Juan Luis Vives.

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[Illustration: _Juan Luis Vives._]







Professor of Education in the University College
of Wales, Aberystwyth







J. L. Vives: A Scholar of the Renascence vii

The Significance of the _Dialogues_ of J. L. Vives xviii

The Dedication of the _School-Dialogues_ of Vives xxi

Contents of the _Dialogues_ xxii

Home and School Life xxiii

Subject-matter and Style xxxii

Popularity xxxiv

The Greek Words in Vives’ _Dialogues_ xxxv

Euphrosynus Lapinus xxxvi

Style xxxvi

Characteristics of Vives as a Writer of _Dialogues_ xxxvii

Vives as a Precursor of the Drama xxxvii

Some Educational Aspects of Vives’ _Dialogues_ xxxix

Vives’ Idea of the School xxxix

Games xli

Nature Study xliv

Wine-drinking and Water-drinking xlv

The Vernacular xlvi

The Educational Ideal of Vives xlviii

Vives’ Last _Dialogue_: The Precepts of Education l


I. SURRECTIO MATUTINA—_Getting up in the Morning_ 1

II. PRIMA SALUTATIO—_Morning Greetings_ 6

III. DEDUCTIO AD LUDUM—_Escorting to School_ 9


V. LECTIO—_Reading_ 18

and Children’s Play_ 21


VIII. GARRIENTES—_Students’ Chatter_ 39

IX. ITER ET EQUUS—_Journey on Horseback_ 55

X. SCRIPTIO—_Writing_ 65

and the Morning Constitutional_ 80

XII. DOMUS—_The New House_ 93

XIII. SCHOLA—_The School_ 101

and Studies by Night_ 109

XV. CULINA—_The Kitchen_ 117

XVI. TRICLINIUM—_The Dining-room_ 125

XVII. CONVIVIUM—_The Banquet_ 132

XVIII. EBRIETAS—_Drunkenness_ 150

XIX. REGIA—_The King’s Palace_ 163

XX. PRINCEPS PUER—_The Young Prince_ 172

or Paper-games_ 185

XXII. LEGES LUDI—_Laws of Playing_ 198

Man’s Body_ 210

XXIV. EDUCATIO—_Education_ 219

Education_ 234





Erasmus was born in 1466, Budé (Budaeus) in 1468, and Vives in 1492.
These great men were regarded by their contemporaries as a triumvirate
of leaders of the Renascence movement, at any rate outside of Italy.
The name of Erasmus is now the most generally known of the three, but
in one of his letters Erasmus stated his fear that he would be eclipsed
by Vives. No doubt Erasmus was the greatest propagandist of Renascence
ideas and the Renascence spirit. No doubt Budé, by his _Commentarii
Linguae Graecae_ (1529), established himself as the greatest Greek
scholar of the age. Equally, without doubt, it would appear to those
who have studied the educational writings of Erasmus, Budé, and Vives,
the claim might reasonably be entered for J. L. Vives that his _De
Tradendis Disciplinis_ placed him first of the three as a writer on
educational theory and practice. In 1539 Vives published at Paris the
_Linguae Latinae Exercitatio_, _i.e._, the _School Dialogues_ which are
for the first time, in the present volume, presented to the English

