practis'd by them upon Protestants, viz. the Persecution and Burning of Hereticks.

And now, of how much Use and Advantage such Things, and from such a Person as Erasmus, may be, and how much they may conduce to the extirpating those Seeds of Popery, that may have been unhappily sown, or may be subtilly instill'd into the Minds of uncautious Persons, under the specious Shew of Sanctity, will, I presume, easily appear. Tho' the Things before-mention'd may be Reason sufficient for the turning these Colloquies of Erasmus into English, that so useful a Treatise may not be a Book seal'd, either to Persons not at all, or not enough acquainted with the Latin tongue, as to read them with Edification; yet I did it from another Motive, i.e. the Benefit of such as having been initiated, desire a more familiar Acquaintance with the Latin Tongue (as to the Speaking Part especially, to which Erasmus's Colloquies are excellently adapted) that by comparing this Version with the Original, they may be thereby assisted, to more perfectly understand, and familiarize themselves with those Beauties of the Latin Language, in which Erasmus in these Colloquies abounds.

And for that End, I have labour'd to give such a Translation of them, as might in the general, be capable of being compar'd with the Original, endeavouring to avoid running into a Paraphrase: But keeping as close to the Original as I could, without Latinizing and deviating from the_ English _Idiom, and so depriving the_ English _Reader of that Pleasure, that_ Erasmus _so plentifully entertains his Reader with in_ Latin.

It is true, Sir Roger l'Estrange and Mr. Tho. Brown, have formerly done some select Colloquies, and Mr. H.M. many years since has translated the whole; but the former being rather Paraphrases than Translations, are not so capable of affording the Assistance before-mention'd; and as to the latter, besides that his Version is grown very scarce, the Style is not only antient, but too flat for so pleasant and facetious an Author as Erasmus is.

I do not pretend to have come up in my English, to that Life and Beauty of Erasmus in Latin, which as it is often inimitable in the English Language, so it is also a Task fit to be undertaken by none but an English Erasmus himself, i.e. one that had the same Felicity of Expression that he had; but I hope it will appear that I have kept my Author still in my Eye, tho' I have followed him passibus haud aequis, and could seldom come up to him. I shall not detain you any longer; but subscribe my self, yours to serve you,

Jan. 25th, N. BAILEY. 1724-5.


