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to learning must needs have much recreation and easing from their book, or else they mar themselves; when base and dumpish wits can never be hurt with continual study; as ye see in luting, that a treble minikin string inust always be let down, but at such time as when a man needs play, wheni the base and dull string needeth never to be moved out of his place.
The work also goes fully into the practical part of the art, so that the “Schole for Shootinge" is a complete manual of archery, containing not only a learned history of the art, and the highest encomiums on its excellence and utility, but likewise the most minute practical details, even down to the species of goose from the wing of which the best feathers are to be plucked for the shaft. The following is a specimen of his lively and entertaining manner :
IN PRAISE OF THE GOOSE. Toxophilus.—Yet well fare the gentle goose, which bringeth to a man so many exceeding commodities ! For the goose is man's comfort in war and in peace, sleeping and waking. What praise soever is given to shooting, the goose may challenge the best part of it. How well doth she make a man fare at his table ! How easily doth she make a man lie in his bed! How fit, even as her feathers be only for shooting, so be her quills for writing.
Philologus.-Indeed, Toxophile, that is the best praise you gave to a goose yet, and surely I would have said you had been to blame if you had overskipt it.
Toxophilus.-The Romans, I trow, Philologe, not so much because a goose with crying saved their capitolium, with their golden Jupiter, did make a golden goose, and set her in the top of the capitolium, and appointed also the censors to allow, out of the common batch, yearly stipends for the finding of certain geese ; the Romans did not, I say, give all this honor to a goose for that good deed only, but for other infinite mo, which come daily to a man by geese ; and surely if I should declaim in the praise of any manner of beast living, I would choose a goose. But the goose hath made us flee too far from our matter.
But Ascham had another object in writing the Toxophilus: it was with the view of presenting to the public a specimen of a purer and more correct English style than that to which they had hitherto been accustomed; and with the hope of calling the attention of the learned from the exclusive study of the Greek and Latin, to the cultivation of their vernacular language.3 Consequently, he was one of the first founders of a style truly English in prose composition; and was among the first to reject the use of foreign words and idioms; a fashion which, in the time of Henry VIII., began to be very prevalent. The following is
2 More. 8 May he not, in his kind and benevolent heart, have had another motive in writing the Toxophijus, namely, to divert attention of the people from many of the barbarous sports which existed in his day, such as bear-baiting and bull-baiting. It is on record that Queen Elizabeth, soon after she Ascended the throne, entertained the French ambassadors with bear and bull-baiting, and stood, herself, a spectatress of the amusement until six in the evening 11
HIS APOLOGY FOR WRITING IN ENGLISH. If any man would blame me either for taking such a matter in hand, or else for writing it in the English tongue, this answer I may make him, that when the best of the realm think it honest for them to use, I, one of the meanest sort, ought not to suppose it vile for me to write : and though to have written it in another tongue had been both more profitable for my study, and also more honest for my name, yet I can think my labour well bestowed, if with a little hinderance of my profit and name may come any furtherance to the pleasure or commodity of the gentlemen and yeomen of England, for whose sake I took this matter in hand. And as for the Latin or Greek tongue, every thing is so excellently done in them, that none can do better; in the English tongue, contrary, every thing in a manner so meanly, both for the matter and handling, that no man can do worse. For therein the least learned, for the most part, have been always most ready to write. And they which had least hope in Latin have been most bold in English: when surely every man that is most ready to talk is not most able to write. He that will write well in any tongue, must follow this counsel of Aristotle, to speak as the common people do, to think as wise men do: as so should every man understand him, and the judgment of wise men allow him. Many English writers have not done so, but, using strange words, as Latin, French, and Italian, do make all things dark and hard. Once I communed with a man which reasoned the English tongue to be enriched and increased thereby, saying, Who will not praise that feast where a man shall drink at a dinner both wine, ale, and beer? Truly (quoth I) they be all good, every one taken by himself alone, but if you put malvesyet and sack, red wine and white, ale and beer, and all in one pot, you shall make a drink not easy to be known, nor yet wholesome for the body.
