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Difference between revisions of "George Silver"

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! <p>{{rating|B|Completed Modernization}}<br/>by [[Steve Hick]]</p>
 
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| Jeronimo: this gallant was valiant, and would fight indeed, and did, as you shall hear. He being in a coach with a wench that he loved well, there was one Cheese, a very tall man, in his fight natural English, for he fought with his sword and dagger, and in rapier fight had no skill at all. This Cheese having a quarrel to Jeronimo, overtook him upon the way, himself being on horseback, did call to Jeronimo, and bade him come forth of the coach or he would fetch him, for he was come to fight with him. Jeronimo presently went forth of the coach and drew his rapier and dagger, put himself into his best ward or Stocata, which ward was taught by himself and Vincentio, and by them best allowed of, to be the best ward to stand upon in fight for life, either to assault the enemy, or stand and watch his coming, which ward it should seem he ventured his life upon, but howsoever with all the fine Italianated skill Jeronimo had, Cheese with his sword within two thrusts ran him into the body and slew him. Yet the Italian teachers will say, that an Englishman cannot thrust straight with a sword, because the hilt will not suffer him to put the forefinger upon the blade, nor to hold the pommel in the hand, whereby we are of necessity to hold fast the handle in the hand. By reason whereof we are driven to thrust both compass and short, whereas with the rapier they can thrust both straight and much further than we can with the sword, because of the hilt. And these are the reasons they make against the sword.
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| class="noline" | Jeronimo: this gallant was valiant, and would fight indeed, and did, as you shall hear. He being in a coach with a wench that he loved well, there was one Cheese, a very tall man, in his fight natural English, for he fought with his sword and dagger, and in rapier fight had no skill at all. This Cheese having a quarrel to Jeronimo, overtook him upon the way, himself being on horseback, did call to Jeronimo, and bade him come forth of the coach or he would fetch him, for he was come to fight with him. Jeronimo presently went forth of the coach and drew his rapier and dagger, put himself into his best ward or Stocata, which ward was taught by himself and Vincentio, and by them best allowed of, to be the best ward to stand upon in fight for life, either to assault the enemy, or stand and watch his coming, which ward it should seem he ventured his life upon, but howsoever with all the fine Italianated skill Jeronimo had, Cheese with his sword within two thrusts ran him into the body and slew him. Yet the Italian teachers will say, that an Englishman cannot thrust straight with a sword, because the hilt will not suffer him to put the forefinger upon the blade, nor to hold the pommel in the hand, whereby we are of necessity to hold fast the handle in the hand. By reason whereof we are driven to thrust both compass and short, whereas with the rapier they can thrust both straight and much further than we can with the sword, because of the hilt. And these are the reasons they make against the sword.
 
'''FINIS'''
 
