Obrázky stránek

white, ale and beer, and all in one pot, you shall make a drink neither easy to be known nor yet wholesome for the body. Cicero, in following Isocrates, Plato, and Demosthenes, increased the Latin tongue after another sort. This ways because divers men that write do not know, they can neither follow it, because of their ignorancy, nor yet will praise it, for very arrogancy-two faults, seldom the one out of the other's company.

English writers, by diversity of time, have taken diverse matters in hand. In our fathers' time nothing was read but books of feigned chivalry, wherein a man by reading should be led to none other end but only to manslaughter and bawdry. If any man suppose they were good enough to pass the time withal, he is deceived. For surely vain words do work no small thing thereunto of their own nature. These books, as I have heard say, were made the most part in abbeys and monasteries, a very likely and fit fruit of such an idle and blind kind of living.*

In our time now, when every man is given to know much rather than to live well, very many do write, but after such a fashion as very many do shoot. Some shooters take in hand stronger bows than they be able to maintain. This thing maketh them sometime to outshoot the mark, sometime to shoot far wide, and per

chance hurt some that look on. Other that

never learned to shoot, nor yet knoweth good shaft nor bow, will be as busy as the best, but such one commonly plucketh down a side, and crafty archers which be against him will be both glad of him, and also ever ready to lay10 and bet with him; it were better for such one to sit down than shoot. Other there be which have very good bow and shafts and good knowledge in shooting, but they have been brought up in such evil-favored shooting that they can neither shoot fair nor yet near. If any man will apply these things together, he shall not see the one far differ from the other.

And I also, among all other, in writing this little treatise, have followed some young shooters, which both will begin to shoot for a little money, and also will use to shoot once or twice about the mark for nought afore they begin agood. And therefore did I take this little matter in hand to assay11 myself, and hereafter, by the grace of God, if the judgment of wise men that look on think that I can do any

& Construe after "know." 10 wager 9 lowers the score of 11 try *Ascham is manifestly condemning such romances as Malory's Le Morte Darthur. England was at this time Protestant. and the dissolution of the monasteries a recent event.

good, I may perhaps cast my shaft among other for better game.


The wind is sometimes plain up and down, which is commonly most certain, and requireth least knowledge, wherein a mean shooter with mean gear, if he can shoot home, may make best shift. A side wind tryeth an archer and Sometime it bloweth

good gear very much. aloft, sometime hard by the ground; sometime it bloweth by blasts, and sometime it continueth all in one; sometime full side wind, sometime quarter with him and more, and likewise against him, as a man with casting up light grass, or else if he take good heed, shall sensibly learn by experience.

To see the wind with a man his2 eyes, it is impossible, the nature of it is so fine and subtle; yet this experience of the wind had I once myself, and that was in the great snow that fell four years ago. I rode in the highway betwixt Topcliffe-upon-Swale and Boroughbridge, the way being somewhat trodden before by wayfaring men. The fields on both sides were plain and lay almost yard deep with snow; the night afore had been a little frost, so that the snow was hard and crusted above. That morn

ing the sun shone bright and clear, the wind was whistling aloft, and sharp, according to the time of the year. The snow in the highway lay loose and trodden with horse' feet: so as the wind blew, it took the loose snow with it, and made it so slide upon the snow in the field, which was hard and crusted by reason of the frost over uight, that thereby I might see very well the whole nature of the wind as it blew that day. And I had a great delight and pleasure to mark it, which maketh me now far better to remember it.

Sometime the wind would be not past two yards broad, and so it would carry the snow

as far as I could see. Another time the snow would blow over half the field at once. Sometime the snow would tumble softly, by and by it would fly wonderful fast. And this I perceived also, that the wind goeth by streams and not whole together. For I should see one stream within a scores of me, then the space of two score no snow would stir, but after so much quantity of ground another stream of snow at the same very time should be carried likewise, but not equally; for the one would 1 ordinary equipment

2 man's (a pedantic form, due to the erroneous idea that the possessive s was a contraction of his). twenty yards

stand still when the other flew apace, and so continue, sometime swiftlier, sometime slowlier, sometime broader, sometime narrower, as far as I could see. Nor it flew not straight, but sometime it crooked this way, sometime that way, and sometime it ran round about in a compass. And some time the snow would be lifted clean from the ground up in the air; and by and by it would be all clapped to the ground as though there had been no wind at all; straightway it would rise and fly again.

