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away from the school for fear of a beating."
Whereupon M. Secretary took occasion to wish, that some more discretion were in many schoolmasters, in using correction, than commonly there is; who many times punish rather the weakness of nature, than the fault of the scholar; whereby many scholars, that might else prove well, be driven to hate learning before they know what learning meaneth; and so are made willing to forsake their book, and be glad to be put to any other kind of living.
M. Peter, as one somewhat severe of nature, said plainly, that the rod only was the sword, that must keep the school in obedience, and the scholar in good order. Mr. Wotton, a man mild of nature, with soft voice and few words, inclined to M. Secretary's judgment, and said, "In mine opinion the school-house should be in deed, as it is called by name, the house of play and pleasure, and not of fear and bondage; and as I do remember, so saith* Socrates in one place of Plato. And therefore if a rod carry the fear of a sword, it is no marvel if those that be fearful of nature, choose rather to forsake the play, than to stand always within the fear of a sword in a fond (foolish) man's handling."
M. Mason, after his manner, was very merry with both parties, pleasantly playing both with the shrewd touches of many curst boys, and with the small discretion of many lewdf schoolmasters. M. Haddon was fully of M. Peter's opinion, and said, that the best schoolmaster of our time was the greatest beater, and named the person. "Though, quoth I, it was his good fortune, to send from his school into the University§ one of the best scholars indeed of all our time, yet wise men do think, that that came to pass, rather by the great towardness of the scholar, than by the great beating of the master; and whether this be true or no, you yourself are best witness." I said somewhat further in the matter, how, and why young children were sooner allured by love than driven by beating, to attain good learning; wherein I was the bolder to say my mind, because M. Secretary courteously provoked me thereunto; or else in such a company
The passage, to which the Dean of Canterbury refers, is in Plato's 7th Book of Repub, Chap. 16, and is afterward cited by Mr. Ascham. Τὰ μὲν τοίνυν λογιςμῶν τε καὶ γεωμετριῶν, καὶ πάσης τῆς προπαιδειας, ἣν τῆς Διαλεκτικῆς δεῖ προπαιδευθῆναι, παιςὶν ἔσι χρὴ προβάλλειν ἐχ ὡς ἐπάναγκες μαθεῖν τὸ σχῆμα τῆς διδαχῆς ποιεμένες. Τί δὴ ; “Οτι (ἦνδ ̓ ἐγὼ) δὲν μάθημα μετὰ δυλείας τον ἐλεύθερον χρὴ μανθάνειν. Οἱ μὲν γὰρ τὖ σώματος πόνοι, βίᾳ πονέμενοι, χεῖροι οὐδὲν τὸ σῶμα ἀπεργάζονται, Ψυχῆ δὲ βίαιον δὲν ἔμμονον μάθημα ’Αληθῆ, ἔφη. Μη τόινυν βιᾳ (εἶπον) ὦ ἄριςε, τὸς πᾶιδας ἐν τοῖς μαθήμασιν, ἀλλὰ πάιζοντας τρέφε, ἵνα και μᾶλλον διός τ' ης καθοραν ἐφ' ὅ ἕκαστος πέφυκεν. (17.)
† Curst, mischievous; lewd, savage.
This was Nicholas Udel, Master of Eaton School, whom Bole stiles, Elegantissimus omnium bonarum literarum Magister, et eorum felicissimus interpres. His severity his own scholar, Mr. Tusser, has sufficiently proclaim'd
§ This was Mr. Haddon, sometime Fellow of King's College in Cambridge.
and surely in his presence, my wont is to be more willing to use mine ears, than to occupy my tongue.
