To the Right Honorable my singular good lord, Robert Earle of Essex and Ewe, Viscount Hereford, Lord Ferrers of Chartley, Bourghchier and Louain, Master of the Queenes Majseties horse, Knight of the most noble order of the Garter, and one of her Highnesse most honorable Privie Councell. Having of late, (right Honorable) compiled this simple Discourse, of managing weapons, and dealing in honorable Quarrels (which I esteem an Introduction to Martiall affayres) I have thought good to dedicate the same unto your Honor, as unto him whose bountie most bindeth me: whose valour inforceth all soldiers to acknowledge you the English Achilles: whose favouring good literature celebrateth your name for the students Mecenas: whose benigne potection and provision for strangers, maketh you reported off as theyr safe sanctuary. This work, I must needs confesse, is farre unworthie your Lordships view, in regard eyther of method or substance: and being much unperfecter than it shoulde have beene, if I had had copie of English to have expressed my meaning as I would. But I humbly beseech your good Lordship to accept this Booke, howsoever it be, as a new yeeres gifte proceeding from a minde most dutifully affected towards you, that wisheth and prayeth, that your Honour may injoy many good and prosperous yeres: and it is presented by him that is and will be readie everie yere, daie, and houre to live and die at your Lordships foot to do you service. Your Honors in all dutifulnes, Vincentio Saviolo.
The meanes whereby men from time to time have bene preferred even to the highest degrees of greatnes and dignitie, have ever bene and are of two sortes, Armes and Letters: weapons & bookes, as may most plainly bee proved out of antique and moderne histories. Let it not seeme strange unto anie man that I have placed Armes before Letters, for in truth I have found by observing the course of times, and by comparing the occurrents of former ages with those which have fallen out and followed (as it were by succession) in later yeeres, that the first Princes and patrones of people did obtaine their titles and dominions by force of Armes, and that afterwards learning & vertue did (as it were by degrees) grow and succeede for the making and establishing of good orders, customes, and lawes amongest them. And then did common-wealths begin first to flourish, when their Princes were like Minerva, whom the Poets fained to bee the goddesse not onely of studies but also of Armes, inspiring wit into schollers, and favoring those that follow warres. Wherefore knowing that such men as endevour themselves to attaine unto the excellencie of anie art or science, are worthie both of praise and preferment, because they seeke for that onely true nobilitie, which is in deede much more to be accounted of than birth and parentage. I have beene induced (for the satisfaction of such, and other like noble spirites, desirous to imploie either their studies in the profession, or their lives in the practise of the arte militarie) to bestowe my paines in the writing of this Treatise concerning the Art, exercise, and manneging of the Rapier and Dagger, together with the ordering and moving of the bodie in those actions: A thing I confesse in shewe the least peece and practise (as a man might saie) of the arte Militarie, but in verie deed to most important, excellent, and noble practice thereof. For when I consider with my selfe how some Authors doo write, that hunting, hauking, wrastling, &c. are things in some sort belonging unto Militarie profession, for that men thereby doo both make their bodies strong and active, and also learne to make the scituation of hils, woods, lakes, and vallies, together with the crooked and turning courses of rivers. It seemeth unto mee that I may with farre greater reason saie that the Arte and exercise of the Rapier and Dagger is much more rare and excellent than anie other Militarie exercise of the bodie, because there is very great and necessarie use thereof, not onely in generall warres, but also in particular combats, & many other accidents, where a man having the perfect knowledge and practise of this arte, although but small of stature and weake of strength, may with a little removing of his foot, a sodain turning of his hand, a slight declining of his bodie, subdue and overcome the fierst braving pride of tall and strong bodies. Morever, it doth many times come to passe that discords and quarrels arise amongest souldiers and Gentlemen of honor & account, the which (when they cannot be accorded & compounded by lawe, learning, and perswasion) must bee determined, and the truth thereof tried by armes and combat. And therefore he that is wise, carefull of his safetie, and provident against danger, will be at all times stored and furnished with this honorable urgent necessity, and instant shortnes of time, he shal be constrained to expose himself unto evident danger. Wherefore upon the occasions, and also for that I have bin thereunto requested by sundrie Gentlemen my good friendes, I have endevoured to expresse in this discourse, and to make plain by pictures all the skill and knowledge which I have in this art: Exhorting all men of good mindes and noble spirites to learne and purchase the same, not to the end to abuse it in insolencies and injuries, but to use it in cases of necessitie for the defence of just causes, and to the maintenance of the honour of themselves and others. For whosoever will followe this profession must flie from rashnes, pride, and injurie, and not fall into that soule falt and error which many men incurre, who feeling themselves to be strong of bodie and expert in this science, presuming thereupon, thinke that they may lawfully offer outrage and injury unto anie man, and with crasse and grosse termes and behaviour provoke everie man to fight, as though they were the onely heirs of Mars, & more invincible than Achilles: not remembring how it hath oftentimes happened, that a little wretched man of stature by skill and reason hath overcome a vast mightie man of person, and overthrowen the unweldie masse and burthen of his bodie upon the face of his kind & liiberall mother the earth. This manner of proceeding and behaviour doth plainely shew that these men (although peradventure they have learned the use of the weapon) have not yet beene sufficiently instructed in the Arte of Armes. For by the rule and precept of this Art, men are taught by how much they are resolute in courage, and skilful of the use of the same weapon, by so much the more to shew themselves virtuous, humble, and modest both in speech & action, and not to be liers, vanters, or quarrellers, for those which in this sort demeane themselves, (notwithstanding their skill or courage) do commonly carry away wounds and dishonour, and sometimes death. I have seene and noted in diverse partes of mine owne countrie and in other places of the world, great quarrells springing from small causes, and many men slayne uppon lightr occasions. Amongest other things, I remember that in Liesena a citie of Sclavonia, it was once my chance to see a sodaine quarrell and slaughter upn very small cause betweene two Italian captaines of great familiaritie and acquaintance. There was in the companie a foolish boy belonging unto one of the Captaines, who going carefully forward, & approching neere unto the other captaine, began to touch the hilts of his sword, whereupon the captaine lent the boy a little blow to teach him better manners: The other Captaine (the boies master) taking this reprehension of his boy in worse parte than there was cause, after some wordes multiplyed began to drawe his sword, the other Captaine in like sort betaking himselfe to his rapier did with a thrust run him quite through the bodie, who falling downe dead upon the place received the just reward of his frivolous quarrell. And to confesse the plaine truth in this point, it is not well done either of men of boyes to touch the weapons of another man that weareth them. Neverthelesse a man ought in all his actions to seeke and endevour to live in peace and good agreement (as much as may be) with everie one: and especially he that is a Gentleman and converseth with men of honorable quality, must above all others have a grteat regard to frame his speech and answeres with such respective reverence, that there never growe against him anie quarrell upon a foolish worde or a froward answere, as it often hath and daily doth come to passe, whereupon follow deadly hatreds, cruell murthers, and extreame ruines. Wherefore I saie and let downe as a most undoubted truth, that it is good for everie man to be taught and instructed in the Rapier and Dagger, not the rather thereby to grow insolent, or to commit murther, but to be able and ready in a case of just necessitie to defend himselfe, either as the sodaine, or upon defiance and in field assigned: for at that time it is too late to looke backe and to intend this studie, as many doo, who having appointed the time and place for fight, doe practice some point or other of this arte, the which being so lightly learned and in such hast, doth afterwards in time of need prove but little helpfull or available unto them. But this knolwedge doeth more particularly appertayne unto Gentlemen and souldiers that professe and followe warres, for they more than other men, will (for the credite of their calling, and the honor of Armes) dispute and determine with the point of the sword all points that passe in controversie, especially amongest themselves, who had rather die than not to have reason and satisfaction for everie worde of prejudice and disgrace offered unto them. Now in this case I am to exhort and advise men of all sortes and condition, as well the skilfull as the unskilfull, not to bee in anie wise to suspitious, nor to catch (as they saie) at everie flie that passeth by, for in so dooing, they purchase to themselves endlesse trouble, and enter into actions full of danger and dishonour, but rather to shunne as much as they can all occasions of quarrell, and not to fight excepte (as hath bene sayde) upon a just cause and in a point of honor. And to the end that everie man may know what to doo, and bee able to practise as much as hee knoweth (at the request of certaine Gentlemen my good friends, & to make the world witnes of my gratefull minde towards them for the many curtesies which I have received at their handes since my first coming into this Countrie) out of those preceptes which I have learned from the most rare and renowmed professors that have bin of this Art in my time, and out of that experience which I have observed in diverse fraies and fights, I have composed and framed this little worke, containing the noble Arte of the Rapier and Dagger, the which I have set down in manner of a Dialogue, &c. Vincentio Saviolo His Practise I Having long and greatly desired (my deare friend V.) to learnne this noble science, and especially of you, who did put the first weapons into my hands: wherefore (seeing so good opportunitie is so fitly presented) I could wishe that wee might spende this time at some discourse concerning the Arte of the Rapier and Dagger, to the end that I might thereby, both the better retaine the title which I have alreadie learned, and also adde some new lesson thereunto. V. Certes (my loving friend L) as well for that I have found you to be a man of a noble spirite, as in regard of the great love which I bear unto you, as also to the end that hereafter when time shall serve, you may be better knowen unto sundry Gentlemen my good friends, I am content to yeeld unto your request, and therefore demand bodly any thing wherein you desire to be resolved. L. Sir, the love which you beare mee I know to bee exceeding great, and therefore have no doubt that you will fayle me in anie part of your promise, for the which favour I acknolwedge my selfe infinitly beholding unto you. I shall desire you therefore, according to your judgement and skill, to resolve and instruct mee in such doubts as doo occurre unto me, for I know, and many noble men and Gentlemen do likewise know, that you are exquisitly able not only to resolve us of anie doubt readily, but also to instruct us in this science perfectly. V. Sir, I desire nothing more than to please and satisfie you and such other Gentlemen my good friends, and therefore you may expounde questions at your pleasure. L. From my first years I have liked this noble Art, but now doo much more love it, having seen such diversitie of this exercise, together with the danger thereunto belonging, and (since i came to be your scholler) plainly perceived how that a man in one moment may be slaine. And therefore I give God thankes that in some measure hee hath given mee the knowledge of this science, and I hope through your good helpe to bee more fully informed therein. Wherefore I desire you to tell me, if there be given anie certaine instruction and firme rule whereby to direct a man to the true knoledge of hereof. V. Since my childhoode I have seen verie many masters the which have taken great paines in teaching, and I have marked their diverse manners of playe and indangering: wherefore (both for the particular contentment & pleasure of the Gentlemen my friends, and for the general help & benefit of many) I have changed five or six sundry maner of plaies, taught to me by diverse masters, and reduced them unto one by my no little labour and paine, and in this will I resolve you, and geve you therein so direct a rule and instruction, as that thereby (being my scholler) you may attain unto the perfect knowledge of this science. L. But tell me sir of curtesie, those which have not bene your schollers, are they therefore debarred from the understandings of your said rule. V. In truth sir, well they may learne and conceive much, but of those secrets which I will reveale unto you are they are not so capable as those whom I have taught. L. Shew me (I praie you) what may bee the cause, why this arte (being so necessaire and noble) is of so many so little esteemed. V. You have moved a question whereof I am grieved to speake, when I consider with my selfe the slight account wherein this so worthy science is held, I deeme the cause hereof to be either because many which doo (peradventure) understand the same will not professe to teach it, or that many (having in deed no understanding thereof) doe judge the same to consist in their great strength and braving courage, but they deceive themselves. Moreover, I am of this opinion, that many (not knowing this art to be the beginning and foundation of the art Militaire) doe therefore neglect and contemne it, because they esteeme the same to bee a thing unto them altogether impertinent. L. By what reason can you shew this science to be the ground and foundation of the arte Militarie? V. You shall heare. This word Schermize et Scharamuzare, to skirmish or fence, may be taken either generally or particularly. Generally, for every kind of fight. Particularly for single combat and so it is taken as often as it is indefinitly set down, and not expresly. And being taken in this sense, that it doth necessarily belong unto the arte Militarie may many waies bee proved, for in the arte Militarie it is requisite that a man know how he may best overcome his enemie, and which waie to entertaine him, & as it were to dallie with him untill such time as he can espie some advantage. Againe, wee doo many times see that a great man or a Captaine doeth wrong an inferior person or a souldier, who for that they are men of meaner fortune, do seldome by lawe recover right or credite, wherefore the Prince or Generall (after that partie wronged hath done his dutie, in complaining unto him of the injury received) ought to require and command him by whome the wrong was done, either to make satisfaction unto the partie wronged, if the fact were against reason, or by waie of disgrace, or else to fight the combat with him. Then (being to accept one of these conditions) if hee trie the combat, he can never acquite himself without danger and dishonour, if hee have not fust learned this noble science. Moreover, if a man follow the warres and converse with Captaines, and incurre a quarrell, and have no knowledge of this arte, what shift shall hee make? Or how shall hee behave himselfe being challenged the combat for his Countrie or his Prince, which hath often happened, not onely in the time of the Romanes, but in our dayes, as we may read in the life of Charles the fifte, and of other Emperours: Paulus Jouius and Guicciardino do make mention of many combats fought in the kingdome of Naples betweene French-men and Italians for theyr Countrie, whereunto were required and chosen men most famous and skilfull men both of the French and Italian Nation. Wherefore a Captaine or Generall is not perfectly accomplished in all points appertaining to his place and profession, if hee bee disfurnished of this science: for admit (as it may fal out upon many occasions concerning his Country and his owne honour) he bee challenged the combat, and chance to be overcome therein, although hee have bin renowmed for infinite victories, hee hath now lost in one moment all his foregotten glorie, for both the honour of the fight, and the triumph of the victorie doth wholy redound unto him who hat overcome in combat. Neither were his many victories gotten in the field unto him more glorious, than this one foile in single fight is dishonourable, for those victories had many helpes, as horse, armour, opportunitie of time, advauntage of place, &c. Those glories many parteners, as souldiers and under officers, but this dishonour doeth wholy fall upon himselfe, as namely for want of this science, without the which no man professing the Arte Militarie, can bee called perfect in his profession, but rather maimed in the principall part thereof, and most concerning the safety and defence of a mans owne life, for this is a braunch of that whsedome which holdeth the first place and chiefest preheminence in matters of warre, for he that is devoid of art and skill, doth rashly encounter with his enemie, and so is slaine with scorne and dishonour. L. This which you saie seemeth to stand with greate reason, yet never the lesse wee see by experience, that men unskilfull and altogether ignorant in this arte have vanquished and overthrowen those which practice the same for theyr dayly exercise, whereas (if your assertion were true) the skilfull should evermore conquer the unskilfull. V. Sir, you are to understand, that many are called professours of their Rapier and Dagger, and yet bee overcome by men that never practiced the same, but however, not as professours of this science, but as base and unskilfull persons. For in him that will bee rightly called a professour of this arte, and in him that shall goe into the field to fight a combat, are required reason, animositie, strength, dexteritie, judgement, wit, courage, skill, and practice: wherefore it may bee that those which are overcome bee men of base mindes, or voide of reason, and falsely called professours of that arte whereof they have no understanding, and which they doo but discredite. Others are so head-strong and rash, that they doo lyke rammes which kill themselves by running full but at theyr enemies. But to have recourse unto the first and highest cause, these actions are evermore direscted by the secret will of God, and are the executions of his hidden judgements. L. Certainly sir, when I consider your reasons, I am confounded in mine owne judgement, for your speech doeth necessarily inferre, that if a man bee able, strong, active, wise, skilful, valiaunt, and not quarellous, he shall bee conquerour, if otherwise, conquered. V. Let us omit therefore as a speciall and extraordinarie cause, that sometimes God suffereth and permittteth the contrarie: and take this for an infallible rule and grounde, that everie one renounceth and forsaketh that helpe which God hath appointed, as often as hee despiseth and contemneth this Arte, and that God hath given us wit and understanding to discerne and knowe the good and the badde: which beeing so, it must needes followe, that if a man will not defend himselfe nor doo his best to obtaine victorie, be must be overcome although his quarrell and cause were most just and reasonable, because he will not use the means which God hath appointed, and therefore must blame himselfe only for his ill hap and successe. Wherefore it cannot be denied but that this knowledge and skill which groweth and riseth from this art of Defence is necessary. And therefore I say that when upon just ground and occasion a man shall take a quarrell in hand, and shal have courage, reason, boldnes, and force to maintaine it, having also the meanes and helpe of this art, it will seldome or never chaunce but that he shall overcome his adversary, and upon this reason and ground proceedeth my argument. But when he forsaketh the favour and benefit graunted by God, in that he wil not learne how to defend himselfe: if the quite contrary happen to him he must impute the fault and blame to himselfe. And therefore I must tell you this also, that he hath most neede of this art which lacket courage and strength, because that by this art and practice he groweth in ure with his weapon, and to have skill and judgement to defend himselfe. And this also I saye, that strength and valiant courage is not it which giveth victorye, but a skill and knowledge in the use of his weapon, and a certaine nimbleness and actiuitie aswell of the body as of the hand and the foot. L. In sooth by that which you say, it seemes to me that nature is she which worketh and perfourmeth all, and not art, because that from nature commeth courage, force, and a right frame and aptnes of the body, therefore he which shal be furnished with these partes and shall undertake a right and just cause, is like to beare away the victory without having any or very little skill in the art of Defence. V. Certes we may graunt, that nature may doo very much to frame a man apt and fit for this exercise, both in respect of convenient courage and strength, but all these abilities and giftes which nature can bestow on a man, are nothing except he have knowledge or arte, for we see that the very things themselves which are brought foorth by nature good and perfect, if they be not holpen by arte, by very course of nature become naught and unprofitable. As the Vine if it be not holpen by art comes to no proofe nor profit, so likewise other trees how apt so ever they be to bring forth excellent frutes, if they are not husbanded growe wilde, and degenerate from their naturall perfection. Suppose that nature bring forth a most goodly and beautifull tree, if it begin once to growe crooked and be holpen it looseth all his beautye, and therefore as you see, arte is an aide and helpe to nature: so that one having those good partes and abilities by nature before mentioned, yet not knowing them, he can not use them to his benefite but by the meanes of skill and judgement; which a man by his industrie and practice attaineth unto. And although he may strike right and crosse blows and give the foyne and thruse, yet these being not guided by reason and skill, may as well harme him as profit or procure him any advantage: but art which imitateth and perfiteth nature, if a man apply his minde thereunto, by many experimentes and much practice, will make him skilfull and capable