THE EPISTLE TO THE READER.
Questionless some men will blame me for making this Author speak in our vulgar tongue. For his Maximes and Tenents are condemnd of all, as pernicious to all Christian States, and hurtfull to all humane Societies. Herein I shall answer for my self with the Comoedian, Placere studeo bonis quam plurimis, et minime multos laedere: I endeavor to give content to the most I can of those that are well disposed, and no scandal to any. I grant, I find him blamed and condemned: I do no less my self. Reader, either do thou read him without a prejudicate opinion, and out of thy own judgement taxe his errors; or at least, if thou canst stoop so low, make use of my pains to help thee; I will promise thee this reward for thy labor: if thou consider well the actions of the world, thou shalt find him much practised by those that condemn him; who willingly would walk as theeves do with close lanternes in the night, that they being undescried, and yet seeing all, might surprise the unwary in the dark. Surely this book will infect no man: out of the wicked treasure of a mans own wicked heart, he drawes his malice and mischief. From the same flower the Bee sucks honey, from whence the Spider hath his poyson. And he that means well, shall be here warnd, where the deceitfull man learnes to set his snares. A judge who hath often used to examine theeves, becomes the more expert to sift out their tricks. If mischief come hereupon, blame not me, nor blame my Author: lay the saddle on the right horse: but Hony soit qui mal y pense: let shame light on him that hatcht the mischief.
to the Magnificent LAURENCE sonne to PETER OF MEDICIS health.
They that desire to ingratiate themselves with a Prince, commonly use to offer themselves to his view, with things of that nature as such persons take most pleasure and delight in: whereupon we see they are many times presented with Horses and Armes, cloth of gold, pretious stones, and such like ornaments, worthy of their greatness. Having then a mind to offer up my self to your Magnificence, with some testimony of my service to you, I found nothing in my whole inventory, that I think better of, or more esteeme, than the knowlege of great mens actions, which I have learned by a long experience of modern affairs, and a continual reading of those of the ancients. Which, now that I have with great diligence long workt it out, and throughly sifted, I commend to your Magnificence. And, however I may well think this work unworthy of your view; yet such is your humanity, that I doubt not but it shall find acceptance, considering, that for my part I am not able to tender a greater gift, than to present you with the means, whereby in a very short time you may be able to understand all that,