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836 [812]

K. Hen. 8. D. Colet. Lilie. Linacer. Grocine. W. Latimer. Gower. Geffrey Chauser.

Precious is in the sight of the Lord the death of his saints. 

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Dorman never said this. Foxe has apparently confused Dorman with Thomas Harding, who called Foxe's book, 'that huge dungehill of your stinking martyrs which you have intituled the Actes and Monumentes' (Thomas Harding, Confutation of a Book intituled an Apology of the Church of England [Antwerp, 1565], STC 12762, fos. 13v-14r). The phrase afterwards became something of a Catholic trope.

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And therefore howsoeuer it shall please M. Dorman, with reprochfull lāguage to misterme the good Martyrs of christes, or rather Christ in his Marytrs, his vnseemely vsage more cartlyke then clerkelyke, is not greatly to be weyed. For as the daunger of his blasphemy hurteth not them which are gone: so the contumely and reproche thereof, as well comprehendeth hys owne kyndred, friendes, and countrey, as any other els: and especially redoundeth to himselfe and woundeth hys owne soule and none els, vnto the great prouoking of gods wrath agaynst him, vnlesse he be blessed with better grace by tyme to repent.

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Doctour Colet.

MarginaliaIohn Colet Deane of Paules. MVch about this tyme, 

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Colet, Chaucer and Gower

This section epitomizes Foxe approaching one of his major themes, the existence of the True Church before Luther, from a novel angle. In the preceding sections dealing with the Lollards in the dioceses of Lincoln and London, Foxe emphasized their numbers and tried to show that an understanding of the gospel preceded the Reformation. In this section, Foxe tries to make the same point, by providing the examples of a few well-known Reform-minded English clergyman - John Colet and William Grocyn - and also the examples of two English anticlerical authors, Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower. (It should be emphasized that all of the figures discussed in this section were, contrary to Foxe's implications, orthodox Catholics - particularly Colet and Grocyn - and that none of them can justly considered a Lollard sympathiser, much less a proto-Protestant).

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For Colet and Grocyn, Foxe's sources were various writings of Erasmus, although he judiciously edited them. For Gower and Chaucer he draws largely on John Bale's Catalogus.

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

or not past ij. yeres before, dyed D. Iohn Colet, of whom mention was made in the table aboue, pag, 801. To whose sermons these knowen men about Buckynghamshyre, had a great mynd to resort. 
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Foxe is interested in demonstrating the zeal of the Lollards in acquiring godly literature, but this is also an indication of the affluence of many of these Lollards. On the importance of books to the Lollards see Margaret Aston, 'Lollardy and Literacy' in Lollards and Reformers: Images and and literacy in late medieval England (London, 1984), pp. 1-47.

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After he 
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The following account of Colet is abridged from Erasmus's mini- biography in Colet in his letter to Justas Jonas, dated 13 June 1521. (The letter is printed is epistle 1211 in The Correspondence of Erasmus, Letters 1122-1251, trans. R. A. B. Mynors and annotated Pieter G. Bietenholz [Toronto, 1998]; the section on Colet is on pp. 233-43). Foxe's abridgement involves more than saving space. While Foxe is accurate in what prints, he omits certain details Erasmus provided - such as Colet's celibacy, his avoiding the company of laymen, his desire to join the Carthusians and his strong approval of auricular confession - that do not fit with Foxe's idea of a proto-Protestant divine.

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came from Italy and Paris, he first began to read the Epistles of S. Paul openly in Oxford, MarginaliaPaules epistles first read openly in Oxford. in stead of Scotus and Thomas. From thence he was called by the king, and made Deane of Paules: where he accustomed much to preache, not without great auditory, as well of the kynges court, as of the citizens and other. MarginaliaThe commendation of Doctor Colet. His diet was frugall: his lyfe vpright: in discipline he was seuere: In somuch that hys Canons because of their strayter rule, complayned that they were made lyke monkes. The honest and honourable state of matrimony he euer preferred before the vnchast singlenes of priestes. 
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Foxe exaggerates what Erasmus writes. What Erasmus actually said was that Colet was relatively tolerant sexual misconduct by priests, but that Colet still regards clerical failure to maintain celibacy as a vice. Erasmus does not record Colet saying anything in favor of married clergy (The Correspondence of Erasmus, Letters 1122-1251, trans. R. A. B. Mynor and annotated Pieter G. Bietenholz [Toronto, 1988], p. 239).

