24. "Cœli reginam ad se nocte adventasse miro fragrantem odore, membraque
omnia febre illa contusa contractaque refovisse" (G.F.P.). "Frushed "appears to be
derived from the French froisser, which may mean either to bruise or to rumple;
whence also probably "froyse" used locally for a pancake. See "Promptorium
Parvulorum" (Camden Soc.) Froyse.
25. See note 2.
26. Charles VIII., to whom Pico had recently been presented. See note 21.
27. Girolamo Savonarola. For what little is known of his relations with Pico
28. "Verum divinis beneficiis male gratus, vel ab sensibus vocatus, detractabat
indigere, differebat ad tempus: hoc tamen non ut verum sed ut a me conjectatum et
præsumptum dixerim" (G.F.P.). But unmindful of God's favours to him, or led away
by the senses, he shrank from the labours (he was of a delicate constitution); or
thinking that religion had need of his services he yet deferred them for a time: not,
however, that I state this as truth, but only as what I conjecture or presume to be so.
29. "A diaboli laqueis" (P.), from the snares of the devil. So in Holinshed,
30. "Suggeret tibi cum Spiritus qui interpellat pro nobis, tum ipsa necessitas
singulis horis quod petas a Deo tuo: suggeret et sacra lectio, quam ut omissis jam
sabulis nugisque poetarum semper habeas in manibus etiam atque etiam rogo" (P.). It
shall be taught thee both by the Spirit which intercedes for us and by thine own needs
every hour what thou shouldest ask of thy God; and also by the reading of the holy
scriptures, which, laying now aside the frivolous fables of the poets, I earnestly
entreat thee to have ever in thy hands.
31. The letter is dated from Ferrara, 15 May, 1492, i.e. shortly after the death
32. A fragment of the lost Neoptolemus of Ennius:--
"Philosophari est mihi necesse, at paucis, nam omnino haut placet;
Degustandum ex ea, non in eam ingurgitandum censeo."
Ribbeck, "Frag. Lat. Reliq." i. 53; cf. Cic. "Tusc. Dispt." ii. 1.
33. Epist I. i. ad fin:--
"Ad summam: sapiens uno minor est Jove, dives,
Præcipue sanus, nisi cum pituita molesta est."
34. "Uti mannus" (P.), like a draught-horse. Doubtless in More's edition the
35. "Perusiæ xv. Octo Mcccclxxxvi. anno gratiæ" (P.). It is not easy to account
36. "Mentientes propter eum" (P.), lying (i.e. to our disadvantage) because of
37. Ps. xxv. 1-5 in the authorized and revised versions. The Vulgate, where it
appears as Ps. xxiv., has a slightly different rendering: Ad Te Domine levavi animam
meam: Deus meus in Te consido, non erubescam: Neque irrideant me inimici mei:
etenim universi,qui sustineant Te, non confundentur. Dirige me in veritate tua, et doce
me, quia Tu es Deus Salvator meus, et Te sustinui tota die."
38. Ps. xvi. in the authorized and revised versions, xv. in the Vulgate, which is
es Tu, quoniam bonorum meorum non eges. Sanctis qui sunt in terra eius mirificavit
omnes voluntates meas in eis. Multiplicatæ sunt infirmitates eorum: postea
acceleraverunt. Non congregabo conventicula eorum de sanguinibus: nec memor ero
nominum eorum per labia mea. Dominus pars hereditatis meæ, et calicis mei. Tu es
qui restitues hereditatem meam mihi. Funes ceciderunt mihi in præclaris: etenim
hereditas mea præclara est mihi. Benedicam Dominum, qui tribuit mihi intellectum:
insuper et usque ad noctem increpuerunt me renes mei. Providebam Dominum in
conspectu meo semper: quoniam a dextris est mihi ne commovear. Propter hoc
lætatum est cor meum, et exultavit lingua mea: insuper et caro mea requiescet in spe.
