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that there was not another depending, which circumstance he ordered to be entered upon record. This gave occasion to the following epigram, which, for the period, certainly is not destitute of merit.

When More some years had Chaucellor been,

No more suils did remain ;
The same shall never more be seen,

Till More be there again.

We have mentioned the intimacy which subsisted between Erasmus and Sir Thomas. These two great men long held a correspondence, by letters, before they had any personal acquaintance with each other. After many pressing invitations, Erasmus came to England, and a common friend, probably William Lilly, the grammarian, or dean Colet, contrived that they should meet together at the lord inayor's table, without knowing that each other was there. During the dinner an argument was started, which drew More and his friend into a pretty sharp contest, no doubt to the great entertainment of those who were in the secret. Erasmus, at length, feeling the peculiar sharpness of his antagonist's wit, exclaimed, ' Aut tu es Morus, aut nullus ;' to which Sir Thomas replied, Aut tu es Erasmus, aut diabolus. From that time Erasmus lived chiefly with Sir Thomas at Chelsea, and he has given an admirable description of the family in his epistles. When Erasmus was about to return home, Sir



Thomas lent him a favourite horse to convey him to the coast, but, instead of returning the horse, he took him to Holland, and in return, sent More the following epigram :

Quod mibi dixisti

Crede quod edas, & edis;
Sic tibi rescribo
De tuo Palfrido,

Crede quod habeas, & habes.

This was a witty, though not perhaps a very honest satire upon the zeal of Sir Thomas for the most absurd dogma of the Romish church, transsubstantiation.

It certainly is very extraordinary that a man, who had all the humour, without the coarseness of Rabelais, should at the same time possess so abject a spirit of superstition, as to swaliew the most preposterous corruptions of Popery, and inflict upon himself the ridiculous penance of wearing constantly a hair shirt. To this austerity he added a very extraordinary discipline on Fridays, and other fasting days. Besides fasting, watching, and allowing himself only four or five hours for sleep, he lay either upon the bare ground, or on a bench, with a log of wood under his head for a pillow.

To this strange spirit of superstition, gloomy and severe in the extreme of monkish mortisi. cation, was added a playfulness of wit, ap



proaching sometimes to levity, if not actual buffoonery. The witticisms of Sir Thonias, indeed, sometimes broke forth even when he was engaged in serious things.

It was his custom, when lord chancellor, to attend Chelsea church on high holidays, sitting in the choir, and wearing a surplice. This he did the day after he had resigned the great seal, and because it had been a custom, when mass was over, for one of his gentlemen to go to his lady's pew, and say that “my lord was gone before ;" be came now himself, and making her a low bow, said “ Madam, my lord is gone." She, thinking it to be no more than his usual humour, took no notice of it; but in the way home, to her great mortification, he unriddled the jest, by telling her what had happened the day before.

When he was sitting as a justice at the sessions, in the city, one of his brother judges was very severe upon prosecutors, who had been careless of their purses as to suffer them to be cut, or in modern terms, to have their pockets picked. It was then usual for persons to wear their purses fastened to their girdles. Sir Thomas, with a view of practically reproving his brother magistrate, promised a notorious thief his pardon if he would contrive to cut the judge's purse as he sat on the bench. This was dexterously done by the fellow as he was in the act of communicating a message or information to the judge, who soon afterwards



missed his purse, and had the laugh of the bench properly against him.

He had a great contempt for pedants and pretended scholars, and when he was at Bruges he exposed a person of this description in a curious

This arrogant fellow had, according to the custom of that time put up a challenge on the college gates, stating that he would answer any question that could be propounded to him : on which Sir Thomas put up this question, which would have puzzled the profoundest disciples of Geber—' An averin capta in withernamia sint irreplegibilia ?' i. e.' whether cattle taken in withernam, (which is an old law writ to make reprisals, on one who has wrongfully distrained another man's cattle) be irrepleviable ?' It need hardly be added, that the boaster declined the contest, and was laughed at.

On one occasion his wit and inflexible integrity were pointed in a successful manner against that haughty minister Cardinal Wolsey ; and the circumstance is an illustrious memorial of the patriotism of this excellent man. In 1523 Sir Thomas was speaker of the house of commons, and had the courage to oppose an oppressive subsidy demanded by the prime minister. The cardinal was so exasperated that he said to Sir Thomas, in the gallery at Whitehall, “ would to God


had been at Rome, Mr. More, when I inade you speak

To which he replied, “Your eminence not offended, so would I too, for then I should have seen the place I long have desired to visit." At the time when he was in the plenitude of royal favour, he had a discerning judgment of the capricious character of his master : for one day the king came suddenly to Sir Thomas's house at Chelsea, and dining with him, walked after dinner in the garden near an hour with his arm about Sir Thomas's neck.


On his majesty's departure, Mr. Roper observed how happy he was in the extraordinary familiarity of the king: “I thank our Lord, son,” answered Sir Thomas, “that I find his grace my very good lord indeed, and I believe he doth as singularly favour me as any subject within this realm ; how beit son Roper, I must tell thee I have no cause to be proud thereof, for if my head would win him a castle in France, it would not fail to go off.”

Henry himself had no small portion of facetiousness mixed with his bad qualities of oppression and cruelty. Two instances of this shall here susfice.

Having lost himself one day as he was hunting in Windsor forest, he at last reached the abbey of Reading, where being in disguise, he passed as one of the king's guards : and as such was invited to dine with the abbot. A sirloin of beef was the principal dish, on which the king fared heartily. The abbot observing the strength of his appetite, said, “ well fare thy heart, and here in a cup of sack I remember the health of his grace your master. I would give a hundred pounds on the


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