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Anecdotes of Archery
Part 1 of 34

THE Bow is the moft ancient, and hath been the moft univerfal, of all weapons ; and probably was ufed againft the beafts of the forefts, long before men made war upon each other :—We find it ufed by the moft powerful and civilized, as well as the moft barbarous and uncultivated, nations. In Holy Writ [1] we are told Isaac called his fon ESAU, and faid,

" Now therefore take, I
" pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow,
" and go out to the field, and take me fome ve-
" nifon; and make me favory meat, fuch as I
" love, and bring it to me, that I may eat, that
" my foul may blefs thee before I die."

JONATHAN, the fon of SAUL, was a fkilful Archer; but it feems this weapon had been neglected amongft the armies of Ifrael, for in the fatal battle near mount Gilboa, betwixt SAUL and the Philiftines, we are told[2],

" The battle
" went fore againft Saul; and the Archers hit him;
" and he was fore wounded of the Archers."

In the next chapter we are told, that DAVID gave orders for the children of Judah, to be taught the ufe of the bow.


In the Iliad, we find the bow fometimes mentioned, though it does not feem to have been of general ufe in either army during that memorable war. The poet fpeaking of PARIS, and defcribing the drefs and arms of that delicate warrior[3] fays—,

. . . . . . . . . The panther's fpeckled hide
Flow'd o'er his armour with an eafy pride;
His bended bow acrofs his fhoulders flung,
His fword befide him negligently hung ;
Two pointed fpears he fhook, with gallant grace,
And dar'd the braveft of the Grecian race[4].

PANDARUS aiming an arrow at MENELAUS, the action is thus defcribed[5]:

Now with full force the yielding horn he bends,
Drawn to an arch, and joins the doubling ends ;
Clofe to the breaft he ftrains the nerve below,
Till the barb'd point approach the circling bow:
Th' impatient weapon whizzes on the wing,
Sounds the tough horn, and twangs the quiv'ring ftring.

THE LOCRIANS were a body of troops in the Grecian army, who occafionally ufed both the bow and the fling[6].

THE LOCRIAN fquadrons nor the jav'lin wield,
Nor bear the helm, nor lift the moony fhield ;
But fkill'd from far the flying fhaft to wing,
Or whirl the founding pebble from the fling.
Dextrous with thefe they aim a certain wound,
Or fell the diftant warrior to the ground.
Thus in the van, the Telamonian train
Throng'd in bright arms, a preffing fight maintain:
For in the rear the Locrian Archers lie,
Whofe ftones and arrows intercept the fky;
The mingled tempeft on the foes they pour ;
Troy's fcatt'ring orders open to the fhow'r.