Juan Luis Vives was born, March 6, 1492 (the year of Columbus’s
discovery of America), at Valencia, in Spain. His father was Luis
Vives, of high-born ancestry, whose device was _Siempre vivas_.
Similarly his mother, Blanca March, was of a good family, which had
produced several poets. Vives himself has described his parents, their
relation to each other and to himself, in two passages in his _De
Institutione Feminae Christianae_ (1523). This work was translated into
English (_c._ 1540) by Richard Hyrde. As the two passages contain all
that is known of the parents, and give a short but picturesque idea of
the household relations, I transcribe them from Hyrde’s translation:
“My mother Blanca, when she had been fifteen years married unto my
father, I could never see her strive with my father. There were two
sayings that she had ever in her mouth as proverbs. When she would say
she believed well anything, then she used to say, ‘It is even as though
Luis Vives had spoken it.’ When she would say she would anything, she
used to say, ‘It is even as though Luis Vives would it.’ I have heard
my father say many times, but especially once, when one told him of a
saying of Scipio African the younger, or else of Pomponius Atticus (I
ween it were the saying of them both), that they never made agreement
with their mothers. ‘Nor I with my wife,’ said he, ‘which is a greater
thing.’ When others that heard this saying wondered upon it, and the
concord of Vives and Blanca was taken up and used in a manner for a
proverb, he was wont to answer like as Scipio was, who said he never
made agreement with his mother, because he never made debate with her.
But it is not to be much talked in a book (made for another purpose) of
my most holy mother, whom I doubt not now to have in heaven the fruit
and reward of her holy and pure living.”

Vives states that he had the intention of writing a “book of her acts
and her life,” and no one who reads the foregoing passage will be
otherwise than regretful that he failed to carry out this purpose. As
it is, we must content ourselves with another passage.[1]

“No mother loved her child better than mine did; nor any child did ever
less perceive himself loved of his mother than I. She never lightly
laughed upon me, she never cockered me; and yet when I had been three
or four days out of her house, she wist not where, she was almost sore
sick; and when I was come home, I could not perceive that ever she
longed for me. Therefore there was nobody that I did more flee, or
was more loath to come nigh, than my mother, when I was a child; but
after I came to man’s estate, there was nobody whom I delighted more to
have in sight; whose memory now I have in reverence, and as oft as she
cometh to my remembrance I embrace her within my mind and thought, when
I cannot with my body.”

Vives went to the town school of Valencia. The outlines of the
history of this school have been sketched by Dr. Rudolf Heine.[2]
The foundation of the school dates back to the time of James I. of
Aragon, when Pope Innocent IV. gave privileges to the newly founded
school in 1245. The school, Dr. Heine says, was first a _schola_, then
a _studium_, then a _gymnasium_, and in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries was known as an _academy_, the name by which Vives describes
schools in the _Colloquies_. In 1499 new statutes were drawn up for the
Valencia Academy, ordaining the teaching of grammar, logic, natural and
moral philosophy, metaphysics, canon and civil law, poetry, and “other
subjects such as the city desires and requires.”

The spirit of scholasticism reigned supreme in the Valencian Academy
when Vives was a pupil. The dominant subject of study was dialectic,
and the all-controlling method of education was the disputation. Vives
thus received a thorough drilling in dialectic and disputation. When
Vives became a convert to the Renascence interest of literature and
grammar, he was thus well prepared by his experience in the Valencian
Academy for an effective onslaught on the old disputational methods.
How deeply interwoven these methods were in the school instruction may
be seen in Vives’ own words:—

“Even the youngest scholars (_tyrones_) are accustomed never to keep
silence; they are always asserting vigorously whatever comes uppermost
in their minds, lest they should seem to be giving up the dispute.
Nor does one disputation or even two each day prove sufficient, as
for instance at dinner. They wrangle at breakfast; they wrangle
after breakfast; before supper they wrangle, and they wrangle after
supper.... At home they dispute, out of doors they dispute. They
wrangle over their food, in the bath, in the sweating-room, in the
church, in the town, in the country, in public, in private; at all
times they are wrangling.”

The names of two of Vives’ schoolmasters are preserved, Jerome
Amiguetus and Daniel Siso. Amiguetus was a thorough-going scholastic,
teaching by the old mediæval methods, and a stalwart opponent of the
Renascence. Spain generally resisted the Revival of Learning, and
wished to have a ban placed even on the works of Erasmus. But in the
person of Antonio Calà Harana Del Ojo, better known as Antonio de
Lebrijà (or Antonius Nebrissensis), a doughty champion of classicism
appeared and raised a Spanish storm. In 1492, the year of Vives’
birth, Antonio published a grammar and a dictionary, and had the
hardihood to present his learning in the Spanish language. About 1506
it was proposed to introduce Antonio’s _Introductiones Latinae_ into
the Valencian Academy. This suggestion was strenuously opposed by
Amiguetus. With the enthusiasm of a school-boy of fourteen years of
age, Vives espoused the side of his teacher, and by declamation and by
pen supported the old methods. But when he published his _De Tradendis
Disciplinis_ (1531) more than a quarter of a century afterwards,
he paid Lebrijà the praise which as a school-boy he had withheld,
recognising his varied and broad reading, his intimate knowledge of
classical writers, his glorious scholarship, and his modesty in only
claiming to be a grammarian.

