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read with the Queen's Majesty: we read there together in the Greek tongue, as I well remember, that noble oration of Demosthenes against Æschines, for his false dealing in his embassage to King Philip of Macedony." Sir Richard Sackville, who was treasurer of the Exchequer to Queen Elizabeth, came up soon after, and finding our author in her Majesty's privy chamber, took him by the hand, and led him to a window, where he recurred to the subject they had been discussing, by saying, that he would not for a good deal of money have been absent from the dinner, “where," he added, “ though I said nothing, yet I gave as good ear, and do consider as well the talk that passed as any one did there.” He then warmly expressed his agreement with what Cecil and Ascham had advanced, instancing what had happened to himself, whom, he said, a foolish schoolmaster, before he was fourteen years old, had so driven with fear of beating from all love of learning, that now, when he knew the difference between having learning and having Jittle, or none at all, he felt it his greatest grief, and found it his greatest hurt, that he had ever fallen into such hands. He then expressed his anxiety that his grandson, Robert Sackville, should for his mishap fare the better, and added, " 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.”
“This promise,” Ascham says, “ the worthy gentleman surely kept with me until his dying day." They then had some further talk together on the right method of
educating children, which ended in Sackville requesting that our author would put down in writing the chief points of their conversation. The latter attempted to excuse himself from this task “by lack of ability and weakness of body;" but Sir Richard persisted in urging its performance. “I beginning some further excuse," continues Ascham, “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 that Christmas; but, as it chanceth to busy builders, so, in building this my poor school-house (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 at 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 site 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 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. If the matter be mean, and meanly handled, I pray you bear both with me and it; for never work went up in worse weather, with more lets and stops, than this poor school-house of mine. Westminster-Hall can bear soine witness, beside much
weakness of body, but more trouble of mind, by some sich sores as grieve me to touch them myself; and therefore I purpose not to open them to others."
What is said about Westminster-Hall here is in allusion to a lawsuit in which Ascham was then, or had lately been involved. To add to all his troubles came the death of Sir Richard Sackville.
" When he was gone,” continues the author, my heart was dead; there was not one that wore a black gown for him who carried a heavier heart for him than I ; when he was gone, I cast this book away; I could not look upon it but with weeping eyes, in remembering him who was the only setter on to do it, and would have been not only a glad commender of it, but also a sure and certain comfort to me and mine.” Almost two years together, he says, the book lay scattered and neglected, and would have been quite given over by him, if the goodness of one (he no doubt means Cecil) had not given him some life and spirit again. 6 God," he continues, “the mover of goodness, prosper always him and his, as he hath many times comforted me and mine, and, as I trust to God, shall comfort more and more. Of whom most justly I may say, and very oft and always gladly I am wont to say, that sweet verse of Sophocles, spoken by Edipus to worthy Theseus :
"Εχω γάρ ά'χω διά σε, κέκ άλλον βροτών.* This hope hath helped me to end this book; which, if he allow, I shall think my labours well employed, and shall not much esteem the misliking of any others.”
In writing the book, he states, he has had earnest respect to three special points-truth of religion, honesty
* For whatsoever I have I have through thee, and through none other of living men.
of living, and right order in learning. “In which three ways,” he concludes,
my poor children may diligently walk; for whose sake, as nature moved and reason required, and necessity also somewhat compelled, I was the willinger to take these pains.
“ For, seeing at my death I am not like to leave them any great store of living, therefore, in my lifetime, I thought good to bequeath unto them, in this little book, as in my will and testament, the right way to good learning; which if they follow, with the fear of God, they shall very well come to sufficiency of living.
“ I wish also, with all my heart, that young Mr. Robert Sackville may take that fruit of this labour, that his worthy grandfather purposed he should have done; and if any other do take either profit or pleasure hereby, they have cause to thank Mr. Robert Sackville, for whom specially this my Schoolmaster was provided.
“ And one thing I would have the reader consider, in reading this book, that because no schoolmaster hath charge of any child before he enter into his school, there. fore I, leaving all former care of their good bringing up to wise and good parents, as a matter not belonging to the schoolmaster, I do appoint this my Schoolmaster then and there to begin where his office and charge beginneth. Which charge lasteth not long, but until the scholar be made able to go to the University, to proceed in logic, rhetoric, and other kind of learning.
“ Yet if my Schoolmaster, for love he beareth to his scholar, shall teach him somewhat for his furtherance and better judgment in learning, that may serve him seven years after in the University, he doth his scholar no more wrong, nor deserveth no worse name thereby, than he doth in London, who, selling silk or cloth unto his
friend, doth give him better measure than either his promise or bargain was. Farewell in Christ.”
The title of the first book of the Schoolmaster describes it as “Teaching the bringing up of Youth;” and it may be said to treat of the general principles according to which the education of children at school ought to be conducted. Much of it has, however, a particular reference to what was then, as it is still, the usual commencement of a liberal education, the study of the Latin tongue.
The author begins by condemning the method pursued in common schools for “ the making of Latins," that is, the mode of teaching the writing of Latin by means of books of exercises of the ordinary fashion. He says: “After the child hath learned perfectly the eight parts of speech, let him then learn the right joining together of substantives with adjectives, the noun with the verb, the relative with the antecedent. And in learning farther his syntaxis, by mine advice he shall not use the common order in common schools for making of Latins, whereby the child commonly learneth, first, an evil choice of words (and right choice of words,' saith Cæsar, “is the foundation of eloquence,') then a wrong placing of words, and, lastly, an ill framing of the sentence, with a perverse judgment both of words and sentences. These faults, taking once root in youth, be never, or hardly plucked away in age. Moreover, there is no one thing that hath more either dulled the wits or taken away the will of children from learning, than the care they have to satisfy their masters in making of Latins.