The Romance of Archery
Part 1 of 4
If the romance and legend of archery is omitted from consideration in class programs, the very soul and life of the sport have perished. The song of the bow is so important a theme in the grand symphony of world history and so inextricably woven into it that it can never be lost or forgotten, although temporarily it may be overlooked. As Maurice Thompson so ably expressed it: "As long as the new moon returns in the heavens, a beautiful bent bow, so long will the love of archery live in the hearts of men. " It is the duty of you who teach this most ancient of all sports to inspire in the hearts of your classes this same love of the bow. With it you will have a class that lives, without it you will have just another period in the school day.
How can you bring this atmosphere to the students? By utilising your rainy days to read passages from the countless stories, tales and songs. They are so numerous that it is difficult to know, not where to start, but rather where to stop.
First I should perhaps begin with our famous American epic, "Hiawatha," not because it describes the oldest archery, not even because it is the archery most closely connected with our race, but because it seems nearer on account of the very recent place that Indian archery occupied in American history. There are many beautiful archery passages in "Hiawatha " such as:
"He could shoot ten arrows upward
Shoot them with such strength and swiftness
That the tenth had left the bowstring
Ere the first to earth had fallen."
There is another beautiful passage in "Hiawatha " (Chapter X) which begins:
"As unto the bow, the cord is,
So unto the man is woman."