Of Vives’ school-life little more can be gathered, except indeed
what in his writings may be surmised to be the reminiscences of his
own boy-life. We find glimpses of this kind in the _Dialogues_. For
example, in the twenty-second Dialogue—which expounds the laws of
school games—he describes his native town and early environment.

In 1509 Vives went to Paris to continue his studies. Amongst the
teachers under whom he studied here was the Spanish John Dullard. Vives
tells us that Dullard used to say: Quanto eris melior grammaticus,
tanto pejus dialecticus et theologus![3] Nevertheless, Paris had
awakened Vives to the unsatisfactory nature of a one-sided training
in dialectic. In 1512 he proceeded to Bruges. He became tutor in a
Spanish family, by name Valdaura. One of the daughters, Margaret, whom
he taught, he afterwards (in 1524) married. He speaks of the mother of
the family, Clara Cervant, in the highest terms, and regarded her—next
to his own mother—as the highest example of womanly devotion to duty he
had ever known, for she had nursed her husband, it is said, from their
marriage day for many years through a severe and obstinate illness.
Whilst at Bruges his thoughts gathered strength in the direction of
the Renascence. In 1514 he suggests that Ferdinand of Spain would do
well to get Erasmus as tutor in his family, for he says Erasmus is
known to him personally, and is all that is dear and worthy. It is thus
certain that Vives was confirmed by Erasmus in the study of classical
literature as transcending all the old mediæval educational disciplines.

From 1512 onwards, with breaks, Vives’ main quarters were in Flanders,
at Bruges or Louvain, at the former of which was the residence of many
of his Spanish compatriots. One of these breaks of residence was in
1514 at Paris, another at Lyons in 1516. In 1518 Vives was at Lyons,
where he was entrusted with the education of William de Croy, Cardinal
designate and Archbishop of Toledo. The course of instruction which
he gave was founded on a thorough reading of the ancient authors
and instruction in rhetoric and philosophy. At Lyons, too, Vives
met Erasmus. “Here we have with us,” writes Erasmus in one of his
letters, “Luis Vives, who has not passed his twenty-sixth year of
age. Young as he is, there is no part of philosophy in which he does
not possess a knowledge which far outstrips the mass of students. His
power of expression in speech and writing is such as I do not know
any one who can be declared his equal at the present time.” In 1519
Vives was at Paris, where he became personally acquainted with the
great William Budé. Of him Vives, in one of his letters to Erasmus,
writes, “What a man! One is astounded at him whether we consider his
knowledge, his character, or his good fortune.” But more interesting
to English readers, is a letter about this time (1519) of Sir Thomas
More on seeing some of the published work of Vives himself. He says:
“Certainly, my dear Erasmus, I am ashamed of myself and my friends, who
take credit to ourselves for a few brochures of a quite insignificant
kind, when I see a young man like Vives producing so many well-digested
works, in a good style, giving proof of an exquisite erudition. How
great is his knowledge of Greek and Latin; greater still is the way in
which he is versed in branches of knowledge of the first rank. Who in
this respect is there who surpasses Vives in the quantity and depth
of his knowledge? But what is most admirable of all is that he should
have acquired all this knowledge so as to be able to communicate it to
others by instruction. For who instructs more clearly, more agreeably,
or more successfully than Vives?”