The other principal work of Roger Ascham is his “School Master.”2 Of this, Dr. Johnson says: “It is conceived with great vigor, and finished with great accuracy: and perhaps contains the best advice that was ever given for the study of languages.” He thus recommends an
2 The title is, “The School Master, or plain and perfect way of teaching children to understand, write, and speak the Latin tongue; but specially purposed for the private brin gentlemen and noblemen's houses, and commodious also for all such as have forgot the Latin tongue, and would by themselves, and without a school master, in short time and with small pains, recover a sufficient hability to understand, write, and speak Latin." One of the most curious titles of old books is the following, which I will give in full for the humor of it.
« Drinke and Welcome: or the famous Historie of the most part of Drinks in use now in the kingdomes of Great Brittaine and Ireland : with an especiall declaration of the potency, vertue, and operation of our English Ale: With a description of all sorts of Waters, from the Ocean Sea to the teares of a Woman. As also, the causes of all sorts of Weather, faire or foule, sleet, raine, haile, frost, snow, fogges, mists, vapours, clouds, stormes, windes, thunder and lightning. Compiled first in the high Dutch tongue, by the painefull and industrious Huldricke Van Speagle; a grammatical brewer of Lubeck; and now most learnedly enlarged, amplified, and translated into English prose and verse: By John Taylor. London: Printed by Anne Griffin, 1637, 4to."
INTERMIXTURE OF STUDY AND EXERCISE. I would wish, that beside some good time, fitly appointed, and constantly kept, to increase by reading the knowledge of the tongues, and learning, young gentlemen should use, and delight in all courtly exercises, and gentlemanlike pastimes. And good cause why : for the self-same noble city of Athens, justly commended of me before, did wisely, and upon great consideration, appoint the muses, Apollo and Pallas, to be patrons of learning to their youth. For the muses, besides learning, were also ladies of dancing, mirth, and minstrelsy: Apollo was god of shooting, and author of cunning playing upon instruments; Pallas also was lady mistress in wars. Whereby was nothing else meant, but that learning should be always mingled with honest mirth and comely exercises ; and that war also should be governed by learning and moderated by wisdom; as did well appear in those captains of Athens named by me before, and also in Scipio and Cæsar, the two diamonds of Rome. And Pallas was no more feared in wearing Ægida, than she wiis praised for choosing Olivam ;' whereby shineth the glory of learning, which thus was governor and mistress, in the noble city of Athens, both of war and peace.
That the schoolmaster was not so well rewarded at this period, notwithstanding the high value placed on classical literature, may be drawn from the following complaint of A cham, on
THE CONSEQUENCES OF NEGLECTED EDUCATION. It is pity that, commonly, more care is had, yea, and that among very wise men, to find out rather a cunning man for their horse, than a cunning man for their children. They say nay in word, but they do so in deed. For to the one they will gladly give a stipend of two hundred crowns by year, and loth to offer to the other two hundred shillings. God, that sitteth in heaven, laugheth their choice to scorn, and rewardeth their liberality as it should; for he suffereth them to have tame and well-ordered horse, but wild and unfortunate children; and, therefore, in the end, they find more pleasure in their horse than comfort in their children.3
1 The Ægis, the shield of Minerva.
2 The olive, which she is said to have produced, and thus had the right to give her name (Athéne) to Athens.
8 How true it is, and ever must be--"as ye sow, so shall ye also reap."
DANGERS OF FOREIGN TRAVEL. I know divers noble personages, and many worthy gentlemen of England, whom all the syren songs of Italy could never untwine from the mast of God's word ; nor no inchantment of vanity overturn them from the fear of God and love of honesty.
But I know as many, or mo, and some, sometime my dear friends, (for whose sake I hate going into that country the more,) who, parting out of England fervent in the love of Christ's doctrine, and well furnished with the fear of God, returned out of Italy worse transformed than ever was any in Circe's court. I know divers, that went out of England men of innocent life, men of excellent learning, who returned out of Italy, not only with worse manners, but also with less learning; neither so willing to live orderly, nor yet so hable to speak learnedly, as they were at home, before they went abroad."* *
But I am afraid that over many of our travellers into Italy do not eschew the way to Circe's court, but go, and ride, and run, and fly thither; they make great haste to come to her; they make great suit to serve her; yea, I could point out some with my finger, that never had gone out of England, but only to serve Circe in Italy. * * * If you think we judge amiss, and write too sore against you, hear what the Italian sayeth of the Englishman; what the master reporteth of the scholar, who uttereth plainly what is taught by him, and what is learned by you, saying, Englese Italianato, e un Diabolo incarnato : that is to say, “ you remain men in shape and fashion, but become devils in life and condition.” *
If some do not well understand what is an Englishman Italianated, I will plainly tell him : " He that by living and travelling in Italy, bringeth home into England, out of Italy, the religion, the learning, the policy, the experience, the manners of Italy." That is to say, for religion, papistry, or worse ; for learning, less commonly than they carried out with them ; for policy, a factious heart, a discoursing head, a mind to meddle in all men's matters ; for experience, plenty of new mischiefs never known in England before ; for manners, variety of vanities, and change of filthy lying.
