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knowledge, like the last embattling of a Roman legion. Now will be worth the seeing what exercises and recreations may best agree and become these studies.
The course of study hitherto briefly described, is, what I can guess by reading, likest to those ancient and famous schools of Pythagoras, Plato, Isocrates, Aristotle, and such others, out of which were bred up such a number of renowned philosophers, orators, historians, poets and princes, all over Greece, Italy, and Asia, besides the flourishing studies of Cyrene and Alexandria. But herein it shall exceed them, and supply a defect as great as that which Plato noted in the commonwealth of Sparta; whereas that city trained up their youth most for war, and these in their academies and lyceum, all for the gown; this institution of breeding which I here delineate, shall be equally good, both for peace and war;' therefore about an hour and a half ere they eat at noon, should be allowed them for exercise, and due rest afterwards: but the time for this may be enlarged at pleasure, according as their rising in the morning shall be early. The exercise which I commend first, is the exact use of their weapon, to guard and to strike safely with edge or point; this will keep them healthy, nimble, strong, and well in breath; is also the likeliest means to make them grow large and tall, and to inspire them with a gallant and fearless courage, which being tempered with seasonable lectures and precepts to them of true fortitude and patience, will turn into a native and heroic valor, and make them hate the cowardice of doing wrong. They must be also practiced in all the locks and gripes of wrestling, wherein Englishmen were wont to excel, as need may often be in fight to tug or grapple, and to close. And this, perhaps, will be enough, wherein to prove and heat their single strength1 The interim of unsweating themselves regularly, and convenient rest before meat, may both with profit and delight be taken up
in recreating and composing their travailed spirits, with the solemn and divine harmonies of music heard or learnt; either while the skilful organist plies his grave and fancied descants in lofty fugues, or the whole symphony with artful and unimaginable touches adorn and grace the well-studied chords of some choice composer; sometimes the lute, or soft organ-stop, waiting on elegant voices, either to religious, martial, or civil ditties; which, if wise men and prophets be not extremely out, have a great power over dispositions and manners; to smooth and make them gentle from rustic harshness and distempered passions. The like also would not be unexpedient after meat, to assist and cherish nature in her first concoction, and send their minds back to study in good tune and satisfaction; where having followed it close under vigilant eyes! Will about two hours before supper, they are by a sudden alarum or watch-word, to be called out to their military motions under sky or covert, according to the season, as was the Roman wont; first on foot, then, as their age permits, on horseback, to all the art of cavalry: that, having in sport, but with much exactness, and daily muster, served out the rudiments of their soldiership in all the skill of embattling, marching, encamping, fortifying, besieging and battering, with all the helps of ancient and modern stratagems, tactics and warlike maxims, they may as it were out of a long war come forth renowned and perfect commanders in the service of their country. They would not then, if they were trusted with fair and hopeful armies, suffer them, for want of just and wise discipline, to shed away from about them like sick feathers, though they be never so oft supplied; they would not suffer their empty and unrecruitable colonels of twenty men in a company, to quaff out, or convey into secret hoards, the wages of a delusive list, and a miserable remnant: yet in the meanwhile to be over-mastered with a score or two of drunkards, the only
soldiery left about them, or else to comply with all rapines and violences. No, certainly, if they knew aught of that knowledge which belongs to good men or good governors, they would not suffer these things. But to return to our own institute, besides these constant exercises at home, there is another opportunity of gaining experience, to be won from pleasure itself abroad. In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth. I should not therefore be a persuader to them of studying much then, after two or three years that they have well laid their grounds, but to ride out in companies with prudent and staid guides, to all the quarters of the land; learning and observing all places of strength, all commodities of building and of soil, for towns and tillage, harbors and ports for trade.
Sometimes taking sea as far as to our navy, to learn there also what they can in the practical knowledge of sailing, and of seafight. These ways would try all their peculiar gifts of nature, and if there were any secret excellence among them, would fetch it out, and give it fair opportunities to advance itself by, which could not but mightily redound to the good of this nation, and bring into fashion again those old admired virtues and excellencies, with far more advantage, now in this purity of Christian knowledge. Nor shall we then need the Monsieurs of Paris to take our hopeful youth into their slight and prodigal custodies, and send them over back again transformed into mimics, apes and kick-shoes. But if they desire to see other countries at three or four-and-twenty years of age, not to learn principles, but to enlarge experience, and make wise observations, they will by that time be such as shall deserve the regard and honor of all men where they pass, and the society and friendship of those in all places who are best
and most eminent. And perhaps then other nations will be glad to visit us for their breeding, or else to imitate us in their own country.
Now, lastly, for their diet, there cannot be much to say, save only that it would be best in the same house; for much time else would be lost abroad, and many ill habits got; and that it should be plain, healthful and moderate, I suppose is out of controversy. Thus, Mr. Hartlib, you have a general view in writing, as your desire was, of that which at several times I had discoursed with you concerning the best and noblest way of education; not beginning, as some have done, from the cradle, which yet might be worth many considerations, if brevity had not been my scope. Many other circumstances also I could have mentioned, but this to such as have the worth in them to make trial, for light and direction, may be enough. Only, I believe that this is not a bow for every man to shoot in, that counts himself a teacher, but will require sinews almost equal to those which Homer gave Ulysses; yet I am withal persuaded, that it may prove much more easy in the essay, than it now seems at distance, and much more illustrious: howbeit, not more difficult than I imagine, and that imagination presents me with nothing but very happy and very possible, according to best wishes; if God hath so decreed, and this age hath spirit and capacity enough to apprehend.
XVII. JOHN AMOS COMENIUS.
John Amos Comenius, one of the most influential of modern educators, was born at Komna in Moravia, March 28, 1592. His family belonged to the earnest Protestant organization known as Moravian Brethren, in which he subsequently became a distinguished preacher and bishop. In youth he displayed an eager thirst for knowledge; but his experience in the schcols of the time opened his eyes to many defects in method and discipline, which later in life he earnestly endeavored to remedy. After studying at the College of Herborn and the University of Heidelberg, he took charge, in 1616, of the Moravian congregation at Fulneck, and in connection with his pastoral duties assumed direction of the recently established school there. But the busy and happy life which he had thus entered upon, was disturbed by the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War. In 1621 Fulneck was sacked by the Spaniards. Comenius lost all his property, including his library; and owing to the intolerance of the Austrian government, he was compelled at length to seek refuge at Lissa in Poland.
At Lissa he was placed at the head of the Moravian gymnasium, and he turned his attention anew to the theory and practice of education. He perused with deep interest the works of Ratich and Bacon, but observed “here and there,” to use his own words, some defects and gaps.
Therefore, after many workings and tossings of my thoughts, by reducing everything to the immovable law