The Schoolmaster
by Roger Ascham
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This matter maketh me gladly remember, my sweete tyme spent at Cambrige, and the pleasant talke which I had oft with M. Cheke, and M. Watson, of this fault, not onely in the olde Latin Poets, but also in our new English Rymers at this day. They wished as Virgil and Horace were not wedded to follow the faultes of former fathers (a shrewd mariage in greater matters) but by right Imitation of the perfit Grecians, had brought Poetrie to perfitnesse also in the Latin tong, that we Englishmen likewise would acknowledge and vnderstand right- fully our rude beggerly ryming, brought first into Italie by Gothes and Hunnes, whan all good verses and all good learning to, were destroyd by them: and after caryed into France and Germanie: and at last, receyued into England by men of excellent wit in deede, but of small learning, and lesse iudge- ment in that behalfe. But now, when men know the difference, and haue the examples, both of the best, and of the worst, surelie, to follow rather the Gothes in Ryming, than the Greekes in trew versifiyng, were euen to eate ackornes with swyne, when we may freely eate wheate bread emonges men. In deede, Chauser, Th. Norton, of Bristow, my L. of Surrey, M. Wiat, Th. Phaer, and other Ientlemen, in translating Ouide, Palingenius, and Seneca, haue gonne as farre to their great praise, as the copie they followed could cary them, but, if soch good wittes, and forward diligence, had bene directed to follow the best examples, and not haue bene caryed by tyme and custome, to content themselues with that barbarous and rude Ryming, emonges their other worthy praises, which they haue iustly deserued, this had not bene the least, to be counted emonges men of learning and skill, more like vnto the Grecians, than vnto the Gothians, in handling of their verse. In deed, our English tong, hauing in vse chiefly, wordes of one syllable which commonly be long, doth not well receiue the nature of Carmen Heroicum, bicause dactylus, the aptest foote for that verse, conteining one long & two short, is seldom there- fore found in English: and doth also rather stumble than stand vpon Monosyllabis. Quintilian in hys learned Chapiter // hand.gif de Compositione, geueth this lesson de Monosyllabis, before me: and in the same place doth iustlie inuey against all Ryming, that if there be any, who be angrie with me, for

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misliking of Ryming, may be angry for company to, with Quintilian also, for the same thing: And yet Quintilian had not so iust cause to mislike of it than, as men haue at this day. And although Carmen Exametrum doth rather trotte and hoble, than runne smothly in our English tong, yet I am sure, our English tong will receiue carmen Iambicum as naturallie, as either Greke or Latin. But for ignorance, men can not like, & for idlenes, men will not labor, to cum to any perfitenes at all. For, as the worthie Poetes in Athens and Rome, were more carefull to satisfie the iudgement of one learned, than rashe in pleasing the humor of a rude multitude, euen so if men in England now, had the like reuerend regard to learning skill and iudgement, and durst not presume to write, except they came with the like learnyng, and also did vse like diligence, in searchyng out, not onelie iust measure in euerie meter, as euerie ignorant person may easely do, but also trew quantitie in euery foote and sillable, as onelie the learned shalbe able to do, and as the Grekes and Romanes were wont to do, surelie than rash ignorant heads, which now can easely recken vp fourten sillables, and easelie stumble on euery Ryme, either durst not, for lacke of such learnyng: or els would not, in auoyding such labor, be hand.gif // so busie, as euerie where they be: and shoppes in London should not be so full of lewd and rude rymes, as commonlie they are. But now, the ripest of tong, be readiest to write: And many dayly in setting out bookes and balettes make great shew of blossomes and buddes, in whom is neither, roote of learning, nor frute of wisedome at all. Some that make Chaucer in English and Petrarch in Italian, their Gods in verses, and yet be not able to make trew difference, what is a fault, and what is a iust prayse, in those two worthie wittes, will moch mislike this my writyng. But such men be euen like followers of Chaucer and Petrarke, as one here in England did folow Syr Tho. More: who, being most vnlike vnto him, in wit and learnyng, neuertheles in wearing his gowne awrye vpon the one shoulder, as Syr Tho. More was wont to do, would nedes be counted lyke vnto him. This mislikyng of Ryming, beginneth not now of any newfangle singularitie, but hath bene long misliked of many, and that of men, of greatest learnyng, and deepest iudgement. And soch, that defend it, do so, either for lacke of knowledge