DESIDERIUS Erasmus, surnamed Roterodamus, was born at Roterdam, a Town of Holland, on the Vigil of Simon and Jude, or October the 20th or 28th, 1465, according to his Epitaph at Basil; or according to the Account of his life, Erasmo Auctore, circa annum, &c. about the Year 1467, which agrees with the Inscription of his Statue at Roterdam, which being the Place of his Nativity, may be suppos'd to be the most authentick. His Mother's Name was Margaret, the Daughter of one Peter, a Physician of Sevenbergen. His Father's Name was Gerard, who carried on a private Correspondence with her, upon Promise of Marriage; and as it should seem from the Life which has Erasmus's Name before it, was actually contracted to her, which seems plainly to be insinuated by these Words; Sunt qui intercessisse verba ferunt: However, it is not to be denied that Erasmus was born out of Wedlock, and on that Account, Father Theophilus Ragnaud, has this pleasant Passage concerning him: If one may be allow'd to droll upon a Man, that droll'd upon all the World, Erasmus, tho' he was not the Son of a King, yet he was the Son of a crown'd Head, meaning a Priest. But in this he appears to have been mistaken, in that his Father was not in Orders when he begat him. His Father Gerard was the Son of one Elias, by his Mother Catherine, who both liv'd to a very advanc'd Age; Catherine living to the Age of 95. Gerard had nine Brethren by the same Father and Mother, without one Sister coming between them; he himself was the youngest of the ten, and liv'd to see two of his Brothers at Dort in Holland, near 90 Years of Age each. All his Brothers were married but himself; and according to the Superstition of those Times, the old People had a mind to consecrate him to God, being a tenth Child, and his Brothers lik'd the Motion well enough, because by that Means they thought they should have a sure Friend, where they might eat and drink, and be merry upon Occasion. They being all very pressing upon him to turn Ecclesiastick, (which was a Course of Life that he had no Inclination to,) Gerard finding himself beset on all Sides, and by their universal Consent excluded from Matrimony, resolving not to be prevail'd upon by any Importunities, as desperate Persons do, fled from them, and left a Letter for his Parents and Brothers upon the Road, acquainting them with the Reason of his Elopement, bidding them an eternal Farewell, telling them he would never see them more. He prosecuted his Journey to Rome, leaving Margaret, his Spouse that was to be, big with Child of Erasmus. Gerard being arriv'd at Rome, betook himself to get his Living by his Pen, (by transcribing Books) being an excellent Penman; and there being at that Time a great deal of that Sort of Business to do (for as the Life that is said to be Erasmo Auctore has it, tum nondum ars typographorum erat, i.e. The Art of Printing was not then found out; which was a Mistake, for it had been found out twenty-four Years before, in the Year 1442. But perhaps the Meaning may be, tho' it was found out, it was not then commonly used) he got Money plentifully, and for some Time, as young Fellows us'd to do, liv'd at large; but afterwards apply'd himself in good Earnest to his Studies, made a considerable Progress in the Latin and Greek Tongues, which was very much facilitated by his Employment of transcribing Authors, which could not but strongly impress them on his Memory; and he had also another great Advantage, in that a great many learned Men then flourish'd at Rome and he heard particularly one Guarinus. But to return to Erasmus, his Mother Margaret being delivered of him, he was after his Father called Gerard, which in the German Tongue, signifies Amiable; and as it was the Custom among learned Men in those Times, (who affected to give their Names either in Latin or Greek,) it was turn'd into Desiderius (Didier) in Latin, and into Erasmus [Greek: Herasmios] in Greek, which has the same Signification. He was at first brought up by his Grandmother, till Gerard's Parents coming to the Knowledge that he was at Rome, wrote to him, sending him Word, that the young Gentlewoman whom he courted for a Wife was dead; which he giving Credit to, in a melancholy Fit, took Orders, being made a Presbyter, and apply'd his Mind seriously to the Study of Religion. But upon his Return into his own Country, he found that they had impos'd upon him. Having taken Orders, it was too late to think of Marriage; he therefore quitted all further Pretensions to her, nor would she after this, be induced to marry. Gerard took Care to have his Son Erasmus liberally educated, and put him to School when he was scarce four Years old. (They have in Holland, an ill-grounded Tradition; that Erasmus, when he was young, was a dull Boy, and slow at Learning; but Monsieur Bayle has sufficiently refuted that Error, tho' were it true, it were no more Dishonour to him, than it was to Thomas Aquinas, Suarez, and others.) He was a Chorister at Utrecht, till he was nine Years old, and afterwards was sent to Daventer, his Mother also going thither to take Care of him. That School was but barbarous, the most that was minded, was Matins, Even-Song, &c. till Alexander Hegius of Westphalia, and Zinthius, began to introduce something of better Literature. (This Alexander Hegius, was an intimate Friend to the learned Rodolphus Agricola, who was the first that brought the Greek Tongue over the Mountains of Germany, and was newly returned out of Italy, having learned the Greek Tongue of him.) Erasmus took his first Taste of solid Learning from some of his Playfellows, who being older than himself, were under the Instruction of Zinthius: And afterwards he sometimes heard Hegius; but that was only upon holy Days, on which he read publickly, and so rose to be in the third Class, and made a very good Proficiency: He is said to have had so happy a Memory, as to be able to repeat all Terence and Horace by Heart. The Plague at that Time raging violently at Daventer, carry'd off his Mother, when Erasmus was about thirteen Years of Age; which Contagion increasing more and more every Day, having swept away the whole Family where he boarded, he returned Home. His Father Gerard hearing of the Death of his Wife, was so concern'd at it, that he grew melancholy upon it, fell sick, and died soon after, neither of them being much above forty Years of Age. He assign'd to his Son Erasmus three Guardians, whom he esteem'd as trusty Friends, the Principal of whom was Peter Winkel, the Schoolmaster of Goude. The Substance that he left for his Education, had been sufficient for that Purpose, if his Guardians had discharg'd their Trust faithfully. By them he was remov'd to Boisleduc, tho' he was at that Time fit to have gone to the University. But the Trustees were against sending him to the University, because they had design'd him for a Monastick Life. Here he liv'd (or, as he himself says, rather lost three Years) in a Franciscan Convent, where one Rombold taught Humanity, who was exceedingly taken with the pregnant Parts of the Youth, and began to sollicit him to take the Habit upon him, and become one of their Order. Erasmus excused himself, alledging the Rawness and Unexperiencedness of his Age. The Plague spreading in these Parts, and after he had struggled a whole Year with an Ague, he went Home to his Guardians, having by this Time furnished himself with an indifferent good Style, by daily reading the best Authors. One of his Guardians was carried off by the Plague; the other two not having manag'd his Fortune with the greatest Care, began to contrive how they might fix him in some Monastery. Erasmus still languishing under this Indisposition, tho' he had no Aversion to the Severities of a pious Life, yet he had an Aversion for a Monastery, and therefore desired Time to consider of the Matter. In the mean Time his Guardians employ'd Persons to sollicit him, by fair Speeches, and the Menaces of what he must expect, if he did not comply, to bring him over. In this Interim they found out a Place for him in Sion, a College of Canons Regulars near Delft, which was the principal House belonging to that Chapter. When the Day came that Erasmus was to give his final Answer, he fairly told them, he neither knew what the World was, nor what a Monastery was, nor yet, what himself was, and that he thought it more advisable for him to pass a few Years more at School, till he came to know himself better. Peter Winkel perceiving that he was unmoveable in this Resolution, fell into a Rage, telling him, he had taken a great deal of Pains to a fine Purpose indeed, who had by earnest Sollicitations, provided a good Preferment for an obstinate Boy, that did not understand his own Interest: And having given him some hard Words, told him, that from that Time he threw up his Guardianship, and now he might look to himself. Erasmus presently reply'd, that he took him at his first Word; that he was now of that Age, that he thought himself capable of taking Care of himself. When his Guardian saw that threatening would not do any Thing with him, he set his Brother Guardian, who was his Tutor, to see what he could do with him: Thus was Erasmus surrounded by them and their Agents on all Hands. He had also a Companion that was treacherous to him, and his old Companion his Ague stuck close to him; but all these would not make a monastick Life go down with him; till at last, by meer Accident, he went to pay a Visit at a Monastery of the same Order at Emaus or Steyn near Goude, where he found one Cornelius, who had been his Chamber-fellow at Daventer. He had not yet taken the Habit, but had travelled to Italy, and came back without making any great Improvements in Learning. This Cornelius, with all the Eloquence he was Master of, was continually setting out the Advantages of a religious Life, the Conveniency of noble Libraries, Retirement from the Hurry of the World, and heavenly Company, and the like. Some intic'd him on one Hand, others urg'd him on the other, his Ague stuck close to him, so that at last he was induc'd to pitch upon this Convent. And after his Admission he was fed up with great Promises to engage him to take upon him the holy Cloth. Altho' he was but young, he soon perceived how vastly short all Things there fell of answering his Expectations; however, he set the whole Brotherhood to applying their Minds to Study. Before he professed himself he would have quitted the Monastery; but his own Modesty, the ill Usage he was treated with, and the Necessities of his Circumstances, overcame him, so that he did profess himself. Not long after this, by the means of Gulielmus Hermannus of Buda, his intimate Associate, he had the Honour to be known to Henry a Bergis Bishop of Cambray, who was then in Hopes of obtaining a Cardinal's Hat, which he had obtained, had not Money been wanting: In order to sollicit this Affair for him, he had Occasion for one that was Master of the Latin Tongue; therefore being recommended by the Bishop of Utrecht, he was sent for by him; he had also the Recommendation of the Prior, and General, and was entertained in the Bishop's Family, but still wore the Habit of his Order: But the Bishop, disappointed in his Hope of wearing the Cardinal's Hat, Erasmus finding his Patron fickle and wavering in his Affections, prevail'd with him to send him to Paris, to prosecute his Studies there. He did so, and promised him a yearly Allowance, but it was never paid him, according to the Custom of great Men. He was admitted of Montague College there, but by Reason of ill Diet and a damp Chamber, he contracted an Indisposition of Body, upon which he return'd to the Bishop, who entertain'd him again courteously and honourably: Having recover'd his Health, he return'd into Holland, with a Design to settle there; but being again invited, he went back to Paris. But having no Patron to support him, he rather made a Shift to live (to use his own Expression) than to study there; and undertook the Tuition of an English Gentleman's two Sons. And the Plague returning there periodically for many Years, he was obliged every Year to return into his own Country. At length it raging all the Year long, he retir'd to Louvain.

