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feareth to be short, heaving after his arms, as though he would help his shaft to fly. Another writhes, or runneth aside, to pull in his shaft straight. One lifteth up his heel, and so holdeth his foot still, as long as his shaft flieth. Another casteth his arm backward after the loose. And another swings his bow about him, as it were a man with a shaft to make room in a game place. And many other faults there be, which now come not to my remembrance. Thus, as you have heard, many archers, with marring their face and countenance, with other parts of their body, as it were men that should dance anticks, be far from the comely port in shooting, which he that would be excellent must look for.
Of these faults I have very many myself; but I talk not of my shooting, but of the general nature of shooting. Now imagine an archer that is clean without all these faults, and I am sure every man would be delighted to see him shoot.
And although such a perfect coneliness cannot be expressed with any precept of teaching, as Cicero and other learned men do say, yet I will speak (according to my little knowledge) that thing in it, which if you follow,
shall not be without fault, yet your fault shall neither quickly be perceived, nor yet greatly' rebuked of them that stand by. Standing, nocking, drawing, holding, loosing, done as they should be done, make fair shooting.
The first point is, when a man should shoot, to take such footing and standing, as shall be both comely to the eye and profitable to his use, setting his countenance and all the other parts of his body after such a behaviour and port, that both all his strength may be employed to his own most advantage, and his shot made and handled to other men's pleasure and delight. A man must not go too hastily to it, for that is rashness, nor yet make too much to do about it, for that is curiosity; the one foot must not stand too far from the other, lest he stoop too much, which is unseemly, nor yet too near together, lest he stand too straight up, for so a man shall neither use his strength well, nor yet stand steadfastly.
The mean betwixt both must be kept; a thing more pleasant to behold when it is done, than easy to be taught how it should be done.
To nock well is the easiest point of all, and therein is no cunning, but only diligent heed giving, to set his shaft neither too high nor too low, but even straight overthwart his bow. Unconstant nocking maketh a man lose his length. And bes
sides that, if the shaft end be high, and the bow-hand low, or contrary, both the bow is in jeopardy of breaking, and the shaft, if it be little, will start; if it be great, it will hobble. Knock the cock feather upward always, as I told you when I described the feather. And be sure always that your string slip not out of the nock, for then all is in jeopardy of breaking
Drawing well is the best part of shooting. Men in old time used other manner of drawing than we do. They used to draw low at the breast, to the right pap, and no further ; and this to be true is plain in Homer, where he describeth Pandarus shooting :
Up to the pap his string did he pull, his shaft to the hard head.
The noble women of Scythia used the same fashion of shooting low at the breast, and, because their left
hindered their shooting at the loose, they cut it off when they were young, and therefore they be called, in lacking their pap, Amazones. Now-a-day, contrariwise, we draw to the right ear, and not to the pap. Whether the old way in drawing low to the pap, or the new way to draw aloft to the ear, be better, an excellent writer in Greek, called Procopius, doth say his mind, showing that the old fashion in drawing to the pap was nought, of no pith, and therefore, saith Procopius, is artillery dispraised in Homer, which calleth it outloavos, i.e. weak, and able to do no good. Drawing to the ear he praiseth greatly, whereby men shoot both stronger and longer : drawing therefore to the ear is better than to draw at the breast. And one thing cometh into my remembrance now, Philologus, when I speak of drawing, that I never read of other kind of shooting, than drawing with a man's hand either to the breast or ear: this thing have I sought for in Homer, Herodotus, and Plutarch, and therefore I marvel how crossbow came first up, of the which, I am sure, a man shall find little mention made in any good author. Leo the Emperor would have his soldiers draw quickly in war, for that maketh a shaft fly apace. In shooting at the pricks, hasty and quick drawing is neither sure nor yet comely. Therefore to draw easily and uniformly, that is for to say, not wagging our hand, now upward, now downward, but always after one fashion, until you come to the rig or shouldering of the head, is best both for profit and seemliness. Holding must not be long, for it both putteth a bow in jeopardy, and also marreth a man's shot; it must be so little, that'it may be perceived better in a man's mind when it is done, than seen with a man's eyes when it is in doing. Loosing must be much like. So quick and hard, that it be without all girds ; so soft and gentle, that the shaft fly not as it were sent out of a bow-case. The mean betwixt both, which is perfect loosing, is not so hard to he followed in shooting as it is to be described in teaching. For clean loosing, you must take heed of hitting any thing about you. And for the same purpose, Leo the Emperor would have all archers in war to have their heads polled, and their beards shaven, lest the hair of their heads should stop the sight of the eye, the hair of their beards binder the course of the string. And these precepts, I am sure, Philologus, if you follow, in standing, nocking, drawing, holding, and loosing, shall bring you at the last to excellent fair shooting.
