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thenes, Isocrates, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, were now universally and critically studied. This prosperous state of Greek scholarship was principally owing to the example and exertions of the two distinguished professors of that language, Thomas Smith and John Cheke: even the controversy about the proper pronunciation of the language that arose between the latter and Bishop Gardiner, who, as Warton observes, "loved learning, but hated novelties," contributing its share to excite a general interest about Greek literature, as well as to throw new light upon the particular subject in dispute. But both Cheke and Smith were soon withdrawn from their academic labours to other fields; and with them the spirit of true learning and taste, which they had awakened at Cambridge, seems also to have taken its departure. At Oxford the case was no better; there, Ascham remarks that a decline of taste in both the classic tongues was decidedly indicated by a preference of Lucian, Plutarch, and Herodian, in Greek, and of Seneca, Gellius, and Apuleius, in Latin, to the writers of the older and purer eras of ancient eloquence. Even divinity itself, as Latimer complains, ceased to be studied. "It would pity a man's heart," he says, "to hear what I hear of the state of Cambridge: what it is in Oxford I cannot tell. There be few that study divinity but so many as of necessity must furnish the colleges." So true is it that no one branch of learning or science can long continue to flourish amid the general neglect and decay of the other branches that compose along with it the system of human knowledge.
The first establishment of the Reformation under Edward VI., instead of effecting the restoration of learning,
only contributed to its further discouragement and depression. The rapacious courtiers of this young prince,” as Warton observes, 66 were perpetually grasping at the rewards of literature . . . . . Avarice and zeal were at once gratified in robbing the clergy of their revenues, and in reducing the church to its primitive apostolical state of purity and poverty. The opulent see of Winchester was lowered to a bare title; its amplest estates were portioned out to the laity; and the bishop, a creature of the Protector Somerset, was contented to receive an inconsiderable annual stipend from the exchequer. The bishopric of Durham, almost equally rich, was entirely dissolved. A favourite nobleman in the court occupied the deanery and treasurership of a cathedral, with some of its best canonries. . In every one of these sacrilegious robberies the interest of learning also suffered. Exhibitions and pensions were, in the mean time, subtracted from the students in the universities. Ascham, in a letter to the Marquis of Northampton, dated 1550, laments the ruin of grammar-schools throughout England, and predicts the speedy extinction of the universities from this growing calamity. At Oxford the public schools were neglected by the professors and pupils, and allotted to the lowest purposes. Academical degrees were abrogated as anti-christian. Reformation was soon turned into fanaticism. Absurd refinements, concerning the inutility of human learning, were superadded to the just and rational purgation of Christianity from the papal corruptions. The spiritual reformers of these enlightened days, at a visitation of the last-mentioned university, proceeded so far in their ideas of a superior rectitude, as totally to strip the public library, established by that
munificent patron, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, of all its books and manuscripts."
A very curious account of the state of the University of Cambridge in this reign is contained in a sermon, preached in 1550, by a Thomas Lever, Fellow of St. John's College, some extracts from which Strype has preserved. Formerly "there were," says Lever, “in houses belonging to the University of Cambridge, two hundred students of divinity, many very well learned, which be now all clean gone home; and many young toward scholars, and old fatherly doctors, not one of them left. One hundred also, of another sort, that, having rich friends, or being beneficed men, did live of themselves in hostels and inns, be either gone away or else fain to creep into colleges and put poor men from bare livings. These both be all gone, and a small number of poor, godly, diligent students, now remaining only in colleges, be not able to tarry and continue their studics for lack of exhibition and help.” The description which follows of the studies and mode of living of the poorer :- "There and more diligent students is very interesting :be divers there which rise daily about four or five of the clock in the morning, and from five till six of the clock use common prayer, with an exhortation of God's word in a common chapel; and from six until ten of the clock use ever either private study or common lectures. At ten of the clock they go to dinner, whereas they be content with a penny piece of beef among four, having a few pottage made of the broth of the same beef, with salt and oatmeal, and nothing else. After this slender diet, they be either teaching or learning until five of the clock in the evening; whenas they have a supper not much
better than their dinner. Immediately after which they go either to reasoning in problems, or to some other study, until it be nine or ten of the clock; and then, being without fires, are fain to walk or run up and down half an hour, to get a heat on their feet when they go to bed."* Latimer, in a sermon preached about the same time, expresses his belief that there were then ten thousand fewer students in the kingdom than there had been twenty years before.
In the reign of Mary, who was herself a learned queen, and a considerable benefactress of both universities, classical learning had a distinguished patron in Cardinal Pole, who was as illustrious for his literary acquirements as he was for his birth and station. In his short tenure of power, however, he was not able to accomplish much against the adverse circumstances of the time. It appears that to him Sir Thomas Pope, the founder of Trinity College, Oxford, which was endowed in this reign more especially for the cultivation of classical scholarship, submitted the statutes of his new institution. "My Lord Cardinal's Grace," says Sir Thomas, in a letter of his which has been preserved, "has had the overseeing of my statutes. He much likes well that I have therein ordered the Latin tongue to be read to my scholars. But he advises me to order the Greek to be more taught there than I have provided. This purpose I well like; but I fear the times will not bear it now. I remember when I was a young scholar at Eton, the Greek tongue was growing apace; the study of which is now alate much decayed." The fact here stated is especially honourable to Pole, seeing that by this time Eccles. Mem. ii. 422.
the Greek language, as that of the original text of the New Testament, to which the Reformers made all their appeals, had come to be regarded by the generality of Catholics as a peculiarly Protestant and almost heretical study. The return of the old religion, however, with its persecutions and penal fires, did not prove on the whole more favourable to the interests of learning than to any of the other interests of the national happiness and civilization.
Nor did the final establishment of the reformed church, nor all the prosperity of the next reign, for a long time bring back good letters to the universities. A few facts will show their state throughout a great part of that reign. In the first place, so few persons now received a university education, that for many years a large proportion of the clergy of the new church were mere artificers and other illiterate persons, some of whom, while they preached on Sundays, worked at their trades on weekdays, and some of whom could hardly write their names. In the year 1563, as we are informed by Anthony Wood, there were only three divines in the university of Oxford who were considered capable of preaching the public sermons. It has been sometimes alleged that the growing influence of Puritanism was one of the chief causes of the continued neglect and depression in which learning was now left; but it is a remarkable fact, that the three Oxford preachers were all Puritans, as were also many of the most distinguished ornaments of both universities at a later date. In 1567, so low was still the state of classical literature in the country, that when Archbishop Parker, in that year, founded three scholarships in Cambridge, the holders of which were to be "the best and ablest scholars" elected from the most considerable schools in