The first part of the elementarie vvhich entreateth chefelie of the right writing of our English tung, set furth by Richard Mulcaster.
Mulcaster, Richard, 1530?-1611.

Cap. VII. That this Elementarie resembleth natur, both in number of a∣bilities and in maner of proceding.

THe third prouf of a good Elementarie was to resemble natur in multitude of abilities, and to procede so in tea∣ching, as she doth in towarding. For as she is vn∣frindlie, wheresoeuer she is forced, so is she the best gide, that anie man can follow, wheresoeuer she fauoreth. Wherefor if natur make a childe most fit to excell in manie singularities, so theie be furthered and auanced by Elementarie train in the younger yeares, is not that education much to be blamed, by whom the falt coms, and the infant is defeated of that same ex∣cellencie, which natur voweth, and negligence voideth?

Again, when there is nothing ment vs by natur, but train will help it forward, is not train it self to be thought most perfit, and the mean of the train to be held most absolut, which spre∣des Page  28 with natur, where she splaieth most, as manifold in prefer∣ring, as she is in profering.

Whē I vse the name of natur, I mean that power, which God * hath emplanted in these his creaturs both to cōtinew their own kinde, that it do not decaie, & to answer that end, wherefor these were made. The continewance of their kinde is the prouf of their being, but the answering of their end, is the frute of their being. This latter part is that point, where vnto education hath a speciall eie (tho it contemn not the other) that the young fry maie be brought vp so, as theie maie proue good in the end, and serue well in that place, wherevnto theie shalbe loted, for the benefit of their countrie, when theie com to years, and full state of prouf. For the performance whereof that theie maie proue such in dede, I take it, that this Elemētarie in his kinde is most sufficiēt, as being the best mean to perfit all those abilities, which natur endoweth our kinde withall, by those same princi∣ples, which art and consideration appointeth it withall: and by vsing such pollicie in the waie & passage to artificiall perfectiō, as natur hir self doth vse in hir ascending to hir naturall height. Bycause the end of education, and train is to help natur vnto hir perfection, which is, when all hir abilities be perfited in their habit, wherevnto right Elements be right great helps.

This is that resemblance of natur, which I do mean, not to counterfeat hir in som other work, as fondlie comparing, or * frowardlie bragging with the effects of natur, like som Apelles in purtrait, or som Archimedes in motiō, but when consideratiō & iudgemēt wiselie marking, whereunto natur is either euidēt∣lie giuen, or secretlie affectionat, doth frame an education con∣sonant therevnto, to bring all those things to perfection by art, which natur wisheth perfit, by franknesse of hir offer. If natur do offer a towardnesse to write, and no impediment let, but it maie be well applied, is not consideration vntoward, if that a∣bilitie want forwarding? If with som small help a childes voice maie be made swete, tunable and cunning, is not education lame, if it continew harsh, vnpleasant, and rude? If by benefit of natur, we be made fit for mo qualities, then ordinarie edu∣cation doth help vs vnto, do we not blame them, who hauing gouernment ouer vs, leaue vs ignorant in that, which in ripe∣nesse Page  29 of years we want in our selues, and wonder at in others? whose train being better then ours, tho perhaps neither wit quikker, nor bodie nimbler, doth serue for a prouf, that cur∣teous natur is oftimes verie frank, where vnkinde fortun shew∣eth verie small frindship: naie that either negligence or folie inconsideratlie cutteth of, that naturall abilitie, most liberallie bestowed. Whereupon I ground my argument that this must nedes be a verie good Elementarie, bycause it preferreth all things which natur offereth to a commendable end, and shew∣eth it self as considerat a teacher, as natur doth hir self an ex∣cellent towarder.

But for the better vnderstanding of my conclusion, and this * great concordance, which I note to be betwene natur in fra∣ming, and art in training, both for number of abilities, and for maner of proceding, I will first examin the naturall abilities, which ar to be perfited, & how natur hirself doth forward the perfectiō: thē I will shew, how those principles, which art hath deuised for the furtherance of natur, do answer vnto those a∣bilities of natur, both for sufficiencie in number, and fitnesse to perfection. For where there be verie manie effects, which ar to be wrought, there must nedes be manie, means, to bring the effect about. Where natur hir self offereth verie good hold, there art must be at hand and redie to take it: where natur is frutefull, and plaieth the good mòther, there art must be care∣full and proue a good nurse. For it is most trew, that most ex∣cellent gifts, and endowments of natur, be verie oftimes spoi∣led by the onelie mean of negligent nurtur.