Then they have in more reverence the triumphs of Petrarch, than the Genesis of Moses; they make more account of 'Tully's Offices, than of St. Paul's Epistles; of a tale in Boccacio, than a story of the Bible. Then they count as fables the holy mysteries of Christian religion. They make Christ and his Gospel only serve civil policy. Then neither religion cometh amiss to them. In time they be promoters of both openly; in place, again, mockers of both privily, as I wrote once in a rude rhyme:
Now new, now old, now both, now neither;
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY. 1554-1586.
Few characters," says an able writer, « appear so well fitted to excite enthusiastic admiration, as that of Sir Philip Sidney. Uniting all the accomplishments which youthful ardor and universality of talent could acquire or bestow; delighting nations by the witchery of his powers, and courts by the fascination of his address; leaving the learned astonished at his proficiency, and the ladies enraptured with his grace; and communicating, wherever he went, the love and spirit of gladness, he was and well deserved to be the idol of the age in which he lived. So rare a union of attraction, so unaccustomed a concentration of excellence, such a compound of military renown with literary distinction, and courtly refinement with noble frankness, gave him a passport to every heart, and secured him, at once, universal sympathy and esteem."
He was born in 1554. At the age of thirteen he entered Oxford, and on leaving the University, though only eighteen, commenced his travels abroad. He was at Paris at the time of the horrible popish massacre of St. Bartholomew, on the night of the 24th of August, 1572, and took refuge with many others at the house of Sir Francis Walsingham, at that time ambassador there from England. Leaving Paris soon after, he pursued his route through Ger. many and Italy, and returned to England in 1575, at the age of twenty-one. He was soon sent by Elizabeth as ambassador to Vienna, where, though so young, he acquitted himself with great credit. In 1583 he married the daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham, and was knighted. Two years afterwards he was named as a candidate for the throne of Poland; but his sense of the duty which he owed to his country, led him to acquiesce fully in the remonstrance of Elizabeth against the proposal, “who," says the historian, “ refused to further the advancement, out of fear that she should lose the jewel of her times.”
The United Provinces having previously declared their independence, England resolved to assist them to throw off the yoke of Spain, and in 1586, Sidney was sent into the Netherlands, as general of the horse. On the 22d of September of that year, in a skirmish near Zutphen, Sidney beat à superior force of the enemy, which he casually encountered, but lost his own life. After his horse had been shot under him he mounted another, and continued to fight till he received his death-wound. The anecdote recorded of him in his dying moments, though it has been told a thousand times, must ever be repeated when Sidney's character is considered ; evincing, as it does, characteristics infinitely more to be honored and loved than all the glory ever acquired in the bloody, and soon, in the progress of Christian sentiment, to be considered the disgraceful and wicked work of the battle-field. After he had received his death-wound, being overcome with thirst from excessive bleeding, he called for drink. It was brought to him immediately; but the moment he was lifting it to his mouth, a poor soldier was carried by mortally wounded, who fixed his eyes eagerly upon it. Sidney, seeing this, instantly delivered it to him, with these memorable words: “Thy necessity is yet greater than mine." All England wore mourning for his death, and volumes of laments and elegies were poured forth in all languages.
1 See Retrospective Review, il. 1, and x. 43; also the Quarterly, 1, 67,
2 Lord Brook says of him, that "his end was not writing, even while he wrote, nor his knowledge moulded for tables or schools; but both his wit and understanding bent upon his heart to make himself and others, not in words or opinion, but in life and action, good and great."