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Full text of "Roger Ascham Toxophilus 1545"

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8                              Introduction.

that Poet was a verie foole, that began hys booke, with
a goodlie verfe in deede, but ouer proude a promife.

Foriunam Priami cantabo et nolile bellum,
And after, as wifelie

Quantd rectius hie, qui nil molitur ineptk. &*c.
Meening Homer, who, within the compaffe of a fmal
Argument, of one harlot, and of one good wife, did
vtter fo moch learning in all kinde of fciences, as, by
the iudgement of Quintilian, he defer aeth fo hie a
praife, that no man yet deferued to fit in the fecond
degreebeneth him, And thus moch out of my way, con-
cerning my purpofe in fpending penne, and paper, and
tyme, vpon trifles, and namelie to auniwere fome, that
haue neither witte nor learning, to do any thyng them
felues, neither will nor honeilie, to fay well of other" *

Certain it is, that in both Toxophilus and The Schole-
mafler (the Cockpitte if ever printed, is now loft); not
only are the main arguments interwoven with a moft
earneft- moral purpofe; but they are enlivened by
frequent and charming difcuriions, in the which he
often lays down great principles, or illuftrates them
from the circumflances of his time. So that in thefe
two ways, thefe works, being not rigidly confined to the
technical fubjedls expreffed by their titles, do ' beare,'
both in thofe fubjec\s and in the pairing thoughts,
much of what is the highell truth.

If a Yorkshire manówho had become a ripe Englifh
Scholer, and was alfo a fluent Englifh writer as well as
converfant with other languages and literaturesówere,
in the prefent day, to fit down to write, for the firft
time, in the defence and praife of Cricket, a book in
the Yorkfhire dialect: he would be able to appreciate
fomewhat Afcham's petition when he began to write the
prefent work. For he lived in the very dawn of our
modern learning. Not to fpeak of the hefitation and
doubt that always impedes any novelty, the abfence
of any antecedent literature left him without any model
of ftyle. Accuftomed as he had hitherto been to write*
chiefly in Latin, he mud have found Engliih compofi-
tion both irkfome and laborious. Yet his love for his

* folios 20. ST.   Fxl. too.