And People Could Spend Their Time, Money And Pains On
Something Which Was Truly Pious.
It was only a few years after this that that pupil of Erasmus and his
friends, King Henry the
Eighth, who startled Europe by the way he not
only received new ideas but acted upon them, swept away the shrines,
burned our Lady of Walsingham and prosecuted "the holy blisful martyr"
Thomas a Becket for fraudulent pretensions.
But a new object for travel was springing up and filling the leading
minds of the sixteenth century - the desire of learning, at first hand,
the best that was being thought and said in the world. Humanism was the
new power, the new channel into which men were turning in the days when
"our naturell, yong, lusty and coragious prynce and sovrayne lord King
Herre the Eighth entered into the flower of pleasaunt youthe." And
as the scientific spirit or the socialistic spirit can give to the
permanent instincts of the world a new zest, so the Renaissance passion
for self-expansion and for education gave to the old road a new mirage.
All through the fifteenth century the universities of Italy, pre-eminent
since their foundation for secular studies, had been gaining reputation
by their offer of a wider education than the threadbare discussions of
the schoolmen. The discovery and revival in the fifteenth century of
Greek literature, which had stirred Italian society so profoundly, gave
to the universities a northward-spreading fame. Northern scholars, like
Rudolf Agricola, hurried south to find congenial air at the centre of
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