of great perfection. And to prove that this is true, we see little infants which although as soone as they are borne they have a tung, yet they cannot speake, and after when they have learned to speake, yet they want eloquence: nature maye bestowe a gift of memory, which when it is accompanied with art and knowledge, they are able in good sorte to expresse their minde and conceipt. How can you be skilfull in riding if you have not learned the arte, nature may helpe, but not bring to perfection: how is it possible that you should prove a skilfull Carpenter or Saylor, if you have not by practice acquainted your selfe with those thinges which appertaine thereunto: how can a man be a professour in any art or science, unlesse he have learned it first hmselfe: and therefore they which make so finall reckoning of art, in my fancie and conceipt in this respect are worse than beastes, especially those which are practiced in fight, in which a man may perceive a kinde of reason and arte, and for proofe of this, take a young Dog which hath not been accustomed to fight, and set him on a Bull, and you shal see him assaile him with more courage and fiercenes then another which hath been beaten and practisde in the matter, but you shall see him by and by hurte and wounded: whereas in the other you shall see the quite contrary, for before he set upon his adversary you shall see him spie all advantages that maye be, and having found his advantage he wil after make an affault, wherefore those braggers which without judgement and reason will take upon them to kill the whole worlde, at the least wise should order and governe themselves more discreetely then beasts: and if they being without reason can help themselves with art which is taught them how much rather should a man which is indued with reason make his profit thereof, seeke to learne it and not to scorne and despise it, especially in such a case where so deepely it concerneth a mans life, that in the stirring of a foote he may be soddenlye overtaken and slaine: but the more skill a man hath of his weapon the more gentle and curteous should he shewe himselfe, for in truth this is rightly the honour of a brave Gentleman, and so much the more is hee to bee esteemed: neither must he be a bragger, or lyer, and without rruth in his word, because there is nothing more to be required in a aman then to know himselfe, for me therefore I think it necessarye that every one should learne this arte, for as a man hath voice and can sing by nature, but shall never doo it with time and measure of musicke unlesse he have learned the arte: and as a horse may be strong and fyt for fight by nature, but can not serve a man to any use in the feelde unlesse he have beene first broken and taught, and framed to be obedient to his maisters pleasure and minde: So much more should a man learne how to mannage and use his body, his hand and his foote, and to know how to defend himselfe from his enemy. And heereupon we see, that how stoute or couragious soever a man be, yet when he is challeneged into the feelde he seeks then to learn the skill and practice of his weapon of some brave and skilfull man against the daye of the fight and combate, and for no other cause but that he knoweth that it is necessarye for him, & that it concerneth his honor and life: and they which affirme the contrary, if ever they have occasion to fight, shall perceive to their disadvantage and discredit, how much they have erred and bene out of the way: and this which we have discoursed hitherto as I think may suffise to prove the necessitie of this arte. L. You have with so manye reasons and proofes shewed the necessitie of this worthie art, that in truth I greatly esteeme and honor it, and could wish that every man of honour would seeke to know it and practise it, that it might be more esteemed: but now that I know the excellency of this art, I would gladly know wherein consisteth the order and manner to udnerstand it. V. Certes my freend L. I will not faile in that which I have promised. And therefore I wil begin this small worke, to leave some remembrance of me, with these Gentlemen and my good freendes, and with you who are desirous to understand it, and especially because I have alwaies found you to be a lover of gentleman-like qualities. L. I thanke you sir for your good will and good opinion conceived of me, and therefore according to the desire which you hvae to make me understand this worthie arte, I require you to tell me with what weapon a good teacher minding to make a good scholler ought to begin. V. So I will, yet I must tell you, that I have seene many brave sufficient men teach with great diversitie and divers sortes and fashions of play: and I my selfe have had many teachers, and found them all to differ one from the otehr. L. But I pray you of freendship tell me how there can be such disagreement, since that all that art consisteth in down right or crosse blowes, thrustes, foynes, or overthwart prickes. V. That which you say, verilye is true, but consider also that we see many precious stones, and yet the one to be more esteemed than the other, although they be of the same sorte and kinde: and we see many excellent men which studie the same art, and yet one is more esteemed then the other, as well ingravers as Painters: the same is seene amongst learned men, all are learned, but one is better learned then the other: and the like is to be seene in all sciences and artes, and so in this noble art God hath given more to one, then to another. I will begin therefore to tell you how that of many that teach, some begin and enter their schollers with the rapier and Dagger, some with the Rapier and Cloake, some with the Rapier and Buckler, and some with the Rapier alone: some after one sorte and some after another. L. Is it not all one for a scholler to begin with the Rapier alone, or with the Rapier and Cloake, or any other weapon: may not he become a brave man, as well with one weapon as with another? V. Surely, they may prove well, but not so well as those which begin with the true ground, the which schollers should learne of good maisters, and teachers should with all diligence teach their schollers. L. And what I pray you is this ground? V. The true foundation verily and the true beginning from whence you may learne all thinges belonging to this art, is the Rapier alone, and from it will I begin, and you shal perceive of what great importance this beginning is, and how without it hardly or never any commeth to true skill and perfection: yet proceed you to aske such questions as you shall thinke best, and take good heede to that which shall say, for I will beginne as I tolde you. L. In truth M. Vincent, although as yet I have no great skill, yet me thinkes you have reason in your assertion, and that you have got the right and true knowledge of this science, and therefore I praye you shew me the reasno why the Rapier alone is the ground and beginning of this art. V. The reason as I take it, is because that amongst Knightes, Captaines and valiant Souldiours, the Rapier is it which sheweth who are men of armes and of honour, and which obtaineth right for those which are wronged: and for this reason it is made with two edges and one point, and being the weapon which ordinarily Noble men, Knightes, Gentlemen and Souldiours weare by their side, as being more proper and fit to be worne then other weapons: therefore this is it which must first be learned, especiallye being so usuall to be worne and taught. In my discourse therefore of this fight of the single rapier I will speake onelye of three wardes. L. Tell me I pray you first how it is best to holde a mans Rapier in his hand, and how to stand upon his garde. V. For your Rapier, holde it as you shall thinke most fit and commodious for you, but if I might advise you you should not hold it after this fashion, and especially with the second finger in the hylte, for holding it in that sorte, you cannot reach so farre either to strike direct or crosse blowes, or to give a foyne or thrust, because your arme is not free and at liberty. L. How then would you have me holde it? V. I would have you put your thumbe on the hylte, and then the next finger toward the endge of the Rapier, for so you shall reach further and strike more readily. L. You have fully satisfied me concerning this matter, but I pray you proceede and shew me how I must stand upon my garde, or assaile myne enemy. V. So I will, and as before I have told you of diversitie of teachers and varietie of wardes, so in ths poynt also must I tell you that mens fashions are divers, for some set upon their enemies in running, and there are other which assaile them with rage and furye after the fashion of Rammes, and both these sortes of men for the moste parte are slaine and come to misfortune, as may be seene in many places of such like fights. Which I speak not as though those two fightes were not good for him which knoews how to use them, because that sometimes they are very necessary, according as a man findes his enemy prepared with his weapon, but then they must be doone with time and measure, when you have got your enemye at an advantage, with great dexteritie and readines. But as for me I will shewe you the wardes which I my selfe use, the which if you well marke and observe, you cannot but understand the art, and withall keepe your bodye safe from hurte and danger. L. At this present I take wonderfull delight in your companye, and nothing pleaseth me so much as this discourse of yours, to heare you give me the reasons of those things which so much concerne the life and honour of a man: wherefore performe that which you have promised, wherein you shall not onelye pleasure mee, but many other gentlemen and Noble men will thinke themselves to have received a favour at your handes, therefore begin I pray you.
V. That which I have promised you I will now performe, therefore I say, that when a teacher will begin to make a Scholler, (as for me I will begin with the single Rapier, and at this weapon will firste enter you, to the end you maye frame your hand, your foote, and your body, all which partes must goe together, and unlesse you can stirre and move all these together, you shall never be able to performe any great matter, but with great danger) I come therefore to the point and say, that when the teacher will enter his scholler, he shal cause him to stand upon this ward, which is very good to bee taught for framing the foote, the hand, and the body: so the teacher shall deliver the Rapier into his hand, and shall cause him to stand with his right foote formost, with his knee somewhat bowing, but that his body rest more upon the lefte legge, not stedfast and firme as some stand, which seeme to be nayled to the place, but with a readines and nimblenes, as though he were to perform some feate of activitie, and in this sorte let them stand both to strike and to defend themselves. Now when the maister hath placed his scholler in this sorte, and that the scholler hath received his Rapier into his hand, let him make his hand free and at lyberty, not by force of the arme, but by the nimble and ready moving of the joynt of the wriste of the hand, so that his hand be free and at libertie from his body, and that the ward of his hand be directlye against his right knee, and let the teacher also put himselfe in the same ward, and holde his Rapier against the middest of his schollers Rapier, so that the pobnt be directly against the face of his scholler, and likewise his schollers against his, and let their feete be right one against another, then shall the maister begin to teach him, moving his right foot somewhat on the right side in circle wise, putting the point of his Rapier under his schollers Rapier, and so giving him a thrust in the belly. L. And what then must the scholler doo? V. At the selfesame time the scholler must remove with like measure or counter-time with his right foote a little aside, and let the left foote follow the irght, turning a little his bodye on the right side, thrusting with the point of his Rapier at the belly of his teacher, turning readily his hand that the fingers be inward toward the body, and the joint of the wrist shall be outward. In this sorte the saide scholler shall learne to strike and not be stricken, as I alwaies advise the noble-men and gentlemen whit whome I have to deale, that if they cannot hit or hurt their enemy, that they learn to defend them selves that they be not hurt. Then to make the scholler more ready, the teacher shall cause his scholler firste to part, wherefore he shall remove with his right foot on the right side a little in circle wise as the maister did before to the scholler. L. What then must the maister or teacher doo? V. At the same time that the scholler removeth his foote, the teacher shall play a little with stirring of his body, and with his lefte hand shall beat away his schollers rapier from his right side, and shall remove his right foot behinde his left striking a crosse blow at the head. L. And the scholler what shall he doo? V. When I remove with my foote and lifte up my hand, let the scholler passe with his lefte foote where his right was, and withall let him turne his hand, and not loose the opportunity of this blow, which must be a foyne in the manner of a thrust under his Rapier, and let him lifte up his hand with his ward that he be garded and lie not open, meeting with his left hand the rapier of his teacher, and let him not beat aside the blow with his Rapier for hee endangereth the point and bringes his life in hazard, because he loseth the point: But I wil goe forward. At the selfesame time that the scholler goes back, the maister shall play a little, and shifting his body shall breake the same imbroccata or foyne outward from the lefte side, removing with his left foote, which must be carried behinde the right, and withall shall give a mandritta at the head of his scholler, at which time the scholler must remove with his right foote, following with his lefte, and let him turne his Rapier hand as I have saide, and that the scholler observe the same time in going backe as the teacher shall, to the end that his point maye be toward the bellye of his maister, and let him lifte up his other hand with his ward on high, that he be not stricken on the face with the mandritta, or in the belly with the thrust or stoccata. Wherefore at the selfesame time that the scholler shall deliver the foresaide stoccata to the teacher, the teacher shall yeelde and shrinke with his bodye, and beate the stoccata outwards on the lefte side, and shall bring his right foot a little aside in circle wise upon the right side, & shall give an imbroccata to the face of his scholler, at which time the saide scholler shal go backe with his right foote a little aside with the same measure, and shall beate aside the imbroccata of his maister with his left hand outward from the left side, and withall shall deliver the like imbroccata of countertime to the teacher, but onlye to the face, and then the maister shall goe backe with his right foote toward the left side of his scholler, in breaking with his lefte hand the saide imbroccata outward from the lefte side, and shall strike a downe right blowe to his head, because that by beating aside his foyne with his hand, he shall finde him naked and without garde. L. And what then, cannot the Scholler defend him selfe? V. Yes very easilye with a readie dexteritie or nimblenes, for at the same time that the maister shall give the saide mandritta, the scholler shall doo nothing else but turne the pointe of his foote toward the bodye of his maister, and let the middest of his left foote directly respect the heele of the right and let him turn his body upon the right side, but let it rest and staye upon the lefte, and in the same time let him turne the Rapier hand outward in the stoccata or thrust, as I have given you to understand before, that the point be toward the bellye of his maister, and let him lifte up his hand and take good heede that hee come not forward in delivering the saide stoccata, which is halfe an incartata, for how little forever hee should come forward, he would put himselfe in danger of his life: and beleeve me, every man which shall not understand these measures and principles, incurres the danger of his life: and who so despiseth these grounds which are necessarye as well for the schoole as the combat, it may bee to his confusion & dishonour, and losse of his life: wherefore everye one which makes profession of this art, should seek to learn them and understand them. L. For this matter I am fullye satisfied, wherefore I praye you proceed to teach me that which remaineth to be taught for this ward. V. When the maister will make his scholler readye, hee shall practise him to be the first in going backe, by removing his right foote a little aside in circle wise, as before his maister did to him, and let him with great readines thrust his Rapier under his teachers, and give him a thrust or stoiccata in the belly. L. What then shall the teacher doo? V. He shall shift his body a little, and shall beate the stoccata or thrust outward from the right side, and shal remove with his right foote, which must bee conveied behinde the lefte, and shall strike a rinversa at his schollers head, as before: and further, to the end his scholler may have judgement to knowe what fight mmeanes, with measure and time, hee shall teach him to give a mandritta, and to know when the time serveth for it. L. What I pray you, cannot every one of himselfe without teaching give a mandritta? V. Yes, every man can strike, but everye man hath not the skill to strike, especiallye with measure, and to make it cutte: and heereupon you shall see manye which oftentimes will strike and hitte with the flatte of their Rapier, without hurting our wounding the adversarye: and likewise many, when they would strike a downe-right blowe, will goe forward more then measure, and so cause themselves to be slaine. Wherefore I saye, when the maister and scholler shall stand upon this ward, and that the point of the schollers weapon shall be against the face of the teacher, and the pointe of the teachers weapon nigh to the ward of the schollers Rapier, and that it be stretched out, the scholler shall remove with his right foot a little aside in circle wise, and with the inside of his left hand barrachet wise shall bet away his maisters Rapier, firste lifting his above it, and let the lefte foot followe the right: and let him turne skilfully his body, or else he shall be in danger to receive a stoccata either in the face or bellye. Therefore hee must take heede to save himselfe with good time and measure, and let him take heede that he steppe not forward toward his teacher, forso hee should bee in danger to be wounded: but let him go a little aside, as I have already saide. L. Me thinkes the maister is in danger, if the scholler at this time keepe measure. V. If the maister stoode still, hee should bee in danger, but when the scholler shall give the mandritta, the maister must shifte a little with his bodye, and shall remoove with his right foote, which must be carried behinde his lefte, and shall strike a riverso to the head, as I saide before, when I began to speake of stoccata. Furthermore, the Scholler maye likewise give a mandritta at the legges, but it standes upon him to playe with great nimblenes and agilitye of bodye, for to tell the truth, I would not advise anye freend of mine, if hee were to fight for his credite and life, to strik neither mandrittaes nor riversaes, because he puts himselfe in danger of his life: for to use the poynte is more readie, and spendes not the lyke time: and that is my reason, why I would not advise any of my friends to use them. L. But I praye you of freendship tell me, if a man were to goe into the feelde with some freend of his whome hee would bee loth to kill, should not these mandrittaes be good to wound him, and not put him in danger of his life, I praye you therefore tell mee your opinion, and how a man in respect of his honour were to use and order himselfe, put the case he would not kill his freend, but would willingly save and keepe him from harme. V. I will speake mine opinion of these things which concerne a mans life and honour, and firste I would wish every one which is challenged into the feeld, to consider that he which challengeth him, dooth not require to fight with him as a freend, but as an enemye, and that he is not to thinke any otherwise of his minde but as full of rancor and malice towards him: wherefore when you ?? with weapons in his hand that will needes ?? with you, although hee were your freend or kinseman, take him for an enemye, and trust him not, how great a freend or how nigh of kin soever he be, for the inconvenience that may grow therby, is seene in many histories both ancient and moderne. But when you see the naked blade or weapon, consider that it meanes redresse of wrong, justice, and revenge: and therefore if he be your freend that will needs fight with you, you maye tell him that you have given him no cause, nor offred any wrong, and if any other have made any false report, & that he is to prove and justifie it, that for your selfe, if by chaunce without your knowledge you have offended him, that you are ready with reason to satisfie him and make amendes. But if they be matters that touch your honour and that you bee compelled to accept of the combat, doo the best you can when you have your weapon in your hand, and consider that fightes are dangerous, and you know not the minde and purpose of your enemye, whome if you should chance to spare, afterwards peradventure he may kill you or put you in danger of your life, especially when you use the mandritta or right blowes: for if he be either a man skilfull at his weapon, or fierce or furious, he may peradventure doo that to you, which you would not doo, (when you might) to him. Wherfore if hee bee your friend goe not with him into the fielde, but if you go, doe your best, because it seemeth childish to saie, I will go and fight, but I will spare and favour him. For if you were the valiauntest man in the world, and had no minde to doo him anie harme, yet when you see the furie and malice of your enemie, you shall be forced, as it were, to doo that you thought not to doo, for which you may peradventure be sorie, and disquieted in mind as long as you live, as well in respect of friendship, if you kill your friend, as for the punishment which the lawes will inflict and laie uppon you, whether it be losse of goods, imprisonment, or death. And on the other side, if you be slaine or wounded, it is no excuse for you to saie afterward, that you favoured him & did not so much as you might, for in such a case everie man will thinke as he list: so that if your enemie were the most coward and base man that might bee, yet he shall bee counted the more valiaunt and brave man. Therefore if it happen that some friend of yours hath a quarrell against you, tell him that you will not have any thing to doo with him: and fight with your enemie, not with your friend: neither account him your friend that will fight with you: well you may be his friend, but you shall finde him to be your enemie. Therefore whensoever you see anie man drawe upon you, staie not untill hee doo his pleasure, and trust him not, for hee hath not his weapon drawen to no purpose: and if in