At this point may be stated the chief works which Vives so far had

1507. The boyish _Declamationes in Antonium Nebrissensem_
(not extant).

1509. _Veritas Fucata_, in which he designates the
contents of the classics as “food for demons.”

1514. _Jesu Christi Triumphus._

1518. _De Initiis, Sectis et Laudibus Philosophiae_,
perhaps the first modern work on the history of

1519. _In Pseudo-dialecticos._ This famous treatise pours
its invective and indignation against the formalistic
disputational dialectic of the schools of Paris, and
marks Vives’ complete break with scholastic mediævalism,
and his acceptance of the Renascence material of
knowledge and methods of inquiry.

1519. _Pompeius Fugiens._

1519. _Praelectio in Quartum Rhetoricorum in Herennium._

1519. The Dialogue called _Sapiens_.

1519. _Praelectio in Convivia Philelphi._

1519. _Censura de Aristotelis Operibus._

1519. Edited _Somnium Scipionis_, the introduction to
which was afterwards known as _Somnium Vivis_. Vives here
regards Plato as the herald of Christianity.

1520. _Sex Declamationes._

1520. _Aedes Legum._ In this book Vives made important
suggestions founded on Roman law for the improvement of
law in his own times.

At the beginning of 1521 Vives’ old pupil and patron, Cardinal de
Croy, died. It was at this time he took in hand his great work, the
commentary on St. Augustine’s _Civitas Dei_. Erasmus suggested the
work to him, so that Vives might do for St. Augustine what Erasmus
himself had done for the works of St. Jerome. Vives’ edition of
St. Augustine’s _Civitas Dei_ was dedicated to King Henry VIII. of
England. The writing of this commentary was a huge labour, and it
marks two crises in Vives’ life—firstly, he fell ill with a tertian
fever, and, secondly, he gave up his teaching of youths, work which he
had hitherto strenuously pursued along with his literary labours. In
1522 he wrote a pleading letter to Erasmus, begging him forgive his
slowness in despatching the _Civitas Dei_. In it he confesses that
“school-keeping has become in the highest degree repulsive,” and that
he would rather do anything else than any longer continue “_inter has
sordes et pueros_.” It appears that at the time Vives was giving three
lectures daily in the University of Louvain as well as teaching boys.

In the autumn of 1522 Vives came to England for a short visit, and
in the following year he was offered the Readership in Humanity
in the University of Oxford. Whilst at Oxford he lived in Corpus
Christi College. He had for patron Queen Catharine of Aragon, to
whom he dedicated his _De Institutione Feminae Christianae_, which
was published in 1523. Vives was entrusted with the direction of the
Princess Mary (afterwards Queen Mary I.), for whose use was written
_De Ratione Studii Puerilis ad Catharinam Reginam Angliae_, 1523. In
the same year Vives also wrote _De Ratione Studii Puerilis ad Carolum
Montjoium Guilielmi Filium_. These two tractates present an excellent
account of the best Renascence views on education, in Tudor times, of a
girl and a boy respectively.

The _De Institutione Feminae Christianae_ already mentioned is one of
the earliest and most important Tudor documents on women’s education.
It marks the transition from the old mediæval tradition of the
cloistral life as the highest womanly ideal to that of training for
domestic life, in which the mother should be distinguished by the
deepest culture of piety and all the intellectual education conducive
to religious development. It may be described as typical of Catholic
Puritanism in the education of women in the Tudor times.

From 1522 onwards, till after the divorce of Catharine of Aragon, Vives
appears to have spent a portion of the year in England, and to have
earned enough money to keep him for the rest of the year in Flanders
or elsewhere, where he continued his literary career. Although he
sometimes lectured in Oxford his time seems principally to have been
spent at the court of Henry VIII. and his wife, Catharine. He had times
of great weariness in England. He writes in one of his letters of his
London life: “I have as sleeping place a narrow den, in which there
is no chair, no table. Around it are the quarters of others, in which
so constant and great noise prevails that it is impossible to settle
one’s mind to anything, however much one may have the will or need. In
addition, I live a distance from the royal palace, and in order not to
lose the whole day by often going and coming back, from early morning
till late evening I have no time at home. When I have taken my mid-day
meal I cannot once turn round in my narrow and low room, but must waltz
round and round as on a cheese. Study is out of the question in such
circumstances. I have to take great care of my health, for if I became
ill they would cast me like a mangy dog on a dung-hill. Whilst eating
I read, but I eat little, for with so much sitting I cannot digest, as
I should do if I walked about. For the rest, life here is such that I
cannot hide my ennui. About the only thing I can do, is to do nothing.”

