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most good in war. Therefore, I suppose, if men should use to go into the fields, and learn to shoot mighty strong shots, and never care for any mark at all, they should do much better.
Tox. The truth is, that fashion much used would do much good, but this is to be feared, lest that way could not provoke men to use much shooting, because there should be little pleasure in it. And that in shooting is best, that provoketh a man to use shooting most; for much use maketh men shoot both strong and well, which two things in shooting every man doth desire. And the chief maintainer of use in any thing is comparison and honest contention. For when a man striveth to be better than another, he will gladly use that thing, though it be never so painful, wherein he would excel; which thing Aristotle very prettily doth note, saying, " Where is comparison, there is victory; where is victory, there is pleasure and where is pleasure, no man careth what labour or pain he taketh, because of the praise and pleasure that he shall have in doing better than other
Again, you know, Hesiodus writeth to his brother Perses, " that all craftsmen, by contending one honestly with another, do increase their cunning with their substance.” And therefore in London, and other great cities, men of one craft, most commonly, dwell together, because in honest striving together who shall do best, every one may wax both cunninger and richer. So likewise in shooting, to make matches, to assemble archers together, to contend who shall shoot best, and win the game, increaseth the use of shooting wonderfully amongst men.
Phi. Of use you speak very much, Toxophilus ; but I am sure in all other matters use can do nothing, without two other things be joined with it; one is a natural aptness to a thing, the other is a true way or knowledge how to do the thing; to which two if use be joined as third fellow of them three, proceedeth perfectness and excellency: if a man lack the first two, aptness and cunning, use can do little good
For he that would be an orator, and is nothing naturally fit for it, that is to say, lacketh a good wit and memory, Jacketh a good voice, countenance, and body, and other such like; yea, if he had all these, and know not what, how, where, when, nor to whom he should speak; surely the use
of speaking would bring out none other fruit but plain folly and babbling; so that use is the last and the least necessary 01 all three, yet nothing can be done excellently without them all three; and therefore, Toxophilus, I myself, because I never knew whether I was apt for shooting or no, nor never knew way how I should learn to shoot, I have not used to shoot; and so, I think, five hundred more in England do beside me. And surely, if I knew that I were apt, and that you would teach me how to shoot, I would become an archer; and the rather because of the good communication, the which I have had with you this day of shooting.
Tox. Aptness, knowledge, and use, even as you say, make all things perfect. Aptness is the first and chiefest thing, with. out which the other two do no good at all. Knowledge doth increase all manner of aptness both less and more. saith Cicero, " is far above all teaching.” And thus they all three must be had, to do any thing very well; and if any one be away, whatsoever is done, is done very meanly. Aptness is the gift of nature, knowledge is gotten by the help of other; use lieth in our own diligence and labour ; so that aptness and use be ours and within us, through nature and labour; knowledge not ours, but coming by other; and therefore most diligently of all men to be sought for. How these three things stand with the artillery of England, a word or two I will say.
All Englishmen, generally, be apt for shooting; and how ? Like as that ground is plentiful and fruitful, which, without any tilling, bringeth out corn: as, for example, if a man should go to the mill or market with corn, and happen to spill some in the way, yet it would take root and grow, because the soil is so good; so England may be thought very fruitful, and apt to bring out shooters, where children, eren from the cradle, love it, and young men, without any teaching, so diligently use it. Again, likewise, as a good ground, well tilled and well husbanded, bringeth out great plenty of big eared corn, and good to the fall : so if the youth of England, being apt of itself to shoot, were taught and learned how to shoot, the archers of England should not be only a great deal ranker, and more than they be; but also a good deal bigger and stronger archers than they be. This commodity should follow also, if the youth of England were taught to shoot, that even as ploughing of a good ground for wheat, doth not only make it meet for the seed, but also
riveth and plucketh up by the roots all thistles, brambles, and weeds, which grow of their own accord, to the destruction of both corn and ground: even so should the teaching of youth to shoot, not only make them shoot well, but also pluck away by the roots all other desire to naughty pastimes, as dicing, carding, and bowling, which, without any teaching, are used every where, to the great harm of all youth of this realm. And likewise, as burning of thistles, and diligent weeding them out of the corn, doth not half so much rid them, as when the ground is fallowed and tilled for good grain, as I have heard many a good husbandman say; even so, neither hot punishment, nor yet diligent searching out of such unthriftiness by the officers, shall so thoroughly weed these ungracious games out of the realm, as occupying and bringing up youth in shooting, and other honest pastime. Thirdly, as a ground which is apt for corn, and also well tilled for corn; yet if a man let it lie still, and do not occupy it three or four year; but then will sow it, if it be wheat, saith Columella, it will turn into rye: so if a man be never so apt to shoot, nor never so well taught in his youth to shoot, yet if he give it over, and not use to shoot, truly when he shall be either compelled in war time for his country's sake, or else provoked at home for his pleasure sake, to fall to his bow, he shall become, of a fair archer, a stark squirter and dribber. Therefore, in shooting, as in all other things, there can neither be many in number, nor excellent in deed, except these three things, aptness, knowledge, and use, go together.