After this he visited England, going along with a young Gentleman, to whom he was Tutor, who, as he says himself, was rather his Friend than his Patron. In England he was received with universal Respect; and, as he tells us himself in his Life, he won the Affections of all good Men in our Island. During his Residence here, he was intimately acquainted with Sir Thomas More, William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, John Colet, Dean of St. Pauls, the Founder of St. Paul's School, a Man remarkable for the Regularity of his Life, great Learning and Magnificence; with Hugh Latimer Bishop of Winchester, Linacre, Grocinus, and many other honourable and learned Persons, and passed some Years at Cambridge, and is said to have taught there; but whether this was after his first or second Time of visiting England, I do not determine: However, not meeting with the Preferment he expected, he went away hence to make a Journey to Italy, in the Company of the Sons of Baptista Boetius, a Genoese, Royal Professor of Physick in England; which Country, at that Time, could boast of a Set of learned Men, not much inferior to the Augustan Age: But as he was going to France, it was his ill Fortune, at Dover, to be stripp'd of all he had; this he seems to hint at in his Colloquy, intitled, the Religious Pilgrimage: But yet he was so far from revenging the Injury, by reflecting upon the Nation, that he immediately published a Book in Praise of the King and Country; which Piece of Generosity gained him no small Respect in England. And it appears by several of his Epistles, that he honoured England next to the Place of his Nativity.

