The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Education of Children

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Title: The Education of Children

Author: Desiderius Erasmus

Translator: Richard Sherry

Release date: March 16, 2009 [eBook #28338]
Most recently updated: January 4, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Louise Hope, Greg Lindahl, Joseph Cooper and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
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The book was originally (1550) printed together with Richard Sherry’s A Treatise of Schemes and Tropes. Since the two texts have no connection except that Sherry is assumed to be the translator, they have been made into separate e-texts.

Title Page
Transcriber’s Notes

¶ A treatise
of Schemes & Tropes
very profytable
for the better vnderstanding of good
authors, gathered out of the best
Grammarians & Oratours
by Rychard Sherry Lon

¶ Whervnto is added a declamacion,
That chyldren euen strayt frõ their
infancie should be well and gent-
ly broughte vp in learnynge.
Written fyrst in Latin
by the most excel-
lent and
famous Clearke, Erasmus
of Rotero-


see end of text

If thou wilt harken vnto me, or rather to Chrisippus, the sharpeste witted of Philosophers, yu shalte prouide yt thyne infante and yonge babe be forthewyth instructed in good learnyng, whylest hys wyt is yet voyde from tares and vices, whilest his age is tender and tractable, and his mind flexible and ready to folowe euery thyng, and also wyl kepe fast good lessons and preceptes. For we remẽber nothynge so well when we be olde, as those thynges yt we learne in yonge yeres. Diuision of yt confutaciõ Care not thou for those fooles wordes which chatter that thys age, partly is not hable inough to receiue discipline, & partlye vnmete to abyde the labours of || studies. For fyrst, the beginninges of learning, stãd specially by memorie, which as I sayd, in yõg ones is very holdfast. Secondly because nature hath made vs to knowledge the study of yt thynge can not be to hasty, wherof ye author of al thyng her self hath graffed in vs ye seedes. Beside this some thinges be necessary to be knowẽ whẽ we be sũwhat elder, which by a certẽ peculier readines of nature, ye tender age perceiueth both much more quickly, & also more esily thẽ doth ye elder, as ye first beginnings of letters, ye knowledge of tõges, tales & fabels of poetes. Finallye, why shulde yt age be thought vnmete to lerning, which is apt to lerne maners? Or what other thinge shuld chyldrẽ do rather whẽ they be more able to speake, seyng nedes thei muste do sumwhat? How much more profite is it yt age to sporte in letters, then in trifles? Thou wilt say yt it is but of litle value yt is done in those fyrste yeres. Why is it dispised as a smal thing, which is necessary to a very greate matter? And why is yt lucre, be it neuer G.ii. so litle, yet a lucre, dispised of purpose? Now if you oftẽ put a lytle to a litle, there riseth a greate heape. Herewith cõsider this also, if beyng an infant he lerne smaller thinges, he shalt lerne greter, growynge vpwardes in those yeres, in which those smaller shuld haue ben lerned. Finally whyle he doth these thinges, at ye least he shal be kept frõ those fautes, wherwt we se comẽly yt age to be infected. For nothynge doth better occupy ye whole mynd of man, thẽ studies. Verely this lucre ought not to be set light bi. But if we shuld graũte that by these labours ye strength of ye body is sumwhat diminished; yet thinke I this losse well recõpensed by winnynge of wyt. For the minde by moderate labours is made more quicke, & lustye. And if ther be any ieopardy in this pointe, it may be auoyded by our diligẽce. You must haue for this tender age a teacher to enter it by fayre meanes, & not discorage it by foule. And ther be also some things both plesaũt to be knowen, & as it wer sibbe to childrẽs wittes, whiche to lerne is rather a play thẽ a labour. Howbeit childehod is not so || weake which euẽ for thys is ye more mete to take paynes & labour, because they fele not what labour is. Therfore if thou wylte remember how far vnworthy he is to be counted a mã which is void of learning, and how stirring the life of man is, how slypper youth is to myschiefe, and mans age howe it desyreth to be occupied, how baren olde age is, and further how few come vnto it, thou wylt not suffer thy yong babe in the whych thou shalte lyue styll as it were borne agayne, to let go any parte of hys tyme vnoccupied, in the whych any thynge maye be gotten that eyther maye do muche good to all ye whole lyfe afterwardes, or kepe it awaye from hurtes, and mischiefes.

The selfe same matter enlarged by copye.

