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John Florio

Florio, John. 1545–1625. Grammarian.


To the Reader

Reader , good or bad, name thyself, for I know not which to tearme thee, unless heard thee read, and reading judge, or judging exercise; or curtesie the cognisance of a Gentleman, or malice the badge of a Momus, or exact examination the puritane scale of a criticall censor: to the first (as to my friends) I wish as gracious acceptance where they desire it most, as they extend where I deserve it least; to the second I can wish no worse than they worke themselves, though I should wish them blyndnes, deafnes, and dumbnes: for blynd they are (or worse) that see their owne vices, others vertues: deafe they are (or worse) that never could heare well of themselves, nor would heare well of others: and dumbe they are (and worse) that speake not but behinde mens backs (whose bookes speake to all;) and speake nought but is naught like themselves, than who, what can be worse? As for critiks I accompt of them as crickets; no goodly bird if a man marke them, no sweete note if a man heare them, no good luck if a man have them; they lurke in corners, but catch cold if they looke out; they lie in sight of the furnace that tryes others, but will not come neare the flame that should purifie themselves: they are bred of filth, & fed with filth, what vermine to call them I know not, or wormes, or flyes, or what worse? They are like cupping glasses, that draw nothing but corrupt blood; like swine, that leave the cleare springs to wallow in a puddle: they doo not as Plutarke and Aristarcus derive philosophie, and set flowers out of Homer; but with Zoylus deride his halting, and pull asunder his faire joynted verses: they doo not seeke honie with the bee, but suck poyson with the spider. They will doo nought, yet all is naught but what they doo; they snuff our lampes perhaps, but sure they add no oyle; they will heale us of the toothache, but are themselves sick of the fever-lourdane. Demonstrative rethorique is their studie, and the doggs letter they can snarle alreadie. As for me, for it is I, and I am an Englishman in Italiane, I know they have a knife at command to cut my throate, Un Inglese Italianato, e un Diauolo incarnato. Now, who the Divell taught thee so much Italian? speake me as much more, and take all. Meane you the men, or their mindes? be the men good, and their mindes bad? speake for the men (for you are one) and I will doubt of your minde: Mislike you the language? Why the best speake it best, and hir Majestie none better. I, but too manie tongues are naught; indeede one is too manie for him that cannot use it well. Mithridates was reported to have learned three and twentie severall languages, and Ennius to have three harts, because three tongues, but it should seeme thou hast not one sound heart, but such a one as is cancred with ennui; nor anie tongue, but a forked tongue, thou hissest so like a snake, and yet me thinkes by thy looke, thou shouldst have no tongue thou gapest and mowest so like a frogg: I, but thou canst reade whatsoever is good in Italian, translated into English. And was it good that they translated then? or were they good that translated it? Had they been like thee, they were not woorth the naming; and thou being unlike them, art unworthie to name them. Had they not knowen Italian, how had they translated it? had they not translated it, where were not thy reading? Rather drinke at the wel-head, than sip at pudled streames; rather buy at the first hand, than goe on trust at the hucksters. I, but thou wilt urge me with their manners & vices, (not remembring that where great vices are, there are infinit vertues) & aske me whether they be good or bad? Surely touching their vices, they are bad (& I condemne them) like thyself; the men are as we are, (is bad, God amend both us & them) and I think wee may verie well mend both. I, but (peradventure) thou wilt say my frutes are wyndie, I pray thee keepe thy winde to coole thy potage. I, but they are rotten: what, and so greene? that's marvell; indeede I thinke the caterpiller hath newly caught them. If thy sight and taste be so altred, that neither colour or taste of my frutes will please thee, I greatly force not, for I never minded to be thy fruterer. Muro bianco is paper good enough for everie matto: Prints were first invented for wise mens use, and not for fooles play. These Proverbs and proverbiall Phrases, (hethertoo so peculiar to the Italians, that they could never find the way over the Apenines, or meanes to become familiar to anie other Nation) have onely been selected and stamped for the wise and not for thee, (and therefore hast thou no part in them) who will kindly accept of them: (though in the ordering of them I differ from most mens methodes, who in their compositions onely seeke for words to expresse their matter, and I have endevored to finde matter to declare those Italian words & phrases, that yet never saw Albions cliffes) for the pleasure of which, I will shortly send into the world an exquisite Italian and English Dictionary, and a compendious Grammer. The Sunne spreading his beames indifferently (and my frutes are in an open orchyard, indifferent to all) doth soften wax, and harden clay; (my frutes will please the gentler, but offend the clayish or clownish sort, whom good things scarcely please, and I care not to displease). I know I have them not all, and you with readie (if I should say so) with Bate me an ace quoth Bolton, or Wide quoth Bolton when his bolt flew backward. Indeed here are not all, for tell me who can tell them; but here are the chiefs, and thanke me that I cull them. The Greekes and Latines thanks Erasmus, and our Englishmen make much of Heywood: for Proverbs are the pith, the proprieties, the proofs, the purities, the elegancies, as the commonest so the commendablest phrases of a language. To use them is a grace, to understand them a good, but to gather them a paine to me, though gain to thee. I, but for all that I must not scape without some new flout: now would I were by thee to give thee another, and surely I would give thee bread for cake. Farewell if thou meane well; els fare as ill, as thou wishest me to fare.

The last of April, 1591.

Resolute          I.F.


