The compleat fencing-master in which is fully described the whole guards, parades & lessons belonging to the small-sword : as also the best rules for playing against either artists or ignorants with blunts or sharps : together with directions how to behave in a single combat on horse-back : illustrated with figures representing the most necessary postures
Hope, William, Sir.

Fifthly, Of a Guard, in which a Man is to hold his sword, with both hands.

Ma.

To my Fifth and last Guard I have no proper Name, * but as I told you in the beginning of this Treatise, Page-15-you are to hold your sword with both your hands, and you are to do it thus, keep your body Exactlie in the posture of the Quart Guard, with a streight point, but for your sword, you are to join your left hand to it, about 8. or 10. Inches from the Hilt, and hold the Blade betwixt your formest finger and thumb, just as you do, when you are going to beat your Adversa∣ries sword with both hands, as in page 7, and Plat. 11. Fig. 2. and secure your self within your sword immediatly when you present it, that is, present your swords point towards your Adversaries right thigh, and a thought without it, with your point slop∣ing, a little towards the ground For to Pur∣suePage  114this Guard, you must First strive to take away your Adversaries left hand, by striking at it, and immediatly after the stroak, of∣fer to Thrust at his body, and so make him doubtful when you will give your Thrust: the Pursuit of this Guard, is some∣what like the Pursuit of the Quart Guard, with a sloping point; you may try him with Feints, but if he understand the Defence of this Guard as he should, they will signifie nothing, because he will not answer them: any other way of Pursuing thir Five Guards, then what I have set you down, is left wholly to your own discretion, which you may easily, with a little consideration find out, but these which I have given you are the safest, and most proper Persuites, belonging to each Guard: if you take your self to this Guard, and your Adversarie Pursue you upon it, you know you are se∣cured upon one side, so that if he give you a Thrust, it must certainlie be upon that side in which you are discovered, unless it be your own Fault, by answering of his fal∣sisies, I say if he Pursue you upon it, your Defence is only to wait his Thrust, and when he is giving it, Beat his sword, and give him home the Thrust, and prevent as much as you can his Hitting you upon the Page  115left hand, which you must doe, by sometimes making half Thrusts at him, and other times, drawing back your sword near your Body, by doing of which you slipp his stroak; the judging of your Adver∣saries measure in this Guard, as well as in all the rest, is most requisit, therefore, I intreat you to remember it. I have now ex∣plained to you the Five several Guards, with their defences and Pursuits, which you may make use of; according to your own fan∣cie, the next and last thing I will shew you, will be some Rules to be observed, (As I told you in page eleventh) when you are playing with either Blunts, or Sharps, against those who understand this Art, or against those who are altogether Ignorant of it.

Sch.

Sir before you do that, I would gladly have you shew me, which of thir five Guards, is the best, and safest to be made use of, if a man were going to venture his life.*

Ma.

This is a very pertinent Question, and I shall quicklie according to my own opinion resolve it to you; I think then either for Pursuing or Defending, the Quart Guard, with a streight point, absolutelie without com∣parison the best. For if you intend to be the pursuer, then without debate this Guard is Page  116the best, because when you keep it, you are in a readier posture for offending, then when you keep any of the other four; and if you intend to be the defender, then also is it the best, both because you are in as ready a posture to defend, as when you keep any of the other, and also because in it as well as in any of the other, you may make use of your Left Hand, so it hath this advantage of the rest, that when you keep it, your Body is more at liberty, and not so con∣strained to observe one posture, and one Parade, as you must do for the most part, when you keep any of the rest, for they are more proper for the Defensive part, then for the pursuit; yet next the Quart Guard with a streight point, I esteem the Terce Guard, with the point higher then the Hilt, next to it is the Terce Guard with the point lower then the Hilt, to be chosen, next to it is the Quart Guard, with the point sloping towards the Ground, and last of all, is the Fifth Guard, which is on∣ly for the Defensive part, especially when a Mans sword-hand is wearied, this is my o∣pinion as to the choice of a guard for safety, yet there may be some of another opinion, but every Man chooseth the guard he hath most liking to: and so I leave it to you, to make your choose also; according to Page  117your Fancy; although I think in reason you should choose that which I have recommen∣ded to you as the best.

Sch.

Sir, I think there is all the reason imagin∣able that I should, for seing I am not so able to judge of the goodness, and badness of them as you are, why should I not then approve of your choice? But Sir, I will yet put you to the trouble, of an∣swering me one Question, before you proceed to those rules, you were just now speaking of; and that is, if two men of equall Art, and courage, were engaged against other, the one with a Broad Sword, and the other with a Small, which of them, * in your opinion would have the advan∣tage?

Ma.

