« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
TOXOPHILUS; THE SCHOLE OF SHOOTINGE.*
BY ROGER ASCHAM, WRITTEN IN 1554.
Before introducing to our readers “ the Schole Master" of Queen Elizabeth, or “the plaine and perfite way" in which Roger Ascham led his royal pupil up the sublime heights of ancient learning, we will devote a few pages to a brief notice and a few specimens of his Toxophilus.
Toxophilus was written in 1554, during Ascham's residence at the University of Cambridge, and seems, in addition to other ends, to have been intended as an apology for the zeal with which he studied and practiced the ancient, but now forgotten art of archery as a means of recreation. His great attachment to the exercise, and the time spent upon it were considered unbecoming the character of a grave scholar and teacher.
From this imputation, he endeavors in the character of Toxophilus, (a lover of archery,) to free himself, by showing in a dialogue with Philologus, (a student,) the honor and dignity of the art, in all nations and in all times. He asserts truly that much of the success of English arms at Cressy, Poictiers, Agincourt, and Flodden, was due to their strength of arm and accuracy of eye, with which the bold yeomen of England “dres their arrows to the head," and discharged the “iron sleet” against their discomfited enemies. To realize the part which the practice of archery played in the pastimes of peace, we have only to recall its frequent introduction into the rural poetry of England, and the traditionary stories of the Strongbows and Robin Hoods of ancient days. It was the national practice of shooting for pleasure or prizes, by which every man was inured to archery from his infancy, that gave the English yeomen an insuperable advantage in the use of the bow over all foreign troops, and made them formidable even to foes armed with the clumsy muskets of the times of Queen Elizabeth. We do not propose to set forth Ascham's encomiums on the utility of archery in matters of war, or the minute practical details which he gives for choosing and using the bow, even to the species of goose, from the wing of which the best feathers are to be plucked for the shaft, but to present his views of the fitness and utility of manly sports, and recreating amusements for those who lead a sedentary life. A writer in the Retrospective Review, (Vol. IV., p. 79,) in commenting on this work of Ascham justly observes :
* The following is the title in Bennett's Edition of Roger Ascham's Works:
TOXOPHILUS: The Schole, or Partitions of Shooting. Contayned in II Bookes. Written by Roger Ascham, 1554. And now newly perused. Pieasant for all Gentlemen and Yomen of Englande. For theyr pastime to reade, and profitable for theyr use to followe in warre and peace. Anno, 1571. Imprinted at London, in Fletestreate, near to Saint Dun. sones Churche by Thomas Marshe.
“A scholar seldom takes much delight in active amusements. The body is always postponed to the mind; and provided the latter has exercise enough, he is too apt to be negligent of the health and comfort of the former. On this account the amusements of literary men have frequently a degree of mental labor combined with them, which generally defeats the ends they ought to attain; or, as Fuller says, 'they cozen their mind in setting it to do a double task under pretense of giving it a play day, as in the labyrinth of chess, and other tedious and studious games.' It is difficult to cheat the brain into idleness. Kirk White could not help repeating Greek verses as he took his daily walk. Mere exercise is rather painful than pleasant to studious men, and accordingly we find they often hasten over it like a disagreeable task. Swift used to run up and down hill some half a dozen times by way of compressing as much exercise as possible into a given space of time,-a mode of recreation for which we have the authority of Galen, whose catalogue of amusements for the studious, we give in our author's words, strongly recommending them to the attention of our modern literati.
“To run up and down hill, to climb up a long pole or a rope, and there hang awhile, to hold a man by his arms, and wave with his heels, much like the pastime the boys used in the church when their master was away, to swing and totter in a bell-rope, to make a fist and stretch out both his arms, and so stand like a rood. To go on a man's tip-toes stretching out the one of his arms forward, the other backward, which if he bleared out his tongue also, might be thought to dance antic very properly. To tumble over and over, to top over tail, to set back to back and see who can heave another's heels highest, with other much like.”
