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THE good or ill bringing up of children, doth as much serve to the good or ill service of God, our prince, and our whole country, as any one thing doth beside.
A child by three things is brought to excellency: by aptness, desire, and fear. Aptness maketh him pliable like wax, to be formed and fashioned even as a man would have him : desire, to be as good or better than his fellows; and fear of him whom he is under, will cause him to take great labour and pain, with diligent heed in learning any thing ; whereof proceedeth at the last, excellency and perfectness.
Though a child have all the gifts of nature at wish, and perfection of memory at will, yet, if he have not a special love to learning, he shall never attain to much learning. And therefore Isocrates, one of the noblest schoolmasters that is in memory of learning, who taught kings and princes, as Halicarnassus writeth, and out of whose school, as Tully saith, came forth more noble captains, more wise counsellors, than did out of Epeus's horse, at Troy : this Isocrates, I say, did cause to be written at the entry of his school, in golden letters, this golden sentence, lav hs QiAopalns, i on Fotopaons, which, excellently said in Greek, is thus rudely in English: “ If thou lovest learning, “ thou shalt attain to much learning."
This lewd and learned, by common experience, know to be most true: we remember nothing so well when we be old, as those things which we learned when we were young, and this is not strange, but common in all nature's works. Every man sees new wax is best for painting, new clay fittest for working, new shorn wool aptest for soon and surest dying, new fresh flesh for good and durable salting; and this similitude is not rude nor borrowed of the larder-house, but out of his school-house, of whom the wisest of England need not be ashamed to learn.
FOR very grief of heart, I will not apply the similitude, but hereby is plainly seen, how learn. ing is robbed of her best wits ; first, by the great beating, and after by the ill choosing of scholars to go to the Universities: whereof cometh partly that lewd and spiteful proverb, sounding to the great hurt of learning and shame of learned men, that “ the greatest clerks be not the wisest men.”.
A child that is still, silent, constant, and somewhat hard of wit, is either never chosen by the father to be made a scholar, or else when he cometh to the school, he is smally regarded, little looked unto; he lacketh teaching, he lacketh encouraging, he lacketh all things, only he never. lacketh beating, nor any word that may move him
to hate learning, nor any deed that may drive him from learning to any other kind of living. And then this sad-natured and hard-witted child is beaten from his book, and becometh after, either student of the common law, or page in the court, or serving man, or bound 'prentice to a merchant, or to some handicraft, he proveth in the end, wiser, happier, and many times, honester too, than many of these quick wits do by their learning.
THIS I know, not only by reading of books in my study, but also by experience of life abroad in the world, that those which be commonly the wisest, the best learned, and best men also when they be old, were never commonly the quickest of wit, when they were young. The causes why, amongst other, which be many, that move me thus to think, be these few, which I will reckon : Quick wits commonly be apt to take, unapt to keep, soon hot and desirous of this and that, as soon cold and weary of the same again ; more quick to enter speedily than able to pierce far, even like over-sharp tools, whose edges be very soon turned. Such wits delight themselves in easy and pleasant studies, and never pass far forward in high and hard sciences; and therefore the quickest wits commonly may prove the best poets, but not the wisest orators ; ready
of tongue to speak boldly, but not deep of judg. ment, either for good counsel or wise writing.
IT is pity, that commonly more care is had, yea, and that amongst very wise men, to find out rather a cunning man for their horse than a cunning man for their children. They say nay, in word, but they do so in deed; for, to the one they will gladly give a stipend of 200 crowns by year, and loth to offer to the other 200 shillings. God that sitteth in heaven, laugheth their choice to scorn, for he suffereth them to have tame and well-ordered horse, but wild and unfortunate children, and therefore, in the end, they find more pleasure in their horse, than comfort in their children,
· IF a father have four sons, three fair and wellformed, both mind and body, the fourth wretched, lame, and deformed, his choice shall be to put the worst to learning, as one good enough to become a scholar. I have spent the most part of my life in the University, and therefore I can bear good witness, that many fathers commonly do this, whereof I have heard many wise, learned, and as good men as ever I knew, make great and oft complaint. A good horseman will choose no, such colt, neither for his own nor yet for his' master's saddle.
Some will say, that children of nature love pastime, and mislike learning; because, in their kind, the one is easy and pleasant, the other hard and wearisome, which is an opinion not so true as some men ween, for the matter lieth not so much in the disposition of them that be young, as in the order and manner of bringing up hy them that be old, nor yet in the difference of learning and pastime; for, beat a child if he dance not well, and cherish him though he learn not well, ye shall have him unwilling to go to dance, and glad to go to his book. Knock him always when he draweth his shaft ill, and favour him again, though he fault at his book; ye shall have him very loth to be in the field, and very willing to be in the school. Yea, I say, more, and not of myself, but by the judgment of those from whom few wise men will gladly dissent, that if ever the nature of man be given at any time more than other to receive goodness, it is in innocency of young years, before that experience of evil have taken root in him; for the pure clean wit of a sweet young babe is like the newest wax, most able to receive the best and fairest printing, and like a new bright silver dish never occupied, to receive and keep cleane any good thing that is put into it.
Fond schoolmasters, by fear, do beat into their scholars the hatred of learning, and wise riders, by gentle allurements, do breed up in them the love of riding: they find fear and bondage in