LETTER FROM NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI TO THE MAGNIFICENT LORENZO DE'
Men who are anxious to win the favour of a Prince nearly always
follow the custom of presenting themselves to him with the
possessions they value most, or with things they know
especially please him; so we often see Princes given horses,
weapons, cloth of gold, precious stones, and similar ornaments
worthy of their high position. Now, I am anxious to offer
myself to Your Magnificence with some tokens of my devotion to
you, and I have not found among my belongings anything as dear
to me or that I value as much as my understanding of the deeds
of great men, won by me from a long acquaintance with
contemporary affairs and a continuous study of the ancient
world; these matters I have very diligently analysed and
pondered for a long time, and now, having summarized them in a
little book, I am sending them to Your Magnificence.
And although I consider this work unworthy to be put
before you, yet I am fully confide . . .