A HUMANISTS ENTHUSIASM FOR GREEK
A RENAISSANCE PRINCE
THE SUBSERVIENCE OF WOMEN IN MEDIEVAL THOUGHT
PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN
ON THE FAMILY
A MEDIEVAL HOLOCAUST
ISABELLA OF CASTILE
LORENZO DE MEDICI TO HIS SON
A HUMANISTS ENTHUSIASM FOR GREEK
One of the first humanists to have a thorough knowledge of both Latin and Greek was the Florentine chancellor Leonardo Bruni. Bruni was fortunate to be instructed by the Greek scholar Manuel Chrysoloras, who was persuaded by the Florentines to come to Florence to teach Greek. As this selection illustrates, Bruni seized the opportunity to pursue his passion for Greek letters.
History of His Own Times in Italy
Then first came the knowledge of Greek letters, which for seven hundred years had been lost among us. It was the Byzantine, Chrysoloras, a nobleman in his own country and most skilled in literature, who brought Greek learning back to us. Because his country was invaded by the Turks, he came by sea to Venice; but as soon his fame went abroad, he was cordially invited and eagerly besought to come to Florence on a public salary to spread his abundant riches before the youth of the city . At that time I was studying Civil Law. But my nature was afire with the love of learning and I had already given no little time to dialectic and rhetoric. Therefore at the coming of Chrysoloras I was divided in my mind, feeling that it was a shame to desert the Law and no less wrong to let slip such an occasion for learning Greek. And c>often with youthful impulsiveness I addressed myself thus: "When you are privileged to gaze upon and have converse with Homer, Plato, and Demosthenes as well as the other poets, philosophers, and orators of whom such wonderful things are reported, and when you might saturate yourself with their admirable teachings, will you turn your back and flee? Will you permit this opportunity, divinely offered you, to slip by? For seven hundred years now no one in Italy has been in possession of Greek and yet we agree that all knowledge comes from that source. What great advancement of knowledge, enlargement of fame, and increase of pleasure will come to you from an acquaintance with this tongue! There are everywhere quantities of doctors of the Civil Law and the opportunity of completing your study in this field will not fail you. However, should the one and only doctor of Greek letters disappear, there will he no one from whom to acquire them."
Overcome at last by these arguments, I gave myself to Chrysoloras and developed such ardor that what' ever I learned by day, I revolved with myself in the night while asleep.
Marriages were so important in maintaining families in Renaissance Italy that much energy was put into arranging them. Parents made the choices for their children, most often for considerations that had little to do with the modern notion of love. This selection is taken from the letters of a Florentine matron of the illustrious Strozzi family to her son Filippo in Naples. The family's considerations were complicated by the fact that the son was in exile.
Alessandra Strozzi to Her Son Filippo in Naples
[April 20, 1464] . . . Concerning the matter of a wife [for Filippo], it appears to me that if Francesco di Messer Tanagli wishes to give his daughter, that it would be a fine marriage.... Now I will speak with Marco [Parenti, Alessandra's son-in-law], to see if there are other prospects that would be better, and if there are none, then we will learn if he wishes to give her [in marriage!.... Francesco Tanagli has a good reputation, and he has held office, not the highest, but still he has been in office. You may ask: "Why should he give her to someone in exile?" There are three reasons. First, there aren't many young men of good family who have both virtue and property. Secondly, she has only a small dowry, 1,000 florins, which is the dowry of an artisan [although not a small sum, eithersenior officials in the government bureaucracy earned 300 florins a year].... Third, I believe that he will give her away, because he has a large family and he will need help to settle them....
[July 26, 1465] ... Francesco is a good friend of Marco and he trusts him. On S. Jacopo's day, he spoke to him discreetly and persuasively, saying that for several months he had heard that we were interested in the girl and ... that when we had made up our minds, she will come to us willingly. [He said that] you were a worthy man, and that his family had always made good marriages, but that he had only a small dowry to give her, and so he would prefer to send her outside of Florence to someone of worth, rather than to give her to someone here, from among those who were available, with little money.... We have information that she is affable and competent. She is responsible for a large family (there are twelve children, six boys and six girls), and the mother is always pregnant and isn't very competent....
