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Thoughts on Archery
by Agnes Fraser Williams
From: Outing, Vol. VII, Issue 4, pp. 370-378.
January 1886.
Part 1 of 5

WHO, in looking back along the dim vista of the past, cannot remember in alphabet days, "A was an Archer, and shot at a Frog." Now this might be all very well for the infant mind, but as one grows older he realizes that an archer generally has some more dignified object for his aim than a frog, although I have no doubt that it requires as much skill to make sure of your frog as it does to bring down any other game, or to hit "the gold" at target practice. But this brings us to a consideration of the fact that archery does not at the present day hold the important position that it ought to, when we consider what it has accomplished in the past, and what a hold it has had upon all nations, both ancient and modern.

Archery appears to be as old as the world itself. In the early history of every country we find it mentioned in connection with warfare or bunting, thus proving it to be the great parent of all our modern methods of death and destruction for man and beast. Then, when we turn to mythology, how much of its poetry is due to the bow and arrow! Let us suppose Diana without the graceful adornment of her quiver, or Apollo minus his bow. And where would be all the poetic imagery of love if Cupid had no bow to strain or dart wherewith to impale his victim?

But to come down to actual fact: the mind travels back to the remote ages of the world, and there rises up the ideal man, and, however indefinite his form or surroundings, there always stands out in bold relief his bow and quiver filled with arrows. And as he comes marching with free and elastic step down through the centuries, still with his trusty bow, which has undergone many metamorphoses, he emerges at last in Sherwood Forest, as the "Bold Robin Hood" with "his Merry Men." I am aware that it is the correct thing at the present day to look upon the whole Robin Hood story, including Friar Tuck, Little John, Maid Marian, etc., as decidedly mythical.