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Full text of "Roger Ascham Toxophilus 1545"

18

If any man woulde ,blame me, eyther for takynge
fuch a matter in hande, or els for writing it in the
Englyfhe tongue, this anfwere I may make hym, that
whan the befle of the realme thinke it honeft for them
to vfe, I one of the meanefl forte, ought not to fuppofe
it vile for me to write : And though to haue written it
in an other tonge, had bene bothe more profitable for
my ftudy, and alfo more honefl for my name, yet I can
thinke my labour wel beftowed, yf with a little hyn-
deraunce of my profyt and name, maye come any
fourtheraunce, to the pleafure or commoditie, of the
gentlemen and yeomen of Englande, for whofe fake I
tooke this matter in hande. And as for ye Latin or
greke tonge, euery thing is fo excellently done in
them, that none can do better : In the Englyfh tonge
contrary, euery thinge in a maner fo meanly, bothe for
the matter and handelynge, that no man can do worfe.
For therein the leaft learned for the mofte parte, haue
ben alwayes mooil redye to wryte And they whiche
had leafte hope in latin, haue bene mofte boulde in
englyfhe : when furelye euery man that is mofle ready
to taulke, is not mooft able to wryte. He that wyll
wryte well in any tongue, mufLe folowe thys councel of
Ariflotle, to fpeake as the common people do, to
thinke as wife men do; and fo Ihoulde euery man
vnderftande hym, and the iudgement of wyfe men alowe
hym. Many Englilh writers haue not done fo, but
vfmge ftraunge wordes as latin, french and Italian, do
make all thinges darke and harde. Ones I communed
with a man whiche reafoned the englyfhe tongue to be
enryched and encreafed therby, fayinge: Who wyll
not prayfe that feafte, where a man mall drinke at a
diner, bothe wyne, ale and beere ? Truely quod I,
they be all good, euery one taken by hym felfe alone,
but if you putte Maluefye and facke, read wyne and
white, ale and beere, and al in one pot, you mall make
a drynke, neyther eafie to be knowen, nor yet holfom
for the bodye. Cicero in folowyng Ifocrates, Plato^
and Demofthenes, increafed the latine tounge after an