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Title: The Education of Children
Author: Erasmus, Desiderius, 1469-1536
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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              ¶ 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-

       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-

If thou wilt harken vnto me, or rather to Chrisippus,
the sharpeste witted of Philosophers, y^u shalte
prouide y^t 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 y^t we learne in
yonge yeres. [Sidenote: Diuision of y^t 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 y^t thynge can not be to hasty,
wherof y^e author of al thyng her self hath graffed in
vs y^e seedes. Beside this some thinges be necessary
to be knowẽ whẽ we be sũwhat elder, which by a certẽ
peculier readines of nature, y^e tender age perceiueth
both much more quickly, & also more esily thẽ doth y^e
elder, as y^e first beginnings of letters, y^e
knowledge of tõges, tales & fabels of poetes.
Finallye, why shulde y^t 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 y^t age to sporte in letters, then
in trifles? Thou wilt say y^t it is but of litle value
y^t 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 y^t lucre, be it neuer 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 y^e least he shal be kept frõ those fautes, wherw^t
we se comẽly y^t age to be infected. For nothynge doth
better occupy y^e 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 y^e strength of
y^e 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 y^e 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
y^e 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 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 w^t 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 w^t 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 w^t very good iuyce, & so indue hys mynd w^t very
wholsom opinions, & very honest lernynge. For I thinke
it not conuenient that y^u 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
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 y^t
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 y^t thing which so
perteineth to you, y^t 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 y^t thei do leudly & also vntowardli
which in tilling their lãd building their houses,
keping their horse, vse y^e gretest diligẽce thei cã,
& take to counsell men y^t 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 y^e 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 y^t 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 y^t 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 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, y^u markest to
what vse he is good, & trimly thou bryngest hym vp to
some craft, either of 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

¶ 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 y^e 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
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, y^t 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 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 y^u 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 y^e 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. [Sidenote:
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 y^u 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, y^u muste be a
good father; y^u haste gotten thẽ to the cõmon wealth,
not to thy self only; or to speake more lyke a
christen man, y^u 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 y^e study of vertue. God wil straitly
charge the parẽts w^t the childrẽs fautes. Therfore
excepte y^t euen forthwith thou bryng vp honestly y^t,
that is borne, fyrst y^u dost thy self wronge, which
thorow thy negligence, gettest y^t to thy selfe, then
the which no enemye could wyshe to an other, ether
more greuous or paynful. Dionisius did effeminat w^t
delyghtes of the court Dions yong son y^t was run
awaye from him: he knew y^t this shuld be more
carefull to y^e father, then if he had kylled hym w^t
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 y^e 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 y^e
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 y^e tailers
craft, as in time paste dyd Africa, bringeth forth
some new mõster, y^t 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 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, y^t bewitche
their childrẽ, or hurt their weake bodies with
poisons: what do thei deserue which corrupt y^e chiefe
parte of the infãt w^t most vngracious venome? It is a
lighter matter to kyl the body then the mind? If a
child shulde be brought vp amõg the gogle eied
stutters, or haltyng, the body wold be hurt w^t
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, y^t 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
y^t if neyther loue nor reason can teach vs howe
greate care we ought to take for y^e first yeres of
our children, at y^e least waies let vs take example
of brute beastes. For it oughte not to greue vs to
learne of thẽ a thynge y^t shall be so profitable,
of whome mãkinde now long ago hath lerned so many
fruitful things: sence a beast called Hippopotamus
hath shewed y^e cutting of veines, & a bird of egipt
called Ibis hath shewed y^e vse of a clister, which
y^e 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
y^t 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: 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 y^t 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 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

¶ 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 y^u 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

¶ 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 w^t 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 y^e 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 y^e day dyet, which
longe ago was muche spokẽ of in y^e 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
y^t the teacher haue .iii. farthings: Howbeit I thinke
y^t the master is meant vnder y^e 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 w^t 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 y^t speake
good wordes 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 y^e 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 y^t 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 body,
of pure mylke, good condicions, nether drunkẽ, not
brauler, nor lecherous. For the vices that be takẽ
euen in y^e very beginninges of lyfe, both of the
bodye and of the mynd, abyde fast vntyl we be olde.
Some men also write y^t 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 y^e 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 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 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 y^e 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 y^e plough, or a cowe meete for generacion &
encrease of cattell. Beste is y^t 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
y^e 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 y^e image of the crucifix. Thei
that thinke y^t 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 y^t 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 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 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 y^t 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 y^t 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 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 y^e 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 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 y^e good health of the tender
bodye weaker. Here I myght ensure, y^t 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.
[Sidenote: 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. [Sidenote: 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 y^t 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
y^e 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 y^e 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 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 y^t 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 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. 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 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 y^t
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 y^e 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 y^e 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 y^u 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 y^t was beaten, and of two
others, theire bookes blotted wyth ynke, their
garmentes cutte, and their hose arayed wyth mannes

