Of the dutie of Parents in their Childrens Education.
NEither must all the blame lye vpon the Schoole∣master, fond and foolish Parents haue oft as deep a share in this pretious spoile; as he whose cocke∣ring and apish indulgence (to the corrupting of the minds of their Children, disabling their wits, effeminating their bodies) how bitterly doth Plato taxe and abhorre? For auoiding of which,* the Law of Lycurgus commaunded children to be brought vp, and to learne in the Country, farre from the delicacie of the Citie; and the Brutij in Italy, a people bordering vpon Lucania, following the custome of the Spartans, sent their children after the age of foureteene away, to be brought vp in fields and For∣rests among Shepheards and Heardsmen; without any to looke vnto them, or to waite vpon them: without ap∣parell, or bed to lye on, hauing nothing else then Milke or Water for their drinke, and their meate such as they could kill or catch. And heare the aduice of Horace:
If many of our young youths and Gallants were die∣ted in this manner, Mercers might saue some Paper, and Cittie Laundresses goe make Candles with their Saffron and Egges; Dicing houses and ten shillings Ordinaries, let their large Roomes to Fencers and Puppit-players, and many a painted peece betake her selfe to a Wheele, or the next Hospitall. But now adaies, Parents either giue their Children no education at all, (thinking their birth or estate will beare out that:) or if any, it leaueth so slender an impression in them, that like their names cut vpon a Tree, it is ouer-growne with the old barke by the next Summer. Beside, such is the most base and ridi∣culous parsimony of many of our Gentlemen, (if I may so terme them) that if they can procure some poore Bat∣cheler of Art from the Vniuersitie to teach their Chil∣dren, say Grace, and serue the Cure of an Impropriati∣on, who wanting meanes and friends, will be content vp∣on the promise of ten pounds a yeare at his first com∣ming, to be pleased with fiue; the rest to be set off in hope of the next aduouson, (which perhaps was sold before the young man was borne:) Or if it chance to fall in his time, his Ladie or Master tels him; Indeed Sir wee are beholden vnto you for your paines, such a liuing is lately fallen, but I had before made a promise of it to my Butler or Bailiffe, for his true and extraordinarie seruice: when the truth is, he hath bestowed it vpon him himselfe, for fourescore or an hundred peeces, which indeede his man two daies before had fast hold of, but could not keepe.
It is not commonly seene, that the most Gentlemen Page 32 will giue better wages, and deale more bountifully with a fellow who can but teach a Dogge, or reclaime an Hawke, then vpon an honest, learned, and well qualified man to bring vp their children? It may be, hence it is that Dogges are able to make Syllogismes in the fields, when their young Masters can conclude nothing at home, if occasion of argument or discourse be offered at the Ta∣ble.*Looke vpon our Nebilitie and Gentry now adaies (saith a wise and graue Historian) and you shall see them bred, as if they were made for mother end then pastime and idlenes; they obserue moderation neither in talke nor apparell: good men, and such as are learned, are not admitted a∣mongst them; the affaires of their estates they impose vpon others,* &c. But to view one of them rightly, (saith Se∣n•ca) looke vpon him naked, lay-by his estate, his Honors, et aliae fortunae mendacia, his other false disguisements of Fortune, and behold his mind, what and how great he is, whe∣ther of himselfe, or by some borrowed greatnesse.
But touching Parents, a great blame and imputati∣on (how iustly I know not) is commonly laid vpon the Mother; not onely for her ouer tendernesse, but in win∣king at their lewd courses; yea, more in seconding, and giuing them encouragement to doe wrong,* though it wore, as Terence saith, against their owne Fathers.
I dare not say it was long of the Mother, that the son told his Father, he was a better man, and better descen∣ded then he.
Nor will I affirme that it is her pleasure, the Cham∣ber-maid should be more curious in fitting his tuffe, then his Master in refining his manners.
Nor that it is she that filleth the Cisterne of his lauish expence, at the Vniuersitie, or Innes of Court; that af∣ter foure or fiue yearesspent, hee returnes home as wise as Ammonius his Asse, that went with his Master euery day to the Schoole, to heare Origen and Porphyrie reade Philosophy.