I call those naturall abilities, which natur planteth in our mindes and bodies, prepared by hir self for vs to vse, but to be * perfited by our selues, to our own best vse, whereunto that power of our minde, or that part of our bodie doth speciallie serue, in which that abilitie is naturallie placed: As for exam∣ple, natur planteth in the hand an abilitie to catch and hold, which that it maie do to the best effect, and to that vse for the which we haue our hand, our own pollicie and practis must be our best mean. Natur plāteth in our minde an abilitie to forese such things, as be to com, which that it maie do to our greatest profit, our own wisdom, & our own cōsideration, must be our Page  30 best mean. Whereby it will fall out, that we our own selues do cause our own want, if we do not our endeuor, to further those helps, which the goodnesse of natur, naie, which the good∣nesse of God, the Lord and prince of natur, of his own mere gift doth so bestow vpon vs, as we maie frelie haue them, if we list to apply them. If the case were such, as we our selues were willing to vse them, if we had them, and had them not, the complaint might tuch natur, for not answering our will, but now that we haue them, if we do not vse them, the blame will tuch our selues, for not answering hir goodnesse.

I call those Artificiall principles, which mans wisdom ha∣uing * considered the entendment of natur doth deuise for himself, so manie in number, and so fit in qualitie, as these maie take sure hold of all naturall inclinations and abilities, & bring them to perfection by the like mean, and the like as∣cent, in training them to that end, which pollicie doth shout at, as natur sheweth hir self to be verie well willing to fol∣low the hand of anie such a trainer, by such a mean as is deuised, to such an end, as she desireth: As in the former examples of the hand to hold fure, & the minde to forese, which be naturall abilities, artificiall principle is to vse such exercises, and so cō∣siderate experiments, and with such precisenesse in the vse of them both, as the hand maie hold best, and surest with all the minde forese most, and furthest withall. Where natur grounded onelie bare holding, and simple foresight, direction entended the best in them both, as natur did not seme to be verie frow∣ard in either, whose perfection lyes in both.

By these discriptions it appeareth, that of these naturall qua∣lities som concern the bodie and som the soull, and that both * theie help either to our mere being onelie, or to our well being withall: and also that the mean both to work our being in the one kinde best, and our welbeing in the other kinde as well, must be so applied, as natur hir self shall seme to be most pli∣ant, which pliablenesse of natur will shew it self, both by ease in the working, and by vse in the work.

But forsomuch as the handling of all these qualities, first of the bodie, and then of the minde, next of our being, and then of our well being, whether imperfit in nature, or perfit in Page  31 train, wilbe somwhat tedious to deal withall seuerallie, and the things thēselues maie be wel enough vnderstood being hādled together, seing in all our executiōs both the bodie & minde do alwaie concur, tho either more or lesse, as the thing that is don, procedeth in proportion from either of their parts: I will there∣for handle them ioyntlie in one treatis, as theie themselues do ioyn allwaie in one practis, & that chefelie in respect of our be∣ing, first mere, and then well. Whereof the first, which concern our mere being, be altogether naturall, tho principles to the last, by mean of education the latter which concern our well being, be mere artificiall but bilding vpon natur by waie of fundation, and proue so much the finer, where theie haue hir fauor, as either nothing at all, or but of small account, where she semeth to froun.

Those abilities therefore belong to mens being, without the * which theie could not once so much as liue, or bear the name of men in the naturall sense of their first humanitie: Those be∣long to their well being, without the which tho theie maie liue and continew men, yet ar there extreme rude, and in dede no bodie, in the principall sēse of their best humanitie. Without the abilitie to receiue sustenance, & to haue it tendered, when natur doth command it, a man cannot liue. Wherefor that abilitie & such other like, cōcern his mere being, tho by his so being he be but half a beast, which fedes, as wel as he doth, tho not with like change. Whithout the abilitie to conceiue and vnderstand, what is most semelie in everie circumstance, and to haue it fi∣ned, to the most ciuill vse, a man maie liue tho exceding rude, and therefor that abilitie, and such other like concern his well being, whereby he is likest him, of whom he hath his being, and most sociable with them, among whom his being is.

