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admirers. Ascham was now received into notice by many of the nobility, and by great ladies, among whom it was then the fashion to study the ancient languages. Lee, archbishop of York, allowed him a yearly pension ; how much, we are not told. He was, probably about this time, employed in teaching many illustrious persons to write a fine hand, and among others Henry and Charles, dukes of Suffolk, the prins cess Elizabeth, and prince Edward.
Henry VIII. died two years after; and a reformation of religion being now openly prosecuted by King Edward and his council, Ascham, who was known to favour it, had a new grant of his pension, and continued at Cambridge, where he lived in great familiarity with Bucer, who had been called from Germany to the professorship of divinity. But his retirement was soon at an end; for in 1548 his pupil Grindal, the master of the princess Elizabeth, died, and the princess, who had already some acquaintance with Ascham, called him from his college to direct her studies. He obeyed the summons, as we may easily believe, with readiness, and for two years instructed her with great diligence; but then being disgusted either by her or her domestics, or perhaps eager for another change of life, he left her without her consent, and returned to the University. Of this precipitation he long repented; and as those who are not accustomed to disrespect cannot easily forgive it, he probably felt the effects of his imprudence to his death.*
* “ He took great and not unsuccessful pains to restore himself to her good graces.” Dr. Campbell, in Biog. Brit.—There is reason
After having visited Cambridge, he took a journey into Yorkshire to see his native place and his old acquaintance, and there received a letter from the court, informing him, that he was appointed secretary to Sir Richard Morysine, who was to be dispatched as ambassador into Germany. In his return to London he paid that memorable visit to lady Jane Gray, in which he found her reading the Phædo in Greek, as he has related in his Schoolmaster.
In September 1550 he attended Morysine to Germany, and wandered over a great part of the country, making observations upon all that appeared worthy of his curiosity, and contracting acquaintance with men of learning. To his correspondent Sturmius he paid a visit; but Sturmius was not at home, and those two illustrious friends never saw each other. During the course of this embassy, Ascham undertook to improve Morysine in Greek, and for four days in the week explained some pages of Herodotus every morning, and more than two hundred verses of Sophocles or Euripides every afternoon. He read with him likewise some of the orations of Demosthenes. On the other days he compiled the letters of business, and in the night filled up his diary, digested his remarks, and wrote private letters to his friends in England, and particularly to those of his college, whom he continually exhorted to perseverance in study. Amidst all the pleasures of novelty, which his travels supplied, and to believe, from the expressions of gratitude for particular favours in his dedication to the Queen, that the latter inference is the most correct.En.
in the dignity of his public station, he preferred the tranquillity of private study, and the quiet of academical retirement. The reasonableness of this choice has been always disputed ; and in the contrariety of human interests and dispositions, the controversy will not easily be decided.
He made a short excursion into Italy, and mentions in his Schoolmaster with great severity the vices of Venice. He was desirous of visiting Trent while the council were sitting; but the scantiness of his purse defeated his curiosity.
In this journey he wrote his “Report and Discourse of the Affairs in Germany,” in which he describes the dispositions and interests of the German princes like a man inquisitive and judicious, and recounts many particularities which are lost in the mass of general history, in a style, which to the ears of that age was undoubtedly mellifluous, and which is now a very valuable specimen of genuine English.
By the death of King Edward in 1553, the reformation was stopped, Morysine was recalled, and Ascham's pension and hopes were at an end. He therefore retired to his fellowship in a state of disappointment and despair, which his biographer has endeavoured to express in the deepest strain of plaintive declamation. “ He was deprived of all his support," says Graunt, “ stripped of his pension, and cut off from the assistance of his friends, who had now lost their influence; so that he had nec præmia nec prædia, neither pension nor estate to support him at Cam. bridge." There is no credit due to a rhetorician's ac
count either of good or evil. The truth is, that Ascham still had in his fellowship all that in the early part of his life had given him plenty, and might have lived like the other inhabitants of the college, with the advantage of more knowledge and higher reputation. But notwithstanding his love of academical retirement, he had now too long enjoyed the pleasures and festivities of public life, to return with a good will to academical poverty
He had however better fortune than he expected, and, if he lamented his condition like his historian, better than he deserved. He had, during his absence in Germany, been appointed Latin secretary to King Edward ; and by the interest of Gardiner bishop of Winchester, * he was instated in the same office under Philip and Mary, with a salary of twenty pounds a-year.
Soon after his admission to his new employment, he gave an extraordinary specimen of his abilities and diligence, by composing and transcribing with his usual elegance, in three days, forty-seven letters to princes and personages, of whom cardinals were the lowest.
How Ascham, who was known to be a protestant,
* “ It would be unjust not to remark, that as the Toxophilus gave the first rise to our author's fortunes, so it was the review of it by bishop Gardiner, which restored them when the author thought them shipwrecked by the death of King Edward : for, in his letter to the bishop of Winchester, he takes notice of its being perused and approved by the lords of the council, and being the means of introducing its author into their favour." Dr. Campbell in Biog. BRIT.
could preserve the favour of Gardiner, and ho place of honour and profit in Queen Mary's cour must be very natural to enquire. Cheke, as is known, was compelled to a recantation; and why cham was spared, cannot now be discovered. Gra at a time when the transactions of Queen Ma reign must have been well enough remembered, clares, that Ascham always made open professior the reformed religion, and that Englesfield and ot! often endeavoured to incite Gardiner against him, found their accusations rejected with contempt: he allows, that suspicions and charges of tempori tion and compliance had somewhat sullied his repu tion. The author of the Biographia Britannica co jectures, that he owed his safety to his innocence a usefulness; that it would have been unpopular to tack a man so little liable to censure, and that the l of his pen could not have been easily supplied. I the truth is, that morality was never suffered in t days of persecution to protect heresy; nor are we su that Ascham was more clear from common failin than those who suffered more ; and whatever might his abilities, they were not so necessary but that Ga diner could have easily filled his place with anoth secretary. Nothing is more vain, than at a distan time to examine the motives of discrimination an partiality; for the enquirer having considered in terest and policy, is obliged at last to omit more fre quent and more active motives of human conduct, ca price, accident, and private affections.
At that time, if some were punished, many werd