Part 3 out of 3
I had experience of two Ambassadors in one place, the one of
a hote head to inuent, and of a hastie hand to write, the other,
colde and stayd in both: but what difference of their doinges
was made by wise men, is not vnknowne to some persons. The
Bishop of Winchester Steph: Gardiner had a quicke head, and
a readie tong, and yet was not the best writer in England.
Cicero in Brutus doth wiselie note the same in Serg: Galbo, and
Q. Hortentius, who were both, hote, lustie, and plaine speakers,
but colde, lowse, and rough writers: And Tullie telleth the
cause why, saying, whan they spake, their tong was naturally
caried with full tyde & wynde of their witte: whan they wrote
their head was solitarie, dull, and caulme, and so their style was
blonte, and their writing colde: Quod vitium, sayth Cicero,
peringeniosis hominibus neque satis doctis plerumque accidit.
And therfore all quick inuentors, & readie faire speakers,
must be carefull, that, to their goodnes of nature, they adde
also in any wise, studie, labor, leasure, learning, and iudgement,
and than they shall in deede, passe all other, as I know some do,
in whome all those qualities are fullie planted, or else if they
giue ouer moch to their witte, and ouer litle to their labor and
learning, they will sonest ouer reach in taulke, and fardest cum
behinde in writing whatsoeuer they take in hand. The methode
of Epitome is most necessarie for soch kinde of men. And thus
much concerning the vse or misuse of all kinde of Epitomes in
matters of learning.
[dingbat omitted] Imitatio.
Imitation, is a facultie to expresse liuelie and perfitelie that
example: which ye go about to folow. And of it selfe, it is
large and wide: for all the workes of nature, in a maner be
examples for arte to folow.
But to our purpose, all languages, both learned and mother
tonges, be gotten, and gotten onelie by Imitation. For as ye
vse to heare, so ye learne to speake: if ye heare no other, ye
speake not your selfe: and whome ye onelie heare, of them ye
And therefore, if ye would speake as the best and wisest do,
the ready way to the Latin tong. 265
ye must be conuersant, where the best and wisest are: but if
yow be borne or brought vp in a rude contrie, ye shall not chose
but speake rudelie: the rudest man of all knoweth this to be
Yet neuerthelesse, the rudenes of common and mother
tonges, is no bar for wise speaking. For in the rudest contrie,
and most barbarous mother language, many be found can speake
verie wiselie: but in the Greeke and latin tong, the two onelie
learned tonges, which be kept, not in common taulke, but in
priuate bookes, we finde alwayes, wisdome and eloquence, good
matter and good vtterance, neuer or seldom a sonder. For all
soch Authors, as be fullest of good matter and right iudgement
in doctrine, be likewise alwayes, most proper in wordes, most
apte in sentence, most plaine and pure in vttering the same.
And contrariwise, in those two tonges, all writers, either in
Religion, or any sect of Philosophie, who so euer be founde
fonde in iudgement of matter, be commonlie found as rude in
vttering their mynde. For Stoickes, Anabaptistes, and Friers:
with Epicures, Libertines and Monkes, being most like in
learning and life, are no fonder and pernicious in their opinions,
than they be rude and barbarous in their writinges. They be
not wise, therefore that say, what care I for a mans wordes and
vtterance, if his matter and reasons be good. Soch men, say
so, not so moch of ignorance, as eyther of some singular pride
in themselues, or some speciall malice or other, or for some
priuate & perciall matter, either in Religion or other kinde of
learning. For good and choice meates, be no more requisite
for helthie bodies, than proper and apte wordes be for good
matters, and also plaine and sensible vtterance for the best and
depest reasons: in which two pointes standeth perfite eloquence,
one of the fairest and rarest giftes that God doth geue to man.
Ye know not, what hurt ye do to learning, that care not
for wordes, but for matter, and so make a deuorse betwixt the
tong and the hart. For marke all aiges: looke vpon the whole
course of both the Greeke and Latin tonge, and ye shall surelie
finde, that, whan apte and good wordes began to be neglected,
and properties of those two tonges to be confounded, than also
began, ill deedes to spring: strange maners to oppresse good
orders, newe and fond opinions to striue with olde and trewe
doctrine, first in Philosophie: and after in Religion: right
266 The second booke teachyng
iudgement of all thinges to be peruerted, and so vertue with
learning is contemned, and studie left of: of ill thoughtes
cummeth peruerse iudgement: of ill deedes springeth lewde
taulke. Which fower misorders, as they mar mans life, so
destroy they good learning withall.
