1 in haec verba These verses are preserved in Donatus’ Vita Vergiliii and also as Anthologia Latina nr. 672.
spacer5 sus Minervam docuerit Grant quotes the Roman proverb sus Minervam (used by Cicero, Academica I.xviii.9, Epistolae ad Familiares IX.xviii.4, and Porphyrio in his commentary on Horace, Epistulae I.xvii.3-4. This proverb is explained by Festus, De Verborum Significatione p.310.53, “Sus Minervam” in proverbio est, ubi quis id docet alterum, cuius ipse inscius est.
spacer5 Ioanne Racstero John Racster, a Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge, at the time Grant went up (1564). I do not know if this individual is to be identified with the like-named author of A Booke of the Seven Planets, or Seven wandring motives of William Alablaster’s (sic) wit (1589).
spacer5 Guilielmo Irlando William Ireland [ca. 1528 - 1571], one of Ascham’s pupils at St. John’s College and subsequently a Fellow of the College. See Dennis E. Rhodes, “The Strange Problems of William Ireland and his Library,” Library (1996) 246 - 50.
spacer6 D. Scroupi familiae Henry Scrope, seventh Baron Scrope of Bolton [d. 1533].
spacer6 D. Antonii Wingfeldi This is a mistake of Grant’s: Ascham was not brought up in the household of Sir Anthony Wingfield, but rather in that of his uncle Sir Humphrey, a barrister and Speaker of the House of Commons in 1533.
spacer7 et Roberto Pembero Robert Pember [d. 1560], another Fellow of St. John’s College.
spacer8 George Day [d. 1556]. First Linacre Professor of Medicine at Cambridge (1525), College Praelector in Greek and University Orator, and Provost of Kings College. Appointed Bishop of Chichester in 1543. Dr. John Redman [1499 - 1551] was the first Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Sir Thomas Smith [1513 - 1577] lectured on natural philosophy and Greek at Cambridge, then went abroad for further studies, including a law degree at Padua. Regius Professor of Civil Law at Cambridge, he performed various diplomatic missions under Elizabeth and towards the end of his life was appointed Chancellor of the Order of the Garter. His De Republica Anglorum; the Manner of Government or Policie of the Realme of England was printed posthumously in 1583. John Cheke [1514 - 1557], England’s great Greek scholar of the age. He served as tutor to the future Edward VI and was the first Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge. The Anglican martyr Nicholas Ridley [d. 1555], Senior Proctor of the university, subsequently Bishop of Rochester and the of London. Edmund Grindall [1519 - 1583], a future Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas Watson [1515 - 1584], a future Bishop of London and author of the Cambridge tragedy Absalom. Walter Haddon [1515 - 1571], a lawyer and future Vice Chancellor of the university. James Pilkington [1520 - 1576], a future Bishop of Durham. Robert Horne [d. 1580], a future Dean of Durham and Bishop of Winchester. John Christopherson [d. 1558], a future Bishop of Chichester. Thomas Wilson [1524 - 1581], a Humanist who went on to be member of Elizabeth’s Privy Council. John Seton [d. 1567], a Roman Catholic priest whose Dialectica established his reputation as a logician.
spacer9 et est elegantissime depicta Here and in the words scriptionis elegantia below, it is not clear whether Pember is praising the style in which the letter was written or Ascham’s calligraphy, since the latter was something else in which he excelled.
spacer10 et clandestino auxilio Nicolai Medcalfi As Ascham tells us in Toxophilus, he required Metcalfe’s help because he had made enemies within his college by speaking against the Pope.
spacer12 die Martis post festum divi Petri et Pauli A seeming puzzle: both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England observe Sts. Peter and Paul’s Day on June 29
spacer13 Huius pupillus fuit Guilielmus Grindallus Grindall died in 1548.
