Edition: current; Page: [ix] Prefatory Note. Bailey, the compiler of a well—known Dictionary. The chief peculiarity of his version is its reproduction of the idiomatic and proverbial Latinisms, and generally of the classical phrases and allusions in which Erasmus abounds, in corresponding or analogous English forms. Thus his translation, as a piece of racy English, has a certain independent value of its own, and may be read with interest even by those who are familiar with the original. Literary feeling is jealous, no doubt justly, on general grounds, of expurgations. Edition: current; Page: [x] Further, throughout the greater part of the work, the translation has been closely compared with the Latin original.
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Edition: current; Page: [ix] Prefatory Note. Bailey, the compiler of a well—known Dictionary. The chief peculiarity of his version is its reproduction of the idiomatic and proverbial Latinisms, and generally of the classical phrases and allusions in which Erasmus abounds, in corresponding or analogous English forms.
Thus his translation, as a piece of racy English, has a certain independent value of its own, and may be read with interest even by those who are familiar with the original. Literary feeling is jealous, no doubt justly, on general grounds, of expurgations.
Edition: current; Page: [x] Further, throughout the greater part of the work, the translation has been closely compared with the Latin original. The literal sense of the original, sometimes its language, has in many of these notes been given, with the view of increasing the interest of perusal to the general reader.
The remainder of the notes are, like the contents of the volume, of a miscellaneous character: philological, antiquarian, historical. They do not, of course, profess to supply an exhaustive commentary; but are designed to afford elucidations and illustrations of the text that may be intelligible and instructive to the English reader, and possibly to some extent to the scholar. The Colloquies of Erasmus form a rich quarry of intellectual material, from which each student will extract that which he regards to be of peculiar value.
The linguist, the antiquary, the observer of life and manners, the historian, the moralist, the theologian may all find themselves attracted to these pages. It is hoped that there are many who at the present time will welcome the republication, in English, of a book which not only produced so great a sensation in Europe on its appearance, but may be said to have had something to do with the making of history.
It is unnecessary to do more than refer to the fact that the Editor undertook his task under certain inconveniences, and limitations as to space and time, which have prevented him from satisfying his own idea of what the book should be. He trusts it will not be found wanting in accuracy, however falling short of completeness. The Latin text used has been that of P. THE Book dedicated to you has surpassed my expectation, my dearest Erasmius: it will be your part to take care that you do not disappoint my expectation.
Our studious youth are so in love with the book, seize upon it so eagerly, handle it so constantly, that your father has had repeatedly to print it, and I to enrich it with new additions.
It were deep cause for shame, if, while this book has rendered so many both better Latin scholars and better men, you should so act that the same use and profit should not return to yourself, which by your means has come to all. And since there are so many young fellows, who thank you for the sake of the Colloquies, would it not be justly thought absurd, if through your fault the fact should seem that you could not thank me on the same account?
The little book has increased to the fair size of a volume. You must also endeavour, in proportion as your age increases, to improve in sound learning Edition: current; Page: [xii] and integrity of manners. No ordinary hopes are placed upon you: it is indispensable that you should answer to them; it would be glorious for you to surpass them; disappoint them you surely cannot without the greatest disgrace. Nor do I say this, because your course thus far gives me occasion for regret, but by way of spurring the runner, that you may run more nimbly; especially since you have arrived at an age, than which none happier occurs in the course of life for imbibing the seeds of letters and of piety.
Act then in such a way, that these Colloquies may be truly called yours. The Lord Jesus keep the present season of your life pure from all pollutions, and ever lead you on to better things! Basil, August 1st.
A BOOK of Colloquies had appeared, the material of which was collected partly from domestic talks, partly from my papers; but with a mixture of certain trivialities, not only without sense, but also in bad Latin,—perfect solecisms. This trash was received with wonderful applause; for in these matters too Fortune has her sport. I was compelled therefore to lay hands on these trumperies.
At length, having applied somewhat greater care, I added considerable matter, so that the book might be of fair size, and in fact might appear worthy even of the honour of being dedicated to John Erasmius, son of Froben, a boy then six years old, but of extraordinary natural ability. This was done in the year But the nature of this work is such, that it receives addition as often as it is revised.
