By George Saintsbury
This Elibron Classics e-book is a facsimile reprint of a 1910 version by way of Macmillan and Co., constrained, London.
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Extra resources for A History of Elizabethan Literature
His Tox^pliilns was written and printed as early as 1545 ; his Schoolmaster did not appeartill after his death, and seemsto have beenchiefly written in the very last days of his life. There is thus nearly a quarter of a century between them, yet they are not very different in style. Ascham was a Yorkshire man born at Kirbywiske, near Northallerton, in 1515; he went to St. John's College at Cambridge, then a notable seat of learning, in 1530; was elected scholar, fellow, and lecturer, becamepublic orator the year after the appearanceof Toxofhi/its, acted as tutor to the Princess Elizabeth, went on diplomatic businessto Germany,was Latin secretaryto Queen Mary, and after her death to his old pupil, and died on the 3oth December 1568.
We have also Epistles from him, and his works, both English and Latin, have been in whole or part frequentlyedited. The great interest of Ascham is expressed as happily as possible by his own words in the dedication of Toxophilus to Henry VIII. "Although," he says, "to have written this book either in Latin or Greek . . had been more easierand fit for my trade in study, yet ... I have written this English matter in the English tongue for Englishmen"-a memor- able sentencenonethe worsefor its jingle and repetition,which are well in place.
Your dear self can bestwitness the manner,being done in loose sheetsof paper, most of it in your presence,the rest by sheets sent unto you as fast as they were done. In sum, a young head, not so well stayed as I would it were, and shall be when God will, having many fancies begotten in it, if it had not been in someway delivered, would have grown a monster, and more sorry might I be that they came in than that they"gat out. But hisJ chief safety shall be the walking abroad; and his chief protection the bearingthe lively of your name,which,if muchgoodwill do not deceiveme, is worthy to be a sanctuaryfor a greateroffender.
A History of Elizabethan Literature by George Saintsbury