After the longe despayred fruitfulnes of thy wyfe, I hearsay thou art made a father, and that wyth a man chylde, whyche sheweth in it selfe a meruelous towardnes, and euen to be lyke the parentes: and that if so be we maye by such markes G.iii. and tokens pronosticate anye thyng, maye seeme to promise perfite vertue. And that therfore thou doest entend, to se thys chylde of so grete hope, assone as he shalbe somewhat of age to be begonne in good letters, and to be taught in very honest learnynge, to be instructed and fashioned with the very wholsome preceptes of philosophy. In deede you wyll be the whole father, and you wyll haue hym your very son, and to loke lyke you, not only in the fashion of hys face, and liniamẽtes of hys bodye, but also in the giftes of hys wytte. Verely as I am hertelye glad for the good fortune of myne especiall friende, so I greatlye alowe your wyse entente. This one thynge I wolde warne you of boldlye in deede, but louinglye, not to suffer after the iudgemente and example of the cõmon people, that the fyrst age of your infante shulde flytte awaye without all fruite of good instrucciõ, and then at the last to set hym to learne hys fyrste letters, when bothe hys age wyll not so well be handled, and hys wytte || shall be more readye to euyll, and peraduenture possessed alreadye wt the fast holdyng bryers of vices. ¶ Yea rather euẽ now loke about for some man, as of maners pure & vncorrupt, so also wel learned: & into his lap deliuer your litle chyld, as it wer to a nurse of hys tẽder mind, that euẽ wt his milke he may sucke in swete lerning: & deuide the care of thy litle sõne to his nurses & teacher that they shuld suckun the litle body wt very good iuyce, & so indue hys mynd wt very wholsom opinions, & very honest lernynge. For I thinke it not conuenient that yu one of al the best learned, & also wysest shuldest geue care to those piuyshe women, or vnto mẽ very lyke to thẽ the beard excepted, whych by a cruell pytie, & hateful loue, iudge that the chyldren euen vntyl they waxe springoldes, shuld be kept at home kyssyng theyr mothers, and among the sweete wordes of theyr nurses pastymes, and vnchaste trystynges of seruauntes and maydens. And thynke that they ought vtterlye to be kepte awaye from learnyng as G.iiii. from venome, saying that the fyrst age is so rude that it can receiue no discipline, and so tender that it is not mete for the labours of studies: and finally that the profite of that age is so lytle worth, that neyther anye coste shulde be made vpon it, neyther yt the weakenes of the chyldrẽ shuld be vexed. Whyle I proue euery of these thynges false, I pray you a lytle whyle take hede, countyng as the truth is, fyrst that these thynges be writtẽ of him which loueth you as wel as any mã doth, & inespecially of yt thing which so perteineth to you, yt none can do more. For what is more derer to you thẽ your son, inespecial hauing but him alone, vpon whõ we wold be glad if we might bestowe yea our life, not only our substaũce. Wherfore who mai not se yt thei do leudly & also vntowardli which in tilling their lãd building their houses, keping their horse, vse ye gretest diligẽce thei cã, & take to counsell men yt be wyse, & of great experience: in bringing vp and teachynge theyr chyldren, for whose sakes al other thinges ar gotten, take so litle regard that nether || they once councel with theyr owne mynd, not seke for the iudgements of wyse men, but as thoughe there were a trifle in hande, geue care to folyshe women, and to euery rascal wretche, whych is no lesse shame to hear, then if a man taking thought for the shooe, wolde set naught by the foote, or wyth great study wold prouide that there shuld be no faut in the garmente, naught reckynge for the healthe of the bodye. Good syr, I wyl not here cause you to tarye wyth common places, howe muche the strength of nature, how much fatherly loue, the law of god, mens consti­tucions require the parentes to owe vnto the childrẽ, thorowe whom asmuche as we maye wee escape to dye, and be made to lyue euer. But some thynke they haue gaylye done the office of a father, when they haue only begottẽ chyldren, where as thys is the least porcion of loue that the name of a father requyreth. What greate thought take the mothers comenlye leste the infant shulde loke a gogle or a squint, lest he shuld be puffe || cheked, wrie necked, croke shuldred, croke legged, splaye footed, and lest that the proporcion of his bodye shuld not be trimme in euery point: whereunto besyde other thynges, they be wont to vse swadelbondes, and keepe in their chekes wyth lytle miters. They haue regard also to theyr mylke, their meate, theyr bathes, & their mouinges, by whyche thynges the phisicions in many bookes, and inespeciall Galene hath taught that the chyldren get good healthe of theyr bodye: neyther do they differ thys diligẽce vnto the seuenth or tenth yere, but euẽ assone as the chylde commeth oute of the mothers wombe, they take greate charge of thys. And they do well, for the infancie not regarded, oftentymes causeth men to haue a syckely and sore disseased olde age, if they happen to come to it. Yea moreouer or euer the chyld be born, yet dothe the mother take great heede: Thei eate not of euery meat when they be greate with chylde, they take heede that they moue not theyr bodie to hurte them: and if || there happen any thyng to fall vpon their face, by and by they take it away wyth theyr hand, and laye it vpon the priuie part of theyr body. It hath ben proued by many experimentes, that by this remedie the deformitie whych wold haue bene on that part of ye body that is sene, hathe lyen hyd in the secrete place. No mã calleth this to hasty a care whych is vsed for the worser parte of man. Why then is that parte of man, wherby we be properly called menne, neglected so many yeres? ¶ Shuld he not do all agaynste gods forbod which wold trim his cap, lettyng his head be vnkempt, and all scabbed? Yet much more vnreasonable is it that we shuld bestow iuste labours vpon the mortall bodye, and to haue no regarde of the immortal soule. Further, if a mã haue at home an horse colte, or a whelpe of a good kynd, wyl he not straight waye begynne to fashion hym to do sumwhat, and wyll do that so muche the more gladlye, the readyer the yonge age is to folow the teachers mynde? Wee wyl teache || a popiniaye while time is, to speke as a manne dothe, knowynge well that the elder he waxeth, the lesse apte he wyll be to be taughte, yea the common prouerbe geuyng warnynge of thys thynge: That an old popiniaye careth not for the rod. ¶ And what a thynge is it to be diligente in a byrde, and slowe in teachynge thy sonne? What do the wytty husbandmen? Do they not teach euen straight way the plãtes whyle they be yet tender, to put awaye theyr wylde nature by graffynge, and wyll not tarye tyll they be waxen bygge and myghtye? ¶ And they do not onlye take heede that the litle tree grow not croked or haue any other faute, but if ther be anye, they make haste to amend it, whyle it wyll yet bowe, and folowe the hande of the fashioner. ¶ And what liuyng thynge, or what plante wyll bee as the owener or housebande manne wolde haue it to serue for, excepte oure dylygence helpe nature? The sooner it is donne, the better will it come to passe.
|| ¶ In dede to manye dumme beastes, nature the mother of all thynges, hath geuen more helpe to do theyr natural offices, but because the prouidẽce of God hath of al creatures vnto men onlye geuen the strength of reason, she hath left the greatest parte to educacion, in so much that one hath written very wel the first poynte, the middle, and the thirde, that is the chyefe of all mans felicitye, to be good instruccion, & ryght bryngynge vp. Whych prayse Demosthenes gaue to ryght pronun­ciacion, and that in deede not falsely, but ryghte bryngynge vp helpeth muche more to wysedome, then pronun­ciation to eloquence. For diligente and holy bringing vp, is the founteyne of al vertue. As to folye and myschief, the fyrst, seconde, and thyrde poynte, is vndiligente and corrupte educacion. Thys is the thynge that is chiefelye lefte vnto vs. That is the cause why vnto other beastes nature hathe geuen swyftnes, flyght, sharpnes of sight, greatnes, and strengthe of bodye, scales, flyshes, heares, hornes, nayles, || venome, wherby they may both defende their healthe, and prouide for theyr liuynge, and brynge vp their yonge: and bryngeth forthe man onlye softe, naked, and vnfensed: but in stede of all thys, hath geuen hym a mynde hable to receiue all discipline, because in this onlye are all thynges, if a man wyll exercise it. And euerye liuynge thynge, the lesse mete it is to teachynge, so muche the more it hathe of natiue prudence. Bees learne not to make their celles, to gather iuce, and to make honye. The Emets are not taughte to gather into their holes in somer, wherby they shulde lyue in wynter, but all these thynges be done by instruccion of nature. But man neyther can eate, nor go, nor speake, except he be taught. Then if the tree brynge forthe eyther no fruite or vnsauerye, without the diligence of graffing, if the dogge be vnmete to hunte, the horse vnapte to iuste, the oxe to the plowe, except oure diligence bee putte to, howe wylde and vnprofitable a creature wolde man become, except diligẽtlye, || and in dewe tyme he shulde be fashioned by good bryngynge vp. ¶ I wyll not here rehearse vnto you the example of Lycurgus knowen of euerye man, whyche bryngynge oute two whelpes, one of a gentle kynde, but euyll taughte, that ran to the meate, that other of sluggyshe syres, but diligently brought vp, that leafte the meate and leapt vpon the beast. Nature is an effectuall thynge, but educacion more effectuall, ouercommeth it. Menne take heede that they maye haue a good dog to hunte, to haue a good horse to iournei with, and here thei thynke no diligence to be to hastie, but to haue a sonne that shulde be both worship and profite to the parentes, vpon whome they myghte laye a good part of the charges of their houshold, whose loue mighte noryshe and beare vp their vnweldy age, and yt shuld shew hym self a trustye and healpynge sonne in a lawe, a good husbande to his wife, a valiaunte and profitable citizen to the common wealthe, I saye to haue suche one, eyther they take no || care, or else they care to late. For whõ do they plant? for whõ do they plowe? for whõ do they buylde? for whõ do they hunt for riches both by land & by sea? not for theyr chyldrẽ? But what profite or worshyp is in these thinges, if he yt shal be heire of thẽ can not vse thẽ? With vnmesurable studye be possessions gotten, but of the possessor we take no kepe Who prepareth an harpe for the vnskylfull of musycke? Who garnysheth a librarie for hym that can skyl of no bookes? And are so great ryches gotten for hym whyche can not tell howe to vse them? If thou gettest these thynges to hym that is well broughte vp, thou geueste hym instrumentes of vertue: but if thou get them for a rude and rusticall wytte, what other thynge doest thou then minister a matter of wantonnesse and mischiefe? What canne bee thoughte more folyshe then thys kynde of fathers? They prouide that the bodie of the sonne maye be wythout faute, and shulde bee made apte to do all manner thynges comelye, but the mynde, || by whose moderacion all honeste wyrkes do stand, that they care not for. It nedeth me not here to rehearse that riches, dignitie, authoritie, and also healthfulnes of body, whych menne so desirouslye wyshe to theyr chyldren, nothynge doth more get them vnto man, thẽ vertue and learninge. They wyshe vnto them a praye, but they wyll not geue thẽ a nette to take it with all. That thing which is of al most excellent, thou canst not geue thy sonne, but thou mayest store hym wyth those good sciences, wherby the best thynges be gotten. Now is this a great incon­uenience, but it is yet a greater, that they leaue at home their dogge wel taught, their horse well broken and taught, and theyr son enstructed wyth no learnyng. They haue land well tylled, and theyr sonne shamefull rude. ¶ They haue their house goodly trimmed, and theyr sonne voyde of all garnyshyng. Further, they whych after the peoples estimacion seme to be meruelouse wyse, do prolong the diligence to garnyshe the mind H.i. eyther in to an age vnapte to bee taughte, or else take no care at all for it, and are meruelouse thoughtfull of externall goodes of fortune, yea or euer he be borne, whom they haue appoynted to be lorde of thẽ all. For what se we not them to do? When their wyfe is greate with chylde, then call they for a searcher of natiuities, the parentes axe whether it shall be a man or a woman kynde. They searche oute the destenye. If the astrologer by the byrth houre haue sayde that the chylde shulde be fortunate in warre: wee wyll, saye they, dedicate this chyld to the kynges courte. If he shal promyse ecclesi­asticall dygnitie, wee wyll, saye they, hunte for hym by some meanes, a Byshoprycke, or a fatte Abbotshyp. Thys chylde wyl we make a president or a deane. ¶ Thys semeth not to them to hasty a care when they preuente euen the wery byrth: and semeth it to hastye that is vsed in fashioning your childrens myndes? So quyclye you prouide to haue your sonne a capteine or an officer, and therewyth wylte || thou not prouide that he maie be a profitable captayn or officer of the common wealth? Before the tyme come you go aboute this, to haue your sonne a byshop, or an abbot, and wylt thou not fashion hym to this well, to beare the office of a byshop, or an abbot? Thou setteste hym to a chariot, and shewest hym not the manner to guyde it. Thou puttest hym to the sterne, and passest not that he shulde learne those thynges that becommeth a shypmaster to know. Finally in all thy possessions thou regardest nothing lesse then that, that is moste precious, & for whose sake al other thynges be gotten. Thi corne fieldes be goodly, thy houses be fayre, thy vessel is bright, thy garmentes, and al thy housholde stuffe, thy horses bee wel kept, thi seruaũtes wel taught, only thy sonnes wyt is foule, filthy & all sluttishe. Thou hast perchaũce bought by the drũme a bond slaue, vyle, and barbarous, if he be rude and ignoraunt, yu markest to what vse he is good, & trimly thou bryngest hym vp to some craft, either of H.ii. the kytchen, physicke, husbandrye, or stewardshyp: only thy sõne thou settest lyght by, as an idle thynge. Thei wyl say: He shal haue inough to lyue on, but he shall not haue to lyue well on. Comonly the rycher that men be, the lesse they care for the bryngyng vp of their chyldren. What neede is it, say they, of anye learnyng, they shall haue inoughe? Yea the more nede haue they of the helpe of phylosophy and learnyng. The greater the shyp is, & the more marchandyse it carieth aboute, the more neede it hathe of a connynge shyppe master. Howe greatlye do Prynces go about this, to leaue vnto their sonnes as large a dominion as they cã, and yet do none care lesse that they shuld be brought vp in those good wayes, wythoute the whych, princi­palitie can not wel be ordred. How muche more dothe he geue, that geueth vs to lyue well, then to lyue? Verye lytel do chyldren owe vnto theyre fathers of whome they be no more but begotten, and not also broughte vp to lyue verteouslye.
|| ¶ The saying of Alexander is muche spoken of: excepte I were Alexander, I wold wishe to be Diogenes. But very worthely doth Plutarch rebuke it, because that so much the more he shuld haue wyshed to haue had Diogenes philosophye, howe muche the greater hys dominion was. But muche more shameful is theyr sluggardy, whyche not onely bryng not vp their chyldrẽ aright, but also corrupte them to wyckednesse. When Crates the Thebane dyd perceiue thys abhominacion, not without a cause he wolde go in to ye hyest place of the citye, & there crie out as loud as he could, & caste them in the teeth wyth theyr madnesse in this wyse. You wretches what madnesse driueth you? Take you suche thought to gette money and possessions, & take you no care for your children for whom you get these thynges? As they be scante halfe mothers whych onlye bringe forth, and not vp their chyldren, so be they scante halfe fathers, which when they prouide necessaries for theyr chyldrens bodies, euẽ somuch H.iii. that they maye ryot wythall, prouide not that their myndes maye be garnyshed wyth honest disciplines. Trees paraduẽture wyl grow though eyther baren, or wyth wild fruite: horses are foled, though perchaunce they be good for nothyng: but menne (truste me) be not borne, but fashioned. Menne in olde tyme which by no lawes, nor good order ledde theyr lyues in woodes, in wãderynge lustes of bodye, were rather wylde beastes then men. Reason maketh a man: that hathe no place where all thynges are gouerned after affection. If shape and fashion shulde make a man, Images also shulde be counted among men. Elegantly sayde Aristippus when a certen ryche man axed him what profite learnyng shuld brynge to a yong man: & it be no more but this quod he, yt in the playing place one stone sytte not vpon an other. Very properly another Philosopher Diogenes I trowe, bearynge in the mydday a candle in his hand, walked aboute the market place that was full of men: beinge axed what || thynge he sought: I seeke quod he, a man. He knewe that there was a greate company, but of beastes, and not men. The same man on a daye, when stãding on an hye place he had called a great sort together, and sayde nothing else but come hither men, come hyther men. Some halfe angrye cryed agayne: we are here men, say what thou hast. Thẽ quod he: I wold haue men come hyther & not you whych are nothyng lesse then men, and therwyth draue them away wyth his staffe. Surely it is very trewe, that a man not instructed wyth Phylosophye nor other good sciences, is a creature somewhat worse then brute beastes. For beastes folowe onely the affectes of nature, a manne except he be fashioned wyth learning, and preceptes of philosophy, is rawght into affeccions more thẽ beastlike. For there is no beast more wylde, or more hurtefull then a manne, whom ambicion dryuethe, desyre, anger, enuye, ryot, and luste. Therfore he that prouideth not that his sonne may by and by be instructed H.iiii. in the beste learnyng; neyther is he a manne, nor the sonne of a man. ¶ Were it not an abhominable sight that the mynde of a man shulde be in a beastes body? As we haue read that Circes when she had enchaũted men wyth her wytchcraft, dyd turne them into Lions, beares and swyne, so that yet ther shuld be stil in them the mynde of a man, which thyng Apuleus wrote to haue happened to hym selfe, and Austin also hathe beleued that men haue bene turned into wolues. Who could abyde to be called the father of such a monster. But it is a more merueylous monster that a beastes mynde shulde be in a mans bodye, and yet do very many please them selues in suche chyldren, and bothe the fathers seme, and the common people thynke suche to be verye wise.
¶ It is sayde that beares caste oute a lumpe of fleshe wythout anye fashion, whych wyth longe lyckyng they forme and brynge into a fashyon, but there is no beares yonge one so euyll fauored as a manne is, borne of a rude mynde.
|| ¶ Except wyth much studye yu forme and fashion this, thou shalt be a father of a monster and not of a man. If thy sonne be borne wyth a copped head or crocke­shuldred, or splay footed, or wyth syxe fingers in one hande, howe lothe woldest thou be for it, how arte thou ashamed to be called the father not of a man, but of a monster: and art thou not ashamed of so monstrous a mynde? ¶ Howe discoraged be the fathers in theyr hertes if their wyfe brynge forthe a naturall, & an infante of a brute mynde? For they thynke they haue begottẽ not a man, but a monster, and excepte feare of the lawe dyd let them, they wolde kyll that that is borne. Thou blameste nature whych hath denied the minde of a man to thy chylde, & thou causest by thyne own negligence, that thy sonne shulde be wythoute the mynde of a man. But thou wylte saye: Better it is to be of a brutishe rather thẽ of an vngracious mind. Naye better it is to be a swyne, thẽ an vnlearned and euyll man. Nature, when she geueth the a sonne, || she geueth nothyng else, thẽ a rude lumpe of fleshe. It is thy parte to fashiõ after ye best maner, that matter that will obey & folow in euery poynt. If thou wylt slacke to do it, thou hast a beaste: if thou take hede thou hast, as I myght saye, a God. Srayght waye assone as thy infãte is borne, it is apte to be taughte those thynges whych properlie belonge to a man. Therfore after the sayinge of Vyrgyll, bestowe diligente labour vpon hym, euen from hys tender age. Handle the waxe strayght way whyle it is very soft, fashion thys claie whle it is moist, season thys earthen vessel wyth verye good liquour, while it is newe, bye your wolle whyle it commeth whyte frome the fuller, and is not defiled wyth any spottes. Antisthenes dyd verye merilye shewe the same, whyche when he had taken a certen mans sõne to be taught, and was axed of hys father what thinges he had neede of: a newe booke quod he, a newe pensyle, and a new table. Verelye the philosopher requyred a rude and emptye mynde. || Thou canst not haue a rude lumpe; but and if thou fashyonst not lyke a manne, of it selfe it wylt waxe naught, into monstruous formes of wylde beastes. Seynge thou doest owe this seruyce to God & nature, although there were no hope that thou shuldest haue any profite therby, count in thy mynd, how greate comforte, how greate profite, howe much worshyp the children that be well brought vp brynge to theyr fathers. Chyldren euyl broughte vp, brynge shame to their parẽtes Agayne into what shames and greate sorowes they cast their parentes that bee euyll broughte vp. There is no nede to bryng here vnto the examples out of olde chronicles: do no more but remember in thy mind the housholdes of thine owne citye, howe many examples shalt yu haue in eueri place? I know thou doest often hear such wordes. O happye man that I were, if my chyldren were buryed. O fortunate mother, if I hadde neuer broughte forth chylde. It is a wayghty matter to brynge vp chyldren well, I graunt: but no man is borne to him selfe, no man borne to be idle. Thou woldest nedes be a father, yu muste || be a good father; yu haste gotten thẽ to the cõmon wealth, not to thy self only; or to speake more lyke a christen man, yu hast begottẽ thẽ to god, not to thy selfe. Paul wryteth that so in dede women be saued, if they bryng forth childrẽ, & so brynge thẽ vp that they continue in ye study of vertue. God wil straitly charge the parẽts wt the childrẽs fautes. Therfore excepte yt euen forthwith thou bryng vp honestly yt, that is borne, fyrst yu dost thy self wronge, which thorow thy negligence, gettest yt to thy selfe, then the which no enemye could wyshe to an other, ether more greuous or paynful. Dionisius did effeminat wt delyghtes of the court Dions yong son yt was run awaye from him: he knew yt this shuld be more carefull to ye father, then if he had kylled hym wt a swerde. A litel whyle after when the yong manne was forced of his father that was come to him, to returne agayne to his old vertue, he brake his necke out of a garret. In dede a certeyne wise hebriciõ wrot very wisely. A wise child maketh the father glad, & a folish son is sorow to ye mother. || But a wyse chyld not only is pleasure to hys father, but also worship and succoure, and finallye hys fathers lyfe. Contrarye a folyshe and leude chylde, not only bringeth heauynesse to hys parentes, but also shame and pouertye, and olde before the tyme: and at laste causeth death to them, of whom he had the begynnyng of lyfe. What nede me to rehearse vp? daily are in our eies the examples of citizens, whome the euyll maners of theyr chyldrẽ haue brought to beggarye, whome eyther the sonne beyng hanged, or theyr daughter an whoore of the stewes, haue tormented wyth intollerable shame and vylany. I know greate men, whych of manye chyldren haue scante one lefte alyue. ¶ One consumed wyth the abhominable leprie, called by diminucion ye french pockes, beareth his death aboute wyth hym: another hathe burste by drynkynge for the beste game, an other goyng a whore­huntynge in the nyghte with a visar, was pitifullye kylled. What was the cause? Bycause theyr parentes || thynkynge it enough to haue begotten them, and enryched them, toke no heede of theire bryngynge vp. ¶ They shall dye by the lawe, whych laye awaye theyr children, and cast them into some wood to be deuoured of wylde beastes. But there is no kynde of puttynge them awaye more cruell, then to geue vp that to beastlye affeccions, whych nature hath geuen to be fashioned by very good waies. If ther wer ani witch could wyth euyl craftes, and wold go about to turne thy sonne into a swyne or a wolfe, woldest thou not thynke that ther were no punyshemente to sore for her myscheuouse deede? But that whych thou abhorrest in her, thou of purpose doest it thy selfe. How huge a beaste is lechery? how rauenous and insaciable is ryot? howe wylde a beast is dronkenshyp? how hurtfull a thing is anger? how horrible is ambicion? To these beastes dothe he set ouer hys sonne, whosoeuer from his tender youthe doth not accustume hym to loue that, that is honeste: to abhorre synne: yea rather not onlye || he casteth hym to wyld beastes, whych the most cruel casters away are wonte to do, but also whych is more greuouese, he norisheth this greate and perilous beaste, euen to hys owne destruccion. It is a kind of men most to be abhorred, which hurteth the body of infantes wyth bewitchyng: and what shal we say of those parentes whiche thorowe their negligence and euyll educacion bewitch the mynd? They are called murtherers that kyll their children beynge newe borne, and yet kyll but the body: howe great wyckednes is it to kyll the mynde? For what other thynge is the deathe of the soule, then foly and wickednes. And he doth also no lesse wrong to his contrey, to whom asmuch as lyeth in hym, he geueth a pestilente citizẽ. He is naught to godwards, of whom he hath receyued a chylde for thys purpose, to brynge hym vp to vertue. Hereby you may se, how greate and manifolde mischiefes they committe whych regarde not the bryngynge vp of tender age. ¶ But as I touched a lytle before, || they synne more greuouslie then do these, whych not onely do not fashion them to honestye, but also season the tender and soft vessel of the infante to myschiefe and wyckednesse, and teacheth hym vyce before he knowe what vice is. How shuld he be a modeste man and dyspyser of pride, that creepeth in purple? ¶ He can not yet sound his fyrste letters, and yet he nowe knoweth what crimosine and purple sylke meaneth, he knoweth what a mullet is, and other dayntie fyshes, and disdain­fullye wyth a proude looke casteth away cõmon dyshes. How can he be shamefast whẽ he is growen vp, which being a litel infãt was begon to be fashioned to lecherye? How shall he waxe liberal whẽ he is old, which being so litel hath lerned to meruell at money & gold? If ther be ani kynd of garment lately foũd out, as daili ye tailers craft, as in time paste dyd Africa, bringeth forth some new mõster, yt we put vpon our infãt. He is taught to stand in his own cõceite: & if it be takẽ away, he angerly axeth for it again. || Howe shall he beyng old hate drũkennes, whych when he is an infãt is taught to loue wine? They teach them by lytle and lytle suche filthy wordes whych are scant to be suffered, as sayth Quintilian, of the delicious Alexandrians. And if the child speake any suche after them, they kysse hym for hys laboure. I warant you they know their yong, growynge nothynge out of kynde, when theyr owne lyfe is nothynge else then an example of naughtynes. Beynge an infant, he learneth the vnchaste flatterynge wordes of nurses, and as we saye, he is fashioned wyth the hand to wanton touchynge. He seeth hys father well whetteled wyth drynke, and heareath hym bablynge oute that, that shulde be kepte in. He sytteth at greate, and not very honest feastes, he heareth the house ful of iesters, harpes, mynstrels and daunsers. ¶ To these maners the chyld is so accustumed, that custume goeth into nature. There be nacions that fashion their chyldren to fiercenesse of warre whyle they be yet redde frõ I.i. the mother. They lerne to loke fierslie, the learne to loue the swearde, and to geue a strype. From such beginninges thei are deliuered to the master: and do we merueyle if wee fynde them vnapte to lerne vertue, whych haue dronke in vyces, euen wyth the mylke? But I hear some men defendynge theyr folye thus, and saie that by thys pleasure whiche is taken of the wantõnes of infantes, the tediousnes of noursyng is recõpẽsed. What is this? Shuld it be to the verye father more pleasaunt if the chylde folowe an euyll deede, or expresse a leude worde, thẽ if wyth his lytle stuttyng tonge, he spake a good sentence, or folowe any deede that is wel done? Nature specially hathe geuen to the fyrste age an easines to folowe and do after, but yet thys folowyng is somewhat more prone to naughtynesse then to goodnes. Is vyce more plesaunte to a good man then vertue, specially in hys chrldren? If anye fylthe fall vpon the yonge chyldes skyn, thou puttest it away, and dost thou infect the mynd wyth so foule || spottes? Nothynge stycketh faster then that that is learned in yonge myndes. I pray you what motherlye hertes haue those women, whiche dandle in their lap their chyldren tyl they be almost seuen yeres old, and in maner make thẽ fooles? If they be so much disposed to play why do they not rather get apes, and litle puppets to play wythall? O saye they: they be but chyldren. They be in deede: but it cã scant be told how muche those fyrste beginninges of our yong age do helpe vs to guide all our lyfe after, & howe hard & vntractable a wanton and dissolute bryngyng vp, maketh the chylde to the teacher, callynge the same gentlenes, when in deede it is a marring. Might not an accion of euyl handlyng children meruelous iustli be laid against such mothers? For it is plainely a kynde of witchcraft & of murther. They be punyshed by the lawe, yt bewitche their childrẽ, or hurt their weake bodies with poisons: what do thei deserue which corrupt ye chiefe parte of the infãt wt most vngracious venome? It is a lighter matter to kyl the body I.ii. then the mind? If a child shulde be brought vp amõg the gogle eied stutters, or haltyng, the body wold be hurt wt infecciõ: but in dede fautes of the mind crepe vpon vs more priuely, & also more quickely, & settel deper. The apostle Paul worthily gaue this honor vnto the verse of Menãder, yt he wold recite it in his epistels: Euyl comunicaciõ, corrupteth good maners: but this is neuer truer thẽ in infantes. Aristotle whẽ he was axed of a certen mã by what meanes he myghte bringe to pas, to haue a goodly horse: If he be brought vp quod he, among horses of good kynde. And yt if neyther loue nor reason can teach vs howe greate care we ought to take for ye first yeres of our children, at ye least waies let vs take example of brute beastes. For it oughte not to greue vs to learne of thẽ a thynge yt shall be so profitable, of whome mãkinde now long ago hath lerned so many fruitful things: sence a beast called Hippopotamus hath shewed ye cutting of veines, & a bird of egipt called Ibis hath shewed ye vse of a clister, which ye phisiciõs gretly alow. || The hearbe called dictamum whiche is good to drawe out arrowes, we haue knowne it bi hartes. Thei also haue taughte vs that the eatinge of crabs is a remedy against the poyson of spyders. And also we haue learned by the teachyng of lysardes, that dictamum doth confort vs agaynst the byting of serpentes. For thys kynde of beastes fyghte naturally agaynste serpentes, of whom whẽ they be hurt, they haue ben espyed to fetche theyr remedye of that herbe. Swallowes haue shewed vs salandine, and haue geuen the name vnto the hearbe. ¶ The wesyll hathe shewed vs that rewe is good in medicines. The Storke hathe shewed vs the herbe organye: and the wylde bores haue declared yt Iuy helpeth sickenesses. Serpentes haue shewed that fenel is good for the eye syght. That vomite of the stomacke is stopped by lettise, the Dragon monysheth vs. And that mans donge helpeth agaynst poyson, the Panthers haue taught vs, and many mo remedies we haue learned of Brute beastes: I.iii. yea and craftes also that be verye profitable for mannes lyfe. Swine haue shewed vs the maner to plow the land, and the Swalowe to tẽper mud walles. To be short, there is in maner nothyng profitable for the lyfe of man, but yt nature hathe shewed vs an example in brute beastes, that they that haue not learned philosophy and other sciences, maye be warned at the least waye by them what they shulde do. Do we not se howe that euery beaste, not only doth beget yonge, but also fashion them to do their natural office? The byrde is borne to flye. Doest thou not se how he is taught therunto & fashioned by his dãme? We see at home how the cattes go before their kytlynges, and exercyse them to catch myse and byrdes, because they muste lyue by them. ¶ They shewe them the praye whyle it is yet alyue, and teache them to catche it by leapyng, and at last to eate them. What do hartes? Do they not forth wyth exercise their fawnes to swyftnes, and teach thẽ howe to runne? they brynge them || to hye stiepe doune places, & shewe them how to leap, because by these meanes they be sure agaynste the traines of the hunters. Ther is put in writing as it were a certen rule of techyng elephãtes and dolphins in brynginge vp their yonge. In Nyghtingales, we perceiue the offices of the techer and learner, how the elder goth before, calleth backe, and correcteth, and howe the yonger foloweth and obeyeth. And as the dogge is borne to huntyng, the byrde to flyinge, the horse to runnyng, the oxe to plowynge, so man is borne to philosophy and honeste doinges: and as euery liuing thing lerneth very easly that, to the whiche he is borne, so man wyth verye lytle payne perceiueth the lernyng of vertue and honestye, to the whiche nature hath graffed certen vehemente seedes and principles: so that to the readinesse of nature, is ioyned the diligence of the teacher. What is a greater incon­uenience then beastes that be wythout reason to knowe and remember theyr duetye towarde theyr yong: Man I.iiii. whych is deuided from brute beastes by prerogatiue of reason, not to know what he oweth to nature, what to vertue, and what to God? And yet no kynde of brute beastes looketh for anye rewarde of theyre yong for their noursynge and teachynge, excepte we luste to beleue that the Storkes noryshe agayne they dãmes forworne wyth age, and bear them vpon their backes. But among men, because no continuance of time taketh awaye the thanke of naturall loue: what comfort, what worshyp, what succoure doth he prepare for hym selfe, that seeth hys childe to be well brought vp? Nature hathe geuen into thy handes a newe falowed fielde, nothynge in it in deede, but of a fruitfull grounde: and thou thorow negligence sufferest it to be ouergrowen wyth bryers and thornes, whyche afterwardes can not be pulled vp wyth any diligence. In a lytell grayne, howe greate a tree is hyd, what fruite will it geue if it spring oute.
