This first Chapter sheweth what
wepons are chiefly to be learned, with many other prin-
cipall notes worthy observation.
Because old weapons lyeth rusty in a corner, and every man is desirous of the newest fashion of weapons, especially if they seeme to be of more daunger to the enemy than the old, therfore it is my intent & purpose at this time to expresse and set downe both the true and false play principally of the rapier and dagger, and staffe, for I hold that the skill of these two weapons are chiefly and necessary of every man to be learned, for to have the use of a rapier to ride with, and a staffe to walke a foote withall, for those which have the skill of these two weapons may safely encounter against any man having any other weapon whatsoever as hereafter you shall be sufficiently satisfied.
But first a word by the way in commendations of those weapons, this I can say and by good experience I speake it, that he which hath a rapier and a close hilted dagger, and skill withall to use him hath great ods against the sword and dagger, or sword and buckler, and the like I doe affirme of a staffe against all long weapons; my reasons shall follow anon; but first I will speake more in commendations of the rapier and dagger, note it well, for it is the finest & the comeliest weapo that ever was used in England, for so much cunning to this weapon belongeth as to no weapon the like : wherefore I would wish all gentlemen and others, not onely to learne the true and perfect skill thereof, but also to practise it often. For there is no exercise in the world so healthfull to the body, and the skill of it a sure defence for the same, likewise it also behoveth every man to be well instructed in this weapon, the rather, and for because it is a weapon which for the most part all out-landish men doe use; wherefore being unprepared thou maist be the better able to answer them at their owne weapon either in single combat or otherwise, but if thou delay thy practise till thou hast need, then I say at the very time of need it will be too late, and little availeable to thee, for being leanred in such haste it is soone forgotten, and he which never learned, but doth trust to his own cunning may soone lose his life, for there is but two wayes for the doing of every thing ; that is to say either a good or a bad, and commonly by nature every man hath the worst way ; both at this exercise and so at all others the like, but the best way being learned by a little practise keepeth it so perfect, that it is never forgotten againe.
A Physitian is but little regarded, but in the time of sicknesse, even so the practising of skill is not remembred untill a man hath need to use it. Plato was a Divine, yet he so highly esteemed the art or skill in weapons, insomuch that he commandeth that children should learne so soone as they are able, and Cyrus saith that skill in weapons was as necessary as husbandry ; but now when you have the true and perfect skill, be not over rash nor take not exceptions at every light occasion, but onely by good advise to use it, in cases of necessity ; revenge not every small wrong, nor quarrell not upon every light occasion, for the strongest and the richest man that is, must pocket up an injury at sometimes, then be not hasty in thy wrath, but pause although thy weapon be drawne, for the trust being given, and the blow once fallen, it wil be too late then to repent ; wherefore be valiant, but yet not too venturous, so fight as thou maist fight againe, for the hasty man never wanteth woe, and he which will quarrell for a finall matter trusting unto his owne manhood, yet for all his skill and courage, may oftentimes meete with his match, and so carry away the blowes with dishonor.
[Right margin note: He that to wrath and anger is thrall, over his wits hath no power at all.]
For a small or a bad quarrell hath many times ill successe, therefore let thy quarrell be grounded upon a good foundation, for then it halfe defendeth it selfe, but if it be upon drinke or in defence of a lewd woman, such quarrells are nought, and have ill successe; againe have this care, never be proud of thy skill, but goe as if thou hadst it not, except occasion serve : but be not lifted up with a proud minde one step the higher, for curtesie wins favour with all men; wherefore all way so frame your speech and answers, that there never grow any quarrell upon a foolish word or a froward answer.
[Right margin note: A quarrell is oftentimes begun without discretion.]
And furthermore, have this skill in thy memory, so rule thy tongue as never to speake ill, whether it bee true or false behind the backe of any man, for if the party spoken of be not in presence, yet he may heare of it, and thou maist be called in question for the same when thou thinkest least upon it, yea although thou suppose that thou speakest it to thy friend, for I have knowen many which to magnifie themselves would boast and brag of their owne manhood, and disable others, which were far better men then themselves; thinking never to heare of it againe; but this one folly hath been the cause of many quarrells, and thereof springeth deadly hatred, and sometimes murthers. Yet I doe advise all men if undiscreet words doe pass from the mouth of the simple for lacke of whit (but I will not say for lacke of drinke) but whether it be drink or meer foolishnesse, revenge not every wrong, but first consider the worth and quality of the party which hath wronged thee, for if hee be a desperate person, or one which hath nothing to loose, nor wife nor children to care for, some such there are that are desperat, and care not if they were out of the world, as our proverbe saith, hab or nab, fall backe fall edge, they care not whose house is in fire, for they have nothing to loose, now although thou hast the perfect skill with thy weapons, yet fight not with such raskalls, nor with none upon every small wrong; for so thou maist be accounted carelesse and bloody minded, as though Mars the God of battaile were thy Father, or thinking thy selfe to bee more mighty then Hercules, or as one altogether forgetting that which so oft hath been seen, that a little wretch of stature by skill, iudgement, and reason, hath subdued and overcome a far more mightier man of petson than himselfe.
[Left margin note: Be valiant but not to venturous.]
[Left margin note: And that of David he overcame great Goliath.]
For he that is well instructed in the perfect skill with his weapon although but small of stature, and weake of strength, may with a little mooving of his foote or a suddaine turning of his hand, or with the quicke agility of his body kil and bring to the ground the tall and strongest man that is.
Now before thou goe into the field to fight, first of all put God before, and use thy devotion to him privately, and commit thy selfe wholly to his mercy, because hee redeemed thee, and the victory lieth in him, if thy skill and cunning were never so good ; for if thou goe with a sure hope and trust in God, and thy quarrell good, and some skill withall, then fight and feare not, and although at the first it will be fearefull to most men, being but once experienced therein, it will encourage and make a man bold, yet take this by the way, and note it well, for skill makes some men towards, for if thou learnest the best skill thou canst, and in a fence schoole meetest with one that is so good, and cunning as thy selfe, such a one will hit thee sometimes in spite of thy teeth, the which hit makes some thinke with themselves, I did now lye in as sure a gard as I could for my life, and yet if I had been in the field this hit might have killed me.
[Right margin note: Forget not this lesson.]
[Right margin note: Feare not if thou has skill to answer a good quarrell for its better dy like a horse in batteil then live like a hog in a stie.]
But I say there is great ods betwixt fighting in the field and playing in a fence-schoole, for in the field being both sober, I meane if it be in a morning upon cold blood, then every man will as much feare to kill as to be killed, againe a man shall see to defend either blow or thrust in the field then in a fence-schoole, for a man will be more bold with a foile or a cudgell, because there is small danger in either of them.
But when they come to tell their tale at the point of a rapier, thy will stand off for their owne safety; go not into the field in the afternoone, partly for the avoiding of the common speech of those which will say it is a drunken match, neither goe not presently upon the suddain falling out; for choller overcometh the wits of many a man, for in a mad fury skill is little thought upon, and therefore very dangerous to both; for although thy memory serve thee well; and so thou being carefull and not bearing any mind to kill, yet thy enemy if he be but a ranke coward, upon drink or fury, or upon hot blood, will be so desperate, that if you favor him he will endanger thee.
There is seldome or never any quarrell begun but in an afternoone, for then commonly the drinke is in and the wit is out, although thou knowest thy selfe in good case, and not to have received more drinke then to suffice thy want, yet dost thou not know how little drinke will overcome the wits of another man ; and this I know, and by good experience I speake it, there is no ods during the time betwixt a madde man and a drunkard.
Never jest with edge tooles, nor play not the foole with thy weapons, but keepe them to defend thy selfe when occasion shall require thee, or at such time as thou shalt be oppressed, for many hurts and much misciefe hath been done by over-much folly in jesting with weapons, when at the beginning there was no harme meant.
Ever refer the quarrell to be tried in the morning, for then thy adversary so wel as thy selfe being in cold blood, skill availeth, and he which the night before would seeme to fight with the divell, will in the morning be as cold as a clocke; for then it is the nature of every man as well to feare to kill, as to be killed, and so thou by skill maist fight long without danger, and fight with many, and have no hurt.
When thou goest into the field, note the Sunne, for if it doe shine, it may annoy thee, but get thy backe toward the Sunne, and so traverse the ground, that thine enemy get not about thee, so shalt thou alwayes keep his face in the Sunne, which will so annoy him, that hee can not make play to endanger thee. But if there be no Sunne to trouble thee, then make choice of the lowest ground, for he which hath the lowest ground, hath the greatest advantage. Also take heede that thou stuke not with thy rapier, for so thou mayest breake it, and bring thy selfe to thine enemies mercy, and it may be he will take the advantage of thee : If thy rapier fall out of thy hand, take thy dagger by the point, and make an offer to throw it, for that will so dare thine enemy, that hee will stand untill thou hast taken up thy weapon againe.
[Right margin note is unreadable.]
But if thou recover thine enemies weapons, (as I have knowne many let fall their weapons in fight) give it not to him againe; if thou meane to fight with him any more for that time; for, to unarme thy enemie, is more credite to thee, then to kill him. Never lend a weapon to fight against thy selfe, for these two follies have beene the end of many good mens lives; if thine enemy fall, hurt him, if he will not yeelde up his weapon, but kill him not, though his life do lie in thine hands, but if thou spare him, fight with him no more for that time ; for I have knowne many that might first have killed, but by sparing their enemies, have been killed themselves ; if thine enemies weapon breake, then there is favour to be shewed ; but these two last points are to be conditioned upon. When any two Gentlemen, or other, whatsoever, shall have occasion to fight, yet it is not amisse, at their meeting in the field, for the one of them to say before they beginne, Shew mee that favour which thou wouldest have thy selfe, that is, if I fall, or my weapon breake, stay thy hands, and I will doe the like. Have alwayes as great care to save the life of thy enemy as of thine owne, fearing more the Judgements of God, then the Lawes of the Realme. Likewise, never be too earnest in perswading a coward to go with thee into the field to fight; for I have knowne a Gull that would abuse a man in words behinde his backe, but when he hath beene called to account for it, by the parrie grieved, hee durst not answere him in the field, yet by earnest provoking, hath gone and put a farre better man then himselfe to the worst.
[Right margin note is unreadable]
Therefore I hold it very unfortunate to perswade any man too too earnestly, to goe into the field to fight agianst his will; neither goe into the field with every rascall, for thou dost hazard thy selfe, and getest no credite, wherefore, if such a one do challenge thee, if thou canst conveniently, breake his pate, for he is worthy of somewhat for his forwardnes, but to answer him otherwise, let this excuse privilege thee; say thou scorneth to doe him that credite. Let thy rapier be of a reasonable length, rather too long then too short, foure foote at the least, except thine enemie doe give or send thee the length of his weapon; then it is a point of manhoode to match him as neare as thou canst: always let thine enemy tell his tale at the point of thy weapon ; but trust him not to whisper with thee, lest hee shall stabbe thee, or else by strength recover thy owne weapon, and so doe thee a mischiefe before thou e aware; keepe cleane thy rapier; remember that of Alexander, how he cassiered a Souldier out of his Army, because he was making cleane of his Armor, even then when he should have used it. Likewise, there is a Proverbe, A workeman is knowne by his tooles : Then if thou hast skill to use thy weapons, let it appeare by the cleanly keeping of them, then leave not thy rapier in a wet scabbard, when thou commest to thy journies end.
Yet once more I doe advise all men to take heede how they jeast [jest] or shew their trickes in travell in their Chambers with their weapons, no though the scabbard be on; for by such foolish jeasting I have knowen much mischiefe done, and sometimes murder, when there was no hurt meant at all; therefore I do wish the wiser to rule the other, so that a mischiefe may be prevented before it be done, for else repentance may come too late. Also in playing with sticks, without buttons, many (for want of skill) may loose an eie, as many have done heeretofore. Many a man will say, That skill in weapons is good, and one of the principallest things that belongeth to a man, yet themselves altogether unskilfull; in their youth they thinke it too soone to learne, and in age too late, yet when they are wronged, they would give any thing, that they were able to answere their enemy without feare or hurt, as hee which is skilfull in his weapon may doe.
Goe not into the field with one that is knowne to be a common drunkard, no though thou take him never so sober, for if thou chance to hurt him, the vulgar sort will deeme that he was drunke, so thou dost hazard thy life, and get no credite, then take no exceptions at a Drunkards words, for what he speaketh is not regarded amongst men of discretion, yet many times it so falleth out, that a drunken madde-braine meetes with a prodigall unwise fellow, and they do quickely upon a word, nay upon a looke, make a sodaine brawle, to the disturbance of the rest of the company; for hee that will match a crooked dagger with a crooked sheathe, in seeking may finde one; even so he that is given to swaggering and quarrelling, doth meet with his match sometimes, nay very often it so falleth out.
[Right margin note: For it happens in an houre which happeneth not in seven yeares.]
