The true subiect to the rebell, or, The hurt of sedition, how greivous it is to a common-wealth written by Sir Iohn Cheeke ... ; whereunto is newly added by way of preface a briefe discourse of those times, as they may relate to the present, with the authors life.
Cheke, John, Sir, 1514-1557., Langbaine, Gerard, 1609-1658.
Page  [unnumbered]

THE LIFE OF Sr IOHN CHEEKE.

THIS learned and worthy man fell immediatly from the wombe of his mother into the lappe of the Muses; being both borne and bred within the liberties of that famous nursery of good letters, Cambridge. Where I quickly find him at a full height, but cannot tell you how low he took his rise: the diversity of ex∣pression in severall Anthors, cannot but in this point distract the Reader; some making him of a noble, some of a base ex∣traction. We may imagine the meane to be of a nearer alli∣ance to truth then either extreme. I have read his Mother saluted by the name of Mrs cheeke, and two of his Sisters fairely matched, one to Doctor Blith, the Kings professour of Physick; and Mary, another of them, to William Cecill, af∣terwards Lord Burghley, a most able minister of State in those dayes, & the Father of divers noble Families in these. Vpon which probabilities I would conclude M Cheeke for Page  [unnumbered] his parentage to be somewhat more then the sonne of his owne deserts. And yet these were so farre above vulgar and ordinary, that they quickly purchased him a Fellowship in St Iohns Colledge; and it may be disputable whether in point of learning he ought more to the place, or the place to him. His eminency was so generally taken notice of by the whole Vniverlity, that they pitched upon him for the sole manage of two weighty, but honorary employments, of their publique Oratour and Greek Reader. In the discharge of this latter he went over Sophocles twice, all Homer, all Euripides, and part of Herodotus, to his Auditors benefit, and his owne credit, which was all the Salary he then had. Till King HENRY the VIII of his Royall bounty, en∣dowed that and the other Chaires with the liberall allow∣ance of forty pounds per annum. Then the place was thought worthy the seeking for, and I find three powerfull competitors all suiting for it in Mr Cheekes absence: yet it seemes the prudent King upon the sole commendatories of his former deservings reserved that honour for him, to be the first Regius Professor of the Greek tongue in Cambridge. as Sr Thomas Smith was of Law. Whom I mention for that great intimacy which he had with our Author. They were both Fellowes of the same Colledge, both Professors in the same Vniversity, both Officers of State in the same Court: they two especially by their advice and example brought the Study of Tongues & other politer learning first into re∣quest in that Vniversity. But while they were in their full cariere they had the hap to meet with some rubbs. Vpon hopes of facilitating the understanding of the Greek tongue they attempted to reduce it to the ancient, but obsolete mā∣ner of pronunciation; a thing very repugnant to the genius of those times and other places. This innovation was quick∣ly obserued by Stephen Gardiner Bishop of Winchester then Chancellour of that Vniversity, who took a course to re∣presse it by a strict injunction sent to be published there Maij XXI 1542. Yet so as he was content upon equall Page  [unnumbered] termes to reason the matter with Mr Cheeke, and so he did fairely and friendly in his first letters: The Professor was not willing to desert the cause and quitt the feild having so Honorable an adversary: hee answers the Chancellour once and againe, freely (I confesse) and (as the BP thought) boldly. Long was the cause bandyed betwixt them, the one pleading ancient right, the other present possession. But at last Mr Cheeke was content to submit to that one unanswer∣able argument of the Chancellours, Authority. Yet his rules and practise had taken such deep root in his Auditours that by them it was propagated through this whole King∣dome: and that we English-men now speak Greek and are able to understand one another when no body else can, this we must acknowledge to be a speciall effect of Mr Cheekes rare ingeny. Which could not long be contained within the narrow precincts of the Vniversity; that famous King, HENRY the VIII, thought it fit to call this great light of learning out of the shadow, and so he did Iulij X. 1544. and to his custodie he then committed the most precious jewell of the Kingdome, the young Prince EDWARD, being at that time not full seven yeares of age. Here was such a hap∣py concurrence of sweetnesse and ingenuity that it was no very hard matter for the Master to imbue the tender yeares of his Scholar with so deep a tincture of Piety, and good let∣ters as render'd him the glory of his owne times, and the miracle of ours. What unspeakable progresse he made un∣der this Directour of his Studies, he that makes a doubt of Cardans testimony may be confirmed from those many no∣ble reliques of his industry and sufficiency, both in Greek and Latine, written with his owne hand, which are still pre∣served in his Majesties Library at S. Iames. And what a fit and happy choyce the King made in such a Tutor, for such a Schollar I cannot better expresse then in the words of that learned Antiquary Iohn Leland, who dedicated one of his books to Mr Cheeke with this L'envoy.

