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Chapter XII
Of the handling of Instruments, the time when, &c.

Touching the handling of instruments which appertain to the art of archery, you must understand, that to learn aor do any thing with a mans hands, excellently or handsomely, or with an handsome excellence) it will ask the expense of long time and much practice; therefore he that will approach to this perfection (especially in shooting) must begin in his youth or child-hood; all creatures how wild or fierce soever, are by cunning handling tamed, especially when they be young; and as it si in natural things, so it also in those which be artificial. The potter can mold and cast his pots, to any form he pleases, when his clay is new, soft, and workable, and the wax will take any print when it is warm and pliable; but when either the one or the other is old, hard, and of no yielding quality, they are fitter for the dunghill then our industry: so man in his youth, both with wit and body, is most apt and pliable to receive any cunning that can be taught him; especially , this art of shooting: therefore he that will come to the perfection thereof, must needs begin and practice in his youth, for it is an art, and will ask a least a ful prentiship.

Yet mistake me not, for I speak not this to dishearten any man form the practice of shooting, which has neglected it in his younger years; for I am so far from it, that I will prove, wisdom may work the same thing in a man, which nature does in a child.

A child, by 3 things is brought to excellency; to wit, aptness, desire, and fear: First, aptness makes him pliant like wax, to be formed and fashioned to any thing; desire inflames him to strive to equal and excel others, in noble actions: and fear of them whom he is under, will make him labor, and take greater pain with diligent heed in learning any thing, whereof proceeds at the least, excellency and perfection: And as thus, so a man may be wisdom (in learning any thing and especially to shoot) have three like commodities also, whereby he may (as it were)become young again, and so attain to perfection. For what aptness works in child, that the use of weak bows will work in a man; being underneath his strength, and so easy that he may come to fair shooting at his pleasure, provided he slack not his practice; for use is that which will bring him both to fair shooting, and at last, to strong shooting; next what desire provokes in a child, that let shamefastness work in a man; and lastly, the pain that fear makes a boy undergo; that, let the love of shooting, excel and overgo in a man, and without these, there cannot be any perfection: Thus you see, whatsoever a child can be taught by aptness, desire, and fear, that may a man attain unto, by the use of weak bows, shamefastness, and love; according to that of Cicero, That use is a second nature: and I dare be bold to affirm, that whosoever (which is of ability) will begin, and constantly preserve, shall in the end, without question be an archer.