It appears by Epist. 10. Lib. 16. that when he was in England Learning flourished very much here, in that he writes, Apud Anglos triumphant bonae Literae recta Studia; and in Epist. 12. Lib. 16. he makes no Scruple to equal it to Italy itself; and Epist. 26. Lib. 6. commends the English Nobility for their great Application to all useful Learning, and entertaining themselves at Table with learned Discourses, when the Table-Talk of Churchmen was nothing but Ribaldry and Profaneness. In Epist. 10. Lib. 5, which he addresses to Andrelinus, he invites him to come into England, recommending it as worth his While, were it upon no other Account, than to see the charming Beauties with which this Island abounded; and in a very pleasant Manner describes to him the Complaisance and innocent Freedom of the English Ladies, telling him, that when he came into a Gentleman's House he was allowed to salute the Ladies, and also to do the same at taking Leave: And tho' he seems to talk very feelingly on the Subject, yet makes no Reflections upon the Virtue of English Women. But to return to him; as to his Voyage to Italy, he prosecuted his Journey to Turin, and took the Degree of Doctor of Divinity in that University; he dwelt a whole year in Bolognia, and there obtain'd a Dispensation from Pope Julian to put off his Canon's Habit, but upon Condition not to put off the Habit of Priest; and after that went to Venice, where was the Printing-House of the famous Manutius Aldus, and there he published his Book of Adagies, and staying some Time there, wrote several Treatises, and had the Conversation of many eminent and learned Men. From thence he went to Padua, where at that Time Alexander the Son of James King of Scotland, and Bishop of St. Andrews in Scotland, studied, who chose Erasmus for his Tutor in Rhetorick, and went to Seana, and thence to Rome, where his great Merits had made his Presence expected long before. At Rome he gained the Friendship and Esteem of the most considerable Persons in the City, was offered the Dignity of a Penitentiary, if he would have remained there: But he returned back to the Archbishop, and not long after went with him again to Italy, and travelling farther into the Country, went to Cuma, and visited the Cave of Sybilla. After the Death of the Archbishop he began to think of returning to his own Country, and coming over the Rhetian Alps, went to Argentorat, and thence by the Way of the Rhine into Holland, having in his Way visited his Friends at Antwerp and Louvain; but Henry VIII. coming to the Crown of England, his Friends here, with many Invitations and great Promises, prevailed upon him to come over to England again, where it was his Purpose to have settled for the remaining Part of his Life, had he found Things according to the Expectation they had given him: But how it came about is uncertain, whether Erasmus was wanting in making his Court aright to Cardinal Wolsey, who at that Time manag'd all Things at his Pleasure; or, whether it were that the Cardinal look'd with a jealous Eye upon him, because of his intimate Friendship with William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, who had taken him into his Favour, between whom and Wolsey there was continual Clashing, (the Cardinal after he had been made the Pope's Legate, pretending a Power in the Archbishoprick of Canterbury.) On this Disappointment he left England, and went to Flanders; Archbishop Warham had indeed shewed his Esteem for him, in giving him the Living of Aldington. In short, Erasmus takes Notice of the Friendship between himself and Warham in the Colloquy called, The Religious Pilgrimage.

As to his Familiarity with Sir Thomas More, there are several Stories related, and especially one concerning the Disputes that had been between them about Transubstantiation, or the real Presence of Christ in the consecrated Wafer, of which Sir Thomas was a strenuous Maintainer, and Erasmus an Opponent; of which, when Erasmus saw he was too strongly byassed to be convinced by Arguments, he at last made use of the following facetious Retortion on him. It seems in their Disputes concerning the real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament, which were in Latin, Sir Thomas had frequently used this Expression, and laid the Stress of his Proof upon the Force of Believing, Crede quod edis et edis, i.e. Believe you eat [Christ] and you do eat him; therefore Erasmus answers him, Crede quod habes et habes, Believe that you have [your Horse] and you have him. It seems, at Erasmus's going away, Sir Thomas had lent him his Horse to carry him to the Sea-side or Dover; but he either carried him with him over Sea to Holland, or sent him not back to Sir Thomas, at least for some Time; upon which Sir Thomas writing to Erasmus about his Horse, Erasmus is said to have written back to him as follows.