|| ¶ All thys profite is lost except thou caste seede into the forowe, excepte thou noryshe wyth thy labour this tender plant as it groweth, and as it were make it tame by graffyng. Thou awakest in tamyng thy plãt, and slepeste thou in thy sonne? All the state of mans felicitie standeth specially in thre poyntes: nature, good orderyng, and exercyse. I cal nature an aptnes to be taught, and a readines that is graffed within vs to honestye. Good orderynge or teachyng, I call doctryne, which stondeth in monicions and preceptes. I call exercyse the vse of that perfitenes which nature hath graffed in vs, and that reason hath furthered. Nature requyreth good order and fashionynge: exercyse, except it be gouerned by reason, is in daunger to manye perylles and erroures. They be greatly therefore deceiued, whych thynke it sufficiẽt to be borne, & no lesse do they erre whyche beleue that wysedome is got by handelynge matters and greate affayres wythoute the preceptes of philosophye. Tel me I || praye you, when shall he be a good runner whych runneth lustelye in deede, but eyther runneth in the darke, or knoweth not the waye? ¶ When shall he bee a good sworde player, whych shaketh hys sworde vp and downe wynkyng? Preceptes of philosophye be as it were the eyes of the mynde, and in manner geue lyght before vs that you may see what is nedefull to be done and what not. Longe experience of diuerse thinges profite much in dede, I confesse, but to a wyse man that is diligently instructed in preceptes of well doynge. Counte what thei haue done, and what thei haue suffered all theyr lyfe, whych haue gotten them by experience of thinges a sely small prudence & thinke whether yu woldest wyshe so greate myschiues to thy sonne. Moreouer philosophye teacheth more in one yere, then dothe anye experience in thyrty, and it teacheth safely, whẽ by experience mo men waxe miserable then prudent, in so much that the old fathers not without a cause sayde: a man to make a perill or be || in ieopardy, whych assayed a thyng by experience. Go to, if a man wold haue hys sonne well seene in physycke, whether wolde he rather he shulde reade the bookes of physicions or learne by experience what thynge wolde hurt by poysonyng, or helpe by a remedy. Howe vnhappye prudence is it, when the shypman hathe learned the arte of saylynge by often shypwrackes, when the prince by continuall batayles and tumultes, and by cõmon myschieues hath learned to beare hys office? Thys is the prudence of fooles, and that is bought to dearlye, that men shulde be wyse after they be strycken wyth myschief. He learneth very costely, whych by wanderyng lerneth not to wander. Philippus wyselye learned hys sonne Alexander to shewe hym selfe glad to lerne of Aristotle: and to learne philosophy perfectlye of him to the entẽt he shuld not do that he shuld repent hym of. And yet was Phylyp cõmended for hys singuler towardnes of wytte. What thynke ye then is to be looked for of the cõmon || sorte. But the manner of teachynge doth briefly shewe what we shulde folowe, what wee shulde auoyde: neyther dothe it after wee haue taken hurte monyshe vs, thys came euyll to passe, hereafter take heede: but or euer ye take the matter in hande, it cryeth: If thou do thys, thou shalt get vnto the euyll name and myschiefe. Let vs knytte therfore this threfolde corde, that both good teachyng leade nature, and exercise make perfite good teachynge. Moreouer in other beastes we do perceiue that euery one doth sonest learne that that is most properly belonging to hys nature, and whych is fyrste to the sauegarde of hys healthe: and that standeth in those thynges which brynge either payne or destrucciõ. Not onlye liuing thyngs but plantes also haue thys sence. For we se that trees also in that parte where the sea doth sauour, or the northen winde blow, to shrynke in their braunches and boughes: and where the wether is more gentle, there to spreade them farther oute.
|| ¶ And what is that that properly belongeth vnto man? Verelye to lyue according to reason, and for that is called a reasonable creature, and diuided frõ those that cã not speake And what is most destrucciõ to mã? Folyshenes. He wyll therfore be taught nothyng soner then vertue, and abhorre from nothynge sooner then folyshenesse, if so be the diligence of the parentes wyll incontinent set aworke the nature whyle it is emty. But we here meruelous complantes of the common people, howe readye the nature of chyldrẽ is to fal to vyce, & how hard it is to drawe them to the loue of honesty. They accuse nature wrongfullye. The greatest parte of thys euyll is thorowe oure owne faute, whyche mar the wittes wt vyces, before we teache them vertues. And it is no maruell if we haue them not verye apte to learne honestye, seyng they are nowe already taught to myschiefe. And who is ignoraunt, that the labour to vnteache, is both harder, and also goth before teachyng. Also the common sorte of men do || amysse in thys pointe thre maner of wayes: eyther because they vtterlye neglecte the bryngynge vp of chyldren, or because they begynne to fashion their myndes to knoweledge to late, or because they putte them to those men of whome they maye learne that that muste be vnlerned agayne. Wee haue shewed those fyrst maner of men vnworthi to be called fathers, and that they very litle differ from suche as sette theyr infantes out abrode to be destroyed, and that they oughte worthely to be punyshed by the lawe, which doth prescribe this also diligentlye by what meanes chyldren shuld be brought vp, & afterwards youth. The second sorte be very manye, wyth whom nowe I specially entend to striue. The thyrd doth amysse two wayes, partly thorowe ignoraunce, partly thorowe retchlesnes. And syth it is a rare thynge and a shame to be ignoraunte to whome thou shuldest put oute thy horse, or thy grounde to be kepte, howe muche more shamefull is it not to knowe whom thou shuldeste || put thy chylde in truste wythal, beynge the dearest part of thy possessions? Ther thou beginnest to lerne that, that thou canst not skyll well of thy selfe, thou axest counsell of the beste seene: here thou thynkeste it maketh no matter to whom thou committest thy sonne. Thou assignest to thy seruantes, eueri man his office that is metest for hym. Thou tryest whom thou mayest make ouersear of thy husbandrie, whome to appoint to the kitchen, and who shulde ouersee thy housholde. And it there be any good for nothynge, a slug, a dulhead, a foole, a waster, to hym we cõmit oure childe to be taught: and that thynge whych requireth the cunningest man of all, is put to ye worst of our seruauntes. What is vntoward, if here menne haue not an vntoward mind? Ther be some whych for theyr couetous mynd be afeard to hyre a good master, and geue more to an horskeper then a teacher of the chyld. And yet for al that they spare no costly feastes, nyght & day thei playe at dice, and bestowe moch vpon houndes & || fooles. In thys thynge onely they be sparers and nigardes, for whose cause sparinge in other thynges myght be excused. I wold ther wer fewer whych bestowe more vpon a rotten whore, then vpon bringyng vp of their chylde. Nothyng sayth the Satir writer stãdeth the father in lesse cost then the sonne. Peraduenture it wyll not be much amisse here to speake of ye day dyet, which longe ago was muche spokẽ of in ye name of Crates. They report it after thys fashion. Alow to thy coke .x. poũd, to thy physicion a grote, to thy flatterer .v. talẽts, to thy coũseller smoke, to thy harlot a talent, to thy philosospher .iii. halfpẽs. What lacketh to this preposterous count, but to put to it yt the teacher haue .iii. farthings: Howbeit I thinke yt the master is meant vnder ye name of philosopher. Whẽ one that was riche in money, but nedy of wit axed Aristippus what wages he wold axe for teching his son, & he answered .v.C. grotes. You axe quod he to great a sũme: for wt this much money a man maye bye a seruaunte. || ¶ Then the philosopher very properly againe: but now, quod he, for one thou shalt haue two: a sonne mete to do the seruice, and a philosopher to teache thy sonne. Further if a man shulde bee axed, whether he wold haue hys onlye sonne dead to wynne an hundred horses, if he had any crumme of wysedome, he wold answer (I thinke:) in no wyse. Whi geuest thou then more for thi horse? why is he more diligẽtly takẽ hede to then thy sonne? why geuest thou more for a fole, then for the bringyng vp of thy chylde? Be frugall and sparynge in other thynges, in thys poynt to be thryfty, is no sparynge but a madnes. There be other agayn that take good heede in chosyng a master, but that is at the desyre of their friendes. They lette passe a meete and cunninge man to teache chyldren, and take one that can no skyll, for none other cause, but that he is set forwardes at the desyres of their friendes. Thou mad man, what meanest thou? In saylynge thou regardest not the affeccion of thẽ yt speake good wordes K.i. for a man, but thou setteste hym to the helme, whych can beste skyll to gouerne the shyp: in the sonne, whẽ not only he hymself is in ieopardy, but the father and mother and all the housholde, yea and the common wealth it selfe, wylte thou not vse like iudgement? Thy horse is sicke, whether wilt thou sende for a leche at the good word of thy friend, or for his cũning in lechcraft. What? Is thy sonne of lesse price vnto the then thi horse? Yea settest thou lesse by thy selfe then by thy horse? This beyng a foule thynge in meane citizens, how much more shamefull is it in great menne? At one supper a dashynge agaynst the mischeuous rocke of dice, and so hauynge shypwrake, thei lose two hundred poũd, and yet they saye they be at coste, if vpon theyr son they bestowe aboue .xx. pounde. No man can geue nature, eyther to himselfe, or to other: howbeit in this poynte also the diligẽce of the parẽtes helpeth much. The fyrst poynt is, that a mã chose to hym selfe a wyfe that is good, come of a good kynred, and well || broughte vp, also of an healthfull bodie. For seyng the kynred of the body and mynde is very straytlye knytte, it can not be but that the one thynge eyther muste be holpen or hurte of the other. The nexte is, that when the husbande dothe hys duetye to get chyldren, he do it neither beyng moued wyth anger, nor yet drunken, for these affeccions go into the chylde by a secrete infeccion. A certen philosopher seemed to haue marked that thyng properly, whyche seynge a yonge man behauinge hym selfe not verye soberlie, it is meruell quod he, but if thy father begat the whẽ he was dronke. Verily I thynke this also maketh greatli to the matter, if the mother at all times, but specially at ye time of concepcion and byrthe, haue her mynde free from all crimes, and be of a good cõscience. For ther can be nothyng eyther more quiet or more merye then such a mynd. The thyrd point is yt the mother noryshe with her own brestes her infãt, or if ther hap any necessitie that it maye not so be, let be chosẽ a nurse, of a wholsome K.ii. body, of pure mylke, good condicions, nether drunkẽ, not brauler, nor lecherous. For the vices that be takẽ euen in ye very beginninges of lyfe, both of the bodye and of the mynd, abyde fast vntyl we be olde. Some men also write yt it skilleth muche who be his sucking felowes & who be his playfelowes. Fourthlye that in due season he be set to a chosen scholemaster alowed by all mens witnes, and many waies tryed. You must be diligẽt in chosyng, and after go thorowe with it. Homer disaloweth wher many beare rule: and after the olde prouerbe of the grekes. The multitude of captaines dyd lose Caria. And the oftẽ chaunginge of physicions hath destroyed manye. There is nothynge more vnprofitable, then often to chaunge ye master. For by that meanes the web of Penelopes is wouẽ and vnwouen. But I haue knowen childrẽ, whych before they wer .xii. yere old, had more thẽ .xii. masters, and that thorowe the recheles­nesse of their parẽtes. And yet after this is done must the parẽtes be diligẽt. || They shall take heede bothe to the master & to the sonne, neither shall they so caste away al care from thẽ as they are wonte to laye all the charge of the doughter vpon the spouse, but the father shall oftentyme looke vpon them, and marke whether he profite, remembrynge those thynges whych the olde men spake both sagely and wittely, that the forehead is set before the hynder part of the head: and that nothyng sooner fatteth the horse then the masters eye, nor that no dunge maketh the ground more fruitfull then the masters footyng. I speake of yonge ons. For as for the elders it is meete sometyme that they be sente far out of oure syght, whiche thing as it were a graffing, is inespecially wont to tame yonge mens wyttes. Emonge the excellent vertues of Paulus Emilius, this also is praised, that as oftẽ as he might for his busines in the cõmon welth he wolde be at the exercises of hys sõnes. And Plinie the nepheu was contente nowe and then to go into the schole for his friendes sonnes K.iii. sake, whom he had taken vpon him to brynge vp in good learnynge. ¶ Furthermore, that that wee haue spoken of nature is not to be vnderstand one wayes. For there is a nature of a common kinde, as the nature of a man in to vse reason. But ther is a nature peculier, eyther to hym or him, that properly belõgeth either to thys man or that, as if a man wolde saye some menne to be borne to disciplines mathematical some to diuinitie, some to rethorike some to poetrie, and some to war. So myghtely disposed they be and pulled to these studies, that by no meanes they canne be discoraged from them, or so greatly they abhor them, that they wyl sooner go into the fyre, then apply their mynde to a science that they hate. I knewe one familierlye whych was verye well seene both in greke and latin, and well learned in all liberall sciences, when an archbyshop by whõ he was found, had sende hither by hys letters, that he shulde begynne to heare the readers of the lawe agaynst hys nature. After he had || cõplayned of this to me (for we laye both together) I exhorted hym to be ruled by his patron, saying that it wold wexe more easily, that at the beginning was harde, and that at the least waye he shulde geue some part of hys tyme to that study. After he had brought oute certen places wonderfull folyshe, which yet those professours halfe goddes dyd teache their hearers wyth greate authoritie, I answered, he shuld set light by them, & take out that whyche they taught well: and after I had preased vpon hym wyth many argumentes, I am quod he so minded, that as often as I turne my selfe to these studies, me thinketh a swerde runneth thorowe my hert. Menne that bee thus naturallye borne, I thynke they be not to bee compelled against their nature, lest after the common saying we shuld leade an Oxe to wreastlynge, or an Asse to the harpe. Peraduenture of this inclinacion you may perceiue certen markes in lytle ons. There be that can pronosticate such thynges by the houre of hys birthe, to K.iiii. whose iudgemente howe muche ought to be geuen, I leaue it to euerye mans estimacion. It wolde yet muche profite to haue espyed the same assoone as can be, because we learne those thynges most easelie, to the which nature hath made vs. I thinke it not a very vayne thing to coniecture by ye figure of the face and the behaueour of the rest of the bodie, what disposicion a man is of. Certes Aristotle so greate a philosopher vouchsaued to put oute a booke of phisio­gnonomye verye cunnynge and well laboured. As saylyng is more pleasaunt when wee haue borne the wynd and the tyde, so be we soner taught those things to the whych we be inclined by redines of wyt. Virgyll hath shewed markes wherby a man may know an oxe good for ye plough, or a cowe meete for generacion & encrease of cattell. Beste is yt oxe that looketh grimly. He techeth by what tokẽs you may espie a yong colt mete for iusting. Straight waye the colt of a lusty courage trãpleth garlic in the fieldes .&c. for you know the verses. || They are deceyued whyche beleue that nature hathe geuen vnto man no markes, whereby hys disposiciõ maye bee gathered, and they do amisse, that do not marke them thar be geuen. Albeit in my iudgemente there is scante anye discipline, but that the wyt of man is apt to lerne it, if we continue in preceptes and exercise. For what may not a man learne, when an Eliphant maye be taught to walke vpõ a corde, a bear to daunse, and an asse to playe the foole. As nature therefore is in no mannes owne hande, so wee haue taught wherin by some meanes we maye helpe nature. But good orderynge and exercise is altogether of our own witte and diligence. How much the waye to teach doth helpe, thys specially declareth, that we se daylye, burdens to be lyft vp by engins and arte, whiche otherwyse coulde bee moued by no strength. ¶ And how greatly exercise auaileth that notable saying of the old wise man, inespe­ciallye proueth, that he ascribeth all thynges to diligence and study. But labour, say they, is || not meete for a tender age, & what readines to lerne can be in children whych yet scarse knowe that they are men: I wyll answere to bothe these thinges in few wordes. How agreeth it that that age shulde bee counted vnmeete for learnynge, whych is nowe apte to learne good maners? But as there be rudimentes of verture, so be there also of sciences. Philosophy hath his infancie, hys youthe, and rype age. An horsecolt, which forthwyth sheweth his gentle kynd, is not straight way forced wyth the bytte to cary on his backe an armed manne, but wyth easy exercises he learneth the fashion of warre. The calfe that is appoynted to the plowghe, is not strayght wayes laden wyth werye yockes, nor prycked wyth sharpe godes, but as Virgyl hath elegantlye taught: Fyrst they knyt aboute his necke circles made of tender twygges, and after when his free necke hathe bene accustumed to do seruice, they make rounde hoopes mete, & when they be wrythẽ, ioyne a payre of meete ons together, and || so cause the yonge heyfers to gooe forwardes, and often tymes they make them to draw an empty cart, and sleightly go awaye, but afterwards they set on a great heauy axeltree of beeche, and make them to draw a great plough beame of yrõ. Plowmen can skyll howe to handell oxen in youthe, and attemper their exercises after their strength muche more diligently ought this to be done in bringing vp our children. Furthermore the prouidẽce of nature hath geuen vnto litle ons a certen mete habilitte. An infant is not yet meete to whome thou shuldest reade ye offices of Cicero, or the Ethickes of Aristotle, or the moral bokes of Seneca or Plutarche, or the epistles of Paule, I confesse, but yet if he do any thyng vncomly at the table, he is monyshed, and when he is monyshed, he fashioneth hym selfe to do as he is taught. He is brought into the temple, he lerneth to bowe his kne, to holde hys handes manerly, to put of hys cap, and to fashion all the behaueour of hys bodie to worshyp God, he is || cõmaunded to holde hys peace when misteries be in doyng, and to turne hys eyes to the alter. These rudimentes of modestye and vertue the childe lerneth before he can speake, which because they sticke fast vntil he be elder, they profit somwhat to true religiõ. There is no differẽce to a chyld when he is first borne, betwene his parẽntes & straungers. Anon after he learneth to knowe his mother, & after his father. He learneth by litle & litle to reuerẽce thẽ, he learneth to obey them, & to loue thẽ. He vnlerneth to be angrye, to be auẽged, & when he is biddẽ kysse thẽ that he is ãgry withal, he doth it, & vnlerneth to bable out of measure. He lerneth to rise vp, & geue reuerence to an old mã, & to put of his cap at ye image of the crucifix. Thei that thinke yt these lytle rudimẽtes help nothing to vertue, in my mind be greatly deceiued, A certẽ yonge man whẽ he was rebuked of Plato because he had plaied at dice cõplained yt he was so bitterly chiddẽ, for so litle harme. Thẽ quod Plato, although it be but smal hurt to play at dice, yet is it great hurt to vse it. || As it is therefore a greate euyll to accustume thy selfe to euyl, so to vse thy selfe to small good thynges is a greate good. And that tender age is so muche the more apte to learne these thyngs, because of it selfe it is plyaunt vnto all fashions, because it is not yet occupyed wyth vyce, and is glad to folowe, if you shewe it to do any thinge. And as cõmonlye it accustumeth it selfe to vyce, or euer it vnderstand what vyce is, so wyth lyke easynes maye it be accustumed to vertue. And it is beste to vse best thinges euen at the fyrst. That fashion wyll endure longe, to the which you make the empty and tender mynde. Horace wrote that if you thruste oute nature wyth a forke, yet wyll it styll come againe. He wrot it and that very truly, but he wrote it of an olde tre. Therefore the wise husband man wil straight waye fashion the plante after that maner whyche he wyll haue tarye for euer when it is a tree. It wyll soone turne in to nature, that you powre in fyrste of all. Claye if it be to moyste wyl not kepe the fashion || that is prynted in it: the waxe may be so softe that nothynge can bee made of it. But scarse is there any age so tender that is not able to receyue learnyng. No age sayth Seneca, is to late to learne: whether that be true or no I wot not, surely elderly age is very harde to learne some thyngs. This is doutles, that no age is so yonge but it is apte to be taught, inespecially those thynges vnto the whych nature hathe made vs, for as I sayd: for thys purpose she hath geuen a certen peculier desyre of folowyng, that what so euer they haue herde or seene, they desyre to do the lyke, and reioyse when they thynke they can do any thyng: a man wolde saye they wer apes. And of thys ryseth the fyrste coniecture of their wyt and aptnes to be taughte. Therefore assone as the man chyld is borne, anone he is apte to lerne maners. After whẽ he hath begon to speake, he is mete to be taught letters. Of what thynge regarde is fyrste to be had, a readines by & by is geuen to lerne it. For learnyng although it haue infinite || commodities, yet excepte it wayte vpon vertue, it bryngeth more harme then good. Worthilye was refused of wyse menne theire sentence, which thought that children vnder seuen yere olde shulde not be set to lernyng: and of thys sayinge many beleued Hesiodus to be the author, albeit Aristophanes the gramarian sayd, that those morall preceptes in the whych worke it was written, were not made by Hesiodus. Yet nedes must be some excellẽt wryter, which put forth such a booke that euen learned menne thought it to be of Hesiodus doing. But in case it were Hesiodus, without doute yet no mans authoritie oughte to be of suche force vnto vs, that we shulde not folowe the better if it be shewed vs. Howebeit who soeuer wer of thys mynd, they meant not thys, that all thys time vntyll seuen yeres shulde bee quite voyde of teachyng, but that before that tyme chyldren shulde not bee troubled wyth the laboure of studies, in the whych certeine tediousnes muste bee deuoured, as of cannyng || wythout booke, sayinge the lesson agayn, and wyth wrytinge it, for scant maye a man fynde anye that hathe so apte a wytte to bee taught, so tractable and that so wil folowe, whyche wyll accustume it selfe to these thynges wythout prickyng forward. Chrisippus apoynted thre yeres to the nourses, not that in the meane space there shuld be no teachynge of manners, and speach, but that the infante shulde be prepared by fayr meanes to lern vertue and letters, ether of the nurses, or of the parentes, whose maners wythout peraduẽture do help very much to the good fashionynge of chyldren. And because the fyrste teachyng of chyldren is, to speake playnly and wythout faute, in this afore tyme the nourses and the parentes helpe not a lytle. Thys begynnyng, not only very muche profiteth to eloquẽce, but also to iudgement, and to the knowledge of all disciplines: for the ignoraunce of tonges, eyther hath marred all the sciences, or greatly hurt thẽ, euẽ diuinitie it selfe also, phisicke & law. || The eloquence of the Gracchians was muche merueyled at in tyme paste, but for the most they myghte thanke theyr mother Cornelia for it, as Tullie iudgeth. It apeareth sayth he, that the chyldren wer not so much brought vp in the mothers lappe, as in the mothers cõmunicacion. So theyr fyrste scholyng was to them the mothers lap. Lelia also expressed in her goodly talke the eloquence of her father Caius. And what marueile. While she was yet yonge she was dyed wyth her fathers communi­cacion, euen when she was borne in his armes. The same happened to the two sisters, Mucia and Licinia, neeces vnto Caius. Specially is praysed the elegaunce of Licinia in speakyng, whiche was the daughter of Lucius Crassus, one Scipios wyfe as I weene. What nedes many words? All the house and all the kynred euen to the nepheus, and their cosyns dyd often expresse elegance of their fore fathers in artificiall and cunnyng speakyng. The daughter of Quintus Hortencius so expressed L.i. her fathers eloquence, that ther was longe ago an oracion of hers to se, that she made before the officers called Triumuiri, not only (as Fabius sayth) to the prayse of womankynd. To speake without faut no litle helpe brynge also the nourses, tutors, and playefelowes. For as touching the tonges, so great is the readines of that age to learne them, that within a few monethes a chylde of Germany maye learne Frenche, and that whyle he dothe other thinges also: neyther dothe that thynge come euer better to passe then in rude and verye yonge yeres. And if this come to passe in a barbarous and vnruled tonge, whych wryteth other wyse then it speaketh, and the whych hathe hys schriches and wordes scarse of a man, howe muche more easely wyl it be done in the Greeke or Latine tonge? Kyng Mithridates is read to haue perfitly knowen .xxii. tonges, so that he could plead the lawe to euery nacion in their owne tonges wythoute anye interpreter. ¶ Themistocles within a yeres space || lerned perfitely the Persians tong because he wolde the better cõmen wyth the kyng. If sũwhat old age can do that, what is to be hoped for of a chylde? And all this businesse standeth specially in two thynges, memorye and imitacion. We haue shewed before alredy that there is a certein naturall greate desyre in chyldren to folowe other, and very wyse men wryte that memorie in chyldren is verye sure in holdinge faste: and if we distrust there authoritie, experience it selfe wyll proue it vnto vs. Those thynges that we haue seene beying chyldren, they so abide in our mindes, as thou we had sene them yesterdaie. Thinges that we read today whẽ we be old, wythin two daies after if we read thẽ agayn they seme newe vnto vs. Furthermore howe fewe haue we seene whych haue had good successe in lernynge the tonges when they were olde? And if some haue wel spedde them in knowledge, yet the right sound and pronun­ciacion hath chaunsed either to none, or to very few. For rare examples be no L.ii. common rules. Neyther for thys muste we call chyldren to lerne the tonges after sixtene yere olde, because that the elder Cato lerned latine, and Greeke, when he was thre score and ten yeres olde. But Cato of Vtica muche better lerned then the other and more eloquent, when he was a chylde was continuallye wyth hys master Sarpedo. And hẽce we ought so much the more to take heede, because that yonge age led rather by sense then iudgemẽt, wyll assone or peraduenture soner lerne leudnes & things yt be naught. Yea we forget soner good thinges thẽ naught. Gentile philosophers espyed that, & merueyled at it, and could not search out the cause, whiche christẽ philosophers haue shewed vnto vs: which telleth yt this redines to mischiefe is setteled in vs of Adam the first father of mãkind. Thys thynge as it can not be false, so is it very true, that the greateste parte of this euyll cõmeth of leude and naughty bryngyng vp, inespe­ciallye of tender youthe, whyche is plyeable to euerye thynge.
