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It is obvious to observe, how little conformable, this just taste, these elegant arts, and these new amusements, proved in their consequences to the spirit of the papal fystem: and it is remarkable, that the court of Rome, whose fole design and interest it had been for so many centuries, to enslave the minds of men, should be the first to restore the religious and intellectual liberties of Europe. The apostolical fathers, aiming at a fatal and ill-timed popularity, did not 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 ecclefiaftics. 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 fo 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 fupporting every species of liberal erudition.
And here we cannot but observe the neceffary connection between literary composition and the arts of design. No fooner had Italy banished the Gothic style in eloquence and poetry, than painting, sculpture, and architecture, at the fame time, and in the same country, arrived at maturity, and appeared in all their original fplendour. 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 foon 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 monarch 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 1472". About the same time, Antonius Eparchus of Corfica fold one hundred Greek books to the empereur Charles the fifth and Francis the first', those great rivals, who agreed in nothing, but in promoting the cause of literature. Francis the first maintained even a Greek fecretary, the learned Angelus Vergerius, to whom he afsigned, 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 fo chimerical an attempt necessarily proved abortive, yet it shewed his passion for letters. 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.
• Du Breul, ANTIQUITEZ de Paris, liv. ii. 1639. 4to. p. 563. Bembi Hist. VeNET. par.
ii. p. 76. And R. Simon, CriTIQUE de la Bibl. Ecclef. par du Pin, tom. i. p. 502. 512.
* Hody, p. 233.
z Du Breul, ibid. p. 568. It is a just remark of P. Victorius, that Francis the is
firf, by founding beautiful Greek and Roman types at his own coft, invited many ftu-' dents, who were caught by the elegance of the impression, to read the antient books. PRÆFAT. AD COMMENT. in octo libr. Ariftotelis de Opt. Statu Civitat.
a Alciati EPISTOL. xxiii. inter Gudi. ANAS, pag. 109.
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, pronouncing fentence: 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 Frencho: 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
a circumstance, which not only introduced new fplendour and refinement into the parties and caroufals 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 pedantry“.
When we mention the share which Germany took in the reftitution 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
Matagonis de Matagonibus adversus stalogalliam Antonii Matharelli,
p. 226. Varillas, Hist. de François 1. livr. ix.
d Brantome, Mem. tom. i. p. 227. Mezerai, Hist. France, sur HEN. III. tom. iii. P. 446. 447
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 1534". Reuchlin, otherwise called Capnio, cooperated with the laudable endeavours of Langius by professing Greek, before the year 1490, at Basil".
Soon afterwards he translated Homer, Aristophanes, Plato, Xenophon, Æschines, and Lucian; , into Latin, and Demosthenes into German. At Heidel, berg 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 confisted 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 profeffor, 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.
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, archbifhop of Toledo. It was to the patronage of Ximenes that Lebrixa owed his celebrity. Profoundly versed in every species of facred 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 polite 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 fome critical laws, he wrote comparative lexicons, in the Latin, Castilian, and Spanish languages. These, at this time, were
Celtes dedicates his AMORES, or La Roman literature had just begun to give lec. tin Elegies, to Maximilian, in a latin pane tures in a public building, to the ingegyric prefixed ; in which he compliments nuous youth of that city, in poetry and the emperor,
6 You who have this year oratory, with a falary of one hundred au. “ endowed moft liberally the muses, long rei, as was the practice in the cities of Italy. • wandering, and banished from Germany Descript. URB. NORINGB. cap. xii. « by the calumnies of certain unkilful men, See the imperial patent for erecting s with a college and a perpetual ftipend : this college, in Freherus’s GERMAN. RE" having, moreover, according to a custom RUM SCRIPTOR. VAR. &c. tom. ii. fol. « practised in my time at Rome, delegated Francof. 1602. p. 237. And by J. Henry " to me and my successors, in your Itead, Van Seelen, Lubec. 4to. 1723. And in his " the authority of creating and laureating Select. LITERAR. P. 488. In this pa
poets in the said college, &c.” PANEG. tent, the purpose of the foundation is dePrim. ad Maximilian. Imp. Signat. a. ii. clared to be, “ reftituere abolitam prisci AMORES, &c. Noringb. 1502. 4to. The “ fæculi eloquentiam." same author, in his DescRIPTION of the & See Nic. Anton. BIBL. Nov. HISPAN. city of Nuremburgh, written in 1501, men
P: 104. 109. tions it as a circumstance of importance and h L. Vives, de Caufis CORRUPTARUM a singularity, that a person skilled in the
Art, ii. p. 72.