In the blessed name of God the Father my gracious Creator and Maker, of God the Sonne Jesus Christ my merciful Savyo r  and Redeemer, and of God the Holie Ghost three persons and one ever liveing and omnipotent God, in unity and Trinity my most loving Comforter and preserver Amen. I John Florio of Fulham in the Countie of Middlesex Esq re , being of good health and sound minde and perfect memory, hearty thankes bee ever ascribed and given therefore unto Almighty God, And well in remembering and knowing that nothing is more certayne unto mortall man than death and noe one thing more uncertayne then is the houre therof, doe make appoint pronounce and declare this my Testament therin fully contayning my last direct and unrevocable will and intention in manner and forme following; That is to say, First and principally as duty and Christianity willeth mee I most heartily and penitently sorrowfull for all my sinnes committ and recommend my soule into the mercifull handes of Almighty God, assuredly trusting and faithfully beleeving by the onely meritts bitter passion precious blood and glorious death of the immaculate Lambe Jesus Christ his Sonne, to have full remission and absolute forgiveness of all my sinnes whatsoever, and after this transitory life to live and raigne with him in his most blessed Kingdome of heaven. As for my wretched Body I committe the same as earth to earth and dust to dust to be buried in such decent order as to my deare Wife and by my executors here under-named shalbee thought meete and convenient. And as touching the disposing and ordering of all and whatsoever such goodes cattle, chattle, Leases, monie, plate, jewells, bookes, apparrell, bedding, hangings, peawter, brasse, household stuffe moveables, immoveables and all other things whatsoever named or unnamed, specifide or unspecifide, wherwith my most gracious God hath beene pleased to endowe mee with or hereafter shall of his infinite mercy bee pleased to bestowe or conferre upon me in this transitory life, I will appoint give order dispose and bequeath all and every part and parcel of the same firmely and unalterably to stand in manner and forme following, That is to say, Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Aurelia Molins the Wedding Ring wherewith I married her mother, being aggrieved at my very heart that by reason of my poverty I am not able to leave her anything els. Item, I give and bequeath as a poore token of my love to my sonne in law James Molins, a faire black velvett deske embroidered with seede pearles and with a silver and guilt inkhorne and dust box therin, that was Queen Anne's. Item, I give and bequeath unto the right honourable my sigulare and even honoured good Lord William Earle of Pembroke Lord Chamberlaine to the Kings most excellent maiestie and one of his royal counsell of state (if at my death he shall then be living) all my Italian, French and Spanish bookes, as well printed as unprinted, being in number about Three hundred and fortie, namely my new and perfect dictionary, as also my tenne dialogues in Italian and English and my unbound volume of divers written collections and rapsodies, most heartilie entreating his Honorable Lordshippe (as hee once promised mee) to accept of them as a sign and token of my service and affection to his honor and for my sake to place them in his library, either at Wilton or else at Baynards Castle at London, humbly desiring him to give way and favourable assistance that my dictionarie and dialogues may bee printed and the profitt therof accrud unto my wife. Item, I doe likewise give and bequeath unto his noble Lordship the Corinne Stone as a jewell fitt for a Prince which Ferdinando the great Duke of Tuscanie sent as a most precious gift (among divers others) unto Queen Anne of blessed memory; the use and vertue wherof is written in two pieces of paper, both in Italian and English being in a little box with the Stone, most humbly beseeching his honour (as I right confidently hope and trust hee will in charity doe if neede require) to take my poore and deere wife into his protection and not suffer her to be wrongfully molested by any enemie of myne, and also in her extremity to afforde her his helpe good worde and assistance to my Lord Treasurer, that she may be payed my wages and the arrearages of that which is unpayed or shall bee behind at my death. The rest the residue and remainder of all whatsoever and singular my goods, cattles, chattles, jewells, plate, debts, leases, money, or monie worth, household stuffe, utensills, English bookes, moveables or immoveables, named or not named, and things whatsoever by mee before not given disposed or bequeathed (provided that my debts bee paid and my funerall discharged). I wholly give, fully bequeath, absolutely leave, assigne and unalterably consigne unto my deerly beloved wife Rose Florio, most heartily greiving and ever sorrowing that I cannot give or leave her more in requitall of her tender love, loving care painfull dilligence, and continuall labour, to me and of mee in all my fortunes and many sicknesses; then whome never had husband a more loving wife, painfull nurce, or comfortable consorte, And I doe make institute, ordaine, appoint and name the right Reverend Father in God, Theophilus Feild Lord bishoppe of Landaffe and Mr. Richard Cluet Doctor of Divinity vicar and preacher of the word of God at Fulham, both my much esteemed, dearely beloved and truely honest good frendes, my sole and onely Executors and overseers; And I doe give to each of them for their paines an ould greene velvett deske with a silver inke and dust box in each of them that were sometymes Queene Annes my Soveraigne Mistrisse, entreating both to accept of them as a token of my hearty affection towards them, and to excuse my poverty which disableth mee to requite the trouble, paines, and courtesie, which I confidently beleeve they will charitably and for Gods sake undergoe in advising directing and helping my poore and deere wife in executing of this my last and unrevocable will and testament, if any should be soe malicious or unnaturall as to crosse or question the same; And I doe utterly revoke and for ever renounce, frustrate, disanull, cancell and make void, all and whatsoever former wills, legacies, bequests, promises, guifts, executors or overseers (if it should happen that anie bee forged or suggested for untill this tyme, I never writt made or finished any but this onely) And I will appoint and ordaine that this and none but this onely written all with mine owne hand, shall stand in full force and vigor for my last and unrevocable will and Testament, and none other nor otherwise. As for the debts that I owe the greatest and onelie is upon an obligatory writing of myne owne hand which my daughter Aurelia Molins with importunity wrested from me of about threescore pound, wheras the truth, and my conscience telleth mee, and soe knoweth her conscience, it is but thirty-four pound or therabouts, But let that passe, since I was soe unheedy, as to make and acknowledge the said writing, I am willing that it bee paid and discharged in this forme and manner, My sonne in lawe (as daughter his wife knoweth full well) hath in his handes as a pawne, a faire gold ring of mine, with thirteene faire table diamonds therein enchased; which cost Queene Anne my gracious Mistrisse seaven and forty pounds starline, and for which I might many tymes have had forty pounds readie money: upon the said ring my sonne in the presence of his wife lent me Tenne pound. I desire him and pray him to take the overplus of the said Ring in parte of payment, as also a leaden Ceasterne which hee hath of myne standing in his yard at his London-house that cost mee at a porte-sale fortie shillings, as also a silver candle cup with a cover worth about forty shillings which I left at his house being sicke there; desiring my sonne and daughter that their whole debt may bee made up and they satisfied with selling the lease of my house in Shoe lane, and soe accquitt and discharge my poore wife who as yet knoweth nothing of his debt. Moreover I entreat my deare wife that if at my death my servant Artur [blank ] shall chance to bee with mee and in my service, that for my sake she give him such poore doubletts, breeches, hattes, and bootes as I shall leave, and therwithall one of my ould cloakes soe it bee not lyned with velvett. In witnesse whereof I the said John Florio to this my last will and Testament (written every sillable with myne owne hande, and with long and mature deliberation digested, contayning foure sheetes of paper, the first of eight and twenty lines, the second of nine and twenty, the third of nyne and twenty and the fourth of six lines) have putt, sett, written and affixed my name and usual seale of my armes. The twentyth day of July in the yeare of our Lord and Savyour Jesus Christ 1625, and in the first yeare of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord and King (whom God preserve) Charles the First of that name of England, Scotland, France and Ireland King. By mee John Florio being, thankes bee ever given to my most gracious God, in perfect sence and memory.

Proved 1 June 1626 by Rose Florio the relict, the executors named in the Will for certain reasons renouncing execution.


