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From Cheke's coming to Court, to his advancement to the
Provostship of King's College in Cambridge.


Cheke removed to the Court.
loss of him at Cambridge.
His usefulness.

Anno 1544.

HIS first remove from the University was to the Court; Becomes King Henry VIII. calling him from thence July the 10th,



ter to Prince 1544, as judging him a fit person to be schoolmaster to his only son Prince Edward, in the room, as it seems, of Dr. Richard Cox, now preferred in the Church, who yet was much about him, and his Almoner, as he was when he was King. To him, joined with Sir Anthony Cook, a man of exquisite learning and true virtue, were the tender years of that royal youth committed, to instruct him in learning, manners, and religion. Both which men, by their joint and happy endeavours and counsels, framed a young King of the greatest, nay, of divine hopes. There are yet remaining some in print, and more in private libraries, written with his own hand, (particularly in the library at St. James's,) several of his pretty elegant Latin epistles to the King, his father; to Queen Katharine Par, his motherin-law; to the Duke of Somerset, his uncle; to Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury, his godfather; and to his two sisters, when he was as yet very young, as likewise other of his exercises; which shew both his own forwardness in his learning, and the diligence of his instructors. Nor did he intermit his studies, when he came to wear a crown; but Cheke was always at his elbow, both in his closet and in his chapel, and wherever else he went, to inform and teach him. And that with so much sweetness and easiness, that he took a pleasure and delight in his book; and

Instructs the Prince. The
Canon of Christ's Church.

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observed his set hours constantly at his study. So that in SECT. fine, one that knew Cheke and Cook well, writing to the latter, had these words: "a That divine youth drew that Anno 1544. "instruction from you both, Qua neque Cyrus nec Achil"les, neque Alexander, neque ullus unquam Regum poli"tioremque sanctioremque accepit; i. e. Than which


never did Cyrus, nor Achilles, nor Alexander, nor any "other Kings, receive more polite and holy. With which, “could he have but grown up to man's estate, and arrived "to the government of the kingdom, what kingdom in "earth had been more happy? What nation ever extant more blessed ?"



Cheke in

But if we look back to the University, what a want Cheke left there is not easily to be spoken; being a man that seemed to surpass the rest not only in learning, but in the free communication of it, and that accompanied with a marvellous affability and obligingness, and a most holy and virtuous behaviour; whereby he became a public pattern and example to the youth there. This loss of Cheke may be better understood by a part of a letter, one of his University friends wrote to him not long after he was gone to Court. "My condition,” said he, " is harder The want of “than the rest. They saw how you excelled in parts Cambridge. “and learning; I not only well knew this too, but was Int. Haddon. Epist. "throughly acquainted with your more interior orna"ments, which diffused themselves through all the parts "of your life. Which when I then duly weighed, how 66 great they were in you, I do so much the more want "them now, and so much the less am able to bear the "trifles, the levities, and the ignorances of many of our 66 men. But because this was owing either to your hap"piness, that you should especially be there, where your diligence might flow abroad most extensively into the "commonwealth; or to our unhappiness, that we should "undergo the loss of your divine mouth, the loud trumpet, as one may call it, of all good discipline, our trouble "ought to be abated, lest if we appear over-much dis


a Cælius Secund. Curio. Epist. Dedic. ante libr. de Pronunciat.

quieted, we may seem either not to love the common"wealth enough, or ourselves too much. It was a very Anno 1544. "good thought of your Plato, that some changes of com66 monwealths are natural, that when there happens an "alteration in the state of our affairs, we should not be "much moved. And although your body be snatched "from us, yet your obliging behaviour, your wit, your "study, your eloquence, and learning, is present in all our "schools, and in each of our private thoughts." And another of his learned acquaintance and collegians, Roger Ascham, thus writes of the want of him in the University. "As oft as I remember the departing of that man from "the University, (which thing I do not seldome,) so oft do "I wel perceive our most help and furtherance to learning "to have gon away with him. For by the great commo"dity that we took in hearing him read privatly in his "chamber, al Homer, Sophocles, and Euripides, Herodo"tus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Isocrates, and Plato, we feel "the great discommodity in not hearing of him Aristotle "and Demosthenes, which two authors, with al diligence "last of al, he thought to have redd unto us. And when "I consider how many men he succoured with his help " and his ayd, to abide here for learning; and how al men "were provoked and stirred up by his counsil and daily 66 example, how they should come to learning, surely I 66 perceive that sentence of Plato to be true, which saith, "That there is nothing better in any commonwealth, "then that there should be always one or other excellent passing man; whose life and virtue should pluck forward "the wit, diligence, labour, and hope of al other; that "following his footsteps, they might come to the same "end, wherunto labour, learning, and virtue, had conveyed "him before.'