[August 31, 1465] . . . I have recently received some very favorable information [about the Tanagli girl] from two individuals.... They are in agreement that whoever gets her will be content.... Concerning her beauty, they told me what I had already seen, that she is attractive and well-proportioned. Her face is long, but I couldn't look directly into her face, since she appeared to be aware that I was examining her . . . and so she turned away from me like the wind.... Shc reads quite well ... and she can dance and sing....
So yesterday I sent for Marco and told him what I had learned. And we talked about the matter for a while, and decided that he should say something to the father and give him a little hope, but not so much that we couldn't withdraw, and find out from him the amount of the dowry.... May God help us to choose what will contribute to our tranquility and to the consolation of us all.
[September 13, 1465] ... Marco came to me and said that he had met with Francesco Tanagli, who had spoken very coldly, so that I understand that he had changed his mind....
[Filippo Strozzi eventually married Fiametta di Donato Adimari in 1466.]
Widely regarded as one of the truly outstanding princes of the Italian Renaissanee, Federigo da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino (1422-1482), was a leading condottiere, an astute ruler, and a patron of humanist culture and Renaissance art. Vespasiano da Bisticci, an Italian book dealer, included an account of Federigo in his collection of biographies (known as The Vespasiano Memoirs) of the famous men he had known. In this selection, Vespasiano gives an example of the duke's eagerness to settle dissension among his subjects.
Vespasiano da Bisticci, The Vespasiano Memoirs
He gave himself entirely to his state that the people might be content, and one of the greatest of his merits was that when he heard of a quarrel he would send for the parties, and give his wits no rest till peace should be made. Amongst his many kind actions in mitigating dissension was the case of one of his subjects of honest birth who chose as wife a girl of a station similar to his c>wn with numerous kinsfolk, betwixt whom and the husband arose bad feeling, so that he was in no way inclined towards the wife whom he had taken. The affair came to the point at which he might have to defend his honour, which meant that he would probably be cut in pieces by one or other of the kinsfolk. The Duke, knowing the scandal which would follow, by way of avoiding it, ordered the parties to settle their quarrel on a certain day; and when they had come before him he began with those who had the, girl in charge; and, speaking in kindly eloquent words, gave them many and good reasons for what he advised them to do. As is the case with ignorant people, the more he said the more firmly they resisted. When he saw their disposition he turned to the young man any) said, "If I desired you to become a relative of mine, would you not consent, having regard for my station? Would it not seem to you a desirable relationship?" The young man replied that in this case it would not be fitting, between so great a man as the Duke and one like himself. Then the Duke said, "But will you not pay regard to something which satisfies me?" The young man, persuaded by the Duke, affirmed that he was content, whereupon the Duke said, "I think very highly of this young woman for her virtue and good' ness, as if she were my own daughter; so you are becoming a relative of me, and not of her family." By these words the Duke bound him, so that he was forced to consent, and he took her with the good wishes of all. The Duke took them both by the hand, wishing them good luck, and saying that their relationship with him began from that hour, that he wished them always to bear this in mind, and in all their neecls to make use of him. He gave them a noble marriage feast and they both went away highly pleased, and hereafter the husband and wife maintained an admireable carriage one towards the other. Acts like these, the bringing of peace to his subjects, are worthy of a prince.
The Subservience of Women in Medieval Thought
Whether a nun or wife of an aristocrat, townsman, or peasant, a woman in the Middle Ages was considered inferior to a man and by nature subject to a man's authority. Although there are a number of examples of strong women who flew in the face of such an attitude, church teachings also reinforced these notions. These two selections are from Gratian, the twelfth-century jurist who wrote the first systematic work on canon law, and Thomas Aquinas, the well-known scholastic theologian of the thirteenth century.
Women should be subject to their men. The natural order for mankind is that women should serve men and children their parents, fi'r it is just that the lesser serve the greater.
The image of God is in man and it is one. Women were drawn from man, who has God's jurisdiction as if he were God's vicar, because he has the image of the one God. Therefore woman is not made in God's image.
Woman's authority is nil; let her in all things be subject to the rule of man.... And neither can she teach, nor he a witness, nor give a guarantee, nor sit in judgement.
Adam was beguiled by Eve, not she my him.. It is right that he whom woman led into wrongdoing should have her under his direction, so that he may not fail a second time through female levity.
