Of Englishe Dogges/Dedication
DOCTISSIMO VIRO, ET
Patrono suo singulari D. Perne, Eliensis
ecclesiæ Cathedralis dignissimo
Decano, Abrahamus Flemingus,
Cripsit non multis abhinc annis (optime Patrone) et non impolitè scripsit, vir omnibus optimarum literarum remis instructissimus, de doctorum grege non malè meritus, tuæ dignitati familiaritatis nexu coniunctissimus, clarissimum Cantabrigiensis academiæ lumen, gēma, et gloria, Johannes Caius, ad Conradum Gesnerum summum suum, hominem peritissimum, indagatorem rerum reconditarum sagacissimum, pulcherrimaq. historiarum naturalium panoplia exornatü, epitomem de cambus Britannicis non tam breuem quàm elegantem, et vtilem, epitomen inquam variis variorum experimentorum argumentis concinnatam; in cuius titulum cū forte incidissem, et nouitate re inonnihil delectarer, interpretationem Anglicam aggressus sum. Postquam vero finem penso imposuissem, repentina quædem de pousculi dedicatione cogitatio oboriebatur tādemque post multas multarum rerum iactationes, beneficiarum tuorum (Ornatīssime vir) vnica recordatio, instar rutilantis stellæ, quæ radiorum splendore quaslibet caliginosas teterrimæ obliuionis nebulas dissipat, et memoriæ serenitatem, plusquā solarem, inducit, mihi illuxit; nec nō officii ratio quæ funetissimis insensæ fortunæ fulminibus conquassata, lacerata, et convulsa, penè perierat, fractas vires multumq. debilitatas colligebat, pristinum robur recuperauit, tandemque aliquando ex Lethea illa palude neruose emergebat, atque elucatata est. Quā voraginē simulatque euaserat, sic effloruit, adeoque increuit, vt vnamquamque animi mei cellulā in sui ditionem atque imperii amplitudinem raperet. Nune vero in contemplatione meritorum tuorum versari non desino, quorum magnitudinem nescio an tam tenui et leuidensi orationis filo possim circumscribere: Hoc, Ædepol, me non mediocriter mouet, non leuiter torquet, non languide pungit. Est præterea alia causea quæ mihi scrupulum injicit, et quodammodo exulcerat, ingrati nempe animi suspicio a qua, tanquam ab aliqua Lernæa Hydra, pedibus (vt aiunt) Achilleis semper fugi, et tamē valde pertimesco ne officij mora et procrastinatio (vt ita dicam) obscænam securitatis labem nomini meo inurat, coque magis expauesco quod peruulgatum illud atque decantatum poetæ carmen memoriæ occurrebat.
Dedecus est semper sumere nilque dare.
Sed (Ornatissime vir) quemadmodū metus illius mali me magnopere affligebat atque fodicabat, ita spes alterius boni, nempe humanitatis tuæ, qua cæteris multis interuallis præluxeris, origit suffulcitque: Ea etiam spes alma et opima iubet et hortatur aliquod quale quale sit, officij specimen cum allacritate animi prodere. Hisce itaque persuasionibus victus me morigerum præbui, absolutamque de canibus Britannicis interpretationē Anglicam, tibi potissimum vtpote patrono singulari, et vnico Mæcenati dedicandū proposui: non quod tam ieiuno et exili munere immensum meritorum tuorum mare metiri machiner, non quod religiosas aures sacratasque, prophanæ paginæ explicatione obtundere cupiam, nec quod nugatoriis friuolisque narrationibus te delectari arbiter, cum in diuinioribus excercitationibus totus sis: sed potius (cedat fides dicto) quod insignis ille egregiusque liber alium artium, et præcipuè medicæ facultatis princeps (qui hoc opusculum contexuit) ita viguit dum vixerat adeoque inclaruit, vt haud scio (vt ingenué fatear quod sentio) an post funer a parem sibi superstitem reliquerit. Deinde quod hunc libellum summo studio et industria elaboratum in transmarinas regiones miserat, ad hominem omni literarum genere, et præsertim occumtarū rerum cognitione, quæ intimis naturæ visceribus et medullis insederat (O ingeniū niueo lapillo dignū) cuius difficultates Laberyntheis anfractibus flexuosisque recessibus impeditas perscrutari et investigare (deus bone, quam ingēs labor, quam infinitum opus,) excultum, Conradum Gesnerum scriberet, quæ tantam gratiam conciliauit vt non solum amicissimo osculo exciperet, sed etiam studiose lectitaret, accuratè vtetur, inexhaustis denique viribus, tenquam perspicacissimus draco vellus auream, et oculis plusquam aquilinis custodiret. Postremo quemadmodum hanc epitomen à viro veré docto ad virum summa nominis celebritate decoratum scriptam fuisse accepimus, ita eandem ipsam (pro titulo Britānnico) Britanico sermone, licet ineleganti, vsitata et populari, ab esuriente Rhetore donatum, tuis (eruditissime vir) manibus commendo vt tuo sub patronico in has atque illas regionis nostræ partes intrepide profiscatur; obstentorque ut hunc libellum, humilem et obscuram inscriptionem gerentem, argumentum nouum et antehæc non auditum complectientem, ab omni tamen Sybaritica obscœnitate remotissimum, æqui bonique consulas,
To the most learned man, and his especial patron, E. Perne, most worthy Dean of Ely Cathedral church, Abraham Fleming dedicates.
