The Preface to the Reader.
IT is not the least, but the greatest kinde of folly, when a man hauing but a little science, presumeth to teach not onely those which haue onely science, but such as haue most certaine experience. For mine owne part (among many) I am most free from this guilt: though for the good of many I haue published this Treatise which will make me thereby seeme guiltie. Yet I con∣fesse the Booke or Treatise is a collection of such notes as haue bin by me selected out of the best Tacticke writers both An∣cient and Moderne. All which I haue illustrated with ex∣amples, and precepts, the better to instruct all yong Comman∣ders; who by reading them may get much knowledge. But it may be these braue spirits are minded to get knowledge by experience, and not to ioyne experience vnto knowledge: therefore they affect the bloody fields of Africke better then the beautifull Schooles in Greece. Well, let them doe so; but in my opinion it seemes a farre better and shorter way (for them) to attaine to the name of worthy perfect Captaines, to ioyne experience vnto knowledge, then to get knowledge by Experience. For Mans life is short and subiect to many casu∣alties, oftentimes it is cut off before it can come to any such perfection as is required in an excellent man of War; where∣as small experience with diligent reading, and perfect lear∣ning of feats of Warre may frame and make many politicke Captaines in a small time.
I doe not meane that knowledge without experience can doe any great thing at all; but being ioyned both together, doubtlesse they may be as able to bring to passe as great and Page [unnumbered] as merueilous things in valiant men in these our dayes, as they haue done to others before our time: To which not on∣ly experience alone brought them, but diligent learning and study of the Art of Warre, written and set forth by Histori∣call Writers and Poets. Innumerable are the Bookes which this age doth afford of the like subiect for their direction: the number of which I haue augmented by two; namely, The Character of Warre, and The Prospectiue Glasse of Warre. The Character of Warre, doth instruct them in the vse of the Postures, in the vse of Facing, Wheeling, Countermarching, Doubling, Distances, and the like. And how to Command a Company.
The prospectiue Glasse of Warre doth instruct them how to Victuall an Army, how to prouide money to pay Soul∣diers, how to finde out the enemies purposes, Traps, and Stratagems; how to direct an Army to march either by day or by night; how to Embattell; how to behaue themselues in battell, when to fight, when to auoide fight, with many o∣ther excellent things worthy of their knowledge. Then let them read, and reading they will learne to iudge aright of the Author; who puts a difference betweene the state of Phi∣losophers, and the state of Captaines; betweene the skill to read in Schooles, and the knowledge to rule an Army; be∣tween the science that wise men haue in Books, and the expe∣rience that others haue in war; betweene the skill to write with the pen, and others to write with the sword; betweene one that for his pastime is set round with deskes of Bookes, and another in perill of life, encompassed with troopes of e∣nemies. Therefore presumes not to teach any such graue ex∣perienced Souldiers; onely records what they haue done, or can doe; which he recounts to others to imitate, who it may be haue neither seene nor read them. Spare not then to iudge and censure him who will euer remaine thine.