'''FINIS'''
| ''Ieronimo'' this gallant was valiant, and would fight indeed, and did, as you ſhall heare. He being in a Coch with a wench that he loued well, there was one ''Cheeſe'', a verie tall man, in his fight naturall Engliſh, for he fought with his Sword and Dagger, and in Rapier-fight had no skill at all. This ''Cheeſe'' hauing a quarrell to ''Ieronimo'', ouertooke him vpon the way, himſelfe being on horſebacke, did call to ''Ieronimo'', and bad him come forth of the Coch or he would fetch him, for he was come to fight with him. ''Ieronimo'' preſently went forth of the Coch and drew his Rapier and dagger, put himſelf into his beſt ward or ''Stocata'', which ward was taught by himſelfe and ''Vincentio'', and by them beſt allowed of, to be the beſt ward to ſtand vpon in fight for life, either to aſſault the enemie, or ſtand and watch his comming, which ward it ſhould ſeeme he ventured his life vpon, but howſoeuer with all the fine Italienated skill ''Ieronimo'' had, ''Cheeſe'' with his Sword within two thruſtes ran him into the bodie and ſlue him. Yet the Italian teachers will ſay, that an Engliſhmā cannot thruſt ſtraight with a Sword, becauſe the hilt will not ſuffer him to put the forefinger ouer the Croſſe, nor to put the thumbe vpon the blade, nor to hold the pummell in the hand, whereby we are of neceſſitie to hold faſt the handle in the hand : by reaſon whereof we are driuen to thruſt both compaſſe and ſhort, whereas with the Rapier they can thruſt both ſtraight and much further then we can with the Sword, becauſe of the hilt: and theſe be the reaſons they make againſt the Sword.
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| class="noline" | ''Ieronimo'' this gallant was valiant, and would fight indeed, and did, as you ſhall heare. He being in a Coch with a wench that he loued well, there was one ''Cheeſe'', a verie tall man, in his fight naturall Engliſh, for he fought with his Sword and Dagger, and in Rapier-fight had no skill at all. This ''Cheeſe'' hauing a quarrell to ''Ieronimo'', ouertooke him vpon the way, himſelfe being on horſebacke, did call to ''Ieronimo'', and bad him come forth of the Coch or he would fetch him, for he was come to fight with him. ''Ieronimo'' preſently went forth of the Coch and drew his Rapier and dagger, put himſelf into his beſt ward or ''Stocata'', which ward was taught by himſelfe and ''Vincentio'', and by them beſt allowed of, to be the beſt ward to ſtand vpon in fight for life, either to aſſault the enemie, or ſtand and watch his comming, which ward it ſhould ſeeme he ventured his life vpon, but howſoeuer with all the fine Italienated skill ''Ieronimo'' had, ''Cheeſe'' with his Sword within two thruſtes ran him into the bodie and ſlue him. Yet the Italian teachers will ſay, that an Engliſhmā cannot thruſt ſtraight with a Sword, becauſe the hilt will not ſuffer him to put the forefinger ouer the Croſſe, nor to put the thumbe vpon the blade, nor to hold the pummell in the hand, whereby we are of neceſſitie to hold faſt the handle in the hand : by reaſon whereof we are driuen to thruſt both compaſſe and ſhort, whereas with the Rapier they can thruſt both ſtraight and much further then we can with the Sword, becauſe of the hilt: and theſe be the reaſons they make againſt the Sword.
 
'''FINIS.'''
 
'''FINIS.'''
  
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! <p>{{rating|B|Completed Modernization}}<br/>by [[Steve Hick]]</p>
 
! <p>{{rating|B|Completed Modernization}}<br/>by [[Steve Hick]]</p>
 
! <p>[[Bref Instructions vpõ My Pradoxes of Defence (Sloane MS No.376)|London Transcription]] (ca. 1605)<br/>by [[Jonathan Miller]]</p>
 
! <p>[[Bref Instructions vpõ My Pradoxes of Defence (Sloane MS No.376)|London Transcription]] (ca. 1605)<br/>by [[Jonathan Miller]]</p>
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| 5. Although the dagger fight is thought a very dangerous fight by reason of the shortness & singleness thereof, yet the fight thereof being handled as is aforesaid, is as safe & as defensive as the fight of any other weapon, this ends my brief instructions.
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| class="noline" | 5. Although the dagger fight is thought a very dangerous fight by reason of the shortness & singleness thereof, yet the fight thereof being handled as is aforesaid, is as safe & as defensive as the fight of any other weapon, this ends my brief instructions.
 
FINIS.
 
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| 5. Although the dagg<sup>r</sup> fyght be thought a verye dangerous fyght by reaſon of y<sup>e</sup> ſhortnes & ſynglenes therof, yet the fight therof being handled as is aforeſaid, is as ſaf & as defencive as is the fight of any other weapon, this endeth my Inſtructions.
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| class="noline" | 5. Although the dagg<sup>r</sup> fyght be thought a verye dangerous fyght by reaſon of y<sup>e</sup> ſhortnes & ſynglenes therof, yet the fight therof being handled as is aforeſaid, is as ſaf & as defencive as is the fight of any other weapon, this endeth my Inſtructions.
 
Finis.
 
Finis.
  
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The proper placement of these pages cannot be determined without examining scans of the [[Bref Instructions vpõ My Pradoxes of Defence (Sloane MS No.376)|Sloane MS No.376]].
 
