Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus

P. S. Allen (ed.), Opus Epistolarum Des. Erasmi Roterodami, Vol. 3: 1517–1519

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917.To John de la Parra.

Opus Epistolarum p. 714.

N: Lond. xix. 101: LB. 385.

  • Louvain.
  • 13 February 1519.

[I owe to Sr. Juan Mencndez Pidal, Director of the Archivo historico Nacional at Madrid, the identification of the person here addressed. Whilst Ferdinand was still an infant, John de la Parra († c. May 1521) was appointed his physician; see the sketch of Ferdinand's early years by the Dominican, Alvaro Osorio, who was for a time his teacher and afterwards became Bp. of Astorga (†10 April 1539), printed by Sandoval, Historia del Emperador Carlos V, Pamplona, 1634, p. 53. De la Parra continued in his office when Ferdinand came to the Netherlands, and accompanied him to the Diet of Worms in 1521; but there fell a victim to the plague which ravaged the Imperial household and carried off Chièvres (Ep. 532.27 n.) and Marlianus (Ep. 411.8 n.). About 1520 he had been nominated by Charles for the bpric. of Almeria, but he died before he could be instituted: see Mart. E. 722.A letter by him from Valladolid describing the illness and death of Philip the Fair in 1506 is printed in the Coleccion de documentos ineditos para la historia de España, vol. viii (1846) pp. 394–7.

The omission of the name here indicates that Erasmus was not familiar with it. Vives, too, in the preface to his Declamationes Syllanae, addressed to Ferdinand, Antwerp, M. Hillen, April 1520, mentions the physician as reading Erasmus' lnstitutio Principis Christiani (Ep. 853) with Ferdinand, but gives no name. It may therefore be inferred that De la Parra was not intimate with the scholars of Louvain.

pg 492Ferdinand was now nearly sixteen. A supervisor of his studies was required (cf. Ep. 893. 41 n.) to act with De la Parra; and Erasmus had been urged by persons of influence (Ep. 952. 61, 2; cf. Epp. 943, 970) to undertake the task. It was not, however, at all to his mind. His Italian experiences had taught him the difficulties of a joint responsibility; and in any case such duties would have made too large demands upon his leisure and his liberty. He declined, therefore, and suggested Vives instead. But this did not find favour; perhaps because Ferdinand himself (cf. Ep. 943.19–24) wished to have Erasmus, or Croy in spite of pressure (Ep. 927) may have been loath to release his tutor. Vives on his part in printing or reprinting (cf. p. 508) the Christi Iesu Triumphus in his Opuscula varia ⟨1519⟩, interpolated a wish (fo. r4. vo.) that Erasmus would accept the post. There is reason to suppose that much suasion was used. In May and June 1519 Erasmus visited Brussels and Antwerp, engaged 'in negociis quibusdam mihi molestissimis' (Ep. 991.18), and it is possible that he wavered; for on 4 July Boniface Amerbach wrote from Basle to Zasius that 'Erasmus noster in primarium Ferdinandi preceptorem allectus est' (Basle MS. D. IV. 18. 162; cf.ZE. 5). But if he ever accepted, he must quickly have changed his mind; for in August the position was still unfilled (Lond. xi. 21, LB. 451; cf. xii. 30, 461).]

erasmvs roterodamvs n., ferdinandi medico et praeceptori, s. d.

1Si non mediocriter debet respublica fideli vigilantique medico qui 2curat principis corpus, quod animi per quem imperat vel domicilium 3sit vel organum, quantum tibi debet haec nostra regio?—imo non 4haec tantum; nam vtcunque res cadent, non potest Ferdinandus 5non esse Princeps egregius, qui tanti Regis sit frater—qui non solum 6arte medendi aduigilas vt corporis prospera valetudine gaudeat ado-7lescens, verum etiam Christiana philosophia fingis ac formas animum 8illius sanctissimis opinionibus, ac decretis vero Principe dignis imbuis 9pectus adhuc purum ac tractabile? Quanquam ille non tam aetate Editor’s Note10quam indolis bonitate tractabilis esse mihi videtur. Atque vtinam Editor’s Note11complures tui similes adessent, vt aula nostra Britannicam imitaretur, 12doctissimis in omni genere disciplinarum viris refertam! Ad regiam Editor’s Note13mensam adstant eruditi; agitantur literatae quaestiunculae, quae ad 14principum institutionem aut alioqui ad bonos mores pertinent. 15Breuiter, is est aulae comitatus vt prae illa nullam non contemnas 16academiam. Faxit Deus Opt. Max. sic inuertantur vices rerum 17humanarum, vt quemadmodum publicas scholas inuasit ambitionis, 18voluptatum et auariciae studium, ita principum aulae recta studia 19complectantur.

20Est apud nos Ludouicus Viues Valentinus, nondum opinor vigesi-21mumsextum egressus annum, sed in nulla philosophiae parte non 22supra vulgum eruditus, tum in bonis literis atque etiam in dicendi 23scribendique facultate eo progressus vt hoc seculo vix alium norim 24quem ausim cum hoc committere. Nullum est argumentum in quo 25non exercuit stilum. Nunc veterum exemplum referens declamat, pg 493 26sed tanta dexteritate, mihi.crede, vt, si titulum adimas, putes rem 27non huius regionis nec huius esse seculi, magis autem felicissimis Editor’s Note28illis Ciceronis ac Senecae temporibus natam, quibus coquis et apiciis 29aliquanto plus erat eloquentiae quam nunc est iis qui videri volunt 30orbis magistri. Artis obseruantissimus est, sed eius affectationem 31ita dissimulat vt neges rem adumbratam agi. Video hunc cum 32primis esse idoneum qui et tibi in instituendo Ferdinando sub-33sidiarius sit, praestetque ne quis aulam istam vt infantem atque 34elinguem contemnat. Ad huius dotes et illud accedit, quod et 35Hispanice callet, vtpote natus Hispanus, et Gallice perbelle, vt qui 36Lutetiae diutule sit versatus. Nostrum sermonem intelligit magis 37quam sonat. Verum haud scio, primum an Card. Croius, cui prae-38ceptor est, passurus sit hominem a se diuelli—diligit enim eum, ita 39vt meretur, effusissime; deinde an expediat iuuenem amplissimae 40fortunae raraeque indolis tali formatore nudari. Impense faueo 41Principi Ferdinando; sed ita de me meritus est Card. vt non ausim 42moliri quicquam quod illi sit incommodo futurum. Postremo non-43dum habeo compertum an Viues ipse sustineat auelli a tanto patrono, 44cui se nouit esse charissimum. Quod si hac in parte tua prudentia 45mecum sentit, proximis literis alium tibi designabo. Bene vale, vir 46eximie. Louanii id. Feb. Anno m. d. xix.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
10. bonitate] For praise of Ferdinand cf. Epp. 943. 20 seq., 969. 15, 970. 22–3, 986. 29–30.
Editor’s Note
11. Britannicam] Cf. Epp.855. 28 seq., 966, 968–70, 976.
Editor’s Note
13. quaestiunculae] Cf. Ep. 964. 123.
Editor’s Note
917. 28. apiciis] Cf. Tert.Apol. 3.
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