Ut mihi scripsisti de corpore Christi, Crede quod edis et edis. Sic tibi rescribo de tuo Palfrido; Crede quod habes et habes.

Being arriv'd at Flanders by the Interest of Sylvagius Chancellor to Charles of Austria, afterwards Emperor of Germany, known by the name of Charles V: he was made one of his Counsellors.

In the mean Time Johannes Frobenius, a famous Printer, having printed many of his Works at Basil in Switzerland, and being much taken with the Elegancy of his Printing, and the Neatness of his Edition, he went thither, pretending that he undertook that Journey for the Performance of some Vow he had made; he was kindly entertain'd by him, and publish'd several Books there, and dedicated this his Book of Colloquies to Frobenius's Son, and resided till the Mass had been put down there by the Reformers. When he left that Place, he retir'd to Friburg in Alsace. Before his going to Friburg, he visited the low Countries to settle certain Affairs there. And was at Cologn at the Time that the Assembly was at Worms, which being dissolv'd, he went again to Basil, either, as some say, for the Recovery of his Health, or, as others, for the publishing of several Books. He receiv'd the Bounty and Munificence of several Kings, Princes, and Popes, and was honourably entertain'd by many of the chief Cities which he pass'd through. And by his Procurement, a College of three Languages was instituted at Louvain, at the Charge of Hieronimus Buslidius, Governour of Aria, out of certain Monies he at his Death bequeath'd to the use of studious and learned Men. An Account of which coming to the Ears of Francis King of France, he invited him by Letters to Paris, in order, by his Advice to erect the like College there. But certain Affairs happening, his Journey thither was hindred. He went to Friburg in Alsace, where he bought him an House, and liv'd seven Years in great Esteem and Reputation, both with the chief Magistrates and Citizens of the Place, and all Persons of any Note in the University. But his Distemper, which was the Gout, coming rudely upon him, he, thinking the Change of Air would afford him Relief, sold his House, and went again to Basil, to the House of Frobenius; but he had not been there above nine Months before his Gout violently assaulted him, and his strength having gradually decay'd, he was seized with a Dysentery, under which having laboured for a Month, it at last overcame him, and he died at the House of Jerome Frobenius, the son of John the famous Printer, the 12th of July 1536, about Midnight, being about seventy Years of Age: After his last retreat to Basil, he went seldom abroad; and for some of the last Months stirred not out of his Chamber. He retained a sound Mind, even to the last Moments of his Life; and, as a certain Author saith, bid Farewell to the World, and passed into the State of another Life, after the Manner of a Protestant, without the Papistical Ceremonies of Rosaries, Crosses, Confession, Absolution, or receiving the transubstantiated Wafer, and in one Word, not desiring to have any of the Romish Superstitions administered, but according to the true Tenor of the Gospel, taking Sanctuary in nothing but the Mercies of God in Christ. And finding himself near Death, he gave many Testimonies of Piety and Christian Hope in God's Mercy, and oftentimes cry'd out in the German Language, Liever Godt, i.e. dear God; often repeating, O Jesus have Mercy on me! O Lord, deliver me! Lord, put an End to my Misery! Lord, have Mercy upon me.

In his last Will, he made the celebrated Lawyer Bonifacius Amerbachius his Executor, bequeathing the greatest Part of his Substance to charitable Uses; as for the Maintenance of such as were poor and disabled through Age or Sickness; for the Marrying of poor young Virgins, to keep them from Temptations to Unchastity; for the maintaining hopeful Students in the University, and such like charitable Uses. In the overseeing of his Will, he join'd with Amerbachius, two others, Jerome Frobenius, and Nicholas Episcopius, who were his intimate Friends, and whom a certain Author says, had then espoused the Reformation began by Luther and other Reformers. The city of Basil still pays Erasmus the Respect which is due to the Memory of so eminent a Person; they not only call'd one of the Colleges there after his Name, but shew the House where he died to Strangers, with as much Veneration as the People of Roterdam do the House where he was born.

I shall not here pretend to give a Catalogue of all Erasmus's genuine Pieces, which they shew at Basil: As to his Colloquies and Moria Encomium, they have seen more Editions than any other of his Works; and Moreri says, that a Bookseller at Paris, who thoroughly understood his Trade, sold twenty four thousand of them at one Impression, by getting it whisper'd to his Customers, that the Book was prohibited, and would suddenly be call'd in.