But behold the goodnesse of Gods prouidence for learning:
all olde authors and sectes of Philosophy, which were fondest in
opinion, and rudest in vtterance, as Stoickes and Epicures, first
contemned of wise men, and after forgotten of all men, be so
consumed by tymes, as they be now, not onelie out of vse, but
also out of memorie of man: which thing, I surelie thinke,
will shortlie chance, to the whole doctrine and all the bookes of
phantasticall Anabaptistes and Friers, and of the beastlie
Libertines and Monkes.
Againe behold on the other side, how Gods wisdome hath
wrought, that of Academici and Peripatetici, those that were
wisest in iudgement of matters, and purest in vttering their
myndes, the first and chiefest, that wrote most and best, in
either tong, as Plato and Aristotle in Greeke, Tullie in Latin, be
so either wholie, or sufficiently left vnto vs, as I neuer knew
yet scholer, that gaue himselfe to like, and loue, and folow
chieflie those three Authors but he proued, both learned, wise,
and also an honest man, if he ioyned with all the trewe doctrine
of Gods holie Bible, without the which, the other three, be but
fine edge tooles in a fole or mad mans hand.
But to returne to Imitation agayne: There be three kindes
of it in matters of learning.
The whole doctrine of Comedies and Tragedies, is a
perfite imitation, or faire liuelie painted picture of the life of
euerie degree of man. Of this Imitation writeth Plato at
large in 3. de Rep. but it doth not moch belong at this time to
The second kind of Imitation, is to folow for learning of
tonges and sciences, the best authors. Here riseth, emonges
proude and enuious wittes, a great controuersie, whether, one
or many are to be folowed: and if one, who is that one: Seneca,
or Cicero: Salust or Cæsar, and so forth in Greeke and Latin.
The third kinde of Imitation, belongeth to the second: as
when you be determined, whether ye will folow one or mo, to
know perfitlie, and which way to folow that one: in what
the ready way to the Latin tong. 267
place: by what meane and order: by what tooles and instru-
mentes ye shall do it, by what skill and iudgement, ye shall
trewelie discerne, whether ye folow rightlie or no.
This Imitatio, is dissimilis materiei similis tractatio: and also,
similis materiei dissimilis tractatio, as Virgill folowed Homer: but
the Argument to the one was Vlysses, to the other Æneas.
Tullie persecuted Antonie with the same wepons of eloquence,
that Demosthenes vsed before against Philippe.
Horace foloweth Pindar, but either of them his owne
Argument and Person: as the one, Hiero king of Sicilie, the
other Augustus the Emperor: and yet both for like respectes,
that is, for their coragious stoutnes in warre, and iust gouern-
ment in peace.
One of the best examples, for right Imitation we lacke, and
that is Menander, whom our Terence, (as the matter required) in
like argument, in the same Persons, with equall eloquence, foote
by foote did folow.
Som peeces remaine, like broken Iewelles, whereby men
may rightlie esteme, and iustlie lament, the losse of the
Erasmus, the ornament of learning, in our tyme, doth wish
that som man of learning and diligence, would take the like
paines in Demosthenes and Tullie, that Macrobius hath done in
Homer and Virgill, that is, to write out and ioyne together,
where the one doth imitate the other. Erasmus wishe is good,
but surelie, it is not good enough: for Macrobius gatherings for
the Æneidos out of Homer, and Eobanus Hessus more diligent
gatherings for the Bucolikes out of Theocritus, as they be not
fullie taken out of the whole heape, as they should be, but euen
as though they had not sought for them of purpose, but fownd
them scatered here and there by chance in their way, euen so,
onelie to point out, and nakedlie to ioyne togither their
sentences, with no farder declaring the maner and way, how
the one doth folow the other, were but a colde helpe, to the
encrease of learning.