that sorte hje will talk of the matter with you, cause him to stand aloofe off, and so let him speake: for of the inconvenience that hath growen thereby wee have many examples, as I will shew you more at large by and by. I woul wish that everie one should beware to offend any man either in wordes or deedes, and if you have offered offence, seeke to make amends, as a civill and honest man should, and suffer not the matter to grow to such extremitie and inconvenience, as wee see examples everie daie, whereby God is highly displeased. And amongst others I will tell you of an accident which hath happened in Padoua, where I my selfe was borne, of a master of Fence called M. Angelo of Alezza, who many yeres brought up, maintained, and taught a nephew of his, in such sort, that hee became a verie sufficient and skilfull man in this art. Which his nephew, whereas by reason should have beene loving and faithfull to him, as to his own father, having so long eaten of his bread, and received from him so many good turnes, especially having bene brought up by him from his childhoode and infancie, he did the quite contrarie, for his uncle Angelo yet living and teaching schollers, hee openly dyd teach and plaie with many, and by that meanes came acquainted with many Gentlemen, so that hee set up a schoole of Fence, and beganne to teach, entising awaie many which were schollers of his uncle Angelo. A part truly verie vile, and of an unkinde unthankfull man. Whereupon the sayd Angelo complained of this injury and wrong offered by his nephew, to a gentleman who was his scholler and loved him entirely, shewing howe his nephew had not onely impaired his credite, but defrauded him of the aide and helpe which he looked for at his hands, having brought him up, as I have said, and especially being now growen old. Which nephew (as he said) in respect of kindred, bringing up, and teaching of his arte and skill, was bound to have shewed him all friendship and curtesie. Heereupon the Gentleman, Angelo his scholler, promised to seeke redresse, although hee was a friende also unto the nephewe of Angelo. And so, by badde happe, finding the sayde nephew of Angelo, tolde him that for the wrong offered to his master and uncle, he would fight with him, and therewithall put hande to his weapon: the other refused to fight with him because hee was his friend: but the Gentleman tolde him that if hee woulde not defend himselfe hee woulde runne him thorough: as hee dyd in deede, for whilest hee stoode uppon tearmes, and would not do his best to defend himselfe, he ranne him quite thorough the bodie. Thereupon when a man sees anie one with a drawen weapon, let him take care to defend himselfe, because it is not a matter of friendshippe. But I think verily in this man, that the justice of God and his own conscience took awaie all courage and wit of defending himselfe. And this was the ende of his unthankfulnesse, which God would not leave unpunished. And if all unthankfull and treacherous men were so served after the same sorte, I thinke there woulde not be found so many: and truly of all vices, I take this unthankfulnesse to be one of the greatest that is incident to man. Therefore to conclude this matter, I woulde counsell and advise everie one, to give as small occasion of offence anie waie unto anie as may be, and especially unto his friend, to whom hee is in anie sorte beholding: but when that hee is forced to laie hande on his weapon, to doe the best hee can, as well in respect of his credite, as for to save his owne lyfe. L. Verily this example which you have heere brought in, is verie good and necessarie, as well to instruct and teach a man not to trust his enimie when he seeth him comming with his weapon in his hand, as also to warne these unthankfull men to bee more true and faithfull. But I praie you go forward to tell me that which is behinde concerning this ward. V. I will verie willingly, but I praie mislike not that I have somewhat digressed from the matter which wee were about, for I have spoken these few words not with out cause, but now I will go forwarde with that which remaineth. Therefore I saie, when the master and scholler stand upon this ward, and that the point of the schollers weapon is towarde the face of the teacher, and the pont of the masters without the bodie of the scholler toward the right side, both of them being upon this ward, the scholler must bee readie and nimble to remoove with his left foote, that the point or ende thereof bee against the middest of his masters right foot, turning his Rapier hand, and that his point be in imbrocata-wise above his teachers Rapier, and that his left hand bee toward the ward of his teacher: and let all this be done at once, by which meanes the scholler shall come to have his masters weapon at commandment, and if it were in fight, his enemies. L. This plaie which now you tell me of, me thinkes is contrarie to many other, and I my selfe have seen many plaie and teache cleane after another fashion, for I have seene them all remove in a right line, and therfore you shall doe mee a pleasure to tell mee which in your opinion, is best to use, either the right or circular line. V. I will tell you, when you stand upon this ward, if you remove in a right line, your teacher or your adversarie may give you a stoccata either in the bellie or in the face. Besides, if your master or your adversarie have a Dagger he may doo the like, hitting you with his dagger either in the belly or on the face, besides other harms which I list not to write. And therefore to proceede, I saie, that in my opinion and judgement, it is not good to use the right line, whereas in remooving in circular-wise, you are more safe from your enemie, who cannot in such sort hurt you, and you have his weapon at commandement: yea although he had a dagger hee coulde not doo you anie harme. L. But I praie you tell me whether the master may save himselfe when the scholler makes this remove uppon him in circular wise, without being hurt. V. When the scholler removeth with his left foot, the master must steppe backe, but yet in such sorte, that the lefte foote be behinde the right, and that he remove to the right side, and shall strike a mandritta at the head of the scholler, and whilest the master shifteth with his foot and striket the mandritta, at the selfe same time must the scholler bee with his right foot where the teachers was, being followed with his lefte, and shall deiyver a stoccata or thrust in his masters belly, turning his bodie together with his hand on the lefte side, and lifting his hand on high, to the end the master may in striking hit his Rapier, and withall shall strike at the teacher, at which time the teacher must remoove with his right foote a little aside, followed with his lefte, and shifting a little with his b odie, shall beate outwarde the thrust or stoccata of his scholler, and shall deliver an imbroccata in manner of a stoccata, which is verie good and excellent, as well for practise of plaie, as for fight, but they must be most readie both with hand and foot that use it: therefore when the scholler shall find his masters Rapier in this ward, that it bee helde upright or toward his face, then the scholler shall winne ground a little with his right foote, beeing mooved somewhat aside, and withall let him remove with his left foot, that it be toward the right foot of the teacher, and that your right foot be against the middest of his left, as I have said before, and in removing let him turne his Rapier hand, that the pointe bee conveighed under his masters weapon, which being done, promptly and readily his point will be towards the belly of his master, which must bee followed with the left hand, & let the scholler lift up his hand to the ward that his fist be somewhat high, and let him take heed that he loose not his point, because the teacher may give him a stoccata or thrust in the belly or face, for that he hath lost his time. L. But I pray you, cannot the teacher then defende himselfe? V. He may do the self same, which I told you before, when I spake of the manriversa in this ward. Therefore when the scloer shal find his teacher with his point somewhat at length, that is not towards his face, but towardes his belly, then must the scholler with his left hand beat aside his masters rapier, not at the point, but in the strength and middest of the weapon, and withall must remoove with his lefte foot, both which must be done at once: and let the same foot be against the right foot of the master, as he did before in the foine or imbroccata, delivered above and under the rapier: and the teacher at the same time must doo the like, remooving with his right foote, as I have sayd before. And as the scholler removes and beates aside the weapon, let his left hand be sodainly uppon the ward of his teacher, and in giving they say the riversa or crosse blowe, let the scholler skilfully turne his Rapier hand, that the knuckle or joynt may be toward the head of the teacher, for otherwise he may give him a slicing or cutting blow, which we call Stramazone: therefore let him perform those things skilfully and at once, and especially let him beware that he doo not beate aside his teachers weapon toward the point, because he shoulde be in danger to receive a thrust or stoccata either in the face or belly. Besides, the scholler, so that he find his teacher in the same ward, that his Rapier bee somewhat at length, & not directly upon the face, may strike the said riversa or crosse blowe at his legs: but beating aside the Rapier with his hande must bee done readily, and hee must remove with his hande in such sorte, that his Rapier when the lefte hand beates it by, may be betweene his owne hand and his teachers weapon: and with this readinesse must he strike this riverso, but withall, his lefte hand must bee uppon the warde of his teacher. L. But tell mee I praie you, is it not all one if I take hold of the arme of my teacher or adversarie, in sted of laying my hande uppon his warde? V. No in deede, for if your enemie were skilfull in this art, whilest you catch him by the hand or arme, hee might with his lefte hand seize upon his weapon & put you in danger of your life. So that you must take heed to have all advantage of your enemie, that hee may not in anie sort do you anie harme: in dooing of which, you shall alwaies be to good for him. L. But tell me of friendship, if you take this ward to be good, as well for the fields as the schoole. V. This ward which I have shewed you, in my opinion, is verie profitable to bee taught, because it breeds a judgement of the time, and a readinesse and nimblenesse as well of the hand as the foote, together with the body: and from this you come prepared to learne other wards with more facilitie, and to have a greater insight and understanding in many things, so that for many respects it is verie commodious, good, & necessarie. Now also for fight, this ward is verie good to bee understood, and to bee fullye had and learned with beeing much practised therin, and made verie readie as well wyth the hand as the foote without loosing anie time: and so much the rather for that we see many Nations use this ward in fight verie much, especially with the single rapier, both Italians, French-men, Spaniards, & Almanes. Wherfore I advise every one to seeke to understand it, learne it, and acquaint himselfe with it, that hee may come to that readinesse and knowledge to doo all at once, without making anie fault or false point in the said ward: by reason of many inconveniences which have chaunced, and which daily chance, which I will speake of when time serveth: but in the meane while we will go forward with this second ward, in which the scholer shall learne to give the stoccata and L. I thinke my selfe very fortunate that it is my hap to finde you at this time, in so pleasant and convenient a place, where we may passe the time in some discourse under the shade of these delightfull trees, and therefore according to your promise, I praye shewe me your second ward, which I shall be attentive to marke. V. M. Luke, if all men were lovers as vertue as your selfe is, these things would be helde in greater account, but thorough the love of vices, wherewith men are carried away, they are little regarded, wherefore I wil doo my best endevour to instruct you and all other that are lovers of vertue, imparting unto them that knowledge which God hath given me. Therefore for your better understanding, I will first shew you how this warde is good, either to offend or defend, and cheefelye with the single Swoorde and the glove, which is most in use among Gentlemen, and therefore I advise you and all other to learne to break the thrustes with the left hand, both stoccataes and imbroccates, as I purpose to shewe you. L. But I praye you tell me, is it not better to breake with the Swoorde, then with the hand? for (me thinketh) it should be dangerous for hurting the hand. V. I will tell you, this weapon must bee used with a glove, and if a man should be without a glove, it were better to hazard a little hurt of the hand, thereby to become maister of his enemies Swoorde, than to breake with the swoord, and so give his enemy the advantage of him. Moreover, having the use of your lefte hand, and wearing a gantlet or glove of maile, your enemy shall no sooner make a thrust, but you shal be readye to catch his swoorde fast, and to command him at your pleasure: wherefore I wish you not to defend any thrust with the swoorde, because in so dooing you loose the point L. But I pray you, is it not good sometimes to put by a thrust with the swoord? V. I will tell you when it is good to use the swoord: but now I will tell you how to use your hand in that case, and cheefelye in this warde wherewith I will beginne. Therefore if the maister desire to make a good scholler, let him begin in this sorte, causing his scholar to place his right legge formoste, a little bending the knee, so that the heele of his right foote stand just against the midst of his left foote, holding his swoord hand close on the outside of his right knee, with his swoorde helde in shorte, least his adversarye should gaine the same, ever keeping the poynte directlye on the face or bellye of his enemye, and the maister shall dispose of him selfe in the same manner, as well with his foote as with his poynt. Moreover, you must observe just distance, which is, when either of you stand in such place, that stepping forward a little, you maye reache one another, and then the maister shall make a stoccata to his scholler, going aside somewhat with his right legge, and following with the other in manner of a circular motion towarde the lefte side of his scholler: and so hee maye have the advantage if hee take it, within distance, and the scholler shall remove his right legge in counter-time, after the same order that his maister dooth, answering him wioth a stoccata to the belly: but hee must take heede not to remove too much aside, or retire to farre backwarde, for so the one shall never hitte, and the other shall never learne. Moreover, hee must beware of comming too much within his just distance, because if he hit is adversary, hee may bee hitte againe by his adversarye: wherfore I will teache you how to offend and defend in the same time. As the Scholler parteth in the counter time, hee must in the same instant breake the stoccata with his lefte hande, and aunswere againe with an other: also the Maister to make his scholler quicke and readye, shall use to aunswere him in the same time that his scholler delivereth his stoccata, going aisde with his right legge, and following with the other toward the left hand of his scholler, breaking the saide stoccata with his lefte hand, and shall aime the imbrocata at his face, and the scholler must parte also with his right foote toward the lefte side fo his maister circularlye, beating the thrust with his lefte hand outward toward the left side, and then he shall in like sort make an imbrocata to the face of his maister, and the maister parting againe with his right foote aside toward the left hand, breaking the saide imbrocata with his lefte hande, shall thrust a stoccata, as I saide before, to the belly of his scholler, and the scholler in the same instant shall parte with a counter-time with his right foote aside towards the lefte hand of his maister, breaking it with his left hand downward, and shall make a stoccata againe to his master, and the maister therewithall shall retire a little with his body, breaking the saide stoccata outward toward his right side, parting with his right foote backward to the left hand, and shall answer with a stoccata to the head, as in the first ward. L. But I pray you why doo you use so many stoccataes and imbroccataese? V. Because they may learne the just time and measure, and make the foote, hand and body readily agree together, and understand the way to give the stoccata and imbroccata right: so that these principles are very necessarye, and will serve for the Rapier and dagger, therefore whosoever will make a perfect sholler, let him shew the principles in this warde. L. I perceive very well, that these things which you have spoken of, are to be doon with great agility and quicknes, but especially by the maister, if he entend to make a perfect scholler, because the maister often putteth himself in danger, and the scholler regardeth him not, neither is his hand firme: and therefore the maister must be respective two waies: in saving him selfe, and not hurting his scholler: but (I praye you) are these thinges as good in fight, as necessary to be practised? V. I have taught you already how to place your self in this ward, with the just distance and time belonging thereunto. L. But I pray you instruct me a little further concerning time. V. As soone as your Rapier is drawne, put your selfe presently in garde, seeking the advantage, and goe not leaping, but while you change from one ward to another, be sure to be out of distance, by retiring a little, because if your enemy be skilfull, hee may offend you in the same instant. And note this well, that to seek to offend, being out of measure, and not in due time, is very dangerous: wherefore as I tolde you before, having put your selfe in garde, and charging your adversarye, take heed how you go about, and that your right foot be formost, stealing the advantage by little & little, carrying your lefte legge behinde, with your poynt within the poynte of your enemies swoord, and so finding the advantage in time and measure, make a stoccata to the belly or face of your enemy, as you shall finde him ungarded. L. Are there many sortes of times? V. Many are of divers opinions in that pointe, some hold that there are foure times, other five, and some six, and for mine own parte, I thinke there are many times not requisite to be spoken of, therfore when you finde your enemye in the time and measure before taught, then offer the stoccata, for that is the time when your enemie will charge you in advancing his foot, and when he offereth a direct stoccata, in lifting or moving his hand, then is the time: but if hee will make a imbroccata unto you, answere him with a stoccata to the face, turning a little your bodye toward the right side, accompanied with your poynt, making a halfe incartata: if hee strike or thrust at your legge, carrye the same a little aside in circular-wise, and thrust a stoccata to his face, and that is your just time: and if he offer you a Stramazone to the head, you must beare it with your swoord, passing forward with your lefte legge, and turning wel your hand, that yoiur point maye go in manner of an imbrocata, accompanied with your left hand, so that your poynt respect the bellye of your adversary, and break this alwaies with the point of your sword, for of all stoccataes, riversaes, and Stramazones, I finde it the most dangerous. And remember, that whilste your enemy striketh his mandritta, you deliver a thrust or stoccata to his face, for the avoiding of which, hee must needes shrinke backe, otherwise hee is slaine: and how little so ever your enemie is wounded in the face, he is halfe undone and vanquished, whether by chaunce it fall out that the blood cover and hinder his fight, or that the wound be mortall, as most in that parte are: and it is an easie matter to one which knowes this play, to hit the face, although every one understands not this advantage. And many there are which have practised and doe practise fence, and which have to deale with those which understand these kinde of thrustes or stoccataes, and yet cannot learn to use them, unles these secrets be shewed them. Because these matters are for fight and combat, not for play or practise: but I wil come back where I left. Therfore, when your enemye maketh as though he would strike at your head, but in deed striketh at your legges, loose not that oportunity, but either in the false proffer that he makes, hit him, or carry your foot a little aside, that his blow may hit the ground. So when you deale with those which thrust their pointes downeward, at the same time strike you at the face: and when you find the point of your enemies weapon on high, get your point within his, and when you have gotten this advantage, immediatly give him a stoccata or thrust, or else let it be a halfe stoccata, that you come not forward with both your feet, because if he be skilfull at his weapon, he may meete you with counter-time, and put you in danger of your life: and therfore seeke to carrye your right foot together with your hand, being a little followed with your left foote. Moreover, when you finde that your enemy holds downe his pointe, and his hand alofte, seeke to stand well upon your garde, that your hand bee ready with your right knee somewhat bending towards your enemy, and your body somewhat leaning on the left side, because if your enemye would give you a thrust or stoccata, hee should come a great deale shorte of reaching your bellye with his poynte, and especiallye he wanting that knowledge, which those have who are furnished with the right skill of this arte. Wherefore if he give you a stoccata or thrust in the bellye, you must beat it down with your left hand, outward from your lefte side, and withall you maye give him a stoccata or thrust either in the bellye or the face: and if hee make a foyne or imbroccata to your face above your head, you must be nimble with it, and may beate it aside with your hand, the inside outwward toward your left side, or else without beating it by, deliver him a halfe incartata with your poynt, which must be within his, and let it be towards his bellye, so that all these be doone with measure and time. But if you finde your enemye with his poynt downe, you must stand upon the lefte side, and when you have got him within your proportion, you may give him a stoccata or thrust, either in the belly or the face, and you are safe from his pointe: for if he will make a stoccata to you, if you have skill to beate it aside with your hand, & to answere him again, you must needes hit him. And if he give a foine or imbroccata, you may reach him the incartata, as before I have tolde yon. L. You have done me a great pleasure, and I know it will stand me in great steed if I should have occasion to fight, to knowe these times and proportions, which are to be observed: but I pray you tel me if one, who is skilfull and valiant should assaile me, whether this