He was buried at Basil, in the Cathedral Church, on the left Side near the Choir, in a Marble Tomb; on the fore Side of which was this Inscription:


Viro omnibus modis maximo;

Cujus incomparabilem in omni disciplinarum genere eruditionem, pari conjunctam prudentia,

Posteri et admirabuntur et praedicabunt


Et nuncupati supremae suae voluntatis vindices

Patrono optimo,

non Memoriae, quam immortalem sibi Editis Lucubrationibus comparavit, iis, tantisper dum orbis Terrarum stabit, superfuturo, ac eruditis ubique gentium colloquuturo: sed Corporis Mortalis, quo reconditum sit ergo, hoc saxum posuere.

Mortuus est IV. Eidus Julias jam septuagenarius, Anno a Christo nato, M.D. XXXVI.

Upon the upper Part of the Tomb is a quadrangular Base, upon which stands the Effigies of the Deity of Terminus, which Erasmus chose for the Impress of his Seal, and on the Front of that Base is this Inscription.

DES. ERASMUM ROTERODAMUM Amici sub hoc saxo condebant,

IV, eid. Julias M.D. XXXVI.

In the Year 1549, a wooden Statue, in Honour of so great a Man, was erected in the Market-place at Roterdam; and in the Year 1557, a Stone one was erected in the Stead of it; but this having been defaced by the Spaniards in the Year 1572, as soon as the Country had recovered its Liberty it was restored again. But in the Year 1622, instead of it, a very compleat one of Brass eight Foot high with the Pedestal, was erected, which is now standing on the Bridge at Roterdam, and likely long to remain there, on the Foot of which is the following Inscription.


Scientiarum atque Literature politioris vindici et instauratori: Viro saeculi sui Primario, civi omnium praestantissimo, ac nominis immortalitatem scriptis aeviternis jure consecuto, S.P.Q. ROTERODAMUS.

Ne quod tantis apud se suosque posteros virtutibus praemium deesset, Statuam hanc ex sere publico erigendam curaverunt.

On the right Side are these Verses of Nicholas Heinsius.

Barbariae talem se debellator Erasmus, Maxima laus Batavi nominis, ore tulit. Reddidit, en, fatis, Ars obluctata sinistris, De tanto spolium nacta quod urna viro est. Ingenii caeleste jubar, majusque caduco Tempore qui reddat, solus Erasmus erit.

On the left Side, and behind, there is an Inscription in the Dutch Language, much to the Purport of the first Inscription. On the House where Erasmus was born, formerly was this Inscription.

Haec est parva Domus, magnus qua natus Erasmus.

The same House being rebuilt and enlarged, has the following Inscription.

AEdibus his ortus Mundum decoravit Erasmus, Artibus ingenuis, Religione, Fide.

As for his Stature, he was neither very low nor very tall, his Body well set, proportioned and handsome, neither fat nor lean, but of a nice and tender Constitution, and easily put out of Order with the least Deviation from his ordinary Way of Living; he had from his Childhood so great an Aversion to eating of Fish, that he never attempted it without the Danger of his Life, and therefore obtain'd a Dispensation from the Pope from eating Fish in Lent, as appears by the Story of Eras, (as he stiles himself) in the Colloquy call'd Ichthyophagia. He was of a fair and pale Complexion, had a high Forehead, his Hair, in his younger Years, inclining to yellow, his Nose pretty long, a little thick at the End, his Mouth something large, but not ill made, his Eyes grey but lively, his Countenance chearful and pleasant, his Voice small, but musical, his Speech distinct and plain, pleasant and jocose, his Gaite handsome and grave; he had a, most happy Memory and acute Wit, he was very constant to his Friend, and exceeding liberal to those that were under Necessity, especially to studious and hopeful Youths, and to such as were destitute in their Journey: In his Conversation he was very pleasant and affable, free from peevish and morose Humours, but very witty and satyrical. It is related, that when Erasmus was told, that Luther had married and gotten the famous Catharine Bora with Child, he should in a jesting Manner say, that, if according to the popular Tradition, Antichrist was to be begotten between a Monk and a Nun, the World was in a fair Way now to have a Litter of Antichrists.

I shall conclude with the Character given of Erasmus by Mr. Thomas Brown, who comparing him with Lucian, says, That whereas Erasmus had translated Part of his Dialogues into Latin, he had made Lucian the Pattern of his Colloquies, and had copied his Graces with that Success, that it is difficult to say which of the two was the Original.

That both of them had an equal Aversion to austere, sullen, designing Knaves, of what Complexion, Magnitude, or Party soever. That both of them were Men of Wit and Satyr, but that Erasmus, according to the Genius of his Country, had more of the Humourist in him than Lucian, and in all Parts of Learning was infinitely his Superior. That Lucian liv'd in an Age, when Fiction and Fable had usurp'd the Name of Religion, and Morality was debauch'd by a Set of sowr Scoundrels, Men of Beard and Grimace, but scandalously lewd and ignorant, who yet had the Impudence to preach up Virtue, and stile themselves Philosophers, perpetually clashing with one another about the Precedence of their several Founders, the Merits of their different Sects, and if it is possible, about Trifles of less Importance; yet all agreeing in a different Way, to dupe and amuse the poor People by the fantastick Singularity of their Habits, the unintelligible Jargon of their Schools, and their Pretentions to a severe and mortified Life. This motly Herd of Jugglers Lucian in a great Measure help'd to chase out of the World, by exposing them in their proper Colours.

