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863 [839]

K. Henry. 8. Doctor Colet. Commendation of learned men. Chaucer, Iohn Gower.

William Tyndall in hys booke aunswering that 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 London would haue made the said Colet Deane of Paules, an hereticke for translating the Pater noster in Englishe, had not the Byshop of Caunterbury holpen the Deane.

But yet the malice of Fitziames the Byshop so ceased not: who being thus repulsed by the Archbishop, practised by an other trayne how to accuse hym vnto the king. The occasion thus fel. It happened the same time, that the king was in preparation of warre agaynst Fraunce. Whereupon the Byshop with his coadiutors taking occasion vpon certaine wordes of Colet, MarginaliaIniqua pax iustissimo bello præferenda.wherein he seemed to preferre peace before any kinde of warre, were it neuer so iust, accused him therefore in their sermons, and also before the Kyng.

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Furthermore it so befell the same time þt vpon goodfriday D. Colet preaching before the king, entreated of the victory of Christ, exhorting all Christians to fight vnder þe standard of Christ, against the deuill, adding moreouer what an hard thing it was to fight vnder Christes banner, and that all they which vpon priuate hatred or ambition, tooke weapon against their enemy, one christian to slay an other suche did not fight vnder the banner of Christ, but rather of Satan, & therefore concluding his matter, he exhorted that Christian men in theyr warres would followe Christ their Prince, & captayn, in fighting against their enemies rather then the example of Iulius or Alexander &c. MarginaliaColet called before the kyng.The king hearing Colet thus to speake, and fearing lest by hys words the hartes of his souldiours might be withdrawne from his warres which hee had then in hande, tooke hym aside, and talked with him in secret conference in his garden walking. Bish. Fitziames, Bricot, and Stādish, who were his enemies, thought now none other, but that Colet must needs be committed to þe Tower, & wayted for his comming out. But the king with great gentlenes intertayning D. Colet, and bidding him familiarly to put on his cap, in long curteous talk had with him in the garden much commended him for his learning & integritie of lyfe agreeing with him in all poyntes, but that onely he required him (for that the rude souldiours shuld not rashly mistake that which he had said) more playnly to explane hys words and minde in that behalfe, which after he dyd: and so after long communication and great promises, the king dismissed Colet with these wordes, saying: MarginaliaD. Colet commended of the king.let euery man haue his Doctour as him liketh: this shall be my Doctour and so departed. Wherby none of his aduersaries durst euer trouble him after that time.

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Among many other memorable actes left behind him, he erected a worthy foundation of the schoole of Paules MarginaliaThe foundation of the schoole of Paules. (I pray God the fruites of the schoole may auswere þe foundation) for the cherishing vp of youth in good letters, prouiding a sufficient stipende as well for the maister as for the Husher, whome he willed rather to be appoynted out of the number of maryed men, then of single priestes with their suspected chastitie. The first moderator of this schoole was Guliel. Lilius, MarginaliaGulielm. Lilius. a man no lesse notable for hys learnyng, then was Colet for his foundation. MarginaliaEx epist. Eras. ad Iod. Ionam.Ex Epist. Erasm. ad Iodoc. Ionam. This Colet died the yeare of our Lord 1519.

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Not long before the death of this Colet and Lily, liued Gulielmus Grocinus, MarginaliaGuliel. Grocinus. and Gulielmus Latimerus, MarginaliaGuliel. Latimerus. both English men also, and famously learned. MarginaliaThe iudgemēt of Greocinus vpon Hierachia ecclesiast. Dionisii Areopag.This Grocinus as he began to read in his opē lecture 

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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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in þe church of S. Paul the booke of Dyonisius Areopagita, commonly called Hierarchia Ecclesiastica (for the reading of the holy scriptures in Paules was not in vre) in the first entry of his preface, he cryed out with great vehemency agaynst them who soeuer they were, whiche eyther denyed, or stoode in doubt of the authoritie of that booke: in the number of whome hee noted Laurence Valla & diuers other of like approued iudgement and learning. But afterward the same Grocine, when he had continued a few weekes in hys reading thereof, and did consider further in him, he vtterly altered, and recanted his former sentence, protesting openly, that the forenamed booke to his iudgement, was neuer written by that authour whom we reade in the actes of the Apostles to be called Dyonisius Areopagita. MarginaliaDionisius Areopag. Ex Eras. ad Parisiens.