The proper placement of these pages cannot be determined without examining scans of the [[Bref Instructions vpõ My Pradoxes of Defence (Sloane MS No.376)|Sloane MS No.376]].
{| class="floated master"
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|-  
 
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! <p>Illustrations</p>
 
! <p>{{rating|B|Completed Modernization}}<br/>by [[Steve Hick]]</p>
 
! <p>{{rating|B|Completed Modernization}}<br/>by [[Steve Hick]]</p>
 
! <p>[[Bref Instructions vpõ My Pradoxes of Defence (Sloane MS No.376)|London Transcription]] (ca. 1605)<br/>by [[Jonathan Miller]]</p>
 
! <p>[[Bref Instructions vpõ My Pradoxes of Defence (Sloane MS No.376)|London Transcription]] (ca. 1605)<br/>by [[Jonathan Miller]]</p>
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[[Category:Sword and Dagger]]
 
[[Category:Sword and Dagger]]
  
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[[Category:Format on hold]]

Latest revision as of 23:23, 14 October 2020

George Silver
Born ca. 1550s-early 60s
Died date of death unknown
Spouse(s) Mary Haydon
Nationality English
Genres Fencing manual
Language English
Notable work(s) Paradoxes of Defence
Manuscript(s)
First printed
english edition
Matthey, 1898
Concordance by Michael Chidester, Stephen Hand
Translations Český Překlad

George Silver (ca.1550s- early 1560s - 1620s) was a 16th - 17th century English nobleman and fencing enthusiast. He was likely born in the 1550s or early 1560s, the eldest of four brothers; apparently at least one of them, Toby, was also an accomplished swordsman. Silver is described as a gentleman in his treatise, and the fencing historian Aylward claims that he was eleventh in descent from Sir Bartholomew Silver, who was knighted by Edward II [1]. On March 24th 1580 (1579 in the old calendar then in use in England), he was married to Mary Haydon in London, England. [2]

Silver's martial lineage is unknown, but as a member of the gentry he was not affiliated with the lower class London Masters of Defence and would not have been a fencing master himself as the latter were classed as vagrants under the relevant act of 1529 [3]. In spite of this, he was possessed of strong opinions about the proper method of fencing and was strongly opposed to the contemporary Continental fencing traditions. He was particularly critical of the Italian masters who had set up schools in London, including Rocco Bonetti and Vincentio Saviolo. He and Toby went so far as to challenge Saviolo to a public fencing match to demonstrate the superiority of English arts, but even though they placarded London, Southwark, and Westminster with the challenge, and had it carried to Saviolo personally on the appointed day, Silver states that no formal match occurred.[4] Silver challenged Saviolo to fence him at ten weapons, beginning with the single rapier and rapier and dagger, which suggests that Silver had at least a passing familiarity with those weapons.[5]

In 1599, Silver published a treatise entitled Paradoxes of Defence and dedicated it to Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex and also Saviolo's patron. Silver uses "paradox" in the sense of heresy and in this work he speaks against the wildly popular rapier, detailing what he sees as its inherent flaws as well as those of the foreign fencing styles that emphasize it. A second volume, entitled Brief Instructions upon My Paradoxes of Defence and explaining his own English fencing style, was written at a later date. The manuscript is undated but refers to Great Britain and so must have been written after James I's introduction of that term in late 1604. Bref Instructions remained unpublished for unknown reasons.

Silver's activities after the publication of his book are unclear. Aylward claims that he was alive in 1622, when he was visited (a kind of audit of people claiming noble or gentlemanly status) by Cooke, Clarenceux King-of-Arms. [6] However, Robert Cooke died in 1593. The Clarenceux King-of Arms in 1622 was William Camden, but as he became paralyzed in 1622 and died in 1623 it is doubtful whether he visited Silver either.[7]

Treatises

Additional Resources

References

  1. J.D. Aylward, The English Master at Arms from the Twelfth to the Twentieth Century. London 1956, p. 62
  2. Ibid, p. 63
  3. Ibid. p. 19
  4. George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence, London 1599, pp. 66-67
  5. Ibid, p. 66
  6. J.D. Aylward, The English Master at Arms from the Twelfth to the Twentieth Century, London 1956, p. 62
  7. S. Hand, Swordplay in the Age of Shakespeare, In Press