Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex
Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex, Agrippa, Rabil Jr.
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Angling for private patronage was in the sixteenth century correlative to the habit not very uncommon in these days of using baits to catch the public favor. Men who once lived by the help of princes now owe their support to the whole people, and the pains bestowed upon the cultivation of the good-will of the people in these days are neither less nor more to be reprehended than the pains taken by scholars of past time to procure a safe means of subsistence through the good-will of a prince. It may be said, with a fair approximation to the truth, that as much as a man may do now, with the intention of deserving popularity, and not discredit himself in his own eyes or those of the great number of his neighbors, he might have done with as little discredit in the sixteenth century with the design of earning favor from the great. We have seen how, in the case of Reuchlin, a poor chorister was fostered at first by small princes of Germany, afterwards even by the emperor, and enabled to develop into a great Hebrew scholar, when one patron died having another ready to befriend him, and enjoying dignity and wealth with a complete sense of independence. That age was, in fact, as far removed as this is from the transition period, during which the patronage of letters by the great, extinct as a necessity, survived as a tradition, and the system that had once been vigorous and noble became imbecile and base.
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