ward be good to be used in fight, or else whether I also should strike and answere him with the same? V. If you will do as I will advise you, I saie it is verie good either to assaile anie, or to tarrie and watch your advantage, if you have skill to stand upon it, & to carrie your foot, hand and bodie together, holding your Rapier short, and that your point bee towarde the face of your enemie. For if your enemie have skill in fence, and should not finde you to stand surely upon your gard in this assault, he might deliver a straight stoccata to your face, not purposing fully to hit him, which if you should breake with your Rapier, he might put his under yours, comming forward aside toward your right hande, and might give you a stoccata in the face. Moreover, putting the case that your adversarie were skilfull and cunning in fight, and you not much acquainted therewith, if he should not find you upon a sure ward, he himselfe being in proportion, and finding your pointe without his belly, he might reach you a stoccata in the belly, or an halfe incartata, especially if he know in fight how to use his bodie. Besides, in these assaultes, when he is without your right side with his right foot, hee might offer a stoccata from the outside of your weapon, and if you breake it with your Rapier, hee may pull his point under yours, and withall remove toward your left side with his right foot, and give you a stoccata in the belly, turning skilfully his Rapier hand, so that his fist bee toward his left side. Also if you should deliver a stoccata to your enemie, and that he should breake it with his Rapier, immediatly you might remove with your left foot, your left hand, waiting on the weapon of your enemie, and give him an imbroccata or foine under or above his Rapier, and may be master of his weapon. But if your enemie strike a mandritta at the legges, if you strike it by with your weapon, he may give you a venew either by stoccata or imbroccata. Therefore it is not good for anie man to use these things prescribed, because, as I have alreadie sayd, he had need to understand well his times & proportions, and to know howe with skill to shifte and move his bodie, & to be readie and nimble as well with his foot as hand, otherwise, by his owne meanes he may be wounded or slaine: so that he had need to bee verie cunning and perfect in these matters, whereupon many good masters do practise their schollers in these assalts to make them readie. But I will let them passe, and will satisfie you concerning the skil of this ward, which you have required to know. Therefore I saie, when you shal stand upon this ward, and that you be assailed and sette upon, keep your point short, that your enemie may not finde it with his, and look that you be readie with your hand, and if he make such a false proffer as I spake of before, you being in the same ward & in proportion, may with great readines put a stoccata to his face, shifting sodainly with your left foot, being a little folowed with the right, and that sodainly your Rapier hand be drawen backe. But if he should give a stoccata to your face with ful force from your rapier side outward, you may a litle shrink with your bodie & beat his point with your hand outward from your right side toward your weapon, & withall you may strike a riversa. Furthermore, if he should pul his rapier within at the same instant, to be more sure, you must carrie your right foot a little aside toward his left hand, and with great readines of countertime you must put a thrust or stoccata to his face, turning your hand most nimbly. So also in such like assalts if your enemie shuld come to strike down right blows or riversi, do as I have told you before, in moving your hand with great readinesse, and finding your time and proportion. Wherefore I hold this Ward to bee verie good, as well to assaile, as for to tarrie and watch for an advauntage. And you must especially take heede that you put not your selfe in danger, because if your enemy should finde you without your sword at length, beeing nimble & strong, striking upon your weapon, he might make a passage with greate speede, and make himselfe master as well of you as of your weapon, and put you in daunger of your life. Whereas contrary-wise, when you doo holde your Rapier shorte, as I have tolde you, and that your pointe is towardes his face, you make him afraide, especially when hee comes forward with his hand and bodie to finde your weapon with his, he must needes come so farre that you maye easily hurt him without being hurt. Besides all this, if your enemy should come to deliver a stoccata, imbroccata, mandritta, or riversa, you have great advauntage, for hee cannot so readily strike, nor with such suretie as you may. L. But I pray you tel me this, if mine enemie should charge me with his weapon at length, as putting forth halfe his weapon in his ward, must I answere him with the like? V. This warde truely is verie good against all other wards in my opinion, especially if you knewe howe to charge your enemy, & to find time & proportion to strike knowing how to turne and shift your bodie as well on the one side as the other, and understanding the skill of fight, and beeing most nimble, you may aunswere him with it. But yet I would have you to marke and consider well in what sorte your enemie behaveth himselfe, and howe hee holdeth the pointe of his weapon: if that you finde him holding his pointe alofte, that it bee above yours, when that you holde it right against his face, you must seeke to winne grounde a little with your right foote before you remoove, and your hande must be nimble and readie, & at that verie instant make three times with your feet at once, moving a little with your right foot, a little with your left, and againe a little with your right. But this must proceed from very great skill and knowledge, for if your left foot tarrie behind, he may give you a pricke in the face or in the belly, or a cut upon the legges. Wherefore you must so come forward with your right foot at once, that you may have the weapon of your enemie with your hand, and your point towards his belly. So that as you see, many & verie many things may be performed by this ward, if, as I have sayd, one be skilfull and nimble. But this I would advise you, when you would make these passages, or put your weapon under your enemies, that you doe them not in vaine nor without some advauntage. There are many which oftentimes by chance and hap, doe many things in fight, of which if a man shoulde aske them a reason, they themselves know not how they have done them. And sometimes men verie sufficient and skilfull at their weapon, are hurt, either by their evill fortune, that they suffer themselves to bee carried awaie and overmastered too much with choler and rage, or else for that they make no account of their enemie. Wherefore as well in this ward as in the other, take heede that you suffer not your selfe to bee blinded and carried awaie with rage and furie. L. I perceive verie well that the secrets of this noble arte are verie great, & that with great travell and paines a man must come to the knowledge and skill both to rightly understande and practise it, for otherwise I see, that by verie small errour a man comes in daunger of his life. But I praie you instruct me somewhat farther, as if at this present I were to undertake a combat with some valiaunt man in defence of my credite and my lyfe. V. In truth the secretes which are in like fightes are such, that unlesse one have a skilfull man in this science to instruct him, and that loves him, he shall never come to the right understanding of them. There are manye which will thinke they knowe inough, but most commonly are deceived; and others there are which the master or teacher loves, and shewes them faithfullie all that he can, and yet they can never come to anie greate matter in this science, but they who are framed of nature as it were, both in respect of abilities of bodie and minde fit to learne this arte, if they use the help of a skilfull teacher, come to great perfection. And these abilities are the gifts of God and nature, wherefore as in others, so in this worthie arte you shall finde some more apt than others, and especiallie to give a right thrust or stoccata, which is the chiefest matter of all. For all the skil of this art in effect, is nothing but a stoccata: wherefore if you shall have occasion to fight, I could wish you to practise this short ward, and to stand sure upon it, & to seeke your advauntage with time, which when you have found, give the stoccata withall, somewhat moving your right foot, and at the same instant draw back your left, & let your rapier with your bodie shift upon the left side, because if your enemy be cunning, he may sodainly aunswere you with a thrust, and beate aside your weapon, and therefore if you minde, to give a right stoccata, there is no other waie to save your selfe from harme. But if your enemie bee cunning and skilfull, never stand about giving any foine or imbroccata, but this thrust or stoccata alone, neither it, also, unlesse you be sure to hit him: suffer your enemie to doo what he list, onely stand you upon a sure ward, and when you finde opportunitie and time, deliver the stoccata, and shift with your foot. And this also you must marke, that sometimes it is good to give the stoccata to the right side, which must bee doone when your enemies right foot is over against yours, and sometimes to the lefte side. Wherefore when you will deliver a stoccata to the right side, see that you go not aside with your foot, but give the thrust, and then shifte backward with your left foot, as also when you deliver your stoccata to the left side, you must shift aside with your right foot. These things must be knowen & much practised. But if your enemie use a mandritta or riversa, you have had instructions already how to behave your selfe. There are many other secrets of this ward which cannot be written nor be made plaine or sufficiently expressed to bee understoode. And that it is so, many Gentlemen can witness, who although they had seene me doo, yet coulde neither understand nor practise them untill that I shewed them the waie, and then with much adoo and verie hardly. Therefore I thinke I have spoken inough concerning this ward: and if you can perfourme all that I have tolde you, it will suffice, & this our discourse may pleasure many, which take delight to understand and learne these things: but if they will repaire to the teachers of the arte, they shal better and more fully understand and conceive of all, because both knowledge and practise is required. L. I would thinke my selfe happie, Master Vincent, if I coulde remember and perfourme all which you so courteouslie have imparted unto mee of the former fight, and as farre as I maie, I wyll doo my diligence to practise that which y ou have taught, but having found you thus friendlie and readie to shew me what favour you may, I am emboldned to trouble you farther, and your curtesie hath increased my longing & desire to know more in this matter, and therfore I praie you make me understand the other kind of fight which heretofore you have tolde me of, and you call it Punta riversa.
V. I have alreadie shewed you of that importance & profit the two former wardes are, as well for exercise of plaie, as for combat & fight, if a man will understand & practise them. Now also perceiving you so desirous to go forward, I will not faile in anie part to make you understand the excellencie of this third warde, which notwithstanding is quite contrarie to the other two. Because that in this you must stand with your feet even together, as if you were readie to sit down, and your rapier hand must bee within your knee, and your point against the face of your enemie: and if your enemie put himselfe upon the same ward, you may give a stoccata at length betweene his rapier and his arme, which shall bee best performed & reach farthest, if you shift with your foot on the right side. Moreover, if you would deliver a long stoccata, and have percieved that your enemie would shrinke awaie, you may, if you list, at that verie instant give it him, or remove with your right foot a little back toward his left side, and bearing backe your bodie, that his point may misse your bellie, you maie presentlie h it him on the brest with your hand or on the face a riverso, or on the legs: but if your enemie would at that time free his point to give you and imbroccata, you may turn your bodie upon your right knee, so that the said knee bend toward the right side, & shifting with your body a little, keepe your left hand ready upon a soddaine to finde the weapon of your enemie, and by this meanes you may give him a punta riversa a stoccata, or a riversa, to his legs. But to perform these maters, you must be nimble of body & much practised: for although a man have the skill, & understand the whole circumstance of this play, yet if he have not taken paines to get an use and readines therein by exercise, (as in all other artes the speculation without practise is imperfect) so in this, when he commeth to performance, hee shall perceive his want, and put his life in hazard and jeopardie. L. But tell me I pray you, if my enemy should firste strike at me, how may I defend my selfe? V. If your enemy be first to strike at you, and if at that instant you would make him a passata or remove, it behoveth you to be very ready with your feet and hand, and beeing to passe or enter, you muste take heede when hee offereth a stoccata, that you doo not put it aside with your weapon, because if hee should finde you in good time and measure, you could not so readilye put it by, as hee should be readye to give it you. But when that hee offereth the saide stoccata, be readye to turne the knuckle of your hand toward your right side, and let your point be right upon the bellie of your enemie, and let your left foote accompanie it in such sorte, that the pointe thereof be against the right foot of your enemie, and let your right foot follow the left, that the middest thereof be straight against the heele of your left, the one being distant from the other, halfe a pace, that you may stand more sure upon your feete, and be more redy to perform al things which shal be required. L. But tell me I praie you, whether this warde may serve me to any other purpose, then for this stoccata V. If you minde to deliver a stoccata like to the before mentioned, you must win ground with your right foot, toward the right side of your enemie, and as you finde the time and measure, give him a stoccata either in the belly or in the face, and if your enemie shrink at that time that you deliver your stoccata, it stands upon you to be most readye and nimble, shifting with your bodie and weapon, and somewhat with your right foote, a little aside towards the right side of your enemie, turning readilie your bodie and knee upon your right side, so that your enemie himselfe shal come with his bodie upon your pointe, and the more furious he commeth, the greater danger shall he incurre, because he cannot helpe nor recover himselfe. But remember to thrust alwaies at the face, if you may, for therby you shall better save your selfe, and have the greater advantage. Moreover, if your enemie should make a false proffer, or deliver a little stoccata, to the ende to procure you to answere him, that presently hee might make you a passata or remove, if you be in good proportion and measure, if he thrust at you, answere him, and if you will you may give it him full and home, or somewhat scant and with great agilitie, whilest he maketh his passata or remove, turn readie your bodie with your knee, but yet upon the right side, and take heede you shift not with your feete at this time, but onelie turne your bodie, as I ahve tolde you, otherwise you should be in danger of your life, how little soever you shrincke backe: and therefore I advise you to beware that you goe not beyonde that which I have taught you. Moreover, if you can win ground on the right side of your enemie, and become master of his sword, you need not thrust a stoccata, but rather passe on him with your point above his sword, turning wel your hand as in an imbroccata, or else give him a stoccata by a fincture, under his swoord hand, which is sooner done, remembring to passe forward with your left foot toward his right, and so let your right foot follow your left: but beward in any case that you never passe directly upon your enemy, for endangering your life. If your adversary thrust directly to your face within measure, answer him with a stoccata, in the same time that he lifteth up his hande, butif you bee out of distance, answere not, for then you put your selfe in danger. And when your enemie offereth a stramazone or back blowe, receive it on your sword very readilie, turning your pointe, and passing speedly with your left legge, as before taught: but if he make a punta riversa, breake it with your lefte hand toward your right side, and give him another: and if he use any fincture or false thrust, answer him not. Now if your enemie hold his sword out at length, and you perceive his point to be anie whit without your bodie, especiallie on the left side, you must charge him, being readie with your lefte hand, so that finding his point any whit high, you shal falsefie with your sword hand under his Swoorde, passing forward with your lefte foote in the same instant, still following your enemie without retiring, for so you shall be commaunder of his Swoord, and may use him at your pleasure: but remember to be very redy, for you must make but on time, & take good heed that you stand not stil in doing this, for so, if your adversary have any skil, he may greatly annoye you, either with thrustes or blowes. And oftentimes your enemy will give such advantage of purpose to have you passe on him: therefore you must well understand what you doo. L. I praie you is this all the use of that ward? V. When you perfectlie understand your weapons, it maie serve you otherwise, so that you hold not your swoord hand within your knee, for if you finde your enemie to beare his swoord long, being in distance, you maie sodenlie beat it aside with your swoord, and withall give him a stoccata in the bellie, which must bee done all in one time, speedilie turning your bodie on the right side, or else retyring with your right foote toward the right side of your enemie: otherwise, if you stand upon it, as manie doo, you might much endanger your selfe thereby, for if your adversarie being furious, should passe on you in the same time, hee might put your life in jeopardie: but by the agilitie of the bodie, it is easilie to be avoided: and againe, when you finde his point long, you maie breake it aside with your swoorde, and give him a Stramazone, or a riversa to the head, but with readines of the bodie, or you maie thrust a stoccata, either to the bellie or face: and if your enemie offer to breake it with his swoorde, and if he breake it above, falsefie againe underneath his swoorde, or if you be readie with foote and bodie, you maie passe on him whilste he breaketh your fincture with his sword, fastning y our left hand on the hiltes of his swoord, and you maie give him a stoccata, either direct, or with a rinersa: but looke that you laie not holde of his arme, for if your enemie perceive it, hee maie change his Rapier sodainly into his other hand, & so have you at a great advantage, & therfore I teach you to laie hold on the hilts, because you have then commanded his sword surely: and if your enemie finding your point out at length, would beat it aside with his rapier, to passe uppon you, retire your lefte foote a little backward, and with greate promptnesse in the same instant, falsifie with a riversa either to the face or bellye, of which kinde of thrusts you shall often have use, but you must be verie readie and well practised therein therefore you must labour it, that when occasion require you may performe it. The First Dayes Discourse, concerning the Rapier and Dagger. I L. If anie had ever cause to bee sorrowfull for their departure from friends & parents, then had I just occasion to take our departures one from the other most grevious. And therfore our meeting againe in so pleasant a place as this, must needes be verie joyfull and delightsome: wherefore among other favours you have doone mee in instructions of the single Rapier, I intreate you to shew me the lyke touching Rapier and Dagger. V. That which I have heretofore shewed you, is but small in regarde of that I meane to teach you hereafter, so that having delivered you the manner of the single Rapier, you may the better concieve my discourse of the Rapier and Dagger, because it serveth much to the use thereof, and it shall not be necessary wholye to repeate the same, but I will onelye shewe you how to put your selfe in garde with your Rapier and Dagger, for if I desire to make a good scholler, I would my self put his Rapier in one hand, and his Dagger in the other, and so place his body in the same sorte, that I have before spoken of in the single Rapier, setting his right foot formost, with the point of his Rapier drawne in short, and the Dagger helde out at length, bending a little his right knee, with the heele of his right foote directly against the midst of the lefte, causing him to goe round toward the left side of his adversary in a good measure, that he may take his advantage, and then I would thrust a stoccata to his bellye beneath his dagger, removing my right foote a little toward his left side. L. And what must your scholler doe the whilste? V. The scholler must break it downward, with the point of his Dagger toward his left side, and then put a stoccata to my belly beneath my Dagger, in which time I breaking it with the pointe of my Dagger, goe a little aside toward his lefte hand, and make an imbroccata above his Dagger, and the scholler shall breake the imbroccata with his Dagger upward, parting circularely with his right foote toward my lefte side, and so thrust unto mee an imbroccata above my Dagger, in which time with the pointe of my Dagger, I will beate it outward toward my lefte side, and answere h im with a stoccata in the bellye under his Dagger, parting circularely with my right foote toward his left side: and in the same time he must answere me with the like under my Dagger, breaking my stoccata outward toward his lefte side, stepping toward my lefte side with his right foote, at which time I must moove with my bodye to save my face, and breake his poynte toward my right side, answering him with a riversa to the head, and so retire with my right foote, at which time he must come forward with his left foote in the place of my right, and his Dagger high and straite, turning his swoorde hand, so that his poynte may goe directlye to my bellye, and he must take the riversa on his sworde and Dagger. L. But is it not better for the scholler to holde his Dagger with the point upward, as I have seene many doe to defend a riversa? V. He that holdeth the point upward, is ever in danger to be hurt on the head, or to receive a fincture in the bellye or in the face, and likewise he is in jeoperdye to be hurt with a Stramazone, betweene the Rapier and the Dagger, because he closeth not his weapons: therefore remember well how to carrye your Dagger, and by exercise you shall see the Dagger, for there are many that breake the stoccata inward.