Page 33But albeit, many Parents haue beene diligent enough this way, and good Masters haue likewise done their parts, and neither want of will or abilitie of wit in their Children to become Schollers, yet (whether out of an ouer-weening conceipt of their towardnesse, a pride to haue their sonnes out-goe their neighbours, or to make them men before their times) they take them from Schoole, as Birds out of the nest ere they be slidge, and send them so young to the Vniuersitie, that scarce one among twentie proueth ought. For as tender plants, too soone or often remooued, beginne to decay and die at the roote; so these young things of twelue, thirteene, or foureteene, that haue no more care then to expect the next Carrier, and where to sup on Fridaies and Fasting nights: no further thought of studie, then to trimme vp their studies with Pictures, and place the fairest Bookes in openest view, which poore Lads, they scarce euery o∣pened or vnderstand not; that when they come to Lo∣gicke, and the crabbed grounds of Arts, there is such a disproportion betweene Aristotles Categories, and their childish capacities, that what together with the sweetnesse of libertie, varietie of companie, and so many kinds of recreation in Towne and Fields abroad, (being like young Lapwings apt to be snatched vp by euery Buzzard, they prooue with Homers Willow 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and as good goe gather Cockles with Calign∣las people on the Sand, as yet to attempt the difficulties of so rough and terrible a passage.
Others againe, if they perceiue any wildnesse or vn∣staiednesse in their Children, are presently in despaire, and out of all hope of them for euer prouing Schollers, or fit for any thing else; neither consider the Nature of youth,* nor the effect of time, the Phisition of all. But to mend the matter, send them either to the Court to serue as Pages, or into France and Italy to see fashions, Page 34 and mend their manners, where they become ten times worse. These of all other, if they bee well tempered, prooue the best mettall; yea Tulli• as of necessitie desi∣reth some aboundant ranknesse, or superfluitie of wit in that yong-man, he would choose to make his Orator of. Vellem (saith he) in adolescente aliquod redundans & quod amputem:* I wish in a yong man something to spare, and which I might cut off. This taken away ere degenerate with luxurious abundance, like that same ranke vine the Prophet Ieremie speaketh of,* you shall finde the heart divino sain editum: and sound timber within to make Mercurie of, qui non fit ex quouis lign•, as the prouerbe saith.
And some of a different humour will determine, euen from the A, B, C. what calling their children shall take vpon them, and force them euen in despight of Nature, like Lycurgus his whelpes, to runne contrarie courses, and to vndertake professions altogether contrarie to their dispositions: This, saith Erasmus, is, peccare in genium. And certainly it is a principall point of discretion in pa∣rents to be throughly acquainted with, and obserue the disposition and inclination of their children, and indeed for euery man to search into the addiction of his Genius and not to wrest nature as Musitians say, out of her key, or (as Tullie saith) to contend with her, making the Spaniel to carrie the Asses loade; which was well obserued by the Lacedamonians and ancient Romanes, in laying forth in∣struments of sundry occupations, before their children at a certaine age, they to choose what liked them best, and euer after to take vpon them that profession whereunto they belonged.
How many are put by worldly and couetous fathers inuita Minerua, to the studie of the lawes (which studie I confesse to be Honourable and most deseruing,) who notwithstanding spend most of their time euen in Diui∣nitie at the Innes of he Court? and how many Divines Page 35 haue we, (I appeale to the Courts,) heires of their fa∣thers, friends, (or purchased) advousons, whom the buck∣ram bagge would not better beseeme then the Bible? be∣ing neuer out of law with their parishioners, following their Suites and Causes from Court to Court, Terme to Terme, no Atturney more.
In like manner I haue knowne many Commanders and worthy Gentlemen, aswell of our owne Nation as strangers, who following the warres, in the field and in their Armes, haue confessed vnto me, Nature neuer or∣dained them for that profession, had they not fallen acci∣dentally vpon it, either through death of friends, harsh∣nesse of Masters and Tutors, thereby driuen from the V∣niuersitie (as an Honorable friend of mine in the Low Countries hath many times cōplained vnto me:) or the most common mischiefe, miserablenesse of greedie pa∣rents, the ouerthrow and vndoing of many excellent and prime wits; who to saue charges, marrie a daughter, or preferre a yonger brother, turne them out into the wide world with a little money in their purses (or perhaps none at all) to seeke their Fortunes, where Necessitie de∣iects and besots their spirits, not knowing what calling or course to take; enforceth them desperate to begge, borrow, or to worse and baser shiftes (which in their owne natures they detest as hell) to goe on foote, lodge in Ale-houses, and fort themselues with the basest compa∣nie, till what with want and wandring so long in the Cir∣cle, at last they are (vpon the center of some hill) con∣strained to say (as Hercules between his two pillars) Non vlterius.