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what is best, or els of verie enuie, that any should performe that in learnyng, whereunto they, as I sayd before, either for ignorance, can not, or for idlenes will not, labor to attaine vnto. And you that prayse this Ryming, bicause ye neither haue reason, why to like it, nor can shew learning to defend it, yet I will helpe you, with the authoritie of the oldest and learnedst tyme. In Grece, whan Poetrie was euen at the hiest pitch of per- fitnes, one Simmias Rhodius of a certaine singularitie wrote a booke in ryming Greke verses, naming it oon, conteyning the fable, how Iupiter in likenes of a swan, gat that egge vpon Leda, whereof came Castor, Pollux and faire Elena. This booke was so liked, that it had few to read it, but none to folow it: But was presentlie contemned: and sone after, both Author and booke, so forgotten by men, and consumed by tyme, as scarse the name of either is kept in memorie of learnyng: And the like folie was neuer folowed of any, many hondred yeares after vntill y^e Hunnes and Gothians, and other barbarous nations, of ignorance and rude singularitie, did reuiue the same folie agayne. The noble Lord Th. Earle of Surrey, first of all English men, in translating the fourth booke of Virgill: // The Earle of and Gonsaluo Periz that excellent learned man, // Surrey. and Secretarie to kyng Philip of Spaine, in // Gonsaluo translating the Vlisses of Homer out of Greke into // Periz. Spanish, haue both, by good iudgement, auoyded the fault of Ryming, yet neither of them hath fullie hite perfite and trew versifiyng. In deede, they obserue iust number, and euen feete: but here is the fault, that their feete: be feete without ioyntes, that is to say, not distinct by trew quantitie of sillables: And so, soch feete, be but numme feete: and be, euen as vnfitte for a verse to turne and runne roundly withall, as feete of brasse or wood be vnweeldie to go well withall. And as a foote of wood, is a plaine shew of a manifest maime, euen so feete, in our English versifiing, without quantitie and ioyntes, be sure signes, that the verse is either, borne deformed, vnnaturall and lame, and so verie vnseemlie to looke vpon, except to men that be gogle eyed them selues. The spying of this fault now is not the curiositie of English eyes, but euen the good iudgement also of the best // Senese that write in these dayes in Italie: and namelie of // Felice that worthie Senese Felice Figliucci, who, writyng // Figliucci.

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vpon Aristotles Ethickes so excellentlie in Italian, as neuer did yet any one in myne opinion either in Greke or Latin, amongest other thynges doth most earnestlie inuey agaynst the rude ryming of verses in that tong: And whan soeuer he expresseth Aristotles preceptes, with any example, out of Homer or Euripides, he translateth them, not after the Rymes of Petrarke, but into soch kinde of perfite verse, with like feete and quantitie of sillables, as he found them before in the Greke tonge: ex- hortyng earnestlie all the Italian nation, to leaue of their rude barbariousnesse in ryming, and folow diligently the excellent Greke and Latin examples, in trew versifiyng. And you, that be able to vnderstand no more, then ye finde in the Italian tong: and neuer went farder than the schole of Petrarke and Ariostus abroad, or els of Chaucer at home though you haue pleasure to wander blindlie still in your foule wrong way, enuie not others, that seeke, as wise men haue done before them, the fairest and rightest way: or els, beside the iust reproch of malice, wisemen shall trewlie iudge, that you do so, as I haue sayd and say yet agayne vnto you, bicause, either, for idlenes ye will not, or for ignorance ye can not, cum by no better your selfe. And therfore euen as Virgill and Horace deserue most worthie prayse, that they spying the vnperfitnes in Ennius and Plautus, by trew Imitation of Homer and Euripides, brought Poetrie to the same perfitnes in Latin, as it was in Greke, euen so those, that by the same way would benefite their tong and contrey, deserue rather thankes than disprayse in that behalfe. And I rejoyce, that euen poore England preuented Italie, first in spying out, than in seekyng to amend this fault in learnyng. And here, for my pleasure I purpose a litle, by the way, to play and sporte with my Master Tully: from whom commonlie I am neuer wont to dissent. He him selfe, for this point of learnyng, in his verses doth halt a litle by his leaue. He could not denie it, if he were aliue, nor those defend hym now that Tullies // loue him best. This fault I lay to his charge: saying a- // bicause once it pleased him, though somwhat gainst Eng- // merelie, yet oueruncurteslie, to rayle vpon poore land. // England, obiecting both, extreme beggerie, and