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At his diner commonly was read eyther some chapter of S. Paule, or of Salomons Prouerbes. He neuer vsed to sup. And although the blyndnes of that tyme caryed him away after the common errour of Popery: yet in ripenes of iudgemēt he semed somthing to incline frō the vulgar trade of that age. The religious orders of mōks and friers he fantised not, As neither he could greatly fauour the barbarous diuinitie of the schoole Doctors, as of Scotus, but least of all, of Thomas Aquine: MarginaliaColets iudgemēt of Tho. Aquine. In so much that when Erasmus speaking in the prayse of Thom. Aquine, did commend hym that he had red many old authors, and had written diuers new workes as Catena aurea, and such lyke, to proue and to know his iudgement: Colet first supposing that Erasmus had spoken in iest, but after supposing that he ment good fayth, brusteth out in great vehemency, saying: what tell you me (quod he) of the commendation of that man, who except he had bene of an arrogant and presumptuous spirite, would not define and discusse all things so boldly & rashly: and also except he had bene rather worldly mynded, then heauēly, would neuer haue so polluted Christes whole doctrine with mans prophane doctrine, in such sort as he hath done.

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MarginaliaD. Colet accused. The Bishop of London at that tyme was Fitziames, of age no lesse then 80. 

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Foxe is repeating Erasmus's estimate of Bishop Fitzjames's age. The bishop's date of birth is unknown, but he must have been in his seventies at this time.

Who bearyng long grudge and displeasure agaynst Colet, with other ij. bishops takyng hys parte, lyke to hymselfe, entred action of complaynt agaynst Colet to the Archb. of Cant. being then W. Warham. The matter of hys complaynt was deuided into 3. Articles. The first was for speakyng against worshippyng of Images. The second was about hospitalitie, for that he entreatyng vpon the place of the Gospell, pasce, pasce, pasce, feede, feede, fede: when he had expounded the ij. first, for feadyng wt example of lyfe and with doctrine: in the third, which the scholemen do expounde for feedyng with hospitalitie, hee lefte out the outwarde fedyng of the belly, and applied it an other way. 
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In other words, Colet argued that the gospel command, 'Feed my sheep' was meant spiritually, but not materially. The passage had been used to argue that the clergy were enjoined to hospitality, but Colet's understanding of the passage was hardly novel.

The third crime wherewith they charged hym, was for speakyng agaynst such as vsed to preach onely by bosome Sermons, declaryng nothyng els to the people, but as they bring in their papers with them. 
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In other words, Colet criticized those who read their sermons from notes, rather than delivering it from memory.

MarginaliaThe B. of London enemie to D. Colet. Which because the B. of London vsed then much to do for his age, he tooke it as spoken agaynst hym, and therefore bare him this displeasure. MarginaliaThe Archb. of Canter. fauorer of D. Colet. The Archbishop more wysely weying the matter, and beyng well acquaynted with Colet, so tooke his parte agaynst his accusers, that hee at that tyme was ryd out of trouble.

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William Tyndall in his booke aūswering to M. More, addeth moreouer, 

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William Tyndale, An Answere unto Sir Thomas Mores Dialoge, ed. A. M. O'Donnell and Jared Wicks (Washington, DC, 2001), p. 168.

and testifieth that the Byshop of Londō would haue made the sayd Colet Deane of Paules, an hereticke for translatyng the Pater noster in Englishe, had not the Byshop of Cant. holpen the Deane.

But yet the malice of Fitziames the B. so ceased not: who beyng thus repulsed by the Archbyshop, practised by an other trayne howe to accuse him vnto the kyng. The occasion thus fell. It happened the same tyme, that the kyng was in preparation of warre agaynst Fraunce. Whereupō the Byshop with his coadiutors taking occasion vpon certaine wordes of Colet, wherin he semed to preferre peace before any kynde of warre, were it neuer so iust, accused hym therfore in their sermons, and also before the kyng.

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MarginaliaIniquæ pax iustissimo bello præferenda. Furthermore it so befell the same tyme that vpon good fri day D. Colet preaching before þe kyng, entreated of þe victory of Christ, exhorting all christians to fight vnder the stādard of Christ, agaynst the deuill: addyng moreouer what an hard thyng it was to fight vnder Christes banner, and that all they which vpon priuate hatred or ambition, tooke weapon agaynst their enemy, one christian to slay an other, such did not fight vnder the banner of Christ, but rather of Satan: and therfore concludyng hys matter, he exhorted that christian men in their wars would folowe Christ their prince and captayne, in fightyng against their enemies, rather then the example of Iulius, or Alexander. &c. MarginaliaColet called before the kyng. The king hearyng Colet thus to speake, & fearyng lest by his wordes the hartes of hys souldioures might be withdrawen from hys warres which he had then in hand, tooke him aside, and talked with hym in secrete conference in hys gardeyn walkyng. Bishop Fitziames, Bricot, and Standish, who were hys enemies, thought now none other, but that Colet must needes be committed to the Tower, and wayted for his cōmyng out. MarginaliaD. Colet commended of the kyng. But the kyng with great gentlenes interteynyng D. Colet, and biddyng hym familiarely to put on his cap, in long curteous talke had with hym in the gardein, much commended hym for his learning and integritie of life agreyng with hym in all pointes, but that onely he required hym (for that the rude souldiours should not rashly mistake that which he had sayd) more plainly to explane his words and mynd in that behalfe, which after he did: and so after long communication and great promises, the king dismissed Colet with these wordes, saying: let euery man haue hys Doctour as him lyketh: this shall be my doctour, and so departed. Wherby none of hys aduersaries durst euer trouble hym after that tyme.

