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And thus despair shall dispatch, even at the first entering it, many a good man his purpose and intent. And I think both you yourself, and all other men too, would count it mere folly for a man to tell him whom he teacheth, that he shall never obtain that which he would fainest learn. And there. fore this same high and perfect way of teaching let us leave it to higher matters, and, as for shooting, it shall be content with a meaner way well enough.
Phi. Whereas you say that this high perfectness will discourage men, because they know they shall never attain unto it, I am sure, clean contrary, there is nothing in the world shall encourage men more than it. And why? For where a man seeth, that though another man be never so excellent, yet it is possible for himself to be better, what pain or labour will that man refuse to take? If the game be once won, no man will set forth his foot to run. And thus perfectness being so high a thing that men may look at it, not come to it, and being so plentiful and indifferent to every body, that the plentifulness of it may provoke all men to labour, because it hath enough for all men, the indifferency of it shall encourage every one to take more pain than his fellow, because every man is rewarded according to his nigh coming; and yet, which is most marvel of all, the more men take of it, the more they leave behind for other, as Socrates did in wisdom, and Cicero in eloquence, whereby other hath not lacked, but hath fared a great deal the better. And thus perfectness itself, because it is never obtained, even therefore only doth it cause so many men to be well seen and perfect in many matters as they be. But whereas you think that it were fondness to teach a man to shoot, in looking at the most perfectness in it, but rather would have a man go some other
way to work; I trust no wise man will discommend that way, except he think himself wiser than Tully, which doth plainly say, that, if he teached any manner of craft, as he did rhetoric, he would labour to bring a man to the knowledge of the most perfectness of it, which knowledge should evermore lead and guide a man to do that thing well which he went about. Which way, in all manner of learning to be best, Plato doth also declare in Euthydemus, of whom Tully learned it, as he did many other things more. And thus you see, Toxophilus, by what reasons, and by whose authority I do require of you this way in teaching me to shoot ;
THE WORKS OF ROGER ASCHAM.
pray you, without any delay, show me as far forth as you have noted and marked.
Tox. You call me to a thing, Philologus, which I am loth to do, and yet, if I do it not, being, but a small matter as you think, you will lack friendship in me; if I take it in hand, and not bring it to pass as you would have it, you might think great want of wisdom in me.
But I advise you, seeing you will needs have it so, the blame shall be yours, as well as mine: yours for putting upon me so * instantly; mine for receiving so fondly a greater burthen than I am able to bear. Therefore I, more willing to fulfil your
mind than hoping to accomplish that which you look for, shall speak of it, not as a master of shooting, but as one not altogether ignorant in shooting. And one thing I am glad of, the sun drawing down so fast into the west shall compel me to draw apace to the end of our matter, so that his darkness shall something cloak mine ignorance.
And because you know the ordering of a matter better than I, ask me generally of it, and I shall particularly answer to it.
Phi. Very gladly, Toxophilus : for so by order those things which I would know, you shall tell the better, and those things which you shall tell, I shall remember the better.
* So importunately.
THE END OF THE FIRST BOOK OF THE SCHOOL OF SHOOTING,
THE SECOND BOOK OF,
THE SCHOOL OF SHOOTING.
Phi. What is the chief point in shooting, that every man laboureth to come to?
Tox. To hit the mark.
Phi. How many things are required to make a man evermore hit the mark?
Phi. How should a man shoot straight, and how should a man keep a length ?
Tox. In knowing and having things belonging to shooting; and when they be known and had, in well handling of them;
whereof some belong to shooting straight, some to keeping of a length, some commonly to them both, as shall be told severally of them in place convenient.
Phi. Things belonging to shooting, which be they?
Tox. * All things be outward; and some be instruments for every fsere archer to bring with him, proper for his own use: other things be general to every man, as the place and time serveth.
Phi. Which be instruments ?
* The instruments of shooting are external.
Phi. Which be general to all men ?
Tox. The weather and the mark; yet the mark is ever under the rule of the weather.
Phi. Wherein standeth well handling of things?
Tox. Altogether within a man himself: some handling is proper to instruments, some to the weather, some to the mark, some is within a man himself.
Phi. What handling is proper to the instruments ? Tox. Standing, knocking, drawing, holding, loosing, whereby cometh fair shooting, which neither belong to wind nor weather, nor yet to the mark; for in a rain and at no mark, a man may shoot a fair shot. Phi. Well said: what handling belongeth to the weather ?
Tox. Knowing of his wind, with him, against him, side wind, full side wind, side wind quarter with him, side wind quarter against him, and so forth.
Phi. Well then, go to; what handling belongeth to the mark?
Tox. To mark his standing, to shoot compass, to draw evermore like, to loose evermore like, to consider the nature of the prick, in hills and dales, in straight plains and winding places, and also to espy his mark.
Phi. Very well done. And what is only within a man himself?
Tox. Good heed giving, and avoiding all affections: which things oftentimes do mar and make all. And these things spoken of me generally and briefly, if they be well known, had, and handled, shall bring a man to such shooting, as few or none ever yet came unto; but surely if he miss in any one of them, he can never hit the mark; and in the more he doth miss, the farther he shooteth from his mark. But, as in all other matters, the first step or stair to be good, is to know a man's fault, and then to amend it; and he that will not know his fault, shall never amend it.
Phi. You speak now, Toxophilus, even as I would have you to speak; but let us return again unto our matter, and those things which you have packed up in so short a room, we will loose them forth, and take every piece, as it were, in our hand, and look more narrowly upon it.
Tox. I am content; but we will rid them as fast as we can, because the sun goeth so fast down, and yet somewhat must needs be said of every one of them.
Phi. Well said ; and I trow we began with those things which be instruments, whereof the first, as I suppose, was the bracer.
Tox. Little is to be said of the bracer. A * bracer serveth for two causes, one to save his arm from the stripe of the string, and his doublet from wearing; and the other is, that the string gliding, sharply and quickly off the bracer, may make the sharper shot. * For if the string should light upon the bare sleeve, the strength of the shot should stop and die there. But it is best, by my judgement, to give the bow so much bent, that the string need never touch a man's arm, and so should a man need no bracer, as I know many good archers which occupy none.
In a bracer a man must take heed of three things; that it have no nails in it, that it have no buckles, that it be fast on with laces without agglets. For the nails will sheer in sunder a man's string before he be ware, and so put his bow in jeopardy: buckles and agglets at unawares shall raze his bow, a thing both evil for the sight, and perilous for fretting. And thus a bracer is.
this purpose, that the string may have ready passage.
Phi. In my bracer I am cunning enough; but what say you of the shooting glove?
Tox. A shooting glove is chiefly for to save a man's fingers from hurting, that he may be able to bear the sharp string to the uttermost of his strength. And when a man shooteth, the might of his shot lieth on the foremost finger, and on the ringman ; for the middle finger, which is the longest, like a lubber, starteth back, and beareth no weight of the string in a manner at all; therefore the two other fingers must have thicker leather, and that must have thickest of all whereon a man looseth most, and for sure loosing, the foremost finger is most apt, because it holdeth best; and for that purpose, nature hath, as a man would say, yoked it with the thumb. Leather, if it be next a man's skin, will sweat, wax hard, and chafe; therefore scarlet, for the softness of it, and thickness withal, is good to sew within a man's glove. If that will not serve, but your finger hurteth, you must take
Those who write of things well known, seldom extend their care to time in which they may be known less. This account of the bracer is somewhat obscure. It seems to have been a kind of close sleeve laced upon the left arm.