The Epistle Dedicatory

To Sir Charles Cavendish, my Noble Brother-in-Law


I do here dedicate this my work unto you, not that I think my book is1 worthy such a patron, but that such a patron as you2 may gain my book a respect and esteem in the world by the favor of your protection. True it is, spinning with the fingers is more proper to our sex than studying or writing poetry, which is the spinning with the brain. But I,3 having no skill in the art of the first (and if I had, I had no hopes of gaining so much as to make me a garment to keep me from the cold4), I made my5 delight in the latter, since all brains work naturally, and incessantly, in some kind or other, which made me endeavor to spin a garment of memory to lap up my name, that it might grow to after ages. I cannot say the web is strong, fine, or evenly spun, for it is a coarse piece. Yet I had rather my name should go meanly clad, than die with cold. But if the suit be trimmed with your favor, she6 may make such a show, and appear so lovely, as to wed to a vulgar fame. But certainly, your bounty hath been the distaff from whence Fate hath spun the thread of this part of my life, which life I wish may be drawn forth in your service. For your noble mind is above petty interest, and of such7 a courage that8 you dare not only look Misfortune9 in the face, but grapple with it10 in the defense of your friend, and your kindness hath been such, that11 you have neglected yourself, even in ordinary accouterments, to maintain the distressed, which shows you to have12 such an affection, as St. Paul expresses for his brethren in Christ, who would13 be accursed for their sakes. And since your charity is of that length, and generosity of that height, that no times nor fortunes can cut shorter or pull down lower, I am very confident the sweetness of your disposition, which I have always found in the delightful conversation of your company, will never change, but be so humble as to accept of this book, which is the work of

Your most faithful servant,

  1. my book is] it 1664, 1668
  2. patron as you] Patron 1653
  3. But I,] but, 1668
  4. the cold] Cold 1668
  5. I made my] made me 1653; it made me 1664
  6. she] it 1664, 1668
  7. of such] such 1653
  8. that] as 1653, 1664
  9. Misfortune] Misfortunes 1653
  10. it] them 1653
  11. that] as 1653, 1664
  12. to have] have 1664, 1668
  13. would] could 1653