Page  [unnumbered] Ad libellum, ut Ioanni Checo Grantano placere studeat

Si vis Thespiadum Choro probari
Fac ut consilio, libelle, nostro
Facundo studeas placere Checo:
Quem Pandioniae colunt Athenae.
Et quem Roma colit diserta multúm
Quem Rex Maximus, omnium supremùs{que},
HENRICVS reputans virum probatum
Spectatúm{que} satis, recondite{que}
Censorem solidum eruditionis,
EDVARDVM bene filium, suúm{que}
Haeredem, puerum, illi, ad alta natum,
Sic concredidit utrius{que} lingua
Flores ut legeret venustiores;
Exercens facili manum labore,
Ut CHRISTI imbiberet suäve nectar.
Felicem arbitror hunc diem fuisse
Tanto Discipulo dedit Magistrum
Qui talem &c.

I suppose it may be truely said that under God M. Cheek was a speciall instrument of the propagation of the Gospell, & that Religion which we now professe in this Kingdome. For he not only sowed the seeds of that Doctrine in the heart of Prince EDWARD, which afterwards grew up in∣to a generall Reformation when he came to be King, but by his meanes the same saveing truth was gently instilled into the Lady ELIZABETH, by those who by his pro∣curement were admitted to be the Guides of her younger Studies: Such were first William Grindall, a hopefull young Scholar ofS. Iohns in Cambridge, whom being destitute of other meanes of subsistance, M. Cheek took into his service Anno 1544. and soone after preferr'd him to the Lady ELI∣ZABETH: with whom he continued as long as he lived in good favour and likeing: and the losse of him was, by Mr Cheekes meanes, presently supplyed in Roger Ascham, who had formerly been his Scholar in the Colledge, and Succes∣sour Page  [unnumbered] in the Orators place in the Vniversity: A man deare unto him for similitude of studies, but more for his zeale to the true Religion. Which was so precious with our Au∣thor, that no man was great in his books, but such as were well affected to Gods. Even in HENRY the VIII time his friends and familiars were most of those worthy men which proved Reformers in King EDWARDS dayes, and either Martyrs or Exiles in Queene MARIES. His forreigne acquaintance were Sleidan, Melancthon, Sturmi∣us, Bucer, Camerarius, Coelius, Peter Martyr and others, great Scholars and good Protestants. And the Crowne was no sooner on King EDWARDS head, Ianuary XX VIII. 1547. and the Gospell set at liberty, but many of these men came, and others were sent for to help forwards that great worke of the Reformation in England. when the young King was well setled in his Throne, and began to be skilled in the art of reigning, he thought fit to make choyce of such men for the nearest attendance upon his person, as he knew to be best affected to it; & therefore amongst others admitted M. Cheek to be one of his Privy Chamber. This accrue of honour to her sonne made his learned mother the Vniversity a suiter to him for protection in those stormy times: who in her letters to him gives him such an elogie, as I cannot omitt without guilt of concealment. This it is, Ex universo illo numero Clarissimorum virorum (Clarissi∣me Chece) qui ex hac Academia in Rempublicam unquam prodierunt, Tu unus es quem semper Academia prae universis alijs & praesentem complexa est, & absentem admirata est: quam Tu vicissim plusquam Vniversi alij & praesens ornave∣ras, & absens juvas. About this time he took so much lea∣sure as either to pen or publish severall learned, and usefull Tracts both for Church and State. And as his merits, so his Princes favour were ever in progression. In the yeare 1551, after the treaty about the Match with France, when his Majesty was pleased to make a doale of honours amongst his deserving Subjects, M. Cheek was not forgot∣ten; Page  [unnumbered] he