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mere barbariousnes vnto it, writyng thus vnto his frend Atticus: There is not one scruple of siluer in that whole // Ad Att. Isle, or any one that knoweth either learnyng or // Lib. iv. Ep. letter. // 16. But now master Cicero, blessed be God, and his sonne Iesu Christ, whom you neuer knew, except it were as it pleased him to lighten you by some shadow, as couertlie in one place ye confesse saying: Veritatis tantum vmbram consectamur, // Offic. as your Master Plato did before you: blessed be God, I say, that sixten hundred yeare after you were dead and gone, it may trewly be sayd, that for siluer, there is more cumlie plate, in one Citie of England, than is in foure of the proudest Cities in all Italie, and take Rome for one of them. And for learnyng, beside the knowledge of all learned tongs and liberall sciences, euen your owne bookes Cicero, be as well read, and your excellent eloquence is as well liked and loued, and as trewlie folowed in England at this day, as it is now, or euer was, sence your owne tyme, in any place of Italie, either at Arpinum, where ye were borne, or els at Rome where ye were brought vp. And a litle to brag with you Cicero, where you your selfe, by your leaue, halted in some point of learnyng in your owne tong, many in England at this day go streight vp, both in trewe skill, and right doing therein. This I write, not to reprehend Tullie, whom, aboue all other, I like and loue best, but to excuse Terence, because in his tyme, and a good while after, Poetrie was neuer perfited in Latin vntill by trew Imitation of the Grecians, it was at length brought to perfection: And also thereby to exhorte the goodlie wittes of England, which apte by nature, & willing by desire, geue them selues to Poetrie, that they, rightly vnderstanding the barbarous bringing in of Rymes, would labor, as Virgil and Horace did in Latin, to make perfit also this point of learning, in our English tong. And thus much for Plautus and Terence, for matter, tong, and meter, what is to be followed, and what to be exchewed in them. After Plautus and Terence, no writing remayneth vntill Tullies tyme, except a fewe short fragmentes of L. Crassus excellent wit, here and there recited of Cicero for example sake, whereby the louers of learnyng may the more lament the losse of soch a worthie witte.

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And although the Latin tong did faire blome and blossome in L. Crassus, and M. Antonius, yet in Tullies tyme onely, and in Tullie himselfe chieflie, was the Latin tong fullie ripe, and growne to the hiest pitch of all perfection. And yet in the same tyme, it began to fade and stoupe, as Tullie him selfe, in Brutus de Claris Oratoribus, with weeping wordes doth witnesse. And bicause, emongs them of that tyme, there was some difference, good reason is, that of them of that tyme, should be made right choice also. And yet let the best Ciceronian in Italie read Tullies familiar epistles aduisedly ouer, and I beleue he shall finde small difference, for the Latin tong, either in propriety of wordes or framing of the stile, betwixt Tullie, and those that write vnto him. As ser. Sulpitius, A. Cecinna, M. Clius, M. et D. Bruti, A. Pollio, L. Plancus, and diuerse Epi. Planci // other: read the epistles of L. Plancus in x. Lib. x. lib. Epist. // and for an assay, that Epistle namely to the Coss. 8. // and whole Senate, the eight Epistle in number, and what could be, eyther more eloquentlie, or more wiselie written, yea by Tullie himselfe, a man may iustly doubt. Thies men and Tullie, liued all in one tyme, were like in authoritie, not vnlike in learning and studie, which might be iust causes of this their equalitie in writing: And yet surely, they neyther were in deed, nor yet were counted in mens opinions, equall with Tullie in that facultie. And how is the difference hid in his Epistles? verelie, as the cunning of an expert Sea man, in a faire calme fresh Ryuer, doth litle differ from the doing of a meaner workman therein, euen so, in the short cut of a priuate letter, where, matter is common, wordes easie, and order not moch diuerse, small shew of difference can appeare. But where Tullie doth set vp his saile of eloquence, in some broad deep Argument, caried with full tyde and winde, of his witte and learnyng, all other may rather stand and looke after him, than hope to ouertake him, what course so euer he hold, either in faire or foule. Foure men onely whan the Latin tong was full ripe, be left vnto vs, who in that tyme did florish, and did leaue to posteritie, the fruite of their witte and learning: Varro, Salust, Csar, and Cicero. Whan I say, these foure onely, I am not ignorant, that euen in the same tyme, most excellent Poetes, deseruing well of the Latin tong, as Lucretius,

