To that most brilliant man, most famous for his copious erudition, Gerrit Janszoon Vos.
It has now been over a year since our press has fumed and sweated for the sake of hammering out the little works of that greatest man, nay, that Phoenix of Literature, ERASMUS OF ROTTERDAM. Indeed, I judged it of interest to the literary community that the labors of such a man, through which he educated the entire world of his time, labors rescued from the mould and dust and liberated from the bookworms and moths, come forth for better and finer care into their hands, hands by which the honor, as well as the inviolable reputation, of literature and literature-lovers has thus far stood. Just as to the ancients, thinking about the general light of their vigils and labors, it was greatly and customarily of concern to beseech some protective spirit for its actions, so too did such a duty a little while ago instantly invade my mind, thinking about that man to whose name I should inscribe the Little Works just composed by me, namely, the two dialogues Ciceronianus and A Dialogue on the Correct Pronunciation of the Latin and Greek Languages. You, therefore, illustrious man, occurred to my mind and set it alight by the splendor of your name, so much so that, although I may scarcely seem to some to be about to pursue the price and reward of the labor, I might nevertheless carry back a most righteous thing, if into your clientship and patronage, you might permit both those things and the showing of a preface to the said Little Work facing your distinguished name. It not only encouraged me, but also added to and confirmed this boldness of mine, the study and love,
Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam's
A Dialogue on the Correct Pronunciation of the Latin and Greek Languages
Ursus and Leo
URSUS. May it be a happy meeting, great Leo, for I have not seen you for a full six months.
LEO. As to that, Ursus, pray to not be afraid; indeed, it does not turn out well for anyone encountering a lion.
U. Nay, Leo, nor does it turn out pleasantly indeed, encountering a bear.
L. Well then, by all means I do not want you to believe there is such danger, although we have read that the lion, strongest among the animals, dreads no encounter. Besides, the divine literature declares that encountering a she-bear, whose cubs have been stolen, is quite the formidable event.
U: Do tell, what does it say about the she-bear?
L: The second Book of Kings says: they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field.
U: What else?