Accordingly I frequently made an addition for the sake of the studious, and of John Froben; but so tempered the subject—matters, that besides the pleasure of reading, and their use in polishing the style, they might also contain that which would conduce to the formation of character. Even while the book I have referred to contained nothing but mere rubbish, it was read with wonderful favour by all.
A certain divine of Louvain, frightfully blear of eye, but still more of mind, saw in it four heretical passages. There was also another incident connected with this work worth relating.
It was lately printed at Paris with certain passages corrected, that is to say, corrupted, which appeared to attack monks, vows, pilgrimages, indulgences, and other things of that kind which, if held in great esteem among the people, would be a source of more plentiful profit to gentlemen of that order.
But he did this so stupidly, Edition: current; Page: [xiv] so clumsily, that you would swear he had been some street buffoon: although the author of so silly a piece is said to be a certain divine of the Dominican order, by nation a Saxon. Of what avail is it to add his name and surname, which he himself does not desire to have suppressed?
A monster like him knows not what shame is; he would rather look for praise from his villany. This rogue added a new Preface in my name, in which he represented three men sweating at the instruction of one boy: Capito, who taught him Hebrew, Beatus Greek, and me, Latin. And here I know that some will chuckle, when they read that Capito is favoured by such a hater of Luther with the designation of an excellent and most accomplished man.
These and many things of the like kind he represents me as saying, taking the pattern of his effrontery from a letter of Jerome, who complains that his rivals had circulated a forged letter under his name amongst a synod of bishops in Africa; in which he was made to confess that, deceived by certain Jews, he had falsely translated the Old Testament from the Hebrew.
Although Jerome speaks of this deed as one of extreme and incurable roguery, our Phormio takes peculiar delight in this, which is more rascally than any notorious book. But his malicious will was wanting in power to carry out what he had intended.
For these things were composed for their benefit, all of whom he supposes to be such blockheads that they will not instantly detect the patch—work he has so awkwardly sewn together.
So abjectly does he everywhere flatter France, Paris, the theologians, the Sorbonne, the Colleges, no beggar could be more cringing. Accordingly, if anything uncomplimentary seems to be Edition: current; Page: [xv] said against the French, he transfers it to the British; or against Paris, he turns it off to London.
He added some odious sayings as if coming from me, with the view of stirring up hatred against me amongst those by whom he is grieved to know me beloved. It is needless to dwell upon the matter. Throughout he curtails, makes additions, alterations after his fashion, like a sow smeared with mud, rolling herself in a strange garden, bespattering, disturbing, rooting up everything.
Meanwhile, he does not perceive that the points made by me are quite lost. Occasionally he does not perceive that what follows his alterations does not hang together with them. A speaker in my text rallies his comrade, who, although of abandoned life, nevertheless puts faith in indulgentiary bulls. And these he wants to appear my corrections. O wondrous Atlases of faith! This is just as if one should feign, by means of morsels dipped in blood, a wound in the human body, and presently, by removing what he had supplied, should cure the wound.
I have referred to this one matter for the sake of example, although he frequently indulges in tricks of this kind. And these answer to the palinode recantation which he promises in my name in his forged preface. For it does not at all trouble me, that he represents a man not yet sixty, as burdened with old age. For he wishes to appear a divine when his matter cries out that he does not grasp a straw of theological science.
I have no doubt but that yonder thief imposed with his lies upon his starved printer; for I do not think there is a man so mad as to be willing knowingly to print such ignorant trash. This I am astonished at, if the report is true: that there are among the Parisian divines those who pride themselves on having at length secured a man who by the thunderbolt of his eloquence is to break asunder the whole party of Luther and restore the church to its pristine tranquility. For he wrote also against Luther as I hear.
And then the divines complain that they are slandered by me, who aid their studies in so many nightwatches; while they themselves willingly embrace monsters of this description, who bring more dishonour to the order of divines and Edition: current; Page: [xvii] even of monks, than any foe, however foul—mouthed, can do. He who has audacity for such an act as this,will not hesitate to employ fire or poison.
And these things are printed at Paris, where it is unlawful to print even the Gospel, unless approved by the opinion of the faculty. This last work of the Colloquies, with the addition of an appendix, is issued in the month of September, From a letter of Erasmus dated 5th Oct.
