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Olivam; whereby shineth the glory of learning, which thus was governor and mistress, in the noble city of Athens, both of war and peace.
Therefore to ride comely, to run fair at the tilt or ring; to play at all weapons ; to shoot fair in bow, or surely in gun; to vaut lustily; to run, to leap, to wrestle, to swim ; to dance comely; to sing and play on instruments cunningly; to hawk, to hunt, to play at tennis, and all pastimes generally, which be joined with labour, used in open place and on the day light, containing either some fit exercise for war, or some pleasant pastime for peace, be not only comely and decent, but also very necessary for a courtly gentleman to use.
Towards the end of this treatise, there are several
pages which treat, incidentally indeed, of the literature, the manners, and the opinions of the age. These passages, to a modern reader, will be considered probably as the most valuable part of the book. The particular views of the author in the observations he makes are of little consequence.
Sir Richard Sackville, that worthy gentleman, of worthy memory, as I said in the beginning, in the queen's privy chamber at Windsor, after he had talked with me for the right choice of a good wit in à child for learning, and of the true difference betwixt quick and hard wits; of alluring young children by gentleness to love learning, and of the special care that was to be had, to keep young men from licentious living; he was most earnest with me, to have me say my mind also, what I thought concerning the fancy that many young gentlemen of England have to travel abroad, and namely to lead a long life in Italy. His request, both for his authority, and good will toward me, was a sufficient commandment unto me to satisfy his pleasure with uttering plainly my opinion in that matter. Sir, quoth I, I take going thither and living there, for a young gentleman that doth not go under the keep and guard of such a man, as both by wisdom can, and authority dare rule him, to be marvellous danger
I know divers noble personages, and many worthy gentlemen of England, whom all the syren songs of Italy could never untwine from the mast of God's word; nor no inchantment of vanity overturn them from the fear of God and love of honesty.
But I know as many, or mo, and some, sometime my dear friends, (for whose sake I hate going into that country the more) who parting out of England fervent in the love of Christ's doctrine, and well furnished with the fear of God, returned out of
Italy, worse transformed than ever was any in Circe's Court. I know divers, that went out of England men of innocent life, men of excellent learning, who returned out of Italy, not only with worse manners, but also with less learning; neither so willing to live orderly, nor yet so hable to speak learnedly, as they were at home, before they went abroad.
But I am afraid that over many of our travellers into Italy, do not eschew the way to Circe's court, but
go, and ride, and run, and fly thither, they make great haste to come to her, they make great suit to serve her; yea, I could point out some with my finger, that never had gone out of England, but only to serve Circe in İtaly. Vanity and vice, and any license to ill living in England, was counted stale and rude unto them. And so, being mules and horses before they went, return swine and asses home again; yet every where very foxes with subtle and busy heads; and where they may, very wolves, with crúel malicious hearts. A marvellous monster, which for filthiness of living, for dulness to learning himself, for wiliness in dealing with others, for malice in hurting without cause, should carry at once, in one body, the belly of a swine, the head of an ass, the brain of a fox, the womb of a wolf. If you think we judge amiss, and write too sore against you, hear what the Italian sayeth of the Englishman; what the master reporteth of the scholar, whơ
attereth plainly what is taught by him, and what is learned by you, saying, Englese Italianato, e un Diabolo incarnato : that is to say, “ You remain men in shape and fashion, but become devils in life and condition."
If some do not well understand what is an Englishman Italianated, I will plainly tell him : " He that by living, and travelling in Italy, bringeth home into England, out of Italy, the religion, the learning, the policy, the experience, the manners of Italy." That is to say, for religion, papistry, or worse; for learning, less commonly than they carried out with them; for policy, a factious heart, a discoursing head, a mind to meddle in all men's matters; for experience, plenty of new mischiefs never known in England before; for manners, varies ty of vanities, and change of filthy lying.
These be the enchantments of Circe, brought out of Italy, to mar men's manners in England; much by example of ill life, but more by precepts of fond books, of late translated out of Italian into English, sold in every shop in London; commended by honest titles, the sooner to corrupt honest manners; dedicated over boldly to virtuous and honourable persons ages, the easilier to beguile simple and innocent wits. It is pity that those which have authority and charge to allow and disallow books to be printed, be no more circumspect herein than they are. Тей
sermons at Paul's cross do not so much good for moving men to true doctrine, as one of those books do harm, with enticing men to ill living. Yea, I say farther, those books tend not so much to corrupt honest living, as they do tò subvert true religion. Mo papists be made by your merry books of Italy, than by your earnest books of Louvain.
Where will inclineth to goodness, the mind is bent to troth: where will is carried from goodness to vanity, the mind is soon drawn from troth to false opinion. And so the readiest way to entangle the mind with false doctrine, is first to intice the will to wanton living. Therefore, when the busy and open papists abroad, could not, by their contentious books, turn men in England fast enough from troth and right judgment in doctrine, then the subtle and secret papists at home procured bawdy books to be translated out of the Italian tongue, whereby over many young wills and wits allured to wantonhess, do now boldly contemn all severe books that sound to onesty and godliness.
And yet ten La Morte d'Arthures do not the tenth part so much harm, as one of these books made in Italy, and translated in England. They open, not foud and common ways to vice, but such subtle, cunning, new, and divers shifts, to carry young wills to vanity, and young wits to mischief, to teach old bawds new school points, as the simple