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Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Quintilian, Erasmus, Budæus, Melancthon, Camerarius, Sambucus, Bembus, John Sturmius (whom Ascham declares to be far the best, in his opinion, that ever took the matter in hand); and, finally, Bartholomew Riccius Farrariensis, who,
“writeth the better because his whole doctrine, judgment, and order seemeth to be borrowed out of Joan. Sturmius's books.” In giving directions for imitation of prose, Riccius has taken as his example or model the manner in which Cicero has, in modern times, been imitated by Longolius ; this he has done because his purpose was to teach only the Latin tongue : whereas, the plan proposed by our author, of comparing Virgil with Homer, and Cicero with Demosthenes, requires a master perfectly skilled in both Latin and Greek. is my wish, indeed,” says he, "and that by good reason; for whosoever will write well of any matter, must labour to express that that is perfect, and not to stay and content himself with the mean; yea, I say farther, though it be not impossible, yet it is very rare and marvellous hard to prove excellent in the Latin tongue for him that is not also well seen in the Greek tongue. Tully himself, most excellent of nature, most diligent in labour, brought up from his cradle in that place, and in that time, where and when the Latin tongue most flourished naturally in every man's mouth; yet was not his own tongue able itself to make him so cunning in his own tongue as he was indeed, but the knowledge and imitation of the Greek tongue withal. This he confesseth himself, this he uttereth in many places, as those can tell best that use to read him most.
“ Therefore thou, that shootest at perfection in the Latin tongue, think not thyself wiser than Tully was, in
choice of the way that leadeth rightly to the same ; think not thy wit better than Tully's was, as though that may serve thee that was not sufficient for him. For even as a hawk flieth not high with one wing, even só a man reacheth not to excellency with one tongue.
“I have been a looker on in the cockpit of learning these many years, and one cock only have I known, which with onė wing even at this day doth pass all others, in mine opinion, that ever I saw in any pit in England, though they had two wings. Yet, nevertheless, to fly well with one wing, to run fast with one leg, be rather rare masteries, much to be marvelled at, than sure examples safely to be followed. A bishop that now liveth, a good man, whose judgment in religion I better like than his opinion in perfectness in other learning, said once unto me, · We have no need now of the Greek tongue, when all things be translated into Latin.' But the good man understood not that even the best translation is for mere necessity, but an evil imped wing to fly withal, or a heavy stump leg of wood to go withal. Such, the higher they fly, the sooner they falter and fail; the faster they run, the oftener they stumble, and sorer they fall. Such as will needs so fly may fly at a pie and catch a daw; and such runners as commonly they, shove and shoulder to stand foremost, yet in the end they come behind others, and deserve but the hopshackles, if the masters of the game be right judgers.”
A better book, therefore, Ascham thinks, than any that had yet been produced might be made on imitation in the learned languages, while the task of compiling it would, at the same time, be more pleasant than painful.
Erasmus,” he observes, “ giving himself to read over
all authors, Greek and Latin, seemeth to have prescribed to himself this order of reading; that is, to note out by the way three special points, all adages, all similitudes, and all witty sayings of most notable personages. And so by one labour, he left to posterity three notable books, and namely* two, his Chiliades, Apophthegmata, and Similia." In the same manner, he proposes that the good student should bend himself to read diligently over the works of Cicero; and also at the same time, with his books of philosophy, Plato and Xenophon ; with his orations, Isocrates and Demosthenes ; and with his rhetorical treatises, the writings of Aristotle. “The books," says he, “ be not many, nor long, nor rude in speech, nor mean in matter, but next the majesty of God's holy word, most worthy for a man, the lover of learning and honesty, to spend his life in. Yea, I have heard worthy Mr. Cheke many times say, 'I would have a good student pass and journey through all authors both Greek and Latin.' But he that will dwell in these few books only, first, in God's holy Bible, and then join with it Tully in Latin, Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, Isocrates, and Demosthenes in Greek, must needs prove an excellent man.”
Then follow directions for comparing Horace with Pindar, Livy with Thucydides, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Polybius, &c. “I trust,” he says, my writing shall give some good student occasion to take some piece in hand of this work of imitation. And as I had rather have any do it than myself, yet surely myself rather than none at all. And by God's grace,
if God do lend me life with health, free leisure, and liberty, with good liking and a merry heart, I will turn the best
part of my study and time to toil in one or other piece of this work of imitation.”
Aristotle, he contends, ought never to be read without his precepts being illustrated by examples taken out of Plato and other good authors. Then follows a long passage, which is, however, too interesting to be abridged:
“ Cambridge, at my first coming thither, but not at my going away, committed this fault in reading the precepts of Aristotle without the examples of other authors. But herein, in my time, these men of worthy memory, Mr. Redman, Mr. Cheke, Mr. Smith, Mr. Haddon, Mr. Watson, put so to their helping hands, as that University, and all students there, as long as learning shall last, shall be bound unto them, if that trade in study be truly followed which those men left behind them there.
“By this small mention of Cambridge, I am carried nto three imaginations : first, into a sweet remembrance of my time spent there ; then, into some careful thoughts for the grievous alteration that followed soon after ; lastly, into much joy, to hear tell of the good recovery and earnest forwardness in all good learning there again.
“To utter these my thoughts somewhat more largely were somewhat beside my matter, yet not very far out of the way; because it shall wholly tend to the good encouragement and right consideration of learning, which is my full purpose in writing this little book : whereby also shall well appear this sentence to be most true, * That only good men, by their government and example, make happy times in every degree and state.'
“ Doctor Nicolas Medcalfe, that honourable father, was Master of St. John's College when I came thither ; a man meanly learned himself, but not meanly affec
tioned to set forward learning in others. He found that college spending scarce two hundred marks by the year: he left it spending a thousand marks, and more. Which he procured not with his money, but by his wisdom ; not chargeably bought by him, but liberally given by others by his means, for the zeal and honour they bore to learning. And that which is worthy of memory, all these givers were almost Northern men ; who, being liberally rewarded in the service of their Prince, bestowed it as liberally for the good of their country. Some men thought, therefore, that Dr. Medcalfe was partial to Northern men ; but sure I am of this, that Northern men were partial in doing more good, and giving more lands to the furtherance of learning, than any other countrymen in those days did, which deed should have been rather an example of goodness for others to follow, than matter of malice for any to envy, as some there were that did.
“ Truly Dr. Medcalfe was partial to none, but indifferent to all; a master for the whole, a father to every one in that College. There was none so poor, if he had either will to goodness, or wit to learning, that could lack being there, or should depart from thence for any need. I am witness myself, that money many times was brought into young men's studies by strangers, whom they knew not. In which doing, this worthy Nicolaus followed the steps of good old St. Nicolaus, that learned bishop. He was a Papist indeed; but would to God among all us Protestants I might once see but one, that would win like praise in doing like good for the advancement of learning and virtue. And yet, though he were a Papist, if any young man, given to new learning, as they termed it, went beyond his