Also he is unwise which will beginne a quarrell in a Schoole of Defence, upon the taking of a knocke, as many do; for a man playeth, either to give a knock, or to take a knocke : but with skill a man may play a long time, and doe neither of them, except their fury doe overcome their wittes; but hee which cannot arme himselfe with patience, by considering with himselfe the danger of his rashnes; let him spend all his idle time in practising in weapons, with one that is skilfull; for by use of play, many a man commeth to know the danger of rashnesse, and so with a due consideration, doe thereby come to mittigate their furious affection, whereas an other sort of hare-braines (upon very small occasion) will be alwayes ready, not onelie to breede, but also to maintaine an idle quarrell, whether it be right or wrong, in Faire or Market, Fence schoole or Taverne, as many witlesse drunkards doe; for skill without discretion makes some more forward and desperate in maintaining idle quarrells, then otherwise they would be, whereas a man of discretion and governement will be no whit the prouder of skill, but goe as if he had it not, and amongst wise men he is accounted most valiant which brags least, and is maister of himselfe, in conquering his affections, and alwayes fore-cast-ing the worst, before a mischiefe doth happen; for a common quarreller is like a common hackny, which is never without a galled backe; even so a quarreller is seldome without hurts : let thy hands be slower than thy tongue, yet let not thy sword rust for want of use, nor yet surfet with bloud, but after many threats in place convenient unsheathe thy sword, but yet do it with an unwilling kind of willingnes, as not being too prodigall of thy bloud in mis-spending it idlely, and yet grudge it not when occasion shall serve, either for thy King and Countrie, or in defence of thine owne reputation, but not in every rascally brawle, nor in a great assembly, where manie times a foolish mad-braine, will draw his weapon upon an idle quarrell; in such a place I have knowne, that after one hath drawne, many have likewise drawen their weapons for company, according to the olde Proverbe, One foole makes many : But howsoever, in such a case I have knwne much mischiefe quickely done, although many of them have not knowne the cause, nor whom to strike, untill it hath beene too late; but then when all is done, these great fighters, when it is too late, they would make enquireie how the quarrell beganne, and upon what occasion ; but men of discretion and wisedome would examine the cause first, before they do unsheathe their weapon : for in my minde, hee that undertaketh such quarrells, sheweth neither manhoode, wit, nor valour, and contrary unto all the Lawes of Armes; yet I will not say, but, where much people are, a man that meaneth no harme, may be wronged; but there is no wisedome to right himselfe in a multitude : for feare of a mutiny, I meane in setting many together by the eares, but in a place convenient thou maiest call him in question which wronged thee before, examining the cause of the quarrell, when the heate is past; and then if you finde it but a pelting quarrell, beign wisely considered upon, and that it hath beene no great scandall unto thy good name and credite, partly, because the match was made, and the field was appointed in a drunken humour, in such a case I say, it were a verie wise part, for the one of them to make a friend acquainted, which by wisedome may end the quarrell, before a futher mischiefe be done : Nay more, I have knowne as good a man as ever did draw sword, upon an idle quarrell, hath himselfe gone the next morning to the house of his adversarie, not making any friend at all acquainted with the busines, and he hath said; I am come to answere what the last night I promised, but yet withall, to tell thee, that our quarrell is but small, and beganne upon idlenesse, yea so small, that I am loath to have it come into the eares of wise men, lest they should account us both fooles : now, for the avoyding of this and other daungers, it is not amisse for the wiser to offer this reasonable composition, though wee doe thinke him too weake for thee, for then thy credite will be the lesse in fighting with him, and yet if thou doe kill him, the danger is as great towards thee, as if thou diddest kill the best man in the world : now on the other side, say he is a man noted and knowne to be as sufficient a man as ever drew sword; then I say, if an honest end can be made, without fighting, that is the best way. For if two men of warre meete at Sea, they will not fight willingly one with the other, for they will consider before hand, that there is little else then blowes to be gotten one of the other : wherefore, if you be perswaded to end it with a boll of Wine, be not froward but yeeld unto reason, if no friends know of the quarrell, then (as I said before) the wiser of the two may say unto the other ; Come, let us goe and drinke our selves friends, let us take a haire of the same dogge, which the last night did bite us, and made us madde, shall now cure us and make us whole; and so let us smother up this pelting quarrell.
But now, if the other be froward, and will not accept of thy reasonable motion, but will needs end it with weapons, then, rather then shew thy backe to thy spitefull enemy, let him see thy heartbloud : I meane, if he can get it, but there is no such danger in fight, except Skill and Discretion be wanting : wherefore rowze up thy spirit, and yet performe it without feare alwaies; in a good quarrell, if thou be overcome, let thy heart yeelde last of all ; and if thine enemie be not too rash upon thee, it is a sufficient conquest, that when thou mightest hurt or kill, yet do it not, but stil weare Patience to the hard back, for by such victory thou workest thine owne peace; and he that thus doth, getteth himselfe credite.
As there are many men, so they are of many minds, for some will be satisfied with words, and some must needes be answered with weapons, and some are never well full or fasting; therefore I would have everie man fitly armed for his defence, what companie soever he keep, let him be armed with patience, still a faire tongue, and a good weapon : so that if one will not serve, another must, rough or smoothe, as occasion serveth : for some are like unto nettles, which if thou handle tenderly, it will sting thee, but if thou grip it hard, thou shalt have no harme : even so, if thou give unto some men never so milde and gentle words, yet will they not be perswaded, but they will the rather deeme that thou fearest them, and so domineere the more upon thee : but yet for all that, they are the children of God which desire peace, for the Prophet David saith, I seeke peace, but when I speake thereof, they are bent to warre, Psal. 120.7. Againe, there are many reasons to perswade one Christian not to fight with another. First, the King and Councell, have, and still doe make strait Lawes, for the keeping of peace and for preventing of murders; but above all, God expresly commaunds to the contrary, and if thou wilt not obey man, yet feare the displeasure of Almighty God above all.
[Right margin Note: If the peacemakers are said to be blessed, then the quarrellers & make-bates are accursed.]
Consider then and meditate thus with thy selfe before thou passe thy word to meete any man in the field; why should I go into the field, for when thou commest there thou must not kill, for if thou doest, thou must looke to answer it before that great and fearfull Judge which is the Judge of all Judges : howsoever thou by friendship or by pitty doest escape the hands of the Judge in this life : Besides, thou doest loose thy goodes, which thy wife and thy children should possesse. Againe, when thou commest into the field, and there calling to minde these dangers before spoken of, and so forbearing as being loath to kill : Then thy enemie, by sparing him, may kill thee, and so thou perish in thy sinnes, having small or no time of repentance, and so thy death will be doubtfull, except thou diddest leade a very upright life before, which may very well be doubted : for if thou diddest serve God aright, or fearest his judgements, then thou wouldest not for any cause fight with thy brother.
[Left margin note: We must not seeke revenge one of another, because the Lord saith Revenge is mine.]
Concerning this there is an excellent example of Patience shewed by King David, in the second of Samuel 16.6.10. David beign in the middest of his Army, there came a fellow with cursing and rayling speeches, saying unto him, Come out thou murtherer, and withall, threw stones and dust at him : and one of the servants of David saide unto his Maister, Shall I goe and take off the head of this Rayler? But David very wisely and mildely answered his Servant thus, It may bee that the Lord hath sent him, and therefore let him alone : but now we have a saying, That flesh and blood cannot endure such injuries as heere you see David did. But I say, those that will go to Heaven, must not looke to be carried thither in a feather-bet, but by enduring injuries, crossings, vexations, and tribulations : O then thinke on Heaven, and yet forget not Hell; presume not, nor yet despaire not; live to die, and yet die to live : Oh then leade thy life in true humilitie, for so shalt thou undoubtedly escape Hels damnation, and enjoy Heavens everlasting salvation; which place the God of gods vouchsafe us all.
Declaring the difference of sundry mens teaching, with
a direction for the entrance into the practise
with thy weapons.
As men of all arts trades and sciences, differ in arte and workmanship, (as for example) all Physitions doe not use one kind of purgation, nor all Surgions one manner of salve, nor al writers write not alike, but to make a rehearsall of all artes it were too long, my meaning is so many men so many mindes, even so in this art of defence as the number which are experienced in it is infinite, even so severall fashions doe exceede the number of infinite, if it were possible; for every man holdeth his opinion to be best in that fashion which he hath been most used unto; although a man shew them many errours by good judgement, yet it is as hard to withdraw them from their owne wil as it is to compell a Papist from his religion, which he hath been alwayes trained up unto.
But the true skil of weapons once perfectly learned is never forgotten againe, for if any man were to fight for his life, as by a familiar example I will tell you of those which have been unskilfull, yet have had a suddaine occasion to use up their weapons, and even then suddenly summoning up their wits, what defence they should use for the safegard of their lives, being so suddenly charged, doth not hee then as I said remember himselfe of the best defence, or the best trick, that ever was shewed him, for then is the time to stand him instead, and then will use it, althouh he never plaid nor never practised in seaven yeeres before.
Nay further, he which never learned one tricke but what nature bestowed, nor never had any other experience use not practise at one weapon nor other, but onely what he hath seene of others, by chance, where hee hath hapned to come : yet such a one upon a present occasion being urged thereunto, will instantly cal to minde that such a time and such a time, I did see such a man fight or play, and he was accounted a very good player, or a very tall man of his hands, and thus he lay or thus he defended himselfe; Loe thus imitating for their defence that which they have seene others doe before, another example which by experience I can speake of, and that is of some which never did nor never could swim in all their lives, yet such at sometimes have been in danger of drowning, by chace falling over boord into the sea, or into other deepe Rivers, where there was no hope of life but onely by swimming, such I say being put to their shifts, have remembered themselves in the water, and so by laboring themselves I meane with their hands and their feet, so have escaped and saved their lives. Now I say if every man before hand were grounded in skill with his weapons, & in the art of swimming when they were yong, then would either of them be the lesse fearefull, for what is bred in the bone, will never out of the flesh.
Yet here one example more; take a yong plant, and set him, and come againe within a month, and you may pull him up with ease, but let him grow a yeere or two and he will be so deepe rooted in the ground, so that you cannot pull him up for your heart, except you use other meanes; even so of youth, if they give their minds to good and laudable exercises when they are yong, it were great pitty that they should want encouragement, whereby it might take roote; but if their minds be given to any idle or bad exercises, it were good then that it were pulled up in time, before it have taken any deep root. And so I will here leave off, because I shall have occasion hereafter to speake concerning those matters.
Fearefull examples of murther, with advise
To avoid murther.
Generally three sorts of men are hated for the most part, and very much abhorred; that is to say, the proud minded man, a coward, and a murtherer, but especially a murtherer, howsoever it be done : therefore most unhappy is he which killeth a man cowardly, in a desperate humour, but if he doe it in his owne defence, or in a morning upon a just quarrell in the field, and both being equally matched, then it may be the better tollerated both before God and man, yet I doe not well to say so; for Romans the 9. It is said, what art thou which doest dispute with God, then why goe I about to make my toleration in murther, when God hath given vs an expresse commandment to the contrary, saying; thou shalt not kill. Exodus 20. According to this saying, he which striketh with the sword, shall perish with the sword; and likewise S.Paul giveth us a good lesson saying; doe nothing without forsight and judgement. Because I touch divinity in many places of my booke, no doubt some will say what should fencers meddle with divinity; but to answer you againe, every Christian out to know the word, (indeed the sword is good) but much the better when they goe both together. But to our matter againe: those which feare God, and by chance happen into the company of a murtherer, there haire will stare, and their blood will rise, that they will inwardly wish they were out of his company againe, for many simple men do feare a murthere ever after they have once known him to commit a murther, yet divers honest men doe by chance happen into a murtherers company, when they would bee glad to shift themselves from him againe; or as it were to spue him out of their preference, in regard of his evill qualities, which is quarrelling, and taking exceptions upon any little occasion. If any man also doe seeme to contrary a murtherer, or a litle crosse him in his swaggering, he will forthwith breake out into these or such like ungodly speeches, saying; I have killed a far better man than thy selfe; such like words he will say with a brazen face, and a stony heart, lifted up with the pride of his manhood : for he that is a murtherer doth thinke that he is the best man in the world, especially if he escape the gallowes so long, untill he hath killed two or three men: I have been my selfe in company of many of them, but I did never see any fruit of repentance in them; for when they have past the hands of the pittifull Judge, then they thinke that they are cleered for ever, as well in this world as in the world to come; and then will they say if they did offend, they had the Law for it; but I know not how so many of them escape the gallowes : there is a Proverbe saith, foolish pitty overthoweth towne and Citty. I thinke and am verily perswaded, that a murtherer is accurst and hated of both God and man, yea I and also perswaded that the house is accurst wherein they dwell, and the ship wherein they saile at sea, mark there end, and you shall see that although they passe the hands of men, yet God persues them with the hue and crye of his vengeance, which followeth them, and apprehendeth them, and bringeth some of them to one kind of death, and some to another; as these few examples following shal declare, and thou maist consider of them to thy benefit.
[Right margin note: In no case commit not muther.]
[Left margin note: Oh remember how the curse of God fell upon Cain for murther.]
