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never felt what true pleasure meant.' 'And how came you, Madam,' quoth I,
I remember this talk gladly, both because it is so worthy of memory, and because also it was the last talk that ever I had, and the last time that ever I saw that noble and worthy lady.”
For a perfect discussion of this part of his subject, Ascham refers the reader to the treatise “De Institutione Principis,” (On the Education of a Prince) addressed by his friend John Sturmius to the Duke of Cleves. Although, howe ever, he is for the use of gentleness rather than severity in the instruction of youth at school, he does not dispute the necessity of sharp chastisement by parents for correcting vicious habits in their children.
This discipline was well known and dilligently used among the Grecians and old Romans; as doth appear in Aristophanes, Isocrates, and Plato, and also in the commedies of Plautus; where we see that children were under the rule of three persons, a schoolmaster, governor, and father. The schoolmaster taught him learning with all gentleness; the governor corrected his manners with much sharpness; the father held the stern of his whole obedience. And 80 he that used to teach did not commonly use to beat, but remitted that over to another man's charge. But what shall we say, when now in our days the schoolmaster is used both for preceptor in learning, and pædagogus in manners ? Surely, I would he should not confound their offices, byt discreetly use the duty of both, so that neither ill touches should be left unpunished, nor gentleness in teaching anywise omitted. And he shall well do both, wisely he do appoint diversity of time, and separate place, for either purpose; using always such discreet moderation, as the school-house should be counted a sanctuary against fear; and very well learning a common pardon for ill doing, if the fault of itself be not over heinous.'"
The author considers the second great fault of English education in his time to be the license that was allowed to young men after leaving school. He contrasts with the prevailing manners, the more strict discipline of wise antiquity, when, for instance, “no son, were he never so old in years, never so great in birth, though he were a king's son, might marry but by his father's
and mother's consent." Having quoted to this effect the examples of Cyrus and Sampson, he exclaims : "Doth this modesty, doth this obedience that was in great King Cyrus, and strong Sampson, remain in our young men at this day? No surely, for we live not longer aster them by time, than we live far different from them by good order. Our time is so far from that old discipline and obedience, as now not only young gentlemen, but even very girls, dare without all fear, though not without open shame, where they list, and how they list, marry themselves in spite of father, mother, God, good order, and all." This evil he says, is peculiar to the children of the rich and great, as they deserve it should be. From seven to seventeen, young gentlemen are carefully enough brought up; but from seventeen to seven-and-twenty (which Xenophon calls the most dangerous time of all man's life, and most slippery to stay well in,) "they have commonly the rein of all license in their own hand, and specially such as do live in the court.” “And that,” he adds, " which is most to be marvelled at, commonly the wisest, and also best men, be found the fondest fathers in this behalf. And if some good father will seek some remedy herein, yet the mother (if the household of our lady) had rather, yea, and will have her son cunning and bold, in making him to live trimly, when he is young, than by learning and travel to be able to serve his prince and his country, both wisely in peace, and stoutly in war, when he is old."
" The fault is in yourselves, ye noblemen's sons, and therefore ye deserve the greater blame, that commonly the meaner men's children come to be the wisest counsellers, and greatest doers in the weighty affairs of this realm. And why? for God will have it so of his providence, because you will have it no otherwise by your negligence.
And God is a good God, and wisest in all his doings, that will place virtue, and displace vice in those kingdoms where he doth govern. For he knoweth that nobility, without virtue and wisdom, is blood indeed, but blood truly without bones and sinews; and so of itself, without the other, very weak to bear the burthen of weighty affairs.'
The greatest ship indeed commonly carrieth the greatest burthen, but yet always with the greatest jeopardy, not only for the persons and goods committed unto it, but even for the ship itself, except it be governed with the greater wisdom.
But nobility, governed by learning and wisdom, is indeed most like a fair ship, having tido and wind at will, under the rule of a skillful master; when contrarywise, a ship carried, yea with the highest tide and greatest wind, lacking a skillful master, most commonly doth either sink itself upon sands, or break itself upon rocks. And even so, how many have been either drowned in vain pleasure, or overwhelmed by stout willfulness, the histories of England be able to afford over many examples unto us. Therefore, ye great and noblemen's children, if ye will have rightly that praise, and enjoy surely that place, which your fathers have, and elders had, and left unto you, ye must keep it, as they gat it; and that is, by the only way of virtue, wisdom, and worthiness.”