Florio was eighty years of age at his death in 1625. From significant references by Shakespeare, in Henry IV., to Falstaff's age, I have long been of the opinion that Florio was more than forty-five years old in 1598, when the First Part  of this play was revised and the Second Part  written; yet if the age of fifty-eight, which Florio gives himself in the medallion round his picture in the 1611 edition of his Worlde of Wordes  is to be believed, he was only forty-five in 1598. I have now found Anthony Wood's authority for dating his birth in 1545.

In Registrium Universitalus Oxon., vol. ii., by Andrew Clark, I find: "1st May 1581, Magd. Co., John Florio, æt. 36, serviens mei Barnes."

In a copy of Florio's first edition of his Worlde of Wordes  in my library, which evidently belonged to his friend William Godolphin, as his name is written in it, there is also written in an old hand, under Florio's name on the title-page, "born 1545."


To the right worshipfull, the kinde entertainer of vertue, and mirrour of a good minde Master Nicholas Saunder of Ewel, Esquire, his devoted John Florio congratulates the rich reward of the one, and lasting beautie of the other, and wishes all felicitie els

Sir , in this stirring time, and pregnant prime of invention when everie bramble is fruitefull, when everie mol-hill hath cast of the winters mourning garment, and when everie man is busilie woorking to feede his owne fancies; some by delivering to the presse the occurrences & accidents of the world, newes from the marte, or from the mint, and newes are the credite of a travailer, and first question of an Englishman. Some like Alchimists distilling quintessences of wit, that melt golde to nothing, and yet would make golde of nothing; that make men in the moone, and catch the moon shine in the water. Some putting on pyed coates lyke calendars, and hammering upon dialls, taking the elevation of Pancridge  Church (their quotidian walkes) pronosticate of faire, of foule, and of smelling weather; men weatherwise, that wil by aches foretell of change and alteration of wether. Some more active gallants made of a finer molde, by devising how to win their Mistrises favours, and how to blaze and blanche their passions, with aeglogues, songs, and sonnets, in pitifull verse or miserable prose, and most for a fashion: is not Love then a wagg, that makes men so wanton? yet love is a pretie thing to give unto my Ladie. Othersome with new caracterisings bepasting al the posts in London  to the proofe, and fouling of paper, in twelve howres thinke to effect Calabrian  wonders: is not the number of twelve wonderfull? Some with Amadysing & Martinising a multitude of our libertine yonkers with triviall, frivolous, and vaine vaine droleries, set manie mindes a gadding; could a foole with a feather make men better sport? I could not chuse but apply my self in some sort to the season, and either proove a weede in my encrease without profit, or a wholesome pothearbe in profit without pleasure. If I prove more than I promise, I will impute it to the bountie of the gracious Soile where my endevours are planted, whose soveraine vertue divided with such worthles seedes, hath transformed my unregarded slips to medcinable simples. Manie sowe corne, and reape thisles; bestow three yeares toyle in manuring a barraine plot, and have nothing for their labor but their travel: the reason why, because they leave the low dales, to seeke thrift in the hill countries; and dig for gold on the top of the Alpes, when Esops  cock found a pearle in a lower place. For me I am none of their faction, I love not to climbe high to catch shadowes; suficeth gentle Sir, that your perfections are the Port where my labors must anchor, whose manie and liberall favours have been so largely extended unto me, that I have long time studied how I might in some fort gratefully testifie my thankfulnes unto you. But when I had assembled all my thoughts, & entred into a contrarious consultation of my utmost abilities, I could not find anie employment more agreeable to my power, or better beseeming my dutie, than this present Dedication, whereby the world, by the instance of your never entermitted benevolence towards me, should have a perfect insight into your vertue & bountie, (qualities growne too solitary in this age) and your selfe might be unfallibly perswaded in what degree I honor and regarde you. For indeede I neither may in equitie forget, nor in reason conceale the rare curtesies you vouchsaft me at Oxford, the friendly offers and great liberalitie since (above my hope and desert) continued at London, wherewith you have fast bound me to beare a dutiful & grateful observance towards you while I live, & to honour that mind from which as from a spring al your friendships & goodnes hath flowed: And therefore to give you some paune and certaine assurance of a thankfull minde, and my professed devotion I have consecrated these my slender endevours  wholy to your delight, which shall stand for an image and monument of your worthines to posteritie. And though they serve to pleasure and profite manie, yet shall my selfe reape pleasure, also if they please you well, under whose name and cognisance they shall goe abroad and seeke their fortunes. How the world will entertaine them I know not, or what acceptance your credit may adde to their basenes I am yet uncertaine; but this I dare vaunt without sparke of vaine-glory that I have given you a taste of the best Italian fruites, the Thuscane Garden could affoorde; but if the pallate of some ale or beere mouths be out of taste that they cannot taste them, let them sporte but not spue. The moone keeps her course for all the dogges barking. I have for these fruites ransackt and rifled all the gardens of fame throughout Italie (and they are the Hesperides) if translated they do prosper as they flourished upon their native stock, or eate them & they will be sweete, or set them & they will adorne your orchyards.

The maiden-head of my industrie I yeelded to a noble Mecenas (renoumed Lecester) the honor of England, whom thogh like Hector every miscreant Mirmidon dare strik being dead, yet sing Homer  or Virgil, write friend or foe, of Troy, or Troyes  issue, that Hector  must have his desert, the General of his Prince, the Paragon of his Peeres, the watchman of our peace,

"Non so se miglior Duce o Cavalliero "

as Petrarke  hath in his triumph of fame; and to conclude, the supporter of his friends, the terror of his foes, and the Britton  Patron of the Muses.

"Dardanias light, and Troyans faithfulst hope."

