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certaine of hir maidenes, that a number of pies sat chattering upon the elms, which had been planted in the hedgerowes, and in fine so troubled hir with their noise, that she wished them all further off, or else hirselfe at home againe, and this happened diverse times. In the ende being wearie of hir walke, she demanded of bir chaplain the cause where. fore these pies did so molest and vex hir. Oh madam said he (the wiliest pie of all) these are no pies but soules in purgatorie that crave reliefe. And is it so indeede quoth she ? Now de Pardieux, if old Robert will give me leave, I will do what I can to bring these soules to rest. Hereupon she consulted, craved, wept, and became so importunate with hir husband, that he joined with bir, and they began that synagog 1120, which afterwards proved to be a notable den. In that church also lieth this ladie buried with his image, haying an heart in hir hand couched upon the same in the habit of a vowesse, and yet to be seene, except the weather have worn out the memorial. But to proceed with my purpose.
In each of these Universities also is likewise a church dedicated to the Virgin Marie, wherein once in the yeare, to wit, in Julie, the scholers are holden, and in which such as have beene called to anie degree in the yeare precedent, doo there receive the accomplishment of the same, in solemne and sumptuous manner. In Oxford this solemnitie is called an Act; but in Cambridge they use the French word, commensement; and such resort is made yearlie unto the same from all parts of the land, by the friends of those which are proved, that all the towne is hardlie able to receive and lodge those gests. When and by whom those churches were builded, I have elsewhere made relation. There were sometime foure and twentie parish churches in the towne of Oxford and suburbes, but now there are scarcelie sixteen. There have beene also 1200 burgesses, of which 400 dwelled in the suburbes, and so manie students were there in the time of Henrie the third, that he allowed them twentie miles compasse about the towne for their provision of vittels.
The common schooles of Cambridge also are farre more beautifull than those of Oxford, onlie the divinitie schoole at Oxford excepted, which for fine and excellent workmanship, commeth next the moold of the kings chappele in Cambridge, than the which two with the chappele that king Henrie the seventh did build at Westminster, there are not (in mine opinion) made of lime and stone three more notable piles within the compasse of Europe.
In all other things there is so great equalitie betwen these two Universities, as no man can imagine how to set down anie greater; so that they seeme to be the bodie of one well ordered commonwealth, onlie divided by distance of place, and not in friendlie consent and orders. In speaking therefore of the one, I cannot but describe the other; and in commendation of the first I can not but extoll the latter ; and so much the rather, for that they are both so deare to me, as that I can not readilie tell unto whether of them I owe the most good will.
The manner to live in these Universities is not as in some other of former countries we see dailie to happen, where the students are inforced for want of such houses, to dwelle in common innes and taverns, without all order or discipline. But in these our colleges we live in such exact order and under so precise rules of government, as that the famous learned man Erasmus of Rotterodare being here among us 50 years passed, did not let to compare the trades in living of students in these two places, even with the verie rules and orders of the ancient moonks ; alfirining moreover in fiat words, our orders to be such as not onlie came neere unto, but rather farre exceeded all the monastical institutions that ever were devised.
In most of our colleges there are also great numbers of students, of which manie are found by the revenues of the houses, and other by the purveiances and helpe of their riche friends; whereby in some one college you shall have two hundred scholers, in others an hundred and fistie, in diverse a hundred and fortie, and in the rest lesse numbers, as the capacitie of the said houses is able to receive; so that at this present, of one sorte and other, there are about three thousand students nourished in them both, (as by a late survie it manifestly appeareth.) They were erected by their founders at the first, onlie for poore mens sonnes, whose parents were not able to bring them up unto learning ; but now they have the least benefit of them, by reason the rich do so incroach upon them. And so farre hath this inconvenicnce spread itselfe that it is in my time a hard matter for a poore mans child to come by a fellowship (though he be never so good a scholer and worthie that roome ) Such packing is also used
at elections, that not he which best deserveth, but he that hath most friends, though he be the woorst scholer, is alwaieg surest to speed; which will turn in the end to the overthrow of learning. That some gentlemen also, whose friends have been in times past benefactors to certaine of those houses, doo intrude into the disposition of their estates, without all respect of order or estales devised by the founders, onlie thereby to please whom they think good (and not without some hope of gain) the case is too evident and their attempt would soon take place, if their superiors did not provide to bridle their endeavors. In some grammar schooles like. wise, which send scholers to these Universities, it is lamenta. ble to see what briberie is used; for yer the scholer can be preferred, such bribage is made, that poore meus children are commonlie shut out, and the richer sort received, who in time past thought it dishonor to live as it were upon alms, and yet being placed, most of them studie little else than histories, tables, dice, and tritles, as men that make not the living by their studie the end of their purposes, which is a lamentable hearing. Besides this being for the most part, either gentlemen, or rich mens sonnes they oft bring the Universitie into much slander. For standing upon their reputation and libertie, they rume and roist it out, exceeding in apparell, and bantering riotous companie, which draweth them from their books unto another trade. And for excuse when they are charged with breach of good order, thinke it sufficient to saie, that they be gentlemen, which grieveth manie not a little. But to proceed with the rest.
