A martial conference pleasantly discoursed betweene two souldiers, the one Captaine Skil, trained vp in the French and Low Country seruices, the other Captaine Pill, only practised in Finsburie fields in the modern warres of the renowmed Duke of Shordich and the mightie Prince Arthur
Rich, Barnabe, 1540?-1617.
Page  [unnumbered]

To the friendly Reader.

THere is nothing (friendly Reader) more necessary immediatly after the knowledge of God, than to know how to mannage our Martiall causes, when it is most euident, that aswell Prince, country, religion, lawe, iustice, subiects, and all together, are vn∣der the guard and protection of armes, & as the establishing of all happy estates, e∣specially consisteth, first in religion and loue of God, and then in the knowledge and practise of Armes, euen so as there is nothing amon∣gest the religious, more perillous than Sects, so amongest Souldiers there is nothing more dangerous than to be diuided in opinions.

The greatest controuersie amongest vs heere in England, is the diuersity in opinions concerning the long bow, for that being our an∣tient weapon, and whereby we haue many times preuailed to the at∣taining of sundry notable victories, we are therefore stil so naturally inclined towardes it, that not onely the multitude and common sort, whose greatest arguments are fury and h•…t, but many others that vnder pretence of great experience and skill, will inforce themselues to defend it, who ranging their passions to the tune of reason, will many times render such reasons as are more out of tune than the very passions themselues.

In this Martiall conference I haue layed downe all the reasons that I haue heard aledged in the behalfe of bowes, the which I haue done to this purpose, that no blinde assertions, coloured vnder the pretence of great knowledge, shoulde make vs to affie our selues in that which is not, nor yet to neglect that, which onely is to be attai∣ned vnto by great practise. I haue likewise handled some other mat∣ters in a pleasurable sort, not of purpose to offend any man: and the Page  [unnumbered]men that are most vnpatient are ouer contented to take words that are merrily spoken, in sport, for feare lest other might thinke they would not winch without a galld backe: then how much rather is a dumbe booke to be borne withall, being generally written, but espe∣cially where the title pretendeth matter of pleasure, and without of∣fence, if the Reader bring no offence with him.

There be some that will admit of no bookes, that are not drawne from the very marow and quintessence of wit, some other againe are better pleased with fantasticall and humorous deuises: but I vtter∣ly dislike that fantasticall humour, that writeth onely for his owne priuate praise, and not for some profite to others. If thou shalt finde me poore in Arte and Science, thou must vnderstand the penne is no part of my profession. And thus not to passe the boundes of an E∣pistle, I rest thine in all curtesie.

Barnabe Rich.