Swetnam Quotes

Here are a collection of quotes from the first bit of Swetnam’s fencing treatise:

Swetnam, PDF p. 7 [How he came to write the work]:

Then thus, by reason of divers errors which are in sundry mens teaching of this noble arte of defence, I therefore being pricked forward by the earnest request of some of my friends, to describe the rules of weapons, which I by my study have invented, and by practise brought to perfection, and likewise for my countries benefit, I meane to better the unskilfull in knowledge, I have thought it good to open plainly the best grounds, which belongeth to our English weapons, that are now in use, so far as my simple invention by great practice hath attained unto.


Swetnam, PDF p. 8 [Improvement of the work]:

I have made this [book] of bricke and stones, as Augustus laid of Rome at the first, but now Rome is built with marble: even so I wold wish that some expert and learned person or other would pull downe this rude begun worke of mine and build it up with marble, for the worke it selfe if it were workmanlike handled, deserveth to be written in leters of gold, and to remain for ever, but first it must be twice or thrice distilled as they doe their Rosasolis, for first it is Aquavitae, & then in the second and third distillation, there is bestowed greater charge and more excellent matter ariseth of it.


Swetnam, PDF pp. 8,9 [Prince Henry]:

…when it was in writing so many desired Copies, that amongst so many friends I knew not which to pleasure first, but especially and above all the late high and mighty Prince Henry whom I well hoped that he should have lived to have been the ninth Henry and the tenth worthy of the world, for what did any of the other nine worthies do, but this good Prince was as likely, if he had lived to have performed as much as any of them; for what hath bcene done but may be done againe. But as I was about to say, this good Prince had the perusing of this book and earnestly perswaded me to print it, but I had not leisure to finish it before death untimely tooke him away to my griefe and many more, for all the whole kingdome was nothing but mourning.


Swetnam, PDF p 9 [on defence and being hurt]:

…the second sort may sit in an alehouse, and there shew how many hurts, and likewise tell how many wounds he hath about his body; for I have known wany brag of their hurts, and in my conceit they take a pride in that they have stood so neere the point of a weapon, whereby to receive wounds, therefore they are willing that the world should know how ventnrous they have been, but now in my minde if they had skill they need not bee hurt: wherefore skill is not onely availeable to preserve and keepe the body without hurts and wounds, but also the use and practise with weapons, doth drive away all aches, griefes, and diseases, it remooveth congealed blood, and breaketh impostumes, it maketh the body nimble, and plyant, it sharpeneth the wit, it increaseth the sight, and procureth strength, an expelleth melancholy and cholericknes, and many other evil conceits, it keepeth a man n breath, in perfect health…


Published in: on March 6, 2009 at 1:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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