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well, very many do write, but after such a fashion as very many do shoot. Some shooters take in hand stronger bows, than they be able to maintain. This thing maketh them some time to overshoot the mark, some time to shoot far wide, and perchance hurt some that look on. Other that never learned to shoot, nor yet knoweth good shaft nor bow, will be as busy as the best, but such one commonly + plucketh down aside, and crafty archers which be against him, will be both glad of him, and also ever ready to lay and bet with him: it were better for such one to sit down than shoot. Other there be, which have very good bow and shafts, and good knowledge in shooting, but they have been brought up in such evil-favoured shooting, that they can neither shoot
fair nor yet near. If any man will apply these things together, he shall not see the one far differ from the other. And I also, amongst all other, in writing this little treatise, have followed some young shooters, which both will begin to shoot, for a little money, and also will use to shoot once or twice about the mark for nought, before they begin for good. And therefore did I take this little matter in hand, to assay myself, and hereafter, by the grace of God, if judgement of wise men, that look on, think that I can do any good, I may perchance cast my shaft among other, for better game. Yet in writing this book, some man will marvel perchance, why that I, being an unperfect shooter, should take in hand to write of making a perfect archer: the same man, peradventure, will marvel how a whetstone, which is blunt, can make the edge of a knife sharp. I would the same man should consider also, that in going about any matter, there be four things to be considered, doing, saying, thinking, and perfectness: First, there is no man that doth so well, but he can say better, or else some men, which be now stark nought, should be too good: again, no man can utter with his tongue so well as he is able to imagine with his mind, and yet perfectness itself is far above all thinking. Then, seeing that saying is one step nearer perfectness than doing, let every man leave marvelling why my word shall rather express, than my deed shall perform, perfect shooting.
*To maintain is to manage.
+ To pluck down aside, I believe, is to shoot on one side into the ground.
Neither shoot gracefully nor exactly.
I trust no man will be offended with this little book, except it be some fletchers and bowyers, thinking hereby that many that love shooting shall be taught to refuse such naughty wares as they would utter. Honest *fletchers and bowyers do not so, and they that be unhonest, ought rather to amend themselves for doing ill, than be angry with me for saying well. A fletcher hath even as good a quarrel to be angry with an archer that refuseth an ill shaft, as a blade-smith hath to a fletcher that forsaketh to buy of him a naughty knife: for as an archer must be content that a fletcher know a good shaft in every point for the perfecter making of it; so an honest fletcher will also be content that a shooter know a good shaft in every point, for the perfecter using of it; because the one knoweth like a fletcher how to make it, the other knoweth like an archer how to use it. And seeing the knowledge is one in them both, yet the end divers; surely that fletcher is an enemy to archers and artillery which cannot be content that an archer know a shaft as well for his use in shooting, as he himself should know a shaft for his advantage in selling. And the rather, because shafts be not made so much to be sold, but chiefly to be used. And seeing that use and occupying is the end why a shaft is made, the making, as it were, a mean for occupying, surely the knowledge in every point of a good shaft, is more to be required in a shooter than a fletcher.
Yet, as I said before, no honest fletcher will be angry with me, seeing I do not teach how to make a shaft, which belongeth only to a good fletcher, but to know and handle a shaft, which belongeth to an archer. And this little book, I trust, shall please and profit both parties; for good bows and shafts shall be better known to the commodity of all shooters, and good shooting may, perchance, be more occupied to the profit of all bowyers and fletchers. And thus I pray God that all fletchers, getting their living truly, and all archers using shooting honestly, and all manner of men that favour artillery, may live continually in health and merriness, obeying their Prince as they should, and loving God as they ought: to whom, for all things, be all honour and glory
*Fletcher is an arrow-maker.
THE FIRST BOOK OF
THE SCHOOL OF SHOOTING.
Phi. You study too sore, Toxophilus.
Tox. I will not hurt myself over-much, I warrant you. Phi. Take heed you do not; for we physicians say, that it is neither good for the eyes in so clear a sun, nor yet wholesome for the body, so soon after meat, to look upon a man's book.
Tox. In eating and studying I will never follow any phy. sic; for if I did, I am sure I should have small pleasure in the one, and less courage in the other. But what news drove you hither, I pray you?