¶ 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 w^t 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 y^e Scithians, of y^e
which I wyl shew one much like this matter. The yong
gentlemã is send in to y^e vniuersitie to lerne the
liberall sciences. But w^t 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
y^e wyld cõpany of yong mẽ to geue him: for whẽ they
begin the play, thei make him swere y^t 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 y^e backe y^t neuer cã be remedied.
Certes this foolishe play endeth in a drõken bãket:
w^t such beginninges enter they into y^e 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
y^e 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 y^t 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 y^e maner of a vesper, for
they note an euyl thynge w^t a like name, more mete
for scoffers thẽ diuines. But thei y^t 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 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 y^e 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, y^t 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. [Sidenote: 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 w^t the rod, if it so require, ought to be
gentle & honeste. For euen thys that the bodies of
gẽtle children shulde be made bare, is a kind of
despice. Howbeit Fabius vtterly cõdemneth al y^e
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, y^e 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 y^t wil be as
you wold haue thẽ. [Sidenote: 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. [Sidenote: Vespasian.] Vespasianus oute of
hys owne cofers gaue yerely sixe hũdred poũde to
Latine and Greke rethoricians. [Sidenote: 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 forthe the strength
of naturall inclinacion because of pouertye.
[Sidenote: 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 y^t 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 y^t 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
y^e 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 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, y^t both the child wil lerne more
gladly, & he shal fele lesse tediousnes of his
laboure. [Sidenote: A sentence to be marked.] For in
euery busines loue taketh away y^e greatest part of
hardnes. And because after the olde prouerbe: Lyke
reioyseth in lyke, y^e master muste in maner play the
childe againe, that he may be loued of the chylde. Yet
this lyketh me not, y^t 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. [Sidenote: 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. [Sidenote: 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 y^t
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. [Sidenote: 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. [Sidenote: 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 y^e 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. [Sidenote:
Bucolicall, where y^e 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.
[Sidenote: 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, [Sidenote: 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.
[Sidenote: The meaning of y^e 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 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. [Sidenote: 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 y^e 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 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,
[Sidenote: How learnyng may be made swete vnto y^e
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 w^t 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 y^e 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.
[Sidenote: 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 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.
[Sidenote: 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 y^e
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 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 y^t 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,
[Sidenote: 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
y^e 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.
[Sidenote: 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.
[Sidenote: The last obieccion touching the profit of
y^e 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
y^t Fabius sayth, y^t more good is done in .i. yere
after, then in these .iii. or .iiii. why shuld we set
light by this litle y^t 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 y^t 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?
[Sidenote: Ouide.] Ouide beyng a verye yonge man wrot
hys verses of loue. What olde man is hable to do lyke?
[Sidenote: 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. [Sidenote:
Bassus.] Hys companions in studye were Salcius Bassus,
and Aulus Persius: [Sidenote: Persius.] that one
excellente in 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) & y^t as wel in womẽ as mẽ. Politiã praised
y^e wit of y^e 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 w^tout 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.

[Sidenote: 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,
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 y^e 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? 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. [Sidenote:
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. [Sidenote:
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, wherew^t 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


  ¶ 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.

       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *


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 pilcrow ¶.
The third type has a pilcrow ¶ but no paragraph break. The fourth type
is not marked.

_Errors and Inconsistencies_ (Noted by Transcriber)

Unless otherwise noted, spelling and punctuation are unchanged.


  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;
  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 silently supplied for consistency.


  what soeuer is tolde in the oracion be shewed him 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_)_]


  what plante wyll bee as the owener or  [or or]
  They lerne to loke fierslie, the learne to loue the swearde
    [_text unchanged: “the” error for “they/thei”?_]
  What thynke ye then is to be looked for  [is to de]
  a yonge man behauinge hym selfe  [behaninge]
  Straight waye the colt of a lusty courage  [Sraight]
  so be there also of sciences.
    [_text has “sci-/cences” at line break_]
  were not made by Hesiodus.  [_final . missing_]
  thought it to be of Hesiodus doing.  [_final . missing_]
  And hẽce we ought  [hece]
  things y^t be naught.  [_final . missing_]
  Nowe is thys theyr onlye care  [_one printing has “thyer”_]
  dayntines hathe perswaded vs to comune this office
    [_one printing has “commit”_]
  more easelye by feare, that one brought vp
    [_text unchanged: “that” error for “then/than”?_]
  hym to whome he committed the chyefe rule of hys colledge, surnamed
    of the thynge  [_text unchanged_]
  theyr seruauntes, and their threatnynges,  [threatnynges,,]
  After suche daynties, they exercysed suche lozdelynes.
    [_text unchanged: “z” may be intended for some other letter_]
  When the sicknes of the body was somewhat put away  [sickens]
  these things be alowed of suche as haue  [suche is]
  But if he be of hye degre  [_“if” invisible in one printing_]
  I wil braule no more  [wll]
  fayries, witches, nightmares wood men and gyauntes
    [_punctuation unchanged_]
  that so in manner they myghte eate vp their letters
    [_final “t” in “that” invisible_]
  of laboure from chyldren, And howe muche  [_punctuation unchanged_]
  they feele not labour, It shal be the masters parte
    [_punctuation unchanged_]
  a thyng far more precious. Let vs
    [_text has “preci-//Let” at page break; “ous” supplied from
  it wyl be ouercoued wyth vyce
    [_text unchanged: error for “overcouered”?_]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Education of Children" ***

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