Of the chief point aimed at in shooting, and how to attain unto it.
The chief point or end whereunto every man bends his aim when he learns to shoot, is to hit the mark whereat he shoots, and to the compassing thereof, there is required two things; first, shooting straight then keeping a length, and these are attained unto, by knowing and having all things belonging to shooting, & when they be known and had, then in the well handling of them; and of these, some belong to shooting straight, some to keeping a length, and some to both, as shall be declared severally at large hereafter.
Now touching the things belonging to shooting, you shall understand, that all things are outward, yet some be outward instruments for every several archer to bring with him, proper for his owns use, other things be general to every man, as the time and place serve.
Those which I call outward instruments, are the Bracer, the Shooting glove, the String, Bow and Shaft.
Those which are general to all men , are the weather, & the mark; yet the mark, is ever under the rule of the weather.
Now the well handling of these and all other things, stand in the man himself, for some handlings are proper to instruments, some to the weather, some to the mark, and some rest in the man himself.
Touching the handlings which are proper to instruments, they Standing, Nocking, Drawing, Holding, and Loosing, from whence issue all fair shooting, which neither belong to wind nor weather, nor yet to the mark; for in a rain and at no mark, a man may shoot a fair shot.
As concerning the handlings which are proper to the weather, they are the knowledge of the wind with him, or against him, a side wind, full side wind, side wind quarter with him, side wind quarter against him, & c.
Touching the handlings proper to the mark, they are heedfully to regard his standing, to shoot, compass, to draw evermore alike, to loose evermore alike, to consider the nature of the prick, in hills and dales, in straits, plains, and winding places, and also to espy his mark.
Lastly, for the things remaining with the man himself, they are the avoiding of all affections and passions which are the making or marring of every good action. And these things thus spoken of and briefly discussed if they be well known and handled, doubtless they shall bring a man to such perfection in shooting that few or none can exceed him, but if he miss in any one of them he can never hit the mark, and the more he miss, the further off he is in shooting nigh the mark. But as in all other matters, so in this, the first step or Staure to be good, is to know a mans fault and then to amend it, for to maintain it is double to doe it.
Thus I have packed together in a general manner a small or short analysis of the art of archery; I will now unloosen them again, and taking as it were very piece into my hand again, discourse of them particularly and at large, beginning with the instruments. And first of the bracer.