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et seq.

CHAP. Mass and in short time they digested their arguments I. into a just book, which they intended to present to the Ann. 1540, Lord Protector, unless Cheke and Cecil (unto whom they discovered all this) thought it more convenient to forbear so to do. Thus inclined and affected stood this college to true religion: a great cause whereof was Cheke's influence. In short, while Cheke was a member of the college, he influenced much, not only in a diligent promoting learning and religion, but in wisely pacifying and quieting domestic commotions. After he was gone, he was dearly missed in both respects. Of this Ascham, remaining behind there, Epist. p. 77. takes notice, and complained once to him of the ill times that followed his departure from them, for the want of his counsels.

li. 15.

A great light to the University.


Made the King's Greek Professor. Reforms the pronunciation of Greek.

ALL this he was to the college; but his light diffused itself over all the University, to the benefit of it, as well as for his own glory. He was of chief esteem for all human learning, and was a great judge of it. Leland, one of the floridest scholars there, teaches as much, whilst he submits his epigrams to his censure, and bids his book strive to make itself approved and acceptable to Cheke.


Si vis Thespiadum choro probari,
Fac, ut consilio, libelle, nostro,
Facundo studeas placere CHECO.

For he was a great master of language, and a happy imitator of the great orator: and Facundus, i. e. Eloquent, was the epithet Leland thought proper for him. His presence and society inspired the University with a love of learning and the youth every where addicted themselves to the reading and studying of the best authors for pure Roman style, and Grecian eloquence; such as Cicero and Demosthenes; laying aside their old barbarous writers and schoolmen, with their nice and unprofitable questions. The benefit whereof was, that as good learning increased


et seq.

there, so also did true religion and the knowledge of the SECT. Gospel; Popery being sheltered with nothing so much as barbarism and ignorance. And as it was thus with the Ann. 1540, University, while Cheke was there, so when he was gone from it, learning and religion seemed with the absence of him to wither and languish. A thing which Cheke himself could not but take notice of with trouble, in a letter to a friend of his in the University, that the Cantabri- Aschami Epist. fol. gians Tà Tλλà úσrspilaw, i. e. were wanting in many things, 104. ii. 45. or went much backward. Such a want had the University of the daily incitements and good example of some such an one as he.

Greek Lec

But that that gave a great stroke to Cheke's endeavours Made the for the restoration of learning here, was that the Univer- King's sity chose him their Greek Lecturer; and this he per- turer. formed without any salary. But the King, about the year 1540, having founded a Greek lecture, with the salary of 401. a year, for the encouraging that study, (not long after he had made him his Scholar,) constituted him his first Greek Professor, being now Master of Art, and about twenty-six years of age. Together with Cheke, were now constituted other very learned Professors in the University, which made it flourish. For as Cheke was Reader of the Greek lecture, Wiggin read Divinity, Smith Civil Law, Wakefield Hebrew, and Blith (who married Cheke's sister) Physic; being all the King's Professors, with the salary of 401. a year as Ascham acquainted a friend of his, speaking of Epist. Branthe flourishing state of the University at that time. And that which was an addition to Cheke's honour, as well as the repute he had for his excellent skill in the Greek, we have been told by one that hath given some short notes of Dr. Langhis life, that when this lecture, with the salary before of Cheke, mentioned, was to be disposed of, Cheke was absent; and before his though there were three competitors earnestly making the True their interest for it, yet Cheke's name obtained it from Subject, them. This place it seems he was so well pleased with, that he held it long after he left the University, viz. until October 1551.


bains's Life

edition of


Hereby Cheke, together with his learned contemporary, Smith, (who ever went along with him in promoting good Ann. 1542, literature,) was highly instrumental in bringing into more request the study of Greek, in which language all learning pronuncia- anciently was contained; and from Greece it flowed into tion of Italy, and other parts of the world. This language was

