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Shewing the Properties, Office and Duties of a Gunner

Nicolo Tartaglia, 1588

translated by Cyprian Lucar

A gunner ought to be sober, wakeful, lusty, hardy, patient, prudent and a quick spirited man, he ought also to have good eyesight, a good judgement and perfect knowledge to select a convenient place in the day of service, to plant his ordnance where he may do most hurt unto the enemies and be least annoyed by them.

Also he ought to be no surfeiter nor a great and sluggish sleeper, but he must govern himself at all times as a wise, modest, sober, honest and skilful man ought to, that through want of understanding he may never lose his credit nor an universal victory which oftentimes by the means of good Gunners well managing their pieces is gotten.

Also a gunner in time of service ought to forbid with meek and courteous speech all manner of persons other than his appointed assistants to come near his pieces, to the end that none of his pieces may be choked, poisoned or hurt, and he ought not for any prayers or reward lend any piece of his gunmatch to any other person because it may be hurtful to him in time of service to lack the same.

Also if a gunner charge his piece with cartridges he ought to sett them upright in a tub or some other wooden vessel which (though it seem to stand in a place out of danger for fire) should never be uncovered for any longer time than while the same cartridges are taken out one by one to charge the piece.

Also every gunner before he shoots should consider whether the air is thin and clear or close and thick, because a pellet will pass more easily through thin air.

Also every gunner ought to know that as it is a wholesome thing for him to drink and eat a little meat before he doth discharge any piece of ordnance, because the fume of saltpetre and brimstone will otherwise be hurtful to his brains, so it is very unwholesome for him to shoot any piece of ordnance while his stomach is full.

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