Imatges de pÓgina


burdened in early maturity with public cares, which could yet attain a proficiency in polite learning, such as few professional scholars have excelled. The bare titles of the works which she translated evince the variety of her philological attainments, and justify the praises of her eulogists. When no more than eleven years of age she translated out of French verse into English prose, "The Mirror, or Glass, of the Sinful Soul," dedicated to Queen Catherine Parr, 1544. At twelve, she rendered out of English into Latin, French, and Italian, "Prayers or Meditations, by which the soul may be encouraged to bear with patience all the Miseries of Life, to despise the vain happiness of this world, and assiduously provide for eternal fecility, collected out of prime writers by the most noble and religious Queen Catherine Par, dedicated by the Princess Elizabeth to King Henry VIII.," dated at Hatfield, in Hertfordshire, December 30. Much about the same time she translated a treatise originally written by Marguerite of Navarre, in the French language, and entitled the "Godly Meditation of the Inward Love of the Soul toward Christ the Lord," printed in the "Monument of Matrons, containing seven several Lamps of Virginity." These were the works of the "tender and maidenly years" of her childhood. At a riper age she turned from Greek into Latin, portions of Xenophon, Isocrates, and Euripides; from Greek to English, Boethius, Sallust's Jugurthine war, and part of Horace's Art of Poetry. From Italian she translated certain sermons of Bernardine Ochine, an Italian protestant divine. It is hard to say what assistance she may have had in these labors, nor can we speak of their merits from personal inspection; but if she produced any considerable part of them, they must evince extreme activity, and a laudable love of literary employment. What teacher would not be proud of such a scholar? But we must return to her preceptor.

In 1550, while on a visit to his friends in Yorkshire, he was recalled to court by a letter, informing him that he had been appointed to accompany Sir Richard Morysinet on his embassy to the court of the

*The praises of Elizabeth were not confined to her own subjects. Scaliger declared that she knew more than all the great men of her time. Serranus honored her with the dedication of his Plato, in terms flattering enough, but only a learned Queen could be so flattered. Dedicators and panegyrists dabble much in prophecy; but it is not often that they prophecy truly. Serranus, however, was right for one, when he foretold the future fame of "good Queen Bess," and "Eliza's Golden-days." "Quemadmodum Salomonis vel Augusti felix imperium, notabile fuit ad designandum civilem felicitatem; ita et tuum, regina, illustre, sit futurum, tuaque insula non amplius Albion sed Olbia et vere fortunata sit porro nuncupanda. Qüidenim? In regno tuo vera illa regnant philosophia cujus vix ac ne vix quidem umbram vidit Plato."

† SIR RICHARD MORYSINE, [or Morison,]-son of Thomas Morysine, of Essex, was educated at Eaton and Cambridge,-traveled in Italy, and studied in Padua,-made prebendary in Salis

Emperor Charles V. It was on his way to London on this occasion, that he had his well-known interview with Lady Jane Grey, at her father's seat at Brodegate, in Leicestershire, where he found her, a young lady of fifteen, reading the "Phædon" of Plato in the original Greek, while the members of her family were hunting in the park. Ascham's beautiful relation of the scene is given in his "Schoolmaster." "Before I went in Germany I came to Brodegate, in Leicestershire, to take my leave of that noble lady, Jane Grey, to whom I was exceedingly much beholding. Her parents, the Duke and Duchess, with all the house, old gentlemen and gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. I found her in the chamber alone, reading Phædo Platonis in Greek, and that with as much delight as some gentlemen would read a merry tale of Boecace. After salutation, and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her why she should lose such pastime in the park? Smiling, she answered me, "I wist all their sport in the park is but a shadow of that pleasure I find in Plato. Alas, good folk, they never felt what true pleasure meant." "And how came you, madam," quoth I, " to this knowledge of pleasure? And what did chiefly allure you unto it, seeing not many women, and but very few men, have attained thereunto ?" "I will tell you," quoth she, "and tell you a truth which perchance ye may marvel at. One of the greater benefits God ever gave me, is, that he sent me so sharp and severe parents, and so gentle a schoolmaster.* For when I am in presence either of father or mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand, or go, eat, drink, be merry or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing anything else, I must do it as it were in such weight, number, and measure, even so perfectly, as God made the world, or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea, presently, sometimes with pinches, nips, and bobs, and other ways, (which I will not name for the honor I bear them,) so without measure misordered that I think myself in hell, till time come that I must go to Mr. El- ́ mer, who teacheth me so gently, so pleasantly, with such fair allurements to learning, that I think all the time nothing while I am with him. And when I am called from him I fall on weeping, because whatsoever I do else beside learning, is full of grief, trouble, fear, and whole misliking unto me. And thus my book hath been so much my pleasure, and bringeth daily more pleasure and more; that in respect of it, all other pleasures, in very deed, be but trifles and troubles unto bury Cathedral, and sent Ambassador to Emperor Charles V., by Henry VIII.,—was knighted by Edward VI.,-and died in 1556.