|| ¶ We fynd in writyng that great Alexander lerned certeine fautes of hys master Leonides, whyche he could not leaue when he was well growẽ vp, and a great Emperour. Therfore as long as amonge the latines floryshed that old vertuousnes of good maners, chyldren were not committed to an hyrelynge to be taught, but were taughte of the parentes them selues & their kinsfolke, as of their vncles both by father and mother, of the graund­fathers, as Plutarch sayth: For they thought it especially perteyned to the honour of their kynred, if they had very manye excellentlye well seene in liberall knowledge, where as now adayes all nobilitie almost stãdeth in painted & grauen armes, dauncing, huntynge and dicynge. Spurius Carbilius of a bond man made free, whose patron Carbilius brought in the fyrste example of diuorce, is reported to be the fyrste that taught an opẽ grãmer schole. Before thys tyme it was counted a verye vertuous office if euery mã taughte hys kynsefolke in vertue L.iii. and lernyng. Nowe is thys theyr onlye care, to seeke for their chyld a wyfe wyth a good dowrye. That done, they thynke they haue done all that belongeth to a father. But as the world is alwayes redy to be worse and worse, dayntines hathe perswaded vs to comune this office to a tuter that is one of our householde, and a gentleman is put to be taught of a seruaunte. In whyche thynge in deede, if we wolde take heede whom we chose, the ieopardy were so muche the lesse, because the teacher liued not only in ye fathers syght, but also wer vnder hys power if he dyd amysse. They that wer very wyse, either bought lerned seruauntes, or prouided they myghte be lerned, that they myghte be teachers to their children. But howe muche wyser were it, if the parents wolde get lernyng for thys entent, that they them selues myght teach theyr owne chyldren. Verelye by thys meanes the profite wolde be double, as the cõmoditie is double if the Byshoppe shewe hym selfe a good man, to the entente he maye || encourage very many to the loue of vertue. Thou wyle saye; euerye mã hath not leasure, and they be lothe to take so greate payne. But go to good syr, Lette vs caste wyth oure selfe howe muche tyme wee lose at dice, bankettynge, and beholdynge gaye syghtes, and playinge wyth fooles, and I weene wee shall bee ashamed, to saye wee lacke leasure to that thynge whych oughte to be done, all other set asyde. We haue tyme sufficiente to do all we shoulde do, if we bestowe it so thriftelye as we shulde do. But the daye is short to vs, whẽ we lose the greater part thereof. Consider thys also, howe greate a porcion of tyme is geuen now and then to the foelyshe busines of our friendes. If we can not do as they all wolde haue vs, verelye wee oughte chiefely to regarde our chyldren. What payne refuse we to leaue vnto oure chyldren a ryche patrimonye and well stablished: and to get that for them whiche is better then all this, shulde it yrke vs to take laboure? namelye L.iiii. when naturall loue and the profite of them whyche be mooste deareste vnto vs, maketh sweete al the grief and payne. If that were not, when wolde the mothers beare so longe tediousenes of chyldbyrth and nursyng. He loueth his sonne lyghtlye whych is greued to teache hym. ¶ But the manner to enstructe them was the more easy to them in olde tyme, because the learned and vnlearned people spake all one tong, saue that the learned spake more truelye, more elegantly, more wiselye, and more copiouselye. I confesse that, and it were a very shorte way to learnynge, if it were so nowe a dayes. And there haue bene some that haue gone aboute to renewe and brynge again those olde examples, and to doo as those olde fathers haue done afore tyme, as in Phrisia, Canterians, in Spayne Queene Elisabeth the wyfe of Fardinandus, out of whose familye there haue come forthe verye manye womenne bothe meruey­louselye well learned and verteouse. || Emong the englishe men, it greued not the ryght worshypful Thomas More, although beyng much occupyed in the kynges matters, to be a teacher to hys wyfe, daughters, and sonne, fyrste in vertue, and after to knowledge of Greke and Latine. Verely this ought to be done in those that we haue apoynted to learnynge. Neyther is there anye ieopardie that they shulde be ignoraunt in the peoples tonge, for thei shall learne that whether they wyl or not by companye of men. And if there be none in oure house that is lerned, anon we shulde prouide for some cunnyng man, but tryed both in maners and lernyng. It is a folyshe thyng to make a profe in thy sone, as in a slaue of litle value, whether hys teacher be learned or not, and whether he bee a good man that thou haste gotten hym or not. In other thinges pardon may be geuen to negligence, but here thou muste haue as manye eyes as Argus had, and muste be as vigilant as is possible. They say: a man maye not twyse do a faute in war: || here it is not laweful to do once amisse. Moreouer the soner the child shall be set to a master, so much shal hys brynginge vp come the better to passe. I knowe some men fynde thys excuse, that it is ieopardy lest the labour of studies make ye good health of the tender bodye weaker. Here I myght ensure, yt althoughe the strength of the bodye wer sumwhat taken awaye, that thys incõmoditie is well recompensed by so goodly gyftes of the mynd. For we fashion not a wrestler, but a philosopher, a gouernour of the common wealth, to whõ it is sufficient to be healthful, although he haue not the strengthe of Milo: yet do I cõfesse that somewhat we must tender the age, that it maye waxe the more lustye. But there be manye that foolyshely do feare leste their chyldren shulde catche harme by learnynge, whych yet feare not the much greater peryll that cometh of to muche meate, whereby the wyttes of the litle ons no lesse be hurted then bee theyr bodyes by kyndes of meates and drynkes that be not meete for || that age. They brynge theyr lytle children to great and longe feastes, yea feastyng sometyme vntyl farre forth nyghtes, they fyl them wyth salt and hoat meates, somtyme euẽ tyl thei vomite. They bynde in and loade the tender bodies wyth vnhandsome garmentes to set them out, as some trym apes, in mans apparel, and otherwayes they weaken their children, and they neuer more tenderlye be afrayed of their health, then when cõmunication is begon to be had of lernynge, that is of that thynge whych of al other is moste wholesom and necessarye. That whych we haue spoken touchyng health, that same perteineth to the care of hys bewety, whyche as I confesse is not to be lyght set bye, so to carefully to be regarded, is not very meete for a man. A wayward feare for hurting childrẽs bewtye. Neyther do we more weywardlye fear any other thyng then the hurt of it to come by studie, where it is hurt a greate deale more by surfet, dronkennes, vntymelye watchynge, by fyghtyng and woundes, finally by vngracious pockes, which scarse || anie man escapeth that liueth intemperatly. From these thyngs rather let thẽ see they keepe their children then frõ lernyng, whych so carefully take thought for the health and bewtie. Prouisiõ for easinge chyldrens labour Howbeit thys also may be prouided for by our care & diligẽce that ther shuld be very litle labour and therfore litle losse. This shal be if neyther many thyngs, neither euery lyght thynge be taught them when they be yong, but the best only & that be mete for their age, whiche is delighted rather in pleasaũt thynges then in subtile. Secondly, a fayre manoure of teachynge shall cause yt it may seme rather a playe then a labour, for here the age must be beguiled with sweete flattering wordes, which yet cã not tell what fruit, what honour, what pleasure lernyng shall brynge vnto them in tyme to come. And this partly shal be done by the teachers gẽtlenes & curteous behaueour, & partlye by his wit & subtile practise, wherbi he shal deuise diuerse prety meanes to make lerning plesaũt to ye chylde, & pul hym away frõ feling of labour. || For there is nothynge worse then when the waywardnes of the master causeth the children to hate lernyng before they knowe wherefore it shulde be loued. The fyrst degree of lerning, is the loue of the master. In processe of tyme it shall come to passe that the chyld whych fyrst began to loue lernyng for the masters sake, afterwards shall loue the master because of lernyng. For as many giftes are very dere vnto vs euẽ for thys cause, that they come from them whome wee loue hertelye: so lernyng, to whom it can not yet be pleasaunt thorowe discrescion, yet to them it is acceptable for the loue they beare to the teacher. It was very well spoken of Isocrates that he lerneth very much, whych is desirous of lernyng. And we gladlye lerne of them whome we loue. But some be of so vnpleasaunt maners that they can not bee loued, no not of their wyues, theyr countenaũce lowryng, their companye currishe, they seme angrye euen when they be beste pleased, they can not speke fayre, scarse can they laughe when || men laugh vpon them, a man wold saye they were borne in an angrye hour. These men I iudge scant worthye to whome we shulde put oure wylde horses to be broken, muche lesse wuld I thynke that thys tender and almost suckynge age shuld be committed to them. Yet be ther some that thynke that these kynde of men, euen inespecyally worthye to be set to teache yonge chyldren, whylest they thynke their sturdynes in lookynge is holynes. But it is not good trustyng the lookes, vnder that frownynge face lurke oftẽ tymes most vnchaste and wanton maners, neyther is to be spoken amonge honeste men, to what shamefulnes these bouchers abuse chyldren by fearyng them. No nor the parents thẽ selues can well bring vp theyr chyldrẽ, if they be no more but feared. The fyrste care is to be beloued, by lytle and lytle foloweth after, not feare, but a certen liberall and gentle reuerence which is more of value then feare. Howe properly then I praye you be those chyldren prouided for, which being || yet scante foure yere olde are sente to schole, where sytteth an vnknowen scholemaster, rude of manners, not verye sober, and sometyme not well in hys wytte, often lunatike, or hauynge the fallyng sycknes, or frenche pockes? For there is none so vyle, so naughte, so wretched, whome the common people thynketh not sufficiente ynoughe to teache a grammer schole. And thei thynkyng they haue gotten a kingdome, it is marueyle to see howe they set vp the brystels because thei haue rule, not vpon beastes, as sayeth Terence, but vpõ that age whiche ought to be cheryshed wyth all gentlenes. You wolde saye it were not a schole, but a tormentynge place: nothynge is hearde there beside the flappynge vpon the hande, beside yorkynge of roddes, besyde howlynge and sobbinge and cruell threatnynges. What other thynge maye chyldren learne hereof, then to hate learnyng? When this hatered hath once setteled in the tender myndes, yea when they be old they abhorre studye. It is also muche || more foolyshe, that some men sende their lytle chyldren to a pyuyshe dronken woman to learne to reade and wryte. It is agaynste nature that women shulde haue rule vpon menne: besyde that, nothynge is more cruell then that kynde, if they bee moued with anger, as it wyll soone be, and wyll not cease tyll it be full reuenged. Monasteries also, and colleges of brethern, for so they cal them selues, seeke for their liuynge hereof, and in theyr darke corners teache the ignoraunt chyldren commenlye by menne that be but a lytle learned, or rather leudlye learned, althoughe we graunte they bee bothe wyse and honeste. ¶ Thys kynde of teachynge howe so euer other menne alowe it, by my counsell no manne shall vse it, who soeuer entendeth to haue hys child well brought vp. It behoueth that eyther there were no schole, or else to haue it openlye abrode. It is a shorte waye in dede that cõmonlye is vsed: for manye be compelled of one more easelye by feare, that one brought vp of one liberallye. || ¶ But it is no great thynge to beare rule vpon Asses or Swyne, but to brynge vp chyldren liberallye as it is veri hard, so is it a goodly thing. It is tiranny to oppresse citizens by feare, to keepe them in good order, by loue, moderacion and prudence, it is princely. Diogenes beynge taken out of the Agenites, and brought oute to be solde, the cryer axed hym by what title he wolde be set out to the byer. Axe quod he if any wyl bye a man that can rule chyldren. At this straunge prayse manye laughed. One that hadde chyldren at home communed wyth the philosopher, whether he could do in deede that he professed. He sayde he coulde. By shorte communi­cacion he perceyued he was not of the cõmon sorte, but vnder a pore cloke, ther was hydden great wisedome: he bought hym, and brought hym home, & put his chyldrẽ to him to be taught. As ye Scots say, ther be no greater beaters then frenche schole­masters. When they be tolde thereof, they be wonte to answere, that that naciõ euen lyke the Phrigians M.i. is not amẽded but bi stripes. Whether this be true let other mẽ iudge. Yet I graunt that there is some difference in the nacion, but much more in the propertie of euerye seueral wyt. Some you shal soner kyl, then amende wyth stripes: but the same bi loue and gentle monicions you may leade whither ye wyll. Truth it is that of thys disposicion I my selfe was when I was a childe, and when my master whych loued me aboue all other, because he sayd he conceiued a certen great hope of me, toke more heede, watched me well, and at laste to proue howe I could abyde the rod, and laying a faute vnto my charge which I neuer thought of, did beat me, that thinge so put awaye from me all the loue of studie, and so discouraged my chyldyshe mynd, that for sorowe I hadde almost consumed awaye, and in deede folowed therof a quartaine ague. When at laste he had perceiued hys faute, among his friendes he bewailed it. ¶ This wyt (quod he) I had almoste destroyed before I knewe it. For he || was a man both wyttye and well learned, and as I thynke, a good mã. He repẽted him, but to late for my parte. Here nowe (good syr) cõiecture me howe many frowarde wyttes these vnlerned greate beaters do destroye, yet proud in their owne conceite of learnyng, wayeward, dronken, cruel, and that wyl beate for their pleasure: them selues of suche a cruell nature, that they take plesure of other mens tormentes. These kynde of men shuld haue ben bouchers or hangmẽ, not teachers of youth. Neyther do any torment chyldren more cruelly, thẽ they that canne not teache them. ¶ What shulde thei do in scholes but passe the daye in chydyng and beatynge? I knewe a diuine and that familierly, a man of greate name, whych was neuer satisfied wyth crudelity against his scholers, whẽ he him selfe had masters that were very great beaters. He thought yt dyd much helpe to caste downe the fiersnes of their wittes, & tame the wãtonnes of their youth. He neuer feasted amonge hys flocke, but as M.ii. Comedies be wont to haue a mery endyng, so contrary when they had eaten theyr meat, one or other was haled oute to be beaten wyth roddes: and sometime he raged against them that had deserued nothynge, euen because they shuld be accustumed to stripes. I my selfe on a time stode nerre hym, when after diner he called out a boie as he was wõt to do, as I trow ten yere olde. And he was but newe come frome hys mother into that compani. He told vs before that the chyld had a very good woman to hys mother, and was earnestly committed of her vnto hym: anon to haue an occacion to beate hym, he beganne to laye to hys charge I wotte not what wãtonnesse: When the chylde shewed hym selfe to haue nothyng lesse, and beckened to hym to whome he committed the chyefe rule of hys colledge, surnamed of the thynge, a tormentoure, to beate, hym ne by and by caste doune the chylde, and beate hym as thoughe he had done sacrilege. The diuine sayde once or twyse, it is inoughe, it is inoughe. || But that tormentour deaffe with feruentnes, made no ende of his bochery, tyl the chylde was almost in a sounde: Anon the diuine turninge to vs, he hathe deserued nothynge quod he, but that he muste be made lowe. Who euer after that maner hath taught hys slaue, or hys Asse? A gẽtle horse is better tamed with puping of the mouth or softe handlyng, then wyth whyp or spurres. And if you handle hym hard, he wil whynche, he wyll kycke, he wyll byte, and go backwardes. An oxe if you pricke hym to harde wyth godes, wyl caste of his yocke, and run vpon hym that pricked hym. So muste a gentle nature be handled as is the whelpe of a Lion. Onlye arte tameth Elephantes, not violence, neyther is there any beaste so wylde, but that it wyl be tamed by gentlenes, neyther any so tame, but immoderate cruelnes wil anger it. It is a seruyle thynge to be chastened by feare, and common custume calleth chyldren free men, because liberall and gentle bringyng vp becommeth them, much vnlike to seruile. M.iii. Yet they that be wyse do thys rather, that seruantes by gentelnes and benefites leaue of their slauyshe condicions: remẽbryng that they also be men, and not beastes. There be rehearsed meruelous examples of seruauntes toward their masters, whome verely they shulde not haue founde such if they hadde kept them vnder only by strypes. ¶ A seruaunt if he be corrigible is better amended by monicions, by honestie, & good turnes, then by stripes: if he be paste amendmente, he is hardened to extreme mischief and eyther wyll runne awaye and rob hys master, or by some craft go aboute his masters deathe. Sometime he is reuenged on his masters crueltie, thoughe it coste hym his lyfe. And there is no creature more fereful thẽ man, whõ cruell iniurie hathe taught to dispyse his owne lyfe. Therfore the commõ prouerb that sayth a man hath as manye enemies as he hath seruauntes, If it be true, I thynke it may be chiefly imputed to the vnreason­ablenes of the master: for it is a poynte of || arte, and not of chaunce to rule wel seruauntes. And if the wyser masters go aboute thys thynge, so to vse their seruauntes, that thei shuld serue them well and gently, and in stede of seruantes had rather haue them fre men, how shameful is it bi bryngyng vp, to make seruantes of those that be gentle and free by nature? Nor wythout cause dothe the olde manne in the comedie thynke that there is greate difference betwixte a master and a father. The master only compelleth, the father by honestie and gentelnes accustumeth hys sonne, to do well of hys owne mynde, rather then by feare of an other: and that he shulde bee all one in hys presence and behind hys backe. He that can not do this sayth he, lette hym confesse that he can not rule chyldren. But there oughte to be a litle more difference betwyxte a father and the master, then betwixt a kinge and a tirant. Wee putte awaye a tiraunte from the common wealthe, and we chose tirauntes, yea for oure sonnes, eyther we oure selfes exercyse tirannye M.iiii. vpon them. Howebeit thys vyle name of seruitude oughte vtterlye to be taken awaye oute of the lyfe of chrysten menne. Sainte Paule desyreth Philo to bee good to Onesimus, not nowe as a seruaunte, but as a deere brother in steede of a seruaunte. And wrytyng to the Ephesians, he monysheth the masters to remitte theyr bytternesse agaynst theyr seruauntes, and their threatnynges, remembrynge that they are rather felow seruauntes then masters, because they both haue a common master in heauen, whyche as well wyll punyshe the masters if they do amysse, as the seruauntes. The Apostle wolde not haue the masters ful of threatning, muche lesse full of beatynge: for he saythe not, pardonynge your strypes, but pardonynge your threaten­ynges, and yet wee woulde haue oure chyldren nothynge but beaten, whyche scarse the Galeye masters or Sea robbers do agaynste theyr slaues and rowers. But of chyldren, what dothe the same Apostle commaunde vs?
|| ¶ In somuch he wyll not haue them beaten slauyshely, he cõmaundeth all crueltye and bytternes to be awaye from our monicions and chydyng. You fathers saythe he, prouoke not your chyldren to anger, but bring them vp in discipline and chastisyng of the Lorde. And what the discipline of the lorde is, he shal soone se that wyll consider, wyth what gentlenes, what meekenes, what charitie the Lord Iesus hath taught, suffered and noryshed and brought vp by litle and lytle his disciples. The lawes of man do temper the fathers power: the same also permit vnto the seruauntes an accion of euyll handlyng, and from whence then commeth thys crueltye amonge christen men? In time paste one Auxon a knight of Rome, whylest he wente about to amende hys sonne by beatynge hyn vnmesurably, he kylled him. That crueltye so moued the people, that the fathers and chyldren haled hym in to the market place, & al to be pricked hym, thrust him in with theyr wrytyng pinnes, nothynge regarding || the dignitie of his knighthod, and Octauus Augustus had much a do to saue hym. But now a daies howe many Auxons do we see whiche thorowe cruell beatynge, hurte the chyldrens healthe, make them one eyed, weaken them, and sometyme kyll them. Roddes serue not to some mens crueltie, they turne them and beate thẽ wyth the great ende, they geue them buffettes, and stryke the yonge ons wyth their fistes, or whatsoeuer is next at hand they snatche it, and dashe it vpon them. It is told in the lawe, that a certen sowter, when he layd one of hys sowters vpon the hynder parte of the heade wyth a laste, he stroke oute one of hys eyes, and that for that deede he was punyshed by the lawe. What shall we saye of them whyche beside their beatinges, do thẽ shamefull despite also? I wolde neuer haue beleued it, excepte both I had knowen the chylde, and the doer of this crueltie perfitelye.
¶ A chylde yet scante .vii. yere olde, whose honeste parentes had done good to his master, they handled so || cruellye, that scarse anye suche tiraunt as was Mezencius or Phalaris coulde do more cruelly. They caste so much mans donge into the childes mouth yt scarsely he coulde spit, but was cõpelled to swallowe doune a great parte of it. What tiraunt dyd euer suche kynde of despyght? After suche daynties, they exercysed suche lozdelynes. The chylde naked was hanged vp wyth cordes by ye armeholes, as though he hadde bene a stronge thyefe, and there is amonge to Germanes no kynde of punishement more abhorred then thys. Anone as he honge, they all to beat hym wyth roddes, almoste euen tyll deathe. For the more the chylde denyed the thynge that he dyd not, so muche the more dyd they beate hym. Put also to thys, the tormentour hym selfe almoste more to be feared then the verie punyshemente, hys eyes lyke a serpente, hys narowe and wrythen mouth, hys sharpe voyce like a spirite, hys face wanne and pale, hys head roulyng about, threatninges and rebukes suche as they lusted in || theyr anger: a manne wolde haue thought it a furie out of hel. What folowed? anone after this punishement the chyld fel sicke, with great ieopardye both of mynde and lyfe. Then this tormentour began fyrst to complayne, he wrote to hys father to take awaye hys sonne as sone as could be, and that he had bestowed as much phisicke vpon him as he coulde, but in vayne vpon the chylde that was paste remedye. ¶ When the sicknes of the body was somewhat put away by medicines, yet was the minde so astonied, that we feared leste he wold neuer come agayne to the olde strength of hys mynd. Neither was thys ye cruelty of one daye, as longe as the childe dwelte wyth hym there passed no daye but he was cruelly beatẽ once or twise. I know yu suspectest o reader, that it was an haynouse faute, wherunto so cruell remedie was vsed. I wyl shew you in few words. Ther was foũd both of hys yt was beaten, and of two others, theire bookes blotted wyth ynke, their garmentes cutte, and their hose arayed wyth mannes donge.
|| ¶ He that played thys playe was a chylde borne to all myschiefe, whiche by other vngracious deedes afterwardes, made men beleue the other to be true that were done before. And he was nephewe by the systers syde to this mad docter: euẽ then playing a part before to these thyngs whych souldiers are wont to do in bataile or robbynge. At an hostes house of his, he pulled oute the faucet, and let the wyne runne vpõ the ground, and as one to shew a pleasure, he sayde that he felt the sauour of the wyne: wyth an other of hys felowes he daylye played at the sworde, not in sporte, but in earnest, that euen then you myght wel perceyue he wolde be a thyefe or a murtherer, or whych is very lyke to them, that he wolde be an hyred souldier. Although the teacher fauored hym, yet fearynge leste they shulde one kyll an other, he sente awaye his cosen. For he had for that other a good rewarde: and he was of this sorte of gospellers, to whom nothing is more swete then monei. His godfather was made surely to || beleue that the child was wt a good and diligent master, when in deede he dwelte wyth a boucher, & was continually in company, and made drudge with a man that was halfe mad, and continually sicke. Thus fauoringe more his kynseman then hym by whom he had so much profite, the suspicion was layde vpon the harmeles, to whom they ascribed so muche malice that he wolde teare and defile his owne garmentes to auoide suspicion if any suche thyng had bene done. But the child commyng both of good father and mother, dyd neuer shewe any tokẽ of such a naughtie disposicion: and at thys daye there is nothing farther from all malice then are hys maners, whyche nowe free frome all feare telleth all the matter in order as it was donne.
¶ To suche tutors do honest citizens committe their chyldren whome they moste loue, and suche do complayne that they be not wel rewarded for their paynes. And this tormentour wolde not once knoweledge he had done amisse, but had || rather playe the starke mad man, then confesse his faute: and yet agaynst such is not taken an accion of euyll handlyng, neither hath the rigoure of the lawe anye power agaynste suche huge crueltie. There is no anger worse to be pleased thẽ theirs that be lyke to haue the fallynge sycknes. Howe many things be crepte in, into the lyfe of christen men, not meete neither for the Phrigians nor ye Scithians, of ye which I wyl shew one much like this matter. The yong gentlemã is send in to ye vniuersitie to lerne the liberall sciences. But wt how vngentle despightes is he begun in them? Fyrst they rub his chyn, as though they wolde shaue his bearde: hereunto thei vse pisse, or if ther be any fouler thyng. This liquour is dashed into his mouth, & he may not spit it out. Wyth paynfull bobbes they make as though thei drewe hornes from him: sõtime he is cõpelled to drinke a great deale of vinegre or salte, or whatsoeuer it listeth ye wyld cõpany of yong mẽ to geue him: for whẽ they begin the play, thei make him swere yt he shal obey al that they || cõmaund him. At last they hoyse him vp, & dashe his backe against a post as oftẽ as they list. After these so rustical despightes sũtime foloweth an ague or a paine of ye backe yt neuer cã be remedied. Certes this foolishe play endeth in a drõken bãket: wt such beginninges enter they into ye studies of liberal sciences. But it were mete that after this sorte ther shuld begin a boucher, a tormẽtour a baud or a bõde slaue or a botemã, not a child appointed to ye holy studies of lerning. It is a meruel that yong mẽ geuen to liberal studies be mad after this fashiõ, but it is more meruel yt these things be alowed of suche as haue the rule of youth. To so foule & cruel folyshenes is pretẽsed the name of custume, as though the custume of an euil thing wer any thing else thẽ an old errour, whiche ought so much the more diligẽtly to be pulled vp bicause it is crept among many. So cõtinueth amõg the diuines ye maner of a vesper, for they note an euyl thynge wt a like name, more mete for scoffers thẽ diuines. But thei yt professe liberal sciẽces, shuld haue also liberal sports. || But I come againe to chyldren, to whome nothyng is more vnprofitable, then to be vsed to stripes, whiche enormittie causeth that the gẽtle nature is intractable, and the viler driuen to desperacion: and cõtinuaunce of thẽ maketh that both the bodye is hardened to stripes, & the mynd to wordes. Nay we may not oftentymes chyde thẽ to sharplye. A medicine naughtelye vsed, maketh the sickenes worse, helpeth it not, and if it be layde to continuallye, by litle and litle, it ceaseth to be a medicine, and dothe nothinge else then dothe stinkynge and vnwholesome meate. But here some man wyl laye vnto vs the godlye sayings of the Hebrues. He that spareth the rod hateth hys chylde and he that loueth hys sonne, beateth hym muche. Agayne: Bowe downe the necke of thy chylde in youth, and beate hys sydes whyle he is an infante very yonge. Suche chastise­mente peraduenture was meete in tyme paste for the Iewes. Nowe must the sayinge be expounded more ciuilely. And if a man wil N.i. be hard to vs wyth letters and sillables, what is more cruell then to bend the necke of a chyld, & to beat the sides of an infant? woldest thou not beleue that a bull were taught to ye plowgh, or an asse to bear paniars, and not a mã to vertue? And what rewarde doth he promise vs? That he grope not after other mẽnes dores. He is afeard lest his son shulde be poore, as the greateste of all mischiefe. What is more coldly spoken then thys sentence? Let gentle admonicion be oure rodde, and sometyme chydyng also, but sauced wyth mekenes, not bitternes. Let vs vse thys whyp continuallye in our chyldren, yt beyng wel brought vp, they maye haue at home a meanes to lyue well, and not be cõpelled to beg counsell at their neighbours how to do their busines. Licon the philosopher hath shewed .ii. sharpe spurres to quicken vp chyldrens wyttes, shame, and prayse: shame is the feare of a iust reproch, prayse is the norysher of all verteous actes: wyth these prickes lette vs quicken our chyldrens wyttes. || Also if you wyl, I wyl shewe you a club to beate their sides wythall. Continuall labour vanquysheth all thynges sayth the best of al poetes. Let vs wake, let vs prycke thẽ forwardes, & styl call vpon them, by requiringe, repetynge, and often teachyng: Wyth this club let vs beate the sydes of our infantes. Fyrst let them lerne to loue, and maruell at vertue and lernyng, to abhor sinne and ignorance. Let them hear some praysed for theyr well doinges, and some rebuked for their euyl. Let examples be brought in of those men to whom lernyng hath gottẽ hygh glorye, ryches, dignitie, and authoritie. And againe of them to whom their euyll condicions & wyt wythout all lernyng hath brought infamie, contempt, pouertye and myschiefe. These verely be the clubbes meete for christians, that make disciples of Iesu. Emulacion is