Toxophil. p. 24. b.

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"The great hindrance of learning in lacking this man, greatly I should lament, if this discommodity of ours "were not joined with the commodity and wealth of the "whole realm, for which purpose our most noble King, ❝ful of wisdom, called up this excellent man, ful of learn




ing, to teach noble Prince Edward: an office ful of hope, SECT. comfort, and solace, to al true hearts of England. For "whom al England daily doth pray that he, passing his Anno 1545. "tutor in learning and knowledg, following his father in "wisdom and felicity, according to that example which is "set afore his eyes, may so set out and maintain Gods "word, to the abolishment of al Papistry, the confusion " of al heresy, that therby he, feared of his enemies, loved " of al his subjects, may bring to his own glory, immortal "fame and memory; to this realm, wealth, honour, and "felicity; to true and unfaigned religion, perpetual peace, concord, and unity."


King Henry, having lately new founded the college of Made CaSt. Frideswide in Oxford, (founded first by Cardinal Wol- Henry's non of King sey,) granted Cheke one of the Canonries of that church college, Oxsoon after he became tutor to the Prince, as some reward and token of his favour towards him. Which was about the year 1544, when, according to the registers of that University, he was incorporated into Oxford, and studied there some time. But the rents of the Canons decaying, the King, anno 1545, added special pensions to some of them; as to Peter Vannes, the learned Italian, and sometime Ambassador for the King into Italy; Richard Croke, S. Th. P. employed also abroad by the King; and our Cheke. Which said pensions were 267. 13s. 4d. to each. By this preferment we may conclude him to be now in holy Orders.

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Cheke, as he had now great opportunities by the place Cheke's dewherein he was put, so he had as great designs of making der himself himself useful to the public. For he set before himself, useful. how that he was now to instruct a Prince, that was one day to take on him the government of a mighty kingdom. And therefore he suited his readings and discourses with the Prince thereunto; that he might go out of his hands an excellent monarch, and become a true father of his country. But besides this, considering how his office required him to be always about the Prince's person, where


CHAP. by he should have the opportunity of having his ear frequently, he resolved to improve it not so much to his Anno 1545. private benefit, as to the benefit of the public, of the University, and of the deserving men there; to get them removed, and placed about the nation in Church and State; that by their influences, truth and virtue might every where be promoted. Thus he spent his time and cares at Court; and ever was a fast friend, and gave his helping hand to learning and religion: which appeared more manifestly afterwards, when his royal scholar, by the death of his most noble father, was advanced to the crown.


His offices to his friends.

His letter


NOR did this learned man in the midst of the splento Dr.Butts, dors of a Court neglect his private studies, nor his offices being sick. to his friends. Dr. William Butts, M.D. (and a Knight according to his monumental inscription,) domestic Physician to King Henry, had taken notice of Cheke from his youth, and been always a favourer of his hopeful parts, performing the part of a father to him, and Cheke styled himself his son. By this physician's interest he seems to have been first made known to the King, and to have received from him those marks of royal favour bestowed upon him, while he lived in the University; and afterwards by him preferred to the Court. For Butts was a friend to good religion and learning. While Cheke was at Hertford, (where the Prince's Court was mostly kept, in the latter times of his father,) this gentleman, in the year 1545, was seized with an afflicting dangerous fit of sickness; which gave a concern to his grateful friend; who composed a pious consolatory epistle to him, suitable to his condition: which being so expressive of his gratitude to the doctor, and withal of piety, and a sense of God, and of his dispensations, I cannot but here transcribe it, ás from whence some character may be taken of the writer.

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