But nor I, nor this place may halfe suffice for his praise, which the sweetest singer of all our westerns shepheards hath so exquisitely depainted, that as Achilles by Alexander was counted happy for having such a rare emblazoner of his magnanimitie, as the Meonian Poete; so I account him thrice-fortunate in having such a herauld of his vertues as Spencer; Curteous Lord, Curteous Spencer, I knowe not which hath purchast more fame, either he in deserving so well of so famous a scholler, or so famous a scholler in being so thankfull without hope of requitall to so famous a Lord: But leaving him that dying left al Artes, and al strangers as Orphanes, forsaken, and friendles, I will wholy convert my muze to you (my second patron) who amongst many that beare their crests hie, and mingle their titles with TAMMARTI QUAM MERCURIO  are an unfayned embracer of vertues, and nourisher of knowledge and learning. I published long since my first fruits of such as were but meanely entred in the Italian tongue, (which because they were the first, and the tree but young were something sower, yet at last digested in this cold climat) knowing well that they would both nourish and delight, & now I have againe after long toyle and diligent pruning of my orcharde brought forth my second fruites, (better, riper, and pleasanter than the first) not unfit for those that embrace the language of the muses, or would beautifie their speech with a not vulgar bravery. These two I brought forth as the daughters and offsprings of my care and studie: My elder (as before is noted) because she was ambitious (as heires are wont) I married for preferment and for honour, but this younger (fayrer, better nurtured, & comelier than her sister) because my hope of such preferment and honour as my first had, fayled me, I thought to have cloystred up in some solitarynes, which shee perceiving, with haste putting on her best ornaments and (following the guise of her countrie-women presuming very much upon the love and favour of her parentes) hath voluntaryly made her choyce (plainly telling me that she will not leade apes in hell) and matched with such a one as she best liketh, and hopeth will both dearly love her, & make her such a joynter as shal be to the comfort of her parents, and joy of her match, and therefore have I given her my consent, because shee hath jumped so well with modesty, and not aspired so high that shee might be upbraided either with her birth or basenes when she could not mend it. I know the world will smile friendlier, and gaze more upon a damzell marching in figured silkes (who are as paper bookes with nothing in them) than upon one being onely clad in home-spunn cloth (who are as playne cheasts full of treasure) yet communis error shall not have my company, and therefore have I rather chosen to present my Italian and English proverbiall sportes to such a one as I know joynes them both so aptly in himselfe, as I doubt whether is best in him, but he is best in both; who loves them both, no man better; and touching proverbs, invents them, no man finer; and aplyes them, no man fitter; and that taketh his greatest contentment in knowledge of languages (guides and instruments to perfection and excellency) as in Nectar and Ambrosia (meate onely for Gods and deyfied mindes,) I shal not neede to trouble my selfe or you with any commendation of the matter I deliver, nor to give credit by some figures and colours to proverbs and sentences, seeing your selfe know well (whose censure I most respect) both how much a proverbiall speech (namely in the Italian) graceth a wise meaning, and how probably it argueth a good conceipt, and also how naturally the Italians please themselves with such materyall, short, and witty speeches (which when they themselves are out of Italy and amongst strangers, who they think hath learnt a little Italian out of Castilions courtier, or Guazzo his dialogues, they will endevour to forget or neglect and speake bookish, and not as they wil doe amongst themselves because they know their proverbs never came over the Alpes) no lesse than with the conceipted apothegmes, or Impreses, which never fall within the reach of a barren or vulgar head. What decorum I have observed in selecting them, I leave to the learned to consider. Thus craving the continuall sun-shine of your worships favour towards me, and that they may never decline to any west, and desiring your friendly censure of my travailes, I wish unto you your owne wishes, which are such as wisedome endites, and successe should subscribe.—Your affectionate in all he may.



To the right honorable patrons of vertue, patterns of honor, Roger Earle of Rutland, Henrie Earle of Southampton, Lucie Countesse of Bedford

This dedication (Right Honorable and that worthily) may haply make your Honors muse; wellfare that dedication, that may excite your muse. I am no auctorifed Herauld to marshall your precedence. Private dutie might perhaps give one the prioritie, where publike respect should prefer another. To choose Tullie  or Ausonius Consuls, is to prefer them before all but one; but to choose either the former of the twaine, is to prefer him before all. It is saide of Atreus  in a fact most disorderly, that may be saide of any in so ordering his best dutie.

It makes no matter whether, yet he resolves of neither. I onely say your Honors best knowe your places: An Italian turne may serve the turne. Lame are we in Platoes  censure, if we be not ambidexters, using both handes alike. Right-hand, or left-hand as Peeres with mutuall paritie, without disparagement may be please your Honors to joyne hand in hand, an so jointly to lende an eare (and lende it I beseech you) to a poore man, that invites your Honors to a christening, that I and my poore studies, like Philemon  and Baucis, may in so lowe a cottage entertaine so high, if not deities, yet dignities; of whom the Poet testifies.

"Ma sopraogni altro frutto gradito
Fu il volto allegro, e'l non bigiardo amore.
E benchefosse pouero il conuito,
Non fu la volonta pouera e'l core.

But of all other cheere most did content
A cheerefull countenance, and a willing minde,
Poore entertainment being richly ment,
Pleaded excuse for that which was behinde."