et seq. Reforms the



little known or understood hitherto in this realm. And if any saw a piece of Greek, they used to say, Græcum est; non potest legi, i. e. "It is Greek, it cannot be read." And those few that did pretend to some insight into it, read it after a strange corrupt manner, pronouncing the vowels and diphthongs, and several of the consonants, very much amiss: confounding the sound of the vowels and diphthongs so, that there was little or no difference between them. As for example, as was pronounced as ɛ, o and & as iñτa; ʼn, 1, v, were expressed in one and the same sound; that is, as ita. Also some of the consonants were pronounced differently, according as they were placed in the word; that is to say, when was placed after μ, it was pronounced as our d. And when was put after », then it was sounded as our b. The letter x was pronounced as we do ch, ẞ as we do the v consonant. But since different letters must make different sounds, Cheke, with his friend Smith, concluded these to be very false ways of reading Greek, and sounds utterly different from what the ancient Greeks read and spake. But what the true way was, that they both earnestly set themselves to consider and find out; which at length they did, partly by considering the power of the letters themselves, and partly by consulting with Greek authors, Aristophanes and others; in some whereof they found footsteps to direct them how the ancient Greeks pronounced.


The Chan

These errors then Cheke in his lectures plainly discocellor of vered, and at length exploded. And the more studious forbids it by and ingenuous sort of scholars being convinced, most gladly


a decree.

forsook their old way of reading Greek, for this more right and true, though new found out, shewn them by their learned Reader. But there was a party in the


University, who, disliking any thing that was new, and SECT. dreading alterations, and blindly admitting every thing that was old, would by no means allow of this pronuncia- Anno 1542. tion, but opposed it with all their might, by disputing against it, and at last, by complaining to Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, the Chancellor of the University, against Cheke and his adherents for this great misdemeanor. Who being of the same mind with the complainants, and fearing innovation more than was need, made a solemn decree, dated the calends of June 1542, confirming the old corrupt sounding of Greek, and enjoining the scholars to make no variation, and that upon these pains, viz. If he were a regent, to be expelled out of the senate; if he stood for a degree, not to be admitted to it; if a scholar, to lose his scholarship; and the younger sort to be chastised. And in short, the decree ran, "That none should philosophize at all in sounds, but all use the present. "And that if any thing were to be corrected in them, let "it all be left to authority *."



Letters pass between Cheke and the Chancellor of the
University about it.

AND besides this, the Chancellor sent a Latin letter to And particularly inCheke, the Greek Lecturer, to forbear any farther men- hibits tioning his new way of pronunciation in his lectures: Cheke. however treating him like a man of learning, and arguing with him in an humane and scholar-like manner. Beginning his letter in this obliging style: "Stephen Bishop ❝ of Winton, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, "to John Cheke wisheth health. That which the Chan"cellor according to his right should do, namely, by his "authority as a magistrate to abate and restrain unwary “rashness, when it waxeth wanton in learning, I thought " rather to be attempted by friendship. That I might ob

k In sonis omnino ne philosophator, sed utitor præsentibus. In hiis siquid emendandum sit, id omne autoritati permittite.


CHAP. "tain that by fair means from a mild nature, and im"proved by human studies, which power would exact of Anno 1542." the rude and barbarous. Therefore I purpose to deal "with you in this epistle, not as a Chancellor with a "scholar, but as a man somewhat versed in learning with a "hard student; and to talk at the least with a young man "of very great hopes, if the heat of age do not add a hurt"ful and too daring excess; a thing which (I must tell "you) many dislike in you. For your attempt, as I hear, "not so much with the derision of all, as with their anger

also, to bring in a new sound of letters, as well in the "Greek as in the Latin, and to settle it among the youth. "And you, who have by the King's munificence obtained "the office of teaching a tongue, do destroy the use of it "by a new sound," &c.

Cheke answers the

lor's letter.

But Cheke could not be persuaded to let go this enterChancel- prise of restoring the true and graceful pronouncing the Latin, and especially the Greek; which he had upon so good and sure grounds undertaken. Yet thought fit to give a very submissive answer in Latin to the Chancellor ; expressing much deference towards him, and yet freely discoursing the matter with him, and shewing in much exquisite learning upon what reasons and authorities he went. And thus he began his address to him:

"How much pleasure, most worthy Prelate, I took in "the first letter privately to me sent, wherein I saw my"self treated so friendly and obligingly," &c. But the controversy afterwards grew more warm between the Chancellor and Cheke; who had seriously, and with an ingenuous freedom, expostulated with him about the decree he had made, whereby so commendable a reformation of a considerable piece of learning was checked, to the grief and discouragement of the best scholars. This bad effect he plainly set forth to the Bishop; and shewed how fully he acquitted the place and office the King's Majesty had set him in, in making him his Greek Reader; and how much the Bishop's late orders had obstructed his Majesty's noble designs in this lecture: which was for put

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