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

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

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Moreouer to these two I thought it not out of season, tocouple also some mention of Geffrey Chaucer, MarginaliaGeffrey Chaucer. and Iohn Gower. MarginaliaIohn Gower. Which although being much discrepant frō these in course of yeres, yet may seeme not vnworthy to be matched with these forenamed persons in commendation of their study and learning. Albeit concerning the full certainty of the tyme and death of these two, we cannot find: 

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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 work, intituled confessio Amantis, that he finished it in the 16. yeare of K. Rich. the second. And in the end of the viij. booke of hys sayde treatise, he declareth, that he was both sicke and old, when he wrote it, wherby it may appeare, that he liued not long after. Notwithstanding, by certayne verses of the sayde maister Gower placed in þe latter end of Chaucers works both in Latine and Englishe, it may seeme that he was aliue at the beginning of the raigne of king Henry the iiij. and also by a booke which he wrote to the same K. Henry. MarginaliaThe bookes of Iohn Gower.By his sepulture within a Chappell of the Churche of S. Mary Oueries, whiche was then a monastery where he & his wife lye buried, it appeareth by hys cheyn & his garlād of Laurell, that he was both a knight, and florishing than in poetry. In the which place of his sepulture were made in hys grauestone 3. books, the first bearing the tytle, Speculum meditantis, The second, Vox Clamantis, The thyrd. Cōfessio amantis. Besides these, diuers Chronicles and other workes moe be compiled.

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Likewise as touching 

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The sparse biographical information on Chaucer that follows is from John Bale, Scriptorum Illustrium maioris Brytanniae…Catalogus (Basel, 1557), p. 525

the tyme of Chaucer, by hys owne works in the end of hys first booke of Troylus and Crescide it is manifest, that he and Gower were bothe of one tyme, although it seemeth that Gower was a great deale his ancient: both notably learned, as the barbarous rudenes of that tyme did geue, both great friends together and both in like kinde of study together occupyed, MarginaliaChaucer & Gower commended for their studious exercise.so endeuoring themselues, and employing their tyme, that they excelling many other in study and exercise of good letters, did passe forth their liues here right worshipfully & godly to the worthye fame and commendation of theyr name. Chaucers workes be all printed in one volume, and therfore knowne to all men. 
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The first edition of Chaucer's collected works was printed in 1532 (STC 5068).

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This I meruaile 

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The description of Chaucer as a 'right Wicklevian' is Foxe's own composition.

to see the idle lyfe of the priestes and clergye men of that tyme, seeing these lay persons shewed themselues in these kinde of liberall studyes so industrious & fruitfully occupyed: but muche more I maruell to consider thys, how þt the bishops condemning and abolishing al maner of Englishe bookes and treatises whiche might bring þe people to anye light of knowledge, did yet authorise the workes of Chaucer to remaine still & to be occupyed: Who (no doubt) saw in Religion as much almost as euen we do now, & vttereth in hys works no lesse, MarginaliaChaucer a right Wickleuian.and seemeth to be a right Wicleuian, or els was neuer any, and that all his workes almost, MarginaliaChaucers bokes if they be throughly aduised will testifie (albeit it be done in mirth, & couertly) & especially þe latter end of hys thyrd booke of þe Testament of loue for there purely he toucheth the highest matter, that is the communion: Wherin, except a man be altogether blind, he may espy him at the full. Although in the same book (as in all other he vseth to do) vnder shadows couertly, as vnder a visour, he suborneth trueth, in suche sort, as both priuilye she may profite the godly minded, and yet not be espyed of the crafty aduersary: And therefore the bishops belike, taking his woorkes but for iestes and toys, in condemning other bookes, yet permitted his bookes to be read.

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So it pleased God to blind then the eyes of them, for þe more commoditie of his people, to the intent that through the reading of his treatises, some fruit might redound ther of to his Church, as no doubt it dyd to many: MarginaliaMen brought to truth by reading Chaucers workes.As also I am partly enformed of certayne whiche knew the parties, which to them reported, þt by reading of Chaucers works, they were brought to the true knowledge of religion. And not vnlike to be true. For to omitte other partes of his volume, whereof some are more fabulous then other, what tale can be more playnly tolde then the tale of the ploughman? 

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The 'Ploughman's Tale' is not by Chaucer. It was an anonymous medieval work, possibly partly rewritten to increase its anti-papal slant, attributed to Chaucer and printed as part of 'The Canterbury Tales'.

MarginaliaThe ploughmans tale in Chaucer. or what finger can poynt out more directly the Pope with his prelates to be Antichrist, then doth the poore Pellican reasoning agaynst the greedy Griffon? 
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The pelican and the griffon are the two protagonists of the 'Ploughman's Tale'.

Vnder which Hypotyposis or Poesie, who is so blind that seeth not by the Pellican, the doctrine of Christ and of the Lollardes to be defended against the Church of Rome? Or who is so impudent þt can deny that to be true, which the Pellicā there affirmeth in describing the presumptuous pryde of that pretensed Church? Agayne what egge can be more lyke, or fig vnto an other: then the wordes properties, and conditiōs of that rauening griphe resembleth the true Image, that is, the nature and quallities of that which we call þe church of Rome, in euery poynt & degree? and therefore no great meruaile, if that narratiō was exempted out of the copies of Chaucers workes: whiche notwithstanding now is re-

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