Friday, February 02, 2018


Proper Pursuits for Boys

Vergil, Aeneid 7.162-165 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough, rev. G.P. Goold):
Outside the city, boys and youths in their early bloom practise horsemanship, or break in teams amid the dust, or bend eager bows, or hurl with their arms tough darts, and challenge each other to race or box.

ante urbem pueri et primaevo flore iuventus
exercentur equis domitantque in pulvere currus,
aut acris tendunt arcus aut lenta lacertis
spicula contorquent, cursuque ictuque lacessunt.
Cf. John Milton, Of Education:
The Exercise which I commend first, is the exact use of their Weapon, to guard and to strike safely with edge, or point; this will keep them healthy, nimble, strong, and well in breath, is also the likeliest means to make them grow large and tall, and to inspire them with a gallant and fearless courage, which being temper'd with seasonable Lectures and Precepts to them of true Fortitude and Patience, will turn into a native and heroick valour, and make them hate the cowardise of doing wrong. They must be also practiz'd in all the Locks and Gripes of Wrastling, wherein English men were wont to excell, as need may often be in fight to tugg or grapple, and to close.


[T]hey are by a sudden alarum or watch word, to be call'd out to their military motions, under skie or covert, according to the season, as was the Roman wont; first on foot, then as their age permits, on Horseback, to all the Art of Cavalry; That having in sport, but with much exactness, and daily muster, serv'd out the rudiments of their Souldiership in all the skill of Embattelling, Marching, Encamping, Fortifying, Besieging and Battering, with all the helps of ancient and modern stratagems, Tacticks and warlike maxims, they may as it were out of a long War come forth renowned and perfect Commanders in the service of their Country.

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