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Home > Books > Book of archery > Notes Section XII
Notes Section XII
1. I once possessed a very ancient German steel bow, which, in outline, exactly resembled that usually given by sculptors to Cupid. The length was four feet, and, although as difficult to draw as an ordinary wooden bow of sixty pounds, it never shot even the lightest flight beyond one hundred and fifty yards. Its defects are wholly attributable to the sluggishness of the metal, and in no respect to its form.
2. Vol. ii. p. 271.
3. Asiatic Researches
4. Tactics.
5. Persian MS.
6. In the last century, a man named Topham exhibited surprising feats of strength at the London theatres, and other places of public resort. Happening to fall in with a party of archers at some tavern near Islington, he seemed inclined to treat the Englishbow as toy beneath his attention. One of them, who possessed a tolerably strong bow, forthwith laid him a wager that, notwithstanding his boasted muscular powers, he could not draw an arrow to its head. Confident of success, the giant immediately commenced his trial; but, being ignorant of the positions, drew according to the Grecian, instead of the English, fashion. Of course, the result, washe reluctantly gave in, with the additional mortification of paying the wager. But had he pulled the arrow to his ear, a slight exertion of such strengt as his, would have bent the bow till the horns met, or, what is more probable, until it flew into splinters.
7. Gibbon.
8. The bow-cases of modern Orientals form, perhaps, the most costly portion of their military equipments. I have seen something of this sort, so richly adorned with "barbaric gold and pearl," that the value of the former alone was estimated at thirty guineas. The Life of Bayadur Khan has a little anecdote about these bow-cases.[1] When Mohammed Sooltan and Hodsun Sooltan were mingled in the forward battle, the former, unconscious that his bow-case had been torn from his hip, passed onwards, sabre in hand. Hodsun, who had seen the bow fall, and between whom and Mohammed there existed a generous rivalry, picked up the weapon and restored it to the warlike Khan, who exclaimed, "Brother, that which thou hast this day performed to me shall be the seal of an eternal friendship between us;" and he remained true to his vow.

[1] Vie de Bayadur Khan, p. 118.
9. The extreme range of Ulysses' bow may be set down at between four and five hundred yards, when the arrow was elevated to all angle of 45, the highest point that can extend the flight of a projectile.
10. "The third archer shot through the ring, at which the Albanians had been previously exercising with the lance." --Vertomannus's Travels in the East.
11. Ambassador's Travels.
12. "After dinner I exercised myself with the Turkish bow."--Third Letter.
13. Lath, the steel bow. The modern Turkish bows have exactly this form when strung.
14. A work recently announced under the title of "Athens and Sparta, by Mr. J. A. St. John," will probably contain some curious information upon the Greek bow.
15. Le dos de la sigma imite, a certain point. la forme de l'arc qu'on volt sur nombre de monumens et de médailles: c'est l'arc Sythe, qui se faisoit du bois léger, mais dont la fibre étoit trés lice. On faisoit une roinure en queue d'aronde[1] tout le long du dos, et on y faisoit entrer de force, une verge de come amollie a la fumée de l'eau bouillante. On sent que cet arc un fois see, et tendu par des yens tels que les Scythés, devoit fouetter un trait avec une force extreme. Tel étoit le "cydonium cornu," si vanté dans les poétes - Athenaeus, 4. 161. Villebrune.
[1] Roinure en queue d'aronde - signifies that sort of joint called a dove tail, by carpenters.
16. I here give a translation.
17. These feats of archery are certainly extraordinary, but I speak advisedly, in saying there is nothing of the marvellous in them. Whoever has seen the Bashkir Tartars divide a single horse hair many times successively with an arrow, or recollects the rapidity with which the Indian of Demerara brings down a small bird on the wing, will cease to think them so.
18. Gibbon.
19. Apollo.
20. Herodotus. This anecdote was made the subject of a drama by one Preston, about the year, 1566, now extremely rare, the title of which runs thus:-- "A lamentable Tragedie, mixed full of pleasant Mirth containing the Life of Cambises King of Persia;" and in truth, it is a very bombastic, fustian sort of production; not, however, entirely destitute of merit as the following lines will testify. To it, Falstalff alludes, when, at the Boar's Head in Eastcheap, he proposes to counterfeit the king, and examine Prince Hal upon the particulars of his wayward life. "I must speak in passion," says he, "and I will do it in King Cambyses' vein."