Phi. Small news, truly; but that as I came on walking, I fortuned to come with three or four that went to shoot at
the pricks; and when I saw not you amongst them, but at the last spied you looking on your book here so sadly, I thought to come and hold you with some communication, lest book should run away your with you. For methought by your wavering pace and earnest looking, your book led you, not you it.
Tox. Indeed, as it chanced, my mind went faster than my feet, for I happened here to read in Phedro Platonis, a place that treats wonderfully of the nature of souls; which place, whether it were for the passing eloquence of Plato and the Greek tongue, or for the high and godly description of the
* So seriously.
THE WORKS OF ROGER ASCHAM.
matter, kept my mind so occupied, that it had no leisure to look to my feet. For I was reading how some souls, being well feathered, flew always about heaven and heavenly matters; other some, having their feathers moulted away and drooping, sunk down into earthly things.
Phi. I remember the place very well, and it is wonderfully said of Plato; and I now see it was no marvel though your feet failed you, seeing your mind flew so fast.
Tox. I am glad now that you letted me, for my head aches with looking on it; and because you tell me so, I am very sorry that I was not with those good fellows you spake upon, for it is a very fair day for a man to shoot in.
Phi. And, methinks, you were a great deal better occupied and in better company; for it is a very fair day for a man to go to his book in.
Tox. All days and weathers will serve for that purpose, and surely this occasion was ill lost.
Phi. Yea, but clear weather maketh clear minds; and it is best, as I suppose, to spend the best time upon the best things and methought you shot very well, and at that mark at which every good scholar should most busily shoot. And I suppose it to be a great deal more pleasure also to see a soul fly in Plato, than a shaft flyat the pricks. I grant you, shooting is not the worst thing in the world; yet if we shoot, and time shoot, we are not like to be great winners at the length. And you know also we scholars have more earnest and weighty matters in hand; nor we be not born to pastime and play, as you know well enough who saith.
Tox. Yet the same man in the same place, Philologus, by your leave, doth admit wholesome, honest, and mannerly pastimes, to be as necessary to be mingled with sad matters of the mind, as eating and sleeping is for the health of the body, and yet we be born for neither of both. And Aristotle himself saith, that although it were a fond and childish thing to be too earnest in pastime and play, yet doth he affirm, by the authority of the old poet Epicharmus, that a man may use play for earnest matters' sake. And in another place, that, as rest is for labour, and medicines for health; so is pastime, at times, for sad and weighty study.
Phi. How much in this matter is to be given to the authority either of Aristotle or Tully I cannot tell, seeing sad men may well enough speak merrily for a merry matter; this I am
sure, which thing this fair wheat (God save it) maketh me remember, that those husbandmen which rise earliest and come latest home, and are content to have their dinner and other drinkings brought into the field to them for fear of losing of time, have fatter barns in the harvest, than they which will either sleep at noon-time of the day, or else make merry with their neighbours at the ale. And so a scholar that purposeth to be a good husband, and desireth to reap and enjoy much fruit of learning, must till and sow⚫ thereafter. Our best seed time, which be scholars, as it is very timely, and when we be young; so it endureth not over long, and therefore it may not be let slip one hour: our ground is very hard and full of weeds, our horse wherewith we be drawn very wild, as Plato saith. And infinite other more lets, which will make a thrifty scholar take heed how he spendeth his time in sport and play.
Tox. That Aristotle and Tully speak earnestly, and as they thought, the earnest matter which they entreat upon doth plainly prove. And, as for your husbandry, it was more +probably told with apt words proper to the thing, than thoroughly proved with reasons belonging to our matter. For, contrariwise, I heard myself a good husband at his book once say, that to omit study some time of the day, and some time of the year, made as much for the increase of learning as to let the land lie some time fallow, maketh for the better increase of corn. This we see, if the land be ploughed every year, the corn cometh thin up: the ear is short, the grain is small, and, when it is brought into the barn and threshed, giveth very evil faule. So those which never leave poring on their books have oftentimes as thin invention as other poor men have, and as small wit and weight in it as in other men's. And thus your husbandry, methinks, is more like the life of a covetous snudge that oft very evil proves, than the labour of a good husband that knoweth well what he doth. And surely the best wits to learning must needs have much recreation and ceasing from their book, or else they mar themselves; when base and dumpish wits can never be hurt with continual study, as ye see in luting, that a treble minikin string must always be let down, but at such
* In order to it.