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence....
The image of God, in its principal signification, namely the intellectual nature, is found both in man and in woman. Hence after the words, "To the image of God He created him," it is added, "Male and female He created them." Moreover it is said "them" in the plural ... lest it should be thought that both sexes were united in one individual. But in a secondary sense the image of God is founcl in man, and not in woman: for man is the beginning and end of woman; as God is the beginning and end of every creature.
Pico della Mirandola and the Dignity of Man
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola was one of the foremost intellects of the Italian Renaissance. Pico boasted that he had studied all schools of philosophy, which he tried to demonstrate by drawing up nine hundred theses for public disputation at the age of twenty-four. As a preface to his theses, he wrote his famous oration, On the Dignity of Man, in which he proclaimed the unlimited potentiality of human beings.
Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man
At last the best of artisans [God] ordained that creature to whom He had been able to give nothing proper to himself should have joint possession of whatever had been peculiar to each of the different kinds of being. He therefore took man as a creature of indeterminate nature, and assigning him a place in the middle of the world, addressed him thus: "Neither a fixed abode nor a form that is thine alone nor any function peculiar to thyself have we given thee, Adam, to the end that according to thy longing and according to thy judgment thou mayest have and possess what abode, what form, and what functions thou thyself shalt desire. The nature of all other beings is limited and constrained within the bounds of laws prescribed by Us. Thou, constrained by no limits, in accordance with thine own free will, in whose hand We have placed thee, shalt ordain for thyself the limits of thy nature. We have set thee at the world's center that thou mayest from thence more easily observe whatever is in the world. We have made thee neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal, so that with freedom of choice and with honor, as though the maker and molder of thyself, thou mayest fashion thyself in whatever shape thou shalt prefer. Thou shalt have the power to degenerate into the lower forms of life, which are brutish. Thou shalt have the power, out of thy soul's judgment, to be reborn into the higher forms, which are divine."
O supreme generosity of God the Father, O highest and most marvelous felicity of man! To him it is granted to have whatever he chooses, to be whatever he wills. Beasts as soon as they are born bring with them from their mother's womb all they will ever possess. Spiritual beings, either from the beginning or soon thereafter, become what they are to be for ever and ever. On man when he came into life the Father conferred the seeds of all kinds and the germs of every way of life. Whatever seeds each man cultivates will grow to maturity and bear in him their own fruit. If they be vegetative, he will be like a plant. If sensitive, he will become brutish. If rational, he will grow into a heavenly being. If intellectual, he will be an angel and the son of God.
BY LEON BATTISTA ALBERTI
They say that in choosing a wife one looks for beauty, parentage, and riches.... Among the most essential criteria of beauty in a woman is an honorable manner. Even a wild, prodigal, greasy, drunken woman may be beautiful of feature, but no one would call her a beautiful wife. A woman worthy of praise must show first of all in her conduct, modesty, and purity. Marius, the illustrious Roman, said in that first speech of his to the Roman people: "Of women we require purity, of men labor." And I certainly agree. There is nothing more disgusting than a coarse and dirty woman. Who is stupid enough not to see clearly that a woman who does not care for neatness and cleanliness in her appearance, not only in her dress and body but in all her behavior and language, is by no means well mannered? How can it be anything but obvious that a bad-mannered woman is also rarely virtuous? We shall consider elsewhere the harm that comes to a family from women who lack virtue, for I myself do not know which is the worse fate for a family, total celibacy or a single dishonored woman. In a bride, therefore, a man must first seek beauty of mind, that is, good conduct and virtue.
In her body he must seek not only loveliness, grace, and charm but must also choose a woman who is well made for bearing children, with the kind of constitution that promises to make them strong and big. There's an old proverb, "When you pick your wife, you choose your children." All her virtues will in fact shine brighter still in beautiful children. It is a well-known saying among poets: "Beautiful character dwells in a beautiful body." The natural philosophers require that a woman be neither thin nor very fat. Those laden with fat are subject to coldness and constipation and slow to conceive. They say that a woman should have a joyful nature, fresh and lively in her blood and her whole being. They have no objections to a dark girl. They do reject girls with a frowning black visage, however. They have no liking for either the undersized or the overlarge and lean. They find that a woman is most suited to bear children if she is fairly big and has limbs of ample length. They always have a preference for youth, based on a number of arguments which I need not expound here, but particularly on the point that a young girl has a more adaptable mind. Young girls are pure by virtue of their age and have not developed any spitefulness. They are by nature modest and free of vice. They quickly learn to accept affectionately and unresistingly the habits and wishes of their husbands.
