Not Literature, But Blotterature!

John Colet, Statutes of St. Paul’s School:

“As tovching in this scole what shalbe taught of the Maisters and lernyd of the scolars it passith my wit to devyse and determyn in particular but in generall to speke and sum what to saye my mynde, wolde they were taught all way in good litterature both laten and greke, and goode auctors suych as haue the veray Roxnayne eliquence joyned withe wysdome specially Cristyn auctours that wrote theyre wysdome with clene and chast laten other in verse or in prose, for my entent is by thys scole specially to increase knowledge and worshipping of god and oure lorde Crist jesu and good Crist en lyff and manors in the Children

And for that entent I will the Chyldren lerne ffirst aboue all the Cathechyson in Englysh and after the accidence that I made or sum other yf eny be better to the purpose to induce chyldren more spedely to laten spech And thanne Institutem Christiani homines which that lernyd Erasmus made at my request and the boke call Copia of the same Erasmus And thenne other auctors Christian as lactancius prudentius and proba and sedulius and Juuencus and Baptista Mantuanus and suche other as shalbe taught convenyent and moste to purpose unto the true laten spech all barbary all corrupcion all Laten adulterate which ignorant blynde folis brought into this worlde and with the same hath distayned and poysenyed the olde laten spech and the varay Romayne tong which in the tyme of Tully and Salust and Virgill and Terence was vsid, whiche also seint Jerome and seint ambrose and seint Austin and many hoorly doctors lernyd in theyr tymes. I say that ffylthynesse and all such abus you which the later blynde worlde brought in which more ratheyr may be callid blotterature thenne litterature I vtterly abbanysh and Exclude oute this scole and charge the Maisters that they tec he all way that is the best and instruct the chyldren in greke and Redyng laten in Redyng unto them such auctours that hathe with wisdome joyned the pure chaste eloquence.”

John Colet by Hans Holbein the Younger.jpg

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