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themselves, without a schoolmaster, in short time, and with small pains, receive a sufficient ability to understand, write, and speak Latin.” The circumstances which led to his undertaking this performance shall be related presently,
He did not live to publish it. It has been supposed that the work was not even completed ; but, in his preface, the author expressly says that it was. Ascham is said to have early injured his health through his application to study, and at last to have become so weak as to be unable to read at night. On this account he used to rise very early in the morning. A few years before his death (not the year before, as stated in the Biographia Britannica) he had a hectic attack, by which he was greatly reduced; and having, while still suffering from this cause, imprudently resumed his night studies, in his eagerness to finish a Latin poem which he intended to present to the Queen at the new year, he brought on a severe fit of ague on the 23rd of December, 1568, which terminated his life on the 30th of the same month. On this event, Elizabeth is said to have declared, that she would sooner have thrown ten thousand pounds into the sea than lost her tutor Ascham; a saying which is of course admired, as every thing belonging to that able and successful princess is admired, from old English habits; though it proves but a moderately disinterested love of her instructor, and though all who knew the cold heart and selfish nature of that royal hypocrite must be aware that for twenty thousand she would have had him hanged.
A singular part of Ascham's character was his addiction to dice and cock-fighting. Collier, in his Dictionary, says, “He was an honest man, and a good shooter, archery (whereof he wrote a book called Tocophilus) being his principal exercise in his youth, which in his old age he exchanged for a worse pastime, neither so healthful for his body nor profitable for his purse; I mean cock-fighting, which very much impaired his estate, so that he died rich only in two books, his Toxophilus and Scholarcha, wherein lay both his estate and monument." He proposed, indeed, and seems to have actually begun, to write a treatise upon his favourite sport, under title of “ The Book of the Cock-pit,” as we shall see from a passage in his “Schoolmaster," in which he apparently alludes to some disrepute to which he had exposed himself by the habits we have mentioned. Both studious and religious as he was, Ascham was no ascetic, but seems to have had a keen zest for the pleasures of society. In a curious epistle written from Germany, to his friend Raven, one of the fellows of St. John's, he says: understanding of the Italian I am meet well; but surely I drink Dutch better than I speak Dutch. (He means German.) Tell Mr. D. Maden, I will drink with him now a carouse of wine ; and would to God he had a vessel of Rhenish wine, on condition that I paid forty shillings for it; and, perchance, when I come to Cambridge, I will so provide here, that every year I will have a little piece of Rhenish wine." He is also said to have been a proficient in music.
Ascham left three sons, Giles, Dudley, and Sturmur,
the eldest of whom obtained a scholarship at St. John's through the interest of Lord Burleigh, and was afterwards appointed to a fellowship of Trinity College by Queen Elizabeth's mandate. He became distinguished for the elegance of his Latin epistolary style.
The only other productions of Ascham that have been printed, besides those already mentioned, are a collection of his Latin letters and poems, made by Mr. Grant, master of Westminster School, the first edition of which appeared in 1576, and a Latin tract against the Romish mass, entitled “ Apologia pro Cæna Dominica contra Missam et ejus præstigias," said by Anthony Wood to have been published at London in 1577.
His "Schoolmaster" was first published in 4to, at London, in 1571, according to the title-page, but in 1573 according to the colophon, and again, in the same form, in 1589. An edition of the work, in 8vo, with notes by Mr. Upton, appeared in 1711, and a second, much improved, in 1743. It was also printed, along with all Ascham's English works, including some of his letters, till then unpublished, in 4to, in 1767, under the care of the Rev. James Bennet. To this edition, which was reprinted in Svo, in 1815, with the addition of five letters in English addressed to Sir William Cecil, there is prefixed a life of the author by Dr. Johnson.
The facts contained in the above sketch have been principally taken from the Life of Ascham in the Biographia Britannica, which, again, has been for the most part compiled from a Latin oration by Mr. Grant, prefixed to the Letters and Poeins.]
[As an appropriate introduction to Ascham's Schoolmaster, we give here the Letter of Advice and Direction addressed by Cardinal Wolsey to the Masters of Ipswich School, of which he was the founder. In this letter, which is dated 1st September, 1528, the Cardinal lays down a system of teaching, which in its leading principles is very nearly the same with that recommended by Ascham. Indeed, as has been shown by the author of " An Essay on a System of Classical Instruction,” (12mo., London, Taylor, 1829,) the method in question appears to bave been that which in former times was always followed in teaching Greek and Latin not only in the schools of this country, but in those of the other countries of Europe. The writer to whom we refer remarks, that Wolsey's “charge appears to have been a compilation in great part from the writings of Erasmus," and that “not only the general scheme of its instructions is attributable to this eminent scholar, but whole sentences will be found to have been taken from his works, without the alteration of a single word.” 'The original of the letter is in Latin; but we avail ourselves of the English translation which has been given by the author of the Essay.]
THOMAS CARDINAL OF YORK, &c. TO THE MASTERS OF
IPSWICH SCHOOL, GREETING. “We suppose no one to be ignorant with what mental effort, zeal, and industry, we have always directed our labours to this point; not with a view to our own private advantage, but as far as possible to consult the
welfare of our country, and of all our fellow-subjects. In which one object, we consider we shall reap the richest fruit of patriotism, if with divine blessing we should adorn by cultivation the minds of our country
Influenced therefore by a warmth of affection incredibly great towards our birth-place, which claims our exertions by its own right, we have dedicated a school, not wholly without elegance as a building, as the clearest testimony of our perfect love. But since there seemed but little done in having built a school, however magnificent the structure, unless there should be added skilful masters, we have endeavoured by all njeans to appoint as its presidents two masters duly selected and approved : under whose tuition, the youth of Britain, from their earliest years, might imbibe morality and learning; naturally considering that the hope of the whole state rests on this stage of life, as that of the harvest on the blade of corn. And that this might succeed more happily and early, we have provided with all care, zeal, and diligence, that, in a little treatise on the instruction of boys, you should have the method and plan of teaching principally necessary for this tender age. It will now in turn be your part, who are masters in our new school, here to exercise the boys with diligence in the rudiments of education ; that as well in elegance of literature, as in purity of morals, they may advance in due order to higher views. And if you strive after this object as carefully as we shall exhibit the plan before your eyes, you will not only now, while we earnestly favour your pursuits, lay us under obliga