spacer14 Hic inprimis novam Graecae linguae pronuntationem “It was considerations of this kind that proved to early Renaissance teachers in this country the inadequacy of the pronunciation they had received, directly or indirectly, from the scholars of Byzantium who (to their eternal credit) taught western Europe ancient Greek. By 1535 Thomas Smith and John Cheke at Cambridge were, on…internal evidence alone, endeavouring to restore the ancient pronunciation, even before they knew that Erasmus had already tackled the problem, or that there was direct ancient testimony on Greek phonetics. By the time Cheke was appointed to the Regius Professorship of Greek on its creation in 1540 he found almost all teachers in Cambridge using the ‘new’ pronunciation. Unhappily Cheke’s inaougural lectures, on this very subject of pronunciation, provoked a represssive ordinance from the Chancellor of the university, Bishop Steophen Gardiner, forbidding change: ne in sonis philosophator, sed utitor praesentibus. A study of documents and personalities in the case make it fairly clear that Gardiner’s action was based not on any scientific view of correctness, but on a desire for peaceful uniformity in a university where the reformers in Greek were known for advanced Protestants. However, official recognition of the reform came with the accession of Elizabeth” — F. H. Stubbings and S. J. Papastavrou, “‘Greek in our Schools’: Two Replies,” Greece and Rome 2nd series 3:1 (1956) 79.
spacer14 cum Poneto John Ponet [d. 1556], a pupil of Smith’s, and a future Bishop of Rochester and then of Winchester. John Adams noted that Ponet’s A Short Treatise on Politike Power was the seminal volume that later political philosophers such as John Locke expanded upon.
spacer14 liber a se doctissime conscriptus I. e., Toxophilus.
spacer15 Nec defuerunt Grant’s apologetics for the pursuit of recreational activities by students and scholars are largely an exercise in point-missing, save for the final sentence of § 17. The inspiration for Toxophilus was the act of parliament 33 Henry VIII c. 9, “an acte for mayntenaunce of Artyllarie and debarringe of unlawful games,” requiring every one under sixty of good health (the clergy, judges, etc., excepted), “to use shooting in the long bow,” and fixing the price at which bows were to be sold. The reason for this act was that the longbow was still considered a viable weapon of war and the government saw fit to encourage archery as a matter of military preparedness in connection with the present war against France. (Dr. Johnson made this same point at some length in his Life of Ascham.)
spacer16 ut Valerii Maximi verbis utar Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia VIII.viii.1.
spacer16 teste Cicerone Cicero’s De Amicitia memorializes their friendship.
spacer16 Unde praeclare Ovidius Heroides iv.89.
spacer17 Optime Plutarchus The Education of Children xiii.
spacer17 Crassus apud Ciceronem De Oratore II.xxiii.
spacer19 Scripsit literas omnes Although Grant states that Ascham handled all the university’s official correspondence as in independent fact, I would assume that this was a function of his position as University Orator, mentioned below.
spacer19 ut testatur Christophersonus For John Christopherson see the note on § 8.
spacer20 Eduardo Laeo archiepiscopo Eboraecensi Edward Lee [d. 1544]. He was famous for his attack on Erasmus, who responded in his Epistolae Aliquot Eruditorum Virorum. As a gesture of thanks, Ascham dedicated to him a translation of Oecumenius’ Commentaries on the Pauline Epistles.
spacer20 duci Suffolciensi lectissimae faeminae He means Catherine Willooughby, sixth wife of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk [1484 - 1545]. The Duke had two wons, Henry (by his fifth wife, Mary Tudor) and Charles (by Catherine).
spacer20 Annae illustrissimi comitis Pembrochiensis uxori Anne Parr, wife of William Herbert, first Earl of Pembroke [1506 - 1570].
spacer20 sanctissimo viro domino Martino Bucero Martin Bucer [1491 = 1551], a Protestant theologian invited by Archbishop Cranmer to come to England and assist with the reformation of the Church of England. He was appointed Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge in 1549.
spacer21 Chestoniam I. e. to the manor of Sir Anthony Denny at Cheshunt, Herts.
spacer22 aliorum sit iudicium It was politic on Grant’s part to avoid any judgment of the quality of the queen’s scholarship, for in fact it doe snot seem to have been very good: cf. the discussion at T. W. Baldwin, William Shakespere’s Small Latine and Lesse Greeke (Urbana, 1944), Chapter XII.
spacer22 Locos Communes Philippi Melanchthonis Loci communes rerum theologicarum seu hypotheses theologicae by Philip Melanchthon (1521), republished as Loci theologici recens recogniti (1544).
