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TO THE SAME.
Sir, If I should write oft, ye might think me too bold; and if I did leave off, ye might judge me either to forget your gentle ness, or to mistrust your good will, who hath already so bound me unto you, as I shall rather forget myself, and wish God also to forget me, than not labour with all diligence and service to apply myself wholly to your will and purpose; and yet ye shall well know how much I assure myself on your goodness, I will pass a piece of good manners, and be bold to borrow a little of your small leisure from your weighty affairs in the commonwealth. Therefore, if my letters shall find you at any leisure, they will trouble you a little in telling you at length, as I promised in my last letters delivered unto you by Mr. Francis Yaxeley, why I am more desirous to have your help for any stay at Cambridge still than for any other kind of living elsewhere. I having now some experience of life led at home and abroad, and knowing what I can do most fitly, and how I would live most gladly, do well perceive there is no such quietness in England nor pleasure in strange countries as even in St. John's College, to keep company with the Bible, Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, and Tully.. Which my choice of quietness is not purposely to lie in idleness, nor constrained by a wilful nature because I would not or cannot serve elsewhere, when I trust I could apply myself to more kinds of life than 1 hope my need shall ever drive me to seek, but only because in choosing aptly for myself I might bring some profit to many others. And in this mine opinion I stand the more gladly, because it is grounded upon the judgeinent of worthy Mr. Denny. For the summer twelvemonth before he departed, dinner and supper, he had me commonly with him, whose excellent wisdom mingled with so pleasant mirth, I can never forget : among many other talks he would say oft unto me, if two duties did not command him to serve, the one his prince, the other his wife, he would surely become a student in St. John's; saying, The court, Mr. Ascham, is a place so slippery, that duty never so well done, is not a staff stiff enough to stand by always very surely, where ye shall many times reap most unkindness where ye have sown greatest pleasure, and those also ready to do you most hurt to whom you never intended to think any harm. Which sentences I heard very gladly then, I found them afterwards to be true. Thus I, first ready by mine own nature, then moved by good counsel, after driven by ill fortune, lastly called by quietness, thought it good to root myself in Cambridge again. And in very deed, so many be pluckt from thence before they be ripe, though I myself am withered before I be gathered, and yet not so for that I have stood too long, but rather because the fruit which I bear is so very small. Yet seeing the goodly crop of Mr. Cheke is almost clean carried from thence, and I in a manner alone of that time left a standing straggler, peradventure though my fruit be very small, yet because the ground from whence it sprung was so good, I may yet be thought somewhat fit for seed, when all you the rest are taken up for better store, wherewith the king and his realm is now so nobly served. And in such a scarcity both of these, that were worthily called away when they were fit, and of such as unwisely parted from thence, before they be ready, I dare now bolden myself when the next be gone, to do some good among the mean that do tarry, trusting that my, diligence shall deal with my disability, and the rather because the desire of shooting is so well shot away in me, either ended by time or left off for better purpose. Yet I do amiss to mislike shooting so much, which hath been hitherto my best friend, and even now looking back to the pleasure which I found in it, and perceiving small repentance to follow after it, by Plato's judgement I may think well of it. No, it never called me to go from my book, but it made both wit the lustier, and will the readier, to run to it again ; and perchance going back sometime from learning may serve even as well as it doth at leaping, to pass some of those which keep always their standing at their book; beside that seeking company and experience of men's manners abroad is a fitter remedy for the sore, wherewith learned men (many men say) bé much infected withal, which is the best learned not always to be wisest. A sentence not spoken of some for nought, yet used for the most part in the mouths of such as either know not what they say of ignorance, or care not what they speak of spite. They think simplicity to be folly, and subtlety to be wisdom ; they judge bashful men to be rude, and past-shames to be well mannered. And after these men's opinions, if a man be not tohut payuwo in doing, or will not πλεονεκτειν in all matters for proft, or list not καιροφυλακειν all persons for favour, or cannot tpane do sexy at all times for pleasure, or to speak more fitly in St. Paul, if he do not wholly σχηματιζειν τοιουτω, he shall be counted of them ιδιωτης απειporados and ineptus, how learned, well mannered, and fit to many good qualities soever he be. But I am afraid ye will think that I go about more earnestly than craftily, either to excuse my own fault or too much negligence in study at Cambridge, or to hide mine own folly of so little experience in affairs abroad; yet, in very deed, I will neither fondly accuse my own laches nor busily note other men's lusty and lucky boldness, although examples men say be neither old, far to be fetched, nor few to be numbered, but young, at home, and of divers manners. And thus by chance, in remembering shooting, I have almost forgotten niy matter and your mastership’s little leisure in so great affairs. Therefore, Šir, to be short, ye bind me to serve you for ever, if by your suit the king's