In some passages that follow, the manners of the court, and the habits of thinking and judging that prevailed there, are very severely reprobated. There were then, indeed, the author allows, many fair examples in the English court for young gentlemen to follow; “but they be,” he says, "like fair marks in the field, out of a man's reach, too far off to shoot at well." Young gentlemen
who come to court are commonly obliged to associate with the worst description of characters there. These are they who laugh at quietness of nature as simpleness and lack of wit, and at bashful and blushing modesty as babyishness and ill-breeding. What is learned from their company is, first, to blush at nothing; "then followeth to dare do any mischief; to contemn stoutly any goodness; to be busy in every matter; to he skillful in every thing; to acknowledge no ignorance at all.” Moreover," he continues, "where the swing goeth, there to follow, fawn, flatter, laugh, and lie lustily at other men's liking; to face, stand foremost, shove back; and to the meaner man, or unknown in the court, to seem somewhat solemn, coy, big, and dangerous of look, talk, and answer; to think well of himself, to be lusty in contemning of others, to have some trim grace in a privy mock: and, in greater presence, to bear a brave look; to be warlike, though he never looked enemy in the face in war; yet some warlike sign must be used, either a slovenly buskin, or an over-staring frounced head, as though out of every hair's top should suddenly start out a good big oath when need requireth. Yet, praised be God ! England hath at this time many worthy captains and good soldiers, which be indeed so honest of behavior, so comely of conditions, so mild of manners, as they may be examples of good order to a good sort of others, which never came in war.”
Something, he considers, may be done to remedy these evils by good laws; but the object is perhaps chiefly to be effected by "observing private discipline, every man carefully in his own house; and namely, if special regard be had to youth, and that not so much in teaching them what is good, as in keeping them from that that is ill." "In youth,” he says, "some ignorance is as necessary as much knowledge;" " but this ignorance in youth,” he adds, "which I speak on, or rather this simplicity, or most truly this innocency, is that which the noble Persians, as wise Xenophon doth testify, were so careful to breed up their youth in. But Christian fathers commonly do not so.
"And to know what worthy fruit did spring of such worthy seed, I will tell you the most marvel of all, and yet such a truth as no man shall deny it, ex. cept such as be ignorant in knowledge of the best stories.
Athens, by this discipline and good ordering of youth, did breed up, within the circuit of that one city, within the compass of one hundred years, within the memory of one man's life, so many notable captains in war, for worthiness, wisdom, and learning, as be scarce matchable, no, not in the state of Rome, in the compass of those seven hundred years when it flourished most.
And because I will not only say it, but also prove it, the names of them be these-Miltiades, Themistocles, Xantippus, Pericles, Cimon, Aleibiades, Thrasybulus, Conon, Iphicrates, Xenophon, Timotheus, Theopompus, Demetrius, and divers others more; of which every one may justly be spoken that worthy praise which was given to Scipio Africanus, who Cicero doubteth whether he were more noble captain in war, or more eloquent and wise counsellor in peace.' And if ye believe not me, read dilligently Æmilius Probus* in Latin, and Plutarch in Greek, which two had no cause either to flatter or lie upon any of those which I have recited.
And beside nobility in war, for excellent and matclrless masters in all manner of learning, in that one city, in memory of one age, were more learned men, and that in a manner altogether, than all time doth remember, than all place
* He mea:s the lives now commonly held to be written by Cornelius Nepos.
doth afford, than all other tongues do contain. And I do not mean of those authors which by injury of time, by negligence of men, by cruelty of fire and sword, be lost, but even of those which by God's grace are left yet unto us, of which, I thank God, even my poor study lacketh not one. As in philosophy, Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, Euclid, and Theophrast; in eloquence and civil law, Demosthenes, Æschines, Lycurgus, Dinarchus, Demades, Isocrates, Isæus, Lysias, Antisthenes, Andocides; in History, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and which we lack, to our great loss, Theopompus and Ephorus; in poetry, Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and somewhat of Menander Demosthenes' sister's son.
The remembrance of such a commonwealth, using such discipline and order for youth, and thereby bringing forth to their praise, and leaving to us for our example, such captains for war, suoh counsellors for peace, and matchless masters for all kind of learning, is p!easant for me to recite, and not irksome, I trust, for others to hear, except it be such as make neither account of virtue nor learning.