But in a few Generations after him, a new Generation sprung up in the World, well known by the Name of Monks and Friars, differing from the former in Religion, Garb, and a few other Circumstances, but in the main, the same individual Imposters; the same everlasting Cobweb-Spinners as to their nonsensical Controversies, the same abandon'd Rakehells as to their Morals; but as for the mysterious Arts of heaping up Wealth, and picking the Peoples Pockets, as much superior to their Predecessors the Pagan Philosophers, as an overgrown Favourite that cheats a whole Kingdom, is to a common Malefactor.

These were the sanctified Cheats, whose Follies and Vices Erasmus has so effectually lash'd, that some Countries have entirely turn'd these Drones out of their Cells, and in other Places where they are still kept, they are grown contemptible to the highest Degree, and oblig'd to be always upon their Guard.


Familiar Colloquies





* * * * *


This Colloquy teaches Courtesy and Civility in Saluting, who, when, and by what Title we ought to Salute.

At the First Meeting.

A Certain Person teaches, and not without Reason, that we should Salute freely. For a courteous and kind Salutation oftentimes engages Friendship, and reconciles Persons at Variance, and does undoubtedly nourish and increase a mutual Benevolence. There are indeed some Persons that are such Churls, and of so clownish a Disposition, that if you salute them, they will scarcely salute you again. But this Vice is in some Persons rather the Effect of their Education, than their natural Disposition.

It is a Piece of Civility to salute those that come in your Way; either such as come to us, or those that we go to speak with. And in like Manner such as are about any Sort of Work, either at Supper, or that yawn, or hiccop, or sneeze, or cough. But it is the Part of a Man that is civil even to an Extreme, to salute one that belches, or breaks Wind backward. But he is uncivilly civil that salutes one that is making Water, or easing Nature.

God save you Father, God save you little Mother, God save you Brother, God save you my worthy Master, God save you heartily Uncle, God save you sweet Cousin.

It is courteous to make Use of a Title of Relation or Affinity, unless when it carries something of a Reflection along with it, then indeed it is better not to use such Titles, tho' proper; but rather some that are more engaging, as when we call a Mother in Law, Mother; a Son in Law, Son; a Father in Law, Father; a Sister's Husband, Brother; a Brother's Wife, Sister: And the same we should do in Titles, either of Age or Office. For it will be more acceptable to salute an antient Man by the Name of Father, or venerable Sir, than by the Sirname of Age; altho' in antient Times they used to make use of [Greek: ho geron], as an honourable Title. God save you Lieutenant, God save you Captain; but not God save you Hosier or Shoe-maker. God save you Youth, or young Man. Old Men salute young Men that are Strangers to them by the Name of Sons, and young Men again salute them by the Name of Fathers or Sirs.

A more affectionate Salutation between Lovers.

God save you my little Cornelia, my Life, my Light, my Delight, my Sweet-heart, my Honey, my only Pleasure, my little Heart, my Hope, my Comfort, my Glory.

Either for the Sake of Honour or otherwise.

Sal. O Master, God bless ye.

Ans. Oh! Good Sir, I wish you the same.

Sal. God bless you most accomplish'd, and most famous Sir. God bless you again and again thou Glory of Learning. God save you heartily my very good Friend. God save you my Maecenas.

Ans. God save you my Singular Patron, God save you most approv'd Sir. God save you, the only Ornament of this Age. God bless you, the Delight of Germany.

Sal. God bless you all together. God bless you all alike.

Ans. God bless you my brave Boys.

Sal. God save you merry Companion. God bless you Destroyer of Wine.

Ans. God bless you Glutton, and unmerciful Devourer of Cakes.

Sal. God bless you heartily President of all Virtue.

Ans. God bless you in like Manner, Pattern of universal Honesty.

Sal. God save you little old Woman of Fifteen Years of Age.

Ans. God save you Girl, eighty Years old.

Sal. Much good may it do you with your bald Pate.

Ans. And much good may it do you with your slit Nose. As you salute, so you shall be saluted again. If you say that which is ill, you shall hear that which is worse.

Sal. God save you again and again.

Ans. God save you for ever and ever.

Sal. God save you more than a thousand Times.