The Cremation of the Strasbourg Jews
In their attempt to explain the widespread horrors of the Black Death, medieval Christian communities tooked for scapegoats. As at the time of the crusades, the Jews were blamed for poisoning wells and hence spreading the plague. This selection by a contemporary chronicler, wntten in 1349, gives an account of how Christians in the town of Strasbourg in the Holy Roman Empire dealt with their Jewish community. It is apparent that financial gain was also an important factor in killing the Jews.
Jacob von Konigshofen, "The Cremation of the Strasbourg Jews"
In the year 1349 there occurred the greatest epidemic that ever happened. Death went from one end of the earth to the other.... And from what this epidemic came, all wise teachers and physicians could only say that it was God's will.... This epidemic also came to Strasbourg in the summer of the above mentioned year, and it is estimated that about sixteen thousand people died.
In the matter of this plague the Jews throughout the world were reviled and accused in all lands of having caused it through the poison which they are said to have put into the water and the wellsthat is what they were accused ofand for this reason the Jews were burnt all the way from the Mediterranean into Germany....
[The account then goes on to discuss the situation of the Jews in the city of Strasbourg.]
On Saturday . . . they burnt the Jews on a wooden platform in their cemetery. There were about two thousand people of them. Those who wanted to baptize themselves were spared. [Some say that about a thousand accepted baptism.] Many small children were taken out of the fire and baptized against the will of their fathers and mothers. And everything that was owed to the Jews was cancelled, and the Jews had to surrender all pledges and notes that they had taken for debts. The council, however, took the cash that the Jews possessed and divided it among the working-men proportionately. The money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the feudal lords had not been in debt to them, they would not have been burnt....
Thus were the Jews burnt at Strasbourg, and in the same year in all the cities of the Rhine, whether Free Cities or Imperial Cities or cities belonging to the lords. In some towns they burnt the Jews after a trial, in others, without a trial. In some cities the Jews themselves set fire to their houses and cremated them selves.
It was decided in Strasbourg that no Jew should enter the city for a hundred years, but before twenty years had passed, the council and magistrates agreed that they ought to admit the Jews again into the city for twenty years. And so the Jews came back again to Strasbourg in the year 1368 after the birth of our Lord.
"It is bittersweet to reign" was the motto of her predecessor, Henry IV. It was also the legacy of Isabella of Castile. She was beloved in life and revered after death; indeed, until recently there was a movement to have her canonized as a saint in the Catholic church. Her achievements were staggering. Her reign ended nearly a half century of internecine and dynastic warfare in Castile. Through her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon she united the two largest kingdoms on the Spanish peninsula. With their combined resources, Isabella and Ferdinand were able to accomplish what their predecessors had only dreamed of for 500 years: the final reconquest of Spanish lands held by the Moors. By her financial Support to a Genoese explorer named Christopher Columbus, Isabella gained for Castile title to the richest discovery in history.
But these accomplishments were not without cost. For Isabella, a united Spain was a Catholic Spain. The reconquista was conducted as a holy war of Christian against Muslim. It was as brutal as it was successful. Isabella was directly involved in planning the military campaign and attending to the details of logistics and strategy. She ended centuries of religious diversity by expelling both the Muslims and the Jews. She also accepted the need to purify Catholicism and encouraged the work of the Inquisition in examining the beliefs of converts known as conversos. This resulted in the exile or execution of thousands of former Muslims and Jews and blackened forever the reputation of the Spanish church.