First Sir John Fitz: how wickedly and how cowardly did he with two or three of his men pursue and overtake Master Stannell, as he was riding from the Testok in Devonshire, towards his owne house, this Master Stannell was beloved both of rich and poore, hee was a good and bountifull house-keeper, and his untimely death was lamented of thousands, the occasion of the quarrell, was as I have heard because Master Stannell called Sir John Fitz Tenant, for that sir John Fitz his father had used to pay him a matter of two shillings a yeere : this was no great cause of quarrel if it had been weighed in the balance of discretion, considering the great love and familiarity which had continued long time betwixt them, the which also was the reason that Master Stannell had not of long time demanded the rent, nor did make any reckoning or account of it. But then both having appointed to meet at a merry making in Testok onely to be merry, and there this unfortunate word tenant proceeded out of Master Stannels mouth, which sir John tooke in very great choller, Master Sannell perceiving that hee had mooved him betooke himselfe presently to his horse, and riding homewards having but only his footman with him, before he had rode two miles, sir John Fitz with two or three of his men, being well horst over-tooke Master Stannell and there compassing him about som before him and some behind him, most cowardly and desperately murthered him; and upon that sir John fled into France, but before one yeere was past his friends procured a pardon for him, insomuch that he came home againe, and to every mans seeming was at quiet, but the hue and cry of Gods vengeance was in his conscience, and three or fowre yeeres after upon London way there apprehended him, as you shall heare; for then and there most cruelly and divelishly he killed his hoste, which was a very honest man, and afterwards most desperately with his one hands tooke his rapier and murthered himselfe; yet thus much I can say of sir John Fitz he was a proper man, and for the space of thirty yeeres he lived orderly, to the gesse of the world, for he was well beloved in his country, and if he had so continued to the end, it had been well, but what should I say, a man may be an honest thirty yeers, yea forty yeers, and yet be a knave at the last.
Another example was that of one Hocket of Plimouth, who was looking out at a window, and espying one Captaine Robinson coming downe the stree, and he having an old quarrell to the said Robinson which began at sea, this Hocket stept to his dore with his rapier ready drawn, and standing within his owne house until Captaine Robinson was come just against his door, he there without speaking one word ran him through with his rapier, and afterwards was cleered by the Judge of this world, but after his coming out of the gayle, he went to sea, Master in a man of war, and within ten dayes after he was gone from Plimothto the sea, the first ship they met withall shot but one shot, and yet killed this Hocket, and no man in the ship killed nor hurt but only this murtherer.
Likewise in Plimoth one Captaine Treherne and Captaine Egles fell out about nothing in a manner, the cause was for that one of them was denied lodging, where the other did lie by the good wife of the house, for it may bee she affected the one better then the other, and two dogs and one bone commonly can never agree well together, but they fell out about such a trifling matter, and at the doore in the streete they fought, and in the first bout, Treherne was downe in the gutter, and Eagles there in presence of many might have killed him, but staied his hand, and suffered him to rise againe, but then Trehearne assaulted Captaine Eagles most furiously, and it so chanced that with a blow Eagles rapier brake, and then running into a house to save himselfe, Traherne run him into the backe and killed him, and afterwards he received his tryall for it, but by the mercy of the Judge he was discharged of that matter. After his coming out of the gayle, he presently got a grue of twenty eight persons, and a ship, and went a roving upon the coast of France, where they were all taken, and every man of them hanged in France, now I doe verily perswade my selfe that many of them might have been living at this day, if they had not hapned into this murtherers company.
Also, one Bartlet, who appointed the field with an other, after one bout, his enemy requested him to holde his hands, that he might breathe, which hee consented unto; but as they both stoode still, this Bartlet sodainly charged his weapon upon the other, and ranne him through, that he died presently, and then Bartlet fled and escaped away for the space of seven yeares, but the huy and crie of Gods vengeance followed him, insomuch, that hee came againe to Plimouth of his owne accord, thinking that ll was well, and forgotten; but there he was apprehended, and after the law had had his course upon him, Gods vengeance left him not, but broght him to Plimouth againe, and shortly after, another did challenge this Bartlet, they both mette in the field, and there was Bartlet killed, not farre from the place where he had killed the other before, and he that killed him, fled away, and is not taken as yet.
Now, to end these examples with the lamentablest historie that ever penne did write, for a more cruell murther was never committed, of king Richard the third, in the Chronicles, there may you reade it more at large, that after hee had committed his brothers two children to the Tower, hee was not contented, but would have the lives of these poore Infants, the doers of this hellish and cruell murder, were sir James Tirrell, Miles Forrest, and John Dighton, these three laying their heads together, what manner of execution were best to be used in that Tragedie, they concluded in the end, to stifle them in their beds in the dead time of the night, and so with the cloathes and pillowes which were about them, these three murderers pressing them downe under the cloaths (as aforesaid) bereaved them quickely of their loves; now, after this, what a hellish horrour had this King in his conscience, yea it so vexed and tormented his spirits, that he was never well nor at quiet sleeping nor waking; for in the night hee would sodainely start out of his bed, and goe up and downe the Chamber like a madde man; likewise in the day he never thought himselfe sure, but alwayes feared treasons, his eies rowling continually about him, and oftentimes hee would clappe his hand upon his dagger, when there was no need, and afterwards he was vanquished with his enemies; and on the other tree God shewed his vengeance somwhat in this world. For Sir James Tirell was beheaded afterwards at the Tower for treason, but not for that matter; and Miles Forrest had a consuming and a lingring life, for his flesh did rotte away by peece-meal, and so miserably died; John Dighton lived in great hatred, and was abhorred and pointed at of all that knew him, and at the last died in great poverty and misery. But I referre you unto the Chronicle, as aforesaid, which declares it more at large : and so I will goe on a little further to the same effect.
[Right margin note: Remember this example.]
[Right margin note: If this make not your cares tingle, yet it may make your hearts tremble.]
[Right margin note: Fearefall visions do haunt a murtherer.]
Though the Law doe spare and not cut off a murthere so soone as hee hath deserved death; yet I say the the horrour of his murthering conscience will so bee gnawing at his bloudy heart, untill it hath eaten and consumed him to nothing; also the horrible paines of hell will by visions shew, and so plainely appeare unto him, still sounding in his eares such a peale, that hee many times will thinke that the divell is come from hell; for so long as hee liveth, his spirits will be so distempered and affriaghted, that in the night, many times severall visions will appeare, sometimes spirits with ugly shapes, and sometimes a multitude of weaponed Officers russeling in to apprehend him, and sometimes the ghost of him which was murthered, insomuch that many times hee will sweate for feare, with running, labouring, and striving to keepe himselfe out of their gripe, and in a word, afraide he will be (in a maner) of every grasse; and whereas before he was accounted for a merrie companion, is now overcome with wilde lookes and melancholie thoughts, taking no joy, in wealth wife, and children. Loe, this is a life, but it is as wearisome as hell untill death doth catch him, for death waiteth upon a murtherer as a halter doth upon the stealer; as for example of sir John Gilbert ever after the killing of sir John Burrowes, of which the world saith it was an honourable quarrell, and yet in the night his friends reported, that he woul dsodainely start out of his bed, being sore affrighted, he knew not at what, he lived not many yeares after, but yet died in his bedde; so likewise master Hely killed captaine Foscue upon a soddaine quarrell, meeting in the streete in Plimmouth, yet by the course of the Lawe, was acquitted for it; but afterwards, so long as hee lived, hee lived a discontented life, and was never well in his conscience untill death tooke him. Now all these were but yong men, and in the middest of their yeares, to the eye of the world, either of them might have lived many yeares longer, and yet not have beene accounted for olde men.
I could spend much paper and time with a number of examples touching this matter, but I will here conclude, and leave the rest to thy daily experience, which thine eares may heare, and thine eies daily see (almost in every place) farre more fearefull examples, concerning this former matter, the more is the pitty; but what becommeth of them after this life is ended may seeme doubtfull, but I leave that to the secret wisedome and power of Almightie God; but there is no question to be made of those which leade a wicked and ungodly life, but they shall have a wicked and ungodly end; as on the contrary side, those that leade a godly and an upright life, shall make a good and godly end: for if a man doe well, he shall have well, but if he doe ill, he shall have ill. More concerning this matter you may reade towardes the end of the eight chapter following.
But I thinke it not amisse, heere in this place, to shew you alitle concerning murthers done in secret; for as the Proverb goeth, Murther will not be hidde; albeit for a time God doth suffer a murtherer to live and reigne without apprehension, yet in the end he makes the divell bring foorth his servant, to receive his wages with shame enough, a murther can not be kept still close: for the Lord sometimes doth bring a murther to light that hath beene done in secret, by the birds of the aire, by water, by fire, by dogges, as in breife by these examples shal plainly be demonstrated.
It hath beene knowne that a murthered carkasse hath beene throwne into the Sea when it was flowed to the full, thereby thinking, that with the ebbe he would have beene carried away, but the water being gone, the murthered carkasse was found where it was first throwne in.
Also, I knew a woman that was arraigned and condemned, for murthering her childe, and well she deserved the same; for shee cutte the childe into small peeces, and then she tooke and threw them under a hote furnace where she was a brewing : but when she had done brewing, and the fire out, there was found the peeces of the childe in the ashes, so fresh (in a manner) as it was throwne in.
Likewise, in Worcestershire were two brothers, the one a very honest man, and by his honest means and good industry, had gotten to himselfe a pretty house, and crownes in his purse. But his brother being a carelesse unthrift, and envying at his brothers prosperous estate, yet kept he it to himselfe, until finding opportunitie, one night (but they two being in the house together;) this gracelesse unthrift forthwith knockt his brother on the head, which when hee had done, hee cutte off his legges, and buryed him under the harth in the chimney, and layd the stones againe very artificially, hoping then that all the goodes were his owne; and when the neighbors enquired of him for his brother, he tolde them that hee was gone a journey farre off, to visite some of his friends. But (a short tale to make) this murtherer made a feast, and invited his neighbours and his friends; and when they were all assembled together within the house, as they sate by the fire side, they perceived the stones in the chimney to rise, and the fire tumbled downe out of the chimney, for the heat of the fire made the dead carkasse swell: and then search being made, the carkasse was found, and the murtherer taken and executed. God I beseech him blesse every good man from murther, and from being murthered.
I have knowne many times, that some (through ignorance) have commited murther, in parting of a fray, I meane such as are not experimented in the Lawe, nor have no reason in such a case; for many times they which should keep the peace, commit murther ignorantly, I meane in comming in, either with club or halberd, or such like weapon, and coming behind one of the two that are in fight, striketh him on the head, when hee little expecteth any hurt of any other, but from him which hee is now in hand withall, when indeed in such a case, they ought to strike downe the weapons of those which are fighting or breaking them, but not strike them. Whose mindes are occupied with fury one against the other, and little expecting a mischiefe to come from one which they never offended. Againe some in parting of a fray will run in betwixt them, and hold his familiar friend, and leave the other at liberty, and by this meanes he which hath been at liberty hath killed him which is so holden, when many times it had not so fallen out, if they had been both let alone to shift for themselves, therefore men ought to have experience and to use discretion in the parting of a fray, for fools do never fore-cast of a mischiefe beforehand, but wise men prevent it before it falls.
Wherefore I would with whatsoever thou bee, which readest this lesson, to remember it, and regard the life of a man, although many are at some times very unruly, yet let no abuse cause thee to commit murther, neither in thy owne quarrell, nor in parting of any other : for I have heard and knowne many times that a small stroke hath been given with no intention of murther, yet it hath fallen out to the contrary, yea and contrary unto all mens expectation, which have seen that a man with his fist or with a riding rodde, or with a penny loafe, and other things of lesse danger, and yet some have dyed being strucken therewithal.
which sheweth unto whom skill belongeth, with the fruits of dunkennesse.
Many will say that skill in weapons is a good thing, and fit to be learned of every man, yet all men will say it is a pitty that a man without government should know the secret skill in weapons, for indeede skil doth most chiefly of all belong to a man that hath wit and discretion to govern it, that when he hath skill knoweth how to use it as it ought to bee used, for a good thing learned and abused were better refused and never learned; for some when they have a little more skill than every common man, then will they thinke by braving every man which commeth in their company, by swaggering it with proud brags and high lookes, yet I have known such swaggering companions which have had more haire then wit, meete with their match and carry away the blowes with disgrace, and yet themselves beginners of the quarrell when they might have lived quiet if they would.
[Right margin note: He which can govern himselfe is wise, but that must proceed from God.]
Therefore he which weareth the greatest whistle is not the best Mariner, nor he the best man that maketh the greatest brags, for some will brace a better man then themselves, and swagger it out, and yet so little themselves that they will scarce hold the touching when they come to the stone to bee tried, yet every subject ought if occasion serve to fight for his king and country, if it be for the Gospells sake, and sometimes in defence of their owne reputation and credit.
