Erasmus of Rotterdam: With a Selection from the Letters of Erasmus

By Erasmus; J. Huizinga | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THIRD STAY IN ENGLAND 1509-14

Third stay in England. 1509-14--No information about two years of Erasmus's life: 1509 summer, till 1511 spring -- Poverty -- Erasmus at Cambridge -- Relations with Badius, the Paris publisher -- A mistake profitable to Johannes Froben at Basle -- Erasmus leaves England. 1514 -- Julius Exclusus -- Epistle against war

FROM the moment when Erasmus, back from Italy in the early summer of 1509, is hidden from view in the house of More, to write the Praise of Folly, until nearly two years later when he comes to view again on the road to Paris to have the book printed by Gilles Gourmont, every trace of his life has been obliterated. Of the letters which during that period he wrote and received, not a single one has been preserved. Perhaps it was the happiest time of his life, for it was partly spent with his tried patron, Mountjoy, and also in the house of More in that noble and witty circle which to Erasmus appeared ideal. That house was also frequented by the friend whom Erasmus had made during his former sojourn in England, and whose mind was perhaps more congenial to him than any other, Andrew Ammonius. It is not improbable that during these months he was able to work without interruption at the studies to which he was irresistibly attracted, without cares as to the immediate future, and not yet burdened by excessive renown, which afterwards was to cause him as much trouble and loss as joy.

That future was still uncertain. As soon as he no longer enjoys More's hospitality, the difficulties and complaints recommence. Continual poverty, uncertainty and dependence were extraordinarily galling to a mind requiring above all things liberty. At Paris he charged Badius with a new, revised edition of the Adagia, though the Aldine might still be had there at a moderate price. The Laus, which had just appeared

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