To the right honorable Sir William Cavendish, Knight of the Bath, Baron of Hardwick, and Earl of Devonshire

Right Honourable, I take confidence from your Lordship's goodness in the very entrance of this Epistle, to profess, with simplicity and according to the faith I owe my master now in heaven, that it is not unto yourself, but to your Lordship's father that I dedicate this my labour, such as it is. For neither am I at liberty to make choice of one to whom I may present it as a voluntary oblation; being bound in duty to bring it in as an account to him, by whose indulgence I had both the time and ammunition to perform it. Nor if such obligation were removed, know I any to whom I ought to dedicate it rather. For by the experience of many years I had the honour to serve him, I know this: there was not any, who more really, and less for glory's sake favoured those that studied the liberal arts liberally, than my Lord your father did; nor in whose house a man should less need the university than in his. For his own study, it was bestowed, for the most part, in that kind of learning which best deserveth the pains and hours of great persons, history and civil knowledge: and directed not to the ostentation of his reading, but to the government of his life and the public good. For he read, so that the learning he took in by study, by judgment he digested, and converted into wisdom and ability to benefit his country: to which also he applied himself with zeal, but such as took no fire either from faction or ambition. And as he was a most able man, for soundness of advice and clear expression of himself, in matters of difficulty and consequence, both in public and private: so also was he one whom no man was able either to draw or justle out of the straight path of justice. Of which virtue, I know not whether he deserved more by his severity in imposing it (as he did to his last breath) on himself, or by his magnanimity in not exacting it to himself from others. No man better discerned of men: and therefore was he constant in his friendships, because he regarded not the fortune nor adherence, but the men; with whom also he conversed with an openness of heart that had no other guard than his own integrity and that nil conscire. To his equals he carried himself equally, and to his inferiors familiarly; but maintaining his respect fully, and only with the native splendour of his worth. In sum, he was one in whom might plainly be perceived, that honour and honesty are but the same thing in the different degrees of persons. To him therefore, and to the memory of his worth, be consecrated this, though unworthy, offering.

And now, imitating in this civil worship the religious worship of the gentiles; who, when they dedicated any thing to their gods, brought and presented the same to their images: I bring and present this gift of mine, THE HISTORY OF THUCYDIDES, translated into English with much more diligence than elegance, to your Lordship; who are the image of your father, (for never was a man more exactly copied out than he in you), and who have in you the seeds of his virtues already springing up: humbly intreating your Lordship to esteem it amongst the goods that descend upon you, and in your due time to read it. I could recommend the author unto you, not impertinently, for that he had in his veins the blood of kings; but I choose rather to recommend him for his writings, as having in them profitable instruction for noblemen, and such as may come to have the managing of great and weighty actions. For I may confidently say, that notwithstanding the excellent both examples and precepts of heroic virtue you have at home, this book will confer not a little to your institution; especially when you come to the years to frame your life by your own observation. For in history, actions of honour and dishonour do appear plainly and distinctly, which are which; but in the present age they are so disguised, that few there be, and those very careful, that be not grossly mistaken in them. But this, I doubt not, is superfluously spoken by me to your Lordship. Therefore I end with this prayer: that it will please God to give you virtues suitable to the fair dwelling he hath prepared for them, and the happiness that such virtues lead unto both in and after this world.

Your Lordship's most humble servant,


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