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Cattullus, Virgill and Horace, did write: But, bicause, in this litle booke, I purpose to teach a yong scholer, to go, not to daunce: to speake, not to sing, whan Poetes in deed, namelie Epici and Lyrici, as these be, are fine dauncers, and trime singers, but Oratores and Historici be those cumlie goers, and faire and wise speakers, of whom I wishe my scholer to wayte vpon first, and after in good order, & dew tyme, to be brought forth, to the singing and dauncing schole: And for this consi- deration, do I name these foure, to be the onelie writers of that tyme.


Varro, in his bookes de lingua Latina, et Analogia as these be left mangled and patched vnto vs, doth not enter // Varro. there in to any great depth of eloquence, but as one caried in a small low vessell him selfe verie nie the common shore, not much vnlike the fisher men of Rye, and Hering men of Yarmouth. Who deserue by common mens opinion, small commendacion, for any cunning saling at all, yet neuertheles in those bookes of Varro good and necessarie stuffe, for that meane kinde of Argument, be verie well and learnedlie gathered togither. His bookes of Husbandrie, are moch to be regarded, and diligentlie to be read, not onelie for the proprietie, // De Rep. but also for the plentie of good wordes, in all // Rustica. contrey and husbandmens affaires: which can not be had, by so good authoritie, out of any other Author, either of so good a tyme, or of so great learnyng, as out of Varro. And yet bicause, he was fourescore yeare old, whan he wrote those bookes, the forme of his style there compared with Tullies writyng, is but euen the talke of a spent old man: whose wordes commonlie fall out of his mouth, though verie wiselie, yet hardly and coldie, and more heauelie also, than some eares can well beare, except onelie for age, and authorities sake. And perchance, in a rude contrey argument, of purpose and iudge- ment, he rather vsed, the speach of the contrey, than talke of the Citie. And so, for matter sake, his wordes sometyme, be somewhat rude: and by the imitation of the elder Cato, old and out of vse:

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And beyng depe stept in age, by negligence some wordes do so scape & fall from him in those bookes, as be not worth the Lib. 3. // taking vp, by him, that is carefull to speake or Cap. 1. // write trew Latin, as that sentence in him, _Romani, in pace rusticis alebantur, et in bello ab his tuebantur_. A good student must be therfore carefull and diligent, to read with iudgement ouer euen those Authors, which did write in the most perfite tyme: and let him not be affrayd to trie them, both in proprietie of wordes, and forme of style, by the touch stone of _Csar_ and _Cicero_, whose puritie was neuer soiled, no not by the sentence of those, that loued them worst. All louers of learnyng may sore lament the losse of those The loue // bookes of _Varro_, which he wrote in his yong and of Var- // lustie yeares, with good leysure, and great learnyng roes // of all partes of Philosophie: of the goodliest argu- bookes. // mentes, perteyning both to the common wealth, and priuate life of man, as, _de Ratione studij, et educandis liberis_, which booke, is oft recited, and moch praysed, in the fragmentes of _Nonius_, euen for authoritie sake. He wrote most diligentlie and largelie, also the whole historie of the state of _Rome_: the mysteries of their whole Religion: their lawes, customes, and gouernement in peace: their maners, and whole discipline in warre: And this is not my gessing, as one in deed that neuer saw those bookes, but euen, the verie iudgement, & playne testimonie of _Tullie_ him selfe, who knew & read those bookes, in these wordes: _Tu tatem Patri: Tu descriptiones temporum:_ In Acad. // _Tu sacrorum, tu sacerdotum Iura: Tu domesticam, Quest. // _tu bellicam disciplinam: Tu sedem Regionum, locorum,_ _tu omnium diuinarum humanarumque rerum nomina, genera, officia, causas aperuisti. &c._ But this great losse of _Varro_, is a litle recompensed by the happy comming of _Dionysius Halicarnassus_ to _Rome_ in _Augustus_ dayes: who getting the possession of _Varros_ librarie, out of that treasure house of learning, did leaue vnto vs some frute of _Varros_ witte and diligence, I meane, his goodlie bookes _de Antiquitatibus Romanorum. Varro_ was so estemed for his excellent learnyng, as _Tullie_ him selfe had a reuerence to his Cic. ad // iudgement in all doutes of learnyng. And Att. // _Antonius Triumuir_, his enemie, and of a contrarie faction, who had power to kill and bannish whom