Sir Walter Mildmay, M. Astley, and the rest, said very little; only Sir Richard Sackville said nothing at all. After dinner, I went up to read with the Queen's Majesty. We read then together in the Greek tongue, as I well remember, that noble oration of Demosthenes against Eschines, for his false dealing in his embassage to King Philip of Macadonie. Sir Richard Sackville came up soon after, and finding me in her Majesties privy chamber, he took me by the hand, and carrying me to a window, said:
"M. Ascham, I would not for a good deal of money have been this day absent from dinner; where, though I said nothing, yet I gave as good ear, and do consider as well the talk that passed, as any one did there. M. Secretary said very wisely, and most truly, that many young wits be driven to hate learning, before they know what learning is. I can be good witness to this myself; for a fond (foolish) schoolmaster, before I was fully fourteen years old, drave me so with fear of beating from all love of learning, that now, when I know what difference it is, to have learning, and to have little, or none at all, I feel it my greatest grief, and find it my greatest hurt that ever came to me, that it was my so ill chance, to light upon so lewd a schoolmaster. But feeling it is but in vain to lament things past, and also wisdom to look to things to come, surely, God willing, if God lend me life, I will make this my mishap some occasion of good hap to little Robert Sackville my son's son. For whose bringing up, I would gladly, if it so please you, use specially your good advice. I hear say you have a son much of his age; we will deal thus together: point you out a schoolmaster, who by your order shall teach my son and yours, 13 and for all the rest, I will provide, yea though they three do cost me a couple of hundred pounds by year; and beside, you shall find me as fast a friend to you and yours, as perchance any you have." Which promise the worthy gentleman surely kept with me until his dying day.
We had then farther talk together of bringing up of children, of the nature of quick and hard wits, of the right choice of a good wit, of fear, and love in teaching children. We passed from children and came to young men, namely, gentlemen: we talked of their too much liberty to live as they lust; of their letting loose too soon to overmuch experience of ill, contrary to the good order of many good old Commonwealths of the Persians, and Greeks; of wit gathered, and good fortune gotten by some, only by experience without learning. And, lastly, he required of me very earnestly to shew what I thought of the common going of English men into Italy. "But, saith
he, because this place, and this time will not suffer so long talk, as these good matters require, therefore I pray you, at my request, and at your leisure, put in some order of writing the chief points of this our talk, concerning the right order of teaching, and honesty of living, for the good bringing up of children and young men; and surely, beside contenting me, you shall both please and profit very many others." I made some excuse by lack of ability, and weakness of body. "Well, saith he, I am not now to learn what you can do; our dear friend, good M. Goodricke,* whose judgment I could well believe, did once for all satisfy me fully therein. Again, I heard you say, not long ago, that you may thank Sir John Cheke1 for all the learning you have; and I know very well myself, that you did teach the Queen. And therefore, seeing God did bless you, to make you the scholar of the best master, and also the schoolmaster of the best scholar, that ever were in our time, surely, you should please God, benefit your country, and honest your own name, if you would take the pains to impart to others what you learned of such a master, and how you taught such a scholar. And in uttering the stuff ye received of the one, in declaring the order ye took with the other, ye shall never lack neither matter, nor manner, what to write nor how to write, in this kind of argument."
I beginning some further excuse, suddenly was called to come to the Queen. The night following, I slept little; my head was so full of this our former talk, and I so mindful somewhat to satisfy the honest request of so dear a friend. I thought to prepare some little treatise for a New-years' gift that Christmas: but, as it chanceth to busy builders, so, in building this my poor school-house, (the rather because the form of it is somewhat new, and differing from others,) the work rose daily higher and wider, than I thought it would at the beginning.
And though it appear now, and be in very deed, but a small cottage, poor for the stuff, and rude for the workmanship; yet in going forward I found the site so good, as I was loth to give it over; but the making so costly, out-reaching my ability, as many times I wished that some one of those three, my dear friends, with full purses, Sir, Tho. Smith, M. Haddon, or M. Watson had had the doing of it. Yet nevertheless, I myself spending gladly that little, that I gat at home by good Sir John Cheke, and that I borrowed abroad of my friend Sturmius, 15 beside somewhat that was left me in reversion, by my old Masters Plato, Aristotle and Cicero, I have at last patched it up, as I could, and as you see. If the matter be mean, and meanly handled, I pray you bear both with me, and it; for never work went up in
Bishop of Ely, and Lord Chancellor under Edward, VI.
worse weather, with more lets and stops, than this poor school-house of mine. Westminster-Hall can bear some witness, beside* much weakness of body, but more trouble of mind, by some such sores, as grieve me to touch them myself; and therefore I purpose not to open them to others. And in the midst of outward injuries, and inward cares, to increase them withal, good Sir Richard Sackville dieth, that worthy gentleman; "That earnest favorer and furtherer of God's true Religion; that faithful servitor to his prince and country; a lover of learning, and all learned men; wise in all doings; courteous to all persons, shewing spite to none, doing good to many; and as I well found, to me so fast a friend, as I never lost the like before." When he was gone, my heart was dead; there was not one that wore a black gown for him, who carried a heavier heart for him, than I; when he was gone, I cast this book away; I could not look upon it, but with weeping eyes, in remembring him, who was the only setter on, to do it; and would have been not only a glad commender of it, but also a sure and certain comfort to me, and mine for it.
