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.
Page  164


I Have now kind Reader, (for I cannot well o∣ther wayes call you, who have done me the fa∣vour to peruse this small Piece) if I be not deceived, made good the Tittle Page, and if you seriously consider it, somewhat more; therefore if you reap not Advantage by what you have read, blame not me, for I have given you the Directions, which is all lyeth in my Power to make you a Sword-Man, and if you put them not in practice the fault is your own; for you must not expect that the simple reading of what I have here given you, will ever make you a Sword-Man; No no, it is practice that must do that; its true your read∣ing of this little Piece may make you talk, and discourse learnedly enough of Fencing; But what will that avail a Man, when he is either to make use of Blunts or Sharps? Certainly in such a case Theorie without Practice will serve but for little: It is therefore Practice joyned with it which in such a case must do the business; Reading therefore will as I said give you the Theorie, which is also absolutely necessary for a Sword-Man, but it is Practice which must Page  165make you Act those things I have here given you, so that without it your Reading will signifie but very little: Therefore I again give you the Ad∣vice which I once gave you before, and that is, That you would get exactly by heart any Lesson you intend to Practise, and when you have it so, then fall to the practising of it, either upon a Fencing Masters Breast, which certainly is the best way if you can have one, or otherwise upon a Come∣rads. This is the only way to reap Advantage by the Scots-Fencing-Master, you may there∣fore observe it if you please; And if observing it exactly it answer not your expectation, I shall then willingly acknowledge my puting you to unne∣cessary trouble: But upon the other hand I earnestly beg that you would not condemn me before you have made a tryall, and even then if all should not answer your expectation as you imagined, yet in such a case I desire a favourable censure, se∣ing I have imparted to you the smal knowledge I have my self of this Art, and that it is not to be expected that a Man can give more then he hath to himself. I therefore expect of those who are not com∣petent Judges of what I have here written, that they will keep their Judgement to themselves, untill they be able first to find a Fault if there be any, and then to amend it, for I know many will endeavour to find Faults, which they are not able Page  164〈1 page duplicate〉Page  165〈1 page duplicate〉Page  166to prove such, and far less capable to amend them if they were really so, and upon that account I ex∣pect of such persens the foregoing Favour; But for those again who really understand this Art, if they shall happen to find any thing amiss in it, I shall indeed be so far from either expecting, or desiring them to be silent, that upon the contrarie I earnestlie beg they would make their knowledge in it more publick, that by so doing they may both advance the Practice of this so Gentile, and use∣full an Art, and also make me sensible, either of the Errours I have committed, or of things Essential I have omitted, and if they think not that worth their paines, then give me Leave to say with the Poet,

Carpere vel nolinostra, &c.

But till then I hope none will un∣dervalue this small Piece of mine, but upon the contrarie, look favourably upon it, especially se∣ing my designe is free from any mean by-end, and meerlie for the good, and improvement, of the Youth of this Kingdom whom I wish all to be good Sword Men, otherwise I had never been at the paines to give them this Piece, which I am con∣fident if rightly used, will be a great help to the improving of them, for there is nothing in it, but what by a little consideration, may be easily taken Page  197up, and understood, for I have all alongst endea∣voured as much as lay in my power to be plain, and distinct in my directions; and that I may likewise end so, I have here given an Index of the most Material things treated of in this book, which will certainlie be a great help for finding the Pages, where such things are deseribed.