Two overhastie fruites of mine nowe some yeeres since, like two forwarde females, the one put her selfe in service to an Earle of Excellence, the other to a Gentleman of Woorth, both into the worlde to runne the race of their fortune. Now where my rawer youth brought foorth those female fruites, my riper yeeres affoording me I cannot say a braine-babe Minerva, armed at all affaies at first houre; but rather from my Italian Semele, and English thigh, a bouncing boie, Bacchus -like, almost all named: And being as the manner of this countrie is, after some strength gathered to bring it abroade; I was to entreate three witnesses to the entrie of it into Christendome, over-presumptuous (I grant) to entreate so high a preference, but your Honors so gracious (I hope) to be over-entreated. My hope springs out of three stems: your Honors naturall benignitie; your able employment of such servitours; and the towardly likeliehood of this Springall to do you honest service. The first, to vouchsafe all; the second, to accept this; the third, to applie it selfe to the first and second. Of the first, your birth, your place, and your custome; of the second, your studies, your conceits, and your exercise: of the thirde, my endevours, my proceedings, and my project gives assurance. Your birth, highly noble, more than gentle: your place, above others, as in degree, so in height of bountie, and other vertues: your custome, never wearie of well dooing: your studies much in al, most in Italian excellence: your conceits, by understanding others to work above them in your owne: your exercise, to reade, what the worlds best wits have written and to speake as they write. My endevours, to apprehend the best, if not all: my proceedings, to impart my best, first to your Honors, then to all that emploie me: my project, in this volume to comprehend the best and all. In truth I acknowledge an entyre debt, not onely of my best knowledge, but of all, yea of more then I know or can, to your bounteous Lordship most noble, most vertuous, and most Honorable Earle of Southampton, in whose paie and patronage I have lived some yeeres; to whom I owe and vowe the yeeres I have to live. But as to me, and manie more the glorious and gracious sunne-shine of your Honor hath infused light and life: so may my lesser borrowed light, after a principall respect to your benigne aspect, and influence, affoorde some lustre to some others. In loyaltie I may averre (my needle toucht, and drawne, and held by such an adamant) what he in love assumed, that sawe the other stars, but bent his course by the Pole-starre, and two guardes, avowing, Aspicit unam  One guideth me, though more I see. Good parts imparted are not empaired: Your springs are first to serve your selfe, yet may yeelde your neighbours sweete water; your taper is to light to you first, and yet it may light your neighbours candle. I might make doubt, least I or mine be not now of any further use to your selfe-sufficiencie, being at home so instructed for Italian, as teaching or learning could supplie, that there seemed no neede of travell: and nowe by travell so accomplished, as what wants to perfection? Wherein no lesse must be attributed to your embellisht graces (my most noble, most gracious, and most gracefull Earle of Rutland) well entred in the toong, ere your Honor entered Italie, there therein so perfected, as what needeth a Dictionarie? Naie, if I offer service but to them that need it, with what face seeke I a place with your excellent Ladiship (my most-most honored, because best-best adorned Madame) who by conceited Industrie, or industrious conceite, in Italian as in French, in French as in Spanish, in all as in English, understand what you reade, write as you reade, and speake as you write; yet rather charge your minde with matter, then your memorie with words? And if this present, present so small profit, I must confesse it brings much lesse delight: for, what pleasure is a plot of simples, O non vista, o mal note, o mal gradite, Or not seene, or ill knowne, or ill accepted? Yet heere-hence may some good accrewe, not onelie to truantlie-schollers, which ever-and-anon runne to Venuti, and Alunno ; or to new-entred novices, that hardly can construe their lesson; or to well-forwarde students, that have turned over Guazzo  and Castiglione, yea runne through GuariniAriosto,TaffoBoccace  and Petrarche : but even to the most compleate Doctor; yea to him that best can stande All'erta for the best Italian, heereof sometimes may rise some use: since, have he the memorie of Themistocles, of Seneca, of Scaliger  yet is it not infinite, in so finite a bodie. And I have seene the best, yea naturall Italians, not onely stagger, but even sticke fast in the myre, and at last give it over, or give their verdict with An ignoramus,Boccace  is prettie hard, yet understood: Petrarche  harder, but explaned: Dante  hardest, but commented. Some doubt if all aright. Alunno  for his foster-children hath framed a worlde of their wordes. Venuti  taken much paines in some verie fewe authors; and our William Thomas  hath done prettilie; and if all faile, although we misse or mistake the worde, yet make we up the sence. Such making is marring. Naie all as good; but not as right. And not right, is flat wrong. One saies of Petrarche  for all: A thousand strappadas coulde nor compell him to confesse, what some interpreters will make him saie he ment. And a Judicious gentleman of this lande will uphold, that none in England understands him thoroughly. How then ayme we at Peter Aretine, that is so wittie, hath such varietie, and frames so manie new words? At Francesco Doni  who is so fantasticall, & so strange? At Thomaso Garzoni  in his Piassa universale ; or at Allesandro Cittolini, in his Typecosmia, who have more proper and peculiar words concerning everie severall trade, arte, or occupation for everie particular toole, or implement belonging unto them, then ever any man heeretofore either collected in any booke, or sawe collected in any one language? How shall we understand Hanniball Caro, who is so full of wittie jestes, sharpe quips, nipping tantes, and scoffing phrases against that grave and learned man Lodivico Castelvetri, in his Apologia de' Banchi ? How shall the English Gentleman come to the perfect understanding of Federico Grisone, his Arte del Cavalcare, who is so full of strange phrases, and unusuall wordes, peculiar onely to horse-manship, and proper but to Cavalarizzi ? How shall we understand so manie and so strange bookes, of so severall, and so fantasticall subjects as be written in the Italian toong? How shall we, naie how may we ayme at the Venetian, at the Romane, at the Lombard, at the Neapolitane, at so manie, and so much differing Dialects, and Idiomes, as be used and spoken in Italie, besides the Florentine? Sure we must saie as that most intelligent and grave Prelate said, when he came new out of the South into the North, and was saluted with a womans sute in Northern. Now what is that in English? If I, who many yeeres have made profession of this toong, and in this search or quest of inquirie have spent most of my studies; yet many times in many wordes have beene so stal'd, and stabled, as such sticking made me blushinglie confesse my ignorance, and such confession indeede made me studiouslie seeke helpe, but such helpe was not readilie to be had at hande. Then may your Honors without any dishonour, yea what and whosoever he be that thinkes himselfe a very good Italian, and that to trip others, doth alwaies stande All'erta, without disgrace to himselfe, sometimes be at a stand, and standing see no easie issue, but for issue with a direction, which in this mappe I hold, if not exactlie delineated, yet conveniently prickt out. Is all then in thislittle? All I knowe: and more (I know) then yet in any other. Though most of these you know alreadie, yet have I enough, if you know anie thing more then you knew, by this. The retainer doth some service, that now and then but holds your Honors styrrop, or lendes a hande over a stile, or opens a gappe for easier passage, or holds a torch in a darke waie: enough to weare your Honors cloth. Such then since this may proove, proove it (right Honorable) and reproove not for it my rudenes, or my rashnes; rudenes in presuming so high, rashnes in assuming so much for it that yet is unaprooved. Some perhaps will except against the sexe, and not allowe it for a male-broode, sithens as our Italians saie, Le parole sono femine, & i fatti sono maschy, Wordes they are women, and deeds they are men. But let such know that Detti  and fatti, wordes and deeds with me are all of one gender. And although they were commonly Feminine, why might not I by strong imagination (which Phisicions give so much power unto) alter their sexe? Or at least by such heaven-pearcing devotion as transformed Iphis, according to that description of the Poet.

"Et ognimembro suo piu forte e sciolto
Sente, e volge allamadre il motto, e'l lume.
Come veto fanciullo esser vede
Iphi va con parole alme, e devote
Altempio con la madre, e la nutrice,
E paga il voto, e'l suo miracoldice.

Feeling more vigor in each part and strength
Then earst, and that indeede she was a boy.
Towards hir mother eies and wordes at length
She turns, and at the temple with meeke joy
He and his nurse and mother utter how
The case fell out, and so he paide his vow."