Almost two years together, this book lay scattered and neglected, and had been quite given over of me, if the goodness of one had not given me some life and spirit again. God, the mover of goodness, prosper always him and his, as he hath many times comforted me and mine, and, I trust to God, shall comfort more and more. Of whom most justly I may say, and very oft, and always gladly I am wont to say, that sweet verse of Sophocles, spoken by Oedipus to worthy Theseus.
Εχω γὰρ ἂ "χω διὰ σὲ, κὐκ ἄλλον βροτῶν.†
This hope hath helped me to end this book; which if he allow, I shall think my labors well employed, and shall not much esteem the misliking of any others. And I trust he shall think the better of it because he shall find the best part thereof to come out of his school whom he of all men loved and liked best.
Yet some men, friendly enough of nature, but of small judgment in learning, do think I take too much pains, and spend too much time, in setting forth these childrens affairs. But those good men were never brought up in Socrates's school, who saith plainly, "that no
* Ingravescente jam ætate, a nocturnis et pomeridianis studiis abhorrebat: Antelucanis et matutinis temporibus legebat, commentabatur, studebat, scribebat. Erat corpore imbecillis, et valetudinarius, multis morbis fractus, continentibus febribus correptus, variis, agrotationibus afflictus; quæ paucis ante mortem unnis eum in hecticam febrim conjecerunt. This is taken out of Mr. Grant's excellent Oration on Mr. Ascham. (19)
For whatsoever I have, I have through thee, and through none other of living men. (t) Plato in initio Theagis: Αλλὰ μὲν δὴ, ω Δημόδωκε, και λέγεται γε συμβολὴ ἱερὸν χρῆμα εἶναι. εἶπερ ὖν και ἄλλη ἡτιςῦν ἐςιν ἱερὰ, και αυτὴ ἄν ἔιη, περὶ ἧς σὺ νῦν συμβυλεύει. Ου γάρ ἑςι περὶ ὅτε θειοτέρω ἄν ἄνθρωπος βυλεύσαιτο, ἤ περί Παιδείας και αυτό, και τῶν αυτῷ οικείων. This Passage is cited by the Author, tho' not so fully. (16.)
man goeth about a more godly purpose, than he that is mindful of the good bringing up both of his own and other men's children."
Therefore, I trust, good and wise men will think well of this my doing. And of other, that think otherwise, I will think myself, they are but men, to be pardoned for their folly, and pitied for their igno
In writing this book, I have had earnest respect to three special points, truth of religion, honesty in living, right order in learning. In which three ways, I pray God, my poor children may diligently walk; for whose sake, as nature moved, and reason required, and necessity also somewhat compelled, I was the willinger to take these pains.
For, seeing at my death, I am not like to leave them any great store of living, therefore in my life time, I thought good to bequeath unto them, in this little book, as in my will and testament, the right way to good learning: which if they follow, with the fear of God, they shall very well come to sufficiency of living.
I wish also, with all my heart, that young Mr. Robert Sackville, 16 may take that fruit of this labor, that his worthy grandfather purposed he should have done and if any other do take either profit or pleasure hereby, they have cause to thank Mr. Robert Sackville, for whom specially this my schoolmaster was provided.
And one thing I would have the reader consider in reading this book, that because no schoolmaster hath charge of any child, before he enter into his school; therefore I leaving all former care, of their good bringing up, to wise and good parents, as a matter not belonging to the schoolmaster, I do appoint this my schoolmaster then, and there to begin, where his office and charge beginneth. Which charge lasteth not long, but until the scholar be made able to go to the University, to proceed in logic, rhetoric, and other kinds of learning.
Yet if my schoolmaster, for love he beareth to his scholar, shall teach him somewhat for his furtherance, and better judgment in learning, that may serve him seven year after in the University, he doth his scholar no more wrong, nor deserveth no worse name thereby, than he doth in London, who selling silk, or cloth, unto his friend, doth give him better measure, than either his promise, or bargain FAREWELL IN CHRIST.