Isabella of Castile was not raised to rule. She had two older brothers and was given a "woman's" education as a child. While her brother Alfonso struggled with Latin and French, she was taught only Castilian. While he learned to wield a sword, she learned to manipulate a needle. Isabella mastered sewing and the decorative arts of needlepoint and embroidery. Even as queen she sewed Ferdinand's shirts as a mark of respect and wifely devotion. But if she accepted the education that was offered to her. she had a streak of independence as well. She loved to hunt and refused to give up horses for donkeys as befitted a noblewoman. She also refused to accept the husband that her half-brother Henry IV had chosen for her. Isabella was a valuable pawn in the international game of diplomacy. She had a reputation for great beautyher strawberry-blond hair and turquoise eyes were uncommon and much admired in Spainand this, plus the fact that she had been named heir to the Castilian throne in 1468, brought a number of suitors. Henry betrothed her to Alfonso of Portugal, but Isabella had set her heart Ferdinand of Aragon. In 1469 the two teenagers eloped, setting off a succession crisis in Castile and ultimately a civil war for the crown in which Isabella triumphed.
Ferdinand and Isabella enjoyed three decades of a happy marriage. Despite their travels, they were nearly inseparable. They ruled their kingdoms as partners and shared the joys and sorrows of their days. They endured the death of their only son, Juan, in 1497 and of his sister Isobel the following year. Three girls outlived their mother, but the eldest, Isabella's heir, Juana, had exhibited such erratic behavior that she was widely believed mentally incompetent. Her claims to the throne were ultimately set aside. Their youngest daughter, Catherine, the queen's favorite, was married to an English prince in 1501. Her mother would not live to see her divorced by Henry VIII.
At the time of their marriage, neither Ferdinand nor Isabella could have known that the union of their crowns was the first step in making Spain the most powerful nation in Europe. The two economies were complementary: Aragon with its long Mediterranean coastline was mercantile and Castile with its vast plain and fertile valleys was agricultural. Both were to benefit by the reconquest of Granada, which joined Spain's Atlantic and Mediterranean seaboards in the southeast. Isabella herself directed the military campaign. During eight years of battle she guided Christian forces from the front, organizing supplies, reinforcements, and arms. She took special care of the wounded, setting up hospital tents that she visited. "The dead weigh on me heavily," she confessed to Ferdinand, "but they could not have gone better employed." Isabella was present at the siege of Granada, viewing the battlements personally and receiving the surrendered keys to the city on 2 January 1492.
The conquest of Granada drove the Muslims south into North Africa. It completed one part of the queen's program for religious unity. The second part was accomplished by decree. In April 1492 all Jews were given three months to depart the Spanish kingdoms. They were prohibited from removing arms, horses, or precious metal, making them not only homeless, but destitute. From the beginning of her reign, Isabella had persecuted the Jewish minority in her realm. They were made to wear distinguishing badges and denied civil rights that they had long enjoyed. At the same time, the work of the Spanish Inquisition under the direction of the zealous Cardinal Tomas de Torquemada had increased anti-Semitic tensions within Castile. Using threats and torture, Torquemada exposed loyal conversos as secret Jewish agents. He encouraged confiscation of converso property and attacks against Jewish communities. Although the queen at first intervened to maintain civic order, she, too, believed that the Jews constituted a disloyal fifth column within her state. But as long as she was at war with the Muslims, she needed Jewish financiers and administrators.
Once the war had ended, expulsion followed. Paradoxically, the first of these representatives of the old wealth of Castile boarded ship on the same day as a Genoese explorer, Christopher Columbus, set sail under the Castilian flag to uncover the new wealth of Castile. Columbus had approached Isabella twice before, but on both occasions his proposals had been rejected. Isabella's councilors were opposed both to Columbus's plan of sailing west to reach the Indies and to the concessions he demanded should he be successful. Although crown finances were depleted by the war and Isabella did not wish to bargain with an Italian adventurer, she realized that she would risk little to gain much. The decision was the most important of her reign. Through the discoveries made by Columbus and his successors, Castile reaped the greatest windfall in European history.
Lorenzo Valla (1406-1457) was the author of the standard Renaissance text on Latin philology. The text was titled: Elegences of the Latin Language. He was primarily active as a secretary to the King of Naples.
Although a good Catholic, Valla became a hero to later Protestants. His popularity among Protestants stemmed from his defense of predestination against the advocates of free will and especially from his expose of the Donation of Constantine, a fraudulent document written in the eighth century alleging that the Emperor Constantine had given vast territories to the pope.