His name was Lambert Campester. He, I say, many other offences and crimes having been proved against him, is at length in a certain town of Germany, called, I think, Zorst, in the Duchy of Juliers,—his cowl thrown aside, teaching the Gospel, that is, mere sedition.
The Duke begged them to turn the fellow out. They answered that they could not do without their preacher. And this sort of plague spreads from day to day.
A MATTER has been brought to my knowledge, not only by rumour, but by the letters of trustworthy friends, expressly stating in what words, in what place, a calumny was directed against me in our midst, through the agency of a well—known person, who is ever true to himself; whose very character and former doings lead one to assume as ascertained fact what in another would have been but probable. Accordingly, I thought I ought to make no concealment of the matter; especially from you, whose part it was to restrain the unbridled impudence of the fellow, if not for my sake, at all events for that of your Order.
He boasts and vociferates that in the book of Colloquies there are four passages more than heretical: concerning the Eating of meats and Fasting, concerning Indulgences, and concerning Vows. Although such be his bold and impudent assertion, whoever reads the book in its entirety will find the facts to be otherwise.
If, however, leisure be wanting for the reading of trifles of this description, I will briefly lay the matter open. But before I approach it, I think well to make three prefatory remarks. For I understand it was published May 6th, , whereas this book was printed long before: and that at Basle, where no Imperial edict had up to the time been made known, whether publicly or privately.
Secondly, although in that book I do not teach dogmas of Faith, but formulae for speaking Latin; yet there are matters intermixed by the way, which conduce to good manners. Now if, when a theme has been previously written down in German or French, a master should teach his boys to render the sense in Latin thus: Utinam nihil edant praeter allia, qui nobis hos dies pisculentos invexerunt.
I think there is no one so unjust, as to deem this just. Thirdly, I had in the first instance to take care what sort of person it should be to whom I ascribe the speech in the dialogue.
For I do not there represent a divine preaching, but good fellows having a gossip together. He may also bring it against me, that in that passage a soldier, amongst many things which he speaks about in true soldier—fashion, says that he will look for a priest to confess to, who shall have as little of good as possible about him. The same objector would, I imagine, bring it up against me, were I to ascribe to Arius in a dialogue a discourse at variance with the Church. If such charges against me would be absurd, why in other matters should not regard be had to the quality of the person speaking?
Unless perchance, were I to represent a Turk speaking, they should decide to lay at my door whatever he might say. With this preface, I will make a few general remarks on the passages criticised by the person to whom I refer. In the first passage, a boy of sixteen years says that he confesses only sins that are unquestionably capital, or gravely suspected; while the Lutherans teach, as I understand, that it is not necessary to confess all capital offences.
Presently, the same boy being asked, whether it be sufficient to confess to Christ himself, answers that it will satisfy his mind, if the fathers of the Church were of the same opinion.
From this my critic argues, not with dialectic art, but with rascally cunning, that I suggest that this Confession which we now practise was not instituted by Christ, but by the leaders of the Church. Therefore he who speaks of princes of the Church, does not exclude Christ, but includes Him along with the Apostles, and the successors of the Apostles, in the same manner as he who names the principal members of the body does not exclude the head.
But if any one shall deem this reply to savour Edition: current; Page: [xxi] of artifice: well now, let us grant that the boy was thinking of pure men, heads of the Church: is it then not enough for the boy that he follows in the matter of confession their authority, even although he is not assured whether the Popes could ordain this on their own authority, or handed it down to us from the ordinance of Christ?
For he has a mind to obey, in whatever way they have handed it down. For there are very many arguments, to me in fact insoluble, which persuade to the contrary. Nevertheless, I entirely submit this feeling of my own to the judgment of the Church.
Paul Vittay rated it really liked it Jun 13, More than of his letters survive today. Ten colloquies of Erasmus — Desiderius Erasmus — Google Books Using humanist techniques for working on texts, he prepared important new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament, which raised questions that would be influential in the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. In about he began to perceive the possibilities this form might hold for continuing his campaign for the gradual enlightenment and reform of all Christendom. Refresh and try again.
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