And so his strength, his stature, and his masculine vigor (I would, naie I coulde saie vertue) makes me assure his sexe, and according to his sexe provide so autenticall testimonies. Laie then your blisse-full handes on his head(right Honorable) and witnes that he by me devoted to your Honors, forsakes my private cell, all retired conceites, and selfe-respects to serve you in the worlde, the world in you; and beleeves in your Honors goodnes, in proportion as his service shall be of moment and effectuall; and that you will not onely in due censure be his judges, but on true judgement his protectors; and in this faith desires to be numbered in your familie; so in your studies to attend, as your least becke may be his dieugarde; for he hath toong to answer, words at will, and wants not some wit, though he speake plaine what each thing is. So have I crost him, and so blest him, your god-childe, and your servant; that you may likewise give him your blessing, if it be but as when one standes you in steede, supplies you, or pleases you, you saie, Gods-blessing on him. But though in the fore-front he beares your Honorable names, it may be demanded how is it, your Honors gave not him his name? Heerein (right Honorable) beare with the fondnes of his mother, my Mistresse Muse, who seeing hir female Arescusa  turn'd to a pleasing male Arescon  (as Plinie  tels of one) beg'd (as some mothers use) that to the fathers name she might prefixe a name befitting the childes nature. So cald she him, A worlde of wordes: since as the Univers containes all things, digested in best equipaged order, embellisht with innumerable ornaments by the universall creator. And as Tipocosmia  imaged by Allesandro Cittolini, and Fabrica del mondo, framed by Francesco Alunno, and Piazza universale  set out by Thomaso Garzoni  tooke their names of the universall worlde, in words to represent things of the world: as words are types of things, and everie man by himselfe a little world in some resemblances; so thought she, she did see as great capacitie, and as meete method in this, as in those latter, and (as much as there might be in Italian and English) a modell of the former, and therefore as good cause so to entitle it. If looking into it, it looke like the Sporades, or scattered Ilands, rather than one well-joynted or close-joyned bodie, or one coherent orbe: your Honors knowe, an armie ranged in files is fitter for muster, then in a ring; and jewels are sooner found in severall boxes, then all in one bagge. If in these rankes the English outnumber the Italian, congratulate the copie and varietie of our sweete-mother toong, which under this most Excellent well-speaking Princesse or Ladie of the worlde in all languages is growne as farre beyond that of former times, as her most flourishing raigne for all happines is beyond the raignes of former Princes. Right Honorable, I feare me I have detained your Honors too long with so homelie entertainment, yet being the best the meanenes of my skill can affoorde; which intending as my childes christening-banquet, heereunto I presumed to invite your Honors: but I hope what was saide at you Honors first comming (I meane in the beginning of my Epistle) shall serve for a finall excuse. And in conclusion (most Honorable) once againe at your departure give me leave to commend this sonne of mine to your favourable protections, and advowe him yours, with this licence, that as Henricus Stephanus  dedicated his Treasure of the Greeke toong to Maximilian  the Emperour, to Charles  the French king, and to Elizabeth  our dread Soveraigne, and by their favours to their Universities: So I may consecrate this lesser-volume of little-lesse value, but of like import, first, to your triple-Honors, then under your protections to all Italian-English, or English-Italian students. Vouchsafe then (highlie Honorable) as of manie made for others, yet made knowne to your Honors, so of this to take knowledge, who was borne, bred, and brought foorth for your Honors chiefe service; though more service it may do, to many others, that more neede it; since manie make as much of that, which is made for them, as that they made them-selves, and of adopted, as begotten children; yea Adrian the Emperour made more of those then these; since the begotten are such as fates give us, the adopted such as choice culs us; they oftentimes Stolti, sgarbati, & inutili, these ever with Corpo intiero, leggiadre membra, entente sana. Accepting therefore of the childe, I hope your Honors wish as well to the Father, who to your Honors all-devoted wisheth meeds of your merits, renowme of your vertues, and health of your persons, humblie with gracious leave kissing your thrice-honored hands, protesteth to continue ever

Your Honors most humble and

bounden in true service,

John Florio.


To the Reader

I know not how I may again adventure an Epistle to the reader, so are these times, or readers in these times, most part sicke of the sullens, and peevish in their sicknes, and conceited in their peevishnes. So should I feare the fire, that have felt the flame so lately, and flie from the sea, that have yet a vow to pay for escaping my last shipwracke. Then what will the world say for ventring againe? A fuo danno, one will say. Et a torto si lamenta del mare, chi due volte civoul tornare, will another say. Good council indeede, but who followeth it? Doe we not daily see the contrarie in practise? Who loves to be more on the sea, then they that have been most on it? Whither for change if they have kept at a stay: or for amends if they have lost: or for increase if they have gotten. Of these there are ynow and wise-ynough to excuse me. Therefore I have put forward at aventure: But before I recount unto thee (gentle reader) the purpose of my new voyage: give me leave a little to please my selfe and refresh thee with the discourse of my olde danger. Which because in some respect is a common danger, the discoverie thereof may happily profit other men, as much as please myselfe. And here might I begin with those notable Pirates in this our paper-sea, those sea-dogs, or lande-Critikes, monsters of men, if not beastes rather than men; whose teeth are Canibals, their toongs adder-forkes, their lips aspes-poyson, their eies basiliskes, their breath the breath of a grave, their wordes like swordes of Turkes, that strive which shall dive deepest into a Christian lying bound before them. But for these barking and biting dogs, they are as well knowne as Scylla and Charybdis.

There is another sort of leering curs, that rather snarle than bite, whereof I coulde instance in one, who lighting upon a good sonnet of a gentlemans, a friend of mine, that loved better to be a Poet, then to be counted so, called the auctor a rymer, notwithstanding he had more skill in good Poetrie, then my slie gentleman seemed to have in good manners or humanitie But my quarrell is to a tooth-lesse dog that hateth where he cannot hurt, and would faine bite, when he hath no teeth. His name is H.S. Doe not take it for the Romane H.S. for he is not of so much worth, unlesse it be as H.S. is twice as much and a halfe as halfe an As. But value him how you will, I am sure he highly valueth himselfe. This fellow, this H.S. reading (for I would you should knowe he is a reader and a writer too) under my last epistle to the reader I.F. made as familiar a word of F. as if I had bin his brother. Now Recte fit oculis magister tuis, said an ancient writer to a much-like reading gramarian-pedante: God save your eie-sight, sir, or at least your insight. And might not a man that can do as much as you (that is, reade) finde as much matter out of H.S. as you did out of I.F.? As for example, H.S. why may it not stand as well for Haerus Stultitiae, as for Homo Simplex? or for Hara Suillina, as for Hostis Studioforum? or for Hircus Satiricus, as well as for any of them? And this in Latine, besides Hedera Seguice, Harpia Subata, Humore Superbo, Hipocrito Simulatore in Italian. And in English world without end, Huffe Snuffe, Horse Stealer, Hob Sowter, Hugh Sot, Humfrey Swineshead, Hodge Sowgelder. Now Master H.S. if this doe gaule you, forbeare kicking hereafter, and in the meane time you may make you a plaister of your dride Maroram. I have seene in my daies an inscription, harder to finde out the meaning, and yet easier for a man to picke a better meaning out of it, if he be not a man of H.S. condition. There is a most excellent preface to the excellently translated booke signed A.B. which when I sawe, I eftsoones conceived, could I in perusing the whole A B C omit the needelesse, and well order the requisite letters, I should find some such thing as Admirabilis Bonitas, or Amantum Beatissumus. But how long thinke you would H.S. have bin rooting and grunting ere he could have found as he is Hominum Simplicissimus, or would have pickt out as he is Hirudo Sanguifuga, so honest a meaning? Trust me I cannot but marvell at the disposition of these men, who are so malicious as they will not spare to stab others, though it be through their owne bodies, and wrong other men with their owne double harme. Such mens wordes a wise man compares to boltes shot right-up against heaven, that come not neare heaven, but downe againe upon their pates that shot them: or a man may compare them to durt flung at another man, which besides it defiles his handes that flings it, possibly it is blowne backe againe upon his owne face: or to monie put out to usurie, that returnes with increase, so they delivered with hatred, are repaide with much more: or to the blasting Sereno in hot countries, rising from puddles, dunghils, carions, putrified dampes, poysoned lakes, that being detestable itselfe, makes that much more detested from whence it comes. On the other side a good word is a deaw from heaven to earth, that soakes into the roote and sends forth fruite from earth to heaven: it is a precious balme, that hath sweetenesse in the boxe, whence it comes, sweetnesse and vertue in the bodie, whereto it comes: it is a golden chaine, that linkes the toongs, and eares, and harts of writers and readers, each to other. They hurt not God (faith Seneca) but their owne soules, that overthrowe his altars: Nor harme they good men, but themselves, that turns their sacrifice of praises into blasphemie. They that rave, and rage, and raile against heaven I say not (faith be) they are guiltie of sacrilege, but at least they loose their labour. Let Aristophanes and his comedians make plaies, and scowre their mouthes on Socrates; those very mouthes they make to vilifie, shall be the meanes to amplifie his vertue. And as it was not easie for Cato to speake evill, so was it not usuall for him to hear evill: it may be Socrates  would not kicke againe, if an asse did kicke at him, yet some that cannot be so wise, and will not be so patient as Socrates, will for such jadish tricks give the asse his due burthen of bastonadas. Let H.S. hisse, and his complices quarrell, and all breake their gals, I have a great faction of good writers to bandie with me.