And that which was the most marvelous of all at one time two drifts of snow flew, the one out of the west into the east, the other out of the north into the east. And I saw two winds by reason of the snow, the one cross over the other, as it had been two highways. And again I should hear the wind blow in the air when nothing was stirred at the ground. And when all was still where I rode, not very far from me the snow should be lifted wonder fully. This experience made me more marvel at the nature of the wind, than it made me cunning in the knowledge of the wind; but yet thereby I learned perfectly that it is no marvel | at all, although men in a wind lease their length in shooting, seeing so many ways the wind is so variable in blowing.



When the great plague was at London, the year 1563, the Queen's Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, lay at her castle of Windsor; where, upon the tenth day of December, it fortuned that in Sir William Cecil's chamber (her Highness' Principal Secretary), there dined together these personages: Mr. Secretary himself, Sir William Peter, Sir J. Mason, D. Wotton, Sir Richard Sackville, Treasurer of the Exchequer, Sir Walter Mildmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Haddon, Master of Requests, Mr. John Astley, Master of the Jewel House, Mr. Bernard Hampton, Mr. Nicasius, and I. Of which number the most part were of her Majesty's most honorable Privy Council, and the rest serving her in very good place. I was

4 lose

5 distance between the archer and the target While Ascham belongs to the generation preceding the Elizabethans, this last work of his was written and published (posthumously, 1570) well within the Virgin Queen's reign. and the little glimpse behind the curtain which its preface affords may serve both to introduce and to exemplify what Tennyson has so happily called "the spacious times of great Elizabeth."

glad then, and do rejoice yet to remember, that my chance was so happy to be there that day, in the company of so many wise and good men together as hardly then could have been picked out again out of all England beside.

Mr. Secretary hath this accustomed manner: though his head be never so full of most weighty affairs of the realm, yet at dinner time he doth seem to lay them always aside, and findeth ever fit occasion to talk pleasantly of other matters, but most gladly of some matter of learning; wherein he will courteously hear the mind of the meanest1 at his table.

Not long after our sitting down, "I have strange news brought me," saith Mr. Secretary, "this morning, that divers scholars of Eton be run away from the school for fear of beating." Whereupon Mr. Secretary took occasion to wish that some more discretion were in many schoolmasters, in using correction, than commonly there is; who many times punish rather the weakness of nature than the fault of the scholar; whereby many scholars, that might else prove well, be driven to hate learning before they know what learning meaneth, and so are made willing to forsake their book and be glad to be put to any other kind of living.

Mr. Peter, as one somewhat severe of nature, said plainly that the rod only2 was the sword that must keep the school in obedience and the scholar in good order. Mr. Wotton, a man mild of nature, with soft voice and few words, inclined to Mr. Secretary's judgment, and said: In mine opinion, the schoolhouse should be indeed, as it is called by name, the house of play and pleasure, and not of fear and bondage. And as I do remember, so saith Socrates in one place of Plato. And therefore, if a rod carry the fear of a sword, it is no marvel if those that be fearful of nature choose rather to forsake the play, than to stand always within the fear of a sword in a fond5 man's handling.

Mr. Mason, after his manner, was very merry with both parties, pleasantly playing both with the shrewd touches of many curst? boys, and with the small discretion of many lewds schoolmasters. Mr. Haddon was fully of Mr. Peter's opinion, and said that the best schoolmaster of our time was the greatest beater; and named the person. "Though," quoth I, "it was his good fortune to send from his school unto the university one of the best scholars indeed of all our time, yet wise men do think that that came 1 humblest

2 alone

3 See note on "school," page 119.

4 i. e., of Plato's works

5 foolish


3 mischievous traits perverse 8 ignorant

so to pass rather by the great towardness of the scholar than by the great beating of the master; and whether this be true or no, you yourself are best witness." I said somewhat farther in the matter how and why young children were sooner allured by love, than driven by beating, to attain good learning; wherein I was the bolder to say my mind because Mr. Secretary courteously provoked me thereunto, or else in such a company, and namely in his presence, my wont is to be more willing to use mine ears than to occupy my tongue. Sir Walter Mildmay, Mr. Astley, and the rest, said very little; only Sir Richard Sackville said nothing at all.