Valla proved, beyond dispute, that the document contained non-classical Latin usages and anachronistic terms. He therefore concluded that the document was the work of a medieval forger whose "monstrous impudence" was exposed by the "stupidity of his language." The expose of the Donation was not intended by Valla to have the devastating force that Protestants attributed to it. He only demonstrated in a careful and scholarly way what others had long suspected. Using the most rudimentary textual analysis and historical logic, Valla proved that the document was filled with such anachronistic terms as fief, and made references that were meaningless in the fourth century. The proof that it was an invention seriously weakened the foundations of papal claims to temporal authority. In the same dispassionate way Valla also pointed out errors in the Latin Vulgate, still the authorized version of the Bible for the Roman Catholic Church. Valla's work exemplifies the application of critical scholarship to old and almost sacred writings, as well as the new secular spirit of the Renaissance.
Such discoveries did not make Valla any less loyal to the church, nor did they prevent his faithful fulfillment of the office of Apostolic Secretary in Rome under Nicholas V. He revered the literal teachings of the Pauline Epistles. In his "Notes on the New Testament" he applied his knowledge to uncovering the true meaning to the letters which he believed had been obscured in the Vulgate Biblical edition.
Valla's discovery of the forgery lead to an increased interest in classical collectibles. It had now been shown that the way to discern the truth was to carefully examine the remnants of antiquity and one had to possess these to examine them.
The influences of Valla can be seen in the works of Erasmus who after reading Valla's "Notes on the New Testament" became convinced that nothing was more important than divesting the New Testament of its transcription errors. This in turn lead to Luther's crucial conclusions concerning the literal biblical meaning of penance.
Lorenzo de Medici to his son Giovanni
The Medici family was one of the most powerful families of the Italian Renaissance. Certainly on one in the family wielded greater power than Lorenzo de' Medici (1449-1492). Lorenzo assumed control of Florence from his ailing father when he was only sixteen years of age and became fully vested with the family's affairs at the age of twenty-one. While always careful to keep himself in the background he nonetheless dominated all facets of Florentine life. He was magnanimous and a strong supporter of the arts and a great believer in the new technology of the times, the printing press. Noting the political winds of the time Lorenzo believed that to secure the family's future they would need contact in the Papal States. He arranged to have his son, Giovanni, don the Cardinal's red robe at the age of 13 (the secret was kept until he reached the mature age of 16). Too ill to attend the ceremony conferring the title on his son Lorenzo sent this last bit of fatherly advice to Giovanni. In later years Giovanni did not serve the family well, however upon the death of the warrior pope Julius II, Giovanni assumed the papacy under the name of Leo X. A pious man, he served the Church well until he made the fateful decision to begin the sale of Indulgences which touched off the Reformation.
Lorenzo's Letter to Giovanni
You, and all of us who are interested in your welfare, ought to esteem ourselves highly favored by Providence, not only for the many honors and benefits bestowed on our house, but more particularly for having conferred upon us, in your person,, the greatest dignity we have enjoyed.
Endeavor therefore to alleviate the burden of your early dignity by the regularity of your life and by your perseverance In those studies which are suitable to your profession. It gave me greet satisfaction to learn that, in the course of the past year, you had frequently, of your own accord, gone to communion and confession. The influence of example is itself prevalent; but you will probably meet those who will particularly endeavor to corrupt and incite you to vice; because, as you may yourself perceive, your early attainment to so great a dignity is not observed without envy, and those who could not prevent your receiving that honor will secretly endeavor to diminish it, by inducing you to forfeit the good estimation of the public. To these difficulties you ought to oppose yourself with the greater firmness, as there is at present less virtue amongst your brethren of the college. I acknowledge indeed that several of them are good and learned men, whose lives are exemplary, and whom I would recommend to you as patterns of your own conduct.
With those of less respectable character converse not with too much intimacy; not merely on account of the circumstance itself, but for the sake of public opinion. Converse on general topics with all. On public occasions let your equipage and dress be rather below than above mediocrity. There is one rule which I would recommend your attention in preference to all others: rise early in the morning. This will not only contribute to your health, but will enable you to arrange and expedite the business of the day. You will probably be desired to intercede for the favors of the Pope on particular occasions. Be cautious, however that you trouble him not too often; and if you should be obliged to request some kindness from him, let it be done with that modesty and humility which are so pleasing to his disposition.