Quoniam non derelinques animam meam in inferno: nec dabis sanctum tuum videre
corruptionem. Notas mihi fecisti vias vitæ, adimplebis me lætitia cum vultu tuo:
delectationes in dextera tua usque in finem."
39. "By-and-by" is here evidently forthwith.
40. These rules, of which More's verses are rather a paraphrase than a
translation, were written by Pico in prose, and were translated into prose by Sir
Thomas Elyot, author of the "Book of the Governour," as follows:
"THE RULES OF A CHRISTIAN LIFE MADE BY GIOVANNI PICO THE
ELDER EARL OF MIRANDOLA.
"First if to man or woman the way of virtue doth seem hard or painful, because
remembrance, that whatsoever life they will chose according to the world, many
adversities, incommodities, much heaviness and labour are to be suffered.
"Moreover let them have in remembrance, that in wealth and worldly
wherin travail is the conclusion or end of labour, and finally pain everlasting, if those
things be not well ordered and charitably disposed.
"Remember also, that it is very folishness to think to come unto heaven by any
ascend unto heaven but by his passion: And the servant ought not to be in better estate
or condition than his master or sovereign.
"Furthermore consider, that this battle ought not to be grudged at, but to be
but only that thereby we mought be conformed or joined to Christ our God and
master. Wherefore as often as in resisting any temptation thou dost withstand any of
the senses or wits, think unto what part of Christ's passion thou mayst apply thyself or
make thyself like: As resisting gluttony, whilst thou dost punish thy taste or appetite:
remember that Christ received in his drink eysell mixed with the gall of a beast, a
drink most unsavoury and loathsome. When thou withdrawest thy hand from unlawful
as they were fast nailed unto the tree of the cross. And resisting of pride, think on him,
who being very God almighty, for thy sake received the form of a subject, and
humbled himself unto the most vile and reproachful death of the cross.
"And when thou art tempted with wrath: remember that He which was God,
scourged, and punished with all despites and rebukes, and set on the cross among
errant thieves, as if He Himself were a false harlot, He notwithstanding showed never
token of indignation or that He were grieved, but suffering al things with wonderful
patience, answered al men most gently. In this wise if thou peruse all things one after
another, thou mayst find, that there is no passion or trouble, that shall not make thee in
some part conformable or like unto Christ.
"Also put not thy trust in man's help, but in the only virtue of Christ Jesu,
The prince of this world is cast out thereof. Wherefore let us trust by his only virtue,
to vanquish the world, and to subdue the devil. And therefore ought we to ask his help
by the prayers of us and of his saints.
"Remember also, that as soone as thou hast vanquished one temptation, always
would devour. Wherefore we ought to serve diligently and be ever in fear, and to say
with the prophet: I will stand alway at my defence.
"Take heed moreover, that not only thou be not vanquished of the devil, that
when thou dost no sin, but also when of that thing wherein he tempted thee, thou
takest occasion for to do good. As if he offereth to thee some good act to be done to
the intent that thereby thou mayst fall into vainglory: forthwith thou thinking it not to
be thy deed or work, but the benefit or reward of God, humble thou thyself, and judge
thee to be unkind unto God in respect of his manifold benefits.
"As often as thou dost fight, fight as in hope to vanquish, & to have at the last
and the devil being confused of thy victory, shall return no more again. But yet when
thou hast vanquished, bear thyself so as if thou shouldst fight again shortly. Thus
alway in battle thou must think on victory: and after victory thou must prepare thee to
"Although thou feelest thyself well armed and ready, yet flee notwithstanding
"In all temptations resiste the beginning, and beat the children of Babylon
imaginations. For in long continuing of sin, seldom worketh medicine or remedy.
"Remember, that although in the said conflict of temptation the battle seemeth
than to follow sin, whereto she inclineth thee, whereof the end is repentance. And
herein many be foul deceived, which compare not the sweetness of victory to the
sweetness of sin, but only compareth battle to pleasure. Not withstanding a man or
woman, which hath a thousand times known what it is to give place to temptation,
should once essay, what it is to vanquish temptation.