"Think they to set their teeth on tender stuffe?
But they shall marre their teeth, and finde me tough."

Conantes frangere frangam, said Victoria Collonna:

"Those that to breake me strive,
I'le breake them if I thrive."

Yet had not H.S. so causelesly, so witlesly provoked me, I coulde not have bin hired, or induced against my nature, against my manner thus far to have urged him: though happily heereafter I shall rather contemne him, then farther pursue him. He is to blame (faith Martiall, and further he brandes him with a knavish name) that will be wittie in another mans booke. How then will scoffing readers scape this marke of a maledizant? whose wits have no other worke, nor better worth then to flout, and fall out? It is a foule blemish that Paterculus findes in the face of the Gracchi. They had good wits, but used them ill. But a fouler blot then a Jewes letter is it in the foreheads of Caelies and Curio, that he sets, Ingeniose nequam, they were wittily wicked. Pitie it is but evermore wit should be vertuous, vertue gentle, gentrie studious, students gracious. Let follie be dishonest, dishonestie unnoble, ignobilitie scandalous and scandall slanderous. Who then are they that mispend all their leisure, yea take their cheefe pleasure in back biting well-deservers? I see and am sorie to see a sort of men, whose fifth element is malediction, whose life is infamie, whose death damnation, whose daies are surfeiting, whose nights lecherie, yea such as Nanna could never teach Pippa, nor Comare and Balia discourse of and whose couches are Spintries; whose thrift is usurie, meales gluttonie, exercise cousenage, whose valour bragardrie, Astolpheidas, or Rodomontadas, or if it come to action, crueltie; whose communication is Atheisme, contention, detraction, or Paillardise, most of lewdness, seld of vertue, never of charitie; whose spare-time is vanitie or villanie: yet will I not deale by them, as they doe by others. I like not reproofe where it pertaines not to me: But if they like to see their owne pictures in lively colours of their own ornaments, habillements, attendants, observances, studies, amours, religions, games, travels, imployments, furnitures, let them as gentlemen (for so I construe Nobiles, and more they be not, if they be no lesse) goe to the Painters shop, or looking-glasse of Ammianus Marcellinus, an unpartiall historian, in his 28. booke about the middle, and blush, and amend, and think, that thence, and out of themselves I might well draw a long declamation: they that understand him, will agnise this; they that doe not, let them learne: let both conceive, how they conforme, and both reforme their deformities; or if they will not, at least let them forbeare to blur others because they are blacke themselves, least it be saide to them, as Seneca saide to one not unfitely, Te fera scabies depascitur, tu nacuos rides pulchriorum? this let them construe, and take to them the meaning of their labour. And though I more then feare much detracting: for I have already tasted some, and that extraordinarie though in an ordinarie place, where my childe was beaten ere it was borne: some divining of his imperfectnes for his English part; some fore-speaking his generall weakenes, and very gently seeming to pitie his fathers. And one averring he could beget a better of his owne, which like ynough he can, and hath done many a one, God forgive him. But the best is, my sonne with all his faultes shall approove himself no misse-begotten. And for those exceptions, knowing from whom they come, I were very weake-minded if they coulde anything moove me. And that husbandman might be counted very simple, that for the ominous shreekes of an unluckie, hoarce-voist, dead-devouring night-raven or two, or for feare of the malice of his worst conditioned neighbors, would neglect either to till and sowe his ground, or after in due time to reape and thresh out his harvest, that might benefite so many others with that, which both their want might desire, and their thankfulness would deserve. So did I intend my first seede, so doe I my harvest. The first fruites onely reserved to my Honorable Patrones, the rest to every woorthie Ladie and gentleman that pleases to come and buy; and though I doubt not but ravens and crowes both, will have a graine or two now and then in spite of my teeth, especially H.S. who is so many graines too light: yet I am well content to repay good for evill, thinking it not impossible that by the taste of the corne those very soules may in time have their mouthes stopt for speaking evill against the husbandman. And let this comparison of a labouring man by the way put you in minde (gentle reader) of his labours, that hath laboured so much, and so long to save you a labour, which I doubt not but he may as justly stand upon in this toong-work, as in Latin Sir Thomas Eliot, Bishop Cooper, and after them Thomas Thomas, and John Rider have done amongst us: and in Greeks and Latin both the Stephans, the father and the sonne, who notwithstanding the helpes each of them had, yet none of them but thought he might challenge speciall thankes for his special travell, to better purpose then any before him. And if they did so in those toongs, where they had so many, and so great helpes, and in toongs which were helpes to one another; they that understande, will easily acknowledge the difference betwixt my paines and theirs: yet I desire no pre-eminence of thankes; but either equall thankes, or equall excuse. And well may I make that comparison betwixt our labours, that Allessandro Cittolini maketh in his Tipocosmia: we all fared indeed like sea-faring men (according to my first comparison) and lanched foorth into a deepe, and dangerous sea, but they had this advantage of me, that they were many to steere a passage-boate; I was but one to turne and winde the sailes, to use the oare, to sit at sterne, to pricke my carde, to watch upon the upper decke, boate-swaine, pilot, mate, and master, all offices in one, and that in a more unruly, more unweildie, and more roome-some vessell, then the biggest hulke on Thames, or burthen-bearing Caracke in Spaine, or slave-tiring Gallie in Turkie, and that in a sea more divers, more dangerous, more stormie, and more comfortlesse then any Ocean. If any thinke I had great helpes of Alunno, or of Venuti, let him confer, and knowe I have in two, yea almost in one of my letters of the Alphabet, more wordes, then they have in all their twentie; and they are but for a few auctors in the Italian toong, mine for most that write well, as may appeere by the Catalog of bookes that I have read through of purpose for the accomplishing of this Dictionarie. I would not meddle with their