L. Why then do you never breake anie thrust inward? V. All stoccataes comming under the Dagger, & imbroccataes above the Dagger, are to bee beaten outward toward the lefte side, but an imbrocata by a riversa either in the belly or in the face, should be broken inward toward the right side, with a little retiring of the bodie, which must be answered with a riversa well followed, in which instant the scholler must passe forward with his lefte foote, then will I retire wyth my left foote behinde my right, and yeelding backe with my bodie, I will beate the point of his swoorde with my dagger toward my lefte side, and so make a direct thrust to his head: then the scholler must step with his right foote in the place of my lefte, carrying his Dagger not too high, but so that his arme and his Dagger be held straight out, to receive a blow if it be offered, and then he shall thrust a stoccata to my belly, which I will beat toward my left side, and make an imbrocata above his Dagger, stepping with my right foote toward his left side, then must he beate my imbrocata toward his lefte side, parting with his right foot on my left side, and so make an imbrocata above my Dagger, then I parting with my right foot on his lefte side, will beate his imbrocata towarde my lefte side, and make a blow to his head: in which time hee must do the halfe incartata, that is, he must bee readie while I lift up my hand, to but a stoccata to my belly, bearing out wel his dagger to receive the blow, turning sodainly his body on the left side, so that the heel of his right foot be just against the middle of his left, and this is the true half incartata. L. I pray you why do you make your schollers use so many stoccataes and imbrocataes? V. To make my schollers apt and readie with rapier, dagger, and foot, that they may accompany one another in one instant, whereof there is great use in fight. But one that would teach these principles and cannot plaie with his body, putteth himselfe in great danger to be hit on the face, especially if the scholler be anie thing readie, and thrust a long stoccata, for if the scholler answere readily, his dagger cannot save him. Therefore hee that wil exercise these rudiments must have a very apt and well framed body, so that if you desire to bee made readye and perfect, practise these principles, learning well the time and measure, and therby you shall open your spirites in the knowledge of the secrets of armes: neither do as many do, who when they are to fight, playe like children that runne to learne their lessons when they should repeat them, therefore learne, that in time of peace you may use it for a good exercise of the bodye, and in time of warre you may knowe how to defend your selfe against your enemies: and do not as many, that when they have just occasion to fight, withdraw themselves, despising knowledge and vertue, not considering that almost every little prick killeth a man, and I have seen which thorough a foolish conceite of their owne abilitie, have been wounded and slaine: therfore if you will prevent the fury of such, you must be well practised in your weapons. L. As farre as I can percieve, the rules of the single rapier, and of Rapier and Dagger, are al one, and I see well, that to learne first the Rapier alone, is very necessary to bring the body, hand, and weapon to be readye together in one instant, but one difference I finde betweene the single Rapier and the other, because in managing the Rapier alone, you cause the scholler to hold his left hand shorte, and in the other to holde out his hand and Dagger as straight as hee may, whereof I would gladly know the reason. V. At the single Rapier if you holde foorth your lefte hand at length, your enemye maye wound you thereon, because you are not so well garded as if you withdrew it shorter, neither so readye to put by the swoorde of your adversarye as with a Dagger, and therefore remember this well. L. I see it standeth with good reason, but I praie you shew how I must assault mine enemie in fights or how being assaulted by him, I must defend my selfe. V. There are many that when they come to fight, runne on headlong without discretion, because finding themselves injured, they holde it their partes to assault first. L. Why? is it not the challengers parte to bee the first assaulter? V. Yes, if you finde time and opportunitie, for (I pray) tell me why goe you to fight? L. To defend mine honour and maintaine my right. V. What is to defend your reputation, but so to hurt your enemye, as your selfe may escape free? for when you goe to fight, put on this resolution, either to take away his life, or to cause him to acknowledge his faulte, with seeking pardon for the same, which is more honorable then a bloody victory: neither do like children, which in their wanton fighting stand farre a sunder, and make semblance to beate one another: therefore note it well, for if your adversary be a man of judgement and valour, and you be the first in offering, you bring your lyfe in jeopardye: for either of you being within distance observing time, the first offerer is in danger to be slain or wounded in the counter time, especially if he thrust resolutelye: but if you be skilfull and not the other, then may you gain time and measure, and so hit him, saving your selfe, & then the more furiouslie your enemie commeth on, the more he runneth headlong upon his owne danger. Some are of opinion that they can hit him that shall hit them first, but such as have never fought: or if by chance in one fight they have beene so fortunate, let them not thinke that Summer is come because one swallow is seene. Mee thinketh more commendable for a man to defend himselfe, and not offend his enemie, than to hurt his enemie and bee wounded imselfe, for when you shall perceive the danger that insueth by every assault without time and measure, you wil change your opinion: and some others there are that hold it a shame for a man to retire. L. In deede it is accounted disgracefull to give ground, because therein a man seemeth to feare his enemie. V. There is difference betweene retiring orderly and running backward, for to hit and retire is not discommendable, though the other be shamefull, & hee that holdes the contrarie, understandeth little the danger of weapons. L. And I praie you what good doth retiring? V. If you be assaulted on the sodain, your enemy having gained time and measure, so that you are in evident danger to bee slaine, had you rather die than retire a foot? L. Some are resolute rather to die than yeelde an inch. V. But if such knew they should be slaine, & that so small a matter would save their lives, I doubt not but they would retire with both feete rather than faile. Many talke as they have heard, and not as they know: whereupon I will recite a Combate perfourmed by a great Captaine called Signior Ascanio della Cornia. L. Truly I have heard of one such, but I know not whether it were he that was a master of the Campe in that great armie of Don John d'Austria against the Turke. V. He was the very same, but to come to the matter touching the opinion of the ignorant: this Captaine being entred the listes against his adversarie in the presence of many Princes and great men (which listes environing the circuit appointed for the Combate, and being touched nu eotjer pf them, the same person is helde vanquished, as if he had beene driven out) was very furiouslye charged by his enemie, and fought at the first onely to save himselfe by retiring, which the other perceiving, began to scoffe at him, bidding him beware of the listes, wherewithall the Captaine espying advantage, made a resolute stoccata cleane through his bodye, and so slew him, now whether of these think you wonne most honour? L. In my judgement Ascanio, who entertained the furie of his adversarye, till in discretion hee found oportunitie to execute his purpose. V. I am glad to heare you of that opinion, for wee see the like in martiall policye, where oftentimes retraites are made of purpose to drawe the enemye either into some imboscata or place of advantage, and such as are most insolent and presumptuous, are easiest drawne into those plots, who runne headlong on their death like beastes. In like sorte, hee that understandeth the true use of his weapons, wil suffer his adversarye in his rashnes, untill he finde time and advantage safely to annoy him. And sithens I have begun to speake of combates, I wil recite one other perfourmed in Piemont, in the time of Charles the 5, betweene two Italians, and two Spaniards, as I have heard it delivered by divers Gentlemen present at the action. A Spanish Captaine, more brave in shew than valorous in deede, to insinuate himselfe with the Emperour, began in scornfull sorte to find fault with other nations, and among the rest, with Italians, where the Spaniard had never had foote of ground, if the Italians themselves had not been made instruments of their owne conqueste: but to let that passe, this Spaniard having in woords disgraced the Italian nation, it came to the Italians eares, whereupon two Italians, the one of Padua, and the other of Vicenza, wrote a cartell unto the Spaniard, which was carried by him of Vicenza, who finding the Spaniard accompanied with divers Gentlemen, delivered him the cartell, which he received, saying that hee would go to his Chamber and read it, whereunto the Vicentine replyed, that he should read it ere hee departed, and that it was a cartel. Which the Spaniard having read in presence of the whole companye, asked the Vicentine whether he or his fellow would maintaine the cartell, to whome the Vicentine answered, that the woords repeated in the cartell was a lye, and that hee was present to avouch it: wherewithall he offered to draw foorth his sworde, and so the Spaniard and his companion accepted the combat against the two Italians, of which matter the Emperour having advertisement, conceived displeasure against the presumption of the Spaniard, and so, place of combate was prepared in presence of many great personages: the combatters being entered in the listes, one of the Italians (who were both in their shirts onely) rent of the lefte sleeve of his shirt, which the Spaniard beholding, saide hee needed not take so muche paine, for he meant to have cut of his arm sleeve and all: to whom the Padouan replyed, that he meant to have cut of the Spaniards head firste, and therefore prepared his arme for the purpose, wherewithall they encountered all very furiouslye, so that the Vicentine was first wounded, who crying out to his fellow that he was hurt, the Padouan comforted him with hope of better successe to come, and began warely to keep his garde, but the Spaniards presuming on the victorie, charged them so much the harder without regarde, till at length the Padouan finding his time, with a resolute stoccata ranne the one through the bodie, and with a sodaine riversa, cut the others neck almost quite in sunder, and so they were both slaine together: I have induced these examples for two causes, the one, for that many contemne this art, and make no account thereof, and the other because there are some so insolent, as they seek nothing but to sowe discension between frendes and allies, which if they restrained, it might save the lives of many men: for as wee see in the last example, there wanted not much to have caused a generall mutiny between the Spaniard & the Italian, through the insolencie of the Spaniard, if the Emperour had not drawne the matter to a shorter triall, by forbidding any one to offer the first blow amongst them, upon paine of death: pronouncing the Italians victors, that had acquited themselves in so honourable sorte. Therefore you may see how dangerous the company of these quarrelsome persons is, who doe lesse harme with their swordes then with their tungs: for as the Italian proverbe is, La lingua non ha offo, ma fa rompere il doffo, that is, the tung hath no bones, and het it breaketh the backe: ill tunges are occasions of much debate. But to returne from whence I have digressed, you must never be too rash in fight, account of your enemye,yet feare him not, and seeke all meanes to become victor, and so you shall maintaine your reputation, and not endanger your selfe in unadvised hastines.
L. I have taken great pleasure in these discourses, which in my opinion importe very much the knowledge of Gentlemen, and truely the Spaniards were justly punished for their pride, in scorning other nations: you shall see manye of that humour, that will blame other nations, who deserve to be rejected out of all civile company: for if one man have a faulte, his whole countrie is not straight to bee condemned thereof. But shew me I beseech you, how I must behave my selfe when I am to fight, you have already taught mee the time, measure, and motion of my body, and now I would learne something of resolution.
V. Having taken weapons in hand, you must shewe boldnes and resolution against your enimy, and be sure to put your selfe well in gard, seeking the advantage of your enemie, and leape not up and downe. And beware in charging your enemie you goe not leaping, if you be farre off, but when you approch, gard your selfe well, for everie little disorder giveth advantage to your adversarie, therefore learne to knowe advantages, and thrust not at your enemie untill you bee sure to hit, and when you have given measure, not when it is time to thrust: then finding your enemie out of garde, make a stoccata resolutely, or else not at all: for although you be in time and measure, and yet your enemie bee well garded, he may verie easily hurt you though his skill be but small. As may be seene in many, which altogether ignorant in the use of weapons, will naturally put them selves in some gard, so that if one looke not well about him, he shal be much endangered by such a one, not because he knoweth what he doth, but by reason that not foreseeing the danger, hee followeth his purpose wyth resolution, without being able to yeelde a cause for that he hath done. Therefore (I saie) you must seeke to gain not measure onely, but time and opportunitie as wel to save your selfe as anie your enemie, if you will do well, & then if it happen not well unto you, thinke that God doth punish you for your sinnes: for wee see often that at some one time a man will doo excellent well, & yet afterward he shall seeme as though he had never taken weapons in hand. And to make it the more apparant: There was a souldier in Provence for his valor in many exploites before shewed, generally reputed a verie gallant man, who on a time being in a town besieged, was so suddenlye stricken with the terrour of the batterie, and dismaide therewith, that hee could no longer refraine from seeking some cave to hide himselfe: who afterward taking hart agresse, came foorth againe, and beeing demaunded of the Captaines where hee had been, who told them the truth of the whole matter, and afterward behaved himselfe very valiantly.
In like sorte Marco Querini a gentleman of Venice, Captaine of the Gallies belonging to the signorye of Venice, in the sea Adriaticum, living delicatelye in all carelessnes, suffered the Turkes to run over the gulfe, spoyling and robbing at their pleasure, not daring to make resistance, which the Generall of the Signory understanding, repaired thither with all expedition, thretning Querini Captaine of the gulfe, if hee perfourmed his office no better, the whole shipping should be taken from him, & he sent home to Venice on foot. The shame whereof moved him so farre, that afterward hee became famous for his exploites.
Moreover in the time of the Venecians warres with the Turke, the Generall of the Turkish forces beeing come into the Sea Adriaticke, neere unto Schiavonia, Allibassa & Carracossa, who afterward died in the battaile of Pautou, would needs invade the Isle Cursolla with some forces, and batter a towne there, where the men dismaied with the soddainnes of the attempt, betooke themselves to flight, and left the place to the defence of the women, who quitted themselves with such undaunted courage, that one of them betaking her self to a peece of artillerie, plaied the gunner so artificiallie, that she directed a shot cleane through the ship where Allibassa was, much sopyling the same, which hee perceiving, presently commaunded the ancker to be waied, and hoising up sailes, retired all his forces, by which meanes the women saved the cittie: so that heerin we see the difference of mens dispositions in courage at divers times, and yet I commend it not in any man to want valour at any time. But to come to the purpose, albeit one be not so well disposed to the managing of weapons at one time, as at some other, yet having the practise and understanding thereof, he shall ever be sufficient to maintaine his parte.
L. It may well be that you have saide, and I think that hee that hath the perfect use of his weapons, may very well defend himselfe against any man, though hee finde his body but ill disposed: but seeing you have begun to discourse of time, I pray you teach mee something concerning the difference of time.
V. You know what I have saide concerning the same, in my discourse of the single Rapier, and in like sorte I must instruct with Rapier and dagger: therefore you must at the first charge your enemye, and having gotten advantage of ground on the lefte side, you must make a stoccata under his dagger, if he hold it too high, retiring immediately a little with your lefte foote, accompanied with your right, but finding his dagger low you must make a fincture underneath, and thrust above his dagger, & that is the just time, in doing whereof you must remember to carry your right foote a little aside, following with the left toward the left part of your adversary, and if he offer you either stocata or imbrocata, you may answer him with a half incartata, turning your hand as in doing the stoccata: or otherwise if hee beare his dagger low, you may thrust to his face, which is les danger for you, because everye little blowe in the face staieth the furie of a man more than anie other place of his body, for being through the bodie, it happeneth often times that the same man killeth his enimy notwithstanding in the fury of his resolution: but the bloud that runneth about the face, dismaieth a man either by stopping his breath, or hindering his fight: and he shall oftner find advantage to hit in the face than in the belly if he lie open with his weapons: but marke wel how he carrieth his rapier, if long & straight with his Dagger aloft, you must charge him lowe on your right foot, and having gained measure, beate downe the pointe of his sword with your dagger, and make a stoccata under his dagger without retiring, but beware that in breaking his point you put not down his dagger arme, but hold it firme, neither draw it in, least your enemie hit you on the face, or give you an mibrocata above your dagger: but bearing your dagger firme and straight, if your enemie should answere your stoccata, he might be in daunger to receive a thrust. If your enemie carrie his sword short, in an open ward, you maie come straight on him and give him a punta riversa either in the belly or face, with such readines, that your sword be halfe within his dagger before hee can breake it, turning nimblye your hand toward your left side, so that in offering to breake he shall make himselfe be hit jeither in the face or in the belly: and forget not to retire an half pace with the right foot, accompanied with the left.
Moreover, if your enimie lie with his sword alofte, and the point downwards, you maie charge him foure waies, first on the right side, closing your weapons in a lowe gard, and your right foot within the right foot of your enimie toward his left side, and then being within distance, give him a stoccata, sudenly drawing home your point againe, or you may play with your bodie, but hold your dagger firm, marking (as it were) with one eye the motion of your adversarie, and with the other the advantage of thrusting.
Secondly, you may make a stoccata to his bellye, not resolutely, but to cause him to answere you, and then you must playe with your bodye toward your lefte side, and bearing the thrust on your right side, passe a little on his right side, and make a riversa above his sworde.
Thirdly, you may come upon his point with your dagger, closing well your weapons, and then beating away his point with your dagger, in the same instant put a stoccata either to his face or bellye, but in anye case stirre not your dagger arme, least hee falsifie and give you an imbroccata above the dagger: therefore remember to beare your arme straite, and only your wrist higher or lower.
Fourthly, you may charge him on the right side in the same warde, but contrariwise, for where before you bent your body on the right side, you must now turne on the left, so that his pointe may still be without your body, and hold your dagger at length, then being within measure, you may suddenly passe with your left foot, carrying the point of your dagger upward, and turne your point under his Rapier, that it goe directly to his belly, in manner of an imbroccata, in doing whereof you must turne your body well, lifting up your sworde hand, and with your Rapier and Dagger, assure your selfe of his, otherwise your weapons lying open, if your enemye bee skilfull, and know how to turn his hand, hee might hit you either in the bellye or face with a riversa, or cut you on the head, for every disorder endangereth a mans life.