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he listed, whan Varros name amongest others was brought in a schedule vnto him, to be noted to death, he tooke his penne and wrote his warrant of sauegard with these most goodlie wordes, Viuat Varro vir doctissimus. In later tyme, no man knew better, nor liked and loued more Varros learnyng, than did S. Augustine, as they do well vnderstand, that haue diligentlie read ouer his learned bookes de Ciuitate Dei: Where he hath this most notable sentence: Whan I see, how much Varro wrote, I meruell much, that euer he had any leasure to read: and whan I perceiue how many thinges he read, I meruell more, that euer he had any leasure to write. &c. And surelie, if Varros bookes had remained to posteritie, as by Gods prouidence, the most part of Tullies did, than trewlie the Latin tong might haue made good comparison with the Greke.


Salust, is a wise and worthy writer: but he requireth a learned Reader, and a right considerer of him. // Salust. My dearest frend, and best master that euer I had // Syr Iohn or heard in learning, Syr I. Cheke, soch a man, as // Chekes if I should liue to see England breed the like // iudgement againe, I feare, I should liue ouer long, did once // and coun- giue me a lesson for Salust, which, as I shall neuer // sell for rea- forget my selfe, so is it worthy to be remembred // dyng of of all those, that would cum to perfite iudgement // Saluste. of the Latin tong. He said, that Salust was not verie fitte for yong men, to learne out of him, the puritie of the Latin tong: because, he was not the purest in proprietie of wordes, nor choisest in aptnes of phrases, nor the best in framing of sentences: and therefore is his writing, sayd he neyther plaine for the matter, nor sensible for mens vnderstanding. And what is the cause thereof, Syr, quoth I. Verilie said he, bicause in Salust writing, is more Arte than nature, and more labor than Arte: and in his labor also, to moch toyle, as it were, with an vncontented care to write better than he could, a fault common to very many men. And therefore he doth not expresse the matter liuely and naturally with common speach as ye see Xenophon doth in Greeke, but it is caried and driuen forth

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artificiallie, after to learned a sorte, as Thucydides doth in his orations. And how cummeth it to passe, sayd I, that Csar and Ciceroes talke, is so naturall & plaine, and Salust writing so artificiall and darke, whan all they three liued in one tyme? I will freelie tell you my fansie herein, said he: surely, Csar and Cicero, beside a singular prerogatiue of naturall eloquence geuen vnto them by God, both two, by vse of life, were daylie orators emonges the common people, and greatest councellers in the Senate house: and therefore gaue themselues to vse soch speach as the meanest should well vnderstand, and the wisest best allow: folowing carefullie that good councell of Aristotle, loquendum vt multi, sapiendum vt pauci. Salust was no soch man, neyther for will to goodnes, nor skill by learning: but ill geuen by nature, and made worse by bringing vp, spent the most part of his yougth very misorderly in ryot and lechery. In the company of soch, who, neuer geuing theyr mynde to honest doyng, could neuer inure their tong to wise speaking. But at last cummyng to better yeares, and bying witte at the dearest hand, that is, by long experience of the hurt and shame that commeth of mischeif, moued, by the councell of them that were wise, and caried by the example of soch as were good, first fell to honestie of life, and after to the loue of studie and learning: and so became so new a man, that Csar being dictator, made him Pretor in Numidia where he absent from his contrie, and not inured with the common talke of Rome, but shut vp in his studie, and bent wholy to reading, did write the storie of the Romanes. And for the better accomplishing of the same, he red Cato and Piso in Latin for gathering of matter and troth: and Thucydides in Greeke for the order of his storie, and furnishing of his style. Cato (as his tyme required) had more troth for the matter, than eloquence for the style. And so Salust, by gathering troth out of Cato, smelleth moch of the roughnes of his style: euen as a man that eateth garlike for helth, shall cary away with him the sauor of it also, whether he will or not. And yet the vse of old wordes is not the greatest cause of Salustes roughnes and darknesse: There be in Salust Lib. 8. // some old wordes in deed as patrare bellum, ductare Cap. 3. // exercitum, well noted by Quintilian, and verie De Orna- // much misliked of him: and supplicium for suppli- tu. // catio, a word smellyng of an older store than the