Prexaspes addressing Cambyses.
The Persians much do praise of our grace, but one thing discommend, In that to wine, subject you be, wherein you do offend. Sith that the might of wine's effect, cloth oft subdue your brain, My council is, to please their hearts, from it you would refrain.

King.
--Prexaspes, tell me why, That to my mouth in such a sort, thou should's" announce a lie ? Of drunkenness me thus to charge, but thou with speed shall see, Whether that I a sober king, or else a drunkard be. I know thou hast a blissful babe wherein thou cost delight; Me to revenge of these thy words, I will go wreke this spite. When I the most have tasted wine, my bow it shall be bent, At heart of him even then to shoot, is now my whole intent; And if that I his heart can hit, the king no drunkard is; If heart of his I do not kill, I yield to thee in this. Therefore, Prexaspes, fetch to me thy youngest son with speed, There is no way, I tell thee plain, but I will do this deed.

Prexaspes.
Redoubted prince, spare my sweet child, he is mine only joy;
I trust your grace to infant's heart no such thing will employ.
If that his mother hear of this, she is so nigh her flight,
In clay her corps will soon be shrined, to pass from world's delight.

King.
For fear of my displeasure great, goe fetch him unto me.
Is he gone? Now by the gods, I will do as I say;
My lord, therefore fill me some wine, I heartily you pray,
For I must drink to make my brain somewhat intoxicate.
When that the wine is in my head, O ! trimly I can prate.

Lord.
Here is the cup with filled wine, thereof to take repast.

King.
Give it me to drink it off and see no wine be waste:
Once again enlarge this cup, for I must taste it still.
By the gods, I think of pleasant wine, I cannot take my fill.
Now drink is in, give me my bow, and arrows from Sir Knight
At heart of child I mean to shoot, hoping to cleave it right.

Knight.
Behold, O King, where he cloth come, his infant son in hand.

Prexaspes.
O mighty king, your grace's behest with sorrow I have scann'd,
And brought my child fro mother's knee, before you to appear,
And she thereof no whit cloth know, that he in place is here.

King.
Set him up my mark to be, I will shoot at his heart.

Prexaspes.
I beseech your grace not so to do, set this design apart--
Farewel, my dear and loving babe, come kiss thy father dear.
A grievous sight to me it is' to see thee slain even here.
Is this the gain now from the king for giving counsel good,
Before my face, with such despite, to spill my son's heart's blood?
A heavy day to me this is, and mother in like case.

Young child.
O father, father, wipe your face,
I see the tears run from your eye.
My mother is at home sewing of a band.
Alas! dear father, cease you thus to cry.

King.
Before me as a mark now let him stand,
I will shoot at him my mind to fulfil.

Young child.
Alas, alas! father, will you me kil?
Good master king, don't shoot at me, my mother loves me best of all.

Cambyses shoots.
See, I have despatched him I down cloth he fall;
As right as line his heart I've hit.
Nay ! thou shalt see, Prexaspes, stranger news yet,
Ho, knight I with speed his heart cut out, and give it unto me.

Knight
It shall be done, O mighty king, with all celerity.

Lord
My Lord Prexaspes, this had not been, but your tongue must be walking
To the king of correction you must needs be talking.

Knight
Here is the heart, according to your grace's behest.

King.
Behold,- Prexaspes, thy vents own heart:
Oh I how well the same was hit:
After this wine to do this deed, I thought it very fit.
Esteem thou may'st right well thereby, no drunkard is the king,
That, in the midst of all his cups, could do this valiant thing.
My lord and knight, on me attend, to palace we wild go,
And leave him here to take his son, when we are gone him fro.
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