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to sing and play on instruments cunningly, to hawk, to hunt, to play at tennis, and all pastimes generally which be joined with labour used in open place, and on the daylight, containing either some fit exercise for war, or some pleasant pastime for peace, be not only comely and decent, but also very necessary for a courtly gentleman
“ But of all kinds of pastimes fit for a gentleman, I will, God willing, in fitter place, more at large declare fully, in my Book of the Cockpit,' which I do write to satisfy some, I trust with some reason, that be more curious in marking other men's doings than careful in mending their own faults. And some also will needs busy themselves in marvelling, and adding thereto unfriendly talk, why I, a man of good years, and of no ill place, I thank God and my prince, do inake choice to spend such time in writing of trifles, as • The School of Shooting,' 'The Cockpit,' and this Book of the first principles of Grammar, rather than to take some weighty matter in hand, either of religion or civil discipline." Wise says,
will well allow of his choice in this matter; and as for such who have not wit of themselves, but must learn of others to judge right of men's doings, he refers them to Horace's precept in his Art of Poetry, to beware of high and lofty titles. Ascham may be supposed to insinuate, that though his books might seem from their titles to treat only on frivolous subjects, their substance would be found to be beyond the promise thus held out. “ And thus much,” he concludes, “out of my way, concerning my purpose in spending pen, and paper, and time upon trifles; and namely to answer some that have neither wit nor learning to do anything themselves, neither will nor honesty to say well of others.”
Returning to the subject of joining learning with comely exercises, he highly recommends the work of Conto Baldesar Castiglione, entitled “Il Cortigiano," (the Courtier,) as excellently translated into English by Sir Thomas Hobby," which book," says he," advisedly read and diligently followed but one year at home in England, would do a young gentleman more good, I wiss, than three years' travel abroad spent in Italy." “But the English court,” he adds,“ has never lacked many fine examples for young gentlemen to follow." Among these he mentions the late King Edward," and in the second degree, two noble prim-roses of nobility, the young Duke of Suffolk and Lord Henry Malavers," who, he says,
were two such examples to the court for learning, as our time may rather wish than look for again." At St. John's College, Cambridge, also, he commemo. rates Sir John Cheke and Dr, Redmayu as having, in his time, done more by their example than the good statutes of the college themselves did “
"to breed up learned men, of whom there were so many,” says he, “ in that one College of St. John's, at one time, as I believe the whole University of Louvain, in many years, was never able to afford.”
He then proceeds: “Present examples of this present time I list not to touch ; yet there is one example for all the gentlemen of this court to follow, that may well satisfy them, or nothing will serve them, nor no example move them to goodness and learning,
“ It is your shame (I speak to you all, you young gentlemen of England), that one maid should go beyond you all in excellency of learning and knowledge of divers tongues. Point forth six of the best given gentlemen of this court, and all they together show not so much good
will, spend not so much time, bestow not so many hours daily, orderly, and constantly, for the increase of learning and knowledge, as doth the Queen's Majesty herself. Yea I believe, that beside her perfect readiness in Latin, Italian, French, and Spanish, she readeth here now at Windsor more Greek every day than some prebendary of this church doth read Latin in a whole week. And that which is most praiseworthy of all, within the walls of her privy chamber, she hath obtained that excellency of learning to understand, speak, and write both wittily with head and fair with hand, as scarce one or two rare wits in both the Universities have in many years reached unto. Amongst all the benefits that God hath blessed me withal, next the knowledge of Christ's true religion, I count this the greatest, that it pleased God to call me to be one poor minister in setting forward these excellent gifts of learning in this most excellent Prince; whose only example, if the rest of our nobility would follow, then might England be, for learning and wisdom in nobility, a spectacle to all the world beside. But see the mishap of men; the best examples have never such force to move to any goodness, as the bad, vain, light, and fond have to all illness.”
We do not know to whom the allusion in the passage that follows points, unless it be to King Henry the Eighth.
“And one example, though out of the compass of learning, yet not out of the order of good manners, was notable in this court not fully twenty-four years ago; when all the acts of parliament, many good proclamations, divers strait commandments, sore punishments openly, special regard privately, could not do so much to take away one misorder, as the example of one big
6. If,” he says,
one of this court did still to keep up the same : the memory whereof doth yet remain in a common proverb of Birching Lane.
“ Take heed, therefore, ye great ones in the Court, yea though ye be the greatest of all, take heed what ye do, take heed how ye live, for as you great ones use 'to do, so all mean men love to do. You be indeed makers, or marrers, of all men's manners within the realm."
Ascham would have even the dress of the different classes of society to be regulated by law. “three or four great ones in court will needs outrage in apparel, in huge hose, in monstrous hats, in garish colours; let the prince proclaim, make laws, order, punish, command every gate in London daily to be watched ; let all good men beside do everywhere what they can: surely the misorder of apparel in mean men abroad shall never be amended, except the greatest in court will order and mend themselves first. I know some great and good ones in court were authors that honest citizens in London should watch at every gate to take misordered persons in apparel; I know that honest Londoners did so; and I saw (which I saw then, and report now with some grief) that some courtly men were offended with these good men of London. And hat which grieved me most of all, I saw the very same time, for all these good orders commanded from the court, and executed in London, I saw, I say, come out of London, even unto the presence of the prince, a great rabble of mean and light persons in apparel, for matter against law, for making against order, for fashion, namely hose, so without all order, as he thought himself most brave that durst do most in breaking order, and was most monstrous in misorder. And for all the
great commandments that came out of the court, yet this bold misorder was winked at, and borne with in the court. I thought it was not well, that some great ones of the court durst declare themselves offended with good men of London for doing their duty; and the good ones of the court would not show themselves. offended with ill men of London for breaking good order.”
Such passages as these are curious, as illustrations of ancient manners; and we have for that reason preserved them in our abstract, though having little or no bearing upon the business of the Schoolmaster, at least in the present day. The author goes on to contend that the great ought to set an example to the rest of the nation in other things, as well as in propriety of dress. For instance, " if but two or three noblemen in the court,” he says, " would but begin to shoot, all young gentlemen, the whole court, all London, the whole realm, would straightway exercise shooting.”
Returning from this digression, the author states the sum of what he has hitherto delivered to be," that from
year old to seventeen, love is the best allurement to learning ; from seventeen to seven-and-twenty, that wise men should carefully see the steps of youth surely staid by good order, in that most slippery time, and specially in the court;" and he then proceeds as follows:
“Sir Richard Sackville, that worthy gentleman of worthy memory, as I said in the beginning, in the Queen's privy chamber at Windsor, after he had talked with me for the right choice of good wit in a child for learning; and of the true difference betwixt quick and hard wits; of alluring young children by gentleness to love learning; and of the special care that was to be had to keep young men from licentious living ; he was most