INTRODUCTION

Huic igitur doctrinae, hiis studiis, his artibus animi nostri se dedant cum his cogitationibus dies noctesque mentes nostrae habitent, in his praeceptis animus noster,. Si multum se et assidue pervoluerit, nulli terrores exanimanabunt illum, nullae illum aegritudines conficient, nullae libidines inflammabunt, nullae delctiones languidis liquifacient voluptatibus, sed iunctus Deo sursum erit...

[“ And so it is to this learning, to these letters, these arts our minds must devote themselves, as our minds dwell on these thoughts by day and by night. If our mind remain fixed upon these precepts as it ponders them long and carefully, no terrors will daunt it, no sufferings will ruin it, no lusts will enflame it, no delights will melt it with their enfeebling pleasures, but it will be lifted up to God...

If erudition by itself has the capacity to join a man to God, what need is there for faith in Christ? Surely Haddon's audience would have realized that he was specking metaphorically, perhaps being carried away by his own rhetoric, and so was not guilty of blasphemy. Nevertheless this essentially secularized understanding of learning comes as a surprise inasmuch as one of the forms of doctrina the English universities had to offer was Divinity, and yet more so because the venue of the present oration, Christ Church, was unique among Oxbridge colleges in that its chapel served as Oxfordshire's diocesan cathedral and so was governed by a Dean and Canons in lieu of the usual Master and Fellows.
spacer4. Nor, for that matter, does Haddon make anything of the fact that a sound education will make a man better fit to enter a career of public service. At §19 he predicts that King Henry will reward students' success in their studies. But even here his point is that the second founder of these students' college will have a kind of paternal regard for them and possibly take them into his service, which of course is another appeal to the ambition of his audience. There is no insinuation that, in exchange for the support they are now being given, they are under any moral obligation to rapay this support by serving their commonwealth in later life. And so he turns his back on the ideals he otherwise upheld.
spacer5. It deserves to be added that the Lucubrationes volume contains another oration entitled Ad pueros Aetonenses, delivered at Eton., in which Haddon makes much the same arguments as in this one, pitched in a shorter and simplified form suitable for his younger audience (although he did not limit his vocabulary or modify his usual rather thorny prose style, and since the speech is primarily aimed at the current intake of new boys a cynic reader might pardonably wonder how much he was understood). Its only interesting feature is when he says (p. 145) Primum excellentissima regina (qua nunquam sol quicquam in terris vidit speciosius aut omne genere decorum et ornamentorum illuminatius) cum vix adhuc in palatio suo constitisset,poetam ad se vestrum ad se cum vix adhuc in palatio suoconstitisset, poetam ad se vestrum admisit, poemata suscepit, et honorario luculento studia vestra cohonestavit. ["First of all, when our right honorable queen (the sun beholds nothing on this earth more handsome or more shining with ever manner of honors and ornaments) had scarce occupied her palace, she admitted your poet, received his poem, and endowed your studies with a splendid honorarium"]. This establishes the date of this oration to the early days of Elizabeth's reign. Therefore (unless he was "pulling the long bow" for rhetorical effect) it does not that Haddon's reference is to the poems presented to the Queen on her 1563 visitation to Eton preserved by British Library MS. Royal 12 A XXX, at which time she was in the fifth year of her reign