Now as I finde in natur both by the effects, which these a∣bilities work, and by the places, wherein their ar bestowed, that she means vs verie much, and verie manifold good: so for the * auancing of euerie of them to the same effects, which natur entendeth, I find also in this Elementarie, that it hath seuerall branches, wherewith to supply their seuerall turns, as it shalbe proued first in the abilities of our mere being, and then in those, which concern our best being. Whereby it shall also appear, Page  32 that neither natur, nor we haue anie cause to complain: Natur, that she is but sklenderlie furthered, where she meaneth great matters: we, as missing of that by insufficiencie of train, which natur ment vs by varietie of gifts. And that therefor this Ele∣mentarie being so well appointed by so wise men, as the first deuisers thereof were, deserueth the embracing, which so an∣swereth naturs liberalitie in endoument, by sufficient varietie in artificiall principle.

For the being of man, to maintain and encrease his bodie in euerie part and parcell thereof, and so afterward to sprede the * like to it self, in euerie kinde thoroughout, natur hath planted in our bodies, which is hir first subiect, a liuer, the first and formost part of hir frame, and our main, which liuer receiuing an eager humor from the milt, wherewith our appetite to meat is stir∣red, fetcheth the same meat down from the mouth thorough the throte into the stomak, wherein it retaineth it, vntill tho∣rough heat and humor, it be well digested, and perfitlie distri∣buted by the veins thoroughout the hole bodie, the superflui∣tie thereof being expelled, and the purest being reserued, to fede the bodie for fainting, to enlarge it for encrease: to make matter for succession and continuance of the kinde.

Again besides the preseruing of our bodies by that norish∣ing mean we haue also a perceiuing by outward sense to fele, * to hear, to se, to smell, to tast all sensible things, which qualities of the outward, being receiued in by the common sense, and examined by fantsie, ar deliuered to remembrance and after∣ward proue our great and onelie grounds vnto further know∣ledge. Moreouer we haue also a certaine force to moue and stir either by commandment of passion, or by enticement of de∣sire, either by the waie of prosecuting for the vse of life, by pulse and breathing, or by waie of proceding to do somwhat else, by going, running, leaping and such like actions. To serue the turn of these two both sense and motion, natur hath plan∣ted in our bodie a braine the prince of all our parts, which by spreding sinewes of all sorts, thoroughout all our parts, doth work all those effects, which either sense is sene in, or mouing perceiued by.

Furthermore our soull hath in it a desire to obtain that, which *Page  33 it holdeth for good, & to auoid that, which it estemeth for euill: which desire worketh, either by quiet alluring, or by insolēt in∣flaming, and when the first motion thereof is once set on foot, either by calm persuasion, or by vehement heat, it hath a fur∣ther stirring to attain vnto that in effect, which it conceiueth in desire. To satisfy this vse, natur hath placed in our bodie, as a liuer to tikle desire, so an hart to kindle heat: and as the sense is moued by the qualitie of his obiect, & that motion serued by mean of sinewes: so appetite being stirred by his good or ill ob iect, hath both his prosecuting & refusing supplied by sinewes.

Last of all our soull hath in it an imperiall prerogatiue of vnderstanding beyond sense, of iudging by reason, of directing * by both, for deutie towards God for societie towards men, for conquest in affection, for purchace in knowledge, and such other things, whereby it furnisheth out all maner of vses in this our mortall life, and bewraieth in it self a more excellent being, then to continew still in this roming pilgrimage. To serue this so honorable a turn of vnderstanding, and reason, natur tho she haue no place worthie enough within this our base and simple bodie, wherein to bestow so great & so statelie gests with their hole retinew, yet she doth what she cā, & being her binger hirself assigneth them for lodging hir principall chamber, the verie closet of the brain, wherein she bestoweth euerie one of reasons vnderstanding friends, seuerallie ech one according vnto their seuerall degrees, and singular dignities. All those abilities in their first naturall kinde concern but the being of a rude man, but when there ar fashioned to their best by good education, theie procure the being of a perfit and an excellent man. For, to liue, to fede, to multiplie, to haue sense, to desire, to haue the vse of naturall and vnrefined reason. * What great thing is it, tho it be somwhat more then brute beasts haue, if the other diuine qualities, which bild vpon these be not diligentlie followed? Which as theie rise out of these at the first, so theie honor them in the end, as much as the best frute can honor his first blossom, or as the cunningest work can grace the first ground, whereupon it is wrought.