an enuye wythout malice, for desire to be as good as an other, & to be as much praysed. And if we cã not profite by monicions, nor prayers, neyther by emulacion, nor shame, nor prayse, nor by other meanes, euen the chastenyng wt the rod, if it so require, ought to be gentle & honeste. N.ii. For euen thys that the bodies of gẽtle children shulde be made bare, is a kind of despice. Howbeit Fabius vtterly cõdemneth al ye custume to beate gentle chyldrẽ. Some mã wil saye, what shall be done to them if they can not be driuen to study but by stripes? I answer roũdly, what wold ye do to asses or to oxen if thei went to schole? Woldest thou not driue them in to the contrey, & put the one to the backhouse, the other to the plowe. For there be men as well borne to the plowe and to the backehouse, as oxen and asses be. But they wyll saye: then decreseth my flocke. What then? Yea and myne aduauntage to. Thys is an harde matter: thys maketh them to weepe. They set more money then by the profite of the chyldren. But suche are all the cõmon sorte of folyshe teachers. I graunte. As the philosophers describe a wyse mã, ye rethoricians an oratour, such one as scarse maye be foũd in anye place: So muche more easye it is to prescribe what manner of man a scholmaster shuld be, thẽ to find many yt wil be as you wold haue thẽ. || Ciuile officers and prelates shuld se that ther wer good schole masters. ¶ But this oughte to be a publyque care and charge, and belongeth to the ciuyle officer, and chyef prelats of the churches that as ther be men appointed to serue in war, to singe in churches, so muche more there shulde be ordeined that shuld teach citizens chyldren well and gently. Vespasian. Vespasianus oute of hys owne cofers gaue yerely sixe hũdred poũde to Latine and Greke rethoricians. Plinie. Plinie the nephew of his owne liberalitie bestowed a great sũme of money to the same purpose. And if the comẽty in thys poynt be slacke, certenly euerye man ought to take hede at home for his owne house. ¶ Thou wylt saye: what shall poore men do which can scarse fynd their chyldren, muche lesse hyre a master to teache them? Here I haue nothynge to saye, but thys out of the comedie: We muste do as we maye do, when we can not as we wolde. We do shewe the beste waye of teachynge, we be not able to geue fortune: Saue that here also the liberalitie of ryche men ought to helpe good wyttes, whych can not shewe N.iii. forthe the strength of naturall inclinacion because of pouertye. Pouertie hurteth good wittes. I wyll that the gentlenes of the master shulde be so tempered, that familiaritie, the companion of contempte, put not away honeste reuerence, suche one as men say Sarpedo was, tutour to Cato of Vtica, which thorowe hys gentle maners gat greate loue, and by hys vertue as lyke authoritie, causynge the chylde to haue a greate reuerence, and to set much by him wythout anye feare of roddes. But these yt can do nothynge elles but beate, what wolde they do if they had taken vpon them to teache Emperoures or kynges chyldren, whome it were not lefull to beate? They wyll saye that greate mens sonnes muste be excepted from thys fashion. What is that? Be not the chyldren of citizens, men as well as kynges chyldren be? Shulde not euerye manne as wel loue hys chylde as if he wer a kynges sonne? If his estate be sũwhat base, so much the more neede hath he to be taught, and holpen by lernynge, that he maye come vp, || from his pore case. But if he be of hye degre, philosophy & lernyng is necessary to gouerne hys matters well. Further not a fewe be called frome lowe degre to hye estate, yea sometyme to be great byshops. All men come not to thys, yet oughte al men to be brought vp to come to it. I wil braule no more with these greate beaters, after I haue tolde you this one thing: How that those lawes & officers be condemned of wyse men, whych can no more but feare men wyth punyshement, & do not also entyse men by rewardes: and the whych punyshe fautes, and prouide not also yt nothyng be done worthy punishmẽt. The same must be thought of the cõmon sort of teachers, whych only beate for fautes, and do not also teache ye mynd that it do not amysse. They straitlie require their lesson of them: if the chylde fayle, he is beaten: and whẽ this is done daily because the child shuld be more accustumed to it, thei thinke they haue plaied the part of a gaye scholemaster. But the chyld shulde fyrste haue ben encoraged to N.iiii. loue lernyng, and to be afeared to displease hys teacher. But of these thynges peraduenture some man wyl thynke I haue spoke to much & so myght I worthely be thought, except that almoste all men dyd in this poynte so greatly offende, that hereof a mã cã neuer speke inough. Furthermore it wyll helpe verye muche, if he that hathe taken vpon hym to teache a chylde, so sette hys mynd vpon hym, that he bear a fatherly loue vnto hym. By thys it shall come to passe, yt both the child wil lerne more gladly, & he shal fele lesse tediousnes of his laboure. A sentence to be marked. For in euery busines loue taketh away ye greatest part of hardnes. And because after the olde prouerbe: Lyke reioyseth in lyke, ye master muste in maner play the childe againe, that he may be loued of the chylde. Yet this lyketh me not, yt men set theyr children to be taught their fyrst beginnings of letters vnto those that be of extreme and dotyng olde age, for they be chyldren in verye deede, they fayne not, they coũterfait not, stuttinge, but stutte in deede.
|| ¶ I wolde wyshe to haue one of a lustye yonge age, whome the chylde myght delyght in, and which wold not be lothe to playe euerye parte. A lykenynge of schole­masters and nurses together. Thys man shulde do in fashionyng hys wytte, that parentes and nurses be wont to do in formynge the bodye. Howe do they fyrst teache the infante to speake lyke a man? They applye their wordes by lyspyng accordyng to the chyldes tatlynge. How do they teach them to eat? They chaw fyrst their milke soppes, and when they haue done, by lytle & litle put it in to the chyldes mouthe. Howe do they teache thẽ to go? They bowe downe their owne bodies, and drawe in theyre owne strides after the measure of the infantes. Neyther do they fede them wyth euerye meate, nor putte more in then they bee able to take: and as they increase in age, they leade them to bigger thinges. First they seeke for noryshemente that is meete for them, not differyng much frõ mylke, whych yet if it be thrust into the mouthe to muche, either it choketh the chylde, or beynge caste || oute defileth hys garmente. When it is softelye and pretelye put in, it doth good. Whych selfe thynge we se cõmeth to passe in vesselles that haue narowe mouthes: if you pour in muche, it bubbleth out agayne, but if you powre in a litle, and as it were by droppes, in deede it is a whyle, and fayre and softely erste, but yet then fylled. The fedyng of the bodye and mynd cõpared together. So then as by small morsels, and geuen now and then, the lytle tender bodies are noryshed: in lyke manner chyldrens wyttes by instruccions meete for them taught easely, and as it were by playe by lytle & litle accustume thẽ selues to greater thyngs: & the wearynesse in the meane season, is not felte, because that small encreasynges so deceyue the felynge of labour, that neuer­thelesse they helpe much to great profite. As it is told of a certen wrestler, whych, accustumed to beare a calfe by certein furlonges, bare hym whẽ he was waxen a bull, wythoute anye payne: for the encrease was not felt, whych euerye daye was put to the burden. But there be some that looke that || chyldren shulde strayghtwaye become olde men, hauyng no regarde of their age, but measure the tender wittes, by theyr owne strengthe. ¶ Straightway they call vpon them bytterly, straightway they straitly require perfect diligence, by and by they frowne wyth the forhead if the childe do not as wel as he wold haue hym, and they bee so moued as thoughe they had to do wyth an elder body, forgettyng you maye be sure yt they thẽ selues wer once children. How much more curteouse is it that Pliny warneth a certen master that was to sore. Remember saythe he, that bothe he is a yonge man, and that thou hast ben one thi selfe. But many be so cruel against the tender chyldren, as though thei remẽbred not neyther them selues, neyther their scolers to be menne. What things lytle yonge chyldrẽ shold be fyrste taughte. Thou woldest that I shulde shewe the those thynges that be meete for the inclinaciõ of that age, and whiche shuld by and by be taughte the lytle yongons. Fyrst the vse of tonges whych commeth to them without any greate studye, ther as olde || folkes can scarse be hable to learne them wyth great labour. Chyldren desyre naturally to folow & do as other do. And here to as we sayde, moueth the chyldrẽ a certen desyre to folowe and do as they se other do: of the which thing we see a certen lyke fashion in pies and popiniayes. What is more delectable then the fabels of poetes, which wyth their swete entisynge plesures to delight childrens eares that thei profite vs very much whẽ we be olde also, not only to ye knowledge of the tong, but also to iudgement and copye of elegant speche? What wyll a chyld hear more gladlye then Esops fabels, whyche in sporte and playe teache earnest preceptes of philosophy? and the same fruite is also in the fabels of other poetes. The chylde heareth that Vlisses felowes were turned into swyne, and other fashions of beastes. The tale is laughed at, and yet for al that he lerneth that thing that is the chiefest poynte in al morall philosophye: Those whyche be not gouerned by ryght reason, but are caried after the wyll of affeccions, not to be men, but beastes. || ¶ What coulde a stoycke saye more sagely? and yet dothe a merye tale teache the same. In a thynge that is manifest I wyll not make the tarye with many exãples. Bucolicall, where ye herdmen do speke of nete and shepe. Also what is more mery conceited thẽ the verses called Bucolicall? what is sweter then a comedie, whych standing by morall maners, deliteth bothe the vnlearned and chyldren? And heare how great a parte of philosophye is lerned by playe? Adde vnto thys the names of all thynges, in the whych it is meruell to see howe now a dayes, yea euẽ they be blind which are taken for wel lerned mẽ. Finally, shorte and mery conceited sentences, as commonly be prouerbes, and quicke shorte sayinges of noble men, in the whiche onlye in tyme paste philosophie was wonte to be taught to the people. Ther appeareth also in the very chyldren a certen peculier redines to some sciences, as vnto musicke, arithmetique, or cosmographie. For I haue proued that they whych were very dull to lerne the preceptes of grammer and rethorique, were found verye || apte to lerne the subtile artes. Nature therfore must be holpen to that parte wherunto of it selfe it is inclined. And down the hyll is very litle labour, as contrary is great. Thou shalt nether do nor saye anye thynge agaynst thy naturall inclinacion. I knewe a child that could not yet speake whych had no greater pleasure, than to open a booke, and make as thoughe he read. And when he dyd that sometyme many houres, yet was he not weery. And he neuer wept so bitterli, but if you had offered hym a booke, he wolde be pleased. That thynge made hys friendes hope that in time to come he wolde be a well lerned manne. His name also brought some good lucke: for he was called Hierome. That is a teacher of holye lernynge. And what he is now I can not tel, for I sawe hym not beynge growẽ vp. To the knowledge of the tonge it wyll helpe verye muche if he be broughte vp amonge them that be talkatiue. Fabels and tales wyll the chylde lerne so muche the more gladly, and remember the better, if he maye see before his eyes the || argumentes properly paynted, and what soeuer is tolde in the oracion be shewed him in a table.* The same shall helpe as much to lerne without boke the names of trees, herbs, and beastes, and also their properties, inespecially of these whych be not common to be seene in euerye place, as is Rhinoceros, whyche is a beaste that hathe a horne in hys nose, naturall enemye to the Elephant: Tragelaphus, a goate hart, Duocrotalus, a byrd lyke to a swã, whyche puttyng hys head into the water brayeth lyke an asse, an asse of Inde and an Elephant. The table maye haue an Elephant whom a Dragon claspeth harde aboute, wrapping in his former feete with his tayle. The litle chyld laugheth at the syght of thys straunge paintynge, what shall the master do then? He shall shewe him that ther is a greate beaste called in Greeke an Elephante, and in Latine lykewyse, saue that sometyme it is declined after the latine fashion. He shall shewe, that that whyche the grekes cal proboscida, or his snout, || the latines call his hande, because wyth that he reacheth hys meate. He shall tell hym that that beaste doth not take breath at the mouthe as we do, but at the snoute: & that he hath teth standyng out on bothe sides, and they be iuory, which rich mẽ set much price by, and therwith shal shew hym an iuory combe. Afterwardes he shall declare that in Inde ther be dragons as greate as they. And that dragon is bothe a greke worde and a latine also, saue that the grekes says dracontes in the genitiue case. He shall shewe that naturallie betwyxte the dragons and the Elephantes is great fyghte. And if the chylde be somewhat gredy of learnynge, he maye rehearse manye other thynges of the nature of Elephantes and dragons. Manye reioyse to see huntinges paynted. Here howe manye kyndes of trees, hearbes, byrdes, foure footed beastes maye he lerne and playe? I wyll not holde you longe wyth examples, seynge it is easye by one to coniecture all. || ¶ The master shall be diligent in chosynge them oute, and what he shall iudge moste pleasaunt to chyldren, most mete for them, what they loue best, and is most floryshyng, that inespecially let hym set before them. The fyrste age lyke vnto the spring tyme, standeth in pleasaunt sweete flowres, and goodly grene herbes, vntyl the heruest time of ripe mans age fyll the barne full of corne. ¶ Then as it were agaynst reason in ver or springe tyme to seeke for a rype grape, and a rose in autumne, Autumne is the tyme betwyxt somer and wynter. so muste the master marke what is mete for euerye age. Mery and plesaunte thynges be conueniente for chyldehod, howbeit all sourenesse and sadnes muste be cleane awaye from all studies. The meaning of ye poetes deuise touching the muses & Charites. And I am deceyued except the olde men ment that also, whyche ascribed to the muses beynge virgins, excellent bewtye, harpe, songes, daunses, and playes in the pleasaunt fieldes, and ioyned to them as felowes the Ladies of loue: and that increase of studies dyd stande specially in mutual loue of myndes, and therefore the olde O.i. men called it the lernyng that perteined to man. And ther is no cause why profite maye not folowe pleasure, and honestie ioyned to delectacion. Wherfore lernyng is called humanitie For what letteth that they shulde not lerne eyther a proper fable, arte of poets, or a sentence, or a notable prety hystorie, or a learned tale, as well as they lerne and can wythout boke a piuyshe songe, and oftẽtimes a baudy one to, & folishe old wiues tatlynges, & very trifles of triflyng womẽ? What a sũme of dreames, vaine ryddels, and vnprofitable trifles of spirites, hobgoblines, fayries, witches, nightmares wood men and gyauntes, how manye naughty lies, how many euyll sayings remember wee, yea euen when we be men, whych beyng lytle chyldrẽ we lerned of our dadies, graũdmothers, nurses, & maydens whyle they were spynnynge, and heard thẽ when they kissed & plaied wyth vs? And what a profite shuld it haue bene to lernynge, if in stede of these moste vaine garringes, not only folyshe, but also hurtfull, wee had lerned those thynges that we || rehearsed a litle before. Thou wylt saye, what lerned man wyll lowly hys wyt to these so small thynges? Yet Aristotle hym selfe beynge so greate a philosopher was not greued to take vpon hym the office of a teacher, to instruct Alexander. ¶ Chiron fashioned the infancy of Achilles, and Phenix succeded hym. Hely the priest brought vp ye childe Samuell. And ther be now a daies whych eyther for a lytle money, or for theyr plesure take almost more payne in teachyng a pye or a popiniay. There be some that for deuocions sake take vpon them iourneys that both be farre of and ieoperdeous, and other laboures besyde almost intollerable. Why dothe not holynes cause vs to do thys office seynge nothyng can please god better? Howbeit in teachinge those thynges that we haue rehearsed, the master must neyther be to much callyng vpon, neither to sharpe: but vse a continuaunce rather then be wythout measure. Continuaunce hurteth not so it be mesurable, & spiced also wyth varietie and plesaũtnes. Finally if these thynges be so O.ii. taught, that imaginaciõ of labour be awaye, and that the chylde do thynk al thinges be done in playe. Here the course of our talkyng putteth vs in remẽbraunce briefely to shewe by what meanes it maye be brought to passe that lernyng shuld waxe swete vnto the chylde, How learnyng may be made swete vnto ye chyld. which before we somwhat touched. To be able to speake redely, as I told you is easely gotten by vse. After thys cõmeth the care to reade and write whych of it selfe is somwhat tedious, but the griefe is taken awaye a great parte by the cũnyng handling of the master, if it be sauced wt some pleasaunt allurementes. For you shall fynde some whych tarye long and take great paine in knowyng & ioynynge their letters & in those fyrst rudimẽtes of grammer, whẽ they wyl quyckely lerne greater thyngs. The yrksõnes of these thinges must be holpẽ by some pretie craft, of the which ye old fathers haue shewed certẽ fashions. Some haue made the letters in sweete crustes and cakes that chyldren loue well, that so in manner they myghte eate vp their letters. || ¶ When they tell the letters name, they geue the letter it selfe for a rewarde. Other haue made the fashion of iuorie, that the chylde shulde playe wyth them, or if there were any other thyng wherin that age is specially delited. The practise of a certen englishe man to teache hys chyld hys letters by shootyng. The englyshe mẽ delyte principally in shotynge, and teache it their chyldren fyrst of all: wherefore a certen father that had a good quicke wyt perceiuinge his sonne to haue a greate pleasure in shotyng, bought hym a prety bowe & very fayr arrowes, & in al partes both of hys bowe & arrowes were letters painted. Afterwards insted of markes, he set vp the fashiõ of leters, fyrste of Greke, and after of latẽ: when he hyt, & tolde the name of the letter, besyde a greate reioysinge, he had for a reward a cherye, or some other thynge that chyldrẽ delyte in. Of that playe commeth more fruite, if two or thre matches playe together. For then the hope of victorie and feare of rebuke maketh them to take more heede, and to be more chereful. By thys deuise it was broughte aboute that the O.iii. chylde wythin a fewe days playing, had perfitely lerned to know & sound all hys letters whych ye cõmõ sort of teachers be scarse able to brynge to passe in thre whole yeres whyth their beatynges threatyngs, and brawlynges. Yet do not I alowe the diligence of some to painful, whych drawe out these thyngs by playinge at chesses or dyce. For when the playes them selues passe the capacitie of chyldren, how shal they lerne the letters by them? ¶ This is not to helpe the chyldrens wyttes, but to put one labour to an other. As there be certen engins so full of worke and so curious, that they hynder the doynge of the busines. Of thys sorte commonly be all those thynges whych some haue deuised of the arte of memorye for to gette money, or for a vayne boastynge, rather then for profite: for they do rather hurte the memorye. The beste craft for memmorie. The best crafte for memorie, is thorowlye to vnderstande, and then to brynge into an order, last of al oftẽ to repete that thou woldest remember. And in litleons there is a natural || great desyre to haue the mastry inespecially of suche as be of lustye courage, and lyuely towardnes. ¶ The teacher shall abuse these inclinacions to the profite of hys study. If he shall profite nothing by prayers, and fayre meanes, neyther by gyftes mete for chyldren, nor prayses, he shal make a contencion with hys equales. Hys felowe shall be praysed in the presẽce of the duller. Desyre to be as good shall quicken forwardes, whom only adhortacion coulde not do. Yet it is not meete so to geue the mastrie to the victor, as thoughe he shulde haue it for euer: but somtime he shall shewe hope to hym that is ouercome, that by takyng hede he may recouer ye shame: whych thynge capteyns be wonte to dooe in batayle. And sometyme we shall suffer that the chyld shuld thynke he hadde gotten the better, when he is worse in deede. Finally by enter­chaungyng, prayse and disprayse, he shall noryshe in them, as Hesiodus sayth, a stryfe who shall do best. Perchaunce one of a sadde wyt wyl be loth so to play the child O.iiii. among chyldren. And yet the same is not greued, neyther yet ashamed to spende a greate parte of the day in playing wyth little puppies and marmesettes, or to babble wyth a pie or popiniay, or to play the foole wyth a foole. By these tryfles, a verye sadde matter is broughte to passe, and it is meruell that good men haue litle pleasure herein, seeing yt natural loue of our children, and hope of great profit is wunt to make those thynges also pleasaũte, whyche of them selues be sharpe, sowre and bytter. I confesse that the preceptes of grammer be at the beginnynge somewhat sowre, and more necessary then pleasant. But the handsomnes of the teacher shal take from them also a greate parte of the payne. The beste thynge and playnest muste be taughte fyrste. ¶ But nowe wyth what compasses, and hardenesse be chyldren troubeled whyle they learne wythout the booke the names of the letters before they knowe what manner letters they bee?
|| ¶ Whyle they be compelled in the declinynge of nownes and verbes to can by roote in howe manye cases, moodes and tenses one worde is put: as muse in the genetiue and datiue singuler, the nominatiue and vocatiue plurel? Legeris of legor, and of legerim, and legero? What a beatyng is thẽ in the schole, whẽ chyldren be axed these thynges? ¶ Some light teachers to boast their lerynge are wonte of purpose to make these thynges somewhat harder. Whyche faute maketh the beginnynges almost of all sciences in doute, and paynfull, specially in logicke. And if you shewe them a better waye, they answere they were brought vp after thys fashion, and wyll not suffer that anye chyldren shulde be in better case, then they them selues were when they were chyldren. All difficultye eyther therefore muste be auoided, whyche is not necessarye, or that is vsed oute of tyme. It is made softe and easy, that is done whẽ it shuld be. But when tyme is, that of necessitie an harde doute muste be learned, || than a cunnynge teacher of a childe shall studye as muche as he may to folowe the good and frendlye Phisicians, A good schol master in teachyng, muste folow a phisicion in medicines. whych whan they shalt gyue a bytter medicyne do anoyut, as Lucrecius faith, the brimmes of their cuppes with honye, that the chylde entised by pleasure of the swetenes shuld not feare the wholesome bytternes, or else put suger into ye medicine it selfe, or some other swete sauoryng thynge. Yea they wyl not be knowen that it is a medicine, for the only imaginacion sometyme maketh vs quake for feare. Finally thys tediousenes is sone ouercome, if things be taught them not to much at once, but by lytle and litle, and at sundrie times. Howebeit we ought not to distrust to much chyldrens strength, if perhaps they muste take some paines. A chyld is not myghty in strength of bodye, but he is stronge to continue, and in abilitie strong inough. He is not myghty as a bull, but he is strong as an emet. Note the sentence. In some thinges a flye passeth an elephant. Euerye thyng is mighty in that, to the || whyche nature hathe made hym. Do we not se tender chyldren rũne merueylouse swyftlye all the daye long, and feele no werinesse. What is the cause? Because playe is fitte for that age, and they imagine it a playe and no labour. And in euerye thynge the gretest part of payne is imaginacion, whych somtyme maketh vs feele harme, when there is no harme at all. Therefore seynge that the prouidence of nature hath taken awaye imaginacion of laboure from chyldren, And howe muche they lacke in strengthe, so muche they be holpen in thys part, that is, that they feele not labour, It shal be the masters parte, as we sayde before, to put away the same by as many wayes as he can, and of purpose to make a playe of it. ¶ There be also certen kindes of sportes meete for chyldren, wherwyth theyr earnest studye must somwhat be eased after they be come to that, they muste lerne those higher thynges whyche can not be perceiued wythoute diligence and laboure: as are the handling of Themes, to || turne latine into Greeke, or greeke into latine, or to learne cosmographie wythout booke. But moste of all shall profite, if the chylde accustume to loue and reuerence hys master, to loue and make muche of learnyng, to feare rebuke, and delyght in prayse. The last obieccion touching the profit of ye chyld in his young yeres. There remayneth one doute, wonte to be obiected by those whych saye: The profite that the chylde getteth in those thre or foure yeres to be so lytle, that it is not worthe the laboure, eyther to take so muche payne in teachynge, or bestowe so much coste. And these in dede seme vnto me, not so muche to care for to profite the chyldren, as for the sparyng of theyr money, or the teachers labour. But I wyl saye he is no father, whyche when the matter is of teaching his child, taketh so greate care for expenses. Also it is a folyshe pitie, to thintent the master shuld saue his labour, to make his sonne lose certen yeres. I graunt it to be true indede yt Fabius sayth, yt more good is done in .i. yere after, then in these .iii. or .iiii. why shuld we set light by this litle yt is won in a thyng far more precious. || Let vs graunt that it is but a very lytle, yet were it better the chylde to do it, then eyther nothyng at al, or lerne somewhat that after muste be vnlerned. Wyth what businesse shall that age be better occupied as sone as he beginneth to speake, whiche in no wyse can be vnoccupied? Also how lytle soeuer it be that the former age doth bringe, yet shal the chylde lerne greater thynges, euen in the same yeres, when smaller shuld haue ben lerned, if he had not lerned them before. Thys sayth Fabius, euery yere furthered and increased profiteth to a great summe and as much tyme as is taken before in the infancie, is gotten to the elder age. It nedeth not to rehearse that in those first yeres certen thinges be easely lerned, which be more hard to be lerned whẽ we be elder. For it is very easely lerned, that is lerned in time conueniente. Let vs graunt that they be small and litle thynges, so we confesse them to be necessarye. Yet to me in deede it semeth not so litle a furtheraunce to lerning to haue gotten though not || a perfit knowledge, yet at the least waye a taste of bothe the tongues, besydes so many vocables and names of thinges, and finally to haue begun to be able to reade and write prõptly. It greueth vs not in thinges much more vile, to gette all the vauntage we can, be it neuer so lytle. A diligente marchaunt setteth not light bi winning of a farthing, thinkyng thus in hys mynde: it is in dede of it selfe but a litle, but it groweth to a summe, and a litle often put to a lytle, wyll quyckelye make a great heape. The Smithes ryse before daye, to wyn as it were parte of the day. Husband men vpon the holy daye do some thynges at home, to make an ende of more worke the other dayes. And do we regarde as nothyng the losse of .iiii. yeres in oure chyldren, when there is nothyng more costly then tyme, nor no possession better thẽ lerning? It is neuer lerned tymely inoughe that neuer is ended. For we muste euer learne as longe as we lyue. ¶ And in other thyngs the lucre that is loste by slackenes, maye be recouered || by diligence. Time whẽ it is once flowen awaye (and it flyeth awaye very quickely) may be called againe by no inchaunt­mentes. For the poets do trifle whyche tell of a fountayne, wherby olde men do as it were waxe yong agayne: and the phisicions deceiue you, whych promise a gay floryshyng youth to old men thorowe a certeyn folishe fyft essence I wote not what. Here therfore we ought to be verye sparyng, because the losse of tyme may by no meanes be recouered. Beside this the fyrst part of our lyfe is coũted to be best, and therfore shuld be bestowed more warelye. Hesiodus aloweth not sparynge, neyther at the hyest, nor at the lowest, because when the tunne is full it semeth to hasty, and to late when it is spente: and therefore byddeth vs spare in the myddes. But of tyme we muste nowher cast away the sparing, and if we shuld spare when the tunne is ful for thys cause that wyne is best in the myddest, then shulde we most of all saue our yonge yeres, because it is the best parte of the life, if you || exercise it, but yet yt goeth swyftest awaye. The husbande manne if he be anye thynge diligente, wyll not suffer anye parte of hys lande to lye vacante, and that that is not meete to brynge forthe corne, he setteth it eyther wyth yonge graffes, or leaueth it to pasture, or storeth it wyth potte hearbes. And shall we suffer the beste parte of our lyfe to passe awaye wyth oute all fruite of lerning? Newe falowed ground must be preuented wyth some fruitfull thynge, leste beynge vntylled, it brynge forthe of it selfe naughty cockle. For needes muste it brynge forthe somewhat. Lykewyse the tender mynde of the infante, except it bee strayghte wayes occupyed wyth fruitefull teachynges, it wyl be ouercoued wyth vyce. An earthen potte wyll keepe longe the sauoure of the liquore that it is fyrste seasoned wyth, and it wyll be long or it go out. But as for an earthen vessell beynge newe and emptye, you maye keepe it for what liquore ye wyll.
|| ¶ The mynde eyther bryngeth forth good fruite, if you caste into it good seede, or if ye regard it not, it is fylled wyth naughtines, whych afterwardes must be pulled vp. And not a litle hath he wonne whyche hathe escaped the losse, neyther hathe he brought small helpe to vertue, whiche hath excluded vyce. But what nede many wordes? Wylt thou see howe muche it auayleth, whether one be brought vp in learnynge or not? Beholde how excellently lerned in the olde tyme men were in their youth, and how in oure daies they that be aged be hable to do nothyng in studie? Ouide. Ouide beyng a verye yonge man wrot hys verses of loue. What olde man is hable to do lyke? Lucane. What maner of man Lucane was in hys youth hys workes declare. Howe came thys? Because that beynge but .vi. moneths old he was brought to Rome, & strayght waie deliuered to be taught of two the best gramarians, Palemõ, and Cornutus. Bassus. Hys companions in studye were Salcius Bassus, and Aulus Persius: Persius. that one excellente in P.i. historye, that other in a Satyre.