spacer22 Haec omnia aperte ostendebat Dr. Johnson told the story somewhat differently: “…being disgusted either at her, or her domesticks, perhaps eager for another change of life, he left her, without her consent, and returned to the university. Of this precipitation he long repented; and, as those who are not accustomed to disrespect cannot easily forgive it, he probably felt the effects of his imprudence to his death.” The problem seems to have been that Ascham quarreled with Elizabeth’s steward.
spacer23 ornatissimo viro D. Richardo Morysino Sir Richard Moryson [d. 1556], a Humanistically-educated diplomat. The mission did not go smoothly because of Moryson’s attempt to preach Lutheranism to the Emperor. According to Jonathan Woolfson’s O. D. N. B. article, “The flippancy and prolixity of his dispatches were complained of at this time, and his achievements as ambassador were questioned. Nevertheless he emerges most sympathetically from Ascham’s letters. According to Ascham, he was genial and kind-hearted, as well as wise, insightful, and humane on matters of public policy. His nickname was Merry Morison.”
spacer23 deflexerit Lecestriam Lady Jane Grey was living at Bradgate, Leics.
spacer23 in suo Praeceptore The Scholemaster: Or, Plaine & Perfite Way of Teachyng Children the Latin Tong (published posthumously in 1570).
spacer24 domum reportaret The allusion is to a collection of letters written on his journey which were printed in 1553 under the title A Report and Discourse of the Affaires and State of Germany and the Emperour Charles his Court.
24 Taceo Ioannem Sturmium The Humanist and education reformer Johann Sturm [1507 - 1589], Ascham’s closest German friend and correspondant. In 1538 he had founded the Gymnase Protestant at Strassburg.
spacer25 ad D. Paget The Humanistically-educated William Paget, first Baron Paget [1506 - 1563].
spacer25 cum Hieronymo Wolfio Hieronymus Wolf [1516 - 1580], a German Humanist and historian who specialized in Byzantine history.
spacer28 a Ioanne Sleidano Johannes Sleidanus [1506 - 1556], the historian of the Protestant movement (his Commentariorum de statu religionis et republicae appeared in 1555). This meeting of the Council of Trent occurred in 1551.
spacer28 Optime Cicero De Officiis
spacer30 Verum vere testante Seneca These three quotations are Ps.-Seneca, Octavia 598, Ovid, Tristia V.viii.15, and Juvenal iii.39f.
spacer31 beneficio Wintoniensis Stephen Gardiner [d. 1555], Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor of England under Mary. From 1540 he was Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Although a Catholic, he supported Humanism and the study of Greek at the university, and in this case (as Grant goes on to say) his respect for scholarship overcame his sectarian bias.
spacer31 D. Guilielmi Cecilli William Cecil [1520 - 1598], the future Lord Burghley, who was one of Edward’s two secretaries beginning in 1550.
spacer33 fere ad festum navitatis Ioannis Baptistae 1554 June 24. One of the duties of the Orator, should the need arise, was to write letters (in Latin) to the Privy Council on behalf of the university, and presumably the Council would do the university the courtesy of replying in the same language. Therefore, at least in theory, it would seem that during the period when Ascham was both University Orator and Latin Secretary he would have been in the interesting position of engaging in a correspondence with himself.
spacer33 D. Walopi Sir John Wallop [d. 1551].
spacer34 ab eo, qui de Anglico campo nomen habetSir Francis Englefield [1522 - 1596], a courtier during the reign of Mary.
spacer35 Temporibus semper cautus This couplet has achieved almost the status of a proverb. Sometimes it is quoted in a variant form:

Temporibus semper cautus servire memento.
Polypi mentem obtine

spacer36 semper religione idem Grant framed this sentence so as to play on Elizabeth’s personal motto semper idem (“always the same”)
spacer36 cardinali Polo Reginald Cardinal Pole [1500 - 1558], Papal legate and Archbishop of Canterbury under Mary.
spacer38 summum eo tempore Angliae thesaurarium A mistake of Grant’s. He means Sir Edward Wotton [1489 - 1551], who was treasurer of Calais, but never of all England.
spacer39 in hecticam febrim A chronic, infectious condition with fever, often accompanied by significant weight loss.
spacer39 hoc Martialis V.xlii.7f.