After dinner I went up to read with the Queen's Majesty. We read then together in the Greek tongue, as I well remember, that noble oration of Demosthenes against Aeschines for his false dealing in his embassage to King Philip of Macedonia. Sir Richard Sackville came up soon after, and finding me in her Majesty's privy chamber, he took me by the hand, and carrying me to a window said: "Mr. Ascham, I would not for a good deal of money have been this day absent from dinner, where though I said nothing, yet I gave as good ear, and do consider as well the talk that passed, as any one did there. Mr. Secretary said very wisely, and most truly, that many young wits be driven to hate learning before they know what learning is. I can be good witness to this myself. For a fond schoolmaster, before I was fully fourteen years old, drove me so, with fear of beating, from all love of learning, as9 now-when I know what difference it is to have learning, and to have little or none at all—I feel it my greatest grief, and find it my greatest hurt that ever came to me, that it was my so ill chance to light upon so lewd a schoolmaster. But seeing it is but in vain to lament things past, and also wisdom to look to things to come, surely, God willing, if God lend me life, I will make this my mishap some occasion of good hap to little Robert Sackville, my son's son. For whose bringing up I would gladly, if it so please you, use specially your good advice. I hear say you have a son much of his age. We will deal thus together. Point you out a schoolmaster who by your order shall teach my son and yours, and for all the rest I will provide; yea, though they three do cost me a couple of hundred pounds by year. And beside, you shall find me as fast a friend to you and yours as perchance any you have." Which promise the worthy

9 that

gentleman surely kept with me until his dying day.


We had then further talk together of bringing up of children; of the nature of quick and hard wits; 10 of the right choice of a good wit; of fear and love in teaching children. passed from children and came to young men, namely Gentlemen. We talked of their too much liberty to live as they lust11; of their letting loose too soon to overmuch experience of ill, contrary to the good order of many good old commonwealths of the Persians and Greeks; of wit12 gathered and good fortune gotten by some only by experience, without learning. And lastly, he required of me very earnestly to show what I thought of the common going of English men into Italy.

"But," saith he, "because this place and this time will not suffer so long talk as these good matters require, therefore I pray you, at my request, and at your leisure, put in some order of writing the chief points of this our talk concerning the right order of teaching and honesty of living, for the good bringing up of children and young men. And surely, beside contenting me, you shall both please and profit I made some excuse by very many others." lack of ability and weakness of body. "Well," saith he, "I am not now to learn what you can do. Our dear friend, Mr. Goodrick, whose judgment I could well believe, did once for all satisfy me fully therein. Again, I heard you say not long ago that you may thank Sir John Cheke* for all the learning you have. And I know very well myself that you did teach the Queen. And therefore seeing God did so bless you, to make you the scholar of the best master, and also the schoolmaster of the best scholar, that ever were in our time, surely you should please God, benefit your country, and honest13 your own name, if you would take the pains to impart to others what you learned of such a master, and how ye taught such a scholar. And in uttering the stuff ye received of the one, in declaring the order ye took with the other, ye shall never lack neither matter nor manner, what to write nor how to write, in this kind of argument." I, beginning some farther excuse, suddenly was called to come to the Queen.

The night following I slept little, my head was so full of this our former talk, and I so mindful somewhat to satisfy the honest request of so dear a friend. I thought to prepare some little treatise for a New Year's gift 10 intellects 12 knowledge 11 like 13 honor *A famous teacher at St. John's, Cambridge, who gave a great impulse to classical learning.

that Christmas. But, as it chanceth to busy builders, so, in building this my poor schoolhouse (the rather because the form of it is somewhat new, and differing from others), the work rose daily higher and wider than I thought it would in the beginning. And though | it appear now, and be in very deed, but a small cottage, poor for the stuff and rude for the workmanship, yet in going forward I found the зite so good as I was loth to give it over, but the making so costly, outreaching my ability, as many times I wished that some one of those three my dear friends with full purses, Sir Thomas Smith, Mr. Haddon, or Mr. Watson, had had the doing of it. Yet nevertheless I myself, spending gladly that little that I gat at home by good Sir John Cheke, and that that I borrowed abroad of my friend Sturmius, beside somewhat that was left me in reversion by my old masters Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero, I have at last patched it up as I could, and as you see.