Doubtles hereof cam that most perfite knoweledge that he had in all the seuen sciences, & his so marueylous eloquence, that in verse he was both an excellente oratoure, & also a Poet. In thys our time ther wãteth not exemples of good bringing vp (although thei be veri few) & yt as wel in womẽ as mẽ. Politiã praised ye wit of ye maidẽ Cassãdra. ¶ And what is more marueylous thã Vrsinus a childe of .xii. yeres olde? for the remẽbraunce of him, he also in a very eligãte epistle put in eternall memorye. How fewe men shal you nowe fynd, whiche at one time be able to endite two epistles to so manye notaries, that the sẽtence in euerye one do agree, and that there shoulde happen no incon­ueniente speache. That chylde did it in fyue epistles & gaue the argumentes wtout any study, & was not prepared afore hãd to do it. Some men when they se these things, thinking that thei passe al mens strength, ascribe it to witchcraft. It is done in dede by witchcrafte, but it is an effectual || enchaũting, to be set in time to a learned, good, and vigilant master. It is a stronge medicine to learne the best things of learned men, and emonge the learned.

Alexander. By such wytchcrafte Alexander the greate, whan he was a yonge man, besides eloquence, was perfit in al the parts of Philosophie, and except the loue of warres, & swetenes to raygne had quite raught away his inclinaciõ, he might haue bene counted the chiefe among the beste Philosophers. By the same meanes Caius Cesar beinge but a yonge man, was so eloquent & wel sene in the mathematical sciences. So well sene also were many Emperors: Marcus Tullius, also Virgil, and Horace in their lusty youth were so excellent in learninge and Eloquence, all bycause they were strayght waye in their tender age learned of their parentes & nourses the elegancy of the tonges, and of the beste maisters the liberal sciences: as Poetry, Rhetorique, Histories, the knowledge of antiquities, Arithmetique, Geographye, P.ii. Philosophye, moral and political. And what do we I praye you? wee kepe our children at home till they be past fourtene or fiftene yere old, and whan they be corrupted wyth idlenes, ryot, & delicatenes, with muche worke at the laste we sende them to the cõmen scholes. There to further ye matter wel, they taste a little grammer: after, whan they can declyne words, & ioyne the adiectiue and the substãtiue togither, they haue learned al the grammer, and thã be set to that troubled Logike, wher they must forget againe if they haue learned to speake anie thynge well. But more vnhappye was the tyme whan I was a child whiche al to vexed the youth with modes of signifiinge, and other folyshe questions, & teching nothinge els then to speake folishelye. Verely those masters bicause they wold not be thought to teach folish thinges, darckened grammer wyth difficulties of Logike and Metaphisike: euen for this verelye, that afterwardes they shold returne backwardelye to learne grammer, whã || they were olde, which we see happeneth nowe to some diuines that be wyser, that after so manye hye degrees and all their titles, wherby they maye be ignoraunte in nothing, they be faine to come againe to those bookes, which are wonte to be reade vnto children. I blame thẽ not, for it is better to lerne late then neuer, that thing which is necessary to be knowen.