with his Brother in Law Secretary Cecill, and others were then Knighted. This was but a foundation upon which the gratefull Prince had a purpose to erect higher preferments had not the hand of Providence so soone snatch'd him a way into another Kingdome, to invest his temples with a more glorious Crowne. This was done Iuly VI. 1553. Not long after he had called Sr Iohn Cheeke to sit at the helme of State, the Councell Boord. In this common losse of so good a King He, good man, had more then a common share. The tide of the times must now turne, and he must either row with it, or be in danger to perish in it. And so he was; for his zeale to Religion trans∣porting him a litle beyond his loyaltie to his lawfull Sove∣raigne, he was one of those among the Councell who could have been content the Lady IANE'S title to the Crowne should have been thought better then the Lady MARIE'S. And for this He amongst others was clapt up in Prison Iuly XXVII. Here he was stripp'd of the greatest part of his ho∣nours, and all his fortunes: but his person was set at liberty September III. And not long after I meet with him in Ger∣many, either a forced or a voluntary Exile. From thence he passed into Italy, and by the way left those adversary Epi∣stles of Winchester and himselfe with his friend Coelius, who put them in Print without the Authors privity. At his returne to Germany he was kindly entertained at Stras∣bourg, where he took up his old trade; and set up shop a∣gaine, being chosen publique Professor of the Greek tongue in that place. This was a treasure which maintained him in his exile: this he had not confiscate to the Queene: this es∣caped the diligence of all the Searchers when he conveyed it out of the Kingdome. Here he lived about two yeares in good repute, till I know not what unluckie starres put him upon a journey into the Low Countries. Nor is it well a∣greed what his businesse was there. Some have said it was to marry a wife: but what need of that, when he was alrea∣dy matched to a young Lady, who lived to see many happyer Page  [unnumbered] daies after his decease, and dyed well nigh threescore yeares after him, Anno 1616? Others report the occasion of this his voyage to be no more but a friendly interview, and visit of the English Ambassadors then at Bruxelles, and a∣mong them his ancient friend the Lord Pagett, who enga∣ged the faith of King PHILIP for his safe conduct. But for the maine motive of this his voyage, I subscribe to the relation of Sleidan, as most ancient & likely to be most true. He tels us how Sr Iohn Cheeke went into Low Germany ut vxorem educeret, to fetch his wife from thence, who belike was lately come over out of England, and meant to settle with him at Strasbourg. Those words of Sleidan were (as I conceive) by an easie mistake corrupted into vxorem du∣ceret; and this was the first plantation of that opinion touch∣ing his marriage, which sprung up afterwards into a popu∣lar errour. But whatever was the occasion, the event of that journey did not correspond to the undertakers hopes. For in his returne from Bruxelles to Antwerp, May XV. 1556, both Sr Iohn Cheeke and Sr Peter Carew were waylay'd by the Provost Marshall for King PHILIP, beaten from their horses, tyed hand and foot to the bottome of a Cart, and so conveyed hoodwinckt to the next Haven, where they were Shipt under hatches, and their first landing place was the Tower of London, where they were committed to close Prison. It is said there be some Writers that have made both these men Martyrs two yeares before; and as∣signed them a place in the Calendar Iune XIII. 1554, the day upon which they were supposed to be burned both at the same Stake, and