But if a man would take this paine also, whan he hath layd
two places, of Homer and Virgill, or of Demosthenes and
togither, to teach plainlie withall, after this sort.
1. Tullie reteyneth thus moch of the matter, thies
sentences, thies wordes:
268 The second booke teachyng
2. This and that he leaueth out, which he doth wittelie to
this end and purpose.
3. This he addeth here.
4. This he diminisheth there.
5. This he ordereth thus, with placing that here, not
6. This he altereth and changeth, either, in propertie of
wordes, in forme of sentence, in substance of the matter, or in
one, or other conuenient circumstance of the authors present
purpose. In thies fewe rude English wordes, are wrapt vp all
the necessarie tooles and instrumentes, wherewith trewe Imita-
tionis rightlie wrought withall in any tonge. Which tooles,
I openlie confesse, be not of myne owne forging, but partlie left
vnto me by the cunningest Master, and one of the worthiest
Ientlemen that euer England bred, Syr Iohn Cheke: partelie
borowed by me out of the shoppe of the dearest frende I haue
out of England, Io. St. And therefore I am the bolder to
borow of him, and here to leaue them to other, and namelie to
my Children: which tooles, if it please God, that an other day,
they may be able to vse rightlie, as I do wish and daylie pray,
they may do, I shal be more glad, than if I were able to leaue
them a great quantitie of land.
This foresaide order and doctrine of Imitation, would bring
forth more learning, and breed vp trewer iudgement, than any
other exercise that can be vsed, but not for yong beginners,
bicause they shall not be able to consider dulie therof. And
trewelie, it may be a shame to good studentes who hauing so
faire examples to follow, as Plato and Tullie, do not vse so wise
wayes in folowing them for the obteyning of wisdome and
learning, as rude ignorant Artificers do, for gayning a small
commoditie. For surelie the meanest painter vseth more witte,
better arte, greater diligence, in hys shoppe, in folowing the
Picture of any meane mans face, than commonlie the best
studentes do, euen in the vniuersitie, for the atteining of
learning it selfe.
Some ignorant, vnlearned, and idle student: or some busie
looker vpon this litle poore booke, that hath neither will to do
good him selfe, nor skill to iudge right of others, but can lustelie
contemne, by pride and ignorance, all painfull diligence and
right order in study, will perchance say, that I am to precise, to
the ready way to the Latin tong. 269
curious, in marking and piteling thus about the imitation of
others: and that the olde worthie Authors did neuer busie their
heades and wittes, in folowyng so preciselie, either the matter
what other men wrote, or els the maner how other men wrote.
They will say, it were a plaine slauerie, & inurie to, to shakkle
and tye a good witte, and hinder the course of a mans good
nature with such bondes of seruitude, in folowyng other.
Except soch men thinke them selues wiser then Cicero for
teaching of eloquence, they must be content to turne a new
The best booke that euer Tullie wrote, by all mens iudge-
ment, and by his owne testimonie to, in writyng wherof, he
employed most care, studie, learnyng and iudgement, is his
book de Orat. ad Q. F. Now let vs see, what he did for the
matter, and also for the maner of writing therof. For the
whole booke consisteth in these two pointes onelie: In good
matter, and good handling of the matter. And first, for the
matter, it is whole Aristotles, what so euer Antonie in the
second, and Crassus in the third doth teach. Trust not me,
but beleue Tullie him selfe, who writeth so, first, in that goodlie
long Epistle ad P. Lentulum, and after in diuerse places ad
Atticum. And in the verie booke it selfe, Tullie will not haue
it hidden, but both Catulus and Crassus do oft and pleasantly lay
that stelth to Antonius charge. Now, for the handling of the
matter, was Tullie so precise and curious rather to follow an
other mans Paterne, than to inuent some newe shape him selfe,
namelie in that booke, wherin he purposed, to leaue to
posteritie, the glorie of his witte? yea forsoth, that he did.
And this is not my gessing and gathering, nor onelie performed
by Tullie in verie deed, but vttered also by Tullie in plaine
wordes: to teach other men thereby, what they should do, in
taking like matter in hand.
And that which is specially to be marked, Tullie doth vtter
plainlie his conceit and purpose therein, by the mouth of
the wisest man in all that companie: for sayth Scæuola him