Besides that, theie shew themselues to be those most excel∣lent ends, which natur ment first, tho she hirself made but a Page  34 weak shew, and yet verie pliable for mans industrie to work on for his own commoditie. He that liueth not at all, cannot liue well, he that fedeth not at all, cannot fede moderatelie, he that multiplieth not, cannot multiply continentlie, he that hath no sense, cannot vse it soberlie: he that desireth not, can∣not desire consideratlie: he that vseth no reason cannot vse it aduisedlie. But he that liueth, fedeth, multiplieth, hath sense, hath desire, hath reason, he hath withall, all those abilities, which natur can afford him, to vse them all well, food with moderation, encrease with continence, sense with sobernesse, desire with consideration, reason with aduise, and so will he vse them, if iudgement maie rule the last, to haue them well, as necessitie will the first, simplie to haue them. For as the first abilities work their naturall feats by commandment of neces∣sitie, so the latter abilities work their laudable feats by direc∣tion of reason, which reason as it is our difference in compari∣son with beasts, tho we vse it but meanlie: so is it our excellēce in comparison with men, if we vse it to the best.

The abilities therefor of that reasonable and vnderstanding * part in man being handled workmanlike, and applyed to their best by such deuises and means, as ar thought fittest to work such an effect, do order and direct the diet for food, & the de∣lite for encrease, to the health of those parts which ar appoin∣ted for them, and the help of the hole bodie, which is com∣pound of those parts. Theie fine the senses, and the instrumēts thereof to their best perfectiō, & their longest endurāce. Theie restrain desire to the rule of reason, and the aduise of foresight Theie so enrich the minde and the soull it self, as theie laie vp in the treasurre of remembrance, all arts, all forecast, all know∣ledge, all wisedom, all vnderstanding, whereby either God is to be honored, or the world to be serued in honest & wise sort, which so heauēlie a benefit is begō by education, cōfirmed by vse, perfited with cōtinewance, which crouneth the hole work.

Now all these abilities, whether of the first, and in most of most naturall sort for our being onelie, or of the second and * in most of most iudiciall sort, for our being well, I thinke to be perfitlie furthered by this same Elementarie, in the natur of in∣ducement to further encrease: and that for euerie abilitie in Page  35 natur to haue vs to be such, there is som principle in this Ele∣mentarie to make vs to be such.

For those points, which most concern the bodie, & the helth thereof, whether motiuelie in managing it: or morallie in ma∣nering it, what is ouerlept either in exercise, for practis: or in precept, for behauior? Whereby whatsouer abilitie there is in the bodie, it is stirred and quikned to the verie best vse.

As for the minde and the abilities thereof, which ar after∣ward to be brought to som perfection of habit, there is none so blind, but he planelie seith the ground to be laid to all professi∣ons, & all matters of iudgement, all the parts and powers of the soull to be made most fit for most exquisit perfection, when those principles be obtained, which this Elementarie doth set down, the things themselues tending to the auancement of cunning, and the matter of cūning to the furtherance of vertew.

But who shall iudge of this, that this Elementarie laieth hold vpon all those naturall abilities? he shall be able to saie exceding much to it, which being but brought vp well in the ordinarie train shall but consider this book aduisedlie in euerie branch thereof. But he shall iudge best of it, who hath bene brought vp by it, and by his own sufficiencie shall both be able to pronounce himself, and to cause others pronounce, by seing him so sufficient, that there is no point for either actiuitie in bo∣die, or capacitie in minde, whereto natur makes him toward, but that nurtur sets him foreward.