If we might rely on the word of Sir Phillip Sidney, the exercise of riding on horseback is a very fitting relaxation. He gives a very fascinating account of the zeal with which he and his friend, the right virtuous E. W.,' when at the Emperor's court studied this science. This too was an amusement which met with the approbation of Bishop Stilling. fleet. Moreover, Erasmus seems to have been attached to it, who, as Ascham tells us, when he was here in Cambridge, and when he had been sore at his book, (as Garret our book-binder has often told me,) for lack of better exercise would take his horse, and ride about the market hill and come again.' Field sports seldom take the fancy of literary men, and, nothwithstanding the praise of honest Piscator, Isaac Walton, we are rather inclined to think with another old writer, that 'fishing with an angle is rather a torture than a pleasure, to stand an hour as mute as the fish they mean to take.' After all, the soberest and the fit. test exercise, is a quiet and refreshing walk in the field, where the eye enjoys a pleasant change of scene, just sufficient to attract the attention of the mind without fatiguing it. But in this opinion we run completely counter to our author, who speaks of this mode of exercise in a very contemptuous manner.— Walking alone in the field hath no token of courage in it, a pastime like a single man that is neither flesh nor fish.'”
The following is the opening of the discourse between Toxophilus and Philologus, in which the former endeavors to prove that some relaxation
and pastime are to be mingled with study and the serious business of life.
Philologus.—You study too sore, Toxophilus.
Phil. - 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 physician, 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?
Phil.–Small news, truly, but that as I came on walking, I fortuned to como with three, or four that went to shoot at the pricks; [mark,) and when I saw not you among them, but at last espied you looking on your book here so sadly, [seriously,] I thought to come and hold you with some communication, lest your book should run away 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 goodlye description of the 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 mouted away and dropping, sank down into earthly things.
Phil.— I remember the place very well, and it is wonderfully said of Plato : and now I see it was no marvel though your feet failed you, seeing your mind flew so fast.
Tox.--I am glad now that you letted [interrupted] 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.
Phil.—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.
Phil.—Yes, but clear weather makes 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 at. And I suppose it be a great deal more pleasure to see a soul fly in Plato, than a shaft fly at the pricks. I grant you shooting is not the worst thing in the world, yet if we shoot, and time shoot, we are not apt to be great winners at the length. And you know also, that 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 sayeth.
Tor.—Yet the same man, (Cicero de officiis,] in the same place, Philologe, by your leave, doth admit, wholesome, honest, and manly 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, [Ethics, Book 10, chap. 6.) sayeth although it were a fond and a 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, (Politics, V. 61, 6,] that, as rest is for labor, and medicines for health, so is pastime, at times, for sad and weighty study.
Phil.—How much in this matter is to be given to the authority of Aristotle or Tully, I can not tell, seeing sad (serious) men may well enough speak merrily for a mere matter: this I am sure, which thing this fair wheat, (God save it) maketh me remember, that those husbandmen which rise earliest, and como latest home, and are content to have their dinner and other drinkings brought into the field to them, for fear of losing time, have fatter barns in the harvest, than they which will either sleep at noontime of the day, or else make merry with their neighbors at the ale. And so a good scholar, that purposeth to be a good husband, aud desireth to reap and enjoy much fruit of learning, must till and sow thereafter, [in order to it.] 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. [Phædro.] And infinite other mo lets, [hindrances] which will make a thrifty scholar take heed how he spendeth his time in sport and play.
Tox.—That Aristotle and Tully spake earnestly, and as they thought, the earnest matter which they treat upon, doth plainly prove. And as for your husbandry, it was more (speciously) told with apt words, proper to the thing, than thoroughly proved with reasons belonging to our matter. For contrarywise, I heard myself a good husband at his book once say, that to omit study for sometime of the day, and sometime of the year, made as much for the increase of learning, as to let the land lie sometime fallow, maketh for the better increase of corn.