Vives enjoyed allowances both from the king and from the queen, and he
had other sources of earnings. In 1524 he was back in Flanders to marry
his pupil Margaret Valdaura. Soon after his marriage, which appears to
have been a very happy one—though with Vives’ frequent travelling the
two were often separated—he wrote one of his widest circulated works,
the _Introductio ad Sapientiam_, which presents the grounds of the
Christian religion and the right fashioning of life by intelligence and

Vives next turned his attention to great European military contests,
and was a warm advocate of international peace between Christian
powers together with combined warfare against the Turks. These views
he elaborated in 1526 in his _De Europae Dissidiis et Bello Turico_.
More remarkable still, in the same year, was his treatise, _De
Subventione Pauperum_, in which he is the first advocate of national
state provision for the poor. He would require those who are poor by
their own fault to submit to compulsory labour, and even to help in the
provision for other poor people.

In 1528 Vives wrote his _De Officio Mariti_, a companion volume to the
_De Institutione Feminae Christianae_. In this year he had to leave
England for good, since Henry VIII. was determined to divorce Catharine
of Aragon. Vives was a strong supporter of Catharine. It is said that
the queen wished to have Vives as her counsel before the judges on the
case, but Henry cast Vives in prison for six weeks, and only freed him
on the condition that he left the court and England. Vives retreated to

In 1529 Vives wrote the _De Concordia et Discordia in Humano Genero_,
another large-hearted discourse on the value of peace. In 1531 appeared
his great pædagogical work, the _De Disciplinis_.[4] In 1539 he wrote
the _De Anima et Vita_, one of the first modern works on psychology,
and the _De Veritate Fidei Christianae_. And in the same year appeared
the _Linguae Latinae Exercitatio_ or the _School Dialogues_. Vives died
May 6, 1540.

The _De Disciplinis_, with the two divisions _De Causis Corruptarum
Artium_ and the _De Tradendis Disciplinis_, and the _Exercitatio_ are
the great pædagogical works of Vives, the first a most comprehensive
theoretical work of education, probably the greatest Renascence book
on education. The _Exercitatio_ is perhaps the most interesting
school-text-book of the age.



It is difficult to realise the position of the student of literature in
England in the first half of the sixteenth century. The whole wealth
of the Elizabethan writers, and all their successors in the Ages of
Milton, of Dryden and Pope, of Samuel Johnson, of Charles Lamb, of
Shelley, Byron, and Wordsworth, and the large range of Victorian
literature, all this had to come. The modern man, therefore, must
confess that it was not to English literature that the Tudor student
could look for the material of education. Even if it be justifiable
to claim that modern literature is a more fruitful study than ancient
literature, for the ordinary man, the question remains: How was the
ordinary educated man to be trained in the earlier Tudor Age, when the
time of great modern literature was “not yet”?

Before we can understand the function served by a Latin text-book of
boys’ dialogues like the work of Vives translated in this volume, we
must, therefore, first realise the poverty of the vernacular literature
of periods anterior to the sixteenth century, and the consequent
delight of scholars in finding Latin and Greek literature ready to hand.

“There is every reason to believe that the English language, before
the invention of printing, was held by learned or literary men in very
little esteem. In the library of Glastonbury Abbey, which bids fair
to have been one of the most extensive in the kingdom in 1248, there
were but four books in English, and those upon religious subjects, all
beside _vetusta et inutilia_. We have not a single historian in English

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