Phi. All these things, Toxophilus, although I both now perceive them thoroughly, and also will remember them diligently; yet to-morrow, or some other day when you have leisure, we will go to the pricks, and put them by little and little in experience. For teaching not followed, doeth even as much good as books never looked upon.
seeing you have taught me to shoot fair, I pray you tell me somewhat, how I should shoot near, lest that proverb might be said justly of me some time, “He shoots like a gentleman fair and far off."
Tox. He that can shoot fair, lacketh nothing but shooting straight, and keeping of a length, whereof cometh hitting of the mark, the end both of shooting, and also of this our communication. The handling of the weather and the mark, because they belong to shooting straight and keeping of a length, I will join them together, showing what things belong to keeping of a length, and what to shooting straight.
The greatest enemy of shooting is the wind and the wea. ther, whereby true keeping a length is chiefly hindered. If this thing were not, men, by teaching, might be brought to wonderful near shooting. It is no marvel if the little poor shaft, being sent alone so high in the air, into a great rage of weather, one wind tossing it that way, another this way; it is no marvel, I say, though it lose the length, and miss that place where the shooter had thought to have found its
Greater matters than shooting are under the rule and will of the weather, as in sailing on the sea. And likewise, as in sailing, the chief point of a good master is to know the
tokens of change of weather, the course of the winds, that thereby may
the better come to the haven : even so the best property of a good shooter is to know the nature of the winds, with him and against him, and thereby he may the nearer shoot at his mark. Wise masters, when they cannot win the best haven, they are glad of the next: good shooters also, that cannot when they would hit the mark, will labour to come as nigh as they can. All things in this world be unperfect and unconstant; therefore let every man acknowledge his own weakness in all matters, great and small, weighty and merry, and glorify Him in whom only perfect perfectness is.
But now, Sir, he that will at all adventures use the seas, knowing no more what is to be done in a tempest than in a calm, shall soon become a merchant of eel-skins : so that shooter which putteth no difference, but shooteth in all alike, in rough weather and fair, shall always put his winnings in his
Little boats and thin boards cannot ena dure the rage of a tempest. Weak bows, and light shafts cannot stand in a rough wind. And likewise, as a blind man, which should go to a place where he had never been before, that hath but one straight way to it, and of either side holes and pits to fall into, now falleth into this hole, and then into that hole, and never cometh to his journey's end, but wandereth always here and there, further and further off; so that archer which ignorantly shooteth, considering neithet fair not foul, standing nor nocking, feather nor head, drawing nor loosing, nor any compass, shall always shoot short and gone, wide and far off, and never come near, except perchance he stumble sometime on the mark. For ignorance is nothing else but mere blindness.
A master of a ship first learneth to know the coming of a tempest, the nature of it, and how to behave himself in it, either with changing his course, or pulling down his high tops and broad sails, being glad to eschew as much of the weather as he can; even so a good archer will first, with diligent use and marking the weather, learn to know the nature of the wind; and, with wisdom, will measure in his mind, how much it will alter his shot, either in length, keeping, or else in straight shooting; and so, with changing his standing, or taking another shaft, the which he knoweth perfectly to be better for his purpose, either because it is lower feathered, or else because it is of a better wing, will so handle with discretion his shot, that he shall seemn rather to have the weather under his rule, by good heed giving, than the weather. to rule his shaft by any sudden changing.,
Therefore, in shooting, there is as much difference betwixt an archer that is a good weather man, and another that knoweth and marketh nothing, as is betwixt a blind man and he that can see.
Thus, as concerning the weather, a perfect archer must first learn to know the sure Alight of his shafts, that he may be bold always to trust them; then must he learn by daily experience all manner of kinds of weather, the tokens of it, when it will come, the nature of it when it is come; the di. versity and altering of it when it changeth, the decrease and diminishing, of it when it ceaseth. Thirdly, these things known, and every shot diligently marked, then must a man compare always the weather and his footing together, and, with discretion, measure them so, that whatsoever the weather shall take away from his shot, the same shall just footing restore again to his shot. This thing well known, and discreetly handled in shooting, bringeth more profit and commendation and praise to an archer, than any other thing besides. He that would know perfectly the wind and weather, must put differences betwixt times. Fordiversity of timecauseth diversity of weather, as in the whole year; spring time; summer, fall of the leaf, and winter: likewise in one day, morning, noontide, afternoon, and eventide, both alter the weather, and change a man's bow with the strength of a man also. And to know that this is so, is enough for a shooter and artillery, and not to search the cause why it should be so: which belongeth to a learned man and philosophy. In considering the time of the year, a wise archer will follow a good shipman; in winter and rough weather, small boats and little pinks forsake the seas : and at one time of the year no galleys come abroad: so likewise weak archers, using small and hollow shafts, with bows of little pith, must be content to give place for a time. And this I do not say, either to discourage any weak shooter : for likewise, as there is no ship better than galleys be in a soft and calm sea, so no man shooteth comelier, or nearer his mark, than some weak archers do in a fair and clear day.
Thus every archer must know, not only what bow and