majesty would grant me this privilege, that reading the Greek tongue in St. John's I should be bound' to no other statutes within that university and college : and some reason I have to be made free and journeyman to learning, when I have already served three apprenticeships at Cambridge. This suit also, I trust, is not made out of season, when things are rather yet to be ordered by the grace of our visitors than by the law of any statute; but I hear say the visitors have taken this order, that any man shall profess the study either of divinity, law, or physic; and in remembering thus well England abroad, they have, in mine opinion, forgotten Cambridge itself. For if some be not suffered in Cambridge to make the fourth order, that is, freely as they list to study the tongues and sciences, the other three shall neither be so many as they should, nor yet so good and pleasant as they might. For law, physic, and divinity, need so the help of tongues and sciences, as they cannot want them; and yet they require so a man's whole study, as he may part with no time to other learning, except it be at certain times, to fetch it at other men's labour. I know universities be in. stituted only, that the realm may be served with preachers, lawyers, and physicians; and I know likewise all woods are planted only there for building or burning; and yet good
husbandmen do use not to cut all down for timber and fuel, but leave always standing some good big one, to be the defence for the new spring. Therefore, if some were so planted in Cambridge, as they should neither be carried away to other place, nor decay there for lack of living, nor be bound to profess no one of the three, but bend themselves wholly to help forward all; I believe preachers, lawyers, and physicians, should spring in number and grow in bigness, more than commonly they do. And though your mastership, get me this privilege, yet God is my judge, Scripture should be my chief study, wherein I would trust either by writing or preaching, to show to others the way both of truth in doctrine and true dealing in living. Yea, if I do not obtain this suit of liberty in learning where I am, sure I could do much good there. I beseech your mastership to bestow some little benefice on me, where I might in a corner occupy the small talent which God hath lent me; and if I shall be neither so lucky as to enjoy the first, nor be judged fit to be called to the second, then there is a third kind of living wherein I could find in mine heart to lead my life for a while, if your wisdom will me not otherwise, and that is in being abroad in some strange country for a year or two. This last day as I talked with Il Signior Marco Antonio Danula the ambassador of Venice, to whom I am exceeding much beholden, he said unto me, if I had desire to live for a year or two in Constantinople, Damascus, or Cairo, he would provide I should be in place where I should be partaker of weighty affairs. I said, my desire was bent' much that way, save only, I would not be in place to receive any wages more than the benefit of a table. Marry, in reading with some great man, when leisure should give leave, the course of the Greek stories or other part of learning, I could instruct myself, but I would live freely by the benefit of my prince and country. He said if he had known my purpose before Navagerius went last ambassador to the Turk, he could so have placed me as I should hereafter have cause him much to thank. Therefore, Sir, if I do not obtain neither of my requests at home, I trust I could do the king's majesty good service and your mastership more pleasure abroad by diligent advertisements of affairs from thence, if by your means the king's majesty for a year or two would bestow some honest stipend on me, that mine entertainment from home might so give me credit abroad, as I might have both liberty and leave and leisure to write such things as were my
worthy to come to your knowledge. Sir, my trust is, you will not judge me inconstant for this diversity in choice of my living, but rather one that would lievest live as I find self fittest to serve my prince and my country; for as God be my judge, I had rather follow fitness in myself than search profit in any living, otherwise I would not prefer such a kind of living at Cambridge as I do, when divers lawyers and physicians have such easy preferment to so goodly promotions as they have. And if I might without suspicion of folly declare mine own opinion of mine own fitness, then I could say I have missed where I thought myself somewhat fit to serve, and that was the place which your mastership did obtain of the king's majesty for me; but your goodness that would do that, I know will do me as good a turn when occasion shall serve thereunto. Thus as I wrote once, I ween, to your mastership I have made my lots and set them in order as I wish them to chance; and if it please your wisdom to draw for me, even as I know you can discern the fittest, so shall I esteem it to be the luckiest, whatsoever shall come first to your hand. And think not that your gentleness doth more bolden me now to make this suit, than it doth bend me for ever to be at your commandment, as God knoweth, who have you and all yours in keeping. I would be glad to hear that ye have received these letters.--From Brussels the 24th of March, 1553. Your mastership's to command,
TO THE SAME.
Sir, May it please you of your gentleness to read, and of your goodness to consider this my short letter, which present necessity compelleth me to write presently unto you.
My father-in-law * died in Lent two years ago, leaving my mother-in-law his executor, leaving her small goods to order
His name was Howe, and that of his daughter, married to Mr. Ascham, was Margaret, whose mother's sister was wife of Sir John Wallop, Knight of the Garter and Lieutenant of the castle and county of Guisnes near Calais.