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reflect, that they were shaking the throne, which they thus adorned.
Among those who distinguished themselves in the exercise of these studies, the first and most numerous were the Italian ecclesiastics. If not from principles of inclination, and a natural impulse to follow the passion of the times, it was at least their interest, to concur in forwarding those improvements, which were commended, countenanced, and authorised, by their spiritual sovereign: they abandoned the pedantries of a barbarous theology, and cultivated the purest models of antiquity. The cardinals and bishops of Italy composed Latin verses, and with a success attained by none in more recent times, in imitation of Lucretius, Catullus, and Virgil. Nor would the encouragement of any other European potentate have availed so much, in this great work of restoring literature: as no other patronage could have operated with so powerful and immediate an influence on that order of men, who, from the nature of their education and profession, must always be the principal instruments in supporting every species of liberal erudition.
And here we cannot but observe the necessary connection between literary composition and the arts of design. No sooner had Italy banished the Gothic style in eloquence and poetry, than painting, sculpture, and architecture, at the same time, and in the same country, arrived at maturity, and appeared in all their original splendour. The beautiful or sublime ideas which the Italian artists had conceived from the contemplation of antient statues and antient temples, were invigorated by the descriptions of Homer and Sophocles. Petrarch was crowned in the capitol, and Raphael was promoted to the dignity of a cardinal.
These improvements were soon received in other countries. Lascaris, one of the most learned of the Constantinopolitan exiles, was invited into France by Lewis the Twelfth, and Francis the First : and it was under the latter of these monarchs that he was employed to form a library at Fontainbleau,
and to introduce Greek professors into the university of Paris'. Yet we find Gregory Typhernas teaching Greek at Paris, so early as the year 14724. About the same time, Antonius Eparchus of Corsica sold one hundred Greek books to the emperour
. Charles the Fifth and Francis the First W, those great rivals, who agreed in nothing, but in promoting the cause of litera-,
Francis the First maintained even a Greek secretary, the learned Angelus Vergerius, to whom he assigned, in the year 1541, a pension of four hundred livres from his exchequer. He employed Julius Camillus to teach him to speak fluently the language of Cicero and Demosthenes, in the
space of a month: but so chimerical an attempt necessarily proved abortive, yet it shewed his passion for letters y. In the year, 1474, the parliament of Paris, who, like other public bodies, eminent for their wisdom, could proceed on no other foundation than that of ancient forms and customs, and were alarmed at the appearance of an innovation, commanded a cargo of books, some of the first specimens of typography, which were imported into Paris by a factor of the city of Mentz, to be seized and destroyed. Francis the First would not suffer so great a dishonour to remain on the French nation; and although he interposed his authority too late for a revocation of the decree, he ordered the full price to be paid for the books. This was the same parliament that opposed the reformation of the calendar, and the admission of any other philosophy than that of Aristotle. Such was Francis's sollicitude to encourage the graces of a classical style, that he abolished the Latin tongue from all public acts of justice, because the first president of the parliament of Paris had used a barbarous term in
i Du Breul, ANTIQUITEZ de Paris, First, by founding beautiful Greek and liv. ii. 1639. 4to. p. 563. Bembi Hist. Roman types at his own cost, invited
ji. And R. Simon, many students, who were caught by the Critique de la Bibl. Eccles. par du Pin, elegance of the impression, to read the tom. i. p. 502. 512,
antient books. PuÆFAT. AD COMMENT. Hody, p. 233.
in octo libr. Aristotelis de Opt. Statu Morhoff, Polyhist. iv. 6.
Civitat. * Du Breul, ibid. p. 568. It is a just Y Alciati EPISTOL. xxiii. inter GUDIremark of P. Victorius, that Francis the ANAS, p. 109.
pronouncing sentence?; and because the Latin code and judicial processes, hitherto adopted in France, familiarised the people to a base Latinity. At the same time, he ordered these formularies to be turned, not into good Latin, which would have been absurd or impossible, but into pure French a : a reformation which promoted the culture of the vernacular tongue. He was the first of the kings of France, that encouraged brilliant assemblies of ladies to frequent the French court: a circumstance, which not only introduced new splendour and refinement into the parties and carousals of the court of that monarchy, but gave a new turn to the manners of the French ecclesiastics, who of course attended the king, and destroyed much of their monkish pedantryb.
When we mention the share which Germany took in the restitution of letters, she needs no greater panegyric, than that her mechanical genius added, at a lucky moment, to all these fortunate contingencies in favour of science, an admirable invention, which was of the most singular utility in facilitating the diffusion of the antient writers over every part of Europe : I mean the art of printing. By this observation, I do not mean to insinuate that Germany kept no pace with her neighbours in the production of philological scholars. Rodolphus Langius, a canon of Munster, and a tolerable Latin poet, after many struggles with the inveterate prejudices and authoritative threats of German bishops, and German universities, opened a school of humanity at Munster : which supplied his countrymen with every species of elegant learning, till it was overthrown by the fury of fanaticism, and the revolutions introduced by the barbarous reformations of the anabaptistic zealots, in the year 1534C. Reuchlin, otherwise called Capnio, co-operated with the laudable endeavours of Langius by professing Greek, be
Matagonis de Malagonibus adver- Mezerai, Hist. France, sur Hex. III. sus Italogalliam Antonii Matharelli, tom. iii. p. 446, 447.