Much lesse haue parents now a daies that care to take the paines to instruct, and reade to their children them∣selues, which the greatest Princes and noblest personages haue not beene ashamed to doe. Octauius Augusins Cae∣sar, read the workes of Cicero and Virgil, to his children and nephewes himselfe. Anna the daughter of Alexi•Page 36 the Grecian Emperour,* was by her father so instructed, that while shee was yet a yong and goodly Ladie, shee wrote of her selfe a very learned and authentique Histo∣rie of the Church. Aemilius Paulus the sonne (who so brauely ended his daies at Cannas when his Colleague forsooke him) seeing the fauour of the State not in∣clineable towards him, left the Citie, and onely spent his time in the Countrey, in teaching his owne children their Latine and Greeke; notwithstanding he daily maintai∣ned Grammarians, Logicians, Rhetoricians, Painters, Caruers, Riders of great horses, and the skilfullest Hunts∣men he could get, to instruct and teach them in their se∣uerall professions and qualities.
The three daughters of euer-famous Sr.*Thomas Moore, were by their father so diligently held to their booke (notwithstanding he was so daily emploied being L. Chauncelor of England) that Erasmus saith, he found them so readie and perfect in Liuie, that the worst Schol∣ler of them, was able to expound him quite through with∣out any stop, except some extraordinarie and difficult place. Quod me (saith he) aut mei similem esset remoratu∣rum. I shall not neede to remember, within memorie those foure sisters, the learned daughters of Sr. Anthonie Cooke, and rare Poetresses, so skilfull in Latine and Greeke, beside many other their excellent qualities, eter∣nized alreadie by the golden pen of the Prince of Poets of our time; with many other incomparable Ladies and Gentlewoman in our land,* some yet liuing, from before whose faire faces Time I trust will draw the curtaine.
Lastly, the fault may be in the Scholler himselfe, whom Nature hath not so much befriended with the gift of vn∣derstanding, as to make him capable of knowledge; or else more vniust, disposed him to sloath, or some other worse inbred vice. Marcus Cicero, albeit hee was the sonne of so wise, so eloquent, and so sober a father (whose very counsell and companie had beene enough, to haue Page 37 put learning and regard of well liuing into the most bar∣barous Gete:) and had Crattippus,* so excellent a Philoso∣pher to his Reader at Athens: yet by the testimony of Pliny,* he proued so notorious a drunkard, that he would ordinarily drinke off two gallons of Wine at a time, and became so debauched euery way, that few of that age exceeded him. Sundry the like examples might be pro∣duced in our times, but one of this nature is too many. Others on the contrary, are 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and haue no other helpes saue God, and their owne industry; wee neuer reade of any Master Virgil euer had. S. Augustine like∣wise saith of himselfe: Se didicisse Aristotelis Categorias nemine traden••: That he learned Aristotles Categories, or Praedicaments, no man instructing him; which, how hard they bee at the first to wade thorough without a guide, let the best wit of them all try. And Beda our Countrey-man, (for his profound learning in all Scien∣ces) sir-named Venerabilis, attained to the same within the limits of his Cell in Northumberland, though it is said he was once at Rome. Ioseph Scaliger taught priuat∣ly many yeares in a Noblemans house, and neuer made abode in any Vniuersitie, that euer I heard of, till called in his latter yeares to Leyden in Holland: and many ad∣mirable Schollers and famous men, our Age can pro∣duce, who neuer came at any Vniuersitie, except to view the Colledges, or visit their friends, that are inferiour to few Doctors of the Chaire, either for Learning or Iudg∣ment, if I may so say, Pace matris Academiae.