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Home > Books > The Art of Archerie > Chapter XX
Chapter XX
Principal observations from the Time of the year.

In considering the time of the year, a wise archer will follow a good seaman; in winter and rough weather, small boats and little pinks foresake the seas.

And at one time of the year, no galleys come abroad. So likewise, weak archers using but small and hollow shafts, with bows of little pith, must be content to give place for a time; yet I speak not this to discourage any weak shooter, for as there is no ship better then a galley in a soft and calm sea, so no man shoots more comely or nearer his mark, then some weak archers do in a fair and clear day.

Thus you see every good archer must know, not only what bow and shafts are fittest for him to shoot with all, but also what times and seasons are meetest for him to shoot in. And truly in all other matters, and amongst all the degrees & estates of men, there is no man that does anything more discreetly for his commendations, or more profitable for his own advantage, then he which doe sand will know perfectly for what matter, action and time he is most apt and fit; and here (were it not variable from the discourse I have in hand) I could enter into a large field of invention, against those which only labor to struggle to turmoil themselves in those matters and affairs which are neither fit for their capacities nor consonant to their bringing up; but cinthisu Aurm Vellet, I will turn again to the action of shooting, in which I will persuade all wise archer, always to have their instruments fit and obedient for their own strength, and thenevermore to wait and attend for such time, weather sand seasons, as is most agreeable with the action they go about: therefore, if the weather be too violent and unfit for your shooting, leave of for that day and attend a better season, for he is a fool that will not go when necessity drives.

Yet to make some larger description of the weather concerning shooting, I would have you remember (as I told you before) that in the whole year, the Spring, Summer ., Fall, and Winter; and in one day, the morning, noon, afternoon, and evening, alters the course of the weather, the pith of the bow, and the strength of the man: and in every one of these the weather alters; as sometimes windy, sometimes calm, one while cloudy, another clear, sometimes hot, sometimes cold; the wind sometime moist and thick, sometimes ,dry and smooth, & c.

A little windy in a misty day stops a shaft more then a good whistling wind in a clear day; nay I have seen (when there has been no wind at all) the air so misty and thick, that both the marks have been wonderful great: and once I heard in Cambridge, the down market Twelvecore prick, for the space of three weeks was thirteen score and an half, and into the wind (not being very great a great deal above fourteen score.

The wind is sometimes plain up and down, which commonly is most certain and requires least knowledge or circumspection, so that a mean shooter with mean furniture (if he can shoot home) may maie shift to do well.

A side wind, tries a good archer and good furniture, for sometime it blows a loft, sometime low be the ground, sometime it blows by blasts & sudden gusts, and sometime continues all in one manner, sometime a quarter wind with him; all which , by a man casting up a little light grass or otherwise by his own experience, shall easily find out. To see the wind it is impossible, the nature of it si so fine and subtle, but by carful observation a world of experience may be gathered; especially in a snow wherein one may perceive, that the wind goes by streams and not hold together , and int his observation, though the experience will breed in a man a greater admiration at the nature of the wind, then cunning in the knowledge of the wind; yet thereby he shall learn, that it is no wonder at all, though the best archers loose their length in shooting, seeing the wind is so variable in lowing.

The master of a ship, be he never so skillful, may by the uncertainty of weather loose both life and goods; no wonder then if a good archer, by the self same wind, so variable in it own nature, and so insensible to our nature, loose not only a shot, but a game.

The more deceivable the wind is, the more care must the archer have of those beguilings, he that does mistrust, is seldom over reached for although he cannot attain to that which is best, yet he will be sure to avoid that which is the worst.

Again, besides these winds, you must take heed, if at any time you see any cloud appear and gather by little and little against you; or if a shower of rain be approaching, for then the driving of the weather and the thickening of the air will increase your mark, but when the shower is gone, and all things clear and calm, the Mark will be as it was a t the first, and you are to alter your shooting new again.

You must also take heed (when you shoot) whether one of the marks of both, stands a little short, or under the occur or an high wall, for there you may easily be beguiled, as thus; if you take grass, & cast it up to see how the wind stands, many times you will suppose to shoot down the wind, when you shoot clean against the wind & there is a strong reason for it; because the wind which cometh against you, at the wall, rebounds back again, and whirls even to the prick, and sometimes much further; and then turns again, even as a violent water does against a rock, or any other high brey; which hexample of water, though it be more sensible to am ans eyes, yet it is not more true then this of the wind: insomuch, that the casting up grass (which should be a tell truth) will fly that way, which indeed is the longer way, and so easily deceived the archer which is not heedful.

To prevent this inconvenience, it is good for you when you come in the midst, between the marks, where the field is most open, and the wind at greatest liberty, and there to cast up either a feather, or some light grass, and know how the wind stands, which done, to hie to the prick with all speed possible, & according as you found the wind in the midway, so to frame your shot at the mark.

Take heed also, when you shot near the sea-coast, although you are two aor three miles from the sea, for there (if you be diligent to mark) you shall espy in the most clear day, wonderful alterations, which cause strange effects in shooting: and as thus near the sea, so like wise take heed when you shoot near any riverside, especially if it ebb and flow, for if then you observe the tide, the weather and accidents proceeding from them, you can hardly be a looser. And thus (according to my weak knowledge) I have showed you the nature of the wind and weather, wherein if any man find either defect or insufficiency, I shall intereat him to amend it out of his own much better experience; concluding the chapter with this admonition, of which I spoke before, that after the knowledge of the weather thus attained, that then our archer take heed to his standing, that he may thereby win as much in the ground, as he lost by the weather.

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