To my louinge frende Thomas Bedingfeld Esquyer, one of her Maie∣sties gentlemen Pentioners.
AFter I had perused youre letters good maister Bedingfeld, findinge in thē your request farre differing from the de∣sert of your labour, I could not chose but greatly doubt, whether it were better for me to yelde you your desyre, or execute myne owne intention towardes the publishinge of youre Booke. For I do confesse the affections that I haue alwayes borne towardes you coulde moue mee not a little. But whē I had throughlye considered in my mynde of sondrye and diuers argumentes, whether it were best to obeye myne af∣fections or the merites of your studyes. At the length I de∣termined it better to denye your vnlawfull request, then to graunte or condiscende to the concealment of so worthy a worke. VVhereby as you haue bene profited in the transla∣tinge, so many may reape knowledge by the reading of the same, that shall comfort the afflicted, cōfirme the doubtful, encourage the cowarde, and lift vp the base minded man, to atchiefe to any true sūme or grade of vertue, wherto ought onely the noble thoughtes of men to be enclyned. And be∣cause next to the sacred letters of Diuinitye, nothinge doth perswade the same more then Philosophye, of whiche youre booke is plentifully stored. I thought my selfe to cōmit an vnpardonable errour, to haue murthered the same in y• wast bottomes of my chestes, and better I thought it were to dis∣please one, then to displease many: further consideringe so little a trifle cannot procure so great a breach of our amity, as may not with a little perswasiōs of reason be repayred a∣gayne. And herein I am forced like a good and politicke Captaine, oftētimes to spoile & burne the corne of his owne coūtrey, least his ennemyes therof do take aduaūtage. For rather then so many of your countreye men shoulde be de∣•ided through my senister meanes of your industry in stu∣dyes, Page [unnumbered] (wherof you are bound in conscience to yelde them an accōpte) I am content to make spoyle and hauocke of your request, and that that might haue wrought greatly in me in this former respect, vtterlye to be of no effect or operation, and when you examine your selfe what doth auaile a masse of goulde to be continuallye imprisoned in your bags, and neuer to be employed to your vse. I do not doubte euen so you thinke of your studyes and delightfull Muses. VVhat do they auaile, if you do not participate tbem to others? VVherfore we haue this latine Prouerbe. Scire tuū nihil est nisi te scire hoc sciat alter. VVhat doth auaile the tree vnlesse it yeld fruite vnto an other, vvhat doth auaile the Vyne vnlesse an other delighteth in the Grape? Vvhat doth auaile the Rose vnlesse an other toke pleasure in the smell? VVhye should this tree be accompted better thē that tree, but for the good∣nes of his fruite? VVhye should this Vyne be better then that Vyne, vnlesse it brought forth a better Grape then the other? VVhye should this Rose be better esteemed thē that Rose, vnlesse in pleasantnes of smel it farre surpassed the o∣ther Rose? And so is it in al other thinges as well as in man. VVhye should this man, be more esteemed then that man, but for his vertue, throughe vvhich euerye man desireth to be accompted of. Then you amongest men I do not doubt, but vvill aspyre to followe that vertuous pathe, to illuster your selfe vvyth the ornamentes of vertue. And in myne opynion as it beutifyeth a fayre vvoman to be decked with pearles and precious stones, so much more it ornifyeth a gē∣tleman to be furnished in mynde wyth glittering vertues. VVherefore considering the small harme I do to you, the great good I do to others I prefer myne ovvne intention to discouer your volume, before your request to secrete ye same: VVherein I may seeme to you to playe the part of the cun∣ninge and experte Medeciner or Phisition, vvho althoughe his pacient in the extremitye of his burninge Feuer, is desi∣rous of colde liccour or drincke to qualefye his sore thirst, or rather kill his languishinge bodye. Yet for the daunger hee doth euidentlye knowe by his science to ensue, denyeth Page [unnumbered] hym the same. So you beinge sicke of to much doubte in your owne procedinges, throughe which infirmitye you are desirous to burye and inseuill your workes in the graue of obliuion. Yet I knovvinge the discommodityes that shal redounde to your selfe thereby (and whiche is more vnto your Coūtreyemen) as one that is vvilling to salue so great an incōuenience, am nothing dainty to denye your request. Againe we see, if our frendes be deade, vve cannot shewe or declare our affection more then by erectinge them of Tom∣bes: vvhereby vvhen they be deade in deede, yet make vvee them liue as it vvere againe through theyr monument, but vvyth me behold it happeneth farre better, for in your lyfe time I shal erect you such a monumēt, that as I saye in your life time you shall see hovve noble a shadowe of your ver∣tuous life, shal hereafter remaine vvhen you are deade and gone. And in your life time againe I say, I shall giue you that monument and remembraunce of your lyfe, vvhereby I may declare my good vvill thoughe vvith your ill vvill as yet that I do beare you in your life. Thus earnestlye de∣syringe you in this one request of myne, as I vvould yelde to you in a great manye, not to repugne the settinge forth of your ovvne proper studyes. I bid you farevvel.
¶From my newe countrye Muses at VViuenghole, wi∣shing you as you haue begunne, to proceede in these ver∣tuous actions. For when all things shall els forsake vs, vertue yet wil euer abide wyth vs, and when our bodies falles into the bowels of the earth, yet that shall mounte with our mindes into the highest Heauens.
By your louinge and assured frende. E. Oxenford.