Imatges de pÓgina

that he had rather freely win her good opinion than be dressed out in her munificence. The Lord Treasurer, who was his friend and wellwisher, often admonished him to take less pains, and urge more requests. But Ascham was slow even to receive what was offered, and thoroughly content with his condition, which, though moderate, was never, as Anthony à Wood states broadly, and a hundred others have copied from him, miserably poor. He had always sufficient for the day, and was not one of those that lay up store for the morrow. He was extremely indignant when any one offered him presents to purchase his interest with the Queen, saying, that God had not given him the use of his tongue that it might be venal and subservient to his profit.

His income was narrow, he was neither importunate to get, nor provident to save-his purse and house were always open to the distressed scholar, and whatever was his, was his friends' also. He delighted much in an epigram of Martial

Extra fortunam est quicquid donatur amicis ;
Quas solas dederis, semper habebis opes.

The friendly boon from fate itself secures,
And what you give, shall be for ever yours.

This is not the way to grow rich. Roger Ascham was generous, and it may be imprudent; but there is no just cause for supposing him viciously extravagant.

There is little more to relate of the last ten years of his life. Finding his health injured by night-studies, he for a time discontinued them, and became an early riser; but toward the close of 1568 he sat up several nights successively in order to finish a poem addressed to the Queen on the new year. That new year he was never to see. Long subject to fever, and latterly to a lingering hectic, his over-exertion brought on a violent attack which his weakened constitution was unable to withstand. Sleep, which he had too long rejected, could not be persuaded to visit him again, though he was rocked in a cradle; all opiates failed, and in less than a week, exhausted nature gave way to the slumber, from which there is no waking on this side of the grave. He took to his bed on the 28th of December, and expired on the 30th of the same month, 1568, aged fifty-three. He was attended to the last by Dr. Alexander Nowel, Dean of St. Paul's, who, on the ensuing fourth of January, preached his funeral sermon, in which he declares that "he never knew man live more honestly nor die more christianly." As he had many friends, and no enemies, his death was a common sorrow, and Queen Elizabeth is reported to have said, that "she would rather have thrown ten thousand pounds into the sea, than have lost her Ascham."

Notwithstanding his preferments, Ascham died poor. He left a

widow, to whom he had been married in 1554, and several children, one of whom, Giles, was in after-life fellow of St. John's, (or Trinity, according to other authorities,) and celebrated, like his father, for the elegance of his Latin epistles. Ascham's greatest work, "The Scholemaster," was not published until after his death. The occasion of its composition is told in the beginning of the book. After a conversation among a number of eminent men, Sir William Cecil at their head, on the merits of severity and its opposite in school discipline, in which Ascham warmly attacked the former, Sir Richard Sackville took him aside, and avowing that his own education had been marred by the severity of his tutor, proposed that Ascham should draw up a plan of instruction, and recommend a person under whom it could be put in practice, having for his scholars Sir Richard's grandson, and Ascham's eldest boy, Giles. Ascham set about his task with delight; but the death of Sir Richard in 1566, before it was completed, put an end to the proposed scheme, and caused the author to finish his work with a sorrow and heaviness in sad contrast to the high hopes with which he entered upon it. He left the book completed for the press, when he died, and it was published by his widow, with a dedication to Sir William Cecil, and with a view, not altogether disappointed, of attracting his attention in behalf of her son Giles to whom it was thus, after all, of some benefit, although in a far different manner from what the author could have anticipated. The principal object of the work besides the reprehension of severity on the part of teachers and parents, is the introduction of a new system of teaching the Latin language, a system which has been partially revived of late years. Ascham proposes, after teaching the rudiments of grammar, to commence a course of double translation, first from Latin into English, and shortly after from English into Latin, correcting the mistakes of the student, and leading to the formation of a classic style, by pointing out the differences between the re-translation and the original, and explaining their reasons. His whole system is built upon this principle of dispensing as much as possible with the details of grammar, and he supports his theory by a triumphant reference to its practical effects, especially as displayed in the case of Queen Elizabeth, whose well-known proficiency in Latin he declares to have been attained without any grammatical rules after the very simplest had been mastered.

The excellence of Ascham's epistolary style has been referred to. He was in correspondence with most of the learned men of his time, both in England and on the continent, especially with Sturmius, whose name he gave to one of his three sons. After his death, a collection,

of his Latin letters was published by his friend Edward Grant, master of Westminster School, together with a few poems, for the benefit of Giles Ascham, who was then under Grant's tuition. To this collection was prefixed a panegyric on Ascham, which is the principal source for his life, though his letters, and numerous allusions scattered through his works, contribute to a knowledge of his personal history.

A writer in the Retrospective Review, (Vol. iv. p. 76,) in an interesting notice of Toxophilus remarks: "Ascham is a great name in our national literature. He was one of the founders of a true English style in prose composition, and one of the most respectable and useful of our scholars. He was amongst the first to reject the use of foreign words and idioms, a fashion, which in the reign of Henry the VIII., began to be so prevalent, that the authors of that day, by "using straunge wordes, as Latine, Frenche, and Italian, did make all thinges darke and harde." It required some virtue moreover in Ascham, attached as he was to the study of the learned languages, to abstain from mingling them with his English compositions, especially when the public taste countenanced such innovations. But Ascham's mind was too patriotic to permit him to think, that his native tongue could be improved by this admixture of foreign phrases, an opinion which he illustrates by this comparison;-" but if you put malvesye and sacke, redde wyne and white, ale and beere, and all in one pot, you shall make a drincke not easye to be known nor yet holsome for the bodye." In obedience to the precept of Aristotle,-to think like the wise, but to speak like the common people; Ascham set a successful example of a simple and pure taste in writing, and we question whether we do not owe more to him on this account, than even for the zeal which he displayed in the cultivation of the Greek, language, during its infancy amongst us."

Ascham's character is well summed up in a passage of his life by Mr. Hartley Coleridge: "There was a primitive honesty, a kindly innocence, about this good old scholar, which gave a personal interest to the homeliest details of his life. He had the rare felicity of passing through the worst of times without persecution and without dishonor. He lived with princes and princesses, prelates and diplomatists, without offence and without ambition. Though he enjoyed the smiles of royalty, his heart was none the worse, and his fortunes little the better."


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 "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. Written 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, near to Saint Dunstones 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 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

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