Furthermore, if your enemy carry his sword low, charge him directly, turning your body on the right side, with your dagger at length, the pointe hanging something toward the ground, and then as you finde his dagger, so make your thrust: if high, to his belly, if lowe, to his face: if his head be above, put a stoccata to his face by a traversa (as it were) under his dagger, and forget not to retire withall with your right foot: and if hee hold out his sword with the pointe upward when you are toward his right side, you put your self in the ward aforesaid, bending your body on your lefte side, and so gaining ground, make a stoccata under his sworde, so that your dagger be under his rapier, and keepe it without your bodye from your left side, and your point in his belly and remember alwaies that in taking your enemies pointe, you stir not your dagger arme, because hee may then endanger y ou, as I have before said. Moreover, if your enemie put himselfe in the same gard, with his rapier at length, and you in your gard with your right foot formost and your point held short, so that your right foot be opposite to his, you shall little and little steale ground with your right foote, and followe with the left, till you are within distance, and then with agilitie thrust either to his belly or face: and this is a notable thing if it bee well understoode, for beside the knowledg it requireth practise, that you learne not to approche neerer to yoru enemy then you may save your self: otherwise you may charge him on the right side, bending your body to the left side, and then having gotten the advantage, you must suddenly passe with your left foote, turning withall your pointe under his sword, that it ascend to his bellye, and clap your dagger as neere as you can to the hiltes of his swoorde, all which together with the motion of the body, must be done at one instant. I shall not need to discourse much of your enemies holding of his dagger, but as your enemy carrieth it, either high or low, so (I say) you must with discretion thrust either to his face or belly: but you must bee verye well exercised in these passataes, for perfourming them with quicknes of the bodye, albeit you happen to faile of your purpose, yet your enemie shal be able to take no advantage therof, but you shal be ready to anoy him stil either above or beneath, wherein you must followe him in moving his body: so shall you stil holde your advantage, and hit him where you will, & if he thrust again, you shall break toward your right side, and reply with a riversa to the face. Againe if your enemie beare his rapier long and straight, you may charge him, and beating away his sworde with your owne, sudenly turn in your point to his face or belly, which is a verie good thrust, being done with great agilitie.
If you percieve your enemies rapier farre out, & that he go about to falsifie upon you either above or underneath your dagger, then put your selfe in your ward, with your weapons close together, and as low as you may, holding firme your dagger hande, and whatsoever falsifieng he maketh, never move awaie your Dagger hande, neither lifte it high or lowe to get your enemies Rapier, and if you lye belowe in the ward when he falsifieth, remaine so without styrring any higher, (for otherwise hee might at that time finde fit opportunitie to hit you, if he be skilfull in wepons) but follow him close, for if he once thrust resolutely, be it above or beneath, he must needs lose his whole Rapier, and you may easily hit him, and in your thrusting stand firme with your body and dagger. Also if he holde his dagger straight upward, and that the point of his rapier be at the hiltes of his dagger, as you shall finde occasion, so doe, that is, if his dagger hand be high, thrust a stoccata to him under his dagger: if lowe, make a stoccata to his face, either close by the hand, or by the middest of his arme, and if you will thrust as you are in your warde you may, or else with retiring. Moreover, if your enemie turne his dagger point toward his right side, charge him on that side, with a punta riversa to his face, remaining in your warde, or retiring as you please. Againe, if he lying in that warde, carry his point out of the ward of your dagger any whit a little too high, charge him close, and holding forth your Dagger, you may suddenly take his point with your Dagger, or if you will you may by removing the right foote a little forward, give him a stoccata, but keepe stedfast your dagger hand, as I taught you before, least otherwise he make an imbroccata to your face. Againe, if he carrye his point any whit too much toward your right side, turn your body on your left side, in a good ward, charging him on the right side, and bring your right foote cleane without his right foot, and having so doone, thrust your rapier under his about the middle, and so make a passata upon him, or you may charge with a riversa to his throte, or such like, either abiding in your warde, or suddenlye scaping away with your body. If you percieve he holde his rapier farre out, and not turned, charge him below, turning your body on the right side, and turne your dagger point somewhat lowe upon your enemies point, and having gotten this advantage, being within measure, thrust either to his bellye or face, as you shall best see cause.
L. I finde now that after a man hath the arte, hee must also have great exercise and practise to bring his bodie to a true frame. But as you have hetherto shewed me to charge mine enemie in due time, so now I praie you to teach me to defend my selfe when my enemie chargeth me.
V. If your enemie charge you, and ahve gotten anie advantage of you either with his foot, or turning of the bodie, or rapier, or dagger, or by what meanes soever, seeke to put your selfe in a sure warde, and retire a little, keeping your selfe still in gard, least else by retiring, if you move up your bodie or dagger, your enemy might by dexteritie and quicknes offend you greatly: but whilest hee chargeth you, cover to turne your bodie on one side or other, as you find the point of your enemies rapier, and even at that instant that he moveth his foot in charging you, as you finde him open in any place, so seeke to offend him, and beware (as I sayd before) in what sort you retire, for sometime there is a fit time, when you thrust to retire, and some times not, therefore take diligent heed thereunto. Moreover, when he hath gotten advantage, being in his ward, if he would thrust a stoccata to you under you dagger, you shall be nimble to avoide it by turning your daggers point downward, & you shall answere him with a stoccata, or imbrocata, or punta riversa, as you shall finde opportunitie: but if he make an imbrocata above your dagger, you may avoide it by lifting up a little the point of your dagger, and by turning the wrist of your hand to the left side, for that his imbrocata shall go cleane without your left side, & you may make a thrust to him, as you shall finde him open in anie place. Againe, if hee make an imbrocata to your bodie, you may give backe a little with your bodie, and beat it awaie with your right side, & may make to him a punta riversa to his bodie or face: likewise if he be towards your right side, & thrust at your face, you may yet beat it awaie, & answere him with a punta riversa or a passata. Againe, if he make an imbrocata above your dagger, beware that your rapiers point be within his, and make unto him a meza-incartata, turning the pointe either to the belly, face, or throate: but you must with greate agilitie turne your point & bodie on your right side. Againe, if he make a blow to your head, at the instant that he moveth his hand make you sodainly a stoccata unto him, and (if you be in a good ward) you may make a punta riversa to his thigh, but if he make a blow to your leg, stand fast in your warde with your bodie farre out, and in his thrusting come forwarde with your right foote, whereby you shal cause him to leese the greatest part of his rapier, and turne your dagger point low, receiving the blow on the same, and you may make unto him either a stoccata to the face, or a riversa to his necke or arme. Again, when he thrusteth to your leg, remove your right foote to your right side, as it were making a circle, & so offend your enimy: as if he make a riversa to the head, you may take it upon your rapier & dagger, passing with your left foot, turning your rapier hand & making a stoccata: and if you will you may by passing receive the riversa upon your dagger onely, but looke you carrie your dagger point aloft, as I have told you before. Againe, if hee make the riversa to your leg, you may sodeinly passe with your left foot to his right, & take the riversa on your dagger, for thereby you get the strength of his rapier, and are master of it, and may easily strike him. Again, if he make anie violent blow at your head, retire a little on your lefte side, & receive it with your rapiers point, passing with your left foote, & turning your point to his face, & clapping your dagger on his rapier: all other blows and riversaes you may easily receive on your dagger, but it behoveth you to receive them with the point of your rapier, otherwise your enemie might thrust his rapier between your rapier & dagger especially if he cast his hande upward and his pointe downward, therefore take heed how you thrust, for these are all good times. If your enemie come furiouslie upon you to assault you, keep you still in your gard, and in his comming neere to you, thrust at him, for he is neither in ward nor yet standeth firme, and the more resolutely he commeth upon you, the more he is in danger, and the woorse it is for him, because he may easily with a little bricke bee slaine: but courage joyned with skill and knowledge is verie good.
Againe, if a tall man should assault a little man, this ward is exceeding good for the tal man, because if he charge the other, & the tall man thrust, being within rech, he loseth his point, & the little man may give him a stoccata, or make a passata at him, but if the tall man know how to put himself in ward & thrust, he might have great advauntage by the length of his reach, in thrusting a stoccata, and retiring with his bodie. Againe, if your enemie woulde make a passata on you with his left foote, when you finde him to remove, & woulde beate your weapons awaie with his dagger, move your right foote a little backward, and sodeinly turne your point over his dagger, and make an imbrocata to him, for in his passing he looseth his dagger, and whilest he passeth, you may retire a little into your ward, and make a stoccata to his face, and suche like, whereof I cannot now stand to write.
The Second Dayes Discourse, of Rapier and Dagger.
I Luke. I Have been so well satisfied with this firste ward of Rapier and Dagger, that I should thinke my selfe verye happie, to put in practise, as much as you delivered unto in precept: but I will not spare any labour to exercise all. But now you shal doe me muchpleasure, if you will teach mee the other warde, which you call Puncta riversa.
V. I have discoursed unto you, how profitable the former wardes bee, as well to learne as to fight, beeing well understoode and practised: and even so will I now make you acquainted with the worthines of this ward, and of what importance it is, notwithstanding that it is quite contrary to the other: especially, in learning of it. Therfore he that will teach that warde, must place his scholler even as at single Rapier, that is, that his feete stand both equall with toe and heele, even as if hee were to sitte downe, and that his Rapier handle to be held within side of his right knee, and that somwhat shorte, and that his Dagger be helde out at length with his arme stretched out, holding the point of his rapier continuallie upon the face of his maister, who ought to set himselfe in the same ward, and to give a stoccato in the middle of the Rapier, in punta riversa to his scholler, or else betweene the arme and the Rapier, or in the bellie, or in the face, escaping a little backeward with his right foot, accompanied somewhat with his left, towards his lefte side.
L. What shall the scholler doe in the meanewhile?
V. While your maister giveth you the thrust, you shall not strike it by with your dagger, but onelie turning your Rapier hand, passe with your lefte foote towards his right side, and the point of your Rapier being placed above his, and thrust forwarde, shall enter right into his bellie.
L. And what shall the maister doe to save himselfe?
V. When he giveth the thrust, and you passe towards his right side, hee shall with great nimblenes recoyle a little backward with his right foot, accompanied with the left toward the left side, bearing his bodie backward, and pearching your Rapier with his dagger, shall strike it outward from his left side, and give you a Mandritta at the head.
L. Then what remaines for me to doe?
V. You shal come with your right foote, to the place where your maisters right foot was, and shal give him a thrust in the belly or in the face, receiving the mandritta upon your Rapier and Dagger, and the event will be no othern then the same of the former ward: and by this meanes you shall become very nimble and quick, both with foote, hand, and bodie: otherwise, if you have not all these partes readie and perfect, by offering the stoccata, you hazard yourself gretly & dangerously. For while you thrust, if your adversarie surpasse you in nimblenesse, and bee readie, he may enter with his lefte foot and put you in great danger, bringing your weapon into his owne power. Therefore when you wyll give this thrust either in the bellye or face, passe with your right foot towards the right side of your enemy, so that your right foote bee somewhat on the out-side of your enemies right foote, and so being in right measure, you may give him the said thrust either in the bellie or in the face with great celeritie and aptnesse, recoiling somewhat with your left foot, accompanied wyth the right: and if your enemie enter with his left foote, you shall speedily turne your bodie on your lefte side, whereby, the more secretly your enemie commeth upon you, and the more forcibly hee entereth, the more hurt shall he doo himselfe, and the more easily shal you be able to master him, and become Lorde of his owne weapon.
Besides, if you place your right foot a little towards your enemies right foot, you may make a thrust toward his right side, but in thrusting, see you bring your right foote towardes your enemies left side: if you see that hee goeth about to enter with his left legge, turne your bodie well on your right side, for then if hee enter with his left legge, the point of his Rapier will go by the out side of your bodie, and you may give him a riversa upon his legge with your Rapier, and stabbe him with your dagger in the bodie. All which you must do with great celeritie and quicknesse, turning your bodie with great nimblenesse on your left side, and recoiling somwhat with your left foote, being accompanied with the right, and so you shal deliver your selfe and your rapier withall out of the power of your enemie, but if you bee not passing readie with your foot, and in turning your bodie wel and fitly on your right side, your enemie entering maye thrust you in the bellie with his Rapier, and give you a stabbe with his Dagger besides. Therefore I advertise you to exercise your selfe continually, that occasion being offered you to fight, you maie perfourme the same with much readinesse, and without daunger, otherwise, if you onely faile in one and even the least point, you endanger your life. For it is not maine force that doth the deede, but readinesse, dexteritie, and use of knowledge and arte. You must therefore labour and take paines, which beeing joyned to the greate desire and love you beare to this arte, will bring you to the perfection therof. Insomuch that you shall bee able to turne and winde your bodie which waye you will, and therewithall know how and which waie you ought to turne it.
Againe to the purpose: If your enemie make towardes your right side, and offer a thrust, happilie pressing too much forward, you shall immediatelie turne your bodie on the left side, so that the point of his Rapier passing beside your bodie, you maye give him a stoccata: or you may plaie with your bodie, and beate his Rapier pointe outward from your right side wyth your Dagger, and give him a punta riversa over his Rapier in the belly or face. Or also while hee thrusteth, you may beate it by with your Dagger, and carrying your right foote towarde his right side, give him the same thrust. Or againe, whilest hee doeth thrust, you maye stande firmelie, turning your bodie a little upon your lefte side, and strike by his Rapier pointe with your Dagger, and therewithall give him a riversa upon the legge. And if hee bee skilfull in managing his weapon, take heede in anie case that you let him not get within you, or winne grounde of you, but seeke still to growe uppon him with your foote, that is, that your right foote bee without side of his right foote, and when hee gives the forsaide thrust, take heed you strike neither with your Rapier nor Dagger, if you meane to enter upon him with a passata, because hee having once gained of you both opportunitie of time and measure of grounde, you endaunger your selfe verie much: but you shall onelye turne your Rapier hande inwarde, passing speedelie with your lefte foot to his right foote, placing the middest of your right foote just at the heele of your lefte foote, holding your bodie on the left side.
As for your Dagger, that must bee helde up with the pointe alofte, to the ende that it maie bee master of his Rapier: and so shall hurte him either under or above his Dagger. But you must beware and take greate heede, not to passe directlie right uppon him, when you make your passata with your lefte foote towarde his right foote, for if that he bee anie thing skilfull, hee maie give you a stoccata or imbroccata. Wherfore when you make towards him, see you throw your selfe wholie on the lefte side, accompanying your left foot with your right, in the manner aforesaid.
Furthermore, if you percieve your enemies Rapier pointe to bee borne towardes your right side, having gotten uppon him with your right foote, passe with your lefte foote verie speedilie and quicklie to his right foote, and carrying your Dagger, as in the manner aforesaid, and give him an imbroccata upon his Rapier. But if you finde his Rapier point born upon your bodie, you shall turne your bodie on your lefte side, and with great celeritie drawe your point under his Rapier, that hte point therof be upon his bellie, and your left foote by the right, your dagger being readie with the point upward, to command his rapier, resting your bodie on your right side.
Furthermore, if you percieve his Rapier to be long, and the point therof borne somewhat high, you shall neverthelesse answere him in this ward: now not holding your Rapier hand on the inside of your knee, but carrying your dagger straight out, and winding your bodie on your lefte side, you shall make semblaunce to beate by his weapon with your dagger, and with great quicknesse you shall draw the point of your dagger under his Rapier, readily turning your bodie uppon your right side, and carrying your right foote together with your left somewhat towards his left side, &c. But beware how you use this passata, unlesse you bee well practised in it, and see you holde stiffe your dagger hande, for if you suffer your hand to swarve aniething downward, your enemie maie give you an imbroccata in the face.
Moreover, in your passata lift not your dagger too high, because (if he bee skilfull with whome you fight) whilest you lifte up your dagger, or holde your Rapier and Dagger to open, and not inough closed, hee maie retire a little, and so give you a stoccata or imbroccata, insomuch that you must have an especiall care of all, or or else you cannot avoide daunger of death. A gaine, when you make this passata, see that you remaine not with your lefte foote, because he may give you a mandritta uppon the legge, or else a stoccata in the bellie. Also in the same passata, see that your bodie rest not wholie uppon your lefte side, because that so dooing, you shall your selfe beare your enemies Rapier pointe upon your face.
Besides this, when you lie in this warde, and make uppon your enemie towardes his right side, if you perceive that hee holde his Rapier hand somewhat high and farre off from his bodie, followe you well in this warde, and getting sufficient grounde of him, you maie give him a stoccata in the bellie: and in giving it, see that the pointe of your Rapier enter under the middest of his, being your selfe readie to winde awaie with your bodie.
Furthermore, in charging him, if you finde that his pointe bee carried to the ground-ward, turne steadfastly uppon your lefte side, and holde your dagger out in length towards his right side: and if you can beate the middest of his Rapier with your Dagger, at the same instant give him a stoccata. You maie also in the same warde make a passata with your lefte foote. But if perhappes your enemie when you lie in this warde, should make semblaunce to thrust you, not meaning so to do, but onelie for vauntage, so you bee in equall measure, answere him, and loose not that time: but if you be not in equall reach, thrust not earnestly, nor make a passata uppon him, for so you shoulde endaunger your lyfe: but in aunswering him make but a short thrust at him, to the ende that ifyour enemie or adversarie afterwarde make a true thrust, or else come forwarde with his lefte foote, to make a passata uppon you, you maie sodainly turne your bodie on your lefte side, and place your Dagger-hand right with your right knee. And so you maie give him a stoccata in the bellie, or else a riversa upon the legge, and become maister of his weapon: and by howe much the more strongly hee thrusteth, and the more furiouslie hee entereth with the passata, by so much the more easilie may you hurt him: but have a great and speciall regarde to doo it with much nimblenesse and dexteritie both of bodie and hand.