Everie one of these colleges have in like manner a professor or readers of the toongs and severall sciences, as they call them, which dailie trade up the youth there abiding privatlie in their halls, to the end they may be able afterward, when their turn cometh about, which is after twelve terms, to show themselves abroad, by going from thence into the common schooles and publike disputations (as it were in aream) there to trie their skilles, and declare how they have profited since their coming thither.
Moreover in the publike scholes of both the Universities, there are found at the princes charge, and that verie largelie, five professors and readers, that is to saie, of divinitie, of the civil lawe, physicke, the Hebreu, and the Greeke toongs. And for the other lectures as of philosophie, logike, rhetorike, and the quadrivials, (although the latter, I mean arithmetike, musike, geometrie, and astronomie, and with them all skill in the perspectives are smallie regarded in either of them) the Universities themselves do allow competent stipends to such as reade the same, whereby they are suflicientlie provided for, touching the maintainance of their estates, and no lesse incoraged to be diligent in their functions.
These professors in like sorte have all the rule of disputations and other schoole exercises, which are dailie used in common schooles, severallie assigned to ech of them, and such of their hearers, as by their skill showed in the said disputations, are thought to have attained to anie convenient ripenesse of knowledge, according to the custom of other Universities, although not in like order, are permitted solemnlie to take their deserved degrees of schoole in the same science and facultie in which they have spent their travell. From that time forward also, they use such difference in apparell as becometh their callings, tendeth unto gravitie, and maketh them knowne to be called unto some countenance.
The first degree is that of the generall sophisters, from whence when they have learned more sufficientlie the rules of logike, rhetorike, and obtained thereto competent skill in philosophie, and in the mathematicals, they ascend higher unto the estate of batchelers of art, after foure yeares of their entrance into their sophistrie. From thence also giving their minds to more perfect knowledge in some or all the other liberall sciences, and the toongs, they rise at the last (to wit, after other three or four years) to be called masters of art, ech of them being at that time reputed for a doctor in his facultie, if he professe but one of the said sciences (besides philosophie) or for his generall skill, if he be exercised in them all. After this they are permitted to choose what other of the higher studies they liketh to follow, whether it be divinitie, lawe or physike; so that being once masters of art, the next degree, if they follow physike, is the doctorship belonging to that profession ; and likewise in the studie of the lawe, if they bend their minds to the knowledge of the same. But if they mean to go forward with divinitie this is the order used in that proposition. First after they have necessarilie proceeded masters of art, they preach one sermon to the people in English, and another to the Universitie in Latine. They answer all commers also · in their own persons unto two severall questions of divinitie
in the open schooles, at one time for the space of two hours ; and afterward replie twice against some other man upon a like number, and on two severall daies in the same place; which being done with commendation, he receiveth the fourth degree, that is, batcheler of divinitie, but not before he hath been master of an art by the space of seven yeares, according to their statutes.
The next and last degree of all is the doctorship after other three yeares, for the which he must once againe performe all such exercises and acts as are afore remembered, and then is he reputed able to governe and teach others, and likewise taken for a doctor.
Thus we see, that from our entrance into the universitie unto the last degree received, is commonlie eighteene or peradventure twentie yeares, in which time if a student hath not obtained sufficient learning, thereby to serve his own turne and benefit his commonwealth, let him never looke by tarieing anie longer to come by anie more. For after this time and fortie yeares of age, the most part of students do commonlie give over their wonted diligence, and live like drone bees, on the fat of colleges, withholding better wits from the possession of their places and yet doing little good in their own vocation and calling. I could rehearse a number (if I listed) of this sort, as well in the one Universitie as in the other. But this shall suffice in sted of a larger report, that long continuance in those places is either a signe of lacke of friends, or of learning, or of good and upright life, as bishop Fox sometime noted, who thought it sacrilege for a man to tarrie longer at Oxford than he had a desire to profit.
A man may (if he will) begin his study with the lawe, or physike, (of which this giveth wealth, the other honour,) so soone as he commeth to the Universitie, if his knowledge in the toongs and ripeness of judgment serve therefore, which if he do, then his first degree is bacheler of lawe, or physike and for the same he must perform such acts in his own science, as the batchelers or doctors of divinitie do for their parts, the onlie sermons except, which belong not to his calling. Finallie, this will I saic, that the professors of either of those faculties come to such perfection in both Universities, as the best students beyond the sea do in their owne or elsewhere.