"If thou be tempted, think thou not therefore that God hath forsaken thee, or
that he setteth but little by thee, or that thou art not in the sight of God good or perfect
but remember, that after Saint Paul had seen God, as He was in his divinity, and such
secret mysteries as be not lawful for any man to speak or rehearse, he for all that
suffered temptation of the flesh, wherewith God suffered him to be tempted, lest he
should be assaulted with pride. Wherein a man ought to consider that Saint Paul,
which was the pure vessel of election, and rapt into the third heaven, was
notwithstanding in peril to be proude of his virtues, as he saith of himself. Wherefore
above all temptations man or woman ought to arm them most strongly against the
temptation of pride, since pride is the root of all mischief, against the which the only
remedy is to think alway that God humbled himself for us unto the cross. And
moreover that death hath so humbled us whether we will or no, that our bodies shall
be the meat of wormes loathsome and venomous."
41. "Recordare illum felle potatum et aceto" (P.). For "eysell" (i.e. vinegar) cf.
"Potions of eisel 'gainst my strong infection."
42. "Wood" in the sense of mad is not uncommon in our older writers. So
"And here am I, and wood within this wood,
43. "Preace" would seem to be a corruption of prest, ready, used
"Etymological Dictionary of the English Language," art. Press.
44. Cf. Ps. cxxxvii. 8, 9: "O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed;
taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."
45. Here More speaks in propria persona, with perhaps a double entendre in
46. For "lynne," cease, cf. Spenser, "Faery Queen," i. canto v. 35.
"And Sisiphus an huge round stone did reel
Against an hill, ne might from labour lin."
47. "Not" is for ne wot, i.e. know not. So Chaucer concludes the description of
"But soth to sayn I n'ot how men him call."
48. The stanzas on the "Properties" are original except the last two, which are
a paraphrase of the following sentence:-
"Solemus autem ad hoc induci præcipue ex tribus causis. Prima est quando
bonus et amabilis: sicut solemus dicere, servimus illi propter suas virtutes. Tertia est
quando ille prius quam inciperes multa tibi beneficia contulit. Et hæc tria sunt in Deo:
quia pro servitio eius nihil naviter accipitur quod non sit nobis bonum: et quoad
ad summum bonum. Similiter ipse est optimus et pulcherrimus et sapientissimus: et
habet omnes conditiones quæ solent nos movere ad amandum aliquem et serviendum
ei gratis: et in nos contulit summa beneficia cum nos et ex nihilo creaverit et per
sanguinem Filii ab inferno redemerit." (P.) There are, moreover, three principal
considerations by which we are accustomd to be impelled to this service. The first is
that the service itself is desirable for its own sake. The second arises when he whom
we serve is in himself very good and amiable, and we serve him, as we are in the habit
of saying, on account of his virtues. The third, when before the commencement of
your service he whom you serve has conferred on you many favours. And these three
considerations coexist in the case of God, for nothing whatever is accepted by way of
His service which is not for our good both of soul and of body: for to serve Him is
nothing else but to seek after Him: i.e. after the chief good. Likewise He Himself is of
all beings the best, and most lovely and wisest: and has in Himself all the properties
which are wont to move us to love and serve any one without reward: and has
conferred on us the greatest favours, since He has both created us from nothing, and
redeemed us from hell by the blood of His Son."
48. Cf. "Promptorium Parvulorum" (Camd. Soc.). "Prolling, or seeking.
"Though ye prolle aye, ye shall it never find."
50. Cf. note 47.
51. "Nyrche" has been substituted by way of conjectural emendation for
"wyrche," which is unintelligible, "Nyrche" as = nourish gives the sort of sense
required by the context; and the eccentric spelling may be merely due to the
roughness with which the r was pronounced in More's time.
52. "Peace," cup: from the low Latin, pecia. See "Promptorium Parvulorum