And whether there be any such or no, I cannot well tell; yet I hear say, some young gentlemen of ours count it their shame to be counted learned, and perchance they count it their shame to be counted honest also, for I hear say they meddle as little with the one as with the other. A marvellous case, that gentlemen should be so ashamed of good learning, and never a whit ashamed of ill manners! Such do say for them, that the gentlemen of France do so; which is a lie, as God will have it. Langæus and Bellæus, that be dead, and the poble Vidam of Chartres, that is alive, and infinite more in France which I hear tell of, prove this to be most false. And though some in France, which will needs be gentlemen, whether men will or no, and have more gentleship in their hat than in their head, be at deadly feud with both learning and honesty; get I believe, if that noble prince, King Francis the First, were alive, they should have neither place in his court nor pension in his wars, if he had knowledge of them. This opinion is not French, but plain Turkish, from whence some French fetch more faults than this, which I pray God keep out of Eng. laud, and send also those of ours better minds, which bend themselves against virtue and learning, to the contempt of God, dishonor of their country, to the hurt of many others, and at length to the greatest harm and utter destruction of themselves.
Some others, having better nature, but less wit (for ill commonly have overmuch wit,) do not utterly dispraise learning, but they say, that, without learning, common experience, knowledge of all fashions, and haunting all companies, shall work in youth both wisdom and ability to execute any weighty affair. Surely long experience doth profit much, but most, and almost only to him (if we mean honest affairs) that is dilligently before instructed with precepts of well-doing. For good precepts of learning be the eyes of the mind, to look wisely before a man which way to go right, and which not.
Learning teacheth more in one year than experience in twenty; and learning teacheth safely, when experience maketh more miserable than wise. He hazardeth sore that waxeth wise by experience. An unhappy master is he that is made cunning by many shipwrecks; a miserable merchant, that is neither rich nor wise but after some bankrouts. It is costly wisdom that is bought by experience. We know by experience itself, that it is a marvellous pain to find out a short way but by long wandering; and surely he that would
prove wise by experience, he may be witty indeed, but even like a swift runner, that runneth fast out of the way, and upon the night, he knoweth not whither. And verily they be fewest in number that be wise by unlearned experience. And look well upon the former life of those few, whether your example be old or young, who, without learning, have gathered by long experience a little wisdom and some happiness; and when you do consider what mischief they have committed, what dangers they have escaped (and yet twenty for one do perish in the adventure,) then think well with yourself whether ye would that your own son should come to wisdom and happiness by the way of such experience or no.
It is a notable tale, that old Sir Roger Chamloe, some time Chief-Justice, would tell of himself. When he was Ancient in inn of court, certain young gentlemen were brought before him, to be corrected for certain misorders; and one of the lustiest said, “Sir, we be young gentlemen; and wise men before us have proved all fashions, and yet those have done full well.' This they said, because it was well known that Sir Roger had been a goodfellow in his youth. But he answered them very wisely. 'Indeed,' saith he, ‘in youth I was as you are now; and I had twelve fellows like unto myself, but not one of them came to a good end. And therefore, follow not my example in youth, but follow my counsel in age, if ever ye think to come to this place or to these years that I am come unto, lest ye meet either with poverty or Tyburn in the way.'"
Although thus jealous, however, of the effects of teaching by experience, and earnestly in favor of the method of at least laying the foundations of knowledge in the young mind chiefly by learning and good bringing up, Ascham would by no means have the whole time of youth to be spent in study.
“I do not mean, by all this my talk, that young gentlemen should always be poring on a book, and by using good studies should lose honest pleasure, and haunt no good pastime; I mean-nothing less. For it is well known that I both like and love, and have always, and do yet still use all exercises and pastimes that be fit for my nature and ability. And beside natural disposition, in judgment also I was never either Stoic in doctrine or Anabaptist in religion, to mislike a merry, pleasant, and playful nature, if no outrage be committed against law, measure, and good order."
* Therefore, to ride comely, to run fair at the tilt or ring, to play at all weapons, to shoot fair in bow, or surely in gun, to vault lustily, to run, to leap, to wrestle, to swim, to dance comely, to sing and play on instruments cuuningly, to hawk, to hunt, to play at tennis, and all pastimes generally which bo joined with labor used in open place, and on the daylight, containing either gome fit exercise for war, or some pleasant pastime for peace, be not only comely and decent, but also very necessary for a courtly gentlemen to use."
Returning to the subject of joining learning with comely exercises, he highly recommends the work of Conto Baldesar Castiglione, entitled "Il Cortigianto," (the Courtier,) as excellently translated into English by Sir Thomas Hobby, "which book," says he, "advisedly read and diligently followed but one year at home in England, would do a young gentleman more good, I wiss, than three years travel abroad spent in Italy.” “But the English court,” he adds, "has never lacked many fine examples for young gentlemen to follow." Among these he mentions the late King Edward, “and in the second degree, two noble