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other two so misliked by Quint: And yet is that word also in Varro, speaking of Oxen thus, boues ad victimas faciunt, atque ad Deorum supplicia: and a few old wordes mo. Read Saluste and Tullie aduisedly together: and in wordes ye shall finde small difference: yea Salust is more geuen to new wordes, than to olde, though som olde writers say the contrarie: as Claritudo for Gloria: exact for perfect: Facundia for eloquentia. Thies two last wordes exact and facundia now in euery mans mouth, be neuer (as I do remember) vsed of Tullie, and therefore I thinke they be not good: For surely Tullie speaking euery where so moch of the matter of eloquence, would not so precisely haue absteyned from the word Facundia, if it had bene good: that is proper for the tong, & common for mens vse. I could be long, in reciting many soch like, both olde & new wordes in Salust: but in very dede neyther oldnes nor newnesse of wordes maketh the greatest difference // The cause why betwixt Salust and Tullie, but first strange phrases // Salust is not made of good Latin wordes, but framed after the // like Tully. Greeke tonge, which be neyther choisly borowed of them, nor properly vsed by him: than, a hard composition and crooked framing of his wordes and sentences, as a man would say, English talke placed and framed outlandish like. As for example first in phrases, nimius et animus be two vsed wordes, yet homo nimius animi, is an vnused phrase. Vulgus, et amat, et fieri, be as common and well known wordes, as may be in the Latin tong, yet id quod vulg amat fieri, for solet fieri, is but a strange and grekish kind of writing. Ingens et vires be proper wordes, yet vir ingens virium is an vnproper kinde of speaking and so be likewise,

{ger consilij. {promptissimus belli. {territus animi.

and many soch like phrases in Salust, borowed as I sayd not choisly out of Greeke, and vsed therefore vnproperlie in Latin. Againe, in whole sentences, where the matter is good, the wordes proper and plaine, yet the sense is hard and darke, and namely in his prefaces and orations, wherein he vsed most labor, which fault is likewise in Thucydides in Greeke, of whom Salust hath taken the greatest part of his darkenesse. For