Good Lorde what a world was that, whan wyth greate boastynge Iohn Garlandes verses wer read to yonge men, and that with longe and painefull commentaries? whã a greate parte of tyme was consumed in folyshe verses, in saying thẽ to other, repetynge them, and hearynge theim agayne? whan Florista and Florius were learned without booke? for as for Alexander, I thynke him worthye to be receiued amonge the meaner sorte. Moreouer howe muche tyme was loste in Sophistrye, and in the superfluous mases of Logyke? And bicause I will not be to longe, howe trouble­somelye were all sciences taughte? P.iii. howe paynefully? whiles euerye reader to auaunce him selfe, wolde euen straighte waye in the begynninge stuffe in the hardest thynges of all, and sometyme verye folyshe thyngs to. For a thyng is not therfore goodly bycause it is harde, as to stand a far of, and to caste a mustarde seede thorowe a nedles eye & misse not, it is hard in dede, but yet it is a verye trifle: and to vndo a payre of tariers, it is much worke, but yet a vayne and idle subilltye.

Adde here vnto, that oftentymes these thynges be taught of vnlearned men, and that is worse, of lewd learned men, somtyme also of sluggardes and vnthriftes, which more regarde takynge of money thã the profite of their scholers. Whã the commune bryngynge vp is suche, yet do wee maruayle that fewe be perfitly learned before they be old. Nota. The beste parte of oure lyfe is loste wyth idlenes, with vices, wherewith whan we be infected, we giue a litle parte of our tyme to studies, and a greate parte to feastes and plaies. And to an yll matter is taken || as euil a craftes manne, either teachynge that is folyshe, or that whiche must be vnlearned againe. And after this we make our excuse that the age is weake, the wyt not yet apte to learne, the profite to be verye small, and manye other thinges, whan in dede the fault is to be ascribed to euill brynginge vp. I wil not trouble you any lẽger, onelie wil I speake to your wisdome whyche is in other thynges verye sharpe and quycke of syght. A goodli brief rehearsall of the thinges before spokẽ. Consider howe deare a possession youre sonne is, howe diuerse a thynge it is and a matter of muche worke to come by learnynge, and how noble also the same is, what a redines is in all childrens wyttes to learne, what agilitie is in the mynd of mã howe easily those thynges be learned whyche be beste and agreable to nature, inespe­ciallye if they be taught of learned and gentle maisters by the waye of playe: further how fast those thynges abide with vs, wherewt we season fyrste of all the emptye and rude myndes, whiche selfe thynges an elder age perceyueth || boeth more hardelye, and soner forgetteth: Beside thys how dear and the losse neuer recouered, tyme is, howe much it auayleth to begin in seasõ, and to learne euery thyng whan it shold be, how much continuaunce is able to do, & howe greately the heape that Hesiodus speaketh of, doeth increase by puttinge to little and litle, how swiftly the time flieth away, how youth wyll alwayes be occupied, & howe vnapte olde age is to be taught: If thou consyder these thynges thou wilt neuer suffer that thi litle child shoulde passe away (I wil not say) seuen yere, but not so much as thre dayes, in the whiche he maye