• D, Chytræus, SAXONIA, I. iii. p. 80. · Varillas, Hist. de François I. livr. Trithem. p. 993. De S. E. Et de Luix. pag. 381.
MIXARIR. GERMAN. p. 299. • Brantome, Mem. tom. i. p. 297.
fore the year 1490, at Basil. Soon afterwards he translated Homer, Aristophanes, Plato, Xenophon, Æschines, and Lucian, into Latin, and Demosthenes into German. At Heidelberg he founded a library, which he stored with the choicest Greek manuscripts. It is worthy to remark, that the first public institution in any European university for promoting polite literature, by which I understand these improvements in erudition, appears to have been established at Vienna. In the year 1501, Maximilian the First, who, like Julius Cesar, had composed a commentary on his own illustrious military achievements, founded in the university of Vienna a COLLEGE Of POETRY. This society consisted of four professors: one for poetry, a second for oratory, and two others for mathematics. The professor of poetry was so styled, because he presided over all the rest: and the first person appointed to this office was Conradus Celtes, one of the restorers of the Greek language in Germany, an elegant Latin poet, a critic on the art of Latin versification, the first poet-laureate of his country, and the first who introduced the practice of acting Latin tragedies and comedies in public, after the manner of Terence. It was the business of this professor, to examine candidates in philology; and to reward those who appeared to have made a distinguished proficiency in classical studies with a crown of laurel. Maximilian's chief and general design in this institution, was to restore the languages and the eloquence of Greece and Rome'.
See Eristol. Claror. Viror. ad of creating and laureating poets in the Reuchlin. p. m. 4. 17. Maius, in said college," &c. Paneg. Prim, ad VITA REUCHLINI, &c. [Sve supra, Maximilian. Imp. Signat. a. ii. AMORES, p. 203.]
&c. Noringb. 1502. 4to. The same aue Celtes dedicates his AMORES, or La- thor, in his DESCRIPTION of the City of tin Elegies, to Maximilian, in a latin Nuremburgh, written in 1501, :ventions panegyric prefixed; in which he com- it as a circumstance of importance and a pliments the emperor, “You who have singularity, that a person skilled in the this year endowed most liberally the Roman literature had just begun to give muses, long wandering, and banished lectures in a public building, to the in. from Germany by the calumnies of cer- genuous youth of that city, in poetry tain unskilful men, with a college and a and oratory, with a salary of one hunperpetual stipend: having, moreover, dred aurei, as was the practice in the according to a custom practised in my cities of Italy. Descript, Urb. NORINGB, time at Rome, delegated to me and my cap. xii. successors, in your stead, the authority i See the imperial patent for erecting VOL. III.
Among the chief restorers of literature in Spain, about 1490, was Antonio de Lebrixa, one of the professors in the university of Alacala, founded by the magnificent cardinal Ximenes, archbishop of Toledo. It was to the patronage of Ximenes that Lebrixa owed his celebrityś. Profoundly versed in every species of sacred and profane learning, and appointed to the respectable office of royal historian, he chose to be distinguished only by the name of the grammarian"; that is, a teacher of posite letters. In this department, he enriched the seminaries of Spain with new systems of grammar, in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew; and with a view to reduce his native tongue under some critical laws, he wrote comparative lexicons, in the Latin, Castilian, and Spanish languages. These, at this time, were plans of a most extraordinary nature in Spain; and placed the literature of his country, which from the phlegmatic temper of the inhabitants was tenacious of ancient forms, on a much wider basis than before. To these he added a manual of rhetoric, compiled from Aristotle, Tully, and Quintilian : together with commentaries on Terence, Virgil, Juvenal, Persius, and other classics. He was deputed by Ximenes, with other learned linguists, to superintend the grand Complutensian edition of the Bible: and in the conduct of that laborious work, he did not escape the censure of heretical impiety for exercising his critical skill on the sacred text, according to the ideas of the holy inquisition, with too great a degree of precision and accuracy
Even Hungary, a country by no means uniformly advanced with other parts of Europe in the common arts of civilisation, was illuminated with the distant dawning of science. Mattheo Corvini, king of Hungary and Bohemia, in the fifteenth cen
this college, in Freherus's German. RE 6 See Nic. Anton. BIBL. Nov. Hispan. RUM SCRIPTOR. VAR. &c. tom. ii. fol. tom. i. p. 104.-109. Francof. 1602. p. 237. And by J. Henry HL. Vives, de Causis CORRUPTARUM Van Seelen, Lubec. 4to. 1723. And in Art. ii. p. 72. his Select. LITERAR. P. 488. In this i See Alvarus Gomesius de Vita X1patent, the purpose of the foundation is MENIS, lib. ii. pag. 45. Nic. Anton. ut declared to be, “ restituere abolitam supr. p. 109. Imbonatus, B184. LATINOprisci sæculi eloquentiam,”
HEBR. p. 315.