Furthermore, if you find his Rapier long, in charging him you maie strike the middle of his Rapier with yours, and sodainely give him the punta riversa: but it must be done with great quicknesse of the hand, beeing readie with your right foote to steppe towardes your enemies right side, or else to recoile somewhat with your bodie backwardes as swiftly as you canne: for else if your enemie at that instant shoulde enter with a passata something fiercelye, your lyfe were in greate hazarde, and especiallye if you shoulde make your thrust straight, carrying your foote right towards his, as manie doo: but if you steppe with your right foote aside, you maie verie easilye avoide the daunger.
Againe, if you finde his Rapier point out at length, you maie strike his Rapier with yours, and give him a greate mandritta or riversa at the head, but with greate swiftnesse of hand and b odie. Also lying in the same warde towardes the right side of your enemie, you may give a false stoccata at his bellie, and fi your enemie doo happe to strike it backe with his Rapier, you shall sodainely put the pointe of your Rapier over his, and give him a stoccata or punta riversa upon his face, or his bellie, if hee shoulde too much hang downe his hand, at which time you must beare your right foote aside towardes his right side. You maie also offer a false thrust at his face, and if hee go about to strike it by with his Rapier, you maie put your pointe under his Rapier, and carrying your right foot side- waie, give him a stoccata in the bellie: or in both these false thrusts, when he beateth them by with his rapier, you may with much sodainnesse make a passata with your lefte foote, and your Dagger commaunding his Rapier, you maie give him a punta, either dritta, or riversa. Moreover, if your enemie finding you with your Rapier point borne out in length, should strike by your rapier with his, in the verie instant that he striketh, you maie passe with your right foote towards his right side, and with great quicknes putting your Rapier over his, give him a punta riversa in the face, and if hee bee not verie skilfull at his weapon, you may sodainly make a passata upon him, and this maie happen upto you verie often: but you ought to be well exercised in these pointes, which may make you verie nimble and quicke with your foot, body, and hand, least for want of knowledge and practise in the facultie, you fal not into some inconvenience and dishonour, for in the verie least point consisteth life and death.
Therefore neglect not these thinges, but rather take pains and travaile in the knowledge of them, honoring and esteeming them both excellent and profitable: neither have I entered into this charge, to discourse and explaine these pointes for their sakes that hate valour and knowledge, for unto such doo I not directe my speech, but unto those that love, regarde, and honour vertue: who beeing worthie of this knowledge, may alwaies commaund my service.
But to returne to our purpose: if your enemie find you in this sayde warde, holding your bodie towardes your left side, and towardes his right side, and give you a mandritta at the head, you shall speedilye and with greate agility turne your bodie on your right side, and receiving his mandritta uppon your Dagger, retourne him a stoccata either in the bellie or in the face. Likewise, if hee give you an imbroccata over the Dagger, you shall (turning your bodie uppon your right side) aunswere him with a stoccata. But if hee when you lie in this warde, give you a riversa at the heade, you may immediatelye make a passata with the lefte foote, and so presentlye requite him with a stoccata.
If you think it not convenient, and therefore will not passe with your lefte foote at the same instaunce that hee giveth the riversa, you shall turne your bodie on your lefte side, and so have your choice eyther to give him a stoccata in the bellie, or a riversa at the legges: and if you bee thoroughly exercised and practised in charging, you may give him a dirtta or a riversa at his legges, being the first to strike.
Many things more may you doe in this warde, according as your enemie fighteth: and you maye use this warde after many manners, so you be throughlye acquainted with it, and have by continuall practise brought your foote, hand and bodie to it. But this shall suffise untill another daye.
The Thyrde Dayes Discourse, of Rapier and Dagger.
I Luke. I know not certainly, whether it hath been my earnest desire to encounter you, that raisde me earlier this morning than my accustomed houre, or to be assertained of some doubtfull questions, which yester-night were proposed by some gentlemen and my selfe, in discourse of armes: for they helde, that although a man learne perfectly the dritta, riversa, the stoccata, the imbroccata, the punta riversa, with eche severall motion of the body, yet when they hap to come to single fight, where the triall of true valour must ende the quarrell, they utterly forget all their former practises. Therefore I would request of you, (if you so please) to know your opinion, whether in single fight a man can forget his usuall wardes, or use them then with as much dexteritie and courage as he accustomed in play.
V. It is very likely, that many are of this opinion, for there are fewe or none that in cause of quarrell when they come as we tearme it to buckling, but suffer themselves to be overcome with fury, and so never remember their arte: such effect choller worketh. And it may be some being timerous and full of pusillanimity, (which is ever father to feare) are so scarred out of their wits, that they seeme men amazed and voide of fence. Or some may be taken in the humor of drinke; or with divers other occasions, that may enfeeble their understanding. And by these reasons well may they forget in fight, what they learned in play: but in them in whome no such effectes are predominant, neither are assailed with such accidentes, they behave themselves discreetely, and are not distempered with any such perturbations: and besides this, I have seen many that being fearfull by nature, through dayly practise have become couragious, and alwaies so continued. Neither is it possible, but in practise he should obtaine courage and encrease his valour more then before.
L. But to what end doe you teach such skill, if it be scarse secure, and hard to performe.
V. To this I answere, that this vertue or art of armes is proper and behovefull to everye one for their lives, because that no man on earth, but hath had or hath in presence some difference or contention with some of his companions, which most commonly is decided by fight. To them that are of an hautie courage, this skill addeth advantage: to them whose nature is fearful, the use of weapons extenuateth a great parte of feare: and these, both the one and other, ought as much as in them lyeth, to avoide all cavilling, and such disordered speeches as procure contention: but especiallye, let such men take heede, to whome nature hath not given a valorous spirite: as for others, whose courage is hot, it importes them very much, to have great skill in their weapon, for being over-mastered with heate and courage of their harts, if in managing their armes they want s skilfull dexteritie, they soone spoyle themselves: for through wante of knowledge, they come to be overthrowne, where rather it behoveth them with advisement and discretion, not onely to spy their own faults, and soone to amend them, but also through his enemies over-fights, to take his owne advantage.
L. True it is I confesse what you hae saide, for sure, who so wanteth courage, must of necessitie forget his cunning. But tell of curtesie, were it that a man were to combate, and through brevitie of time it were not possible to be perfect in the depth of his knowledge, what order would you take, to instruct him that he might be safe and dangerles.
V. I wil tell you, I would acquaint him with one only warde, which amongst all other is the best for fight, to him who will understand it: of which I meane now to entreate, to the end I may enstruct you in it, that being throughly practised in that onely warde, you maye combate securely. Therefore to make my scholler perfect in that manner of lying, I would place him with his lefte foote and dagger before, extending his bodye fare, and I also would lye so, then would I have him traverse towards my left side, and I circularly would passe with my right foote, thrusting a stoccata either at his face or brest.
L. And what shall the scholler doe then to defend himselfe, and offend you?
V. Whilste I thrust my stoccata at him, and that I passe about towards his lefte side, in that moment that I parte from him and thrust, hee shall likewise in that counter-time passe circularly towards my left side, and then shall thrust a stoccata at my brest or face, winding his body upon his left side.
L. And how will you save yourselfe?
V. In that instant, wherein both my selfe and he doe passe thrusting at me in that counter-time, if I be not very prompt, with the motion of my bodie, hee maye easilie strike me in the brest or face: therefore whilest that I thrust at him and he at me, I will break it with my Dagger from my lefte side, turning the pointe either high or lowe, according as hee thrustes, and I would helpe my selfe with drawing my body backwards, and in that time I would carry my right foote towards his lefte, and then would I thrust an imbroccata above his Dagger.
L. And what can he doe?
V. Hee shall doe the like, guiding his right foote towarde my left, and shall breake my imbroccata outwarde from his lefte side, and thrust an imbroccata at mee above my Dagger, and I wil retire aside, as I have tolde you in the former wardes, and make at him with a dritta, or riversa, or an imbroccata with the dritta, as in the others.
L. I am of this minde, that whosoever would performe this warde, had neede to be perfectlie instructed and throughly exercised, and that he be of good knowledge: for certainly this I thinke, it is an excellent ward for him that knowes to doe it well, but very dangerous for a raw scholler or imperfect. And if you would mamifest some lying to counter-check this warde we have spoken of, I should thinke my selfe highlye beholding for such a favour.
V. Observe this firste, if you were in fight, to use this ward, and that your enemie in like sorte should garde him selfe with the same lying: marke this cheefely and first how hee beares his weapons and his bodie, high or lowe, and how hee holdes his Rapier and Dagger, and according to his lying, assaulte and offer to him. Therfore in the encounter that you shall make, charge him towardes his lefte side, keeping your selfe safelye in your warde, and have this regarde, to keepe your poynte within his. And if he lye high with his bodye and Dagger, keepe your poynte under his Dagger handle, and thrust your stoccata at his breste: but if you see him lye with his Dagger lowe, thrust an imbroccata at his belly with great celeritye, or at his face, avoiding with your right foote circularlye towardes his lefte, turning quickly your body upon your lefte side, in manner of an halfe wheele: but it behoves you to be verye readye, otherwise, in staying in your passage, if hee avoyde in that counter-time, hee maye put you in danger of life: the like is, if you passe directlye, you are both in danger of death: or if you should passe directlye, and hee keepe himselfe in safe warde, or that he avoide in compasse, he may well save him and endanger you. Therefore finding your enemie in this warde, ever observe to carrie your selfe in compasse.
Moreover, if you assaile your enemie with this warde, and hee lye with his right foot formost, if hee holde his rapier far from him, you may directlye take his pointe, keeping your dagger long out, and your bodie lowe: and if he thrust either above or belowe, keep your Dagger ready to break his thrust, and offer home to him upon the lefte foote, or passe towards him with your right foote, as you shall finde best. And in your caricado see if you can commaund his swoorde with your Dagger, either from your lefte or right side, and then thrust your stocceta or punta riversa. If you see him lye displaied, followe him, bearing your Dagger within his sword, and you maie well thrust your stoccata either at his face or breast: or else make a passata resolutelie, wheeling halfe about, keeping your selfe presentlie in a good warde, upon your right foote.
Moreover, in this warde you maye easilie give him a mandritta or riversa upon his legge, or you maie use a caricado upon his right side, keeping your warde, and carrying well your bodye, that the halfe of your right foote garde your lefte heele, and guiding your body directly upon your left side, make forwarde directly upon his right foot, thereby to commaund his swoodre, and then may you strike him upon the lefte foote. Againe, if you see hee keepes his Dagger pointe upon you, thrust a stoccata at his face: if you finde him not well commanding his point, charge him upon his right side, bearing the dagger long, and break his thrust outwards, offering your stoccata at his face or brest. Likewise, if you see he commaund not his point, and being advantaged upon his right side, you maye with great readines put your pointe under his swoord, lifting your swoord hand and your dagger, when in the mean time you may give him a stoccata or imbroccata, and be master of his swoorde with yours and your Dagger. And in charging him upon his right side, you may give him a riversa upon his legge.
Againe, if hee offer a mandritta at your head, in the lifting of his hand advance your selfe with your right foote, and receive it upon your Dagger, giving him a stoccata at his brest or face: so if hee thrust a riversa at your head, you shal lift up the point of your Dagger, & receive it on your dagger & sworde, & in the same time thrust an imbroccata at his belly, or else taking the riversa upon your Dagger, you shall give him another upon the legges, or a stoccata in the belly. Likewise, if your enemie shall give you a mandritta upon the legge, you shall nimbly passe circularly with your right foote towards his lefte side, for so hee cannot offend you, and you may hit him either in the belly or face.
Moreover, if your enemie thrust an imbroccata above your Dagger, you must readilye passe with your right foote before he retire with his point, and you may well hit him in the face, breast, or legges. Again, if when you charge him towardes his right side, you see his point be farre out and somewhat high, keepe your bodie uppon your lefte side, and lie lowe covered in your ward, bearing your dagger at the length of your arme, keeping good measure: and in your cariage, make shew to put by his Rapier with your dagger, and sodainly fal your point under his sword, traversing with your right foot round, turning your bodie uppon your right side, & so thrust your stoccata at his face or breast. And if he hold his point high, you may charge him directly with his point, for if hee thrust either above or below, in the time of his thrust advaunce your left foote, extending your dagger, and by that advancing hee shall loose his point, and you maie hit him with a dritta or riversa at your pleasure. And if he thrust at you, and you passe about with your right foote, then you maie likewise hit him.
L. Truly you have given mee to understand excellently of this ward: but let me intreate you to teach me how I maie defende my selfe if one assaile mee in that ward, and how I may best offend my enemie, keeping my right foot formost.
V. I have told you many things concerning this ward, if you know how to doo them and practise them. Besides there bee diverse other thinges which I cannot shew you with speaking: but for this time it will bee sufficient if you can perform what I have declared. And I will tell you: if you lie with your right foote formost, and he keepe his left foote forwarde, according as you marke his lying, so do, charging him either on the lefte or right side. And although you hit him not, and that he passe upon his right foote, doe you but change your bodie to your left side, lifting up the point of your poniard, firming your hand on your right knee, so shall you be master of his sword, and maie easily strike him, and the more fierce he is, the more shall you commaund his weapon and endanger him: neither can hee strike you either withi or without your dagger, or on the legges. And if you see he keepes his dagger winding towardes his right side, thrust a riversa at his face, so that your point may enter in the midst of his dagger, and sodainly recoile, and if he likewise parte, turne your bodie, as I have tolde you, upon your lefte side, and as you see him lie, so guarde your selfe, bearing your bodie on which side you thinke best. And surely beleeve mee, the first warde I taught you of Rapier and dagger, is absolutely the best both against this and anie other kinde of lyings. Therefore I woulde wish you to learne it perfectly, and exercise it thoroughly, that if occasion happen, you may be both skilfull and well practised. But take heede of one fault, which many incurre, who if in plaie they receive one or two stoccataes, they inforce themselves to give one or be revenged. But this is neither fit for a scholler, nor orderlie, since in plaie we shuld behave our selves friendlie, both to learn and passe the time, and also to exercise ourselves in stirring our bodies, and use this arte for the right effect. Wherein wee ought especiallie to avoide choer and anger. For where occasion happens to fight, in deede, rapiers are not as foiles, which cannot doo much hurt, but a small pricke of a Rapiers pointe maie either kill, or at the least maime. So that in anie wise avoide so daungerous an oversight. And if you happe to wound your enemie, though verie smallie, yet by the fight of his blade, hee being kindled with furie, shall both enfeeble his strength, and fall from his right bias. Therefore I wish you take good heede, and if you see your selfe apte to incline to such a faulte, amende it, and learne perfectlie to defende your selfe well, to the end that if perhappes you cannot hurt your enemie, either for that he surpasseth in skil, or you want strength, yet you maie avoide danger of beeing hurt yourselfe, which will bee both honorable and profitable to you, considering that even the verie first thrust is sufficient to ende the whole controversie. Therefore bee heedfull and wise, and remember I have tolde you soundly for your owne safetie.
L. I assure you I will followe your advise, which I see grounded on such reason, as everie wise and reasonable man ought to followe it, estraunging himselfe from all furious fellowes, who thinke to purchase honour by running headlong on their death. Therefore will I sequester my selfe from their acquaintance. But I praie you prosecute and go forward with the rest of this ward.
V. Sithence I see you conceive such pleasure in it, I will proceede on and goe forward a little farther. Manie there bee which exercise this warde uppon theyr lefte foote, but therein they differ. Therefore it importes to bee well instructed in the diversitie: for if your enemie lie in that warde, and y ou uppon your right foote, and he beare himselfe and his Dagger highe, charge him towardes his lefte side, and in the approche, see you parte with greate readynesse with your right foote towardes his left, and speedilie thrust you a stoccata in his belly, & in the thrusting, look you ender under his arme or hande, turning your bodie on the right side, and the back side of your sword hand toward your left. If he hold his dagger low, charge him towards his left side with your right foote side-waies, and thrust either a stoccata or imbroccata, as you shall thinke best, above his dagger, and for your owne safegard, turne your bodie upon the right side. And if you see him lie displaide, carrie your bodie on your right side, and traverse to his lefte, and then thrust your stoccata betweene his sword and dagger.
Moreover, you maye thruste your stoccata either at his face or breast, but doo it with greate promptnesse, and in the same time recoile with your left foot drawing after your right, and be quicke in the retire to recover your rapier, that if your enemie make forward, you may be readie againe to thrust: therefore be quicke and vigilant, otherwise if in your thrusting you be not readie, in that selfe same time your enemie maie well hit you: but retiring with your feete, and escaping with your bodie, you shall shunne all daunger. Againe, if you finde his rapier point hight, charge him lowe upon the left foot, and directlie with your dagger at his Rapiers point, bearing your Dagger as I have taught you: so you maie thrust either at his face or brest without retiring, but being sure to lie wel in your ward, for in the time whilest you retire or withdraw your feet, you shall be in danger, but keeping that ward sure, you are without perill, for whether hee thrust above or belowe, you beeing in that ward are safe, and more ready to winde your pointe above or belowe his dagger, or you maie give him a mandritta on the legs: neither can he hurt you in his circular or turning, if he should so recoile. Againe, if you see himlie upright, lie you so likewise, but ever keep your Dagger readie, and you maie feigne a stoccata at his face, and whilest he goeth about to breake it, winde your pointe quicklie under his dagger, and wheele with your bodie halfe compasse, avoiding with your right foote side-waies, as I have tolde you. And if hee charge you lowe and lie open, comming directlie on your pointe, give backe your bodie a little, and thrust a riversa or stoccata like an imbroccata, and readilie remove with your right foot backward: or if hee lie as manie doe, with his sword upon his dagger crosse-wise, you may redilie thrust him in the face, and retire backeward towards his lefte side. Againe, in that maner of lying, you maie charge him towardes his right side, and thrust a stoccata at his face, betweene his Rapier and Dagger, ever remembring that your sword passe by the middest of his Dagger, and give him a riversa in recoiling backward towards his right side. And if you fortune not to hitte him, and that he passe upon his right foote, doe you but change your bodie to the lefte side, lifting up your poinard, and holding your hand firmelie on your right knee, so shal you be master of his swoorde, and maie easilie hit him: and the more fierce he is, the more you shall commaund his weapon, and mangle him, neither can he strike you, either within or without your Dagger, or with a dritta or riversa upon the legges. Againe, if you see him holde his dagger with the point turning to his lefte side, thrust at his face a riversa, guiding your pointe to ender in the middest of his dagger, and soddenlie recoile: and if he likewise parte, doe as I have alreadie tolde you, winding your bodie well upon your lefte side: if you finde him lying open, use your caricado toward his right side, and lye loew in your warde, carrying your bodie on your lefte side, bearing your Dagger out at length, as I have taught you in the first warde: but let your hand beeing directly with your knee, turne with your bodie, and in this manner you maie offer a thrust: and if hee thrust first, beare your dagger readie to defend your selfe, and your rapier to offend him. But in this be very heedful, as I have often tolde you, neither elevate nor abase your dagger hand, nor beare him over the one side or the other, for if your enemy have good skill in his weapon, and withall a readie hand, he may easilie beare his pointe compasse and hurt you: or many times feigne a thrust to deceive you. Therefore be alwaies advised to keepe your hand firme, not abasing or lifting up your pointe, or turning your wrist on the one side or other: and if he thrust at you, you maie well readilie both defend your selfe, and offend him.