Ans. In truth I had rather be well once for all.

Sal. God bless you as much as you can desire.

Ans. And you as much as you deserve.

Sal. I wish you well.

Ans. But what if I won't be so? In truth I had rather be sick, than to enjoy the Health that you want.

God bless your Holiness, Your Greatness, Your Highness, Your Majesty, Your Beatitude, Your High Mightiness, are Salutations rather us'd by the Vulgar, than approv'd by the Learned.

In the Third Person.

Sapidus wishes Health to his Erasmus.

Sapidus salutes his Beatus, wishing him much Health.

* * * * *

Another Form.

Sal. God bless you Crito, I wish you well good Sir.

Ans. And I wish you better. Peace be to thee Brother, is indeed a Christian Salutation, borrow'd from the Jews: but yet not to be rejected. And of the like Kind is, A happy Life to you.

Sal. Hail Master.

Ans. In truth I had rather have than crave.

Sal. [Greek: Chaire].

Ans. Remember you are at Basil, and not Athens.

Sal. How do you then dare to speak Latin when you are not at Rome?

* * * * *

Forms of well Wishing.

And to wish well is a Sort of Salutation.

To a Woman with Child.

God send you a good Delivery, and that you may make your Husband Father of a fine Child. May the Virgin Mother make you a happy Mother. I wish that this swell'd Belly may asswage happily. Heaven grant that this Burthen you carry, whatsoever it is, may have as easy an out-coming as it had an in-going. God give you a good Time.

To Guests.

Happy be this Feast. Much good may it do all the Company. I wish all Happiness to you all. God give you a happy Banquet.

To one that sneezes.

May it be lucky and happy to you. God keep you. May it be for your Health. God bless it to you.

To one that is about to begin any Business.

May it prove happy and prosperous for the Publick Good. May that you are going about be an universal Good. God prosper what you are about. God bless your Labours. God bless your Endeavours. I pray that by God's Assistance you may happily finish what you have begun. May Christ in Heaven prosper what is under your Hand. May what you have begun end happily. May what you are set about end happily. You are about a good Work, I wish you a good End of it, and that propitious Heaven may favour your pious Undertakings. Christ give Prosperity to your Enterprise. May what you have undertaken prosper. I heartily beg of Almighty God that this Design may be as successful as it is honourable. May the Affair so happily begun, more happily end. I wish you a good Journey to Italy, and a better Return. I wish you a happy Voyage, and a more happy Return. I pray God that, this Journey being happily perform'd, we may in a short Time have the Opportunity of congratulating you upon your happy Return. May it be your good Fortune to make a good Voyage thither and back again. May your Journey be pleasant, but your Return more pleasant. I wish this Journey may succeed according to your Heart's Desire. I wish this Journey may be as pleasant to you, as the want of your good Company in the mean Time will be troublesome to us. May you set Sail with promising Presages. I wish this Journey may succeed according to both our Wishes. I wish this Bargain may be for the Good and Advantage of us both. I wish this may be a happy Match to us all. The blessed Jesus God keep thee. Kind Heaven return you safe. God keep thee who art one Half of my Life. I wish you a safe Return. I wish that this New-Year may begin happily, go on more happily, and end most happily to you, and that you may have many of them, and every Year happier than other.

Ans. And I again wish you many happy Ages, that you mayn't wish well to me gratis.

Sal. I wish you a glorious Day to Day. May this Sun-rising be a happy one to you.

Ans. I wish you the same. May this be a happy and a prosperous Morning to both of us.

Sal. Father, I wish you a good Night. I wish you good Repose to Night. May you sleep sweetly. God give you good Rest. May you sleep without dreaming. God send you may either sleep sweetly or dream pleasantly. A good Night to you.

Ans. Since you always love to be on the getting Hand, I wish you a thousand Happinesses to one you wish to me.

* * * * *

Farewell at parting.

Fare ye all well. Farewell. Take care of your Health. Take a great Care of your Health. I bid you good by, Time calls me away, fare ye well. I wish you as well as may be. Farewell mightily, or if you had rather have it so, lustily. Fare you well as you are worthy. Fare you as well as you deserve. Farewell for these two Days. If you send me away, farewell till to-morrow. Would you have any Thing with me? Have you any Thing else to say to me?

Ans. Nothing but to wish you well.

Sal. Take Care to preserve your Health. Take Care of your Health. Look well to your Health. See that at the next Meeting we see you merry and hearty. I charge you make much of your self. See that you have a sound Mind in a healthful Body. Take Care you be universally well both in Body and Mind.

Ans. I'll promise you I will do my Endeavour. Fare you well also; and I again wish you prosperous Health.

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