The Age of Erasmus eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about The Age of Erasmus.
reproved even kings.  In 1504 he was allowed to deliver a panegyric of congratulation before the Archduke Philip the Fair, who had just returned from Spain to the Netherlands; and after sketching a picture of a model prince, inculcated upon him the duty of maintaining peace.  In 1514 he wrote to one of his patrons, brother of the Bishop of Cambray, a letter on the wickedness of war, obviously designed for publication and actually translated into German by an admirer a few years later, to give it wider circulation.  In 1515 the enlarged Adagia contained an essay on the same theme, under the title quoted above:  words which, translated into English, were again and again reprinted during the nineteenth century by Peace Associations and the Society of Friends.  In 1516 he was appointed Councillor to Philip’s son, Charles, who at 16 had just succeeded to the crowns of Spain.  His first offering to his young sovereign was counsel on the training of a Christian prince, with due emphasis on his obligations for peace.  In 1517 he greeted the new Bishop of Utrecht, Philip of Burgundy, with a ‘Complaint of Peace cast forth from all lands’, Querela Pacis vndique profligatae.  And besides these direct invocations, in his other writings, his pen frequently returns upon the same high argument.  For a brief period in his life it seemed as though peace might come back.  Maximilian’s death in 1519 followed by Charles’ election to the Empire placed the sovereignty of Western and Central Europe in the hands of three young men, who were chivalrous and impressionable, Henry and Francis and Charles:  only the year before they had been treating for universal peace.  If they would really act in concord, it seemed as though the Golden Age might return, and Christendom show a united face against the watchful and unwearying Turk.  But though the sky was clear, the weather was what Oxfordshire folk call foxy.  Strife of nations, strife of creeds cannot in a moment be allayed.  Suddenly the little clouds upon the horizon swelled up and covered the heaven with the darkness of night; and before the dawn broke into new hope, Erasmus had laid down his pen for ever, and was at rest from his service to the Prince of Peace.

VI

FORCE AND FRAUD

As you stand on the Piazza dei Signori at Verona, at one side rises the massive red-brick tower of the Scaliger palace, lofty, castellated at its top, with here and there a small window, deep set in the old masonry, and the light that is allowed to pass inwards, grudgingly crossed by bars of rusty iron—­a place of defence and perhaps of tyranny, within which life is secure indeed, but grim and sombre.  Opposite, in an angle of the square, stands a very different building, the Palazzo del Consiglio.  It has only two storeys, but each of these is high and airy; above is a fine chamber, through whose ample windows streams in the sun; below is a pleasant loggia, supported by slender columns.  Marble cornices and balustrades give a sense of richness, and the wall-spaces are bright with painting and ornament.  The spacious galleries invite to enjoyment, to pace their length in free light-hearted talk, or to stand and watch the life moving below, with the sense of gay predominance that the advantage of height confers.

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The Age of Erasmus from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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