Moreover, if he abase his point, lie in your lefte foot warde, and use your caricado upon his right side, and if hee thrust either an imbroccata above your Dagger, or a mandritta at your head, removing his right foot, turne readilie your bodie on your right side, lifting up your Dagger, and turning your wriste. Againe, if you finde his pointe farre out, charge him in your left foot ware towards his right side, and charge him with your Dagger close to his sworde, and letting fall your pointe under his, you maie easilie thrust a stoccata or imbroccata, but ever keepe firme your Dagger hand, and lift not up your bodie, and in breaking his thrust toward his left side, you maie give him a riversa either in the brest or on the legs. Besides this, many more practises there be, which with good exercise of body, and readines of hand, might easilie be effected. But because it groweth somewhat late, and our discourse hath lasted so long, I will take my leave of you, retiring my selfe to dispatch some busines before my going home.
L. I am infinitely beholding unto you for these good instructions, and to morrow I wil meete you, to understand somewhat more, for my farther skil, and avoiding of idlenes.
V. God be your guide, and to morrow I will expecte you.
The Fourth Dayes Discourse, of single Rapier. Entreating how a lefte handed man, shall plaie with one that is right handed. A Luke. After your departure yesterdaie in the after-noone, I was in an honorable place, wher upon occasion of some jelousie of love of certaine gentlewomen two gentlemen of the companie fell at words, and from words to deeds, but they were not suffered at that time to proceede to any further action, nevertheles they gave their faithes the next morning to trie it with their weapons. And so accordinglie they met, and bravely perfourmed their combate: in the execution whereof I tooke great pleasure to be a beholder, not that I had anie delight to see them kill one another, but for another cause, (and that was) to see by experience the truth of that which I have heard manie affirme: and seeing there is so good an opportunity offered, I will entreat you, having troubled you in a great matter, that you will assoyle me certaine doubtes, which I shall demaund of you, and make me rightly understand them, whereby I shall remaine greatly bound unto you.
V. I praie you tell me, what were these gentlemen which fought, and whether anie of them be hurt: after, be bolde to declare to me your doubtes, and I will not faile to resolve you the best I can.
L. Sir, I doubt not of your curtesie, which I have found you alwaies willing to shewe to everie man, but cheefely to your freends: but to tell you the truth, I have forgot the gentlemens names, but this I can well saie, that in the handling of their weapons they behaved themselves very manfullie, neither of them receiving any wound, for they were both very quicke with the rapier to offend, and with their daggers to defend: but the greatest reason that hath led me to be present there, was to see how well they managed their weapons, one of them being right handed, and the other left handed: because I know many of opinion, that the left handed have great advantage of the right, yet I see both doe their uttermost this morning, without any hurt of either partie, and in beholding both the one and the other diligently I could not discerne anie jot of advantage betweene them: therefore you shall doe me great favour, if you discourse unto me, whether the left hand can have any advantage of the right, or the right of the lefte: withall instructing me, both how to defende my selfe from such a one, and how to offend him.
V. Of this question, I have heard many times much reasoning, and many there are indeede which so think, but beleeve me, the left hand hath no advantage of the right hand, nor the right, of the lefte no otherwise than you your selfe finde your owne advantage.
L. Tell me therfore, if you would teach a left hand, how would yon begin?
V. I would teach him first with the single rapier, making him to stand with his left foote forwardes, and that his heele should be right against the middle part of his right foote, & I would put my selfe with my right foot forward, as I told you before concerning the single rapier, & I would that the scholler should hold his sword out at length, that the point thereof bee directlie at my face, and that he holde his swoord hand, as it were in a line, from his bodie, & outwards of my sword towards my right side, passing withal with his left foot towards my left side, putting his rapier under mine, and to give me an imbroccata in the belly, by turning the knuckle of his hand downwards towards his left side.
L. It seemeth that you doo all contrarie to the right hand, because in teaching the right hand, hee useth the stoccata, but the left hand, you make him to begin with the imbroccata. But what will you doo to defend your selfe in the meane time?
V. I will avoide somewhat with my body, and with my hand beate downe his imbroccata without my left side, and carrying my right foot after my left foot, give him a riversa at the head.
L. What shal the scholler doo in his defence, both to hurt you and save himselfe?
V. He shal doo quite contrarie unto him that is right handed, because the right hand, when I offer him a riversa at the head, passeth with the left foote, and giveth me the imbroccata under my rapier, but the left hande, whilest I go backe with my right foot, and that I lift my rapier to give him the riversa, he swiftly passeth with his right foot before his left, and giveth me a stoccata, lifting his hand from behinde: & so in the passataes which he shall make, standing with his left foote forward, and passing with his right foot to strike his enemie, whereas the right hand passeth with his left foot when he giveth a stoccata to his enemie, the left hand cleane contrarie, in passing gives the imbroccata to his enemie: & wheras the right hand shall give the stoccata, and that which I saie, is for the left handes instruction against the right. But noew I will speake no further of this warde, for so much as no other thing foloweth but that which I have told you alreadie concerning the first warde of the single rapier, and I will declare unto you the warde of the rapier and dagger, both to instruct the lefte handed how to deale against the right hand, and how the right hand ought to behave himselfe against the lefte hande, which shall be our next discourse. And for this time I praie you pardon me, having occasion to go a little way hence, to take up a matter betweene two of my friends, upon certaine differences happened betweene them, & by and by we will meet againe. Farewell.
The lefte handes Warde at Rapier and Dagger.
L. Seeing you have already declared howe a lefte hande is to bee taught at single Rapier, I praie you also tell mee, how you woulde likewise instruct him at Rapier and Dagger, and afterwardes the defence against him.
V. If I should make a good lefte hnaded scholler, I would place him with his lefte foote forward, and his lefte heele against the middle of his right foote, making him to holde his Rapier shorte, and his Dagger out long. L. In what warde would you put your selfe?
V. I would put my selfe in the firste warde of Rapier and Dagger, carrying my bodie in good ward towards my left side, and I would give him a stoccata under his Rapier, bearing my right foot towards his lefte side, turning well my bodie circularlie upon my right side, and he in the same time turning the point of his dagger downe, shall beate by my stoccata from his lefte side, and withall passing with his lefte foote towardes my lefte side, hee shall give me an imbroccata under my Dagger; I in the meane while will avoide a little with my body, striking by his imbroccata from my left side, and carrying my right foote againe towardes his lefte side, I will give him an imbroccata under the Rapier: then he shall turne his Dagger pointe upwadre, and strike by my imbroccata from his lefte side, going with his lefte foote circularly towards my left side, and shall give me a stoccata in the face over my Dagger, and I will beate by his stoccata outwards from my lefte side, going againe with my right foote circularlye towards his lefte side, and give him another stoccata under the Dagger, and hee shall beate it by as before, going aside with his lefte foote towards my lefte side, and shall give me an imbroccata under the dagger, as before, and I avoiding a little with my bodie, will beate his imbroccata outwards on my right side, parting at the instant with my right foote, and carrying after my lefte: and give him a riversa at the head, and if I should not bowe backeward with my bodie when I did beate by his imbroccata towardes my right side, I my selfe should receive it in mine owne bellie, or the face: and whilest I goe with my right foote, and give him a riversa, he shal goe with his right foot where my right foote was, and give me a stoccata in the bellie, whereas he shal receive the riversa upon his Rapier and Dagger.
L. These thinges would seeme very strange to such as understand them not, because when you offer that riversa to the right handed man, you teach him to passe with the lefte foote, and to give you the imbroccata, contrarilie you in the same case make the lefte handed man, to passe with his right foote, giving you the stoccata.
V. Did I not tell you that the lefte hand had no advantage of the right, nor the right of the lefte? onelye use and knowledge giveth the better either to the right or the lefte: and oftentimes you shalbe occasioned to doe manye thinges, dealing with the left handed man, which you must do cleane contrary to that which you woiuld doe, dealing with the right handed man: wherfore seek to learne and to practise your selfe, that when occasion shall be offered, you maye knowe how to behave your selfe, and contemne the opinions of these Spaca montagne, which despise arte, because ignorance was ever the enemy of knowledge. Is it possible that he which never saw the warres, can be better knowledged then he which hath spent his life wholye therein, and borne honorable charges? can hee which never made shot in anie peece of artillerie or hargebuse, or bow, be more perfect, or at least know so muche as they which of long time have made profession thereof? So it is in the use of weapons, and in every other facultie: for example, take a Cannoneer which well understandeth his arte, and he will charge his Peeces in such good sorte, that it shall be a hard matter, or almost impossible for them to break: afterward take one of these contemners of arte, who with their blinde judgement presume to be able to doe all thinges, to such a one give the handling of a Peece of ordinance, and let him not want pouder, shot, or any necessaries therto belonging, and let him charge according to his vaine knowledge, you shal see him presently breake all and kill himselfe. The like falleth out in the handling of armes, the ignorant will doe one thing for an other, which shall turne to his own confusion, for by the moving of his bodie or foot onely out of time and order, he may easilie overthrow him selfe, and hasten his owne death.
L. It hath been seene nevertheles, that many altogether unexperienced in the hargebuse, have made as good shot as they which have long practised the same.
V. It is an olde saying, that one flower maketh not a spring, for although this unskilful man have made, or may make at any time some good shot, assure your selfe it is to be attributed to chance or fortune, or as it is said, to his good hap, and if he should bee demaunded at what hting hee made his levell, if hee wil confesse a truth, hee will not denie, that his levell was set at an other marke, and in truth it may not be otherwise: for triall wherof make him shoote again, and you shall see having no more knowledge then before, nor practising the said exrecise, that scarse ever hee will make the like shot againe. But they which are wel instructed and exercised therin, will seldome make one fault. In like sort in the use of other weapons, one maye give a cunning stroke, but it shal be by fortune, and no cunning: so that thinking to give the like blowe againe, he will occasion his owne death, and that onely by not knowing what time to strike: after the same manner hee that will take upon him to charge a Peece of artillerie, not knowing the charge therof according to the waight of her bullet, will soone breake all, and murder him selfe: but he which truely hath his arte, you shall see him with dexteritie charge & discharge, without any encombrance, having his secrets readie to coole the Canon when she is overheated, and other artificiall feates which hee can make to serve his turne: so that it is no mervaile that he which is guided onely by presumption, and will thrust him selfe into matters which hee knoweth not, if hee overthrowe him selfe and such as rely upon him: and especially certaine harbrainde wits, who use to despise every thing, with whom I exhorte you to have no dealing, seing they are men void of al reason, which ought to be the rule of mans life, and without which a man is no man, but the outward shape of a man onely.
L. Truly I know you say the truth, and of force the knowledge of al good sciences must come from God, which is of a divine nature. But let this passe, I pray you resolve me in this: wherfore use you not to strike at the poniard side, as well as at the right side, and by what reson strike you at the sworde side? tell me also which is the better side to strike, either the poniarde side or the sworde side, and which of them is more safe?
V. When you goe to charge a lefte handed man in your warde, looke first in what ward he lyeth, and how hee holdeth his weapons, answering him in the same forme: and touching your demaund, to knowe wherfore I strike not at the Dagger side, I will tell you: when I finde him in this ward carrying his lefte foot formost, if I should make at his Dagger side and strike firste, I put my selfe in danger to hurt my self, because in thrusting I runne upon the pointe of my enemie: but making at his lefte side, I am out of danger of his pointe, whereof making to his Dagger side I am in perill: for if you strike firste and the lefte handed man have a good Dagger, and be quicke with his sworde, he will alwaies put you in hazard of an imbroccata: and in truth there are fewe lefte handes which use stoccataes, but for the most part imbroccataes. Now if he offer you the imbroccata first, being towards his dagger, and you being nimble with your bodie, whilest hee strikes at you, you shall a little bow aside with your body, and beat by the pointe outwards from your left side, and you may easilye give him a stoccata or an imbroccata: but if you strike, first you endanger your self: and if you will strike the first, you shall go towards his left side, to be in more safetie, and offering yourblowe, seeke to be without his pointe, striving to fasten your stoccata at his face, and retire your lefte foot back with great swiftnes, your right foot accompanying your left: but finding him in his ward, to beare his swoorde out at length, if you be well advised, you shall carrie your right foot after your left, and lye in the third ward I taught you concerning the left foot: and regarde wel whilest you are in warde upon the right foot, and if you wil, out of the first ward of Rapier and dagger, enter into the third: be sure that you passe not forward with the left foot firste, for in so doing he might give you a stoccata in the belly or face: therefore carie your right foot after your left, and in the said ward, charge him towards his left side, who lying with his left foot forward, as you do, if you charge him on the left side, unles he be verie ready and perfect at his weapon, you shal have great advantage of him, & make your selfe master of his weapons, and greatly indanger his life. Neverthelesse if he be skilful, and know how to plaie with his bodie, he maie avoide the foresayd dangers, and hazard your life, if you bee not the more skilfull, albeit you finde him, as I said before, lying with his left foot forward. Wherefore it is necessarie that you understand and practise well your selfe, seeing the least errour you maie make, may be your great hurt.
L. But suppose that one be altogether ignorant, and have not these turnings of his bodie in a readinesse, you tolde mee there was no difference betweene the right hand and the left hand, neither of them having advantage of the other. And now you tell mee, that the right hand, in case he lie in the third ward, traversing toward the left side of his enemy, hath great advantage of a left hand. I praie you therefore shew mee if there be anie other ward, wherein the lefte hande may so lie, that the right hand shall have no advantage upon him. V. You know how I saide there was no advauntage betweene them, besides that which use and knowledge give to either partie, wherefore if the right hande change from the first warde into the third, to assault the left hand, then the lefte hand shall carrie his lefte foote after his right, so lying with the right foote forwarde in good ward, and the right hande lie in the third warde, with his lefte foot forward, and so shall neither the one or the other have a iote of advantage, except that which he can give by true observation of time and measure and his better knowledge: so that if the lefte hand be well instructed, finding his adversarie with his right fotoe forward, and with his owne right foote forward chargd toward the right side in good warde, then shall he have the advantage upon the right handed, and be able to make him selfe maister of his enemies armes. But if the right hand bee well knowledged and bee acquainted with the turnings and windings of the body, and be quick and readie with the rapier and dagger, he maie avoide these hazards, and endanger the left handed man. And this is one of the speciall points which either the one or the other can learne. This which I have tolde you (especiallie if either of them have to deale with one that is ignorant) will give him the advantage against his adversarie. Furthermore, if you shall lye in the first warde with your right foote formost, bearing your selfe somewhat towards the right side of your enemie, and hee offer a mandritta at your head, be you readie with your dagger bearing the pointe high, and turning your bodie upon your left side, for so you shall give him a stoccata, or imbroccata, or punta riversa, in the belly or face, according as you shal finde your best advantage, & your enemie most discovered: you may also standing stedfast in good warde, give him a riversa at the legges. But if you should offer to avoide it by turning of your bodie, and be not quick therein, your adversarie might give you a mandritta upon the face or head: for there are many who in avoiding with their bodies, lose their daggers, and put themselves in great danger: also the escape which you make with your bodie upon the lefte side, is clean contrary to that which you use against the right handed man, because that when the right handed maketh a mandritta at your head, you do not raise the point of your dagger much, and turne your bodie upon your right side, but dealing with the left handed man, you turne your bodie upon your lefte side: also when he giveth you a riversa, you shal turne your bodie upon the right side. Moreover, if you shall have occasion to make a mezza incartata, you shal do it in a sorte clean contrarie to that which youy make dealing with a right handed man, for you make your mezza incartata to the right handed man, giving him a stoccata, but to the lefte handed by an imbroccata, playing well with your bodie: if you be well skilled in your weapon, exercising your selfe in the first, second, and third wards, you shall do many thinges more then I speake of. Likewise the left handed, if he practise well these foresaid wardes, shall be able to defend himselfe, and to deal against any other ward. And for this time I will not discourse to you any farther, onely I advise you to exercise your selfe in all these points I have set down unto you, because besides the knowledge, you shall make your practise absolute in such sorte, that when occasion to serve to speake of such matters, you maie be able to give a sufficient reason therof, & also defend your selfe against such as will offer you injurie, for the worlde is nowe subject to many wronges and insolencies. But you shal therby make your selfe most perfect, and know far more in this behalfe than I have uttered unto you, for it is not possible in this art to expresse all by words, which by your own experience and diversitie of occurrences you shall finde. But for this time enough, let us pray to God to defend us from all mishaps. L. Amen, saye I, thanking you hartilye for your curtesie and favour shewed me in these matters, and I will not faile heereafter to visite you nowe and then, that our friendshippe maie dailie grow greater, offering at all times my small power to doo you service in acknowledgement of this your goodnes. V. And I also thanke you for your kindnesse and loving offers. Adio. L. Adio. The end of the first Booke.