Now although this art of defence is so fit and necessary a thing for all men to be learned, yet withall I doe exhort and earnestly intreat all such as have skill to use it in that fashion as it ought to be used, for if a man had twenty good qualities & yet if he be a drunkard, that one ill quality overthroweth all the rest, like as when a Cow giveth a good sope of milke, and then afterwards striketh it downe with her foote : she is as much to bee blamed for the losse, as commended for the gift, even so a man without government groweth out of favour both with God & man, for many a man without discretion and judgement many times doth fall out with his familiar friend, and so dare one another into the field, presently upon the suddaine falling out. Now if wit be in neither of them, then a thousand to one but murther is committed, for a man with skill may better fight with a hundred in the morning one after another, then with three in an afternoone, upon drinke or hot blood; for if you forbeare to kill thou maist easily kill a drunkard in his owne coming in, for he will come in without feare or wit : for drinke maketh a very coward challenge the best man living, for in drinke I have knowne many passe their words to meete in the field upon small occasion, if with discretion the quartell were rightly considered upon; but their owne selves in the morning when they have their right wits about them, then do they many times repent, and with the match were to make, and that their words were unspoken which they spake the night before. Yet neverthelesse when a man hath passed his word howsoever things fall out, hee must and will answer the challenge, yea though he loose his life by it. Loe these are the fruits of drunkennesse, al other vices may be left, but no bridle will rule a drunkard, nor no counsell will make him forgoe his drunken and swinish life, drunkennesse is the mother of all vices, for drunkennesse doth beget and breede all manner of deadly fins, for by inordinate drinking thy soule is endangered, thy body is infected, thy understanding banished, thy manhood distasted, thy substance wasted, and beastlynesse resembled, and thy businesse neglected, therefore leave that one vice, and all other will flie away with it: for as I said before it is the only breeder and maintainer of quarrelling and fighting, by fighting God is displeased, and the Kings Lawes broken; againe if murther be committed, thou loosest thy goods, and endangerest thy life ; if thou loose it not, yet thou shalt live despised, & hard of all honest minds that knowes thee, so that thy life will be more loathsome then death, therefore not to fight at all is best, except thou be charged upon contrary to thy expectation, then defend thy selfe, and yet feare as much to kill as to be killed.
The cause of quarrells, and what preparation you ought to be prepared with to answer a challenge.
Dissention, quarrells, and murther growes many times upon small occasions, yea so small, that when it commeth to the eares and to be disputed upon amongst the the wise, when they have skand it over yeelds up their verdict, saying such and such are fallen out for the value of a rush, and such and such have killed one another for just nothing, is not heere more madnesse? yet I will not say but at one time or another a mans reputation may b so neerly touched, that it cannot stand with his credit to pocket it up, although it be made upon drinke, for indeed the pot is the chief cause almost of all quarrells, yet being wronged, it can not stand with a mans credite, to keepe his weapon in his sheathe; neyther doe I counsell all men to pocket up all injuries which some will proffer them, but to answer a good quarrell, not onely with words but with deeds, as followeth, for the further instruction. Whoso is honorably challenged unto single combat, the challenged may make choice of his weapon, and likewise of the time when, and of the place where.
[Left margin note: Be wel advised before thou do passe thy word, for a man will be as good as his word, if it do cost him his life : for it is a cowards tricke to crie peccavi or least in fight the next morning.]
Likewise, the challenged may choose to fight on foote or on horsebacke, which for his best advantage hee shall thinke fittest: now also the challenged is to consider well the qualitie of the Challenger, that thereby hee may make the better provision of such furniture as may serve for his owne defence, and likewise to terrifie and hurt the challenger.
Now, if the challenger be chollericke and hastie, then charge thy poynt directly upon him, that if hee prease upon thee, he may come upon his own death: but before thou goest into the field, discharge thy duty and conscience towards God, aswell as in weapons, for thy best advantage, otherwise it can not choose but be to thy body dangerous, and unto thy soule doubtfull, and a most principall note is this to be observed, for thou are not sure whether ever thou shalt returne againe or never.
Remember your skill, when you are at play, or in fight, for I have knowne many, when their fight and play is ended, they doe remember, that with this tricke, or with that tricke they might have defended themselves, and either hurt or disgraced their enemy, but many (through madnesse and fury) remember it not till it be too late.
If you be both skilfull in the false play, then I hold it good for both to play upon the true play, for it booteth but little to use false play to one who knowes how to proffer it, and how to defend it; for it is ill halting before a Cripple, yet I will not say but the best of all may be decieved by false play, but especially false play may stand thee in great stead, upon those which are not come unto the ful perfection of knowledge : Againe, one may have skil in one kind of false play, but not in all.
Now whether thy enemy be skilfull or not, it is a very easie matter to know so soone as hee beginneth to charge his weapon, if thou haddest no former knowledge before hand. If two crafty knaves meete at dice, if either of them shift in false dice, the other will perceive it presently, and so they will know each other to be gamesters, but they will give over the sooner, with small losse each to other, referring themselves to their better fortunes, and hoping to meete with easier gamesters; even so I wish all men, if they perceive themselves to be hardly matched, the wiser of them to yeelde upon composition, after reasonable triall made each one of the other, before any great hurt be done; for the best man that ever breathed, hath, and may meete with his equall: and when two good men meete, the conquest will be hardly and dangerously ended on the one side, except Discretion be a mediator to the matter, before it come to the worst, if by friends it be not ended before hand; but if thou canst hurt thy enemy, yes, although it be but a little, or unarme him of his weapon, which thou mayest very easily doe, if thou doe fight with good discretion. And eyther of these are accounted for a victorie; also, take this for a generall rule alwayes, keepe thy bodie within compasse of true Defence, considering otherwise, that the danger is great in that part of the bodie which lieth most discovered, and is nearest unto thine enemie.
Now when thy enemy doth assault thee, and is lifting up his weapon to discharge at thee, be not then to prepare they Defence, but be ready before hand to defend every part of thy bodie, according to my directions, as when you come to it you shall see more plainely. For thou dost not know before hand where the blow will light, As shrinking up of shoulders is no payment of debts, no more will winking or blinking defend thy carkasse, as those which have no skill will winke : therefore, againe, and againe, I say, bee prepared with skill before hand. Most sure it is the blow must have his fall : but at every weapon I have shewed how to defend it, therefore the Defender must bee well experienced before hand with his defence, at such a weapon as he meaneth usually to carrie, that when the blow doth light, thou mayest bee in thy defence, not to defend thine enemies blow onely, but also to answere him in the time of advantage, for a quicke answer sheweth good cunning. Nor to know the true place for the holding of thy weapon, that is not all, but alwayes so long as thou art within thy enimies danger continue them in their place, except it be at the very instant time when thou goest about to offend thine enemy, and that must be done with a very good discretion, and thy weapon must bee recovered up againe into his place nimbly. Now if thy enemy doe discover some part of his body, that, to thy seeming, lieth very open, yet be not too hastie in offering play, though the baite be never so faire, bite not at it too rashly or unadvisedly, lest like the foolish Fish you be taken with the hooke which lieth covered with the baite; for if your enemy finde your weapon or weapons out of the place of true defence, yea if it be but an inch too high, or too lowe, too wide, or too narrow, it is asmuch as concerneth thy life : if thou be matched with one that is skilfull, never overlay thy selfe with a heavy weapon, for nimblenesse of bodie, and nimblenesse of weapon are two chiefe helpes for thy advantage in play. Againe, and againe I say, strike not one blow in fight, at what weapon soever thou fightest withall, except it be a wrist blowe, and that you may aswell doe with a rapier, as with a sword, for a wrist blow consumeth but alittle time, yet better use no blowe at all, but continually, thrust after thrust: for (in my minde) hee is a man ignorant and very unskilfull that will bee hurt with a blow, and if thou make an assault upon thy enemy doe not tarry by it, to maintaine it, for in making the assault distance is broken, wherefore recover backe into your guard and distance againe so soone as you can, and not altogether on the point, then you may be deceived, by the swift motion of the hand, for the motion of the hand is swifter then the eye or foot, many will set their eyes upon their enemies point, or upo his hand for the avoiding of this error, the best remedy is daily exercise and practise with one another, and to play with more then one, otherwise thou wilt never come unto true defece for it is good to be acquainted with every mans fashion, for that tricke which will hit one will not hit another, and therefore be well experienced not onely in the true play but in the false; I meane for the defence and offence of both, that if thou canst not prevaile with the one then use the other : yet take heed of hasty adventuring in, least thou with the foolish bird which flyeth into the lime bush, and being in, the more she striveth, the faster she is; then make no more hast then good speed, least thou be taken in thy owne folly, for many times haste maketh waste: if thou shootest at a marke if the marke be never so faire, yet if thou shoot hastily without discretion, thou maist oftner misse then hit; also I doe advise thee not to determine to answer every thrust or blow home which thy enemy doth assault thee with; but to answer it somthing short untill thou perceive whether he have any false play or not, otherwise if thou make thy answer home, je may decieve thee by false play: now if both be experienced in the true play and false then you might continue in fight a whole day, if it were possible to endure so long and have no hurt : if thou have a close hilted dagger and a rapier, I hold them more surer then a sword and dagger, but with the skilfull there is no danger in either of them; againe in fight a man need not use halfe the skil which he may learne, the second point of hawking is to holde fast, and the second and chiefest point in this exercise is to learne to defend thy selfe, and to use it when thou has occasion, then remember where about thou art.
And let no illusions cause thee to looke about thee when thou art within thy enemies distance, least hee take the advantage when thou dost not see him, or before thou be aware, as many doe : for after when thou hast the wound, it is but a folly for thee to say, I had thought he would not have strucken me so cowardly : I remember a tale as I heard out of Germany, thus it was, the Master and usher of a school had upon occasion appointed the field, and their weapon was each of them a two handed sword, and meeting at the place appointed, said the Master thou art not so good as thy word, the Usher asked him why; marry said he thou promiseth to bring no body with thee, and yet looke yonder what a number of people are coming towards thee, the usher no sooner looked about, but the Master smote off his head, and afterwards meeting with some of his friends said, I have taught my man a new tricke this morning said he, which he never learned before. Loe thus he killed him by policy, but it it was no manly tricke, neither doe I commend this manner of murther : in my mind the Master had been better that he had denied to goe into the field with his man, then to have such a clog of murther upon his conscience by killing of him, by what meanes or policy soever; for every one ought to remember that he must not take vengeance, when and where he may, so oft as an inury is profered him, concerning this there is a good example to bee imitated by strong beasts which never turne againe when little curs runne barking after them, for the mighty or skilfull ought to use their power moderately, for so they may the better use it continually, for although fighting be the triall of cunning and skill in weapons, and many men thereby proove their force, and yet afterwards become great friends, for fighting is nothing dangerous being both wary and skilfull: but now in my mind much deceived are those which thinke that a quarrell begunne with words cannot he ended but with weapons, but my opinion is that so long as no blowes passe but onely words, yet words are the cause of many quarrells, for words will sting worse then a nettle, and pricke deeper then a thorne, and cut more keener then a sword, yet for all that lef wisedome and reason guide thy hand and after you have crossed one another with two or three crosse words, then fall into a civill kind of reasoning the matter, and not in fury suffering it to grow into any further quarrell, for a little sparke at the first is easily quenched, even so upon the drinking of a cup of wine or a pipe of Tobacco, or upon such a light matter of no importance many a quarrell is begun; now in such a case I would wish the wiser of the two in his good discretion, to yeeld first, and so to end it without further grudging, for reasonable speeches may be a full satisfaction where a small offence is committed.
But now if one of the parties in a stubborne frowardnesse will not yeeld but rather goe into the field with a desire to kill the other, now if there be never a one of them wise, murther is committed and at leisure repented : but he which first beginneth the quarrell, or giveth the first box on the eare, rashly or unadvisedly, upon a small matter as aforesaid, is worthy and well deserveth to be answered againe with three, or else with the bastinado. And to match with this I will tell you a tale of a Frier, who in his sermon said if one give thee a blow on the one eare, turne the other and take another, and a lusty servingman hearing him, after the sermon was ended, hee came unto the Frier and said, sir you made a good Sermon, but yet in my mind there was small reason in one lesson that you gave us, what was that said the Frier, marry quoth the serving-man that if one give me a blow on the eare, I should turne the other, and take another : why saith the frier the Scripture commaundeth us so to doe, but quoth the serving man will you follow the scripture herein, yes marry that I will said the Frier, with that the serving man up with his fist and gave him a good boxe on the eare; the frier turned the other, and tooke another, but now saith the Scripture (quoth the Frier) looke what you would have others do to you, doe the like to them; looke what measure you meate, with heape and thrust, and running over, and with that the Frier tooke a good crab-tree cudgell and beat the serving-man well favouredly, and so to our former matter againe. Doth every blow that is given deserve the answering in the field, I say not but first requite the blow againe, as before said, for I have valued the rate of the first beginner so low as may be, for he is worthy to be requited, not in the same manner, but in a more open fashion, requite the boxe againe, and then being equalled of the first wrong; let him which beganne the game reckon of his penny-worths, and if in casting up his reckoning hee finde himselfe a looser, let him sit downe by his losse, and learne to make a wiser bargaine an other time; but if it cannot be so ended, then it must be answered otherwise as occasion shall serve.
Now if the lie be given before you grown into choller with a rash foolish fellow; first, consider in what case the party is, which giveth the lie, before thou strike; for in drinke or in furie I have seene one give the lie, which would not have done it at an other time, I meane when hee had his right wittes about him. Well, but say a man, at such time, and in such a case, doe give the lie, some mad heads will say, that it deserveth the stabbe presently; but I never knew any man stabbe or kill another, upon what occasion soever, but he was sorie for it afterwards : That mariner is not to be commended which getteth his cunning by many ship-wreckes; nor that man is not to be praised for his governement which getteth it by his punishment, which he hath for the killing of two or three men.
[Right margin note: Therefore doe not that to day which may bee repented of tomorrow.]