A GENTLE TEACHER AND PUPIL. FROM BOOK I. And one example whether love or fear doth work more in a child for virtue and learning, I will gladly report; which may be heard with some pleasure, and followed with more profit. Before I went into Germany I came to Broadgate in Leicestershire, to take my leave of that noble Lady Jane Grey, to whom I was exceed ing much beholden. Her parents, the duke and duchess, with all the household, gentlemen and gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. found her in her chamber reading "Phaedon Platonis'' in Greek, and that with as much delight as some gentlemen would read a merry tale in Bocase.2 After salutation and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her why she would lose such pastime in the park? Smiling she answered me, "I wis, all their


1 Plato's Phaedo, on the Immortality of the Soul. 2 Boccaccio. 3 y-wis, certainly

sport in the park is but a shadow to that pleas ure that I find in Plato. Alas! good folk, they never felt what true pleasure meant.'' "And how came you, madam," quoth I, "to this deep knowledge of pleasure, and what did chiefly allure you unto it, seeing, not many women, but very few men, have attained thereunto?" "I will tell you," quoth she; "and tell you a truth which, perchance, ye will marvel at. One of the greatest benefits that ever God gave me is that he sent me so sharp and severe parents and so gentle a schoolmaster. For when I am in presence of either father or mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand, or go, eat, drink, be merry or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing anything else, I must do it, as it were, in such weight, measure, and number, even so perfectly as God made the world, or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea presently sometimes with pinches, nips, and bobs, and other ways which I will not name for the honor I bear them, so without measure misordered,5 that I think myself in hell till time come that I must go to Mr. Elmer, who teacheth me so gently, so pleasantly, with such fair allurements to learning, that I think all the time nothing whilst I am with him. And when I am called from him I fall one weeping, because whatsoever I do else but learning, is full of grief, trouble, fear, and whole misliking unto me. And thus my book hath been so much my pleasure, and bringeth daily to me more pleas ure and more, that in respect of it all other pleasures, in very deed, be but trifles and troubles unto me."

I remember this talk gladly, both because it is so worthy of memory, and because also it was the last talk that ever I had and the last time that ever I saw that noble and worthy lady.

[blocks in formation]





Unstable dream, according to the place,t
Be steadfast once, or else at least be true.
By tasted sweetness make me not to rue
The sudden loss of thy false feigned grace.
By good respect in such a dangerous case
Thou broughtst not her into these tossing seas,
But madest my spirit to live, my care t'en-


My body in tempest her delight t'embrace.
The body dead, the spirit had his desire;
Painless was the one, the other in delight.
Why then, alas! did it not keep it right,
But thus return to leap into the fire,

And where it was at wish, could not remain?
Such mocks of dreams do turn to deadly pain.


She sat and sewed, that hath done me the wrong

Whereof I plain, and have done many a day; And whilst she heard my plaint in piteous song,

She wished my heart the sampler1, that2 it lay.

The blind master whom I have served so long, Grudging to hear thats he did hear her say, Made her own weapon do her finger bleed, To feel if pricking were so good indeed!

2 as

3 that which 4 make

1 needle-work pattern Though Wyatt and Surrey were, in strictness, Pre-Elizabethans, their poems, first published 1557, were manifest harbingers of the creative impulse we associate with Elizabeth's reign. Thirty years later Sidney called these poets "the two chief lanterns of light to all others that have since employed their pens upon English poesy." Wyatt introduced the Petrarchian sonnet form into England; Surrey devised the variation used later by Shakespeare and Surrey was the first to employ heroic blank verse. See Eng. Lit., p. 84. This phrase appears to have more rhyme than reason. Possibly place text, referring to 1 Cor., xv, 58.



My lute, awake, perform the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And end that1 I have now begun.
And when this song is sung and past,
My lute, be still, for I have done.

As to be heard where ear is none,
As lead to grave2 in marble stone,
My song may pierce her heart as soon.
Should we then sigh or sing or moan?
No, no, my lute, for I have done.

The rocks do not so cruelly
Repulse the waves continually,
As she my suit and affection;
So that I am past remedy,
Whereby my lute and I have done.

Proud of the spoil that thou hast got
Of simple hearts through Lovës shot,
By whom unkind thou hast them won,
Think not he hath his bow forgot,
Although my lute and I have done.

Vengeance shall fall on thy disdain
That makest but game on earnest pain.
Think not alone under the sun
Unquits to cause thy lovers plain1,
Although my lute and I have done.

May chance thee lie withered and old
In winter nights that are so cold,
Plaining in vain unto the moon;
Thy wishes then dare not be told.
Care then who list, for I have done.

And then may chance thee to repent
The time that thou hast lost and spent
To cause thy lovers sigh and swoon;
Then shalt thou know beauty but lent,
And wish and want, as I have done.

Now cease, my lute, this is the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And ended is that we begun.
Now is this song both sung and past,
My lute, be still, for I have done.

[blocks in formation]
« PředchozíPokračovat »