A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Ascham, Roger

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Ascham, Roger (1515-1568). -- Didactic writer and scholar, s. of John A., house-steward in the family of Lord Scrope, was b. at Kirby Wiske, Yorkshire, and ed. first by Sir Humphrey Wingfield, and then at St. John's Coll., Cambridge, where he devoted himself specially to the study of Greek, then newly revived, and of which, having taken a fellowship, he became a teacher. He was likewise noted for his skill in penmanship, music, and archery, the last of which is the subject of his first work, Toxophilus, pub. in 1545, and which, dedicated to Henry VIII., gained him the favour of the King, who bestowed a pension upon him. The objects of the book are twofold, to commend the practice of shooting with the long bow as a manly sport and an aid to national defence, and to set the example of a higher style of composition than had yet been attempted in English. Soon afterwards he was made university orator, and master of languages to the Lady (afterwards Queen) Elizabeth. He then went abroad in various positions of trust, returning on being appointed Latin Secretary to Edward VI. This office he likewise discharged to Mary and then to Elizabeth -- a testimony to his tact and caution in these changeful times. His principal work, The Schoolmaster, a treatise on education, was printed by his widow in 1570. He also pub. a book on the political state of Germany.

Editions: of Toxophilus, Arber; Schoolmaster, Arber, also Mayer (1883); English works, Bennet (1767), with life by Dr. Johnson; whole works, Giles (1864-5).