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Thucydides likewise wrote his storie, not at home in Grece, but abrode in Italie, and therefore smelleth of a certaine outlandish kinde of talke, strange to them of Athens, and diuerse from their writing, that liued in Athens and Grece, and wrote the same tyme that Thucydides did, as Lysias, Xenophon, Plato, and Isocrates, the purest and playnest writers, that euer wrote in any tong, and best examples for any man to follow whether he write, Latin, Italian, French, or English. Thucydides also semeth in his writing, not so much benefited by nature, as holpen by Arte, and caried forth by desire, studie, labor, toyle, and ouer great curiositie: who spent xxvii. yeares in writing his eight bookes of his history. Salust likewise wrote out of his Dionys. // contrie, and followed the faultes of Thuc. to Halycar. // moch: and boroweth of him som kinde of writing, ad Q. / which the Latin tong can not well beare, as Casus Tub. de // nominatiuus in diuerse places absolut positus, as in Hist. Thuc. // that place of Iugurth, speaking de leptitanis, itaque ab imperatore facil qu petebant adepti, miss sunt e cohortes ligurum quatuor. This thing in participles, vsed so oft in Thucyd. and other Greeke authors to, may better be borne with all, but Salust vseth the same more strangelie and boldlie, as in thies wordes, Multis sibi quisque imperium petentibus. I beleue, the best Grammarien in England can scarse giue a good reule, why quisque the nominatiue case, without any verbe, is so thrust vp amongest so many oblique cases. Some man perchance will smile, and laugh to scorne this my writyng, and call it idle curiositie, thus to busie my selfe in pickling about these small pointes of Grammer, not fitte for my age, place and calling, to trifle in: I trust that man, be he neuer so great in authoritie, neuer so wise and learned, either, by other mens iudgement, or his owne opinion, will yet thinke, that he is not greater in England, than Tullie was at Rome, not yet wiser, nor better learned than Tullie was him selfe, who, at the pitch of three score yeares, in the middes of the broyle betwixt Csar and Pompeie, whan he knew not, whether to send wife & children, which way to go, where to hide him selfe, yet, in an earnest letter, amongest his earnest Ad Att. // councelles for those heuie tymes concerning both Lib. 7. Epi- // the common state of his contrey, and his owne stola. 3. // priuate great affaires he was neither vnmyndfull nor ashamed to reason at large, and learne gladlie of Atticus,

the ready way to the Latin tong. 301

a lesse point of Grammer than these be, noted of me in Salust, as, whether he should write, ad Pirea, in Pirea, or in Pireum, or Pireum sine prpositione: And in those heuie tymes, he was so carefull to know this small point of Grammer, that he addeth these wordes Si hoc mihi zetema persolueris, magna me molestia liberaris. If Tullie, at that age, in that authoritie, in that care for his contrey, in that ieoperdie for him selfe, and extreme necessitie of hys dearest frendes, beyng also the Prince of Eloquence hym selfe, was not ashamed to descend to these low pointes of Grammer, in his owne naturall tong, what should scholers do, yea what should any man do, if he do thinke well doyng, better than ill doyng: And had rather be, perfite than meane, sure than doutefull, to be what he should be, in deed, not seeme what he is not, in opinion. He that maketh perfitnes in the Latin tong his marke, must cume to it by choice & certaine knowledge, not stumble vpon it by chance and doubtfull ignorance: And the right steppes to reach vnto it, be these, linked thus orderlie together, aptnes of nature, loue of learnyng, diligence in right order, constancie with pleasant moderation, and alwayes to learne of them that be best, and so shall you iudge as they that be wisest. And these be those reules, which worthie Master Cheke dyd impart vnto me con- cernyng Salust, and the right iudgement of the Latin tong.


Csar for that litle of him, that is left vnto vs, is like the halfe face of a Venus, the other part of the head beyng hidden, the bodie and the rest of the members vnbegon, yet so excellentlie done by Apelles, as all men may stand still to mase and muse vpon it, and no man step forth with any hope to performe the like. His seuen bookes de bello Gallico, and three de bello Ciuili, be written, so wiselie for the matter, so eloquentlie for the tong, that neither his greatest enemies could euer finde the least note of parcialitie in him (a meruelous wisdome of a man, namely writyng of his owne doynges) nor yet the best iudegers of the Latin tong, nor the most enuious lookers vpon other mens writynges, can say any other, but all things be most perfitelie done by him.

302 The ready way to the Latin tong.

Brutus, Caluus, and Calidius, who found fault with Tullies fulnes in woordes and matter, and that rightlie, for Tullie did both, confesse it, and mend it, yet in Csar, they neither did, nor could finde the like, or any other fault. And therfore thus iustlie I may conclude of Csar, that where, in all other, the best that euer wrote, in any tyme, or in any tong, in Greke or Latin, I except neither Plato, Demosthenes, nor Tullie, some fault is iustlie noted, in Csar onelie, could neuer yet fault be found. Yet neuertheles, for all this perfite excellencie in him, yet it is but in one member of eloquence, and that but of one side neither, whan we must looke for that example to folow, which hath a perfite head, a whole bodie, forward and backward, armes and legges and all.


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