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I NEVER knew yet, scholar that gave himself to like, and love, and follow chiefly these three authors, Plato and Aristotle in Greek, and Tully in Latin, but he proved both learned, wise, and also an honest man, if he joined with all the true doctrine of God's Holy Bible, without the which, the other three be but fine edge-tools in a fool or madman's hand.
THESE books be not many nor long, nor rude in speech, nor meani in matter, but next the majesty of God's Holy Word, most worthy for a man, the lover of learning and honesty, to spend his life in; yea, I have heard the worthy M. Cheke* many times say, “ I would have a good student pass “ a journey through all authors, both Greek and “ Latin; but he that will dwell in these few books “ only, first, in God's Holy Bible, and then join “ with it Tully, in Latin; Plato, Aristotle, Xeno“phon, Isocrates, and Demosthenes, in Greek, “must needs prove an excellent man.”
SOME wits, moderate enough by nature, be many times marred by overmuch study and use of some sciences, namely, music, arithmetic, and geometry. These sciences, as they sharpen men's wits over much, so they change men's manners
* The learned Sir John Cheke, Greek Professor in the University of Cambridge, and preceptor to King Edward VI. over-sore, if they be not moderately mingled and wisely applied to some good use of life. Mark all mathematical heads, which be only and wholly bent to those sciences, how solitary they be in themselves, how unfit to live with others, and how unapt to serve in the world. This is not only known now by common experience, but uttered long before by wise men's judgment and sentence.
EITHER Aristotle and Pliny knew not what was good and evil for learning and virtue, and the example of wise bistorians be vainly set before us, or else the minstrelsy of lutes, pipes, harps, and all other that standeth by such nice minikin fingering, is far more fit, for the womanishness of it, to dwell in the court among ladies, than for any great thing in it which should help good and sad study, to abide in the university among scholars.*
PLATO and Aristotle, both in their books, in treating of the commonwealth, where they shew, how youth should be brought up in four things, in reading, in writing, in bodily exercise, and singing, do make mention of music, and all kinds of it; wherein they both agree, that music used among the Lydians, is very ill for young men which be students for virtue and learning, for a certain nice soft and smooth sweetness of it, which would rather entice them to naughtiness than stir them to honesty.
* The opinion of this sagacious old schoolmaster, respecting music, is supported by the observations of many of the learned. Tibicines mente capti ; “ Pipers are void of sense," saith Erasmus ; and there is a great deal of truth in the saying, • In comes music at one ear, out goes wit at another."
MUCH music marreth men's manners, saith Galen, although some men will say that it doth not so, but rather recreateth and maketh quick a man's mind; yet, methinks, by reason, it doth as honey doth to man's stomach, which at first receiveth it well, but afterward it maketh it unfit to abide any good strong nourishing meat, or else any wholesome sharp and quick drink. And even so, in a manner, these instruments make a man's wits so soft and smooth, so tender and quaisy, that they be less able to brook strong and tough study. Wits be not sharpened, but rather dulled and made blunt with such sweet softness, even as good edges be blunted which men whet upon soft chalk stones.
I DO not mean by this my talk, that young gentlemen should be always poring on a book, and by using good studies should lose honest pleasure, and haunt no good pastime. I mean nothing less; for it is well known, that I both like, and love, and have always, and do yet, still use all exercises
and pastimes that be fit for my nature and ability; and beside natural disposition, in judgment also, I was never either stoic in doctrine, or anabaptist in religion, to mislike a merry, pleasant, and playful nature, if no outrage be committed against law, measure, and good order.
THE noble city of Athens, did wisely, and upon great consideration, appoint the Muses, Apollo, and Pallas, to be patrons of learning to their youth. For the Muses, besides learning, were also ladies of dancing, mirth, and minstrelsy. Apollo was god of shooting, and author of cunning playing upon instruments. Pallas also was lady mistress in wars: whereby was nothing else weant, but that learning should be always mingled with honest mirth and comely exercises ; and that war should be governed by learning, and moderated by wisdom.
THE motions and faculties of the wit and memory, may be not only governed and guided, but also confirmed and enlarged by custom and exercise duly applied; as, if a man exercise shooting, he shall not only shoot nearer the mark, but also draw a stronger bow.
CERTAIN it is, whether it be believed or no,
that, as the most excellent of metals, gold, is of all other the most pliant, and most enduring to be wrought; so, of all living and breathing substances, the most perfect (man) is the most susceptible of help, improvement, impression, and alteration ? and not only in his body, but in his mind and spirit; and these again not only in his appetite and affection, but in his powers of wit and reason.
READ not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested : that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and soine few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
READING maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man; and therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a pleasant wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.
HISTORIES make 'men wise, poets witty,