Now, upon the receiving the lie, if the stabbe be not given, some giddie headed kill-calves will say, that such a man tooke the lie, and did not answere it with a stabbe, wherefore hee is a coward; but now I say, and this is my opinion, he sheweth the best wit, and most valour, which seeling a man out of the way, (as we terme it) will give a milde and a quiet answere unto a froward question : also the wiser sort will commend the patience of him that can beare with one that is past reason; for all men know, that hee which committeth murther, will afterwards wish with bitter teares, that hee had conquered his affections, and stayed his handes, I meane, if there be any sparke of grace at all in him; and the first which striketh, many times looseth his life, therefore though thou cannot rule thy tongue, yet have a care to rule thy hands before a mischiefe be done, for hee which committeth murther, when hee commeth to examination, it is but a simple excuse to say, The other gave mee the lie, and called me knave, and I could not brooke it. There is a pretty example, and worth the noting concerning such a matter (as I have heard it) and thus it was. A Judge sitting in judgement against a murderer, who answered for himselfe saying, and it please you my Lord, hee gave mee the lie, and called mee knave. Why said the Judge, wilt thou kill a man for that? call me knave, and give me the lie : the Judge being importunate, in the end, the murtherer said, You are a knave, and you do lie; then the Judge took the skirt of his coate and shooke it, and said, Lord, now what am I the worse? but everie man can not be so patient : although some will keepe company seaven yeares, and yet never give any cause of quarrell : yet some againe will upon alittle drinke, or upon a small occasion quarrell, swagger and fight almost in everie company they come into; there is a Proverbe goeth, He which hath an ill name, is halfe hanged : Before he commeth to the Bane, another Proverbe touching our former matter saith, Hee which is accounted for an earely riser, may lie a bed till eleaven of the clocke : even so hee which hath tried his manhoode, afterwards the world will judge and say, that he is a man of his hands, and that he dare fight upon good occasion ; but if he make a common occupation of fighting, hee will then bee accounted for a common quarreller, and his friends will refuse his company many times for doubt of his quarrelling, and yet hee shall never be accounted, more then a man againe. Hee which is quarrelsome shall oftentimes meete with his match ; but if a tried fellow doe at sometimes forbeare when hee is wronged or challenged, the wiser sort will never account the worse manhoode in him; therefore except it be upon a most open and great abuse, let Patience be thy buckler, and a faire tongue thy sword, and alwayes have a care in the beginning what wilbe the end; for a mischiefe sometimes happeneth in an houre which happeneth not in seaven yeares againe, but Oh thrice happie were that man, which towards the latter end of his dayes, can without a paire of lying lips say, I thanke my God, I never bare malice, nor I never injuriously wronged any man, in thought, word, or deed in all my life.
Diverse reasons or introductions to bring thee
the better unto the knowledge of
If thou doest meane to practise after my direction, then put thy weapons in their right place, looking not onely to the picture, but to the words going before and after, likewise, frame your head, bondie, foote, and hand, according to my direction (as it followeth) after the first picture; for if either your weapons, or any part of your bodie be out of their place: yea, though it be but an inch too high, an inch too lowe, too wide, or too narrow, it is as much as your life is worth; If your enemie be very skilfull and willing withall : therefore, when thou goest to practise, reade it advisedly, with understanding, for I could have made a great Volume, in describing many sorts of guards at everie weapon, but it would have beene an intricate peece of worke, and needelesse for every common man to know.
For as some Scriveners can write twentie kinds of hands, yet one or two will serve the turne; but the more sortes being well written, are the more to bee commended, but to have an entrance into many, and not to doe one well, is not worth commendations: even so one guard perfectly learned at everie weapon, may serve thee for thy true defence whilest thou livest, against all other guards.
It is but little available to thee, if thou see a good Scrivener write, except thou take the penne and practise to write, as hee doth; even so, it booteth thee but little, that wouldest be skilfull of thy weapon, if thou dost see two skilfull men play except thou take weapons and practise to do as they have done before thee.
Againe, it is not enough for him that would write well, to write his copie but once over, and so leave, no more must thou, if thou wilt have skill in thy weapons, thou must not give over with playing of one bowt, but thou must exercise it many times, and practise it often.
And if a man write well, and exercise it never so much, yet hee can never exceed, well written; even so in skill of weapons a man may be perfect, and play well; but when thou hast learned the true and perfect skill with thy weapons, thou maist exercise for thine health and recreation, but thou shalt never passe that word, well plaid.
Also, he which writeth much, and doth not regard his coppie, but writeth after his owne will, I thinke it were strange for such a Scholler to write well, but he will alwaies write a ragged hand : even so hee that getteth him hilts and cudgells, and goeth about to learne of his owne head without direction of one that is skilfull, it were better that he had never played, if afterwards he goe to learne; for he must first unlearne that which he hath learned, which will bee very hard to be done without great paines taking.
Now he which writeth a good Secretarie hand, and then afterwards he goeth to learne Roman hand, or Court hand, or any other the like, hee doth not thereby loose his Secretary; but if hee can write all kinde of hands, then may he use most, that which hee liketh best, or thinketh fittest : even so, he which hath (by his practise) gotten good skill, and yet being of an other mans teaching, it is of an other manner of teaching, and I will not say but that it may be so good or better then mine : yet hee which learneth my rules or followeth my directions, it can not hinder him any whit at all, but if hee have once gotten them by good and perfect practise, if hee like them not, may goe to his olde fashion againe, or learne of any other afterwards.
Yet againe, as the observing of a true distance in a Scrivener betweene every line, is commendable in his writing, so it be done without ruling of it, which commeth by much practise; even so in true skill in fight, distance is a most excellent thing, and the principallest thing of all, next unto the guard to be observed and kept, and it must be gotten by great practise.
Againe, when you learne to write at the first, you write leasurely, but with much practise your hand commeth to be swifter; even so, with often use of thy weapon, thy hand will come to defend either blow, or thrust more readily or more speedily then at the first beginning of thy practise, albeit thou be shewen how to defend; and though thou have the reason perfectly in thy head, and knoewst when an other doeth it well, yet without practise thou canst never be skilfull in defence of thy selfe.
Also, hee which writeth, and with his penne doth sputter his paper with incke, a Scholler will thinke, if it be not a great blot, it is a small matter, but a Scrivener will say, it is a great fault; even so, if thy weapon or any part of thy body be out of the right place, yea, though it be but alittle, yet it will seeme to him that hath skill, as much as a great blotte doth to a Scrivener in a coppie Booke.
Moreover, he which learneth to write, must continually looke to his coppie, and must write according to it; for one letter, or one line well written, is better then a great deale of incke and paper spoiled, and not one letter well made : even so, one blow, or one thrust performed orderly, I meane, in his due time, and likewise to the right place, is better then a hundred unorderly done.
Furthermore, if in writing an Obligation, a Scrivener doe write one letter of Roman hand, and another of Secretary, another of Court hand, it will not be seemely, nor commendable, but with what hand you beginne with, to end with the same; even so you may frame your selfe, sometimes into one guard, and sometimes into an other, taking heed alwayes, that you observe the same defence which belongeth to the guard; for if you are in one guard, and you use the defence of another, so you may decieve your selfe (for everie guard differeth in defence and offence) and betwixt everie blow, and every thrust, and everie guard which I have heere described in this Booke: there is as great oddes as is betwixt Secretarie hand, Court hand, and Roman hand: nay the severall difference of guards are more in number then there are severall kindes of hands in writing, yea many more then any Fidler can play lessons upon his instrument, and the nature of the guards do differ as much as one lesson from another; wherefore those that thinke one defence serveth for defence of all guards, are asmuch deceived, as they that thinke there is but one kinde of lesson to be played upon all instruments: for that severall kindes of lessons are to be played upon all instruments are infinite; even so, the severall guards for defence and offence are not to be numbred; for, betweene the true skill in weapons, and the false, are an hundred at the least, and the contrariest and the most unseemely, every man hath by nature, but the best and surest way is to be learned by Art of them that are skilfull; wherfore see every mans judgement. For as thou mayest heare againe, even so thou maiest learne of one teacher, that thou canst not learne of another : for everie one that practiseth naturall play without direction of one that is skilfull, such a one in his practise, will have one foolish tricke or other : which when they have by common practise long used, will hardly be withdrawne from it : as for example, some will be setting their foote upon their weapons, as if it were to stretch him when he was right before, but they do it of a foolish custome that they learne of themselves : likewise, some will puffe and blow like a broken winded horse when they are at play, and some will daunce and keepe a trampling with their feete, and some will flourish and waver with their weapons, some will whistle, and some will be blabbring of spittle in their mouthes, and putting out their tongues, and some againe will runne about as though they could stand on no ground, and it is as hard to wrest or drive them from such unseemely customes, as it is to drive a dogge from a peece of bread.
Yet many doe not see it in themselves, but unto the skilfull, which beholde them, it will seeme very unseemely, and by nature, everie one hath the woorst way; as for example, there are but two wayes for the bowing of the head, either to the right hand, or to the left, and by nature, every one doth bow him towards the left side, rather then to the right side; and there is very great oddes betwixt the right and the wrong in true defence, as I have described in my reasons more at large, both in the place of Sword and Dagger, and Rapier and Dagger, for it is great advantage to leane thy head towards the right shoulder alittle; and at the beginning of your practise it is very easie to frame your selfe to my fashion, with standing both with feete and bodie, for the use of the foote commeth not by nature, but by practise. Againe, many yoong men will be growne with slouthfulnesse, and be so lazie, that they must be haled (as it were) with cartropes to any good exercise, accounting him their greatest enemy which giveth them the best counsell, but to all folly they are prone and apt of themselves, but perswade them to any goodnesse, and you shall see them hang arse-ward like a dogge in a string.
Most youth, for example, are willing to goe to Schoole at the first, but within a weeke or lesse, away must the booke be laid, for feare left much learning make them madde, as Festus said to Paul, for they will waxe dull and weary with a little paines taking.
And next, they must to the Fence Schoole, but there I am perswaded they neede not learne offence, and I thinke alittle defence is enough for them; for many will be wearie of well doing quickely, saying as the Porters of BristowI, a new Maister, a new, and hang up the old; even so, from the Fence schoole they must goe to the Dauncing schoole, but with a little practise they waxe weary of dancing likewise : then they say, Oh that heere were one to teach Musicke! that exercise they should never be wearie of, but within a little while that will be too teadious a matter to comprehend : so you may perceive yong men (by their wills) will take paines at nothing, I meane, not one in twentie, but what they are forced unto.
Now I doe not put downe those vanities, heere before in this Chapter expressed, thereby that thou shouldest waxe the worse, by the reading of it, but I doe wish thee to marke others, or find in thy selfe such foolishnesse, refraine while thou art yong.
Although many there be that do use foolish tricks, and perceive them not in themselves to be unseemely, but suppose they become them well, as he that wavereth his weapon, or runneth about, wearieth him selfe : besides, he that so runneth is in daunger of falling, for a little shrub, bush, briar, stone, or moulehill, may soone overthrow him which doth not traverse his ground leasurely and orderly; for he which hath true defence must bee steadie in his guard with his foote and hand in their right place, whereas hee which wavereth his weapon is at no certaine guard for his defence; therefore, to keep steadie your weapons in their right place, is the best way : for, one blow, or one thrust, orderly done, is better then an hundred without skill or out of order; for cunning in weapons may be compared to trickes at Cardes, for if one shew a tricke at Cardes, it will seeme strange to him that never saw it before; but to him that can doe it, it is nothing troublesome : even so, as that tricke at Cardes is nothing when the secret is knowne, but very easie to be done : even so, the best at weapons, is as easie to bee followed (being knowne) as the worst.
Farre deceived are those which imagine they cannot attaine unto the perfect skill of Defence with Rapier and Dagger, without such antique fashions of learning, which many of late yeares have devised, some wreathing their bodies like unto a coakes, and some as though they were going to daunce the Antique, which maketh many that have no experience at this weapon thinke it unpossible ever to frame their bodies, as they see these doe, which I speake of : but now these fanaticall fellowes will perswade a man, that it is not possible to play well at Rapier and Dagger, except a man can frame his body as they do; but I say, the best and surest way is the easiest to be attayned unto; for a boy of fifteene yeares of age, may (by small practise) defend himselfe against any man, with his rapier & dagger; for a thrust with a rapier is more fearefull then with a sword, and a man may see the thrust better of a sword then with a rapier, because there is oddes in the breadth and bignesse each of the other. Againe, a man shall thrust further with a rapier then with a sword, for the hilt of a sword will shorten your reach, by reason of the closenesse of the hilt, though they be both of one length.
Yet many are of this opinion, and will say, it is better to fight with a Sword and Dagger, then with Rapier and Dagger, the reason is (say they) with my Sword I may both strike and thrust.
But I say, and by good experience I speake it, that hee which striketh in fight, giveth his enemie a great advantage; besides, a Sword may either bow or breake, and so by that meanes hee that striketh may fall into his enemies mercy. Besides that, a boy of fifteene yeares of age may safely defend the strongest mans blow that is, according to my direction following in the first Picture; for a weake man, or a boy, may defend more with both his hands, then a strong man can charge him with one; for many can not forbeare striking, being moved thereunto by anger, except they have beene grounded in the disadvantage of it by much practise; hee that doth defend a blow double, and make a quicke answere with a thrust, by turning of his knockes inward, may hit any man that striketh, and yet defent himselfe without losse of time.