Phi. Very well said, Toxophilus; and I promise you, I agree to this judgement of yours together; and therefore I cannot little marvel, why Englishmen bring no more help to shooting than nature itself giveth them. For you see that even children be put to their own shifts in shooting, having nothing taught them; but that they may choose, and chance to shoot ill rather than well, unaptly sooner than fitly, untowardly more easily than well-favouredly; which thing causeth many never to begin to shoot, and more to leave it off when they have begun; and most of all to shoot both worse and weaker than they might shoot, if they were taught.
But peradventure some men will say, that with use of shooting a man shall learn to shoot: true it is, he shall learn, but what shall he learn? Marry to shoot naughtily.
For all use, in all things, if it be not staid by cunning, will very easily bring a man to do that thing, whatsoever he goeth about, with much ill-favouredness and deformity. Which thing how much harm it doth in learning, both "Crassus excellently doth prove in Tully, and I myself have experienced in my little shooting. And therefore, Toxophilus, you must needs grant me, that either Englishmen do ill in not joining knowledge of shooting to use, or else there is no knowledge or cunning which can be gathered of shooting,
Tox. Learning to shoot is little regarded in England, for this consideration, because men be so apt by nature, they have a great ready forwardness and will to use it, although no man teach them, although no man bid them; and so of their own courage they run headlong on it, and shoot they ill, shoot they well, great heed they take not. And, in very deed, aptness with use may do somewhat without knowledge, but not the tenth part, if so be they were joined with knowledge. Which three things be separate as you see, not of their own kind, but through the negligence of men which coupled them not together. And where ye doubt, whether there can be gathered any knowledge or art in shooting or no, surely I think that a man, being well exercised in it, and somewhat honestly learned withal, might soon, with diligent observing and marking the whole nature of shooting, find out, as it were, an art of it, as arts in other matters have been found out before; seeing that shooting standeth by those things, which may both, be thoroughly perceived, and perfectly known, and such that never fails, but be ever certain, belonging to one most perfect end; as shooting straight and keeping of a length bring a man to hit the mark, the chief end in shooting, which two things a man may attain unto, by diligent using and well-handling those instruments which belong unto them. Therefore I cannot see, but there lieth hid in the nature of shooting an art, which, by noting and observing of them that is exercised in it, if he be any thing learned at all, may be taught, to the great furtherance of artillery throughout all this realm; and truly I marvel greatly, that Englishnen would never yet seek for the art of shooting, seeing they be so apt unto it, so praised of their friends, so feared of their enemies for it. Vegetius would have masters appointed, which should teach youth to shoot fair. Leo the Emperor of Rome showeth the same custom to have been always amongst the old Romans: which cus. tom of teaching youth to shoot (saith he) after it was omitted and little heed taken of, brought the whole empire of Rome to great ruin. Schola Persica, that is, the school of the Persians, appointed to bring up youth, whilst they were twenty year old, only in shooting, is as notably known in histories as the empire of the Persians; which school, as doth appear
in Cornelius Tacitus, as soon as they gave over and fell to other idle pastimes, brought both them and the Parthians under the subjection of the Romans. Plato would have common masters and stipends, for to teach youth to shoot; and, for the same purpose, he would have a broad field near every city, made common for men to use shooting in. Which saying, the more reasonably it is spoken of Plato, the more unreasonable is their deed, which would ditch
up those fields privately for their own profit, which lieth open generally for the common use: men by such goods be made richer, not honester, saith Tully. If men be persuaded to have shooting taught, this authority which followeth will persuade them, or els none, and that is, as I have once said before, of King David, whose first act and ordinance was, after he was King, that all Judea should learn to shoot. If shooting could speak, she would accuse England of unkindness and slothfulness ; of unkindness toward her, because she being left to a little blind use, lacks her best maintainer, which is cunning: of slothfulness toward their own self, because they are content with that which aptness and use doth grant them in shooting, and will seek for no knowledge, as other noble.commonwealths have done : and the justlier shooting might make this complaint, seeing that of fence and weapons there is made an art, a thing in no wise to be compared to shooting. For of fence, almost in every town, there
not only masters to teach it, with his provosters, ushers, scholars, and other names of art and school; but there hath not failed also, which hath diligently and * favouredly written it, and is set out in print, that every man may read it.
What discommodity doth come by the lack of knowledge, in shooting, it were over long to rehearse. For many that have been apt, and loved shooting, because they knew not which way to hold to come to shooting, have clean turned themselves from shooting. And I may tell you, Philologus,
* Favouredly is, I suppose, plausibly.