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ROGER ASCHAM AND THE LADY JANE GREY.
(From Walter Savage Landor's “Imaginary Conversations of Literary Men and States.
Volume II., p. 79-81.)
ASCHAM.—Thou art going, my dear young lady, into a most awful state; thou art passing into matrimony and great wealth. God hath willed it so: submit in thankfulness.
Thy affections are rightly placed and well distributed. Love is a secondary passion in those who love most, a primary in those who love least. He who is inspired by it in a great degree, is inspired by honor in a greater: it never reaches its plentitude of growth and perfection, but in the most exalted minds. ... Alas! alas!
JANE.—What aileth my virtuous Ascham? what is amiss? why do I tremble ?
AscHAN-I remember a sort of prophecy, made three years ago: it is a prophecy of thy condition and of my feelings on it. Recollectest thou who wrote, sitting upon the seabeach, the evening after an excursion to the Isle of Wight, these verses?
Invisibly bright water ! so like air,
And held the bench, not to go on so fast. JANE.— I was very childish when I composed them; and, if I had thought any more about the matter, I should have hoped you had been too generous to keep them in your memory, as witnesses against me.
ASCHAM.–Nay, they are not much amiss for so young a girl, and there being 80 few of them, I did not reprove thee. Half an hour, I then thought, might have been spent more unprofitably; and I now shall believe it firmly, and if thou wilt but be led by them to meditate a little, on the similarity of situation in which thou then wert to what thou art now in.
JANE.—I will do it, and whatever else you command me; for I am too weak by nature and very timorous, unless where a strong sense of duty holdeth me and supporteth me : there God acteth, and not his creature.
Those were with me at sea who would have been attentive to me, if I had seemed to be afraid, even the worshipful men and women were in the company; so that something more powerful threw my fear overboard : but I never will go again upon the water.
Aschau.—Exercise that beauteous couple, that mind and body, much and variously, but at home, at home, Janel indoors, and about things indoors; for God is there too. We have rocks and quicksands on the banks of our Thames, O lady, such as ocean never heard of; and many, (who knows how soon !) may be engulphed in the smooth current under their garden walls.
JANE. — Thoroughly do I now understand you. Yes indeed, I have read evil things of courts; but I think nobody can go out bad thence who entereth good, if timely and true warning shall have been kindly and freely given.
AscHAM.—I see perils on perils which thou dost not see, although thou art wiser than thy poor old master. And it is not because love hath blinded thee, for that surpasseth his supposed omnipotence; but it is because thy tender heart, having always lent affectionately upon good, hath felt and known nothing of evil.
I once persuaded thee to reflect much: let me now persuade thee to avoid the habitude of reflection, to lay aside books, and to gaze carefully and stedfastly on what is under and before thee.
JANE.—I have well bethought me of all my duties: 0 how extensive they are! what a goodly and fair inheritance! But tell me, wouldst thou command me never more to read Cicero and Epictetus and Polybius? the others I do resign unto thee: they are good for the arbor and for the gravel walk: but leave unto me, I beseech thee, my friend and father, leave unto me, for my fireside and for my pillow, truth, eloquence, courage and constancy.
ASCHAM.--Read them on thy marriagebed, on thy childbed, on thy deathbed! Thou spotless undrooping lily, they have fenced thee right well! These are the men for men: these are to fashion the bright and blessed creatures, O Jane, whom God one day shall smile upon in thy chaste bosom Mind thou thy husband.
JANE.—I sincerely love the youth who hath espoused me; I love him with the fondest, the most solicitous affection. I pray to the Almighty for his goodness and happiness, and do forget at times, unworthy supplicant! the prayers I should have offered for myself. O never fear that I will disparage my kind religious teacher, by disobedience to my husband, in the most trying duties.
ASCHAM.-Gentle is he, gentle and virtuous: but time will harden him: time must harden even thee, sweet Jane! Do thou, complacently and indirectly, lead him from ambition.
JANE.—IIe is contented with me and with home.
JANE.—He told me he never liked books unless I read them to him. I will read them to him every evening: I will open new worlds to him, richer than those discovered by the Spaniard; I will conduct him to treasures O what treasures! ... on which he may sleep in innocence and peace.
ASCHAM.—Rather do thou walk with him, ride with him, play with him, be his faery, his page, his everything that love and poetry have invented: but watch him well, sport with his fancies; turn them about like the ringlets round his cheeks; and if ever he meditate on power, go, toss up thy baby to his brow, and bring back his thoughts into his heart by the music of thy discourse.
Teach him to live unto God and unto thee: and he will discover that women, like the plants in woods, derive their softness and tenderness from the shade.
IV. TOXOPHILUS; THE SCHOLE OF SHOOTINGE.*
BY ROGER ASCHAM, WRITTEN IN 150
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 “drew 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. Writ. ten by Roger ASCHAM, 1554. And now newly perused. Pleasant 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, uear to Saint Dun. stones 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, noth withstanding 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 fittest 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 come 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.
Toc.—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.
Tvr.-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.
Tor.— 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 fiy 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.
Tox.-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 tho 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 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 riso 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 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