George Silver. Brief Instructions to my Paradoxes of Defence. London.

To The Reader...

For as much as in my Paradoxes of Defence I have admonished men to take heed of false teachers of defence, yet once again in these my brief instructions I do the like, because divers have written books treating of the noble science of defence, wherein they rather teach offence than defence, rather showing men thereby how to be slain than to defend themselves from the danger of their enemies, as we may daily see to the great grief and overthrow of many brave gentlemen and gallant of our ever victorious nation of Great Britain, and therefore for the great love and care that I have for the well doing and preservation (?) of my countrymen, seeing their daily ruin and utter overthrow and utter overthrow of the diverse gallant gentlemen and others which trust only to that imperfect fight of that rapier, yes (?) although they daily see their own overthrow and slaughter thereby, yet because they are trained up therein, they think and do fully persuade themselves that there is no fight so excellent and whereas among diverse other their opinions yet leads them to this errors one of that chiefest is, because there be so many slain with these weapons and therefore they hold them so excellent, but these things do chiefly happen, first because their fight is imperfect for that they use neither the perfect grounds of true fight, neither yet the four governors without which no man can fight safe, neither do they use such other rules which are required in the right use of perfect defence, and also their weapons for the most part being of an imperfect length, must of necessity make an imperfect defence because they cannot use them in due time and place, for had these valorous minded men the right perfection of the true fight with the short sword and also of other weapons of perfect length, I know that men would come safer out of the field from such bloody bankets and that such would be their perfections herein that it would save many hundred mens lives. But how should men learn perfection out of such rules as nothing else but very imperfection itself? And as it is not fit for a man which desires the clear light of the day to go down into the bottom of a deep and dark dungeon, believing to find it there, so is it as impossible for men to find perfect knowledge of this noble science where as in all their teachings every thing is attempted and acted upon imperfect rules, for there is but one truth in all things, which I wish very heartily were taught and practiced here among us, and that those imperfect and murderous kind of false fights might be by them abolished. Leave now to quaff and gulp no longer of that filthy and brineish puddle, seeing you may now drink of that fresh and clear spring.

O that men for their defence would but give their mind to practice the true fight indeed and learn to bear true British wards for their defence, which if they had it in perfect practice, I speak it of my own knowledge that those imperfect Italian devices with rapier and poniard would be clean cast aside and of no account of all such as blind affections do not lead beyond the bounds of reason. Therefore for the very zealous and unfeigned love that I bear unto your high and royal person my countrymen pitying their causes that so may brave men should be daily murdered and spoiled for want of true knowledge of this noble science and as some imagine to be, only the excellence of the rapier fight, and where as my paradoxes of defence is to the most sort as a dark riddle in many things therein set down, therefore I have now this second time taken pains to write these few brief instructions there upon where by they may better attain to the truth of this science and laying open here all such things as was something intricate for them to understand in my paradoxes and therefore yet I have the full perfection and knowledge of the perfect use of all manner of weapons, it does embolden me here to write for the better instruction of the unskillful.

And I have added to these my brief instructions certain necessary admonitions which I wish every man not only to know but also to observe and follow, chiefly all such as are desirous to enter into the right usage and knowledge of their weapons and also I have thought it good to annex here unto my paradoxes of defence because in these my brief instructions, I have referred the reader to divers rules therein set down.

This I have written for an infallible truth and a note of remembrance to our gallant gentlemen & others of our brave minded nation of Great Britain, which here be minded to defend themselves and to win honor in the field by their actions of arms and single combats.

And know that I write not this for vainglory, but out of an entire love that I owe unto my native countrymen, as one who laments their losses, sorry that so great an error should be so carefully nourished as a serpent in their bosoms to their utter confusion, as of long time have been seen, whereas they would but seek the truth here in they were easily abolished, therefore follow the truth and fly ignorance.

And consider that learning has no greater enemy than ignorance, neither can the unskillful ever judge the truth of my art to them unknown, beware of rash judgment and accept my labors thankfully as I bestow them willingly, censure me justly, let no man despise my work herein causeless, and so I refer myself to the censure of such as are skillful herein and I commit you to the protection of the almighty Jehovah.

Yours in all love and friendly affection,

George Silver

Released: November 09, 1998 / Last modified: December 12, 2008