*Mr. Elmer, or Elmer, or Aylmer, as the name is variously written, was born as 1521, studied both at Oxford and Cambridge at the cost of Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset by whom he was made tutor to his own daughters, of whom the Lady Jane Grey was the eldest,-was made Arch deacon of Stowe, in 1553,-and Bishop of London, in 1576, and died in 1594.

me." I remember this talk gladly, both. because it is worthy of memory and because also it was the last talk I had, and the last time that I ever saw that noble and worthy lady."

The interview, simple in incident as it was, has assumed the dignity of a piece of history, and its illustration has been a favorite subject both for the author* and the artist.

Before leave-taking, Ascham obtained a promise of the Lady Jane to write to him in Greek, on condition that she should first write to her, as soon as he arrived in the Emperor's court. His epistle is extant in choice Latin. Alluding to the circumstances of their last interview, he declares her happier in her love of good books, than in her descent from kings and queens. No doubt he spoke sincerely; but he knew not then how truly. Her studious quietude of spirit was her indefeasible blessing, while her royal pedigree‡ was like an hereditary curse, afflicting her humility with unwilling greatness, and her innocence with unmerited distress.

Ascham embarked for Germany in the following September. He accompanied Morysine as a kind of secretary, though some of his duties resembled those of a tutor, comprising, as they did, the reading of "all Herodotus, five tragedies of Sophocles, most of Euripides, the orations of Isocrates, and twenty-one orations of Demosthenes," during the ambassador's stay at Augsburg, as we are informed by Ascham himself, in a letter to a college friend at home. But besides these literary labors, he took a share in the diplomatic correspondence, and is said to have been consulted on all af fairs of importance by his principal. He also occupied himself in preparing a "Report on the affairs of Germany," which was printed. His urbanity, readiness, and general information, recommended him.

We append to this article, an "Imaginary Conversation" between Roger Ascham and Lady Jane Grey, by Waiter Savage Landor.

↑ These particulars we learn from a letter of Roger's to Sturminus, dated 14th December, 1550, in which he promises to show Jane's epistle to the German scholar, when it should arrive. It appears, too, that the Lady was requested to correspond with Sturmius in Greek.

Lady Jane Grey was the daughter of Frances Brandon, the daughter of Mary Queen Dowager of France, and sister of Henry VIII., by Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Her father was Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset, descended from Elizabeth, Queen to Edward IV., by her former marriage, through her son, Thomas Grey, who married the King's niece. The father of Lady Jane was created Duke of Suffolk, on the failure of the male line of the Braudons.

Lady Jane Grey, or to speak more correctly, Lady Guilford Dudley, (for she perished in her honeymoon,) wrote her last letter to her sister Catharine in the blank pages of her Greek Testament; and when she saw her bridegroom led to execution under her prison window, she wrote three several sentences in her tablets in as many languages. The first in Greek, to this effect:-If his slain body shall give testimony against me before men, his blessed soul shall render an eternal proof of my innocence before God. The second in Latin :-The justice of men took away his body, but the divine mercy has preserved his spirit. The third in English :— If my fault deserved punishment, my youth and my imprudence were worthy of excuse: God and posterity will show me favor.

not less to Princes and Ministers, than his Greek, Latin, logic, and divinity, to John Sturmius and Jerome Wolfius. The courtiers thought it a pity he was not always attached to an embassy, and the learned regretted that he should ever leave the schools. Whatever he was doing seemed his forte, and so rife were his praises in every mouth, that he was in peril of the woe denounced against those whom "all men speak well of.”