for the same Cause. But the truth is o∣therwise: Sr Peter Carew outlived all his troubles, and un∣derwent many honorable services under Queene ELI∣ZABETH, and dyed in Ireland above twenty yeares af∣ter this supposed Martyrdome, Anno 1575. Sr Iohn Check's lott was somewhat harder: he was put to this miserable choyce, either to forgoe his life, or what is farre more pre∣cious his liberty of conscience. No meane; neither his great Page  [unnumbered] learning, his knowne integrity, the intercession of his friends, and among them Abbot Fekenhans, (a man which could doe somewhat with Queene MARY) could com∣pound for his pardon at any lower rate then the recantati∣of his Religion. This he was loath to accept till his hard usage in prison, joyned with thereats of worse upon his per∣severance, and faire promises to his submission, with what other insinuating meanes humane pollicie could invent to work upon flesh and blood, drew from his mouth an abre∣nuntiation of that truth which he had so long professed, and still believec. Vpon this he was sooner restored to his liber∣tie, but never to his content. The sense and sorrow for his fall in himselfe, and the daily sight of that cruell butchery which was exercised upon others for the constant professi∣on of the truth, made such deep impressions in his broken soule, as brought him to a speedy, but comfortable end of a miserable life. He died at London in the house of Peter Osberne Esquier, in September 1557. His body lies buried in St Albans, Woodstreet: with this Epitaph upon his tombe.

Doctrinae CHECUS linguae{que} utrius{que} Magister
Aurea naturae fabrica morte jacet.
Non erat ė multis unus, sed praestitit unus
Omnibus, & patriae flos erat ille suae.
Gemma Britanna fuit: tam magnum nulla tulerunt
Tempora the saurum; tempora nulla ferent.
I doe not finde any issue that he left of his body, save one sonne which bare his own name, a comely young man and a stout; slaine in his Princes service at the siege of Fort del Or in Jreland 1580. the onely man of ours that was lost in that daies service. But for the issue of his braine, that's more nu∣merous; and for their sakes which are delighted in such pe∣digrees, I have set downe this succeeding Catalogue of Sr IOHN CHEEKES Works.
    Scripsit CL. V. Ioannes Checus
  • Introductionem Grammatices. Lib. 1.
  • De Ludimagistrorum officio, Lib. 1.
  • Page  [unnumbered] De pronunciatione linguae Graecae.
  • Correctiones Herodoti, Thycididis, Platonis, Demosthenis, & Xenophontis. lib. plurimis.
  • Epitaphia. Lib. 1.
  • Panegyricum in nativitatem EDVARDI Principis.
  • Elegiam de aegrotatione & obitu EDVARDI VI.
  • In obitum Antonii Dennei. Lib. 1.
  • De obitu Buceri.
  • Commentarios in Psalmum CXXXIX & alios.
  • An liceat nubere post Divortium. Lib. 1.
  • De fide iustificante. Lib. 1.
  • De aqua lustrali, cineribus, & palmis, ad Wintoniensem. L. 1.
  • De Eucharistiae Sacramento. Lib. 1.
  • Collegit in Parliamento argumenta & rationes exutra{que} par∣te super negotio Eucharistiae.
  • Edidit (quem hic recusum damus) de damno ex seditione Libellum.
    Transtulit E Graeco in Latinum.
  • Euripidis & Sophocils quaedam ad literam.
  • Aristotelem de anima.
  • Demosthenis Olynthiacas, Philippicas, & contra Leptinem.
  • AEschinis & Demosthenis Orationes adversarias.
  • Plutarchum de superstitione.
  • Leonem Imperatorem De apparatu bellico.
  • Iosephum De antiquitatibus Iudaicis.
  • Chrysostomi Homilias quasdam. viz Contra Observatores Novilunii 1. De dormientibus in Christo. 1. De provi dentia Dei. 3. De fato. 3.
  • Maximi Monachi asceticum.
    Ex Anglico in Latinum.
  • Thomae Cranmeri librum de Sacramentis.
  • Officium de Communione.