HAving a restless desire in the dailie exercises of Pen to present some acceptable peece of work to your L. and finding no one thine so fit for my purpose and your honorable disposition, as the knowledge of Armes and Weapons, which defends life, countrie, & honour, I presumed to preferre a booke to the print (translated out of the Italyan language) of a gentlemans doing that is not so gredie of glory as many glorious writers that eagerly would snatch Fame out of other mens mouthes, by a little labour of their own, But rather keeps his name unknowen to the world (under a shamefast clowd of prayes where it maketh smallest bragg: for the goodnes of the mind seekes no glorious gwerdon, but hopes to reap the reward of well doing among the rypest of judgement & worthiest of sound consideration, like unto a man that giveth his goods unto the poore, and maketh his treasurehouse in heaven, And further to be noted, who can tarrie til the feed sowen in the earth be almost rotten or dead, shal be sure in a bountiful harvest to reap a goodly crop of corne And better it is to abyde a happie season to see how things will prove, than soddainly to seeke profite where slowlye comes commoditie or any benefit wil rise. Some say, that good writers doe purchase small praise till they be dead, (Hard is that opinion.) and then their Fame shal flowrish & bring foorth the fruite that long lay hid in the earth.
This gentleman, perchaunce, in the regard smothers up his credit, and stands carelesse of the worlds report: but I cannot see him so forgotten for his paines in this worke is not little, & his merite must be much that hath in our English tongue published so necessarie a volume in such apt termes & in so bigg a booke (besides the lively descriptions & models of the same) that shews great knowledge & cunning, great art in the weapon, & great suretie of the man that wisely can use it, & stoutly execute it. All manner of men allowes knowledge: then where knowledge & courage meets in one person, there is ods in that match, whatsoever manhod & ignorance can say in their own behalfe. The fine book of ryding hath made many good hors-men: and this booke of Fencing will save many mens lyves, or put comon quarrels out of use because the danger is death if ignorant people procure a combate. Here is nothing set downe or speach used, but for the preservation of lyfe and honour of man: most orderly rules, & noble observations, enterlaced with wise councell & excellent good wordes, penned from a fowntaine of knowledge and flowing witt, where the reasons runnes as freely as cleere water cometh from a Spring or Conduite. Your L. can judge both of the weapon & words, wherefore there needes no more commendation of the booke: Let shewe itself, craving some supportation of your honourable sensure: and finding favour and passage among the wise, there is no doubt but all good men will like it, and the bad sort will blush to argue against it, as knoweth our living Lord, who augment your L. in honour & desyred credit.
Your L. in all humbly at commaundement.