During his absence abroad, his friends in England procured not only the restoration of his pension, which had ceased at the death of Henry VIII., but the place of Latin secretary to Edward VI. For these favors he was indebted, as appears by a letter of Ascham preserved in the Lansdowne MSS., to the interference of Sir William Cecil, the Ambassador Morysine, and Sir John Cheke.

The death of King Edward in 1553, led to the immediate recall of the ambassador, with whom Ascham returned to England. By this event he lost both his recent preferments, and the accession of the Catholic Queen Mary held out such dismal prospects for the future, that Ascham retired to his college almost in despair. Matters however took an unexpected turn. Sir William Paget, whose recommendation of the "Toxophilus" to King Henry had procured his pension from that king, now exerted his influence in his favor with Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, who, notwithstanding Ascham's staunch protestantism was often represented to him, proved his steady patron. The "Toxophilus" was produced by the bishop at the council, and was considered so useful a work, that the objections to the author's advancement were removed. Ascham's pension was not only restored, but doubled, and he was appointed Latin secretary to king Philip and the queen. He was so diligent in his office, that at its commencement he is recorded to have written in three days no less than fortyseven letters to princes and great personages, the lowest in rank being a cardinal. These of course were all written with his own hand, one of his principal qualifications, in addition to his learning, being the excellence of his penmanship, for which he had been celebrated from his college days. By the influence of Gardiner he was also enabled to retain his fellowship and his post of public orator at the university— when by strict statute he might have been deprived of them, till they were vacated by his marriage. The object of his choice was Mistress Margaret Howe, a lady of some fortune and good family, to whom he was united on the 1st of June, 1554. A letter from the "German Cicero," Sturmius, who corresponded with our author with all the warmth and frequency of school friendship, dated the 24th of the same month, jocosely reproaches him with omitting to communi

cate such an important piece of business. "But what is it I hear? Would you keep your engagement close, for fear I should send you a High-Dutch epithalamium? I am informed that your intended is niece to the wife of Mr. Walop, that was governor of Guisnes when I was at Calais. Ah! but she was an honest madam, a fair and comely dame! If it be so, that you are going to make her your spouse, or if you have any other in your eye, do let me know, and tell me when the day is to be, that if I can not myself be present at the espousals, I may send Thalassius* to make my compliments to your love in my stead." Ascham replied," As for my wife, she is the picture of her aunt Walop, and all that John Sturmius could wish the wife of Roger Ascham to be."

The singular good fortune of Ascham in not only escaping persecution, but receiving favor, throughout the troubles of Mary's reign, while his contemporaries at college were either led to the stake, or compelled to recant, is a problem which it would now be difficult to solve. Johnson is willing to attribute it to chance; other biographers imagine that his services were of sufficient importance to protect his life; while all allow that his immunity was at any rate not purchased by any sacrifice of his principles.

On the death of Queen Mary, in 1558, Ascham was soon distinguished by the notice of her successor. He had long before taken pains to erase from Elizabeth's mind any unfavorable impression that might have been produced by his abrupt departure from her service, and his excuses had been favorably received. He was now appointed Latin secretary and tutor in Greek to her Majesty, and during the rest of his life was a constant resident at court. He spent some hours every day in reading Greek and Latin authors with the queen, and often enjoyed the more envied honor of being her partner or opponent in games of chance. He obtained from her several pieces of preferment, the principal of which was the prebend of Wetwang in the cathedral of York, which he received in 1559.

He had the opportunity of frequent interviews with her Majesty, and had the favor to talk Greek and Latin, and play chess with her,openings which a more artful and ambitious man might easily have improved. But the pride or modesty of Roger would not suffer him to ask any thing for himself or others. Indeed he used to boast of his backwardness in this particular, often averring in conversation, that during all the happy hours that he had enjoyed his Lady Sovereign's presence, he never opened his mouth to enrich himself or any that belonged to him; that to serve his mistress well was his best reward;

*Thalassius was the Roman nuptial god, as Hymen was the Greek. A song was sung at weddings, in which "Io Thalassie" was perpetually repeated like a burden.

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