When I accepted, a year ago, Professor Hay’s invitation to join ‘his team of main speakers, and contribute a paper to this volume it was not without hesitation and trepidation. Religion, in some of its aspects, I knew a little about: of Humanism virtually nothing. Like many another historian I use the term in discussion of twelfth-century renaissance, but hardly in any articulated fashion, or with any precise meaning, and from time to time I have paid a passing acknowledgement to Renaissance humanism—a nodding acquaintance at best. I was, however, reassured by the prospect of a sabbatical term, and by the proximity of Professor Hay himself: at leisure and with proper guidance all would be made clear in time for this first paper of the new decade. In fact, otium has been replaced by negotium, and however much the fifteenth-century humanist might approve the change, the whole glory of man lying in activity, as Vittorino de Feltre observed, I find myself in little better state now than I was a year ago—like Auden’s ‘Artistic souls that lie out in the weed and pollen belt the need for sympathy is felt’.