our good Crotus/ who is traveling with James Fuchs' and Peter,' but Philip* showed me the CapHva^ Perhaps this ought be enough for the rude Luther to write to you, my dear Eoban, merely as acknowledgment of your letter. For what should I write besides, I who wish you to read nothing that IS not worthy of your muse, even though I know the sincerity of your heart and that you do not despise things of smaller worth? What I think of the Captwa you can judge for yourself, for you are not of such hard fibre* as not to perceive, and not so conceited ' as to flatter yourself that you have surpassed even yourself ; in one thing, however, you will not surpass yourself — ^you will not get yourself to believe that the Captiva displeases either me or you. It will be published soon, and even without us it will show what sort of man its author is, and it will not need to fear envy herself. But unless I knew that you would say you had done it for proprie^'s sake, I should protest that too much has been ascribed to my name in this remarkable little poem. "Give to others," says the poet,* ^'the honor of this name"; still I will bear this undeserved glory, for I have grown accustomed to bearing deserved ignominy.
Do not be disturbed by the fears, which you express, that our theology will make us Germans more barbarous in letters than ever we have been ; some people often have their fears when there is nothing to fear. I am persuaded that without knowledge of literature pure theology cannot at all endure, just as heretofore, when letters have declined and lain pros- trate, theology, too, has wretchedly fallen and lain prostrate; nay, I see that there has never been a great revelation of the Word of God unless He has first prepared the way by the rise and prosperity of languages and letters, as though tihey were
1 Crotus Rubeanus. * Cf, Vol. I, p; J30, o. a.
'Peter Eberbach of Erfurt, where he mitrictilated 1497; M.A., 1508. In XSJO Melanchthon nominated him for a lectureship at Wittenberg. CR. U so7»
• A poem of 428 verses which Hess had written and sent to Wittenberg* It was the first publication to appear from the press of John Setser (Seeerlt»)» tk« Hagenau printer. Mdanchthon's acknowledgement of the poem in CR., I, 615.
"Writing to a humanist, Luther quotes the classics ieortita fhra. Satires, i, 47)* »In Greek. •Horace, Satires, i, 4, 44.