THE DEDICATION OF THE BOOKE.
LO heere (my Sonne) a mirrour viue and faire,
Which sheweth the shaddow of a worthy King.
Lo heere a Booke, a patterne doth you bring
Which ye should preasse to follow mair and maire.
This trustie friend, the trueth will never spaire,
But give a good advice unto you heare:
How it should be your chiefe and princely care,
To follow vertue, vice for to forbeare.
And in this Booke your lesson will ye leare,
For guiding your people great and small.
Then (as ye ought) give an attentive eare,
And panse how ye these precepts practice shall.
Your father bids you studie here and reede,
How to become a perfect King indeede.
THE ARGUMENT OF THE BOOKE.
GOD gives not Kings the style of Gods in vaine,
For on his throne his Scepter do they swey:
And as their subjects out them to obey,
So Kings should feare and serve their god againe.
If then ye would enjoy a happie raigne,
Observe the Statutes of your Heavenly King;
And from his Lawe make all your Lawes to spring:
Since his Lieutenant hear ye should remaine.
Rewared the just, be steadfast, true, and plaine:
Repress the proud, maintaing ay the right,
Walke alwaies so, as ever in his sight
Who guardes the godly, plaging the prophaine,
And so ye shall in princely vertues shine.
Resembling right your mighty King divine.
TO HENRIE MY DEAREST SONNE
AND NATURAL SUCCESSOR.
WHOME TO so rightly appertain this booke, of the institution of a Prince in all the poyntes of his calling, as well generall (as a Christian towardes God) as particuler (as a King towardes his people?) whom-to (I say) can it so justlie apperteine, as unto you my dearest Sonne? Since I the author thereof as your naturall Father, must be carefull for your godlie and vertuous education as my eldest Sonne, and the first fruites of Gods blessing towards me in my posteritie: And (as a King) must timouslie provide for your training up in all poyntes of a Kinges office (since ye are my naturall and lawfull Successour therein) that (being rightly informed hereby of the weight of your burden) yee may in time begin to consider, that being borne to be a King, ye are rather borne to O N V S, then HONOS: not excelling all your people so far in rank and honour, as in daylie care and hazardous paines-taking, for the duetifull administration of that greate office that God hath layde upon your shoulders: laying so a just symmetrie and proportion, betwixt the height of your honourable place, and the heavie weight of your great charge: and consequentlie incase of falzie (which God forbid) of the sadnes of your fall, according to the proportion of that height. I have therefore (for the greater ease to your memorie, and that ye may at the first, cast up any part that ye have to doe with) devided this booke into three partes. The first teacheth you your duty towards God as a Christian: the next your duetie in your office as a King: And the third teacheth you how to behave your self in indifferent things, which of themselves are neither right nor wrong, but according as they are rightly or wrong used: & yet wil serve (according to your behaviour therein) to augmnet or impair your fame and authoritie at the hands of your people. Receive and welcome this booke then, as a faithfull praeceptor and counsellor unto you: which (because my affaires will not permit me ever to be present with you) I ordaine to be a resident faithfull admonisher of you. And because the houre of death is uncertaine to me (as unto all flesh) I leave it as my Testament, & latter wil unto you: charging you in the presence of God, and by the fatherly authority I have over you, that ye keep it ever with you, as carefullie as ALEXANDER did the Iliades of HOMER. Ye wil find it a just and impartial counsellour, neither flatering you in any vice, nor importuning you at unmeete times: It will not come uncald, nor speake unspeared at: and yet conferring with it when ye are quiet, ye shal say with SCIPIO, that year Nunquam minus solus, quám cúm folus. To conclude then, I charge you (as ever ye thing to deserve my fatherly blessing) to follow and put in practise (as farre as lyeth in you) the precepts hereafter following: and if ye follow the contrair course, I take the great GOD to recorde, that this booke shall one day be a witnes betwixt me and you, and shall procure to bee ratified in heaven, the cuse that in that case here I give you; for I protest before that great God, I had rather be not a Father and child-less, nor be a Father of wicked children. But (hoping, yea even promising unto my selfe, that God who in his greate blessing sent you unto mee, shall in the same blessing, as he hath given me a Sonne, to make him a good and a godlie sonne, not repenting him of his mercy shewen unto me) I end this preface, with my earnest prayer to God, and worke effectually into you, the fruits of that blessing which here from my hearte, I bestow upon you.
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Keyword: Basilicon Doron