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MarginaliaThe foundation of the schoole of Paules. Among many other memorable actes left behynd hym, he erected a worthy foundation of the schole of Paules (I pray God the fruites of þe schole may aunswer the foundation) for the cherishing vp of youth in good letters, prouidyng a sufficient stipend as well for the maister as for the Husher, whom he willed rather to be appoynted out of the number of maried men, then of single priestes with their suspected chastitie. MarginaliaGulielm Lisius. The first moderator of this schoole was Guliel. Lilius, a man no lesse notable for his learnyng, then was Colet for his foundatiō. MarginaliaEx epist. Eras. ad Iod. Ionā. Ex Epist. Erasm. ad Iodoc. Ionā. This Colet died the yere of our Lord. 1519.

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MarginaliaGuliel. Grocinus.
Guliel. Latimerus.
Not long before the death of this Colet and Lily, lyued Gulielmus Grocinus, and Gulielmus Latimerus, both English men also, and famously learned. MarginaliaThe iudgement of Grocinus vpon Hierarchia ecclesiast. Dionisii Areopag. This Grocinus as he began to read in hys open lecture in the church 

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This account of Grocyn's lectures comes from Erasmus's Declarationes ad censuras Lutetiae vulgatus [1532] (Desiderus Erasmus, Opera omnia, 10 vols [Leiden, 1703-6], VI, p. 503). J. B. Trapp's article on Grocyn in the ODNB casts doubt on Erasmus's claim that Grocyn questioned the authenticity of pseudo-Dionysius or that the lectures even took place.

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of S. Paul the booke of Dyonisius Areopagita, commonly called Hierarchia Ecclesiastica (for the reading then of the holy Scriptures in Paules was not in vre) in the first entry of his preface, he cryed out with great vehemency against them who soeuer they were, which either denied, or stoode in doubt of the authoritie of that booke: in the number of whom he noted Laurence Valla and dyuers other of lyke approued iudgement and learnyng. But afterward the same Grocine, when he had continued a few weekes in his reading thereof, and did consider further in hym, he vtterly altered, and recanted hys former sentence, protestyng openly that the forenamed booke to his iudgement, MarginaliaDionisius Areopag. was neuer written by that author whom we read in the actes of the apostles to be called Dionysius Areopagita. Ex. Eras. ad Parisiens.

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The tractation of these two couples aboue rehersed, doe occasion me to adioyne also the remembraunce of an other couple of lyke learned men: MarginaliaThomas Linacer.
Richard Paceus.
The names of whom not vnworthy to be remembred, were Thomas Linacre, and Richard Pace: which two followed much vppon the tyme of Colet, and of Wil. Lily. But of Richard Pace, which was Deane next after the foresayd Iohn Colet, more conuenient place shall serue vs hereafter to speake, commyng to the story of Cardinall Wolsey. 

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See 1570, pp. 1124-25; 1576, pp. 962-3 and 1583, pp. 989-990.

MarginaliaGeffrey Chaucer.
Iohn Gower.
Moreouer to these two I thought it not out of season, to couple also some mention of Geffrey Chaucer, and Iohn Gower. Which although being much discrepant from these in course of yeares, yet may seeme not vnworthy to be matched with these forenamed persons in commendatiō of their studie and learnyng. Albeit concerning the full certeintye of the tyme and death of these two, we can not finde: 
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What follows on Gower is from John Bale, Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae…Catalogus (Basel, 1557), p. 525, except for the description of Gower's tomb, which Foxe must have seen for himself.

yet it appeareth in the prologe of Gowers worke, intitled confessio Amantis, that he finished it in the 16. yeare of K. Rich. the second. And in the ende of the viij. booke of hys sayde treatyse he declareth, that he was both sicke and olde, when he wrote it, wherby it may appeare, that he lyued not long after. Notwithstanding, by certayne verses of the sayde maister Gower placed in the later end of Chaucers works both in Latine and Englishe, it may seeme that he was aliue at the beginnyng of the raigne of king Henry the iiij. and also by a booke which he wrote to the same king Henry By his sepulture within a chappell of the church of s. Mary Oueries, which was then a monastery where he & hys

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