For the defence of a blow double, is sure, and yet you may answer your enemie so soone, and with as much danger to him as if you did defend it single, for it may be all done with one motion, both the defence and offence.
Furthermore, I would counsell all Clothiers or Chapmen, which carrie many times more money then they are woorth, for their defence against false knaves, to carry a Staffe in their iournies, whether it be on horse backe or on foote; for a good weapon doth not onely serve to keepe the peace, but also a mans purse from a thiefe, and likewise to be experienced in the skill thereof, if they should be driven to encounter upon a sodaine at the like weapon. But a staffe may easily encounter against a Sword and dagger, although but small experience be in the Staffe-man; but a little skill is a great help at a time of need, which if thou hast not obtained in thy youth, then be not ashamed to learne when thou art olde; for as in a schoole of learning, there are some in Grammer, and some in the Crosse-row; so the greatest Judge in the land was in the Cross-row first : even so into a schole of Defence there commeth, as well badde players, as good, and hee which is the good player ought not, nor it is not a thing usuall to mocke or skoffe at him which is the badde player : and what of all this? Nothing, but to shew, that it is better to learne late then never, I meane especially any good exercise or qualitie, which is, or may be profitable for a Commonwealth, healthy to the bodie, and commendable to to the world, for we are not borne altogether for our selves, but our Parents, Friends, and Country have interest in our birth.
Now although some will talke of this and that, and say, that they have fought with foure or sixe men at once, yet I can conceive no reason, how anie man should defend two men, especially if they bee both willing to spoile, or kill; for when thine eie is directly upon one of them; the other, in the meane while, may kill thee, if he be disposed; for the motion of the eie is slower then the motion of the hand; for a man cannot cast his eie about so quicke, but that he which is behinde thee, or on the one side of thee, may kill thee, if they be both willing (as I have said before : ) but indeede if one skilfull man have two or three upon him, and be in a narrow place, that they can not get about him, then may hee defend himselfe a long time without hurt.
A left hand skilfull hath oddes against a right handed man, owe reason is, that a left handed man is continually used to a right hand, but a right hand doth seldome meete with a left handed man; an other reason is, a right handed man, when he doth open his right side of his head, by offering play, although hee beare his Dagger to the right eare, yet it doth not defend that side, so sure, nor so strong as it doth the left side. But indeede, so long as the right handed man lieth in his guard of defence upon his Backe-sword, for the Backe-sword is the chiefest poynt of defence against a left handed man; therefore when you encounter against a left handed man, you must be carefull and heedie, if you do offer play, to recover your guard againe presently, and be in the defence of your Backe-sword guard : But of this I will speake more at large heereafter.
That Feare and Fury are both enemies to
I have taken upon me a very hard question to decide : for I can not well set out the office of the one, but with disgrace of the other; the one is so cleane contrarie to the other : First, that Feare is an enemy unto valour, I neede not to make any long discourse, for every one will say, that the fearefull man will never attempt any thing worthy the name of Valour, but alwayes beare a loade of injuries upon his broade shoulders, excusing all the wrongs which are done him, saying, that they were done with no intent of wrong, and so himself first craving pardon of those which offend him, but yet bearing an injurie in his minde, untill he can revenge it, by vertue of an office, or one way or another; also, he is a raiser of mutinies, and loveth to see other together by the eares, and yet keep himselfe out of danger, but some I have knowne, which have bin timersome and cowardly, shew great valour, but indeede it was when there was no remedie but that they must needes fight. Againe, I have knowne many simple cowardly men, who being well experienced with skill, and being practized therein, doe waxe bolde and valorous; for when (by often trial) they see that they can save and defend themselves, what neede have they to feare, for there is a certainty of defence, and hee which hath it, may bee as sure without making any doubt or question, as it is for Arithmetitian to cast up severall summes just to a penny : even so certaine may a skilfull man be in his defence : and it is as easie to make a fearefull or cowardly man, perfect in knowledge, and so by knowledge to bring him to be valorous; yea more easie it is then to make a hastie man, of valour and stomake, to forbeare his former resolution; for as no perswasions will make a drunkard forsake his drunkennesse, but onely povertie or death : even so there is almost no meanes to perswade the furious and hastie man from this sodaine quarrelling and stabbing, but onely many dangerous wounds, imprisonment, or death : Yet if such a one doe runne through many brawles, and so continue, untill his owne rod hath beaten him, by crosses and troubles : if all these can not make him live civill, and in sober fashion, as he ought to doe, yet olde age will bring experience, and will make him as tame as a sheepe; for when hee is olde, then hee will say, that a man should not adventure further then skill being tempered with discretion, doth allow : for observe I pray you, if you chance to see two skilfull men play or fight; and if these two fall into choller and furie, so that like two wilde Bulles they goe to it pell mell, then it is chance noddy to hitte or misse; for where fury hath the upper hand it is not worth the fight to the beholders, for they can shew no true Art, except the observe distance, for distance being broken, they cut or hurt one another which is a great disgrace unto true Art, and a discouragement to many which would learne skill, but that they see by such hastie fooles, that skill availeth not, and indeede it doth little availe such as cannot bridle their hastie affections; but yet many will say it is true, yet they cannot beware of the divell, untill they are plagued with his damme. For after a skilfuil man hath received hurt he presently condemneth his owne folly, for receiving that which he might have avoided if his mind had been on his businesse; now as I would have no man turn coward but to answer a good quarell, so likewise I would most earnestly with all men to forbear and not maintain such light and idle braules which either spring from lewd women, as that are pot prayes, for drunkennesse is the cause of the most quarells that be, yet still I doe allow and commend any man to answer his enemy upon a good quarrell, and to stand against him, if he doe assault thee : for that wil make others to feare to doe thee wrong or thy friend wrong, thinking that thou wilt rite it. Now he which is valorous by nature, and hath no skill, and yet hath a good strength, courage, and stomacke, many times doth adventure rashly without feare or wit, not much unlike a foolish gamester which urgeth and never counteth upon his fellowes game, but many times it were better hold then vie, for as som loose their mony by their rash vying at the one, so many loose their lives by a foolish bold hardinesse at the other : for many in their very first attempt, or as it were their entring into hope to get the praise of the world to bee accounted valorous loose their lives, which is for wat of mixing discretion with stomacke.
Many examples to this effect might bee showne which hapned in the wars of France, Flanders and Ireland, for in all these places as good men for valor as ever the Sun did shine upon, lost their lives upon the very first attempt, onely by rashnesse, and so their honor is written in a Chronicle of dust, for it even dyed with them.
I hold it a greater credit to retreat for thine owne safety being in danger, rather then still to charge one and so be slaine or sore wounded, yet mistake me not, for I doe not here commend running away neither, but use a meane and policy in retreating, for running away is a cowards defence. A good man may give backe for his advantage, and no disgrace at all, if men of judgement doe see it, and doe judge with discretion. For the valianest Captaine that ever did breath, for his advantage would retreat without any dishonor at all, therefore he which will be accounted valorous, and runne through many dangers and bryars of mischiefe, quarrells and troubles of this world, he must many times be patient upon a great wrong profered him, but afterwards with discretion examin thy force and thy skill together, how thou maist without hazard of thy life revenge the wrong offered, and that thou maist so fight as thou maist fight againe, without loosing thy life upon the first assault as many doe, but he is a foole which will adventure all his goods in one ship, especially if it be in a dangerous voyage, or all his mony at one throw at dice although hee know the runne of the dice never so well, for he that doth so may hap to loose all. For there are many dangers at sea and many chances at dice, but a good quarrell doth half defend himselfe, and also a good quarrell many times maketh a coward fight : againe, it is a great discredit to bee counted a run away, the unskilfull must doe for his owne defence at sometimes and yet stomacke enough.
Therefore whether it be in single combat or other wise, use thy weapon with discretion, without choller or hastinesse, looking unto thy businesse which thou hath in hand, soberly & mildly, and let wisedom guide the bridle, for so maist thou go through many a quarrell and run through many skirmishes often without hurt, although not without danger.
There is no exercise learned but by often practise, for so it is made perfect : valor, and stomacke commeth by nature, but skill never commeth by nature, and he which is grounded in skill by arte and practise will not feare the proud brags of any man. But now if such a one fight he useth his skill and dependeth chiefly upon it, but the hasty and furious man thinketh that he is never neere enough, and so many of them never fight but once, for they are slaine in their owne hastinesse, the very first time of adventuring; for haste oftentimes maketh wast.
I doe remember a pretty jest of King Henry the eight as I have heard it, that when he went to Bulloignehee sent out his Presse-masters, commaunding them to bring all the lustiest hackers in the country, and they brought and presented him with many that in fight had received many wounds, the skarres whereof remained, and the King beholding them saw that some of them had beene cut in the face in one place, and some in another, and some on the head, and some had lost some of their fingers; then said the King unto the Presse-masters, I like these men well; but yet goe fetch me them which did cut those fellowes, whereby he meant that those which had the most hurts were not the best men.
How the use of weapons came, also the number of weapons used from time to time, with other good instructions.
Man was first created naked, without any weapons naturally, saving onely hands and feete, which are able to make but a weake resistance against any great violence, onely this the hands to thrust away that which may annoy us, and the feete to run from that which may hurt vs. Now al other creaturesexcept man are naturally armed with such weapons as doth oftentimes kill and destroy any other beast which doth offend them.
As for example, God in his creation furnished the Lyon, the Beare, the Dog, and the Wolfe, and other such like beasts, whith long and sharpe teeth and clawes, and they are with them able to teare in peeces and devour any man or beast, which they oppose themselves against, now other beasts there are whose strength consisteth in other parts, and they doe avenge themselves in other manner; as the Unicorne and the Bull, with their hornes, and the force of their heads, so that there is no other beast or creature is able to abide the violence and force thereof.
Also note the force of fowls of the ayre as the fawcon, and the Eagle, what a dangerous weapon is the beake of them unto such fowles or beasts as they oppose themselves against.
Likewise for venemous beasts, as the Serpent, the Viper, the Scorpion, and such like, are so armed with poisoned and venemous stings, which not onely terrifieth but hurteth and destroieth those men or beasts which commeth neare them.
Likewise God in his creation made all creatures to severall purposes, but most of all for the use of man, for some he made to feed us, some to cloath us, some to sport us, and some to carry us, and some to destroy us.
Loe thus much by the way of argument, as a preamble to that which I intend to speak of concerning weapons as followeth.
In old time amongst men the strongest cary away the victory, I mean at the time when there was little or no other weapon used, but only tooth & naile, hands and feet : now in those dayes many men did thinke that they made a good hand when they saved themselves by flight, or any other meanes, from those which were to strong for them, and so the world continued a long time, the strongest still carrying away the victory.
For what weapons had they I pray you in the time of Sampson, did not hee for want of other weapons with a Jaw bone kill and destroy a thousand Philistims in a small time without any hurt to himselfe?
Now at this time if there had been any weapons of more danger put the case this. Although Sampson was charged upon such a suddaine whereby he had no leisure to arme himselfe, yet you must understand and know, that his enemies came purposely to be revenged upon him, because he had burned up there corne : wherefore if there had been weapons they wold have been so armed without all doubt or question, and so provided for him, that either they would have wounded or killed him, before he should have made such havocke or slaughter amongst them.
Againe, what weapons had they when Samgar slue six hundred Philistimes with an oxe goade, as in the third of Judges there you may read it in the last verse.
But after this as the number of people begun to multiply, and the malice, rage, and fury of man began to increase, first they began to revenge themselves with clubs, staves, slings, and darts. And afterward they studied and invented other weapons and armor for wars, as at the first beginning of wars they made Iron chariots, and then they armed Elephants, and horses, afterwards they found out the forging of swords, speares, Bills, Halberts, Javelins and Partizans, Crosse-bowes and long bowes, and such like; and every kind of weapon for more advantage and danger one then another, still changing onely to make triall of the best, for their advantage, and such they keepe in use that were of greater force not only to terrifie, but to hurt and destroy their enemies. But of late yeers they have changed all weapons for muskets, Harquebush, and Crosse-bowes, Calievers, Pikes, Swords, and Rapiers, and such like manly weapons of great dangers, especially unto the ignorant and unskilfull.
Now therefore as we are provided of sundry kind of dangerous weapons, I could with every man to spend a little time in practising to learn skill and cunning at such weapons, as with skill are most safe to defend, and yet most dangerous and hurtfull to thy enemy, considering this that the skilfull and cunning man fighteth without feare; for not only those which use the making of armes and weapons are well accepted of, wherein many are accounted famous, & thereby making a good living for their continuall maintenance, but yet more accepted are they which can use weapons well both for defence and offence : for many thereby have gotten such credit through out all the world, insomuch that Kings and Princes doe adorne them which are excellent therein with the names of Knights, and some with greater titles of honor : wherfore it is a great shame for any carrying the shape or personage of a man, but that he should be so cunning and so furnished with skill and with continuall practise, so to use it, as not only to defend thy selfe, but also to speake and to discourse of weapons and armes in what company soever thou come into fitting such a matter.
The Romans soone after the invention of swords generally they grew so expert and cunning, that they were able and did set foorth whole armies of swordplayers, such as are now called Fencers.