Thus 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. (produce.) So those which never leave pouring on their books, have oftentimes as thin inventions as other poor men have, and as small wit and weight in it as other men's. And thus your husbandry, methink is more like the life of a covetous snudge, that oft very evil proves, than the labor of a good husband, that knoweth well what he doth. And surely the best wits to learning must needs have much recreation, and cease from their books, 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 a time as when a man must needs play; when the base and dull string needeth never to be moved out of his place. The same reason I find true in two bowes that I have, whereof the one is quick of cast, tricke (neal) and trim, both for pleasure and profit; the other is a lugge, (strong and heavy,] slow of cast, following the string, more sure for to last than pleasant for use. Now, sir, chanced the other night, one in my chamber would needs bend them to prove their strength, but, (I can not tell how,) they were both left bent till the next day after dinner; and when I came to them, purposing to have gone on shooting, I found my good bow clean cast (warped] on the one side, and as weak as water, that surely, if I was a rich man, I would rather have spent a crown; and as for my lugge it was not one whit the worse, but shot by and by as well and as far as it ever did. And even so, I am sure that good wits except they be let down like a treble string and unbent like a good casting bow, they will never last and be able to continue in study. And I know where I speak this, Philologus, for I would not not say thus much afore young men, for they will take soon occasion to study little enough. But I say it therefore, because I know, as little study getteth little learning, or none at all, so the most study getteth not the most learning of all. For a man's wit fore-occupied in earnest study, must be as well recreated with some honest pastime, as the body, fore-laboured must be refreshed with sleep and quietness, or else it can not endure very long, as the noble poet (Ovid) saith:
" What thing wants quiet and merry rest, endures but a small while." Philologus was not disposed to yield up readily his objections to shooting, and so challenges Toxophilus to a discussion of the subject, upon which the latter enters right heartily. He traces its origin, according to various authori. ties among the poets and historians to Jupiter, and Apollo, and cites its use among the Medes and Persians, Greeks and Romans, by wise lawgivers, and eminent princes, by poets and physicians. He cites the authority of Lycurgus to show that “the Lacedemonians never ordained anything for the bringing up of youths which was not joined with labor; and that labor which is in shooting of all other is best, both because it increaseth strength, and preserveth health most, being not vehement, but moderate, not overlaying any one part with weariness, but softly exercising every part with equalness; as the arms and breast with drawing, the other parts with giving, being also pleasant for the pastime, which exercise by the judgment of the best plıysicians is most allowable.”
"By shooting also is the mind honestly exercised, where a man always de. sireth to be best, and that by the same way, that virtue itself doth, coveting to come nighest a most perfect end, or mean standing betwixt two extremes, eschewing sport, or gone [too far) on either side, for which causes Aristotle himself saith, that shooting and virtue be very like. Moreover that shooting of all others, is the most honest pastime, and that least occasion to naughtiness is joined with it, two things do very plainly prove, which be, as a man would say, the tutors and overseers to shooting; daylight and open place where every man doth come, the maintainers and keepers of shooting from all unhonest doing."
Philologus urges, that if scholars must have pastime and recreation for their minds, "let them use music and playing on instruments, as more seemly for scholars, and most regarded always of Apollo and the Muses.” Toxophilus adds, even as I can not deny but some music is for lear 80 I trust you can not choose but grant that shooting is fit also, as Callemarchas does signify in this verse.
“Both merry song and good shootiny delighteth Apollo.” He then proceeds to criticise the effect of music on the those who devoto much time to it, as being much more suitable to women than men. Philologus, however, dwells on the humanizing influence on the manners which would follow, if the whole people were taught to sing and enjoy good music, and also on the uses which lawyers and preachers would find in a proper culture of the voice. He therefore concludes that as singing is an aid to good speaking, and to making men better, "as daily experience doth teach, the example of wise men doth allow, authority of learned men doth approve," it should be part of the education and pastime of every youth. But as for shooting, he can not think that "a man can be in earnest in it, and earnest at his book to."
In defending his favorite pastime, Toxophilus grants that shooting should be "a waiter upon learning, not a mistress over it.” “A pastime must be wholesome, and equal for every part of the body, pleasant, and full of courage for the mind, not vile and dishonest to give ill example to other men, not kept in gardens and corners, not lurking into the night and in holes, but evermore in the face of men."
In the above views expressed by Toxophilus, Ascham is sustained by the Rev. Dr. Thomas Fuller, who in his Holy State expresses himself in this quaint way. “Recreation is a second creation, when weariness hath almost annihila. ted one's spirits. It is the breathing of the soul, which otherwise would be stifled with continual business.
"Take heed of boisterous and over-violent exercises. Ringing has oftentimes made good music on the bells, and put men's bodies out of tune, so that by over-heating themselves, they have rung their own passing bells.
“Refresh that part of thyself which is most wearied. If thy life be sedentary, exercise thy body; if stirring and active, recreate thy mind. But take heed of cozening thy mind, in setting it to a double task, under pretense of giving it a play-day, as in the labyrinth of chess and other tedious and studious games.
"Yet recreations distasteful to some dispositions, relish best to others. Fishing with an angle is to some rather a torture than a pleasure, to stand an hour as mute as a fish they mean to take. Yet herewithal Dr. Whitaker was much delighted. When some noblemen had gotten William Cecil, Lord Burleigh and