Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 11.djvu/331

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Colet
Colet
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John Ritwyse, to be sur-master, in whose behalf he asked Wolsey for some ecclesiastical preferment in 1517 (Ellis, Orig. Letters, 3rd ser. i. 190); and engaged Linacre to write a simple Latin grammar. Linacre s grammar did not satisfy Colet, and he himself prepared in 1509 a short English treatise on the Latin Accidence, prefaced by his precepts and prayers. Lilly supplied a brief English syntax, which is usually bound up with Colet's accidence. At Colet's request Lilly also wrote a Latin syntax ('Libellus de Constructione Octo partium'), which Erasmus revised. A unique copy, with Colet's letter to Lilly prefixed, printed by Richard Pynson in London in 1513, is in the Bodleian Library (Notes and Queries, 6th ser. ii. 441, 461). Erasmus likewise drew up several prayers and a Latin phrase-book ('De Copia Verborum et Rerum ') for the use of Colet's scholars, and in Erasmus's edition of the ' Horæ ' (Paris, 1532) was printed Colet's English paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer, which was not specially prepared for his pupils. Colet's translation of this prayer and of the creed also appeared in the ' Horæ ' printed in London by Robert Wyer in 1533 (AMES, pp. 370-1), and the Lord's Prayer alone is in ' The Prymer of Salisbery Vse' (Lond. by John Gough, 1536).

On 6 Feb. 1511-12 convocation was summoned to consider the extirpation of the Lollard heresy, which had lately revived. Colet was appointed by Archbishop Warham to preach the preliminary sermon in St. Paul's Cathedral, and he seized the opportunity of denouncing the corruptions of the bishops and clergy their ignorance, their self-indulgence, and their simony and of boldly pleading for the church's internal reform. The sermon was published immediately in English, and convocation adjourned without devoting much attention to the Lollards, who are stated to have been the most attentive auditors of Colet's sermons at St. Paul's. The majority of churchmen regarded Colet as an advocate of dangerous doctrines, and they now attacked as heretical not only his preaching but the scheme of his new school. The aged bishop of London, FitzJames, who was jealous of Colet's reputation, took advantage of his unpopularity with his own order to bring specific charges of heresy against him before the Archbishop of Canterbury. Extracts from his sermons showed that he had denounced the worship of images and large episcopal revenues : some objections raised to the practice of preaching from written sermons were interpreted as reflections on the physical infirmities of his bishop. Such remarks formed the basis of the accusation. Tyndale adds that Colet was also charged with having translated the ' Paternoster ' into English. Archbishop Warham sensibly dismissed all the charges as frivolous. The persecution did not silence Colet. Henry VIII's continental wars disgusted him ; he had expected the new king, whose enlightenment was at one time a commonplace with the leaders of the New Learning, to inaugurate a reign of peace, and in sermons preached in 1512 and 1513 he lost no opportunity of expressing his disapproval of Henry's militant policy. Bishop FitzJames tried in vain to poison the Mng's mind against Colet on these grounds. After Good Friday, 27 March 1513, when the dean had denounced the expedition against France, Henry invited Colet to meet him at Greenwich, and they talked together of the possibilities of justifying war. Although they did not come to any agreement, they each made concessions in the argument and parted on the best of terms. The king is said to have marked his sense of Colet's honesty by making him a royal chaplain and admitting him to the privy council, but it is very doubtful if the latter honour was conferred on him. In 1514 Erasmus, who was bringing a second visit to England to a close, spent much of his time with Colet. Colet was involved in a quarrel with his uncle William on business matters, which Erasmus and Archbishop Warham induced him to settle amicably. About the same time the two friends made a pilgrimage together to the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket at Canterbury, where Colet openly expressed his disbelief in the healing effects of the relics and ridiculed the credulity of the vergers and his fellow-pilgrims. In 1514 the dean wrote to Erasmus that the persecution of the Bishop of London continued, and made him anxious to exchange public life for retirement in a Carthusian monastery ; but on 18 Nov. 1515 he preached at the installation of Wolsey as cardinal at Westminster Abbey, and openly warned the prelate against worldly ambition. From this time till his death Colet complained of ill-health and habitually spoke of himself as an old man, although he was barely fifty years of age. He welcomed eagerly Erasmus's new Latin translation of the New Testament (1516), and read with appreciation the 'De Arte Cabalistica' (1517) of Reuchlin, the eminent Hebraist. In 1518 he was for a third time seized with the sweating sickness, and, although his recovery seemed assured, he was conscious of the approach of death. His attention was now mainly directed towards his school, and the last year of his life was chiefly occupied with the composition of its final statutes, which are said to have been modelled on those of Banbury school. He