spacer41 pro insequentis novi anni auspicio English Humanists used to write poems as New Year’s gifts (strenae). Towards the end of the 1576 volume, just before this concluding biography, Grant appended a small number of Greek and Latin poems by Ascham, of which the present poem, a rather lengthy and elaborate effort in hexameters, is the last item. It begins Salve diva, tuae patriae decus, optima salve (unfortunately, the pages in the volume are not numbered).
spacer41 Alexander Nowellus Sir Alexander Nowell [d. 1602], Dean of St. Paul’s and a former headmaster of the Westminster School.
spacer42 maxime vero suavissimos liberos Ascham had two sons, Giles (destined to become a Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge), and Thomas (born posthumously).
spacer42 vir honestate et eruditione praestans D. Gravettus William Gravet [d. 1599]. Ascham was a parishioner of the church of St. Sepulchre without Newgate, where he was buried.
spacer42 Quam divinam et coelestem divi Pauli sententiam Grant seems to have been thinking of Philippians 1:23, For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.
spacer43 Eliza Humanists writing in Latin liked to call Elizabeth Eliza (often for metrical convenience in their poetry).
spacer44 quas brevi divulgaturus sum In the following year appeared a volume entitled Apologia Doctissimi Viri Rogeri Aschami, Angli, pro caena Domina, contra Missam et eius praestigias, in Academia olim Cantabrigiensi excercitationis gratia inchoata with an introductory epistler Ad Lectorem signed “Terentianus Maurus” (the name of a second century grammarian). Clearly this was Grant, for some reason hiding behinda pseudonym.
spacer44 qua Ciceroniani nostro aevo Grant distances himself from those ultra-Ciceronians who insist on slavish imitation of their master. Sese emaciant contains a reference to Erasmus’ satiric Ciceronianus (1528) which featured the feverish Nosoponus, “once the most charming of all jolly companions, delightfully ruddy and stout,” now starved and haggard from surviving for seven years on a steady diet of Ciceronian books.
spacer45 Hieronymus Osorius Lusitanus Jeronymo Osorio, the Humanistic Bishop of Faro [1506 - 1580].
spacer45 Petrus Nannius Alcmarianus Petrius Nannius [1500 - 15576], Professor of Latin at the Collegium Trilingue, Louvain.
spacer45 Michaelis Toxites Rhaetius Michael Toxites [Schultz, 1515 - 1581]. Best remembered as a Paracelsian physician, for a while he taught at Johann Sturm’s Strassburg gymnasium.
spacer45 Hieronymus Wolfius Oetingensis The Bavarian classicist Hieronymus Wolf [d. 1580] specialized in translating Greek literature.
spacer45 Guilielmum Billum William Bill [d. 1561], a contemporary of Ascham at St. John’s College, Greek reader in the university and Linacre lecturer in physic. Subsequently he was appointed Dean of Westminster.
spacer45 Gualterum Haddonum Walter Haddon [1515 - 1571], Regius Professor of Civil Law at Cambridge and a leading reformer. He later served Elizabeth as a diplomat.
spacer45 Nicolaum Carrum Nicholas Carr [1522 - 1568] succeeded John Cheke as Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge. He is best remembered for his oration De scriptorum Britannicorum paucitate (printed in 1576).
spacer45 quis Bembus Grant names four leading Continental Ciceronians: Pietro Cardinal Bembo [1470 - 1447], Jacopo Cardinal Sadoleto [1477 - 1547], Christophe de Longueil [1488 - 1522] and Aldo Manuzio [d. 1515].
spacer49 Antonius apud Ciceronem Cf. Cicero, De Oratore I.xvi.
spacer50 teste Cicerone Ib.
spacer54 Hermogeni et Quintiliano Two rhetoric professors of antiquity: Hermogenes or Tarsus, author of Περὶ στάσεων and Περὶ ἰδεῶν, and Quintilian, author of the Institutio Oratoria.
55 altera natura De Finibus V.lxxiv.4.
spacer55 usum optimum dicendi magistrum De Oratore
spacer55 in montem Olimpum asportavit Grant has wonderfully botched two traditions about the athelete Milo of Croton, that he daily lifted a calf, so that he grew stronger as the calf grew larger, and that he competed in the Olympic Games.
spacer55 Demosthenem in medium adducerem He is thinking of the story of Demosthenes practicing declamation with pebbles in his mouth so as to improve his diction.
spacer56 Stylo Cicero primas partes attribuit De Oratore I.cli.