be eyther prepared or in-
structed to learnynge
though the profit
be neuer so


see end of text

Title Page

¶ That chyldren oughte to
be taught and brought vp gẽtly in
vertue and learnynge, and that
euen forthwyth from theyr na
tiuitie: A declamacion of
a briefe theme, by E-
rasmus of Rote-

Final Page

¶ Impryn-
ted at London by Iohn Day,
dwellinge ouer Aldersgate, beneth
saint Martyns. And are to be sold
at his shop by the litle conduit
in Chepesyde at the sygne
of the Resurrec-

Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum
solum. Per septennium.

Notes on the Text


Some paragraph breaks in this e-text are conjectural. The printed book had the following kinds of breaks:

conventional paragraph with indented first line

unambiguous paragraph with non-indented first line

ambiguous paragraph: previous line ends with blank space, but the space is not large enough to contain the first syllable of the following line

sentence break corresponds to line break: this happens randomly in any printed book, and only becomes ambiguous when the book also has non-indented paragraphs

In this e-text, the second type of paragraph is marked with a simple line break (no space) and pilcrow ¶. The third type has a pilcrow ¶ but no break. The fourth type is not marked.


The pattern of initial v, non-initial u is followed consistently.

The spelling “they” is more common than “thei”.

The form “then” is normally used for both “then” and “than”; “than” is rare.

The most common spelling is “wyll”, but “wyl”, “wil” and “will” also occur.

Word Division

Line-end hyphens were completely arbitrary; words split at line break were hyphenated about two-thirds of the time. The presence or absence of a hyphen has not been noted. Hyphenless words at line-end were joined or separated depending on behavior elsewhere in the text:

Always one word (re-joined at line break): som(e)what, without, afterward(e)s

Usually one word: often( )times, what( )so( )euer

One or two words: an( )other

Usually two words: it/him/my.. self/selues; shal( )be; straight( )way

Always two words: here to

Roman Numerals

Numbers were printed with leading and following .period. When the number came at the beginning or end of a line, the “outer” period was sometimes omitted. These have been supplied for consistency.

Transcriber’s Footnotes

* “in a table”

In context, “table” looks like an error for either “tale” or “fable”, but it means picture (Latin tabula)

“the grekes says dracontes in the genitiue case”

Latin draco, draconis
Greek δρακων, δρακοντος (drakôn, drakontos)