It is a wofull fight unto the skilfull to see so many yong gentlemen, which being once blindfolded with ignorance and for want of skill many times lose their lives in fight, without reason or judgement, and yet some such there are which will adventure; onely they doe it upon an aspiring mind, thinking thereby to get the praise of the world, which is to be accounted valorous, and tall men at armes, for to be accounted wise and valiant is every mans desire.
Wherefore as amongst the wise and ancient writers that ever wrote, wee find the wise to provide in summer for winter, in time of peace for wars; for ther is nothing so sure but as that after peace there will come wars, there is no man living that although he carry himselfe never so uprightly yet at one time or other he may bee so wronged that he must needes fight : therefore he that is wise will be armed before hand, not onely with weapons, but skill; thereby to prevent a mischiefe if occasion serve, as you shal hear more at large in the next Chapter.
Sheweth what an excellent thing skill is, with perswasion to all men to forbeare the maintaining of idle quarrels.
To shew you what skill is it will be a hard question to decide, and a matter too deepe for me to handle, for we see daily many principall and cunning men even at their wits end in studying and devising skill and cunning in all arts and science, and yet to the end of their lives they find themselves ignorant in many things, and are still to learne yea even in that which they have alwayes bin trained up unto.
Wherefore I think the ground of art and cunning is not to be found out, no although a man doe travell more larger ground then the whole earth, or if hee should flye above the clouds, or dive deeper then the sea, all which is unpossible : wherefore seeing it is so large that I cannot compas it, so high I cannot reach it, and so deepe a hidden secret, that I cannot found the bottom of it; for I cannot travaile so far, climbe so high, nor wade so deepe, yet so farre have I travelled and so high have I climbed, and so deepe have I waded, that I see art & skill so prevaile with those which bendeth their minds thereunto, they become more famous the any other ordinary men are, for skill is such an excellent thing, that it abateth the choller and courage of the hasty and furious man, so that hee be tempered with discretion; even as yron being tempered with steele, maketh a blade; whereas if it be all steele, it will be too brittle and soone broken; or all yron, then it will be too blunt : even so, he which is furious and hasty will be soone killed. Againe, skill, use and exercise therein doth overcome many ill humors, which without it, are never to be left as you shall heare.
For, skill maketh those hardy at their weapons, which are so timersome, as they wincke at everie blow; yea, and if he were as fearefull and as cowardly as a Hare by nature, yet such a one (by skill) becommeth, bold, hardy, and valorous; also (by use and practise) it maketh a man to use both his hands alike : wherefore I would hav eno man that carrieth the personage or shape of a man, but hee should learne as much skill in his weapons as possible hee can; and likewise learne as many gards at each weapon as thou mayest, that thereby thou mayest be the better able to answer any man upon a good quarrell, if his skill and cunning were never so good, but he which hath skill but at one weapon, and is acquainted but with one guard, and hath but one kinde of blow, or but one kinde of thrust; I doe not see how such a man should bee able to defend himselfe from one that is skilfull and cunning in many other guards, and many blowes and thrusts; for one guard, one blow or one thrust will quickely be worne threed-bare; it is supposed, that if a horse did know his owne strength, a man could not rule him; even so, for want of such manly knowledge, as every one ought to be experienced in, doe never come to the knowledge of their strength, nor dare not attempt any thing worth the commendations of manhoode, onely for want of experience and practise; for little doth any man know what good fortune is allotted out for him, and sure the greatest credite and honour that ever came to any man, was through skill in weapons : such an excellent armour is Skill, that it maketh a man fight without feare : and he which hath it, will fight with such warinesse, that he will hurt, and not be hurt himselfe, except it bee by great oddes of weapons, or more then one weapon at once.
Hee which is a man of his hands will have many tales brought him, but before thou give any credite unto a Tale-bearer, consider well the condition of the messenger, before thou put any confidence in his speeches, whether he be a drunkard, a coward, or a foole; for any of these three sorts of men, there is no credite nor trust to be given unto their speech. Againe, a Gentleman, or a man of any good fashion, ought not to carry tales : but if such a one doe heare his friend wronged behinde his backe, he ought with discretion to answer him, in his friends behalfe, with reasonable words, and not to report unto his friend, the worst that he heareth an idle fellow speake, except it be a matter which concerneth his life, then it is not amisse to warne thy friend, to the end he may be provided against such a mischiefe; but the carrying of every idle tale betwixt man and man, doth much hurt, and setteth whole housholds together by the eares. Againe, he which is a carrier of tales, can not truely deliver a mans speech, without adding or diminishing : and either of these two doe alter the whole property of the speech which was first delivered, and it so falleth out many times, that the Tale-bearer bringeth himselfe into many quarrells, and to be envied on both sides : therefore, he which can heare, and see, and say little, will finde most quietnesse, for little said is soone answered : but he that talketh much, can never place all his words well, nor please every mans humour : and surely Tale-bearers are the breeders of great mischiefe.
For many times upon others words some do beare malice one to another, without cause of desert, and yet occasion is taken, and perhappes none given neither; the one party doth not know of the malice the other beareth him of a long time, and this is not well, for if thou be griefed, reveale thy minde, and make a bolt or a shaft of it quickely, either to end it with weapons or with words or by the perswasions of friends, as occasion shall serve, when it cometh in question, and then afterwards be friends, but at no hand, let no envious hatred remaine in thy heart against anie person, of what condition soever; but rather go unto him which spake ill words against thee, and aske him in curtous meanes, but not in outrage and anger, untill thou heare his tale; for the Tale-bearer it may be, is in the fault, in telling a tale to make a quarrell, when there is none meant.
Meddle not with great men which are above thy calling, for though they wrong thee, and that thou hast a good quarrell, yet thou canst get little by maintaining such a quarrell; for might (oftentimes) overcommeth right, and the weakest goeth commonly to the walles : then is it better to beare the burthen of the mighty, and indure their malice with patience and let such quarrells slippe, rather then stirre further in them, lest it be thy overthrow : and, he carrieth the most honourable minde, which in talking of his enemie, can so bridle his affections, as to use no railing, nor undecent speeches behind his enemies backe, for he that doth so, dishonesteth himselfe : besides, those which heare him, will judge that hee had rather fight with his tongue then with his sword.
Againe, a man of great power and authoritie ought not to offer wrong unto any man of meaner sort : for it hath beene often seene, that a worme being troden upon, will turne againe; and many poore men will rather loose their lives, if so twere they durst adventure to challenge the rich for feare of the Lawe, I do meane when they are oppressed, wronged, and disgraced by the rich and mighty men; for the Lawe is a quirke to retraine or to checke poore mens wills, for it doth hamper and temper, and bring them into subjection: and as the olde Proverbe goeth, The rich men have the Lawe in their owne hands.
Even as the ignorant and unskilfull do many times feare to displease a swaggerer or a common quarreller; even so poore men are afraide to offend the rich.
Now concerning a rich man, I remember a prettie example or a tale, and as I heared it, you shall heare it, There was a Gentleman which built a gallant faire house, whom I will leave namelesse, but he had many ploughs and carriages for timber, lime, and stones; some serving his present need, for love, some for mony, and some for feare (as you shall heare) for at night, (when the carriage was ended) the Gentleman called them one after an other, and unto the first hee said; What have you earned? Sir (said he) I came for love, and not for money. I thanke you (said the Gentleman.) So them he asked another, saying Sirra, what came you for? Sir (said he) I am but a poore man, and I came for mony. And so the Gentleman payed him his wages : Then he called an other, and asked him wherefore he came, or what he had deserved? Sir (said he) I came not to you for love, nor for money, but onely for feare of your displeasure. Said the Gentleman, why art thou afraid of me which never did thee hurt in all my life? Yea, but sir (said he) I have seene many poore men enuyed, wronged, and improsoned many times for ill will by the rich, when they have but little deserved it; thereby shewing, that some rich men will beare such malice unto a poore man, if hee shall deny him such carriage, or if hee doe not helpe him in the harvest, or if hee shall denie him the selling of a horse, ground, or cattell, that the Gentleman hath a minde unto; for many of them thinke that a poor man shold denie them nothing, but if they doe, a grudging hatred continueth until they have revenged it; but if in a long time they cannot finde a hole in his coate, whereby to revenge their malice: yet when a presse commeth, then they put him forth for a Souldier, although there be twentie others in the same Parish, which would willingly serve, and likewise that might be farre better spared, and a great deale more fitte, for an unwilling servant seldome doth his maister good service.
The trickes of a Coward.
The first reason which I will set downe, whereby you may know a coward, is, by the lading of himselfe with weapons; for I have knowne a very fearefull man to see to, and yet a coward, carry a Welch hooke upon his backe, a close hilted Sword and Dagger, yet (mistake me not) for I doe not call every man that is so weaponed, a coward, but stand still alittle, and you shall know who I meane.
When a man (upon a good quarrell) doth challenge a coward into the field, it may be it commeth to this point; Where shall we meete saith the one? In such a place or such a place saith the other; but in the end, they make a secret conclusion, and choice of a place is agreed upon; but then, if the coward goe into the field at all, hee will be sure to goe where hee will not meete with his enemy, but to one of the afore-named places, and there hee will stay a while, and if any company come by, hee will tell them, that he stayeth to fight with such a man, because they shall note him for a tall man of his hands : and then at his coming backe againe, amongst his companions, he will bragge and boast that he hath beene in the field, to meete with such a man, and he came not; when the other all the while was at the place where they concluded to have met.
Againe, some cowards will so dare and bragge out a man in company, with such swaggering words, whereby the hearers should thinke there were not a better man to be found : and if it be in a Faire or Market, then he will draw his weapons, because he knoweth that he shall be soone parted, for the people will say, that such a one and such a one made a great fray to day, but I account this but pot-valour, or a Cowards fray to fight in the streete, for a man can give no due commendations of manhood unto such fighters, for there is no valour in it.
Againe, I have knowne a Coward cunningly challenge a very sufficient man, and they have met in the field, but at their meeting, the Coward will say thus unto him, Now I see thou art a man, and I will take thy part against all men, but I will never drawe my Sword against thee, that which I did was but to trie thee.
Also a cunning Coward, when hee hath wronged or mis-used a man, the party grieved doth challenge the field of him, then hee will beare it out with great bragges and high lookes, enough to feare any man, that will be feared with words, shewing himselfe outwardly as though hee would fight indeede; for the Coward will say unto the challenger, Thou wilt not meete mee, if I should appoint thee a place, for thou darest not answer me : for be it knowne unto thee, if I unsheathe my Sword, I will not draw him in vaine; but now if he see these bragges can not dismay nor asswage the furie of the other, but that hee will needes fight, then hee assayeth other wayes, if it be one of his acquaintance, hee will say, The world shall not speake of it, that wee two should fall out : or, if it be to an inferiour, then he will stand upon his gentility, saying that he will not doe him that credite, for thou art a base fellow, a fellow of no fashion, to compare with me. I have knowne in a strange place, that a scurvy base fellow will stand so much upon his gentilitie, and thinke to make the world beleeve he is a great man in his owne Countrey. Also, in a Taverne or such like place, if there be company ready to holde him, then he will draw his Dagger upon very smal occasion, shewing hilselfe resolute, as though hee would fight with the divell, and then the company (with alittle perswasion) brings them friends, which I discommend not, but I discommend the falling out about a pipe of Tobacco, or a cuppe of Wine or Beere. But of this I have spoken something before, and shall have occasion to speake more at large of it heereafter; but first, to end this I have in hand, many a Coward may say, when he hath lived so long in the world untill the world is weary of his company, I may be the best man in the world, for I was never yet tried, nor never drew my Sword in earnest in all my life hitherto : againe, it is good sleeping in a whole skinne.
And a wise or a valorous man may even say so as well as a Coward : for I say a man may very well answer a good quarrell, if occasion be offered, yet sleep in a whole skinne; why shall wee feare to goe to our beddes, because some die in their beddes; some die at Sea, and therefore shall we feare to crosse the Sea; some fall by chance, shal we never therefore rise for feare of falling? And what is all this? Nothing, but to shew, that there is lesse danger in fighting a good quarrell with skill and discretion, upon colde bloud: but of this I have spoken sufficiently already, if words would serve. But if I should write a whole Volume of one matter, yet it would serve to small purpose to some; and so where we left there we will beginne, for what I have said before, it is but as it were a deaw, but this last shower shall wet them to the skinne; a Coward will have a Sword or a Rapier, for length (in a maner) like a halfe Pike : but since the use of short Swords came, you cannot know them by that marke, as you might before, for many of them are got into the fashion, and it is the fittest weapon that ever came for their purpose; for short swords are worne both of one and other, more for fashion then for any other purpose : but because men of good woorth doe weare them, therefore I will not call it the fooles fashion, but let everie man alone with his humour. Againe, a Coward will have as good and as gallant a weapon as may bee gotten for money; but I doe not commend the man by the largenesse nor goodnesse of his weapons, neyther hee that hath many hurts and fearres about his bodie. There is no due commendations to bee given of a Judge, by his skarlet Gowne; neyther can a man commend the skilfulnes of the Marriner by his wearing of a great wistle : golde is not certainely knowne to be golde, before it is tried, every thing is not as it seemeth to bee for many a man carrieth the shape and personage of a man : but when they come to the touch like golde to be tried, proove but shadowes, as that which is like golde many times doth proove worse then Copper : even so, there is no certaine true report can be given of a man touching manhoode upon the first fight, without some triall. You shall seldome see a Coward use his weapon, except it be upon a drunken humour, or else, when he is driven to it by extremity, and that he seeth no remedy, but that hee must needes fight, but he wil many times be drawing in some Ale-house or Taverne, and there hee will be fencing with him, and shewing his trickes, thinking to make the company beleeve, that hee is an excellent fellow of his hands : and there many will be hewing of bed-postes, or table-boords, or many such like trickes he will use : then some Cowards will (by casting abroad of libels) and by night-walking, doe many mischievous trickes, onely to revenge a mallice which they beare in mind, because they can not revenge it manfully, and yet a Coward will grieve and fret if justly hee heare any other to be commended of any man for his manhoode and valour, for hee would have no man better then himselfe. And if such a one beare office in Cittie or Towne, hee will at no hand abide to heare, that a master of Defence should inhabite in the place where he governeth.
