Saturday, November 17, 2007

Erasmus, the Messenger, and More

Erasmus to Thomas More

Epistle 103

cannot find any malediction sufficiently strong to hurl at the head of the messenger, to whose carelessness or perfidy I attribute it that I am defrauded of that letter which I so certainly expected from my More. For I cannot and ought not to suppose for a moment, that the fault is yours, though we were a little vehement in our expostulations in that former letter; but we are not afraid of our freedom giving offence to you, who are not ignorant of that Spartan fashion of fighting at close quarters.

Jesting aside, I do beg, sweetest Thomas, that you will cure that sickness which we have contracted from the long want of you and your handwriting, by a payment with interest. We expect not a mere letter, but a huge packet, enough to weigh down Aegyptus Achthophorus. And it will be a kindness, if you will incite any persons within your reach, who are cultivators of Good Letters, to write to me, that my circle of friends may be complete; I could not venture to challenge them myself. As for you, I reckon you will not care in what fashion I write to the best-natured of men, and one who, I am persuaded, has no little love for me. Farewell, dearest More.

Oxford, the Feast of SS. Simon and Jude, (28 Oct.) 1499.

from The Epistles of Erasmus, From the Earliest Letters to His Fifty-First Year, Arranged in Order of Time; translated from the Latin with notes and commentary by Francis Morgan Nichols (London: Longman's Green & Co., 1901) p. 212-13.

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