defects and errors nor yet amplifie the fulnesse or perfection of my owne worke, farther then upon a just ground to satisfie his good desire that wisheth the best helpe. If any man aske whether all Italian wordes be here? I answer him, it may be no: and yet I thinke heere be as many, as he is likely to finde (that askes the question) within the compasse of his reading; and yet he may have read well too. I should thinke that very few wordes could escape those auctors I have set downe, which I have read of purpose to the absolute accomplishing of this worke, being the most principall, choisest, and difficult in the toong; especially writing in such varietie not onely of matters, but of dialects: but what I aske him againe, how many hundred wordes he, and possibly his teachers too were gravelled in? which he shall finde here explaned? If no other bookes can be so well perfected, but still some thing may be added, how much lesse a Word-booke? Since daily both new wordes are invented; and bookes still found, that make a new supplie of olde. We see the experience in Latin, a limited toong, that is at his full growth: and yet if a man consider the reprinting of Latin Dictionaries, ever with addition of new store, he would thinke it were still increasing. And yet in these Dictionaries as in all other that that is printed still is reputed perfect. And so it is no doubt after the customarie and possible perfection of a Dictionarie, which kinde of perfection if I chalenge to mine (especially considering the yeerelt increase, which is as certainly in this, in French, in Spanish, in Dutch, &c., as we find by experience it is in English; and I thinke I may well saie more in this, then in the rest; yea and in the rest mostly from this) I hope no man that shall expend the woorth of this worke in impartiall examination, will thinke I challenge more then is due to it. And for English-gentlemen me thinks it must needs be a pleasure to them, to see so rich a toong out-vide by their mother-speech, as by the manie-folde Englishes or manie wordes in this is manifest? The want whereof in England heeretofore, I might justly say in all Europe, might more endeare the woorth. Though without it some knew much, yet none knew all Italian, as all may do by this. That well to know Italian is a grace of all graces, without exception, which I ever exemplifie in her gracious Highnes; whose due-deserved-praises set foorth aright I may rightly say, as a notable Italian writer saide earst of hir most-renowmed father of famous memorie, Che per capir le giufte lodi della quale conuerrebbe o che il cieli s'inalzaffe, o ch'il mondo s'allargaffe; or as the moderne Italian Homer saide of a Queene far inferious to hir thrice-sacred Majestie, Che le glorie altrui si esprimono scrivendo e parlando, quelle di fua serenissima e sacratissima Maesta si possono solo esprimeremaravigliando e tacendo. Of whose innumerable excellencies, is not the fore-most, yet most famous I have heard, and often have had the good hap and comfort to see, that no Embassador or stranger hath audience of hir Majestie, but in his native toong; and none hath answere but in the same; or in the common toongs of Greeke and Latin, by hir sacred lips pronounced. That the best by hir patterne desire to doe as much, I doubt not; but I doubt how they can without such helpe, and that such helpe was to be had till now. I denie: yet doe I understand that a gentleman of worshipful account, well travelled, well conceited, and well experienced in the Italian, hath in this very kinde taken great pains, and made as great proofes of his inestimable worth. Glad would I be to see that worke abroad; some sight whereof gave me twenty yeeres since the first light to this. But since he suppresseth his, for private respects, or further perfection, nor he, nor others will (I hope) prize this the lesse. I could here enter into a large discourse of the Italian toong, and of the teachers and teaching thereof, and shew the ease and facilities of it, with setting downe some few, yea very few observations whereunto the Italian toong may be reduced: which some of good sort and experience have merrily compared to jugling-tricks, all which afore a man know or discover how they are done, one would judge to be very hard and difficult; but after a man hath seene them and knowes them, they are deemed but slight and easie. And I was once purposed for the benefite of all learners to have done it, and to have shewed why through my Dictionarie I have in all verbs of the first conjugation onely set downe the Infinitive moode, except it be of fower irregular verbes, and wherefore in all of the seconde and thirde conjugations I have noted besides the Infinitive moode, the first person singular of the present-tence of the Indicative moode, the first person singular of the first preterperfect-tence of the Indicative, and the participle. And why in the verbes of the fourth conjugation, I have besides the Infinitive moode, the participle, the first person singular of the present-tence of the Indicative moode of some very few, and not of all, and how by those fewe onely one may frame all the persons of all the tences of all the verbes in the Italian toong; without the knowledge of which, and of those few observations glanced at before, no man can or shall ever learne to speake or write true Italian in England: But that I understand there be some that are perswaded, yea and affirme, that nothing can be set down either by me, or any else that they have not or knowe not before; and I am informed, that some would not be ashamed to protest they knewe as much before: and therefore contrarie to my first resolution I forbeare to doe it, grieving that for their sakes the gentle reader and learner shall be barred of so necessarie a scale of the Italian toong. If these, or others thinke of this no such paines, little price, or lesse profit then I talke of, I onely wish, they felt but halfe my paines for it; or let them leave this, and tie themselves to the like taske, and then let the fruites of our labors, and the reapers of the fruites judge betwixt us whose paines hath sorted to best perfection: which ere long (if God sende me life, and blesse these labors) I meane to perfect with addition of the French and Latine, and with the wordes of some twenty good Italian auctors, that I could never obtaine the sight of, and hope shortly to enjoy: And I intend also to publish and annexe unto this, an Alphabeticall English Dictionarie, that any man knowing but the English word, shall presently finde the Italian for it. Meane-while I wish to thee, as of me thou shalt deserve, and wish of thee as I knowe of thee I have deserved.


John Florio.