Letter 7: Latimer to Aldus

William Latimer was an English priest, scholar of ancient Greek, and later an associate of Erasmus. The familiar tone in this letter clearly demonstrates an intimacy between Latimer and Aldus.

Litteratissimo viro Aldo Manutio Romano.
Gulielmus Latimerus Aldo suo salutem plurimam dicit.

{1} Venit ad me heri sacerdos ille Brixianus, ad quem lectus de quo tecum Venetiis agebam attinet, vir quidem (ut videtur) simplex et bonus, sed nescio an de rebus suis nimium sollicitus. Nam quum die Veneris tarde venisset Patavium, ad me postridie mane venit, et prius fere quam salutaret, quid de lecto esset factum et an iam penes me esset interrogavit. Ego vero lectum in tuto esse respondi, non tamen in praesentia penes me esse, sed si illi magnopere lecto opus esset, me velle curare ut brevi haberet; sin minus, illum posse pecuniis illis uti et alias, quandocunque opus esset, lectum haberet. Ille se iam valde indigere aiebat mirarique quod eum a Venetiis (quum id per Dominicum me rogasset) non transtulissem.

{2} Rogare me deinde vehementer incoepit, ne sibi (quando ipse alioquin nobis utilitati fuisset) iam aliqua in re detrimento essem, id plane futurum, nisi ut quamprimum lectum haberet curarem.

{3} Ego hominem extra metum esse iussi, meque ut paucos omnino intra dies lectum haberet curaturum promisi. Proinde te rogo ut ad me, vel etiam ad Franciscum, quum primum commode poteris, lectum mittas. Videtur enim ut quamprimum restituatur et ad honestatem Thomae et fidem meam pertinere.
Vale. Patavii, pridie Nonas Novembris.
Est praeter lectum et id quod capiti supponitur, etiam pulvinus Dominici.


Notes to the Text

ut my emendation : et DeNolhac


To Aldus Manutius, a most literate man.
William Latimer to his dear Aldus.

{1} Yesterday that priest from Brescia came to me, the one who is connected with that bed we discussed in Venice. He is (as it seems) an uncomplicated and good man, but perhaps exceedingly concerned with his own interests. For, arriving in Padua late on Friday, he came to me the following morning, and almost before he even said hello, he asked what had happened to the bed and whether it had been delivered yet. I responded that the bed was fine, although I did not currently have it in my possession, but if he really needed that particular bed, I would see to it that he would have it soon, but if not, he could use that money and he could have the bed another time, whenever he needed it. He kept saying that he was already in bad shape and he was amazed that I had not brought the bed over from Venice, since he had asked me for it through Domenico.

{2} Then he began to ask me insistently that I not be of detriment to him in any way, since he had been of use to me in other matters, and he said this would happen unless I made sure he had the bed as soon as possible. I told the man not to worry and I promised that I would see to it that he had the bed in a few days at the most.

{3} So I ask that you send the bed to me or to Francesco at your earliest possible convenience. That it be handed over as soon as possible seems to pertain both to Thomas’ good faith and to my credit.
Farewell. Padua, November 6.

PS: Besides the bed, there is also the thing you place under your head, Domenico’s pillow.


Notes to the Translation:

bed: The subject of this curious letter is a bed that Latimer clearly wants delivered on behalf of an insistent Brescian priest. The “lettuccio”, or daybed, was a highly desirable object. [For a discussion of “lettucci” as objects of exchange in the Renaissance see Leah Clark 2018 (59-111), Collecting Art in the Italian Renaissance Court, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.]

Brescia: A town in Northern Italy.