Also if any other commend a man that is a man indeed, a coward will discommend him saying, he is no body; or he is not the man you take him for; with such like disabling speeches, for if a coward cannot disgrace a man with deeds to his face, then he will deprive him with words behind his backe.
Also a coward delighteth to breed quarrells betwixt man and man, and to set such as are named to be men of their hands, together by the eares by false reports, and by carrying of tales, and by making of molehills mountaines, of halfe a word a long tale, to the hurt of others, and no good to themselves : and what is the chiefe cause of all cowardly mindes but onely ignorance, and want of skill : but to conclude, never trust a coward in his furty, nor suffer him not to come n eerer then the point of thy rapier, and there let him tell his tale, but let him have no advantage upon thee by no kind of illusions, especially if he be thy professed enemy.
That he is a coward which practiseth the throwing of a dagger or the darting of a rapier, I will not say, but he which putteth it in practise upon a man, is a coward, for if he kill a man with such a tricke, in my mind it is pitty but he should die for it : and so I will end with that example of a cowardly murtherer of one Cosbe, whose murthering hands by a cousening device bereaved the Lord of Burke of his life, and as I heard it, thus it was : a quarrell grew between them, and the field was appointed, where they both met, and being ready to charge each other, Cosbe said my Lord you have spurs which may annoy you : therefore if you please put them off, and even as he was unbuckling of his spurs, this cowardly and murthering minded Cosberan him through with a mortall wound, whereof he died presently.
Now to my owne knowledge, my Lord Burke was very skilfull in his weapons, and sufficient to have answered any man beeing equally weaponed, or upon equall termes, therefore hard was his hap to meet with such a cowardly murtherer, for his death is lamented of many, and Cosby was hanged for it.
Yet touching this matter, here followeth another example, as I heard it I will declare it: thus, there was a murtherer who escaping the pittifully hands of the mercifull Judge, after he had killed two men, being taken and apprehended for the third murther, and being arraigned before the same Judge which had before shewed pitty, began now to condemne this murtherer, and give the sentence of death, and so began to declare to this murtherer that had small grace, which could not beware being twice warned, but must now kill the third man : therefore thou (saith the Judge) well deserveth death, & death thou shalt have : when the murtherer saw that he must die, he said thus unto the Judge: My Lord you doe me wrong to condemne me for the killing of three men, for it was you that killed two of them : yea said the Judge, how can that be?marry thus: if you had hanged me for the first I had not killed the other two: therefore it is pitty in my mind, that a man-slayer should live to kill two men, but to hanged for the first if it be not in his owne defence, or upon a very good quarrell, and so I will strike faile for a while.
Questions and Answers.
Scholler. I have harkened all this while unto your discourse, the which I like very well of, but now I am desirous if it please you to be instructed with some of your skill.
Master. At what weapon are you desirous to learn.
Scholler. Such as you thinke fit for my defence.
Master. Then I hold it necessary for thee to learne the perfect use of fixe kinds of weapons, not thatthou shouldest still bee armed with so many weapons, but with the skill of them, for that will not burthen thee nothing at all : for thou maist in travell by chance meet at sundry times, with sundry men, which are armed with sundry kind of weapons, now if thou bee provided before hand with skill at such a weapon, as by chance thou maist meet withall, knowing the danger thou wilt the better prevent the mischiefe.
Scholler. What be the sixe weapons which you would have me to learne.
Master. The first and two principall weapons are the rapier and dagger, and the staffe, the other fowre are the back sword, the single Rapier, the long sword and dagger, and the short sword and dagger, but with the two former weapons thou maist encounter by skill with any man in the world, the rapier and dagger against any weapon of the same length, at single hand and with staffe against any two handed weapon, as against the welch hooke, two hand sword, the Halberd, Partisan, and Glove, or any other weapon of the like advantage : but provided alwayes thou must be sure armed with skill at those two especially: and with all the rest if thou canst, for then maist thou bee the bolder to encounter with any man at any of the other, if thy enemy can doe with his weapon, which if thou hast no skill in, it will seeme the more fearefull unto thee.
For if Golias had been experienced in the cunning of a sling, hee would not have condemned David so rashly, nor made so light account of him as he did : but if thou have skill with such a weapon, as thou art to encounter against it, it will be nothing troublesome unto thee, for there is no way to hit, but there is a way to defend, as thou shalt here more at large, but first tell me what thou art, and thy bringing up.
Scholler. I was a yeomans sonne, and always brought up idle under my father, but now my father is dead, and that little which he left mee for the most part I have consumed and spent, wherefore I pray you direct me my course, by some of your good counsell, for I have little to trust to, but only my hands, therefore I am willing to learne any thing which may gain me a good report, and something beneficiall for my maintenance.
Master. Indeed meanes to live and a good name withall, is more then gold, and because thou shewest thy selfe willing to be instructed, thou shalt heare briefly what I would doe if my selfe were in thy case, for if I should enter into large discourses I might thereby well make thee weary with the hearing of it, but perhaps never the wiser, and so thereby thou mightest well give me occasion to account the time very ill spent in writing of it. Neverthelesse I will reckon little of my labour, for I am in hope to doe thee good, for thou must or shouldest know not only how to use and governe thy weapon, but also thy selfe, in all companies, and in all places, where thou shalt happen to come; for kinde and curteous behaviour winneth favour and love wheresoever thou goest, but much the better if it be tempered with manhood and skill of weapons. Now some will say that skill in weapons is good most chiefly for gentlemen, but I say it should be in all men, for I have know and seen many poore mens sonnes come to great honor and credit, and chiefly it was because they had skill in weapons, wherefore in my mind it is the most excellent quality of all both for high and low, rich and poore. But when thou art experienced at thy weapon, I would with thee to make choice of one of those three exercises for thy continuall expences and maintenance so long as thou livest, and not live like a drone upon other mens labours, for least in time if thou wert never so good a man, yet every one would waxe weary of thy company.
Scholler. I pray you, what be the three Exercises which you would counsell me to take my choice of?
Master. Marry, thy selfe being of reasonable good yeares, and having neither lands, nor but alittle living left thee, choose whether thou wilt goe learne some trade or occupation, or else goe into the wars, or be a serving man; for when thou hast skill in thy weapon, thou must have some meanes to maintaine thine expences; for idle hands will make a hungrie bellie, and a hungrie bellie must needes have meate, and meate will not be bought in the market for honestie without money.
Scholler. Which of these Exercises would you advise me to follow?
Maister. I commend them all, but yet an occupation is a more certaine stay unto a man, both in his youth and in his age, then any of the other two are; and as thou art in yeares, so oughtest thou to bee the more witty, if it be not so, it should be so, and a man of reason will the sooner be his crafts-master. A man is never too olde to learne, especially any thing that may be to the good and profit of the commonwealth; and it is better to learne late then never : and he that hath a trade, let him look eunto it, and hee which will not labour, let him not eate, saith Saint Paul.
Schol. What trade would you have me to learne?
Master. Such a trade or occupation, as thy minde bendeth most unto, and then to apply thy selfe to it, and follow it, and strive by honest meanes and painefull labour to be rich, for thou mayest be poore when thou wilt, but there is no trade good to him which will not to follow it, for he that hath never so many trades, and yet giveth his mind to drunkennesse, and loveth to leade an idle and loytering life : such a one will never thrive, but sit in an Ale-house, and complaine, that the world is hard, and that worke is very scant; indeede, so it is with such a one, for a man can seldome finde them in their owne houses, whereby to put worke into their hands, but those that doe looke for worke, and attend it, need never to want worke, but will alwayes be in other mens worke, or else they will be able (by their good husbandry) to set themselves aworke, and it is a very bad commoditie, that will not yeelde mony at one time or other.
Do you understand me, if not, I will make it more plaine, hearken to that which followeth, then above all, give not thy minde to ranging or running from Towne to Towne, or from Countrey to Countrey, for a rolling stone will never gather mosse, the Grashopper will rather die then goe out of the grasse; and thou (with good behaviour) mayest better live with a groat in thine owne Countrey, then with a pound in a strange place, for in a strange place, although thou be of good behaviour, thou shouldest have had no neede to come out of thine owne Countrey : Againe, thy flying away will be a great discredite unto thee, if thou thinke to come home againe; for every man almost will be loath to put credite, or anie thing of valew into the hands of a ranger, because that they are not resolved that thy minde is setled to stay in thine owne Country, when thou doest turne from thy race againe. Many men there are that consume their time in ranging abroade, and at the last, seeing the vanity of the world, they recall themselves, and repent of the time which they have consumed in travell : but then they have experience although no money; now Experience is no coiner, nor a tradesman woorth a pinne without his tooles; for what avayleth it to be a cunning Gold-smith, and have neyther gold nor silver : few there are that will trust a traveller any further then they can see him, especially if hee have beene one that hath served as a Souldier in a forreine Countrey : therefore, although home be homely, indevour thy selfe to live by honest and good meanes, and be contented with thine homely home, but beware, spend not michaelmasse rent in Midsummer quarter abroade, as many bad husbands use to doe.
Now if a trade be too tedious for thee to learne, or too painefull for thee to follow, then goe thou unto the warres, and serve eyther by Sea or Land, as thy affections shall best leade thee unto : but in seeking by the warres to get wealth, if thou loosest thy life while thou art yoong, thou needest not to care for old age; yet by the warres (if fortune serve) but to speake more Christian-like (if God will) thou maiest get that in one houre, which (with good discretion and governement) thou mayest be the better for, so long as thou livest : the goods which do come by the warres, are neyther light come by, nor godily gotten (in my minde;) yet many thinke that wealth gotten by the warres, is easily gotten; for so it appeareth by the prodigall and vaine spending of it : wherefore I would have thee furnish thy selfe with Discretion and Knowledge before hand, that thereby thou maist the better use wealth when thou hast it; but then thou must not abuse it, as many other Souldiers have done heretofore : for I have knowne many get both goods and money by the warres, but have made no other reckoning, but as one would say, lightly come lightly goe; and so suffering it to melt away like butter in the Sunne : therefore if thou happen, by the warres, upon that may doe thee good, keepe it warily, and spend it wisely: for it is said, a dog shall have a day, and a man shall have his time; but if he let Time slip, she is bauld behinde, and therefore no holde to be taken of her after her backe is once turned; for I have knowne many by the wars, get at one voyage, enough to live by all their lives long, if with discretion it had bin governed; but they have consumed it in so short a time, that a man would thinke it impossible; and then to the warres againe they go in hope of the like fortune, but they have not in seaven yeares, nay all their life time got so much, as they spent in one day, when they had crownes.
[Right margin note: The warres are not like throwing of snowe balles: sorre decieved are they that so think.]
Then consider with thy selfe, that if thou doe light upon wealth, that thou commest not light by it, if thou get it by the warres, though indeede it is gotten in an houre, yet it is gotten with great hazard of thy life, and no doubt it is displeasing to God, for goods gotten by the warres serve but for spending mony for the time present; those which doe save them, and hoord them up, they are consumed before two generations doe passe, yea thou it were aboundance, it cometh to nothing, as in my farewell to Plimmouth more at large appeareth.
[Left margin note: Goods gotten by the warres are like a live Bird in the hand, which, the hand no sooner opened but she strait flieth away.]
Now (in my minde) the third and the worst choice I have left thill the last, and that is a serving-mans life, yet it is as it happeneth, for some happen into good service, and some againe spend seaven yeeres, yea all their life time, and so they grow the older, little the wiser, nor never a whit the richer; and some of them never care so they have from hand to mouth, nor never thinke upon a rainy day untill it come, and gentlemen are wise for they will not keepe a dog and barke themselves, neither will they keepe a cat except shee will catch mice; therefore if thou wilt be a serving-man thou must take great paines, otherwise thou wilt have smal gaines at the end of thy service; yea though thou be never so painfull and dutifull, yet when thou lookest to receive thy reward, there may be such great fault found in thy service, that all the golden words and faire promises which thou hast been deluded and haled forward withall, they may all come to nothing except thy bare wages, there may be a bill of caveling put in for the rest, saying if thou hadst been an honest man, thou shouldest have had this or that, if thou live never so uprightly, yet there may be faults found, for it is a very easie matter to find a staffe to beat a dogge withall, but because I cannot well display the life of a servingman, but either I shall displease the Master or the man, or both; therefore I will here conclude, and leave the rest to thy daily experience, and so for a while harken unto the skill of weapons.