Is the bodie made by natur nimble to run, to ride, to swim, to fense, to do anie thing else, which beareth praise in that kinde for either profit or pleasur? And doth not the Elementarie help them all forward by precept and train? The hand, the ear, the eie be the greatest instruments, whereby the receiuing and de∣liuerie of our learning, is chefelie executed. And doth not this Elementarie instruct the hand, to write, to draw, to plaie? The eie to read by letters, to discern by line, to iudge by both. The ear to call for voice, & sound with proporcion for pleasur, with reason for wit? and generallie whatsoeuer gift natur hath be∣stowed vpon the bodie, to be brought furth or bettered by the mean of train, for anie profitable vse in our hole life, doth not this Elementarie both find it, and forese it? As for the qualities Page  36 of the minde, whether theie tuch vertewousnesse in liuing, or skilfulnesse in learning, as arts, sciences, professions, or what∣soeuer else, by whatsoeuer term or title else, do theie not euerie one most apparentlie procede from reading and writing, as from their naturall principles, the one for deliuerie, the other for receit? whether theie trauell in language for it self, wherein grammer, rhetorik logik, and their deriuatiues clame interest, or shew knowledge by language in anie other facultie. Where vn∣der be contained in generall terms, all the parts of philosophie both morall and naturall, the thre professions diuinitie, law, physik, all the branches of them all, all the ofsprings of ech, whose instrument speche is. If the mathematiks be the end, or anie particular else, which clameth kinred of them, whose na∣turall end is to direct manuarie science, tho their translate vse be to whet a learned minde, can theie lak anie footing, where number, figur, motion and sound be practised in principle? where the mathematiks & their frinds be thus induced, whose necessarie reason doth force their own place, can anie other facultie, whose but probable apparēce doth entreat for a roum, but find how to enter? Whatsoeuer else concerneth either delite to comfort our weakenesse, or delitefull vse to serue our neces∣sitie, with cunning of praise, or handling of art, all that is fore∣sene either by drawing for the eie, or by musik for the ear. So that in my opinion, the fathers and founders of this Elemen∣tarie, whereof I am but collector, tho as fauourable a collector, as so good a thing deserueth, haue vsed great foresight to laie such foundations therein, as maie both nusle vp all naturall a∣bilities, while theie ar sprooting in train, and perfit them at full, when theie ar ripe for the reaping.

For the multitude & varietie of those principles, which I ap∣point * the young scholers to deall with, that is confirmed euen by natur hirself, which making hir own abilities to be so manie, requireth as manie principles to bring them to perfection, eue∣rie one helping forward his cosen and frind. And those wise mē also, which did both deuise them, and execute them in such a number, and of such varietie, bycaus theie wold not haue yoūg wits to be ouerburdened with multitude vnwisely applyed, did help them in train thorough distinction in time: as the learned Page  37Quintiliā doth shew in a particular discourse, where he exami∣neth this question, whether young childern be to learn diuerse things at one time or no. Where he concludeth that theie maie, as a thing of no truble, if it be well deuided, bycause the young∣er the wits be, the better theie be fed with varietie: & if theie be trubled somtime, or fail in somthing, yet it is with their mindes, as it is with their bodies, soon down and soon vp again, & light∣lie without harm, if their nurses and trainers be redie at their hand. For the childern, which whē theie be from their ouerseers must deall of themselues, ar by litle and litle to be committed to thēselues to learn to do that betimes, which theie must deall with euer after, yet while theie ar yoūg, & hollie vnder charge, their falts com rather by negligence of such, as haue charge ouer them, then of their own selues, which cannot rule them∣selues.

If natur in som childern be not so pregnāt, as theie maie take the full benefit of this hole train, yet by applying it wiselie, there maie be som good don, euen in the heauiest wits, & most vnapt bodies, tho nothing so much as in the verie quikkest. If anie parēt again finding the naturall defect in his childe do for∣bear his pains, & spare his purse, where he hopes for smal profit, he hath natur to warrāt him, which semeth euē as it were direct lie to warn him, not to lose his labor, where she list not to fauor.

Again if anie one wanting oportunitie cannot compas all, or hauing oportunitie will not medle withall, which education & natur seme ioyntlie to promis, he hath no cause to blame either of them, whereof the one offered that, which he wold not vse, the other that, which he wold not take. But to knot vp this argument, me think it is plane, that seing natur offreth varietie of gifts, industrie ought to vse both hir hāds to take that, which is offered. Which diligence in taking seing this Elemētarie pro∣fesseth, as it letteth nothing fall, which natur holdeth vp: so I take it therefor to be most absolut, in that it doth answer so frind lie a mother as natur is, and ioyns with hir in working.