Not many years ago (O best of patrons) a man most advised in every branch of life; one who has deserved well of the company of the learned; bound by the ties of family to yourself; a most shining light of the University of Cambridge; its jewel and glory, John Caius, wrote not without elegance to Conrad Gesner, a man exceedingly skilled and sagacious in the investigation of recondite matters; a man armed with everything that relates to natural history; the same man wrote an epitome concerning British dogs, not so concise as elegant and useful; an epitome compact of the various arguments and experiences of many minds; a book which when by chance I had met with it, and was covered with delight with the novelty of its appearance, I attempted to translate into English. After I had finished my task, a sudden conceit arose in me touching the dedication of the pamphlet, and after tossing many thoughts to and fro, the recollections (most ornate sir) of your benefits, as a ruddy star, by the splendour of its radiance, dissipates the misty clouds of the most foul oblivion, and brings a serenity brighter than that of the sun to the memory, shone on me; and that sentiment of duty which shaken by the most deadly bolts of hostile fortune torn and convulsed, had almost died, collected its shattered and most weakened strength, recovered its pristine vigour, and at last, from that bog of Lethe, nobly extricated itself and emerged. Out of which whirlpool as soon as it had escaped, it so flourished and so increased that it caught every cell of my mind under the influence of its rule and command. Now, however, I cease not to be occupied in the contemplation of your merits, the magnitude of which can scarcely be circumscribed in my thin coarse and slight thread of speech. This fact, by Jove, does not move me lightly, distresses me in no common manner, and pricks me with no shallow wound. There is besides another cause, which makes me pause, and in some manner tortures me, namely the suspicion of ingratitude, from which, as from another Lernean hydra, I have ever fled (as the phrase runs) with Achillean feet, and still I very much fear lest delay and procrastination of my duty brand my name with a shameful mark of carelessness. This so much the more I fear because that truth and common verse of the poet comes into my mind
It is a shame always to receive and never to give.
But (O most ornate Sir!) however the fear of that ill mightily stirs and discomposes me, yet the expectation of another good, that is of your humanity, in which quality you shine far beyond other men, restores and buoys me up. That gentle and excellent hope commands and exhorts me to produce some specimen or token of my duty, however small, with alacrity. By these inducements conquered, I proposed free interpretation into English of the treatise on British dogs, and have dedicated it to you rather than to anyone else as my one patron, and unique Mæcenas. Not because I supposed that the unmeasurable sea of your merits could be gaged by so jejune and poor a gift; not because I was anxious to weary your sacred and religious years with the explanation of a profane page; nor because I supposed that yun would be delighted with idle and frivolous matter, occupied as you are entirely in divine lucubrations, but rather (if I may be believed) beoause that egregious and noble prince of the liberal arts, and more especially of the faculty of medicine, who composed this work, so flourished while he lived, and obtained so brilliant a fame, that I know not honestly to confess what I feel, if after his death, he has left any like him. Lastly because he had sent this little book to Conrad Gesner, elaborated with the utmost industry into lands beyond the sea, to a man remarkable for his knowledge of all kinds of literature, and especially for his acquaintance with occult matters, which is settled in the inmost bowels and marrows of Nature (O talent worthy of a white stone!), whose difficulties, entangled by Labyrinthian windings and tortuous flexuosities I have investigated (O good God! how great a labour and how infinite a travail!) which raised such favour and conciliation in the breast of Conrad Gesner, that he not only received it with a friendly kiss, but also read it studiously, and used it accurately, with the inexhausted strength by which the dragon guards the fleece of gold, and kept it with more vigilant eyes than the eagle. Lastly, since we have heard that this epitome was written by a truly learned man to a man adorned with the highest celebrity of fame, so the epitome, in English speech, however inelegant, is yet common and popular to your hands. O most erudite Sir, I beseech you to command, that under your patronage, it may boldly go forth into all parts of our country, and I solemnly pray you to receive from me this book bearing a humble and obscure inscription, but embracing an argument new and as yet unheard of; as well as entirely free from any Sybaritic obscenity.
The most bounden to your service,