Sir there is very little difficulty in answering of this Question, for there is no rationall man that understandeth both the Art of the Small Sword, and the Broad, but will confess that the Small hath a very great advantage of the other, if these who are to make use of those different kinds of swords be engaged for their lives, and the reason is this, that a man with a Small Sword, may Contre-Temps with him that hath the Broad, so that each of them receiveth a wound, but he that had the Broad Sword shall be killed, because there can be but few wounds given with the small Sword, in a mans Body, but Page  118what prove mortall, whereas a man may receive many cutts in the Body, yea, even in the Head, with a Broad Sword, which will not be mortall, yea even hardly so disabling, as that a Man with a small sword may not (betwixt the time of his receiv∣ing his wound, and being disabled) kill his Adversary, but I assure you, if a Man be run thorow with a small-Sword, it either immediatly killeth him or disableth him so, that he can hardly keep his feet, let alone to resist any longer.

Sch.

Truely Sir your argument is very strong, and in my opinion, there can little be said against it, yet I have heard those in their Schools, who taught the Broad-Sword, say that they would hitt a Man oftner with the Broad Sword, or Cudgell, then a Man could hitt them with a small sword or Flourret?

Ma.

I shall likewise easily answer you as to that, First every Man endeavoureth to maintain the excellency of the Art he pro∣fesseth above other Arts of that nature, as much as possible, that so he may be the better imployed, and really a Man can hard∣ly be condemned for so doing, Secondly in playing with Blunts, I think the Cudgell hath as farr the advantage of the Flourret, as in sharps the small-sword, hath of the broad,Page  119and my reason is, because one good smart blow, of a bazle stick is worth a dozen of Thrusts given with a Flourret, and so is a Thrust with a small-sword, which is right planted, worth half a dozen, yea I may say a dozen of such wounds as ordinarly people who understand the broad sword receive when they are playing with sharps: But Thirdly, as for a Man's hitting oftner with the cudgell then another who understandeth the Art of the small-sword, will with a Flourret, I alto∣gether deny it, unless a Man can hitt oft∣ner with the Broad-sword, or cudgell without being hitt by his Adversary, then his Ad∣versary with a small-sword, or Flourret can hitt him without being hitt himself, I say unless he hitt without being hitt himself with a Contre-temps, or upon the respost, he cannot be said to hitt oftener. Now if he be playing with one that is Master of the small∣sword. I positivelydeny, that ever he will hitt him without receiving a Thrust, either by way of Contre-temps or upon the respost, if he with the small-sword have a mind for it; which if he do, he cannot be said to hit oftner, and so consequently, his Art is not better: I know that the grounds of the Art of the Broad Sword are almost the same, with the grounds of this Art, but still when a man commeth Page  120to practise with sharps, the small sword hath the advantage, both because of the reasons I just now gave you, and also because it's Motions are a great deal more Subtil, and quicker, then those of the Broad Sword, and I appeal to any rational indifferent person, if what I say be not grounded upon Reason, but for all this, I am so farr from under∣valuing the Art of the Broad Sword, that upon the contrary I think it both very pro∣fitable, and pleasant, and hath it's own use as well as the Small, for as upon Foot the Small is most commonly used (although it be also very usefull upon Horse-back,) so upon Horse-back is the Broad most ordinarly to be made use of, and I really think that all Gentlemen should understand, how to Defend themselves with both, for a Man can never be called a compleat Sword-Man, untill he can Defend himself with all kindes of Swords, against all sorts his Adversary can choose against him.

Sch.

Indeed Sir I agree with you in that, now this question, I have heard many times debated, and till now could never be resolved of it, so that by the reasons you have given me in favours of the small-sword against the broad, I am fully of your opinion, and I think they are of such force, that no rationall Man will deny them; but seeing you Page  121mention the usefulness of the sword upon horse-back, I earnestly beg that before you proceed farther, you would doe me the favour to shew me how to make use of it that way, which will be to me a singular obligation.

Ma.

Sir at your earnest desire I shall not much care, to put a little stop to our pre∣sent discourse▪ that so I may inform you in what you desire to know concerning the fighting with the sword upon horse-back.

Sch.

In doing that Sir, I shall be so much behold∣en to you, that I am affraid I shall never be able to recompence it.

Ma.

Sir I earnestly beg of you to leave your complements, for seing at present I am in the station of a Master to you, it is but ra∣tionall, that I should answer according to my ability any question you can put to me, either concerning the small or broad∣sword, upon Foot or Horse-back: To begin then, although the directions which I am to give you be mostly (according to your de∣sire) designed for the sword upon horse-back, yet I think I cannot well shun saying something of the Pistol, because now a dayes people seldom fight upon horse-back with the sword alone, but ordinarly with sword & Pistol, I should rather say Pistol and sword, because before they come to make use of their swordsPage  122they first discharge their Pistols, so that in my opinion it is properest to put the Pistol before the sword, and therefore following that me∣thod, I shal in the first place (before I say any thing of the sword) teach you how to discharge your Pistols against your Adversa∣ry with the greatest advantage, which you may learn by the following directions if you seriously consider them.

Sch.

Sir you need not in the least fear my not taking notice to them, for there is nothing that I would so gladly know.