To the Prince.
Nor your highnes, nor any man to whose vew this present booke shall come, shall need to finde it strange, either, why it hath borrowed an English habitt, or shrowded it selfe under so great a protection: since on the one side it represents unto You that manner of exercise of Armes, which hath for many yeares bene practised in this schoole of warre, the United Provinces, and that, by a Captayne whose worth (I thinke) not any part of the world is ignorant of: in which warre the valure of the English and Schottish nations (now Brittaynes) hath bene of that speciall marke and note, that, for readye use of theyr Armes, provident care of the Commaunders and commendable obedience of the Souldier towards his chiefe, it can not be denyed but that the Provinces have received verye acceptable services at theyr handes. On the other side: to whom could I (in judgement) more fitly and (as I may saye) justly, addresse the proprietye of a worke of this worthe and nature? then to a Prince descended from so many powerfull and victorious Kinges, who even by destyny and judgement of all the world, is not onely the heyre of theyr Fortunes, but an inheritour of theyr vertues also: then to a Prince the sonne of the most puissant Kinge of all his predecessours: who, though he blesseth his Realmes with the sweetenesse of peace, yet (doubtelesse) he placeth the securitie of that content, in the due and lawfull exercise of Armes. Lately, to whom rather (I saye) should I dedicate this worke? then to a Prince, that through the light of his owne proper example, doth so much beautifye and ennoble the practise of Armes, who even in the fore-springe of his yeares and amidst so many other princely entertaynements fitt for his youth and state, doth yet give such a lustre to this of Armes, by the coutinuall familiaritye he hath with them in his often practise, that I thinke I may saye, and saye truely, that the most true and perfect knowledge of them is rather to be found with your Highnes, then brought to You. Therefore, as all those excellent professours of excellent sciences (wherein yet your Highnes excells them all) are every one in speciall duety bound, to give the best testymonye they can of theyr thankefulnesse, both in regard of the favour which some receive in being nere You, and also of the honour which You doe to all theyr professions, in not disdayninge to participate with theyr industries: So have I in all humble and due respect, thought it fitt, to tender You this acknowledgement of myne, hopinge that your Highnes shall receive no small contentement, by addinge the longe experience of the Nether-lands practise to Your owne knowledge of ancient Histories, and those wise and deep-grounded instructions of that great Monarche the Kinge Your Father.
Your Highnes his.
Most humble servant in all duetye at command.
Jacob de Gheyn.